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44th Transpacific Yacht Race - Day 15

by Rich Roberts 24 Jul 2007 08:27 BST

Reinrag2 makes Transpac a winning family affair

The first two times Reinrag2 sailed the Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii, Al Garnier was on the boat enjoying the fun with the family. This year he's on the docks greeting every boat that finishes the race, whatever time of day or night, because that's what Transpacific Yacht Club commodores do.

Late Sunday night at the Hawaii Yacht Club that duty included Reinrag2, his brother Tom's J/125 from Portland, Ore.

"Al said before the race, 'My dream would be to present the big trophy to you,' " Tom Garnier said.

And so it will be. The little 41-foot boat-that-could upstaged all 73 starters big and small to win first place overall on corrected handicap time. Al will hand the Governor of Hawaii trophy to Tom at the awards dinner Friday night.

"The gods must still be crazy," Tom said.

Garnier spelled backwards is Reinrag . . . or vice versa. The 2 means "squared," but let's not go there. What's important is that even with handicaps aside, Reinrag2's daily mileage logs late in the race surpassed those of almost all other boats except Pyewacket and Magnitude 80 twice its size.

Doug Baker's Mag 80, meanwhile, finished an hour before dawn Monday to clinch overall honors in Division 1 ahead of Pyewacket. Mag 80's elapsed time was 7 days 19 hours 8 minutes 10 seconds, second only to Pyewacket's 7:01:11:56.

And there was still considerable action at sea with a second match race between Cal 40s heating up to the level of the ongoing joust of Transpac 52s. Both were so tight that in each case the boat behind was ahead of its rival on corrected time---Steve Calhoun's Cal 40 Psyche over Don Grind's Far Far and the Morning Light rookies against John Kilroy Jr.'s Samba Pa Ti pros. The TP52s should finish around midnight Wednesday, the Cal 40s the next day.

Baker knew his boat was a longshot to beat Pyewacket boat for boat and was pleased with winning Division 1 overall. On handicap, he beat Pyewacket by almost eight hours after following his rival's track like a determined hound dog most of the way.

"They're faster," he said. "It was a ratings game for us."

But, Baker added, his navigator, Ernie Richau, had to put Mag 80 in position to compete on those terms and did so at the start by taking the Andrews 80 north of Pyewacket, which soon went north to cover Mag 80 and play the opponent's game.

"You gotta give our navigator a lot of credit," Baker said.

Frank Easterbrook's Ladd 73 Ariadne from Newport Beach was the first Aloha boat to finish, crossing the line 13 minutes after midnight Sunday.

"It gave me chills when we crossed the finish line," Easterbrook said. "And when we started the race, I was so overwhelmed with being a part of this race I almost cried. That’s what this race means to me.”

Reinrag2 started July 12 in Division 4, three days ahead of the biggest boats, and caught the breeze that blessed the middle starters. Its elapsed time was 10 days 11 hours 51 minutes 35 seconds, reduced by a handicap allowance 3:22:20:02 for a corrected time of 6:13:31:33, comfortably secure for first place even with the great majority of boats still at sea.

The trophy for overall stands alongside the Barn Door (fastest elapsed time by a monohull) as Transpac's two most prized awards---even bigger, some of the small-boat owners would say, because they have no hope of outsailing the Pyewackets with their outsized muscle and professional crews.

So how did Reinrag2 pull it off?

Five of the six crew were adult Garnier family members: skipper Tom Garnier, Al's sons Kevin and Darren Garnier, Kevin's wife Lashawna, Tom and Al's nephew, Jared Lathrop, and Joby Easton, longtime friend and employee of Tom.

"But we aren't amateurs," Tom said. "We've been sailing a while. We have five super helmsmen on board."

"Six," a crew member interjected. "He isn't counting himself."

With squirrelly conditions prevailing, early strategy was all over the map. Reinrag2 chose to go south.

"Last time we had no wind," Tom Garnier said. "This time we really had to find the wind. We never dropped below 10 knots [in boat speed], and coming in through the channel to finish we hit 20 knots, surfing. This is just a big Laser, and you have to put the biggest sail up."

But despite his brother's dream, Tom had no illusions of winning overall.

"Hell, no," he said. "We didn't pay attention to that stuff. We just wanted to sail our own race and accelerate to the finish. We pushed real hard the last third of the race, and then we could see it coming."

Anna Katarina, John Otterson's Beneteau First 47.4 from La Jolla competing in Aloha A division, became the fifth boat to retire Monday and was reported to be motoring the last 1,000 miles to Hawaii.

Transblogs from the boats

On the Edge of Destiny (Sean Doyle): There hasn't been much to report lately except the frustrating shifts of wind speed from less than 10 knots to 20+ and back again. Luckily, the breeze is starting to be more consistent at around 19-20 knots. Over the last couple of days, we have made some good miles and our standing has gone up some, but the boats behind us in our division are not far back. We saw the most wind we have seen all trip last night with a gust up to 28.8 knots, not much but we are hoping for more in the Molokai Channel. Ted [White] still holds the boat speed record at 18.2 knots courtesy of the 22-28 knots steady we had for over an hour last night. Less than 550 miles to go now, and it looks like we will be getting in Tuesday sometime."

Locomotion: Our water situation remains closely monitored, and we are going to have to use the emergency water and even the life raft water to make it to Thursday. Not sure what we do if the race extends to Friday. Go without, I suppose. On a cheerier note, we've witnessed some very nice rainbows as weak squalls pass by to the south and north of us, but never over us, delivering much desired rain.

Pegasus 101 (Philippe Kahn): Just the two of us need over 30 minutes to jibe safely at night. Of course, if sailing with two were as simple as sailing with 12, the America’s Cup or the Volvo Ocean race would be sailed with just two. This all makes it even more fun and challenging for us. It’s like playing golf against Tiger Woods with just three clubs!

Tango: Having completed our morning devotions (it is Sunday and Mike is an ex-altar boy), we got the standings this AM and they are not as bad as we expected. We are still in the doublehanded race, probably for second [Ed.—Actually, currently first]. We are going to put our best "aggressive sailing" effort out for these last couple of days to see if we can hold our position. We had to destroy our spinnaker net yesterday to get the sail off the headstay, so we will endeavor to make a new one. We both feel like we have started a new workout program and are sore in places we didn't know we had muscles. With luck, it could still be an early Thursday finish.

Pyewacket (Roy Pat Disney): (After Sunday's finish at 11:11 a.m.) I've done this race 17 times and I've finished in daylight only four times.

The Transpacific Yacht Club has joined with Casio Computer Co., Ltd., in a sponsorship agreement to make the company's Oceanus watch the official timekeeper of the 44th biennial race. The Oceanus is a solar-powered chronograph watch with a time signal-calibration function developed by making full use of Casio's advanced electronic technologies.

Transpac supporters also include the Long Beach Sea Festival 2007, Gladstone's Restaurant, Ayres Hotels and L. Gaylord Sportswear.

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