Team Pegasus receives the coveted Barn Door Trophy
Pegasus 77 wins Transpac
Class: Division 1
Make and Type: Reichel-Pugh 75
Sail number: 50008
LOA (ft.): 77
Draft (ft): 12.5
Beam (ft): 15
Hull color: White / Blue
Yacht Club: Waikiki Yacht Club
Hailing port: Honolulu, HI, Waikiki
Designer: Reichel Pugh
Where built: Sydney, Australia
Year launched: 2001
Racing Class or Division: Division I
Skipper: Philippe Kahn
Navigator: Mark Rudiger
Watch Captain 1: Morgan Larson
Watch Captain 2: Zan Drejes
Crew: Kevin Miller, Curtis Blewett, Adam Beashel, Samuel
"Shark" Kahn, Michael Mottl, John Hayes, Jeff Madrigali, Don
June 30th: Weather update
We have a 1024mb high pressure near
32n/131w this morning, Saturday the 30th, with the high weakening
some during the next 24 hours as we prepare for our race.
We, of course would very much like to have a strong, well
formed high for a fast race.
For the start of the race, tomorrow,
we expect an onshore flow, WSW winds to be around 10-12 kts
and we should have some low clouds and patchy fog in the morning,
but marine layer likely thin enough for clearing along the
shore around 11am.
We should maintain good NW to NNW
wind flow on Monday to the west of 130w.
Forecasting precisely passed 3 days
is challenging. That is one of the challenges of Transpac:
Being good enough meteorologists and strategists to take full
advantage of changing weather patterns. We will be on the
ocean for more than 7 full days of racing and much will change
in the Eastern Pacific meteorology.
Sunday July 1st: The start, part I
Our Starting line is just off San Pedro in the port district
of Los Angeles. Then we must leave the Santa Catalina to port
(left side). After that, its free-style to Honolulu, we get
to pick our course. Of course the shortest distance to Honolulu
is a great circle. And every year a couple of boats attempt
that route. You end-up sailing less miles. However 90% of
the time that direct route will take you right into the heart
of the Pacific High, the center of the local anti-cyclonic
zone that is totally becalmed. And that is very bad news on
a sailboat. I can safely say that it is very likely that we
at Pegasus 77 will end-up going enough South to find better
trade winds. But before we depart, I canít talk about our
strategy as our worthy competitors could get wind of it. Speaking
of worthy competitors, this is going to be a very competitive
race with Merlin, Chance, Pyewacket all having a good shot
at the barn door trophy.
Samuel ďSharkĒ Kahn my 11 year old son didnít sleep much
last night. Adrenaline is pumping. Itís his first offshore
race and I think that he is the youngest by quite a bit in
this fleet. Shark will stand a full watch and carry his own
weight across the Pacific. This is a big international competitive
event for a developing young man.
Yes, Iím a proud Dad today!
Sunday July 1st: The start, part II
Lat 33 31 North
Lon 118 45 West
Course over ground: 185 Degrees
Speed over ground: 4.75 knots
Wind Speed: 5 knots
The starting line and around Catalina Island:
The prevailing wind regime offshore, away from the land,
will be North Westerly winds at about 300 degrees magnetic.
However around the LA Basin there is a local effect that makes
wind conditions much lighter and forces the wind direction
left. That effect is called the "Catalina Eddy"
due to the influence of the Santa Catalina Island. July 1st
was a major "Catalina Eddy" day: Winds were light
around 4 knots and the pin end of the line was favored by
al least 30 degrees. Because the wind was expected to shift
right, our plan was to be the right hand boat and be on port
at the start if we could. When the starting gun fired most
of the fleet was on starboard all bunched up around the favored
side of the line. Only Taxi Dancer, Chance and us got on port
tack. We had a better start than Chance and Taxi Dancer and
got the position that we wanted. 10 minutes into the race
we were 5 boat lengths ahead of Chance while all the starboard
fleet got themselves into a pinch by being caught into traffic
and having a hard time laying the starting line. Its fair
to say that we won the start. Not for long! Suddenly it got
very light. Although Pegasus and Chance are almost sisterships,
because of optimization choices that we both made, both boats
perform differently in different wind conditions. Because
of their larger mainsail (more power in light air) and smaller
keel (with less drag), it became rapidly clear that Chance
has an edge over Pegasus in very light conditions.
