Three boats topped the 24-hour distance record in the Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii as strong winds swept the length of the course.
Doug Baker’s Magnitude, a 68ft turbo sled, logged 353 nautical miles in the 24 hours before the morning’s roll call but still trailed Bob McNeil and John Parrish’s 75-foot Zephyrus IV and Roy E. Disney’s 72-foot Pyewacket, which sailed 352 miles each. Zephryus IV was 11 miles ahead of Pyewacket, which led Magnitude by 22 miles.
All three were ahead of the record pace of Disney’s old Pyewacket in 1997 (7 days 15 hours 24 minutes 40 seconds) as they passed the midway point of the 2,225-mile race. Scattered boats reported winds of 20 to 26 knots.
“It was a wild night,” Disney said by satellite phone Wednesday, watching the instruments and talking over loud whooshing noises. “If you can hear that whistling noise in the background, that’s the keel. It does that at these speeds. We’re doing 18 knots right now.”
Disney, when asked if he had ever gone that fast on a boat, said, “We’ve done it in spirts, but sustained is pretty amazing.” Speed is relative, though, and Zephyrus IV is still in front. “It’s looking good but we’ll have to work our tails off to catch those guys,” Disney said.
Earlier, Pyewacket reported that Zephyrus IV may have gained its lead while Pyewacket was slowed when four feet of kelp snagged on an underwater appendage.
Besides the top three, Lou Grasso and Craig Lyons’ fourth-place Front Runner and Philippe Kahn’s Pegasus also had big days, logging 341 and 337 miles, respectively. The old record was 337, which Pyewacket equalled two days ago.
The last boat they’re trying to catch is the 30-foot Two Guys On the Edge sailed by Les Vasconcellos and Bruce Burgess of Waikiki YC. With a four-day head start, they were 886 miles from the finish, with Zephyrus IV 166 miles behind and due to fly past sometime Thursday.
Vasconcellos had another concern, however. He radioed a friend in Honolulu asking if he knew of any place to stop for beer.
The other Doublehanded entry, Vapor from Alamitos Bay YC with Bill Boyd and Scott Atwood aboard, remained out of radio contact, but race officials were cautiously confident of the boat’s safety because no emergency beacons had been activated. At 25 feet, Vapor is the smallest boat ever to race in the Transpac.
James McDowell’s ULDB 70 Grand Illusion moved into the lead for overall honors on corrected handicap time, just ahead of Zephyrus IV and Pyewacket.
Standings (in order of corrected handicap time):
DIV. 1 (started July 3)?1. Zephyrus IV, Bob McNeil/John Parrish 1,052 miles to go;
2. Pyewacket, Roy E. Disney 1,063;
3. Magnitude, Doug Baker 1,085;
4. Pegasus, Philippe Kahn, 1,113;
5. Front Runner, Lou Grasso/Craig Lyons 1,160.
DIV. 2 (started July 3)?
1. Grand Illusion, James McDowell, 1,156;
2. Mongoose, Robert Saielli, 1,187;
3, Velos, Kjeld Hestehave, 1,289;
4. Cheval, Steve Popovich, 1,202;
5. Medicine Man, Bob Lane, 1,198.
DIV. 3 (started July 3)?
1. Gone With the Wind, Bill LeRoy/Jim Cascino, 1,323;
2. Warpath, Fred Howe, 1,308;
3. Stealth Chicken, Alamitos Bay Syndicate, 1,315;
4. M-Project, Manouch Moshayedi, retired.
DIV. 4 (started July 2)?
1. Tower, Don Clothier, 1,213;
2. Great Scot, Tom Garnier, 1,361;
3. Glama!, Seth Radow, 1,279;
4. Prime Time, John Borkowski/Richard Sherlock, 1,299;
5. Sweet Caroline, William Rawson, Australia, 1,371;
6. Bolt, Craig Reynolds, 1,410;
7. Apollo V, Ned Knight, 1,395;
8. Uproarious, Robert Bussard, 1,369.
DOUBLEHANDED DIV. (started June 29)?
1. Two Guys On the Edge, Les Vasconcellos/Bruce Burgees, 886;
2. Vapor, Bill Boyd/Scott Atwood, no report.
CRUISING DIV. (started June 29)?
1. Hurricane, Kim Stebbens, 913;
2. Esprit, Bob Pace, 937;
3. Pacifica, Doug Jones, 966;
4. Endeavor III, Randy Bell/Eleanor Clitheroe, 982;
5. Willow Wind, Wendy Siegal, 966;