Transpac Race – Offshore sailing race

 

The Transpacific Yacht Race (better known as “the Transpac”) is one of the oldest offshore races in the world. The first Transpac took place in 1906 when a Honolulu racing sailor Clarence MacFarlane invited several contemporaries from San Francisco and Los Angeles to race to the Hawaiian Islands. It was inspired by the 19th century Hawaiian leader King Kalakaua, who believed that this kind of event would enhance economic and cultural relations between the island and the mainland.

Transpac Race starts in San Pedro (CA) to finish in Honolulu
Transpac Race starts in San Pedro (CA) to finish in Honolulu

The race was supposed to start from San Francisco, but the great San Francisco earthquake happened only 27 days before the start. When MacFarlane arrived into San Francisco Bay and saw the city in ruins he changed the starting point to Los Angeles.

Ever since (with a few exceptions), the Transpac race runs from the Point Fermin in San Pedro at the southern edge of Los Angeles and finishes at the Diamond Head lighthouse east of Honolulu in Hawaiian Islands.

The race covers 2,225 nautical miles. Since the course is mostly downwind and does not have an overall length limitation for vessels, it is famous for its high speeds attained. The course’s speed record (for monohulls) is 5 days, 14 hours, 36 minutes and 20 seconds; with about 431 nautical miles run on its fastest day. The record was established by Neville Crichton on a carbon fibre racing Super Yacht Alfa Romeo II.

The start of the Transpac race is usually spread over a week to allow the slower boats to arrive in Hawaii about the same time that the larger and faster yachts. During this week spectators can see the fleet in large groups to take their way to Hawaii.  It is a whole different story on the finish line, as boats usually arrive one at a time. With the tradewinds blowing strongly the racing boats speed under spinnaker can be over 20 knots when they pass Diamond Head buoy. The viewing from the Lighthouse on Oahu’s Diamond Head volcano is spectacular!

As for the 2013, the race will start on the 8th of July, with departures on 8th, 11th and 13th of July; the finish is expected on July 21st.

To read more about this race, please see an official site : http://www.transpacrace.com/

Thanks for reading, have fun sailing !

Aurelien

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