Montag, 7. Juli 2008

Transpac '08 Tahiti Race - Der Medizinmann und sein Rekord

MAGNITUDE 80 ist im Ziel und nun erzählen die anderen:

July 5, 2008

Medicine Man: records are all in the timing

Eleven years ago pharmacist Bob Lane skillfully sailed Medicine Man, his Andrews 56 from Long Beach, to a record elapsed time in the Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii, beating Merlin’s 20-year-old record.

The only catch was that two days later five other boats that had started in another class three days after Medicine Man beat his time, ending his 48 hours of fame.

It’s not exactly déjà vu, but here’s Lane again---same boat, just twice since modified into an Andrews 61 and now an Andrews 63---about to break the old record in the TPYC’s 3,571-nautical mile race to Tahiti when he finishes, as expected, around 11 o’clock PDT Saturday night.

Only catch: two nights earlier Doug Baker’s Magnitude 80 blew away Kathmandu’s 1994 record by 3 1/2 days, finishing about 48 hours earlier in 11 days 10 hours 13 minutes 18 seconds.

Alan Andrews, the design genius for three of the four boats in the race, including Chris Welsh’s Ragtime, is on board Medicine Man to share in the irony with Lane and his loyal crew members who go back a decade or two.

Navigator Mike Priest, new to the crew, reported early Saturday: “Looking forward to arrival this afternoon/evening. Timing, boat clean-up and ‘last clean shirt’ is a fine art!”

Meanwhile, Baker and his crew reveled in their success amid the palm trees and French Polynesian hospitality, a rare treat for ocean racers these days. There have been 13 Tahiti Races over 83 years but none since 1994.

Baker said, “They should run this race again in 2012. It is not just a race; it is an adventure.”

Keith Kilpatrick, a Mag 80 watch captain and Shellback veteran of a Volvo Ocean Race, said: “We broke some things on this trip. Nothing major, but we usually never break anything on Magnitude. This race is so much longer than any other race we have done. It is completely different from a Hawaii race.”

The six-man Los Angeles Yacht Club crew on Jim Morgan’s Santa Cruz 50, Fortaleza, might agree.

“The night was wonderful,” Morgan reported Friday. “Plenty of high speeds as we rode the tight-reaching spinnaker over unseen swells. Then at 2242 we crossed the equator at Lon 139-40.9'W, and five new Shellbacks were born. This all merrily continued until 0600 ... almost exactly one day since it began as the wind started building to 24 knots.

“We decided first to change spinnakers to our heavy 1.5 oz, allowing us to also check the spin halyard for wear. But very soon we were headed in the wrong direction and we took it down to put up the #3 and get back on course. Ten minutes later the wind died and the rain started and we switched headsails to the #1. Shortly thereafter, it was more appropriate to have the chute back up.

“When we had cleaned up the other changes, taking a couple of hours of hard work ... we relaunched the 1.5 oz. The wind dropped and we couldn't fly it, so we changed again to the 0.75 oz, but immediately the wind changed direction and we were off course again. So, finally, we put the #1 back up (which we hadn't yet put away). This all cost us probably 20 miles to our competitors ... ouch. But now we're back on course (and speed). Ahh, yacht racing.”

Blogs from the boats

Ragtime: Fast and wet all night long. The backup genset in action. Louder than you can imagine, unmuffled air cooled diesel. But the water maker is flowing, and we are keeping most of the batteries up. Can't make it through the night … ended up sailing with compass light only several times. Won't be trying the SSB or much else. We flip a breaker on and the instruments go under. Beautiful sailing day, gribs not matching the breeze, as usual.

Fortaleza: After a light and shifty morning breeze (and seven sail changes!) we settled into a strong beam reach. Our 12th day was fantastic. We launched the chute yesterday at 0600 and sailed flat and fast all day. The sun was out as we rode the lifting shift preceding a frontal passage that was giving our closest competitor (Ragtime) a header causing them to sail off course. And of course, we met with King Neptune. As we knew that the equator passing would be in the darkness, King Neptune made his appearance about 30 miles north at 1800. As we Pollywogs bowed before his highness, we shared wine and rum, the story of Jim Nash, and lots of laughs as we rocketed down 6-foot swells at speeds up to 13 knots. Right now we're bombing along, on course at 10.5 kts. Good pace for us, and I think a winning one.

Tahiti Race 2008 standings
(boat for boat at 6 a.m. PDT Saturday)

1. Magnitude 80 (Andrews 80), Doug Baker, Long Beach, finished, elapsed time 11 days 10 hours 13 minutes 18 seconds (betters record of 14:21:15:26 by Kathmandu, Santa Cruz 70, Fred Kirschner, 1994); corrected time the same.

2. Medicine Man (Andrews 63), Bob Lane, Long Beach, 297 miles daily run/188 miles to go.

3. Ragtime (Spencer 65), Chris Welsh, Newport Beach, 271/540.

4. Fortaleza (Santa Cruz 50), Jim Morgan, Long Beach, 216/914.  

Mehr dazu beim Transpacific Yacht Club.