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100-foot boats & powered winches in for Transpac 2009

by Rich Roberts 6 Apr 2008 19:08 BST

There’s a new wave in ocean racing, and the Transpacific Yacht Race will ride it to Hawaii in 2009.

The TPYC board of directors has posted an Advance Notice of Entry Requirements for the 45th race from Los Angeles to Honolulu next year with two key changes: a maximum length overall (LOA) extended to 30.48 meters (100 feet) for fastest elapsed time or course record contenders and the free use of stored energy for sail hoisting, trimming and adjusting---essentially, ending a Transpac ban on powered winches.

Entry chairman Bill Lee said, “We wanted to set a limit consistent with the major races in the rest of the world, and 30.48 is where it’s going. This should include all of the modern 100-foot racing boats, and is consistent with the International Maxi Association’s maximum size for racing boats.”

The 30.48-meter limit matches that established recently by the International Maxi Association. One prominent Maxi owner, Neville Crichton of New Zealand, has already stated his endorsement in regard to Transpac.

“We are definitely extending my boat [Alfa Romeo] to that length,” Crichton said, “and I would imagine the other boats that will be doing the European races will also do similar mode. I am definitely interested in participating in [Transpac]... Just a thought: if we were to do Transpac with several boats it would be good to possibly come back [to California] and do the Big Boat Series afterwards in San Francisco.”

The new Transpac entry requirements also allow for a multihull fleet with a minimum of two entries and no maximum size or rating limit but a minimum LOA of 45 feet.

The Transpac Technical Committee chaired by Bill Lee and composed of Commodore Dale Nordin, designer Alan Andrews, veteran ocean racing navigators Ernie Richau and Stan Honey, US Sailing Offshore Director Dan Nowlan and Transpac veteran Sue Senescu presented the new requirements to the board of directors.

Lee said, “It was agreed that heavy cruising Aloha Division-type boats which are not contenders for the course record should be permitted to enter and compete for Aloha division prizes, even if they exceed the race boat limit of 30.48 meters.”

Other highlights of the new requirements:

  • A minimum LOA of 26 feet for monohulls and a rated speed equal to that of a Catalina 34 with spinnaker and 155% jib.
  • Minimum crew will be two, and the use of auto pilots will be allowed only on boats competing for double handed prizes.
  • A tungsten bulb that meets all of the conditions of the IRC grandfather is permitted.

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