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Press Boat for July 3 Start

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by Rich Roberts

Honolulu Hawai`i (June 24 1999) -- There will be a press boat for a limited number of accredited reporters and photographers for the start of the larger monohulls on Saturday, July 3. The boat will depart from Los Angeles YC in San Pedro at about 11 a.m.

There is no charge. Beverages and lunch will be provided. Participants are advised to take care of their own needs for potential motion sickness. Those interested may contact press officer Rich Roberts for details at (310) 835-2526.

Forecast: One man's misery is another's delight

Transpac weather guru Earl Seagars is not a ray of sunshine as the race to Paradise approaches. "It's a screwball year," he said, noting recent gale-force winds off the coast. "It could be miserable for the first four days."

But Stan Honey, who won the Ben Mitchell trophy for navigating Pyewacket to an elapsed time record for monohulls of 7 days 15 hours 24 minutes 40 seconds in 1997, said, "It looks like a good race. Gale-force winds would be delightful."

Both men emphasize that conditions change day to day. "It's June," Honey said.

Seagars' worst-case scenario for the eight Cruisers and two Doublehanders starting June 29 was, "It's going to be blustery and choppy and cold. [Crew] may not want to spend much time below."

Then the trade winds should offer some relief and following winds of 15 to 20 knots, which Honey said is "more than normal."

Honey said his long-range charts for the monohulls starting July 2 and 3 indicate "a fair amount of reaching the first half of the race. The spinnakers are going to go up later than normal."

Asked if it looked like another record year, Honey said, "It's too early to tell."

Starting list back up to 34
Two recent dropouts have rejoined the race, bringing the apparent final starting fleet back up to 34 boats. The first 10 boats -eight Cruisers and two Doublehanded entries- will start Tuesday, June 29, followed by monohulls July 2 and 3 and two multihulls July 6.

Seth Radow of California Yacht Club re-entered his Sydney 41 Glama! and Clive Armitage, Eugene, Ore., came back with his 60-foot trimaran Pacific Challenge. Earlier, Radow said business pressures forced him to pull out, but then he reconsidered because "the crew really wanted to go."

The fleet is the smallest since 32 in 1963. There were 38 in each of the last two races.

Estupendo, the first production Schock 40 modeled on the prototype Red Hornet with the canting ballast bulb, also withdrew but apparently not because of any technical problems, as reported. "We just ran out of time," said Alfonso Sosa, project manager for owner Antonio Luttman of the Acapulco YC.

"The boat is perfect," said Sosa, who operates the Corso Marine boat brokerage in Sausalito where the boat was being prepared. "It could be sailed, but we had no time for testing except to sail it down to Los Angeles, and it would be irresponsible for me to send a crew off to Hawai`i into harm's way without being properly prepared."

Where to watch the starts from shore
Want to watch the starts without getting on a plane or boat? For the larger monohulls starting Saturday, July 3, the new Ocean Trails golf course on the south side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula offers an elevated view from the area of its 14th tee, which will be directly opposite the starting line. Visitors are directed to follow Western Ave. to Palos Verdes Drive, turn right to La Rotonda, turn left and follow the signs to parking and viewing sites.

An alternate site for any of the four starts is the Royal Palms overlook just east of the end of Western Ave., but it's not as close. For either site, binoculars are recommended.

For those with boats, the navigational location of the starting line is pinpointed at N 33 42.8 and W 118 20.3. All starts are at 1 p.m.

New 'Personal EPIRB' sails in Transpac
No sailor has been lost at sea in the 93 years of the Transpac, which added a safety rule this year requiring any crew on deck at night to wear a personal flotation device (PFD). A couple of boats have taken an additional precaution that may mark a first for offshore racing.

Attached to a life jacket, it floats, it glows and it sends out a homing signal. It's the SMRS8 from Sea Marshall Rescue Systems, originally developed in Europe for crews working North Sea oil rigs. The distributor calls it the first personal Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. They'll be aboard Bill LeRoy and Jim Caseino's Santa Cruz 50 turbo Gone With The Wind, St. Francis YC, in the 50s division, and Tom Garnier's J/35 Great Scot, Los Angeles YC, in the 40s division. The Transpac communications vessel, Alaska Eagle, also has one.

EPIRBs have been around for a while, but the SMRS8 not only sends out a homing beacon on 121.5MHz, but its antenna is integrated with an electroluminescent collar visible for 3 to 5 miles, without refracting in fog. The whole system is about the size of a pack of cigarettes and operates on a 9-volt lithium battery good for 40 hours or more. It's water-activated but with a 10-to-20-second delay during which it can be shut off to avoid false alarms from accidental splashes.

Units cost $99 and also may be rented. More information: (818) 998-1100 or nickbarran@earthlink.net.

Annapolis-Newport record for old Pye
The old Pyewacket is still setting records, now in the Atlantic. Roy E. Disney, who will sail his new Pyewacket this year, sold the Transpac record holder to Baltimore's George Collins, who backed the Chessie Racing campaign in the Whitbread Round the World Race. Collins renamed it Chessie Racing and recently broke the record for the 473 miles from Annapolis to Newport, R.I. The time was 47 hours 45 minutes (average 9.85 knots) and beat the record held by another former West Coast sled, Starlight Express.

Disney said, "That keeps the string going. The boat has set a record in every race it has sailed since 1996."

Last-minute notes
Crew lists are posted on the race web site, http://www.transpacificyc.org. . . . Transpac-related travelers to Hawai`i are offered special rates by Tradewinds U-Drive Inc., the official host car rental company. Advance reservations are advised by phoning 1-888-7368 or by e-mail . . . The Diamond Head lighthouse - long the finish line of the Transpac - is 100 years old this year. . . . Long Beach sailor Linda Elias, who has missed the last two Transpacs because of cancer flare-ups, will be a helmsperson on Cheval, a ULDB 70 owned by Steve Popovich of Cabrillo Beach YC. Elias was supposed to lead her all-woman crew in '97 until learning she needed emergency surgery four days before the start. . . . Maintenance tip: Last chance for post-race sail repair for competitors heading back to the mainland may be Aloha Canvas and Sail Repair on Kauai at (808) 635-1100 or email.

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 23, 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
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
Glama! Seth Radow Sydney 41 California 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: Saturday - 19990626.14:54 HST
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