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hard at the surface weather map, which was impressive for its almost complete absence of windarrow quills and closely spaced isobars. King Kong's thumbprint would have more definition. But some were perhaps lulled into a false sense of windy security by steady breezes between 10 and 15 knots as they beat out the Bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge. And there's testimony that more than a few navigators lobbied for some early westing, reasoning that the knotty matter of skirting south and eating up a few pesky degrees of latitude would take care of itself later on. That's not the way it happened. At all. Now that the point's been hammered home, let's introduce our first two 2006 Pacific Cup heroes, for at first glance they're certainly an unusual pair of champions. When Shawne Throwe of the Encinal YC entered his long, lean,

'California Girl' smoked Division A. Front, L to R: Davey Glander, Betty Lessley, Dan McVey, Victoria Lessley. Behind: Skipper Timm Lessley, “Syndicate Chief” Don Lessley, George Neill.

to Michael Moradzadeh, skipper of the Passport 40 Cayenne. Moradzadeh had ample time to ponder the error of his ill-conceived northerly ways – Cayenne was the 38th finisher in the 42-boat fleet after a character-building trip of 15 days, 12 hours. He may be forgiven for a lapse in grammar, as his message still comes through with shining clarity: "The more 'souther' you were, the more 'firster' you were." Amen, windless sailor. Amen.

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he fun (a relative term) began on July 3, when Divisions A and B, as well as the Doublehanded class, set forth from a starting line stationed directly in front of the St. Francis YC. It continued on the Fourth of July holiday, with a start for Division C, and pressed ahead through July 5 and 6, when the largest vessels in Divisions D and E, respectively, got under way. The starts are staggered with the idea that most of the boats will arrive in Hawaii around the same time. As we'll see, it set up an unlikely battle for first-to-finish in 2006. Presumably every skipper had heard and listened to the sage, pre-race forecast from living Transpacific legend Stan Honey as he outlined the vagaries of not one, not two, but three zones of high pressure standing between them and the first poolside maitai at the Kaneohe YC, and there's little doubt that each navigator looked long and

sliver of a yacht – The Contessa – in the Pac Cup, he was definitely taking a leap of faith. After all, his beamless Swede 55 was over 30 years old, and Throwe had never sailed an ocean race before. His partner in the doublehanded entry, Neil Weinberg, at least had a TransPac under his belt, as well as decades of inshore racing. "But let's face it," said Weinberg. "We're nobodies."

For two days 'The Contessa' dove south in stiff headwinds gusting to 30 knots. Well, they aren't nobodies anymore. There's no evidence that Throwe and Weinberg sold their souls to the devil for a blessed run at glory. However, like the protagonists of Damn Yankees, when the smoke cleared they were at the top of the heap with a very sweet double: First in division, and first to finish. Yes, overall. It wasn't so marvelous at the beginning. For two days The Contessa dove south in stiff headwinds gusting to 30 knots. It was wet, miserable going, and

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Latitude 38 August 2006  

The August 2006 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 August 2006  

The August 2006 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.