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New Pyewacket faces battle for Barn Door

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by Rich Roberts

Los Angeles CA (June 10 1999) -- The fastest monohull sailboats in the world will start Saturday, July 3, as the headliners among a fleet of 34 entries for the 40th Transpacific Yacht Race. Their goal: the Barn Door award that goes to the first of them to finish - and, if the wind blows hard enough, the event's new Course Record Trophy recognizing the eight boats that have held the record for the 2,225-nautical mile run from San Pedro's Point Fermin to Diamond Head.

Roy E. Disney's turbo sled 70 Pyewacket, with a time of 7 days 15 hours 24 minutes 40 seconds, was the fastest of six boats that broke Merlin's 20-year-old record in the previous race in 1997, and the vice chairman of the board of the Walt Disney Co. now has a new, faster Pyewacket, a maxi sled 73.

The new Pyewacket may rate as the favorite but it's far from a sure thing. In '97, until a similar boat, Bob McNeil and John Parrish's Zephyrus, lost its mast during the first two days of hard racing on the wind, it was rated the boat to beat. Three other contenders were the turbo sleds Magnitude, which also lost its mast; '95 winner Cheval and Victoria. The latter pair finished only five and six hours behind the old Pyewacket in '97 and return with new owners and new names. Cheval, now owned by Philippe Kahn of Santa Cruz, is called Pegasus; Victoria, owned by the Orange Coast Sailing Program, has been chartered by Lou Grasso and Craig Lyons as Front Runner.

Zephyrus and the new Pyewacket will meet for the first time at the starting line. They and the other three form a formidable Division I, but starting alongside in Division II with a handful of the ULDB 70s that previously dominated the race is a wild card: Medicine Man. In '97, with a three-day head start in Division III, pharmacist Bob Lane's smaller Andrews 56 was actually the first boat to finish and break Merlin's record. Since then, Medicine Man has been "turbocharged" with a taller mast, water ballast and 40% more downwind sail area.

First to start will be eight Cruising class boats and two small doublehanded entries on Tuesday, June 29. Seven smaller monohulls will start July 2, and two multihulls will go on July 6. The starting lines will be set off the Palos Verdes peninsula near the end of Western Ave. All starts will be at 1 p.m.

A full schedule at both ends
Transpac participants and followers have a full calendar of events before, during and after the race, starting with the Cruising class skippers' meeting and Aloha Dinner on the Queen Mary Sunday evening, June 27 - two days before their start.

The main Aloha Dinner for all other participants is scheduled Thursday, July 1, also on the Queen Mary. Reservations for either banquet may be made by contacting Sandy Martin at (310) 608-3401.

In Hawai`i, parties at the Hawaii Yacht Club and the Waikiki YC are scheduled July 14 and 15, respectively, followed by the Awards Banquet July 16 and a Kaneohe YC party and a race to Kaua`i on July 17.

The traditional Plywood Cup, in which crews build and then race their own boats from basic materials, is scheduled the morning of July 16.

The complete schedule of events is available on the Transpac web page, along with lists of available crew, the Sailing Instructions, previous press releases, photos and lists of all past winners on elapsed and corrected time.

Honolulu mayor proclaims July 16 as Transpacific Yacht Race Day
Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris has issued a proclamation declaring July 16 as "Transpacific Yacht Race Day." Honolulu race chairman Bob Towle delivered the colorful document to TPYC Commodore L.J. Edgcomb.

The proclamation notes that the race was first run in 1906 following a proposal by King David Kalakaua and "has the distinction of being the oldest regularly scheduled blue-water race in the world and a cornerstone of Hawaii's maritime history.

Entry chairman Dan Nowlan joins US Sailing
Transpac entry chairman Dan Nowlan has accepted a position as Offshore Director for US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport. He replaces John Wright, who recently resigned.

He will move from San Diego to Newport, R.I. to start work June 22, but until this year's race gets under way he may continue to be contacted for late entries or information at dtnowlan@earthlink.net.

TPYC Commodore L.J. Edgcomb said, "No one has worked harder than Dan to make the Transpac a success, and his critical role will be a difficult one to fill. I'm just glad he was able to see us into this race."

Iridium's future assured
Iridium, the Transpac's primary sponsor, has sought to put concerns about the company's financial situation at rest. Recent news has noted the extension and restructuring of Iridium's $800 million debt.