After 30 minutes, the narrow lead that we established at
the start evaporated and Chance got ahead of us. The rest
of the fleet was behind both of us. After 45 minutes it was
Chance, Pegasus followed by Pyewacket, all three on port tack.
On Pegasus we're a bit frustrated: We know that we're fast
in heavy air, but we didn't realize that Pegasus would be
slower than Chance in very light air. When the breeze started
filling we started to gain both height and speed on Chance.
It was time to tack as the wind had just clocked right to
280 degrees. It seemed that we could almost lay the Western
tip of Catalina. We tacked, both Chance and Pyewacket followed.
But now with a freshening breeze Pegasus was sailing higher
and faster. Two hours into the race we were back solidly in
the lead and rounded Catalina first. We met our goal. But
again its a long race, and anything can happen during the
and Shark at Nightfall
says Happy Birthday Mom!
First night at Sea
Lat 32 30 North
Lon 120 26 West
Course over ground: 230 Degrees
Speed over ground: 11 knots
Wind Speed: 12 knots
First night at sea and the race starts again!
As the sun came down we headed almost straight for Honolulu
on a course of 220 degrees magnetic. The wind was where we
expected to be we were happy to have a little lead over our
competition. We started our watch system at 19:00 PST, basically
two watches with 5 hours on and 5 hours off. Shark's watch
ended at Midnight and he was ready to get a nap. It had been
a long day. The night was cool but the wind seemed steady.
And then at the edge of a cloud layer we basically fell into
a wind hole and the little wind that there was veered left
80 degrees. Now the distant lights of our competitors weren't
so distant anymore and if things continued, they could end-up
ahead of us.
In fact the three of us within an hour got compressed in
such a small area that we thought for a moment that we could
have made use of fenders to avoid damage to the boats. Essentially
Mother Nature just restarted the race between the three giant
For 3 hours it was a tireless regime of changes to and from
drifters, code zero reachers until we started to lift off
both Chance and Pyewacket and reestablish a lead. The wind
then started to come up. Big swells rocked the boat: We finally
were in open ocean sailing conditions, away from the Catalina
The morning roll call confirmed that our approach had been
the right one and as I type this we are sailing a direct rhumb
line course to Honolulu. Our breakfast burritos tasted delicious
and Adam "The best 49er sailor in the world" Beashel would
like to wish "Happy Birthday" to his Mom.
So Happy Birthday!
Demoes the New Head
A broken head and new wind!
When offshore for 7 to 9 days, the galley (kitchen) and the
head (toilet) together with a dry and warm berth (bed) are
about the most important things in your life. We lost one
this morning: We broke our head. So basically we all go and
do our business over the side of the boat, which when Pegasus
is heeled 35 degrees while reaching and doing 12.5 knots of
boat speed is "interesting", However, it is much more hygienic.
I asked Morgan, our rock star Olympic and America's Cup sailor,
to give our International web audience a quick demo of our
sophisticated high tech outdoor head. Check it out. Notice
how Morgan is hiking outside and using a harness to "hang
on". Note the toilet paper roll on the lower lifeline... All
rights reserved, patents pending!
Speaking of new wind, this afternoon the wind clocked a little
more and freshened a bit. Its cool with 6 to 8 ft rollers.
A family of Dolphins escorted us for about an hour and we
saw the first flying fish. We see it as a good luck omen.
We're now speed-sailing on the great Pacific Ocean, slightly
ahead of the competition. Its going to be a cold, wet night
and the competition is after us.
Windy, Cold and Wet Night #2
Fast, windy, cold
and wet night #2
Lat 30 05 North
Lon 125 14 West
Course over ground: 240 Degrees
Speed over ground: 14 knots
Wind speed: 17 knots
Wind direction: 350 degrees
A beautiful night of sailing, but
a wet, windy and cold one. Just what night #2 of Transpac
is supposed to be: Full foul weather gear and breeze on! When
the sun came down Shark committed to stay down below. The
concern is of course that if one of us went overboard in the
kind of weather that we had last night it could be a challenge
to find them fast enough: Being knocked overboard by a rogue
wave at night can be a life-threatening experience. For Shark,
my 11 year old son, we solved the problem by keeping him inside,
down below. Probably not what Shark wanted to do, but the
safe thing to do. Tough regime because its easy to get sea
sick down below, but all that could happen was that his dinner
came back from where it came from. And it did (To Shark's
Mom: Don't worry, he's doing great!) Most of the night was
spent with winds averaging 18 gusting to 25 with 8 to 10 feet
quartering rollers. We sailed through the night on a close
reach with jib top and staysail. The speed contests between
helmsmen started at about midnight. Jeff and Zan were tied
at 17.1 knots for a while then Morgan smashed their record
as the breeze came up with an 18.7 knots. Now that was a challenge!
