SINGLEHANDED TRANSPAC 2006
he final drama of the 2006 Solo race played out with the final two boats. Approximately 300 miles from the finish line, the rudder on Paul Woodward’s Hesperus (by then universally referred to by fellow racers as “the Mighty Hesperus") snapped off. All Solo TransPac’ers are required to have and demonstrate an emergency rudder, but that soon broke,
Ken 'The General' Roper and Phil MacFarlane: "The Tahiti Nui is still in business — all right!"
too. Paul, who trailered the little boat all the way out from North Carolina to do the race, was finally able to keep sailing the boat under a #4 and drogues, but could only make 2-3 knots. Chris on Carroll E stopped racing to stand by the MightyHesperus and accompany her to Kauai, just in case. Even under bare poles, Chris sometimes had to zigzag back and forth to go slow enough to match speed with Paul's wounded boat. The duo finally arrived off Hanalei Bay
on Monday, July 17 — 23 days after the start, 2 days after the awards party — and well after the fleet usually disperses to head back home. But in another demonstration of the cool dignity of this event, almost everyone delayed their plans in order to stay and greet the last two racers. Slowly, slowly, slowly, Hesperus and Carroll E approached the finish — a line of bearing from the condo atop the hill where the race committee stays. Paul couldn’t quite make it across, but at 9:36 local time, Race Director Lucie Mewes invoked ‘the Skip Allan rule’: “If you prepare that much and sail this far, you will get the belt buckle” — and declared both boats officially finished. The race committee Zodiac could only fit a handful of people, so everyone piled on Dogbark to go get the Mighty Hesperus and tow her into the anchorage. But not before both Paul and Chris were greeted like they’d just won the America’s Cup. — latitude/jr
PHOTO: STEVE CHAMBERLAIN
leeches, which would prevent the leeches from collapsing. It was a little slower, but continued to draw all the time.” Phil MacFarlane had gone into this race hoping to defend his 2004 overall win, but says by day four of no wind, “I really lost interest in racing. After that, I was in total cruise mode.” So was Ken on Harrier, who at 77 is this event’s grand master — and favorite character. “I like the challenge of light-air racing, but I’m happy this one is over,” said the General. “This was definitely the slowest one ever.”
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• August, 2006
The August 2006 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.