LONG BEACH, CA – The final of the three staggered starts for the 2017 Transpac, the 49th running of this biennial classic ocean race, is this afternoon off L.A.'s Pt. Fermin. The smallest/slowest yachts started on Monday. Larger/faster Division 3 and 4 yachts started yesterday, and the speedsters – big multihulls, the Santa Cruz 70s, the Pac52s, etc., are now making their way out to the starting area from Long Beach and other LA-area harbors. The staggered starts, of course, help get everyone to Honolulu no later than July 21st. The fastest yachts could arrive as early as July 10th assuming favorable breeze.
Indeed, Bruce Nelson, navigator for the Pac52 BAD PAK which starts with the other big boats today, told your Ed. over lunch Tuesday at San Diego YC that given the favorable weather forecast he expects they will make the passage in only eight days, arriving next Friday.
The 2225nm course is simple: leave SoCal's Catalina Island to port, and finish at the prescribed finish line off Diamond Head.
The current leaderboard, courtesy of the Transpac race committee, here.
The list of today's starters is below, but there's much more detail at the excellent Transpac website including crew lists of all the entered yachts. For example, further below is the crew list for Tom Holthus' BAD PAK, the Pac52 representing San Diego YC with a number of your Ed.'s friends aboard including navigator Bruce Nelson and Ty Reed doing the runners. Our former AC colleague and Bay Area friend, Bill Erekelens, is listed, LOL, as "Rush Chairman" aka crew boss. Mr Holthus is taking his son, Kelly Holthus, on his first Transpac. Not sure his exact age, but the young teen is a junior sailor at SDYC.
Another crew list below is for John Sangmeister's OEX. John is our longtime friend who is was an AC crew with Dennis Conner teams in the late 80s and early 90s. I call him "the dean of yachting in Long Beach" as he is spearheading the bid for the yachting Olympics to be held in Long Beach if LA gets the nod for 2024 or 2028. We note that John also has a young teen onboard for his first Transpac, son Peter Sangmeister.
Great to see so many kids getting the chance to go ocean racing. In addition to Kelly and Peter above. we noted in Transpac reports earlier this week that Will Vandervort is aboard BETWEEN THE SHEETS with his father Rob Vandervoort, and Gray Hemans is racing on VARUNA with her farther Chris Hemans.
Day 3 Starters
We'll be keeping a close eye on the westward progress of the entire fleet via the excellent "Yellow Brick" race tracker. Along the way we will feature race updates and some of the storied personalities, and yachts, in this year's race. One veteran racer conspicuous by his absence is Robbie Haines, who has been a regular with the Disney family's PYEWACKET for what must be 30 years. There's a story, and we'll fill you in when we know more....