Triumph finishes Transpac

Triumph finishes Transpac

The Santa Cruz 52 Triumph, with Bruce and Gregg Hedrick aboard, finished their Transpac last night and are presumed safely docked and mai taied. Congratulations all. Raisin’ Cane and Kinetic V finished last night as well, and BlueFlash is closing in on the finish line fast. Merlin, with Carl Buchan aboard, finished in the wee hours Friday morning to finish second over the line in class and third in class on corrected time. I’ll try to get more details on each of the stories. Results here.

In the meantime, here’s the last report from Bruce Hedrick, filed just before the finish. It’s a fun insight to life onboard and a well-run program.

TransPac Update 15 July 2017

What a long strange race it’s been. Sorry I wasn’t able to get more info out to you however we’ve been working really hard to keep the boat moving in difficult conditions. Even though records were set by the big boats, we’ve spent a lot of time sailing in 9-13 knots even on this final approach to the Islands when we should be sailing with our full sized, heavy kite in 20 to 25 knots of trade winds. Instead we are just comfortably cruising along making about 8-9 knots in 14 knots of breeze.

We had a great first half of the race and it seems like after we had hit something large and soft, we lost our boat speed edge. Even though we could see nothing on our keel or rudder, we also couldn’t see the full length of either one of them. After three days of the slows we finally bit the bullet, dropped the spinnaker and did a complete back down. We never saw anything come off the bottom but we definitely got our speed back and went from 30 miles behind the other SC-52s to within 3 miles of them last night. At sunset we started aggressively gybing on the shifts to try and get past them and actually ended up losing time, go figure. So now we are just keeping the pedal down and are once again sailing up to them. We have about 100 miles to go so it will be interesting.

Our crew has been great and we have had a great time. Our skipper, Steve Sellinger, did an outstanding job of putting a diverse group together and getting them to function as a team. There is no question that any of us would happily sail on Triumph with Steve again, any time, any place. Our boat captain is Gregg Hedrick who did a superb job putting the boat together and getting us ready for this long trip. We have not had one single failure of any piece of equipment or any of the many complex systems aboard. A true testament to his skills and abilities.

We have two watch captains, Scott Mason and Scott Poe, who bring a wealth of knowledge to the table along with an incredible amount sailing skills and abilities. They know instinctively the right thing to do at the absolutely the right time. We also have the considerable fortune to have Bruce Cooper aboard, our sailmaker and living, breathing human crossover chart who knows, without looking, exactly what sail we should have up and where we should be sailing it.

The person you would race anywhere with is Grant Wooden because he is constantly trying  to figure out how to make the boat go faster by always trimming and re-trimming to get the very most out of you and the boat. The most dangerous job on the boat is running the foredeck which entails never ending trips to frontier land (the bow) to get the sails up and down as well as get the spinnakers through that complex series of maneuvers we call gybing which involves coordinating the entire crew. We are so fortunate to have Zack Hannah in charge of all of that; he is just amazing as well as totally fearless. Regardless of the task, time of day or night, even if he just came off watch, he always answers the call with a smile on his face.  A truly outstanding group!

So what worked for us on this 10 day trip? Besides everything, there are notable standouts. Top of the list was the food, and it was incredible. There was none of that freeze-dried junk. Instead we had real food that had been completely prepared, vacuum packed and then deep frozen. All you had to do then was take the breakfast for the next morning out the night before or take dinner out in the morning. Once it was thawed you simply placed the plastic bag in the boiling water of the pressure cooker, let the pressure come up to about 4psi, and your meal was ready! The meals were planned to meet the expected conditions so for the first night, which is traditionally rough, we had easy to eat chicken and rice or bean and cheese burritos. Other dinners included carne asada, pork roast and veggies, pappardelle, sabatinos sausage spaghetti, turkey meatloaf, and for our last supper we’re having barbeque chicken with Trader Joe’s cabbage salad. Not a marginal meal in the bunch. We do have five days of backup freeze-dried meals however things would have to get pretty desperate before we went to those.

Lunch and breakfast were less organized because of the watch system however as the days go on and the days get warmer you generally transition from three meals to two meals and more snacks. Even todays snacks included carrots, celery, apples, oranges, beef jerky, and Kind bars. We’ve all lost some weight but not for lack of food.

A very cool addition to the boat was a coffee grinder mounted in the cockpit which allowed one person to sit on a Home Depot bucket with a boat cushion and easily trim the kite with the option to going to three speeds if needed. So much easier than trying to sit on a winch island and grind a top action winch.

Bruce Cooper, our sailmaker from Ullman Sails, also introduced us to the latest and greatest when it came to aids in the nighttime trimming of spinnakers. For years we’ve used contrasting strips of cloth in a chevron shape along the luff. We got these new luminescent strips which glowed in the dark and were easily seen from the cockpit. They got a little fainter towards dawn but then recharged themselves when the sun came up. He also small strips of the same tape you could place on the sheet so you could easily return to the same fast setting.

