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Zephryus IV fades as Magnitude chases Pyewacket toward record

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July 10 Position reports

by Rich Roberts

Honolulu Hawai`i (July 10, 1999) - Zephryus IV seemed to have sailed itself out of the 40th Transpacific Yacht Race with a bold move that didn't work out, as Pyewacket sailed toward a record finish at about 3 a.m. PDT (midnight Hawaiian time).

From position reports given at Saturday morning's daily roll of the boats, Roy E. Disney's new 72-foot maxi sled was making 12 knots and was 17 miles ahead of Doug Baker's 68-foot turbo sled Magnitude with 229 miles go. The finish line is the Diamond Head buoy offshore from the 100-year-old Coast Guard lighthouse at the base of the landmark volcanic crater.

Bob McNeil and John Parrish's 75-foot Zephyrus IV was 291 miles out. As the rest of the fleet went southwest directly toward the islands, the big green boat surrendered its halfway lead when it took a westerly route over the last two days, anticipating more favorable wind conditions. Saturday it had turned south, but not before falling 62 miles behind Pyewacket, which was positioned on a direct line to Diamond Head.

The run to the finish was a success story for Magnitude, which like Zephyrus IV was dismasted in the rough early going of the 1997 race. That's when Disney's previous, smaller Pyewacket lowered Merlin's 20-year-old record to 7 days 15 hours 24 minutes 40 seconds. Magnitude had gained another eight miles on Pyewacket Saturday and was moving faster at 12.4 knots but was on a track directly behind, leaving few options for a tactical attack.

It appeared that seven or eight boats could finish Sunday—including Bob Lane's 56-foot Medicine Man from Long Beach, which stole some of Pyewacket's thunder in '97 by finishing first after a three-day head start. Medicine Man, "turbocharged" with water ballast and a taller mast, jumped two spots to third place in Div. 2 Saturday.

James McDowell's ULDB 70 Grand Illusion continued to lead Div. 2, boat for boat, and paced the entire fleet on corrected handicap time based on its projected finishing time of 5:30 PDT Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Bob Hanel of Cabrillo Beach YC had located his capsized 76-foot catamaran Double Bullet II about 200 miles off San Diego. A seagoing tug was towing it back to Southwest Marine shipyard in San Pedro, still upside down. At a speed of 4 knots, it was expected to arrive late Sunday afternoon.

Double Bullet II flipped 12 hours into the race. Its crew of six was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter responding to an Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB) signal.

The only other multihull entered was the 60-foot trimaran Pacific Challenge owned by Clive Armitage of Eugene, Ore. It was dismasted off Northern California en route to Los Angeles. Seas were initially too rough for a tug to rig a tow line, and the boat could not be found later.

Vapor, at 25 feet the smallest boat ever to race the Transpac, remained out of radio contact Saturday.

Photos, e-mail from boats, daily progress and position reports, charts, crew lists and other information are available on the race web page, www.transpacificyc.org.

Standings (as of 8 a.m. PDT July 10; in order of corrected handicap time):

DIV. 1 (started July 3)—1. . Pyewacket, Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles YC, 229 miles to go; 2. Magnitude, Doug Baker, Long Beach YC, 246; 3. Zephyrus IV, Bob McNeil/John Parrish, St. Francis/San Diego YCs, 291; 4. Front Runner, Lou Grasso/Craig Lyons, Newport Harbor YC, 315; 5. Pegasus, Philippe Kahn, UC Santa Cruz Sailing Club, 342.

DIV. 2 (started July 3)—1. Grand Illusion, James McDowell, Lahaina YC, 380; 2. Cheval, Steve Popovich, Cabrillo Beach YC, 482; 3. Medicine Man, Bob Lane, LBYC, 470; 4. Mongoose, Robert Saielli, SDYC, 504; 4. Velos, Kjeld Hestehave, SDYC, 664.

DIV. 3 (started July 3)—1. Gone With the Wind, Bill LeRoy/Jim Cascino, StFYC, 655; 2. . Stealth Chicken, Alamitos Bay Syndicate, Alamitos Bay YC, 612; 3. Warpath, Fred Howe, Santa Cruz YC, 633; 4. M-Project, Manouch Moshayedi, Bahia Corinthian YC, retired.

DIV. 4 (started July 2)—1. Great Scot, Tom Garnier, LAYC, 825; 2. Tower, Don Clothier, Waikiki YC, 626; 3. Glama!, Seth Radow, California YC, 706; 4. Prime Time, John Borkowski/Richard Sherlock, Channel Islands YC, 742; 5. Sweet Caroline, William Rawson, Royal YC, Australia, 844; 6. Bolt, Craig Reynolds, Balboa YC, 901; 7. Uproarious, Robert Bussard, Silver Gate YC, 808; 5. Apollo V, Ned Knight, Point Loma YC, 921.

DOUBLEHANDED DIV. (started June 29)—1. Two Guys On the Edge, Les Vasconcellos/Bruce Burgees, Waikiki YC, 353; 2. Vapor, Bill Boyd/Scott Atwood, Alamitos Bay YC, no report.

CRUISING DIV. (started June 29)—1. Hurricane, Kim Stebbens, Sloop Tavern YC, 420; 2. Esprit, Bob Pace, Oceanside YC, 435; 3. Willow Wind, Wendy Siegal, Cortez Racing Assn., 476; 4. Pacifica, Doug Jones, Southwestern YC, 530; 5. Endeavor III, Randy Bell/Eleanor Clitheroe, Royal Canadian YC, 568; 6. Tango, Howard Raphael, Palo Alto, Calif., 655; 7. Goodnight Moon, Carlton Vanderbeek, Dana Point YC, 517; 8. Derivative, John Robert Misko, Seattle, Wash., 643.

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