Point Richmond, CA, July 11, 2014
Today was the fifth and last start for the 2014 Pacific Cup race, so all 56 competitors are on their way. The boats now heading toward Hawaii run the spectrum: Moore 24’s and the Nelson/Marek 92; double-handers and a boats with ten or more crew; first-timers like Shearwater competing with veterans like Sweet Okole and Green Buffalo; amateur sailors and professionals.
The wind conditions for the fleets are looking a little bleak at this time. The high has decided to slide south, dropping all the way down to a latitude even with San Diego and making the passage to Hawaii suitable for water skiing. Today’s starters are likely to have breeze along the coast, and will probably dive well south. The early starters, now about 800 miles out, will have few options but patience. Things appear to improve late on July 14th as the high strengthens and moves back to where it belongs, north of San Francisco.
The Latitude 38 division started today — the race’s fastest boats, with long waterlines and powerful rigs that let them scream across the Pacific at speeds undreamed of in other divisions. These are the boats that could possibly break the race’s standing record of five days, five hours, 38 minutes, ten seconds, set by Mari Cha V in 2004, although this is highly unlikely given the current forecast. The division is named for Latitude 38, the San Francisco Bay area based sailing magazine. They have been covering the Pacific Cup since the race began in 1980.
There are five boats in this division, three of them international boats that came to the start line via the Panama Canal. All are strong contenders, but there’s a lot of diversity here as well.
The biggest boat in the division is Hector Velarde’s Locura, a Nelson/Marek 92. Velarde, who hails from Lima, Peru, won fourth overall in the 2010 Pacific cup skippering Mirage, a Santa Cruz 70. The core members of Velarde’s 2010 team – including the navigator, tactician and bowman — are sailing again this year as part of Locura’s twelve man crew.
This will be the first Pacific Cup for Roy Disney’s Andrews 68, Pyewacket (formerly Pegasus, Equation, Magnitude), and only Roy’s second Pacific Cup, but this will be his twenty-second Hawaii race. And while Roy takes pride in being able to do any job on the boat, he, project manager Robbie Haines, and rigger Scott Easom have assembled a remarkably talented team including Olympic gold medalists, Volvo Ocean race and Americas Cup winners, and Hawaii race record holders. They laugh that although the youngest crew member on the boat, local Bay area sailor Dan Morris, is 25, the average age of the crew is over 50, and they have accumulated over one-hundred Hawaii races.
Max Klink, the young German owner of CARO, a Botin 65 launched in 2013, is aiming at competing in as many major regattas as he can around the world, but also enjoys cruising her with friends. She’s a dual-purpose boat with wood decks and the feeling of home, but also highly automated, all hydraulics (no grinders) and dual rudders. Two Kiwi crewmen on the boat joked that this is the first race where they will finish closer to home, not further away.
Invisible Hand, a Reichel/Pugh 63 skippered by Frank Slootman, won its division in the 2013 Transpac, and at least half of its thirteen-person crew has done the Pacific Cup before. In 2010 this boat won the Pacific Cup’s “fastest passage” award under another name (Limit) and owner.
For Scarlet Runner, the Pacific Cup is a leg on its circumnavigation around the world, bringing its Aussie crew closer to home (after a week of fun in Hawaii). This Reichel Pugh 52 from Melbourne, skippered by Robert Date, is a very successful ocean racer and the smallest boat in the division.
Race details and photos will be posted on the Pacific Cup’s website and Facebook page. You can follow the boats on the Pacific Cup website’s tracking page or the Yellowbrick app for iPad, iPhone and Android devices. Note: Yellowbrick data is delayed by six hours until the first boat reaches the 200 miles to the finish point, when the data will become live, and its position predictions are based on a boat’s latest VMG, so if someone catches a wave while being polled, their position improves. The daily tracking report on the Pacific Cup’s web site uses a two day average of VMG.
This article was syndicated from BLUE PLANET TIMES