Lastly, my Don Leighton autographed sailing gloves were worth every cent. Every time you touched the wheel with them the boat went almost a knot faster. If you reached over the side and touched the water, seas were instantly calmed. Amazing.

Overall, the thing to remember is that when you can sail across the pond with such a great group on such a well prepared vessel, it is an experience like no other and you should never miss an opportunity to do so. Again, I apologize for not getting more of these out to you. Needless to say, if you’re going to be around TransPac Row in the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor tonight around 2300 hours, come on by and say hello.

Transpac Updates – First Tri In, PNW Boats On Track

Transpac Updates – First Tri In, PNW Boats On Track

The Transpac is already coming to a close, at least for the three ridiculously fast trimarans and Comanche. Mighty Merloe as smashed the elapsed time record by more than a day, and that record now stands at 4d, 6hrs. Yes, Virginia, four days to Hawaii in a sailboat. Comanche is expected to break the monohull record when she finishes tonight.

Our PNW boats are in the thick of it. Triumph has given up her lead of Division 4 and is taking a southerly approach to the island. I’m sure Bruce Hedrick has a plan in mind. Raisin’ Cane and BlueFlash are behind but sailing fast in Division 3. Kinetic V is smack in the middle of Division 1 on corrected time. And Merlin (PNW-adopted because Carl Buchan’s aboard) is standing fourth in Division 2 corrected time, but second closest to the island. Go Teams!

Here are our onboard reports, very entertaining! Our heroes even saw each other on the water!

Triumph TransPac Update 10 July 2017

Yahoo! It’s time for our 1/2-way party. Sailed over that line at about 1000am this morning. As of this evening we have just over 1,000 miles to go. Now everyone is getting ready for the big party tonight! Showers, clean clothes, practicing their karaoke etc etc.

Race has been tough, weather is not very settled and we’ve taken a bit of chance by staying to the north. We had a semi-fluky day yesterday and last night and as a result Horizon got by us to the south. They are about 40 miles south of us. However, as we say in rule #1, there’s a lot of race course left and a lot can happen in the next 5-6 days. Yesterday and last night were prime examples as one of the big boats, Rio 100, hit a log and lost their starboard rudder. We hit something last night that caught on the rudder and set up the most amazing harmonic that went up and down in frequency as a function of boat speed. Interesting, but slow. This is where once again our amazing crew kicked into action. Scott Mason grabbed our kelp stick, Zack Hannah slithered into the stern compartment to watch through the rudder window and as Scott went way out over the side, Steve held onto his legs. In one amazing pass, Scott brought the kelp stick down the leading edge and our problem was solved. We went back up to speed and only had a short wait until the challenge; we were attacked by a school of flying fish. One tried to grab the wheel from Steve but Steve dropped him to the deck where the fish bit Steve in the ankle. Steve then kicked the fish into the wheel well while the on deck crew cried, “GGGGGOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL”! As always, we are very cautious when things like this happen; however, given the craziness of this attack we are erring to side of caution and assuming sea rabies. Luckily we found that symptoms won’t kick in until 24 hours after you step on land. If you administer the cure immediately upon landing, known as mii tiii in the native tongue, it shouldn’t be a problem.

This morning we saw a boat that had crew from the Pacific NW on board as they slowly but steadily sailed past us, Raisin Cane the J-125, with Jamie Stewart, David Brink and Bob King aboard. After seeing no boats after the first day, we have seen three today.

It will be another challenging night sailing under thick overcast and total darkness. Wind will be in the 15-20-knot range and we shouldn’t have any squalls. All is well and we’re having a great time. We should finish sometime on Sunday.

–Bruce Hedrick

Raisin’ Cane

(assembled from the email string)

Saturday, 10am EDT: Good relative speed of 11.8 kts.  78 miles behind 1st place Varuna.  27.6 miles behind Resolute (showing 12 knts) but have dropped further south. Fast Exit continues to do well (showing 11.4 knts) and closer to HI by 15.3 miles. All distance calculations are based upon differences in Distance To Finish (DTF).

Saturday, 11pm EDTRC is moving along faster than all other boats in their division @ 12.9.  Relative to Fast Exit @ 11.3 & BlueFlash @ 12 & Varuna @ 12.7 & LK @ 12.4 and Resolute at 12.7 knts.  Meanwhile all the Santa Cruz 52’s are below 12 kts.

Sunday, 10am EST:  RC appears to have lost some ground in the past 7 hours (since the last report that I checked) and is now 46 miles back of Resolute.  Doing 10.7 knts vs. Resolute’s 11.8 knts. They have also been heading up (more northerly) vs. much of the fleet.

