A WHO'S WHO T
he West Coast's most famous offshore sailing regatta is back for its 50th edition in 2019. By all early indicators, this year's 2,225-mile race from Los Angeles to Honolulu will be the biggest and possibly most exciting one since the race's inception in 1906. With a storied history of attracting many of the world's premier racing yachts and sailors, this year's Transpac has gone a step further by shattering all existing entry records and putting together a fleet that reads like a who's who of international big boat
offshore racing. Firmly stuffing a sock in the mouths of any doom-and-gloom talking heads and wannabes who say that West Coast racing is dead, Transpac 50 reinforces just how healthy the scene actually is. Two 100-ft super-maxis and a trio of MOD70 trimarans provide the glitz and big-headline glamour, while a beefed-up fleet of all the usual suspects â€” alongside a liberal dusting of worldrenowned racing yachts and crews â€”
The Richmond-based J/125 'Velvet Hammer' comes to the Transpac fresh off winning California Offshore Race Week overall.
provides the depth. With the monohull and multihull course records having been broken in 2017, we could see the same feat accomplished in 2019. The world's fastest monohull and existing monohull course record holder, Comanche, will take a crack at her own benchmark of 5 days, 1 hour, 55 minutes, while three MOD70s will take on the ORMA 60 Mighty Merloe's existing multihull and outright race record of 4 days, 6 hours, 32 minutes. While Mighty Merloe's and Comanche's records are both very new and plenty impressive, it's important to remember that, in ideal conditions, the trimarans Phaedo 3 and Lending Club 2 sailed the course in well under four days. Should Transpac 50 get those ideal conditions for the Saturday group of starters, it is entirely possible that both race records will get crushed, with a definite chance for a new outright course record to be established as well. As is always the case in yacht racing, the weather gods may well decide the winners and losers, with the 'weather lottery' playing a big part in the overall results. The three start days are Wednesday, July 10; Friday, July 12; and Saturday, July 13.
SHARON GREEN / ULTIMATE SAILING
Transpac 50 reinforces just how healthy the West Coast racing scene actually is. Division 1 Division 1's impressive 15 high-end racing yachts span the spectrum from a little 40-ft canting-keeler from Texas all the way up to the single fastest monohull on Earth, hailing from Australia. Mix in five TP52-based boats, a group of minimaxi-esque steeds, the West Coast's only 100-footer, and an incredibly quick 46-footer with DSS foils, and Division 1 is likely to be one of the most exciting divisions this race has seen in years. Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant's Verdier/VPLP 100-footer Comanche again headlines Transpac's fastest monohull division. Don't expect the big canting-keel super-maxi to do much more than claim monohull line honors and a potential course record however, as these types of boats typically don't do well on handicap. Behind the media darling Comanche,
The July 2019 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.