Transpac Race 2011 - Peligroso roars over finish line

Peligroso with spinnaker, roaring in - Transpac Race 2011
Transpac Race 2011 46th event, run by the Transpacific Yacht Club, commenced on the 4th July.

Another hundred yards and it would have been right out of the movies, the A4 spinnaker blowing up dead-on the finish line of an eight day race. But, she blew a hundred yards short, and Peligroso finished Transpac 2011 under the main that had been reefed since the night before, when that sail blew out in a gybe. Blew big time, both of them.

We can honestly report there was no apparent dampening of spirits aboard.

Sorry, we don't have that shot, or at least, not yet.

The Peligroso crew was the second to arrive at Ala Wai Harbor - Bella Mente and Magnitude, the first two finishers, are too deep for Ala Wai - behind John MacLaurin's 70 foot Pendragon VI. All 70, fiery red feet of Pendragon finished in the dark (full moon, though) at 0319. Yes, they partied anyhow, right on the docks at Hawaii Yacht Club.

Danger, for sure - Transpac Race 2011
Kimball Livingston/Transpac

Peligroso was the first to tie up on Transpac Row, and the crew sang for the waiting crowd before they stepped ashore. According to navigator Ben Mitchell, they sang all the way across, 2,225 measured miles, from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

Once ashore and into the party tent, it was not long before young Eduardo Saenz - third generation sailor from the Club de Yates de Acapulco - fielded a bottle of rather fine tequila to the boat's owner, Lorenzo Berho, and that kicked off a round of 'put your head back, open, I'll do the pouring' celebration. Fortunately, I got to Ben Mitchell before Lorenzo did. Late in the race, it appeared that Berho's Kernan 70 had a chance to nip Barn Door winner Bella Mente for a corrected-time win in Division One: 'I think we had a shot at that,' Mitchell said. 'There was a forecast for winds in the twenties, and we got that breeze, but we needed it five or six hours sooner. Then, I think, we could have taken it.'

Berho bought the boat to bring big boat racing to the talented youth of Mexico, and at second in Division One of the 46th Transpacific Yacht Race, it would appear he's moved the ball.

The Med Man crew preens for girls, cameras, drinks, the life - Transpac Race 2011
Kimball Livingston/Transpac

Add social note: The Peligroso crew was still partying at mid-afternoon as the lone multihull, Santiago Becerra's Espiritu Santi, arrived to cheers from the gathering at Hawaii Yacht Club, where the welcome party for Bob Lane's Andrews 70, Medicine Man, was in full swing. Med Man, or at least the 2011 incarnation of the bionic boat, looks to be fourth in Division One. Bob Lane's Med Man team took their time coming ashore, but they could smell the the barbie.

Meanwhile, back at the race:
We can't help noticing that Richard Mainland's Paddy Wagon, after a big left turn from the once-frozen-out north, is closer to Honolulu than anybody else in Division Six, showing 74 miles to go at 1600 HST, which puts the Ross 40 in third place on corrected time behind Simon Garland's Hobie 33, Peregrine, and Charles-Etienne Devanneaux's Beneteau First 40, Naos Two. When things slow down, it is good to be the little guy, but any chance for a Division Six boat to win overall went down the drain in the light winds that swallowed all of the July 4 starters.

Jorge Ripstein's Patches, a TP52 navigated by John Rumsey, continues to dominate Division Two and looks good for a finish tonight. The battle to watch, meanwhile, is in the sleds, where the daily leaderboard has shown James McDowell's Grand Illusion in first place all the way across. Two days ago, even a day ago, Philippe Kahn's Pegasus-MotionX was, shall we say, mid-fleet. Then, overnight, Kahn made a move to the north, crossed the tack of McDowell's SC 70 very near the rhumb line, carried on to about 85 miles north of rhumb and came back down with a huge gainer and a second-place showing on corrected time. Kahn's Andrews 68 was 'de-turbo'd' for this race, with the mast shortened 12 feet, a shortened keel, a smaller bulb, and a few thousand pounds of lead added to the bilge. The bowsprit is gone, and the boat's new short poles, Kahn says, can be easily gybed with a crew of three to five (he has ten aboard for the race). Before the start, he said, 'We plan to sail her surfing to Honolulu like a Moore 24, as opposed to sailing across the waves, reaching, like a Melges 24.'

In an email exchange today with Transpac - we asked him about that zag across the rhumb line - Kahn replied: 'Unfortunately, this lack of delay in the [transponder] coverage really changes the race, after Bella Mente finished. It is what it is. It does close the passing lanes. On a boat such as Holua you have a world-class crew - Holmberg, Verbraak, Escourt, etc - so we have our work cut out [to hold second]. It's easy to cover with a one-hour delay. But that's the game, and we play the game. Close to the islands there is an extra right shift and our goal was to be to the right without overstanding. That's where we are. The rest of the plan is still a secret. I think that it is next to impossible to make up for the seven hours of handicap on Grand Illusion. We gained four hours on them, but three more in 18 hours is probably too much.

'But, it's a great race among the seven sleds.'

Transpac Race website