Just before daybreak, in a 25 knot puff, I'm proud to report
that I was lucky to top this with 18.8 knots on the front
of a wave and take the prize for the night: Hot chocolate,
which I traded for hot miso soup! Those speeds were just a
taste of what is hopefully coming. The new Pegasus is fast
and if the wind cooperates we'll be seeing mid-twenties surfs
riding the legendary Hawaiian waves. Last night was illuminated
by a beautiful full moon, which made the breaking waves sparkle
like rhinestones. To the South a very bright planet Mars was
hanging in the sky like an ornament off a Christmas tree.
It 's apparently the closest that Mars has been to our blue
planet for a long time. Spectacular!
After this morning's position report we knew that we had
increased our lead a little bit through the night. We probably
sailed harder and tougher than our competition. But our lead
is so narrow that we really need to think that we're behind
and act as such. The changing weather patterns are key to
our success and deciding what route to follow is key. Weather
this year over the Northern Pacific is quite unusual and even
unpredictable. ."Rudi" (Mark Rudiger) our rock star
navigator has been analyzing every single piece of information
that he can get ahold of. There are two factors that greatly
influece our strategy: weather and what our competition is
doing. And this of course leads to spirited debates among
all of us. We made a decision, but I can't quite share it
with you now as the competition may be watching this website.
We'll know more after this evening's position report.
in foul weather gear, harnessed, clipped and ready
for night #3
So where do we want to sail tomorrow?
Since yesterday, Pegasus gained slightly on the our three
competitors: Pyewacket, Chance and Merlin.
Pegasus continues to lead our class in the standings. However,
we are all in close proximity to one another and any of the
boats could end-up winning this race. It's of course nice
to be in the lead, but this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Chance is the closest boat to the North East and Pyewacket
dropped several nautical miles and is now to the South East.
They lost in distance but gained leverage and that is a point
of concern and lively discussions here on-board Pegasus tonight:
Do we cover them and let Chance go?
It feels and looks (on the satellite charts) like we are
approaching the ridge axis. The ridge is the place where the
winds lighten up and shift significantly to the right. That's
where we'll get into the North Easterly trades. Where each
boat crosses the ridge determines the individual approach
to Hawaii and is in many ways the most important strategic
decision in the race.
But now its time to think about sailing fast through the
night. There is a thick cloud cover and it is drizzling. We
think that it may rain. Shark can stay up on deck one hour
after sunset tonight. He's got his foul weather gear on and
his harness is clipped to the jack lines. Today he kept all
his food and he says that he is 98% over his initial queasiness.
He's been the referee for the helmsmen competitions. My record
was short lived. It was broken many times and tonight Zan
has a new one with a 20.7 knots on the face of a big waves.
galley, three camping burners, no microwave or
fridge, all frozen and dried food
Digital Displays and spinnaker pole artwork
Tactics that worked and strange weather
Lat 28 06 North
Lon 130 49 West
Course over ground: 216 Degrees
Speed over ground: 11.5 knots
Wind speed: 14 knots
Wind direction: 008 degrees
For most of the night the wind was oscillating between 345
and 015 degrees magnetic, with header puffs gusting to 20
knots and lulls down to 10 knots in the lifts. This was strange
weather with a cold drizzle that made the night cold.
The challenge for us was to average a heading of 220 degrees.
That number was important because yesterday night Chance was
still in sight on our right, but Pyewacket was building leverage
to the South. And Pyewacket was our greatest worry because
we don't think that there is much leverage to the North (lets
hope that we are right!) Therefore at 22:00 PST we decided
to set a spinnaker, sail low, and attempt to take away most
of Pyewacket's leverage. We picked our "juicer"
our unique super high-tech carbon fiber asymmetrical spinnaker.
