Prior to the first send-off, based upon a weather briefing, we provided an upbeat, optimistic outlook for the San Francisco Bay-Kaneohe Bay crossing known as the Pacific Cup. Sure, there were predictions for so-so winds halfway down the course, 15 knots perhaps, but none of the slow-and-go that we’ve seen in the real deal. Now there is this:
For Immediate Release
Day Four of the Pacific Cup – Off to a Slow Start
Point Richmond, CA, Thursday, July 10, 2014 — As the fourth start day of the Pacific Cup race dawned, California coastal conditions remained a low wind challenge, and today’s starters will likely see very light air until Saturday, when the breeze begins to fill from the Northwest as the high takes shape.
The first boats to start on Sunday, the cruising division, are starting to slow down as they reach an area of lighter air. The Monday starters are closing in on the cruising boats and will also be challenged with light conditions in the near future. There’s a horse race among the three Cal 40’s which will be fun to watch.
The first division leaving San Francisco Bay for Hawaii today was the Sonnen BMW division. The boats in this division are powerful, speedy, and nimble and require a high degree of skill and teamwork to sail to their full potential – and their start was more characteristic of a bouy race than an ocean race. They will be scored using the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) for division honors, although “Certified PHRF” will be used for the overall Pacific Cup prize.
There is a surplus of transpacific racing experience in this division, and very successful experience at that. Sebastien de Halleux’s Swazik, a Swan 45, was the overall winner (on corrected time) of the last Pacific Cup race, and Hana Ho, Mark Dowdy’s Santa Cruz 50, was second overall. Contemplating the conditions outside the Gate, de Halleux remarked, “it could be worse – I could be at the office,” a sentiment no doubt shared by many of the competitors.
The other Santa Cruz 50 in this division, J World’s Hula Girl, skippered by Wayne Zittel, alternates between the Pacific Cup in even years and the Transpac in odd years. With a crew comprised of coaches and clients assembled as a team just a few days before the race, J World’s Hula Girl has accrued a respectable record. Thomas Garnier, from Southern California, won the 2007 Transpac on his J-125, Reinrag2. There are five members of the Garniers clan on Reinrag2, making her a strong contender for the Pacific Cup’s “Family Award” as well as race honors.
Though skippering his own boat for the first time, Bob Hinden, the new owner of Surprise, a sleek Schumacher 46, has done this race twice on other people’s boats and has Kame Richards, veteran of eleven races to Hawaii on his crew. (Like several other competitor boats, Surprise also did the race under a previous owner. Steve Chamberlin, current Commodore of the 2014 Pacific Cup Yacht Club, took her in two Pacific Cups, winning fifth overall in 2004.) Steve Stroub, an experienced Bay and coastal racer but another first-time Pacific Cup skipper, has Will Paxton, who has done 11 Pacific Cups , as navigator on his Santa Cruz 37, Tiburon.
William Weinstein’s Riptide 35, Terremoto from Seattle is the smallest boat in the division. The boat is water-ballasted and can hold 1,200 lbs. of water, a real bonus the first days off the coast if it’s windy. The largest boat in the division is Delicate Balance, an Andrews 56 Custom ULDB skippered by Douglas Storkovich. Doug is a veteran of one previous Pacific Cup, but many other ocean and coastal races. His experienced crew includes Robin Jeffers, who stopped counting his crossings to Hawaii after the number topped thirty.
Tiburon and Hana Ho, say that Hamachi, Greg Slyngstad’s J-125, is the boat they will be watching. Hamachi’s well-tuned crew is mostly from Seattle, but includes navigator Trevor Baylis of San Francisco. “Hamachi” is Japanese for yellowtail, a good luck fish in Japan – and Hamachi may be a good luck boat in the Pacific Cup race.
The second division to start today was the Hokulea Multihull Division. The Hokulea is a full-scale “performance accurate” replica of a Polynesia double-hulled canoe, built in 1975, that continues to demonstrate today the feasibility and performance of these boats on long Pacific trips. It seemed an appropriate name for the Pacific Cup’s first multihull division.
The Hokulea division has two participant boats, both trimarans. Lawrence Olsen is double-handing his 35′ Walter Greene Acapella trimaran, Humdinger, with Kurt Helmgren. Rick Waltonsmith’s 37′ Transit of Venus will have four on the boat. This division is a coin-toss: one boat will be first in division, the other will be, well, second in division.
Tomorrow, Friday, July 11, is the final start of the Pacific Cup Race − the day the big boats head out. Starting times for all divisions can be found Pacific Cup’s 2014 Race Entries by Division list. 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. Positions are delayed by six hours until the first boat reaches the 200 miles to the finish point, when the data will become live.
This article was syndicated from BLUE PLANET TIMES