Fast is Fun!
Honolulu, HI -- (July 8, 1997) -- Six of the 31 boats remaining in
the 39th Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawai`i were on a pace to break the
20-year-old record, but the catamaran Double Bullet II from San Pedro is
not among them.
Bob Hanel's 75-foot racing machine dismasted at 7:30 pm Monday night, 92 miles after the fleet's three large multihulls started off Point Fermin. None of the crew of seven was injured. They limped back to Santa Catalina Island and anchored overnight, then returned to Long Beach today.
Meanwhile, Bruno Peyron's 86-foot catamaran Explorer, from France, flew 351 miles in only 19 hours -- an average of 18.5 knots -- to put 27 miles between themselves and Steve Fossett's trimaran Lakota which was averaging 17.1-knots. Lakota set the multihull record of six days, 16 hours in 1995.
With each daily report received at Honolulu Transpac headquarters the boats appear to be accelerating and Honolulu race officials are predicting a first-to-finish boat by Thursday night.
"This fast pace is stirring up a lot of excitement and interest in Honolulu," said Kevin Meechan, Honolulu Chairman for the race. We are optimistic that elapsed time records will fall.
Meechan is referring to Merlin's 1997 record of 8:11.45.01 when they established an average speed of 10.9-knots. During that race five boats dismasted, but they were closer to Honolulu than Long Beach so all five jury-rigged and finished in Honolulu.
Among the fastest Division I monohulls that started from San Pedro last Saturday, Tony Sessions' 70-foot Luna Barba from Vancouver took over the lead by two miles from Roy Disney's Pyewacket, which had a record 24-hour run of 336 miles a day earlier. Luna Barba, which won the race in 1989 and '93 as Silver Bullet under former owner John DeLaura, was less than halfway and averaging 12.8 knots with 1,434 miles to go in the 2,225-nautical mile race.
Winds Tuesday were reported at 15 to 20 knots and are expected to remain the same for Wednesday. According to Transpac weather analysts, Hurricane Dolores does not pose a threat to the racers.
To beat Merlin's record, the six Division I monohulls would have to pass Diamond Head by midnight PDT Sunday, and Luna Barbara and Pyewacket were running about 14 hours ahead of that pace. Hal Ward's defending champion Cheval, Dan Sinclair's Renegade, Mike Campbell's Victoria and Taxi Dancer, a standard ULDB 70 co-owned by Don Hughes and Bob Richards of Santa Barbara, were also in the chase.
Bob Lane's 56-foot Medicine Man, which started three days ahead of those boats on July 2, was off the record pace but continued to stalk Fred Frye's Salsipuedes for first-to-finish honors. Salsipuedes started June 28 with the new cruising class and was still in front by 195 miles Tuesday but was projected to finish about four hours behind Medicine Man late Thursday night. Medicine Man has been gaining about 100 miles a day.
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