Team Pegasus sailed hard through the night. After daybreak
when we heard the position reports the whole boat cheered.
We had essentially doubled our lead on both competitors but
most importantly we had removed most of Pyewacket's leverage.
On-board Pegasus, when we sail fast, even in a pitch dark
night we sail mostly by feel, and use instruments mostly as
a reference. We have 6 digital displays on our mast for the
helmsman and the trimmer's reference. They are from top to
bottom: Boat speed, Apparent wind angle, True wind angle,
True wind speed, True wind direction and Magnetic heading.
Celebrations onboard Pegasus are frugal. Our galley is minimalist
and we don't carry any of the modern amenities such as microwave
oven, refrigeration or any standard stove with a built-in
oven. We leave those to cruisers, it's just too heavy. We
have three camping burners to heat water, a pressure cooker
and pack 7 days of frozen food with two extra days of freeze
dried food. For silverware, we only carry 8 sets as watches
alternate and don't get fed at the same time. The team picked
8 solid dog bowls (they are almost impossible to break and
come with non-skid bottoms) and 8 toddler forks (Power Puff
Girls and Scooby Doo because they are very light and durable
without too many sharp edges). In order to celebrate our good
tactical move, this morning Morgan hand-squeezed a large glass
of orange juice for each one of us. Delicious! (Alcohol, cigarettes
or any form of drugs are not allowed on-board Pegasus) Shark
gulped his big cup of OJ, asked for another one and said:
"I need the strength for all this grinding that you guys
make me do!" Shark is 200% back!
At about that moment, looking off the leeward side we saw
a whole school of flying fish. They were fleeing Pegasus as
if it was a giant predator. Some of them even changed direction
in flight, something that I hadn't notice before. Are they
"evolving"? And then eight hundred nautical miles
from the closest point of land, in the middle of nowhere a
Dodo bird appeared, circled for about 10 minutes and then
disappeared. Strange weather today. I think that Zan called
Only frugal celebrations are in order for Team Pegasus because
although we are very well positioned, we are only one third
down the race track with many challenges ahead of us and now
we need to figure out what tactics our worthy competitors
are going to be using. More chess playing on the great Pacific
A lesson in patience and composure
Lat 26 27 North
Lon 135 49 West
Course over ground: 256 Degrees
Speed over ground: 12 knots
Wind speed: 15.5 knots
Wind direction: 040 degrees
A lesson in patience and composure: It's hard to win every
At this morning's position reports Chance and Pyewacket were
ahead on distance to Hawaii! During the night they were able
to cover more distance directly to Honolulu than Pegasus.
This showed in the standings. However there is much more to
For centuries navigators have known about the Pacific Ocean
trade winds. The seas become livelier, the sky cover is made
of a patchwork of puffy clouds and the wave patterns are well
formed and predictable. At about day break today it became
clear that we were getting over the South East ridge of this
dissipating high pressure zone and entering the real of the
trade winds. Things just started to feel different. What this
meant on the race course is that as we approached the zone
of "fluky" weather characterized by lighter winds that make
up the ridge, the boats to the North of us, Chance and Pyewacket
continued to get more wind than we did and in the morning's
position reports they're ahead of us. (That is what we speculate
on Pegasus). In "pure distance to Hawaii" both Chance and
Pyewacket are now ahead of us by a few Miles. However, strategically
we are where we wanted to be: Pegasus is in the South position.
Our strategic bet: The winds should now start to fill consistently
for us before them and with the expected 20+ degree right
wind shift that we expect we end-up in a controlling position.
If we are right about "the future", then this should be reflected
in the position reports in the next 48 hours. In other words,
given what we on Pegasus know about the weather patterns ahead
of us, we would not exchange our position on the Ocean with
any of our competitor's. We like where we are. This is now
a patience game, our dice are cast. What we just did is for
sailing what a gambit is to chess: Apparently sacrificing
the short term for the long term. However if it is not apparent
in 24 hours that this is a winning strategy, we'll cut our
losses and get back in touch with our two worthy competitors.
We are now entering the second phase of our Transpac. The
first phase of the race was the departure from Los Angeles
and our picking a good spot to cross the ridge. Now we get
to start sailing downwind. Then the next strategic move will
be to decide when to jibe and head for Honolulu. However that
decision is another day or two off.
