Dinghy Transpac 2018
Hawaii Kai Boat Club
Hawaii Kai Boat Club hosted the 4th Annual Dinghy Transpac on May 6, 2018. Any sailing vessel under 20′ may enter the 10-mile race that travels from the east end of Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai to the entrance of Ala Wai Harbor at the west end of Waikiki. Most of the competitors are junior sailors, but adults aren’t turned away. A fun reaching race that ends at Hawaii Yacht Club with a BBQ and awards: Racing doesn’t get better than that!
The O’pen Bic, Laser, RS Feva, 29er and windsurfer fleets raced down Oahu’s coast in the north-north-east winds. The wind direction offered gusty and challenging conditions for the first few miles, with the breeze up to 22 knots passing through the valleys of the Ko’olau mountain range, and dropped down to 6 knots in the lee off Diamond Head where the sailors pass just outside the reef. Competitors were also treated to dolphin and turtle encounters in the warm off-shore waters.
Tactics and boat handling paid off to the first 29er team and overall winners, Lars von Sydow and Kanoa Pick. The teen boys avoided the light winds by heading offshore of Waikiki, then tacking back up toward the finish with an aggressive lay-line. O’pen Bic sailor, JP Lattanzi, was caught by CJ Perez, who took first place in the last 30 meters of the race with a 55 second lead: “She took an outside line, and I thought she wasn’t going to make the mark.” recalls JP. “Her strategy paid off; the outside had more wind and I ended up getting a header while she took a lift.”
The RS Feva fleet also had to deal with the challenging gusty conditions, and flying the a-symmetrical spinnakers was a lot to manage for several of the crews. The RS Feva winning team, Thomas Busch and Zachary Severson, are new to sailing the RS Feva, but managed to edge out 2nd place, Nicolai Perez and Daniel Zucker by only 53 seconds. Thomas is an O’pen Bic sailor, and Zachary had learned on a Topper; the boys worked together to watch for wind shifts and gusts.
The Laser division was won by Hawaii’s top junior Laser sailor, Gabriel El Hajji. Gabe finished less than 3 minutes behind the first 29er earning him 2nd place overall. Third overall also went to a Laser sailor, Kamana’o Morton. It was Kamana’o’s second race on a Laser after several years racing his O’pen Bic.
The windsurf fleet participated for the first time. The Jr. Olympic Bic Techno 293 board was used, which provided ample floatation in the lulls. There was one foiling board sailed by Roark Stallsmith. Although the foiling board is faster in light and heavy air, it was tough to get going when the winds dropped close to Diamond Head. It was Kona Carle’s fourth year participating in the race that his father, Todd Carle, directs. His first 2 year’s he sailed on an O’pen Bic, his third Dinghy Transpac was on an RS Feva, and this year, at 14 years old, he tried his hand at the Techno windsurfer. His experience paid off. He took an outside line off Diamond Head to win first place. He finished less than 12 minutes behind the top 29er!
Overall, the sailors had a great time, and the competition was tight. After 10 miles there were vessels finishing within a minute of each other. The close racing and exciting and varied conditions will be sure to bring many more Dinghy Transpac races in the future. The junior sailors are already planning their tactics for next year’s race. For more information, photos and results, visit HawaiiKaiBoatClub.com.
– Anarchist Karen Lattanzi
Dinghy Transpac 2018