2007 TRANSPAC PREVIEW
Something old — A 70-ft Sparkman and Stephens centerboard yawl, Alsumar, takes the cake for oldest boat. Bill, Ted and Mike Davis spent five years restoring the boat, built by Jacobson and Peterson Boat Yard of Brooklyn, New York, in 1934. Since the relaunching in 1996, the brothers have put nearly 30,000 miles on the boat, including countless trips to Mexico. As we understand it, this will be her first TransPac. Unfortunately, only one of the brothers — Bill — will be on the 11-person crew, as Ted and Mike are staying home in San Diego to mind the family construction business. Something new — The race's start is in a different spot this year, about 2.5 miles closer to L.A. Harbor. Actually, it's not all that new; it's the same starting area used in the 1960s and 70s. Race organizers hope that returning to the old 'hood will make things more spectatorfriendly for those watching from shore. Here's what is new: boats! Bengal 7, It's OK, Rosebud, and Samba Pa Ti were all launched since the last TransPac. Roger Sturgeon's latest Rosebud is the newest of the bunch; it hit the water for the first time last month. She's also new in the sense that this is the first boat built to the STP65 box rule (as in Storm Trysail TransPac, for the two racing clubs that oversaw its Page 156 •
• July, 2007
development). There was hope at one point that Rosebud would have some STP65 pals for this year's race, but the other projects remain in their early stages at this time. Something borrowed — When Roy Disney donated his MaxZ86 Pyewacket to Orange Coast College's School of Sailing and Seamanship following the 2005 TransPac, she had to be de-turbo'd with a shorter keel foil to fit her new slip and be Scene of the crime — 'Morning Light' during a trial run near the finish more manageable for off Diamond Head earlier this year. As one of the most publicized and well-prepared crews in the history of the race (their tutors included Stan a crew that might not Honey, Mike Sanderson and Robbie Haines), not to mention one of the always include a full youngest, it will be interesting to see how the team performs. compliment of pros. Two years later, Disney has chartered a lot of discussion among TransPac his old boat back from OCC. Not only veterans and spectators who claim that has the original 18.5-ft canting keel Disney has manipulated the race for the returned, albeit with a slightly differfastest elapsed time to his advantage, ent foil shape, but the forward canard to the point that it's no longer a race. has been replaced by two asymmetrical As recently as this spring, the Morning daggerboards amidships. Pye has also Glory camp was planning to defend her sprouted 8-ft wings on her aft quarters, title, and also started optimizing for the a new 145-ft mast and an extra 8 feet of race. But depending on who you talk to, waterline. In fact, the entire boat forward Plattner either decided he didn't want of the mast is new. She's lost the MaxZ86 to play Disney's game or ran out of time designation and is now a 'Custom 94'. to make the modifications. So, love it or Maybe she should go in the 'something hate it, this is Disney's show. new' category. Personally, we're not disappointed. The already-minimalistic interior Yes, the ante has been upped, but the has been practically sucked dry of every arms race is nothing new among the big spare ounce, and the 'new' complete boys. Besides, the TransPac has always package is 7,000 pounds lighter. Accordbeen invigorated by new ideas, and trying ing to one crew member, the boat is the new things is what West Coast sailing closest thing there is to a Volvo 100. Not is known for. Remember when Cal 40s, surprising since Juan Kouyoumdjian, and, more recently ULDBs, were radical the forward-thinking designer of the last concepts? Volvo Ocean Race winner, is also behind And, yes, the changes are permanent. these changes. So much for de-turboing. It goes without saying that all of these Something blue — Philippe Kahn's edits were made so that Disney might new-to-him Pegasus gets the nod on this clear up some unfinished business from one for her stunning blue hull artwork. the '05 race, when Hasso Plattner's The Open 50 is the former Artforms, a MaxZ86 Morning Glory narrowly beat well-sailed and much-loved boat under Pye for the Barn Door trophy for fastest the ownership of New England solo sailor elapsed time. Although Disney 'retired' Kip Stone. Kahn has since given the boat from ocean racing after that, last year a refit in addition to her dazzling new he decided that he still wanted a piece colors. of the action and Team Pyewacket im Local motion — Thirteen entries mediately set about determining how the hail from Northern California, including boat could be optimized. In the process, three Cal 40s: Don and Betty Lessley's they found several loopholes in the rules, California Girl, Don Grind's Far Far and and voila! Let the plastic surgery begin. Steve Waterloo's Shaman. All three were Such radical changes have spurred part of the 14-boat Cal 40 flotilla in '05 LESLIE DEMEUSE / PACIFIC HIGH PRODUCTIONS
here is no better news we can give you about the 44th TransPacific Yacht Race than that it will have the second largest fleet in its 101-year history. Of course, there's plenty more we can, and will, say about the race — most of it good. But the single best part about the 2007 TransPac is that 76 boats of varying shapes and sizes — just four shy of the 1979 record of 80 entries — are expected to leave from Point Fermin, Los Angeles in three stages this month, on July 9, 12 and 15. Days or weeks later, depending on the size of the boat and how established the Pacific High is at that time, they'll finish off Diamond Head after 2,225 miles at sea. Unfortunately, our early deadline and the TransPac's late start meant we didn't have all the information to do our usual complete analysis of the entries. But we won't lie; such a varied fleet still made this year's pre-race preview a lot of fun to write. Hopefully, the race will be just as fun to follow. We'll let you make the call on that, but first join us as we take a closer look at this year's granddaddy of the Pacific races:
The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.