Shark stood a full watch last night. He came on watch at
3 am and got off watch at 8am to get some sleep. We crossed
a whale and missed each other by a few feet. That was an exciting
in the trades from the top of the mast
miles from shore, Pyewacket so close to us!
Lat 28 53 North
Lon 141 35 West
Course over ground: 264 Degrees
Speed over ground: 16 knots
Wind speed: 22 knots
Wind direction: 051 degrees
This morning when we all reported our positions Team Pegasus
was silently waiting for the news: Was our gambit paying off?
The news was mixed: In some ways we gained ground, but not
enough to allow Pyewacket and Chance to build so much leverage
to the right of the race course. It was obvious that they
got good pressure, more pressure than any of the weather forecasts
showed. And we know that one thing is certain as we sail to
Honolulu: the wind always shifts right. Geometrically, all
other things being equal, whichever boat has control of the
right of the race course has a significant advantage.
One of the cool things about having Shark on-board is that
he keeps on asking: "When are we going to be ahead? What can
we do to pass Pyewacket?" All excellent questions!
Now was the time to make our move. With the new, twice a
day mandatory position reports we have a pretty good idea
as to where our competitors are and how to get to them.
After a few hours of intense sailing, Morgan from the top
of the mast sighted Pyewacket. On-board Pegasus, the intensity
redoubled. We pumped every wave and rotated helmsmen every
45 minutes or as appropriate. Shark got us water and food
and soon all got psyched because Pyewacket "was getting bigger".
At 3 PM, we had Pyewacket on our beam. Amazing, right in
the middle of the Pacific after 5 days of racing both boats
could have a water balloon fight! Clearly side by side we
push each other hard and we are both in the hunt for Chance.
They are leading the race halfway down the race course. Boat
racing doesn't get better than this. What we clearly have
here is evenly matched boats with great crews on a very challenging
race course battling each other for 8 to 9 days, around the
At 5 PM we caught up with Chance. Now Pegasus, Chance and
Pyewacket are within Ĺ mile from each other.
Squalls in the North Eastern Pacific form as a result of
evaporation of the warmer Ocean water. They look like black
threatening clouds that overtake you with lots of wind ahead
of them, rain and wind underneath them, dead calm behind them.
That is how we all lost track of Chance. Pegasus and Pyewacket
both jibed to avoid the squall's updrafts and Chance kept
on going. Only the morning position reports will tell us their
An epic night of sailing.
With Pegasus and Pyewacket in sight of each other and squalls
building all around as the full moon was rising, a jibing
duel started with a first cross within 5 boat lengths of each
other, Pegasus on port, clear ahead. We exchanged five jibes
within the next 2 hours to find ourselves going down the track
at over 15 knots in 22 knots of wind. Nothing that any weather
forecast anywhere ever showed.
Absolutely epic trade wind sailing under a full moon!
Carbon and Satellite communications don't mix!
racing in the trades
Hayes, Mike Mottl and Philippe in the blazing
Drag race to Honolulu
Lat 26 23 North
Lon 148 20West
Course over ground: 264 Degrees
Speed over ground: 18 knots
Wind speed: 27 knots
Wind direction: 062 degrees
The position report this morning showed Pegasus ahead of
Chance and Pyewacket. Chance is farther north and behind us
probably betting on a very large and sudden right hand wind
shift. Pegasus is in-between Pyewacket and Honolulu two miles
Our goal now is to work on stretching our lead. This is easier
said than done as the Pyewacket group is very experienced
and has been sailing their boat much longer than we have been
sailing the new Pegasus.
On board, life has truly taken the rhythm of the Ocean, the
sun, the wind, the waves and the stars. We now find ourselves
asking whether its Saturday or Sunday. With trade winds between
22 and 29 around the clock, and seas from 8 to 18 feet, sailing
the boat fast is demanding and there are constantly 5 to 6
of us on watch. For jibes, it's all hands on deck. From a
personal hygiene perspective, it's now like we never had a
working toilet, we all comment that it's "yet another
optimization". We are all now used to taking salt water
showers to clean ourselves.
