The former We/Sebago trimaran out of Transpac

The 60-foot trimaran Pacific Challenge, dismasted and adrift off the northern California coast, is out of the Transpacific Yacht Race again?this time, apparently, for good.

“I’m still kind of dazed,” said owner Clive Armitage of Eugene, Ore., who was not aboard when a delivery crew bringing the boat to San Pedro met disaster.

The Coast Guard took the three delivery sailors off the boat, and a private towing service was trying to locate the yacht. Armitage said the crew was unable to cut away the mast due to the 45-knot winds and seas of 12-14 feet in the area where the boat was believed to be.

“I don’t know if I want to look at if they do find it,” Armitage said.

Armitage originally withdrew the boat after it ran into rough weather in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and later put in to Newport, Ore. “My window of time to deliver the boat [to San Pedro] had run out,” he said.

But then a friend, Bernardo Herzer, offered to bring it the rest of the way, joined by Mark Simmons and Mike Peterson of Los Angeles. When the mast fell, Simmons was knocked unconscious by the boom and driven into a winch, fracturing some ribs. He has since been released after treatment at Mendocino Coast Hospital.

The boat, previously named We and then Sebago, was designed and built by Adrian Thompson in Totnes in 1988. The boat has since had a checker history. The spider-like 60ft foiler trimaran was sailed by Phil Steggall in the ’88 C-Star transatlantic race, but was damaged returning across the Atlantic in the Quebec-St Malo race and was subsequently dismasted and near destroyed when a salvage teams tried to take it in tow. The boat lay in pieces in southern Ireland before Armitage, originally from Hawaii, bought it, restored it and then sailed it back across the Atlantic in ’95 with the intent to compete in the Transpac.

“That’s the reason the boat was purchased,” he said, sadly.

His Transpac crew was scheduled to be Dave Goto of Hawaii and Clarence Roman of Tucson, Ariz.

The loss of Pacific Challenge leaves the total number of racers at 33, including only one multihull: Bob Hanel’s 76-foot catamaran Double Bullet II, which was dismasted early in the ’97 Transpac. The multihulls were scheduled to start July 6.