Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pacific Cup Race Update

J/42 sailing Pacific Cup transpac race (San Francisco, CA)- The "FUN Race to Hawaii" from San Francisco to Kaneohe (Oahu) Hawaii has been going for several days for the fleet and, so far, the weather has been producing high average speeds down the course, much to the delight of the various J/teams in the race!  The biennial Pacific Cup has sixty-four entrants for the 2,070 nm course from San Francisco to Hawaii.

Sailing in the Weems & Plath Division B are Ray Sanborn’s J/109 ALOHA from Kaneohe YC in Hawaii; Karl Haflinger’s J/35 SHEARWATER from Corinthian YC Tacoma in Washington; Scott Dickinson’s J/42 TIKI J from Coyote Point YC in San Mateo, CA; and Bill Williams’ J/44 VIAJANTE from Richmond YC in San Francisco, CA.  In the Pasha Hawaii ORR Division D are Graham Ellis’ J/124 ALBION from Encinal YC in Alameda, CA and Scott Campbell’s famous J/46 RIVA from Portland YC in Portland, OR.

Follow these teams on the YellowBrick tracker and you can even cheer them on in the blogs the teams are updating during the race!  Here are some of the latest reports.

July 16th report
After yesterday’s starters blasted out the Gate, they quickly encountered a hole at the Farallones — but they’re now bombing along and heading into strengthening wind that could still carry them to Hawaii in record time. YB Tracker data is showing 19+ kts of boat speed for Rio 100 and 17+ kts for Varuna VI. From the third group of starters, Adrenalin reports beam reaching at 14-17 kts with an occasional 20, under white sails.

J/42 positionOne of the sailors on the J/World Hula Girl team described the early part of their race, “the breeze and waves were our constant companions once we got away from the opening of the Golden Gate. I’m not sure it has dipped under 20 knots yet this race. So for the first 36 hours, it was hard on tight reaching. That means a loud boat as she launches off waves. That means a wet boat, as she lands back in the sea hurling wall of water in the wind, which in turn hurls it at the crew.

On day two we reefed the main again, and went up with the blast reacher. Perfect combo, and proved to be fast and controllable. And while the entire crew was wet, and cold, and uncomfortable, our soggy spirits were lifted to see that we were in second place! So suddenly it is all worth it… and the good stuff should be coming any time now…

The good stuff happens when you cross ridge of the Pacific High and into the SE corner of the semi-permanent Pacific High pressure system that lives in the northern Pacific. This shifts the breeze (and the swells) around behind the boat, and, well, away we go. It’s what makes this race so famous and popular. Well, I’m happy to say that this morning, just after roll call, we shook the reef and set our 4A spinnaker (heavy runner) in some 26 knots of breeze. We are instantly surfing in the 15 knot range and it is trial by fire for the fresh crew!”

Pacific Cup weatherJuly 17th report
Halfway to Hawaii! Overnight, the first of the racers reached their halfway point, but it’s likely that there wasn’t a lot of time for celebration given the big breeze carrying them along at top speeds. The forecast still looks strong and near perfect for the entire fleet with wind speeds in the high teens to mid 20s.

Concerns about the tropical storms are waning, with TS Cecilia moving off to the north and Hurricane Darby forecast to weaken to a tropical storm and track South of Hawaii as it hits cooler waters. Closer to Hawaii, racers will be facing squalls, advancing the big dogs and challenging the smaller boats. Everyone will be focused on VMG and gybing in local shifts.

Continuing to hold her first place position in the Weems and Plath Division B, is the J/42 TIKI J. However, others are nipping at her heels, and with half the race still to go, this will be a competition to watch.

July 18th report
Most of the racers are crossing their halfway point, and the fleet is flying along in 20kt winds that will likely to carry them all the way to the finish. The spinnakers are up, crews are drying out, and the rides are fast. The boats are now in what Stan Honey refers to as the “slot car” segment of the race, with most having gybed to a position that should carry them all the way to Hawaii.

Concerns about the tropical storms have waned, with Cecilia moving off to the north and hurricane Darby forecast to weaken to a tropical storm and track South of Hawaii as it hits cooler waters. The Pacific High has moved west and with the tropical storms coming up from Mexico, strong trade winds are present over the entire fleet. There are close competitions in many of the divisions, but there’s still a long way to go.

In the Weems and Plath Division B, it’s a tight race between the J/42 TIKI J, Encore and RV Aloha with TIKI J holding on to a small lead. With half the race still to go, this will be a competition to watch.  For more Pacific Cup Race sailing information