ElectroMarine Services at Ala Wai Harbor

For Immediate Release

LONG BEACH, CA (Oct. 10, 2002) -- Not everyone needs a high-tech sled to sail the Transpac, and some dedicated competitors hope to demonstrate that next summer by reviving an icon of the race's tradition: the Cal 40.

The 40-foot sloop was a breakthrough boat in 1965 when it stole overall honors on corrected time from the likes of legendary giants Kialoa II, Ticonderoga and Stormvogel. Then, proving it was no fluke, Cal 40s repeated in '67 and '69, sweeping the first four spots in the latter race.

Now Wendy Siegal, a Long Beach schoolteacher, is organizing Cal 40 owners along the West Coast to form a class of their own for 2003. She sailed the last two races on her Cal 40 Willow Wind and won the Aloha class in 2001. Transpacific Yacht Club directors have supported her campaign by establishing a Cal 40 class for the 42nd race next July.

The entries could include Stan Honey, who is better known around the world as a record-setting navigator for Roy E. Disney's maxi sled, Pyewacket, and Steve Fossett's 125-foot catamaran, PlayStation. Honey has sailed a Cal 40 out of San Francisco for several years, including doublehanded crossings to the islands.

"If there is a class, I'll probably do it," Honey said.

Dennis Conner recently bought Persephone, the first Cal 40 built, although he has not indicated whether he will race it in the Transpac.

Siegal said, "I have a list of 10 Cal 40 owners who might be doing Transpac, but nothing is sure until July 1 when the gun goes off.

"When I first decided to participate in Transpac in 1999, the prior year's winner met with me and told me, 'Just do it.' A race like this is a sailing experience not to be missed. This time, if there is a Cal 40 fleet, it could be a historic event never to be seen again."

The saga of the Cal 40s is celebrated in the two-hour video, "Transpac: A Century across the Pacific," available in VHS, PAL and DVD formats. They were conceived in the early 60s by Bill Lapworth, who built number one for George Griffith.

Griffith recalled, "I went to Bill, who was a very close friend of mine and a highly respected [marine] architect, and commissioned him to design the Cal 40. Willis Boyd built the plug."

Yes, the plug. The Cal 40 was one of the first successful fiberglass racers---so successful, Griffith said, that "I should've burned up the molds when I finished Persephone because we owned the local racing scene."

For a while Cal 40s also owned the Transpac. There were seven when they made their debut in '65 and collected six of the first seven overall positions, led by Don Salisbury's Psyche from Los Angeles Yacht Club. There were 13 in '67 when Bob Allan's Holiday Too, also LAYC, won overall and 14 in '69 when Mort Andron's Argonaut from Santa Barbara led a sweep of the first four spots.

Obviously, they were a good fit for Transpac and its predominant tradewinds off the transom. Transpac veteran Tom Corkett said, "Here was all of it: the new lightweight fiberglass Cal 40 with a flat bottom, thin keel, spade rudder that really had great surfing ability."

Also, Griffith noted, "They were safe boats, well built. They didn't come apart."

They have proven so durable that many still compete in buoy and distance races along the West Coast.

Siegal said, "This could be a chance to put an old thoroughbred through her paces one more time. The boat knows the way to Hawai`i; you just have to let her go there."

Siegal may be contacted at (562) 799-0250 or at her web site.


The Transpac directors have amended a recent decision to revert from two to one mandatory position reports daily by adding a mandatory "bed check" call-in to the communications vessel each evening between 7 and 8 p.m. Pacific time.

Competitors will not be required to report positions at that time. The purpose is to continue to keep in close touch with the fleet without compromising tactical options. Boats also will be required to monitor VHF Ch. 16 constantly.

The penalty for failing to answer the morning roll call of position reports or to call in with the "bed check" will be 30 minutes for each occurrence.


The Notice of Race for Transpac 2003 is on the official web site.

The NOR contains all basic information and requirements for prospective competitors. Details covering the running of the race will be published in the Sailing Instructions next spring.

ElectroMarine Services at Ala Wai Harbor
TransPac News