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Pyewacket stretches lead as Zephyrus IV hangs north; Magnitude now 2nd

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July 9 Position reports

by Rich Roberts

Honolulu Hawai`i (July 9 1999) - Zephyrus IV, sailing far north of the rest of the fleet in the 40th Transpacific Yacht Race, dropped farther behind pacesetter Pyewacket Friday, still hoping that its breakaway move will pay off in the final 500 miles to Diamond Head Lighthouse.

"We're stretching the rubber band," watch captain John Bertrand said via Iridium satellite phone. "We're gonna let it go and zoom in there."

But there was an air of anxious desperation in his voice. In the battle between the race's two maxi sleds, Bob McNeil and John Parrish's dark green 75-footer lost 42 more nautical miles to Roy E. Disney's 72-foot boat and trailed by 54 miles at the morning's roll call. In fact, Pyewacket had a new challenger: Doug Baker's 68 -foot turbo sled Magnitude from the Long Beach Yacht Club, now only 25 miles behind the leader.

The leaders' navigational positions were: Pyewacket, 23-54 latitude, 148-55 longitude; Magnitude, 24-16, 148-34; Zephyrus IV, 26-23, 149-02.

It would be risky to question the strategy of Zephyrus IV navigator Mark Rudiger, who pulled off several bold moves with Paul Cayard's EF Language in the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race victory. But Pyewacket's Stan Honey, acknowledged as a master of Transpac tactics, was following the more conservative line.

Grant Baldwin said from the communications vessel Alaska Eagle, "Here we have two very smart navigators and two very diverse opinions."

Bertrand said, "Our plan was to hang out to the north and wait for the [wind] shift to come in. We're patiently waiting. There's a [weather] system between us and the guys to the south that's acting like sort of a wall. We're a little concerned that we're thrown away some distance, but it comes down to the final dash. This system could move over those guys and open up a lane for us. We're not out of it yet . . . pushing as hard as we can."

Pyewacket passed Two Guys on the Edge, which started four days earlier, and was nearest Honolulu with 518 miles to go. The 30-footer, sailed by Les Vasconcellos and Bruce Burgess of Waikiki YC, seemed to be proceeding well despite halyard problems.

Pyewacket was averaging two-tenths of a knot faster than the 12.1 its predecessor, a smaller Pyewacket, logged when it set the record of 7 days 15 hours 24 minutes 40 seconds in 1997. The deadline to beat is 4:24 a.m. PDT Sunday (1:24 a.m. Hawaiian time), when winds are forecast to be up to 30 knots.

But winds were dropping near Hawai`i on Friday. Pyewacket averaged only 10.9 knots in the previous 24 hours to Zephyrus IV's 9.3 and Magnitude's 11.2.

James McDowell's ULDB 70 sled Grand Illusion continued to lead the contest for overall handicap honors, although Pyewacket was second and looking for a sweep - first to finish, first in class, first overall - that would be only the fifth in race history.

Photos of the starts, e-mail from boats, daily position reports, crew lists and other information are available on the race web page.

Standings (as of 8 a.m. PDT July 9; in order of corrected handicap time):

DIV. 1 (started July 3)1. . Pyewacket, Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles YC, 518 miles to go; 2. Magnitude, Doug Baker, Long Beach YC, 543; 3. Zephyrus IV, Bob McNeil/John Parrish, St. Francis/San Diego YCs, 572; 4. Front Runner, Lou Grasso/Craig Lyons, Newport Harbor YC, 582; 5. Pegasus, Philippe Kahn, UC Santa Cruz Sailing Club, 619.

DIV. 2 (started July 3)1. Grand Illusion, James McDowell, Lahaina YC, 638; 2. Cheval, Steve Popovich, Cabrillo Beach YC, 719; 3. Mongoose, Robert Saielli, SDYC, 725; 4. Velos, Kjeld Hestehave, SDYC, 868; 5. Medicine Man, Bob Lane, LBYC, 730.

DIV. 3 (started July 3)1. Gone With the Wind, Bill LeRoy/Jim Cascino, StFYC, 861; 2. . Stealth Chicken, Alamitos Bay Syndicate, Alamitos Bay YC, 832; 3. Warpath, Fred Howe, Santa Cruz YC, 847; 4. M-Project, Manouch Moshayedi, Bahia Corinthian YC, retired.

DIV. 4 (started July 2)1. Great Scot, Tom Garnier, LAYC, 1,001; 2. Tower, Don Clothier, Waikiki YC, 833; 3. Glama!, Seth Radow, California YC, 892; 4. Prime Time, John Borkowski/Richard Sherlock, Channel Islands YC, 915; 5. Sweet Caroline, William Rawson, Royal YC, Australia, 1,002; 6. Bolt, Craig Reynolds, Balboa YC, 1,073; 7. Uproarious, Robert Bussard, Silver Gate YC, 996; 5. Apollo V, Ned Knight, Point Loma YC, 1,067.

DOUBLEHANDED DIV. (started June 29)1. Two Guys On the Edge, Les Vasconcellos/Bruce Burgees, Waikiki YC, 545; 2. Vapor, Bill Boyd/Scott Atwood, Alamitos Bay YC, no report.

CRUISING DIV. (started June 29)1. Hurricane, Kim Stebbens, Sloop Tavern YC, 590; 2. Esprit, Bob Pace, Oceanside YC, 603; 3. Willow Wind, Wendy Siegal, Cortez Racing Assn., 639; 4. Pacifica, Doug Jones, Southwestern YC, 684; 5. Endeavor III, Randy Bell/Eleanor Clitheroe, Royal Canadian YC, 707; 6. Tango, Howard Raphael, Palo Alto, Calif., 804; 7. Goodnight Moon, Carlton Vanderbeek, Dana Point YC, 680; 8. Derivative, John Robert Misko, Seattle, Wash., 792.

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Last Modified: Friday - 19990709.14:07 HST
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