Two new records set during 2017 Transpac


Both the multihull and monohull records were broken this summer during the 2017 running of the Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, which started on July 3.

The ORMA 60 trimaran Mighty Merloe, skippered by H.L. Enloe, finished the 2,225-nm course in four days, six hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds for an average speed of 21.7 knots. The finish supersedes a 20-year-old record set by Bruno Peyron aboard the vessel Commodore Explorer.

The 100-foot super maxi Comanche, skippered by Ken Read, finished in five days, one hour, 55 minutes and 26 seconds — besting a 2009 monohull mark set by Alfa Romeo by more than 12 hours. Comanche averaged 20.2 knots. Stan Honey served as navigator aboard the super maxi, which is owned by Netscape founder Jim Clark.

Comanche’s Transpac record follows its new monohull trans-Atlantic record, which was set last summer, also with Honey as navigator.

The 2017 Transpac was the 49th running of the biennial race, which leaves from Point Fermin, Los Angeles, and ends east of Diamond Head lighthouse near Honolulu. There were 49 entrants in the 2017 contest representing the U.S., Canada, Norway, Peru and Russia. One vessel, Mark Dowdy’s SC 50 Hana Ho, retired due to engine trouble.

The crew aboard the RP 63 Aszhou.

Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

Race organizers said weather patterns returned to normal for the 2017 running after the last two events were affected by El Nino formations in the Pacific Ocean. Breezy conditions that helped propel Comanche and Mighty Merloe to new records fell off slightly after the lead boats finished, according to Transpac spokesman Dobbs Davis.

For the second straight running, Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio 100 took home the “Barn Door” trophy for fastest monohull sailing under manual power with a time of six days, 17 hours, nine minutes and nine seconds.

Frank Slootman’s Pac 52 Invisible Hand won the King Kalakaua trophy for fastest corrected time, finishing in eight days, three hours, one minute and 28 seconds. Navigator Jason Owens aboard the Gunboat 62 catamaran Chim Chim earned the Mark Rudiger Celestial Navigation Trophy.

The start of the Transpac.

Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

As with the recent Vendee Globe and many other offshore races, unidentified floating objects were an unwelcome challenge for Transpac competitors. Dobbs said the “trash” problem was widespread and affected most vessels.

In one serious incident, Moshayedi’s Rio 100 struck a large object that broke the port rudder and opened a hole in the hull.

“The inventiveness and quick action of the crew not only secured the hole in the stern section of boat,” Davis said, “but careful sail selections along with measured use of their emergency rudder in combination with the remaining starboard rudder allowed them to keep racing and still finish in time to claim the Barn Door prize once again.”

By Ocean Navigator