Leader does just 39 in 19 hours during day one of the Centennial Transpacific Yacht Race

As the first day at sea dawned in the Centennial Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii, the leading boat in the forerunner fleet had sailed a mere 39 nautical miles in the 19 hours between Monday’s start and Tuesday morning’s initial daily roll call position reports.

That was a 2-knot average for Plan B, a Peterson 48 entered in Aloha A class by David Johnson of Long Beach. Soap Opera, the Hobie 33 from Rockwall, Tex. doublehanded by Scott Self and Nigel Brown that appeared to be the early leader Monday, was slightly north-west of Plan B and marked a mile behind.

After 33 Division V, Aloha A and B and Cal 40 boats struggled off the line in 4 knots of wind, it was hoped that conditions would improve. Instead, they got worse.

Cruising World magazine editor Herb McCormick, sailing on Mark Schrader’s Cal 40, Dancing Bear, reported by e-mail: “At this rate, we’re confident of landfall in Honolulu sometime just before the 200th anniversary of the race. We are currently making about 3 knots and have just passed Santa Barbara Island. The good news: We’ve seen an abundance of sea life including porpoises, seals, sea lions, grand schools of fish. I’ve actually seen more wildlife so far than in the last two Bermuda races I’ve sailed combined.”

Grant Baldwin reported from the communications vessel Alaska Eagle that it had been “a long night without much wind and quite cold. Morning found the fleet in fog and wind in the 3-4 knot range. Seas are calm.”

But there was a note of hope. Baldwin also said, “AM forecast from Commanders Weather projects improved conditions with winds from [north-west to north at] 15-25 [knots]. Stay tuned.”

The next start will be the division III and IV boats Friday, followed by the biggest and fastest Division I and II boats Sunday. Both starts will be at 1300 within view of shore off the Palos Verdes Peninsula at 33-42.8 N latitude and 118-20.3 W.