The Transpac race, which sails every other year from Los Angeles to Hawaii, has once again announced that celestial navigation is a required practice for navigators.
The fact that celestial is a requirement sparked the usual debate between traditionalist self-sufficiency proponents and bah-humbug technophiles. On the Internet chat space Scuttlebutt, one person railed against the committee’s decision to require at least four celestial plots per boat over the course of the race: "I can’t believe it – the Transpac still requires celestial navigation? In an era when a portable GPS costs less than a pair of seaboots …"
Another writer responded: "[O]wning a GPS is not a replacement for navigation skills. The Transpac race is a Navigator’s race. The boat with the best Navigator usually wins. Personally, I applaud the Transpac committee for continuing the celestial requirement."
The race committee also announced that the race boats will no longer be allowed to provide strategic false positions via radio – in the name of safety. A second roll call will now be mandatory so that race boats will be required to check in with communications boat Alaska Eagle of the Orange Coast Community College by 0800 and 1800 PDT as the boats work their way around the Pacific High to Honolulu.
The 41st Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii officially begins on June 25, 2001.