Bill Eichenberger, market development manager, told the TPYC board of directors that the company has the support of the Chase Manhattan Bank and a key partner, Motorola.

"Motorola has said they'll be happy to re-invest and add to our funding," Eichenberger said. "They have too much invested to back away now."

Iridium is the world's first global telephone and paging company. Through a constellation of 66 low-earth-orbit satellites circling the globe, customers can make or take calls and receive pages in the most remote regions on Earth.

Price of the basic, hand-held unit has been reduced to $2,295 from $5,000 when the system became active last November. Sales information is available through Motorola dealers, Seven Seas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. at (954) 761-7671, Sprint PCS stores in the near future or on the company's web site.

Rich Roberts
1258 Lakme Ave.
Wilmington, CA 90744
Phone: (310) 835-2526
Fax: (310) 513-1664

Elapsed Time Records

Monohull: Pyewacket, Roy Disney, Los Angeles YC, 1997 7days 15 hrs 24 min 40 sec.
Multihull: Explorer, Bruno Peyron, YC La Baule, 1997 -- 5days 9 hrs 18 min 26 sec.
Cruising Class: Salsipuedes, Fred Frye, San Diego YC, 1997 12days 6 hrs 57 min 57 sec.

Transpac 99
Entries as of June 10, 1999

DIVISION I (starts July 3, 1 p.m.)
Boat Name Owner/Skipper Type Home Port/Club
Pyewacket Roy E. Disney R/P maxi 75 Los Angeles YC
Zephyrus IV McNeil/Parrish R/P maxi 75 St. Francis/SDYC
Magnitude Doug Baker Andrews 70 turbo Long Beach YC
Pegasus Philippe Kahn Andrews 70 turbo UC Santa Cruz SC
Front Runner Grasso/Lyons Andrews 70 turbo Newport Harbor YC

DIVISION II (starts July 3, 1 p.m.)
Grand Illusion James McDowell Santa Cruz 70 Lahaina YC
Mongoose Robert Saielli Santa Cruz 70 San Diego YC
Velos Kjeld Hestehave Tanton 73 San Diego YC
Medicine Man Bob Lane Andrews 56 turbo Long Beach YC
Cheval 88 Steve Popovich Nelson/Marek 68 Cabrillo Beach YC

DIVISION III (starts July 3, 1 p.m.)
Stealth Chicken Bruce Anderson Perry 56 Voyagers YC
Gone With the Wind LeRoy/Caseino SC 50 turbo St. Francis YC
Estupendo Antonio Luttman Schock 50 Acapulco YC
M-Project Manouch Moshayedi J/N 50 Los Angeles
Warpath Fred Howe Santa Cruz 52 Santa Cruz YC

DIVISION IV (starts July 2, 1 p.m.)
Uproarious Robert Bussard Olson 40 Silver Gate YC
Sweet Caroline William Rawson Dubois 43 Royal YC, Vic. Aust.
Prime Time Borkowski/Sherlock Olson 40 Channel Islands YC
Apollo V Ned Knight Peterson 42 Point Loma YC
Bolt Craig Reynolds CF 41 M Balboa YC
Tower Don Clothier Lidgard 45 Waikiki YC
Great Scot Tom Garnier J/35 Los Angeles YC

DOUBLE-HANDED (starts July 2, 1 p.m.)
Vapor Bill Boyd B25 Long Beach, CA
Two Guys On the Edge Dan Doyle Sonoma 30 Waikiki YC

CRUISING DIVISION (starts June 29, 1 p.m.)
Esprit Robert Pace Kelly Peterson 46 Oceanside YC
Goodnight Moon Carlton Vanderbeek IOR Swan 431 Dana Point YC
Willow Wind Wendy Siegal Cal 40 Cortez Racing Assn.
Endeavor III Bell/Clitheroe C&C 40 Royal Canadian YC
Pacifica Douglas Jones S&S 49 Southwestern YC
Hurricane Kim Stebbens Septre 41 Sloop Tavern TV
Derivative John Robert Misko Swan 36 Seattle, WA
Tango Howard Raphael Beneteau 40 Palo Alto, CA

MULTIHULL DIVISION (starts July 6, 1 p.m.)
Double Bullet II Bob Hanel Hanel catamaran Cabrillo Beach YC
Pacific Challenge Clive Armitage 60' trimaran Eugene, OR

*HoloHolo Hawai`i Ocean Sports News

Last Modified: Wednesday - 19990609.16:51 HST
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