Transpac 2011 Is Under Way!

Start #1, the 46th running of the Los Angeles-Honolulu classic

Start of Transpac 2011 The first wave of Transpac starters left Point Fermin today, bound for Honolulu with a seabreeze in the low teens to get them "off the beach" and many a quiet prayer for the breeze to hold through the night. There is ample wind offshore for a fast passage, "if we can just get to it," as Celerity crewman Kelson Elam put it.

Elam is one of two lake-sailing Texans aboard Harry Zanville's Santa Cruz 37, a crew of five Transpac first-timers who looked very good at the start as they ignored the jam-up at the committee boat-end of the line. Instead, they opted for elbow room and clear air near the pin.


And a nose-ahead start.
Our lead shot tells the story, but not as well as this before-and-after:
Setting up for the start

Ten racing boats in Division 6, a wide-vision grouping from 32 feet to 43 feet, were mixed at the start with the Aloha Division, eight cruising boats or cruisey-type skippers in cruiser-racers.  A lone catamaran, Santiago Becerra's 47-foot Espiritu Santi, received her own starting cannon five minutes later.

Another 34 boats, including the likely first-finishers, start on Friday, July 8 at 1 p.m. off Point Fermin.  In the meantime, the storyline runs along that question of maybe or maybe not holding wind through the night  -  Celerity's crew is imagining a 10-day passage, but only if all the ducks line up and quack smartly  -  and the probability that the Pacific High Pressure Zone, now nicely formed and pumping gangbuster tradewinds toward Hawaii, will keep on keeping on. Transpac meteorologist Lee Chesneau is bullish on that. But there is at least one either person in the biz who thinks otherwise; we heard the words, "some nutty #&@% that's about to happen." We'll have to have a race to see.

By and by, as the bigger raceboats moved to the front and true cruisers such as Eric Gray's Morris 46, Gracie, began to lag, we thought of the prospect of trades in the twenties and Elam's parting comments/question:  "Celerity has two A2's, one A3 and an A4."

"Any idea where we could get an A5?"

How narrow? About this narrow:
Narrow Escape at the start

To view the fleet and Division breaks for 53 boats, 32 feet to 80 feet, entered in the Transpacific Yacht Race click here

Kimball Livingston
Photos by Kimball Livingston.