Uncharted reef brings Shidler's bid to an end

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (3/21/98)
By Ray Pendleton

Revolution won't, but the Pacific Cup fleet will.

For those of you who were going to follow my suggestion this month to keep an eye on the Waikiki Yacht Club's docks for a glimpse of Steven Shidler's power trimaran, Revolution, you can give up looking.

Shidler, you remember, was attempting to set some new speed/distance records while circumnavigating the globe aboard his fast, but fuel-efficient 60-foot boat.

According to Internet web site information (http://www.revolution98.com), Revolution sustained some minor damage passing through the Panama Canal on March 9. Repairs were made at the Balboa Yacht Club in Panama City and two days later, she was running north across a flat sea, headed for Mexico.

On March 11, Shidler put into a bay (Bahia de Salinas?) near the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border to find protection from 50-knot winds. The next morning's report was that the winds were still blowing, but the crew was concerned about being two days behind schedule and were anxious to leave.

As of this writing, that was the last entry into Revolution's web site log. But, from a reliable source, I understand that sometime later they did put out to sea again, only to run aground on an uncharted reef. Reportedly, all hands survived the grounding, but the boat was damaged beyond repair.

We can only offer our condolences to Shidler and his crew, and wish them the best of luck on future projects.

On the other hand, public relations consultant Ray Sweeney assures me that the tenth biennial West Marine Pacific Cup fleet will arrive here this July without fail.

Billed as the "Fun Race to Hawaii" (read: "Transpac with less attitude") the Pacific Cup will have a staggered start over five days, beginning on June 29. Its 2,070-mile course runs bay-to-bay, from a start off of the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco to a finish off O`ahu's Kane`ohe.

Sweeney can speak with some assurance because, even though the race is still some three months off, the official entry-cap of 83 boats has been reached and there are 13 additional boats on a waiting list.

This will set an entry record for the Pacific Cup and race officials will also be looking for a new elapsed time record to eclipse the one set by Steve Rander's Wylie 70, Rage, in 1996 of 7 days, 22 hours and 1 minute.

Rander will be back this year, but he will be seriously challenged by Frank Pong's new Wylie-designed 77-footer, Jelik. And "turbo sleds" such as Robert McNeil's 75-foot Reichel/Pugh, Zephyrus, Doug Baker's Andrews 70, Magnitude, and Roy E. Disney's Santa Cruz 70, Pyewacket, will be in the hunt for the shortest way down to the finish line as well.

At the other end of the spectrum, this year's Pacific Cup has 17 "doublehanded" entries - meaning they will be raced with just two persons aboard - and many boats in the under-40-foot range.

The bulk of the fleet will be comprised of boats known as racer/cruisers - boats with enough creature comforts - water makers, hot water showers, well stocked refrigerator/freezers, blenders, etc. - to allow for a more civilized transpacific crossing.

With corrected time handicap scoring, any boat is a potential winner.

For those with Internet access, more information on the Pacific Cup may be found at their web site, http://www.pacificcup.org.

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