Shark is now an integral part of the racing team. He takes
bearings on Pyewacket, grinds the spinnaker, helps trim the
main and with all the galley chores. He loves to listen to
the sailing stories as told by the boys, and is becoming quite
a story teller himself.
As the night falls, we know that this will be a defining
night in the way that we manage squalls. Pyewacket is now
about 4 miles behind and Chance more than 15. This is a small
lead that could evaporate if we get caught on the wrong side
of a squall.
clowning around in 25 knots!
The night is full of squalls. Now anything can happen in
this race. We lost touch with Pyewacket in the heavy rain.
We were becalmed for a while. They may have passed us.
Now we are on the front end of another squall with winds
gusting to 30 knots shifted 35 degrees to the right. That
is why I can now send reports: Our heading is 260 degrees,
we're on port tack and the target satellite is bearing 225
Shark thinks that these squalls are really cool. I think
that we may be creating a monster here... He says: "They
are just like giant Pacmans trying to eat us up like the dots
in the game..."Hmmmm......
favorite acrobatic clown!
The morning after the squalls
Lat 24 21 North
Lon 152 03 West
Course over ground: 220 Degrees
Speed over ground: 12.5 knots
Wind speed: 18 knots
Wind direction: 079 degrees
Team Pegasus battled squalls all night, making endless spinnaker,
jib-top, stay sail changes. After seven days of hard racing
this was a heroic effort. When we lost Pyewacket in the second
squall of the night, we thought that
they had gone around us, and we were now clearly ahead. This
is a great team because we all went to work even harder.
All this hard work paid off as Pegasus is now both first
in class and first overall with an 8 mile lead over Pyewacket.
In the last 24 hours we covered 335 miles, for an average
of 14 knots.
Now the winds are lighter and the team is pushing hard to
make sure that none of that lead gets squandered. A lot can
happen in the next 340 nautical miles to Honolulu!
Catching some Z's...Morgan and Madro
Light and Hot
For the last 5 hours its been light and hot. Real light.
And that is nerve racking because we're all thinking:
"If the Pyewacket guys have 5 knots more wind than
we do, we could see our lead evaporate". There
is not much that we can do but to rest the team, sail
fast and wait for the next position report.
Lots of snoozing on-board, we just don't need as many
sailors on deck and it's going to be a long night to
the finish. Passed this evening,
none of us is likely to get any sleep before the finish.
But for now, we're waiting for the evening position
report to see how much ground Pyewacket made.
the bookie, managing the ETA time sheets!
Betting on ETAs
500 Miles out as customary on-board Pegasus we started a betting
pool for ETAs. We started it, but Shark seems to have taken
ownership of all the process. He's on the ship's computers
looking at routing software trying to figure out the "best
Each bet is $10 and we're all allowed to place three bets,
winner takes it all. I have found that it can be better not
to win this pool as once at our home Waikiki Yacht Club (one
of the two best yacht clubs in the world!), the winner is
going to have to take care of the bar tabs for everyone, far
exceeding the size of the betting pool!
But of course Shark says: "I can't go to the bar, so
I get to keep it all". I think that he's been thinking
of getting a laser and that may get him partly there. In any
case, the flying white horse is smelling the barn. Luckily
we have maintained our position at the last reporting.
Fly Pegasus, fly through the night!
Night is coming down, and it looks like we're going
to have more squalls.
Pyewacket is much more experienced than we are and we
will need to sail hard
and relentlessly all night to attempt to keep our lead.
Fly Pegasus, fly, talk to the wind... Fly Pegasus,
A night without sleep, sailing hard for the finish line at sunrise
All night long Pegasus has been flying on a tight spinnaker
reach headed by every squall. With each squall we got a right
wind shift that put us on our ear to make course towards Makapu
As we ride through this fast and windy night I remember hiking
up to Makapu Lighthouse, high on the cliffs behind Koko Head
and looking in the direction of the sunrise, thinking about
this Transpac finish.
Many times while at our home in Honolulu we'd visit both
Makapu Lighthouse and Diamond Head Lighthouse (up on Diamond
Head road) and visualize the Transpac finish. Now we are almost
in sight. When we pass the 100 mile distance to the finish,
we are supposed to check in by radio with the race committee.
We've been monitoring the race committee's frequencies with
the angst that Pyewacket or Chance would be checking in before
us. We're pushing very hard, during this fast night ride.
