The oldest boat in the Centennial Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii could finish within minutes of the fastest boat Sunday

It’s far from over, but the possibility arose Thursday that the oldest boat in the Centennial Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii could finish within minutes of the fastest boat Sunday.

After numbers were crunched from the daily morning position reports, the 68-year-old yawl Odyssey – currently nearest to the finish at 529 nautical miles — was projected to finish at 0620 HST Sunday, only 13 minutes ahead of Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory, currently 995 miles out but averaging 13.5 knots to Odyssey’s 7.2, and stretching its lead over Roy Disney’s Pyewacket from two to 71 miles Thursday.

Odyssey leads all 34 boats that started the 2,225-mile race on 11 July, four days ahead of 20 Division III and IV boats and six days ahead of Morning Glory and 19 other Division I and II boats.

It was also learned Thursday that Odyssey skipper Cecil Rossi plans to scatter the ashes of his former sailing partner, Lorenzo ‘Plazi’ Miller, at the finish line. Miller, who died in February, was skipper and Rossi a crew member on Mir, which won Transpac immortality in 1969 by sailing backwards across the finish line after its mast broke at the end of the race.

With Morning Glory in the mix, it could be a dramatic sunrise show off Diamond Head Sunday, but a lot could change in the next few days.

The Commanders Weather forecast indicated better wind south, less to the north, with lighter winds closer to Hawaii. While Morning Glory sailed a steady course toward the finish, Pyewacket – now 29 miles south of its German rival – appeared to be deviating day by day. In fact, Thursday’s positions placed it six miles behind the other primary rival, Genuine Risk, although Randall Pittman’s 90-footer was in a disadvantageous position to the north.

Division II has turned into a battle of Transpac 52s, with one veteran interloper: Bob Lane’s veteran Andrews 61, Medicine Man. Roger Sturgeon’s Rosebud, Fred Detwiler’s Trader and Medicine Man all closed on Philippe Kahn’s more northerly but still front-running Pegasus 52 as all were to cross the midway point of the race Thursday.

On handicap time, Pegasus 52, Rosebud, the well-traveled Ragtime and Trader were running 1-2-3-4 among the 75 starters.

Bob and Rob Barton’s Cipango from San Francisco took the overall Division III lead away from Craig Reynolds’ Bolt, Newport Beach, although Tim Beatty’s Stealth Chicken, Rancho Santa Fe, was five miles in front of Cipango, boat for boat, with 1,118 miles to go.

Tabasco, the Alamitos Bay Syndicate’s 1D35, remained way in front in Division IV, while in Division V Scott Self and Nigel Brown’s doublehanded Soap Opera cut the lead of Cliff Thompson’s Super Gnat to seven miles to keep its overall handicap lead secure.

Among the Cal 40s, Sally Honey’s all-woman Illusion made the only significant gain of 11 miles on Davis Pillsbury’s Ralphie, which still had a 50-mile lead.

Odyssey remained ahead in Aloha A, while Larry Hillman’s So Far was living up to its name in Aloha B – 132 miles ahead of the next boat. Paul Edwards’ Wind Dancer, incidentally, reported earlier as a dropout because of steering problems, was continuing to race without resorting to autopilot.