After getting my first ever breaks in sailing writing and sailing media with Sailing Anarchy several years back – even riding Clean’s coat tails to France and Australia – things have come full circle in a nice kind of way. As I near graduation from Hawaii Pacific University with a degree in multimedia, i’m spending part of my final summer break by serving as the media manager for the 20th Pacific Cup. My dream when re-entering university three years ago was to learn some skills that would land me on a Volvo boat as an OBR, or something similar, and hopefully this is another step in my journey.
The Pacific Cup is a race so near and dear to my heart, and im so pumped to be able to bring these great stories of the Pac Cup to not just the world, but also to SA’s audience in particular; it’s seemingly a match made in heaven. The FUN race to Hawaii, they don’t just allow small boats, they encourage them. There’s a cruisers division, and pretty much anything and everything under the sun is represented in the fleet.
At the moment, the all-new Beneteau Figaro 3 A Fond le Girafon, skippered by Charles Devanneaux is leading the charge towards Hawaii, though not without their own unique challenges, namely a ton of water entering the boat through the foil trunk. Just behind the new Bene – the first ever boat with ‘foils’ to enter a Pac Cup – there’s a Hanse 505 full of Frenchies from the cruising class that are setting a cracking pace, ‘cruising’ to Hawaii be damned. The fact that they have 2-time Vendée Globe skipper Tanguy de Lamotte aboard probably doesn’t hurt. Perhaps the most exciting battle, in my personal opinion, is the 6-boat Pau Maui Vodka / DH1 division, where 6 Express 27’s are racing one design. The obvious favorite is Motorcycle Irene, with Will Paxton and Zachery Anderson aboard, and they are indeed beginning to really pull away from the rest of the fleet.
There’s a huge north/ south split beginning to develop however and quite a complicated scenario involving two lows and a lot of light air on the race course, so anything could happen. Leading overall after one and a half days is Jim Quanci’s Cal 40 Green Buffalo. The guy’s done, and won, so many Hawaii races that, as a journalist, I don’t even want to try to quote the accurate number. If conditions persist, she could slow and steady down the course to a corrected time victory. With the Monday starters presumably winning the weather lottery and the Friday starters (big boats) getting hosed the most, you could end up with a small boat (the Figaro) or a cruiser winning line honors and perhaps even the overall.
Two more division start tomorrow including the Weems & Plath division and the Alaska Airlines division. These are two PHRF divisions with a very wide and interesting group of boats, a lot of out of town teams and some really highly accomplished sailors. Dean Treadway’s custom Farr 36 Sweet Okole has been racing this race since it began nearly 40 years ago (not to mention a ton of Transpacs) on Okole, and is back and looking more dialed in than ever. With a brand new Southern Spars carbon rig on the old girl and all new Ullman assym’s, her crew which includes a couple of Hawaii’s finest, could find her tough to beat. In the last Pac Cup, they finished second in class to Shawn Ivie’s Express 37 Limitless in a close race that came down to the wire. This rematch, with the likes of a J92 full of Melges sailing Canucks and a few other interesting boats makes for a race that should be a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
The second fleet is a PHRF mash-up that includes everything from a Hobie 33 to a Columbia 57. But with a well sailed Hobie (a Pac Cup/ Transpac killer), a very well prepared Evelyn 32 from Seattle, not to mention a couple of IOR and post-IOR 40+ footers and a 46′ Swan should also be very very competitive.
Like many of SA’s readers, I look at a lot of regatta coverage and scratch my head. When given the chance to run my own communication strategy (albeit with pretty modest resources), this is what i’ve come up with from the first wave of starts on Monday. Definitely check out our website, our YellowBrickTracker page, the Facebook page, and our Instagram. Lastly, we’re also uploading video constantly to our YouTube channel . The Facebook feed is definitely the best way to see the whole gamut of content and articles that’s coming out of the race.
Many mahalos to the SA community and Scot and Clean themselves for helping me along this long and rewarding journey.
Ronnie Simpson
Pacific Cup 2018 media manager