Fly Pegasus, fly!
How we stretched, our rookie helmsman, Shark!
Tireless start trimmer Mike
Doc never stops, always there
Curtis on top of the mast!
25 knots, rocking, masterful Curtis
Haleakala in sight!
Lat 21 58 North
Lon 156 27 West
Course over ground: 264 Degrees
Speed over ground: 14 knots
Wind speed: 19 knots
Wind direction: 096 degrees
Towering at 10,000 ft the Haleakala volcano situated on Maui
is the first majestic landmark that we sight. You can see
and accumulation of clouds with the little tip of the volcano
sticking out. Binoculars confirm the details.
An hour after we checked in for our 100 Miles, nobody else
has yet. We figure that this may not mean much as its easy
to forget to check-in. So were pushing the boat
as hard as we can.
There are two finishing strategies: Either head straight
to the finish line or aim for Molokai and play the shifts
down the Kaiwi channel as the wind bends along the coast.
We are pretty familiar with that phase of the race after some
epic Kenwood Cup distance racing in the summer of 2000. We
like that approach a lot, however the wind has clocked East
in the last 24 hours and those shifts may just not be worth
Well make that decision in the next few hours. Of course
the danger here would be to not play those shifts and our
competitors to make gains by playing them.
Our last position report.. We hear Pyewacket's position and
the whole boat cheered: We doubled our lead through the night!
There is going to be a lot of sleeping once we get to "The
best little yacht club in the world"! (Or
maybe not just sleeping...) But until then we're all going
to push our flying white horse like there is no tomorrow.
Still much can happen in the big waves and the big wind and
what are without much doubt the best sailing
conditions in the world. Big wind, big waves, warm water,
Pegasus, the flying white horse is starting to 'accelerate
for the barn!"
Pegasus 77 crosses the finish line
Team Pegasus won long hard battle on the great Pacific Ocean.
There are a few remarks that I thought pertinent as I am sitting
here in Honolulu looking at beautiful Diamond Head.
Race tactics and strategy: On Pegasus 77, we
were determined to match race Pyewacket for 2250 nautical
Miles. Our understanding is that Pyewacket didnt really
want to follow that path, but I think that we did a good job
at forcing Pyewacket into the match-racing mode. We wanted
to take as much of the luck factor out of the equation. Here
is the logic behind our race tactics and strategies:
1. Learn to sail Pegasus 77 from Pyewacket: Pegasus 77 was a brand new boat and we never had a chance to test
her against another boat. Not even in a local race. Transpac
was our first race ever and we only had 15 days of sea trials
to learn to sail Pegasus 77 without a tuning partner. Therefore
being next to a comparable boat (Pyewacket) that we knew was
fast helped us make sure at any time that we were sailing
Pegasus 77 close to its potential. The more we sailed next
to Pyewacket, the better we got at sailing our boat. After
2250 nm we really learned a lot. Pyewacket was our tuning
2. Never let Pyewacket build leverage: We decided
what whenever we tried something different that
wed evaluate at the next position report, at most 12
hours if needed. If it didnt seem productive, wed
fight to get right back in touch with Pyewacket. It turns
out that except for the last 24 hours we always cut our losses
and nothing different worked. Pyewacket was obviously
well navigated and did not leave us windows of opportunities.
3. Work as hard as needed to always position Pegasus 77
between Pyewacket and Honolulu: That included working
hard at winning the start, and whenever behind at expanding
as much energy as needed to be one boat length ahead.
With tight covering tactics its clear that one gives
up the potential of much bigger gains with the trade-off of
a greater chance to win the race. We felt that we only needed
to win Transpac by one boat length and that therefore a lead
of more than one hour was a good stretch given our tactical
and strategic approach to the race.
Future Transpac racing: We obviously had essentially
one-design offshore sailing across the Pacific in the Volvo
Cup style. Three evenly matched boats are in existence. It
would make a lot of sense to formalize this class
and encourage more owners to develop new boats to the class.
Father and Son: Taking Shark, my 11 year old son, with me
was one of the best thing that I did for both of us. Together
we have now built unique memories throughout an amazingly intense
8 days of around the clock intense competition and communion
with the Ocean and the wind. Priceless.