Monday, 1pm EDT: Cruising along at 12.1 knots back around 3am HST. Based on leaderboard we have passed the half way point and are now showing less miles in the DTF column than in the distance sailed column. Yeah! Based on trackers current estimates we could be finishing early morning 07/15, that does not give the shore crew much time to arrive and get the place set up for them. The shore team was hoping for at least 1 full day before they arrive. But, the weather is fickle and who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Monday, 8pm EDTRC hit the 1/2 way mark today and now the DTF is smaller than the Dist Sailed. As a treat many of us received personal emails from loved ones, very sweet of them. Projections are having them arrive on 7/15 or 7/14, which is great for them but not for shore crew who will not arrive until 7/14 2:00pm. The Hawaii reception family today so they are ready to step in if RC does arrive before the shore team. 

Tuesday, 8am EDT: RC is moving along nicely at 12.3 knts. We are now 958 miles from HI and 28 miles closer to HI then Fast ExitLady K is at 765 from HI.

Mighty Merloe finishing, photo by Sharon Green.

Mighty Merlot

From the Transpac web site: Congratulations to HL Enloe and the crew of the ORMA 60 trimaran Mighty Merloe, the first to finish in the 2017 Transpac Race, and new holders of the multihull Transpac Race record elapsed time! Mighty Merloe has been racing just about every west coast offshore event for the last few years, often with no multihull competition to measure themselves against. Getting the opportunity to welcome Phaedo3 and Maserati to the west coast, go head to head against them and come out on top is a dream come true for Enloe’s team. We’ll hear more from them shortly.

Enloe sailed this year’s Transpac with his team of Steve Calder (Main Trimmer), Jay Davis (Bowman), Artie Means (Navigator), Loïck Peyron (Helm), Franck Proffit (Helm), Will Suto (Grinder), Jacques Vincent (Co-Skipper).

Mighty Merloe crossed the finish line under helicopter escort at 17:03:30 (HST) on Monday, July 10th. Their elapsed time of 4 Days, 6 Hours, 33 Minutes, 30 Seconds beats the 20 year old record of Bruno Peyron’s Commodore Explorer by more than a day, previously set at 5 days 9 hours 18 min and 26 secs.

Transpac – The Other Race to Hawaii

While the zephyrs of the Northwest summer settle in, the Pacific Northwest racers doing the Transpac Race from Los Angeles to Hawaii are counting on the traditional blow from behind for a fast sleigh ride to Honolulu. And we’re lucky here on to get on-the-water reports, which we’ll try to share here as they happen!

Raisin’ Cane

Our two contributors will be Bruce Hedrick onboard the Santa Cruz 52 Triumph and Jamie Stewart aboard the J/125 Raisin’ Cane. Cane’ will be in Division 3 and Triumph Division 4. Both classes will start July 5, tomorrow!! Raisin’ Cane made the race to Cuba which we featured a few months ago. Once again, David Brink will be onboard. Of course we expect great things from them. The J/125 seems to love this race, judging by how Hamachi did two years ago. 

Bruce Hedrick has done about 65,783 races to Hawaii as navigator. However, rumors that he is to be immersed in a sensitivity deprivation tank (to see if he can really navigate) for the duration of the race are entirely unfounded.


Triumph is owned and skippered by Steve Sellinger, and Bruce and brother Gregg will do everything they can to bring the Santa Cruz 52 home on the podium. 

So hopefully we’ll be hearing from those boats along the way, with good things to report on their positions. Both are tough classes. There are no fewer than 4 Santa Cruz 52s (and 6 Santa Cruz 50s) in Division 4, which may ratchet up the intensity in the way only one-design racing does. 

Kinetic V

But there’s a lot more to this year’s race. David Sutcliffe and his experienced team from Vancouver will be putting Kinetic V up against a pair of Pac 52s (the new kinda sorta one-design class from a TP52 mold) among others.



Merlin then (1977)
Merlin now.

There probably isn’t a sailor alive who isn’t pulling for Bill Lee and Merlin to find a little magic. And with Seattle’s Carl Buchan aboard, it’s easy to make her more than a sentimental favorite. After all, it was 68′ Merlin that really brought the reality of light displacement into the sailing limelight back in the 1970s. Merlin is gradually being transformed back into her old self after an attempt to make her into a canting keel monster didn’t work out too well. 

Speaking of canting keel monsters, guess who’s going to be at the party – Comanche! That’s right, Ken Read, Stan Honey and some seriously good sailors and big grinders are going to be out for some kind of record. While their overall finish position will have a lot to do with how the weather pans out, it will be fascinating to watch how close they can stay to the Mod 70 and ORMA 60 trimarans. 

Stewart foresees a beat to Catalina and a light northerly to start with. Hedrick is emphasizing that there’s a weakening high pressure area and a new high pressure system forming off northern California. So, basically, the navigators are going to have to remain glued to their screens until these high pressure systems sort themselves out.

Here in the Pacific Northwest get to root for Raisin’ Cane, Triumph, Kinetic V and even Merlin. Keep checking back for updates in the next few days and if you’ve got some insights or know of any other PNW connections, please email me and I’ll put them out there.