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RIO100 wins Merlin Trophy in Transpac 50

by Transpacific Yacht Club 20 Jul 14:04 BST 10-25 July 2019
RIO100 crosses the finish at Diamond Head - Transpac 50 © Ronnie Simpson / Ultimate Sailing

With a finish time of 19:34:25 HST today, Manouch Moshayedi's Bakewell-White 100 RIO100 has become the fastest monohull without powered performance systems to finish the 50th edition of the biennial 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race. In so doing she has won the Merlin Trophy, which this year was re-defined from its original criteria of being awarded to the fastest monohull of any configuration in the race.

RIO100 is the first boat in the history of Transpac to have won both the Merlin and Barn Door Trophies. Asked how he felt about this, Manouch said "It feels fantastic, I'm going to go down the list of trophies, one by one!"

Two years ago in their Barn Door Trophy win, RIO100 was not at full speed for the latter portion of the race having hit debris that broke one of their two rudders. Quick work by the crew capped the hole in the hull at the rudder bearing and the team sailed on for their elapsed time win. This time the only debris hit was a long hawse line from a fishing boat that they believe slowed them "for about one and a half - two hours" while they removed it from the keel. But all in all Manouch felt this was a "cleaner" race, and their elapsed time of 6 days 9 hours 8 minutes 26 seconds is the fastest yet for a non-canting Monohull.

Earlier at 12:07:48 HST Jeff Mearing and Peter Aschenbrenner's Irens 63 trimaran Paradox also finished at Diamond Head, the last of the Multihull Class 0 boats to finish with the three MOD 70's crossing the line last night.

The next in the approaching queue of boats coming from the east is another Monohull Division 1 entry, Phil Turner and Duncan Hines's Reichel/Pugh 65 Alive from Australia, the reigning overall champion of the last Sydney-Hobart Race. Their projected time to finish is about 0200 HST on Saturday morning, July 20th, marking the start of a succession of finishers coming to Diamond Head from Division 6 who started last Wednesday, July 10th.

Further out on the course the reports describe a mix of joy and sorrow, with most of the 82 boats projected to finish in this fleet describing beautiful 15-20 knot downwind sailing conditions during the day followed by some tough rainy and windy squalls at night. Spinnakers are getting a workout, with some breaking under the strain of an unintended broach or knockdown, prompting on-board repairs so they can be hoisted and used again.

Navigator Sean Motta has been providing numerous reports throughout the race from Roger Gatewood's J/145 Katara, with the latest describing their travails with broken spinnakers and their impact on performance:

After a fairly rocky start this morning we're back to a full head of steam. Repair efforts were made to the A4, and it now lays in reserve if the need were to arise. We down shifted to our much smaller reaching kite, the A3, for several hours. We were making acceptable way, but we weren't able to get the angles or speed we wanted. Cautious of blowing out our only other runner kite, our lite air A2, we held off. After a few hours the breeze subsided somewhat and the call was made to hoist the A2. That helped significantly with the angle and speed and we're back up to a full head of steam.

We are tentatively planning to downshift back to the A3 overnight in order to protect the A2 for use in the final approach or in lighter air if it appears again tomorrow.

We've got a full boat worth of projects going on with cleaning, splicing, minor tweaks or repairs, and just generally cleaning up a week of hard use. Most everyone is on a second or third pair of clothes and we had a dry enough day to get the boat opened up and aired out a bit.

Overall a pleasant day as we run towards the right edge where we will gybe over to port tack for our final (though over 500nm) approach in to Molokai for the final push in to Hawaii. Hard to tell for sure at this point but sometime very very late overnight on Sunday in to Monday morning Hawaiian time is looking somewhat most likely at this point.

Jerzy Poprawski also reported from his 43-foot catamaran "Kastor Pollux at 0810 lost [our] second and last spinnaker, sailing [now] wing-on-wing. We are working to fix one." They are the faster of the two remaining multihulls on the course in Division OA, the other being Lior Elazary's Lagoon 400S2 Celestra, although sailing without a spinnaker for their remaining 650 miles may change that order.

Just south of Celestra on Robert DeLong's TP52 Conviction, Larry Robertson reported the following personnel issue that has been plaguing them all week:

On Monday, we had a crew member injured due to a fall across the cockpit, and stopping at the edge with his ribs. We believe there is at least one broken rib. We have been in touch with family members and others in the medical community. There is little treatment that can be administered other than standard pain medications and keeping immobilized as much as possible. The injury is not life threatening, but the discomfort is pronounced. A knockdown is not fun for anyone, but very painful for someone with broken ribs. As a result, our foot has been off the 'gas pedal'.

Despite the above, our spirits are high as we sail to Hawaii.

Except for the damage suffered by Giovanni Soldini's MOD 70 Maserati that finished in the wee hours of yesterday morning, the reports of serious debris have been relatively light compared to recent post-2011 Tsunami years on this course. However, Larry on Conviction reminds us there are man-made objects out there to avoid:

We passed a buoy a couple of days [out] about 800 miles offshore. I am pretty sure it was not anchored. We were going 13 or so and it passed one boat length (50 feet) to windward and we did not see it until we were within a couple of boat lengths. We are glad that we did not ring that bell.

A race from Los Angeles would not be complete without screenplays, so this tale from Robert Zellmar's Santa Cruz 50 Flyingfiche II is worthy of mention:

We've made our jibe and are heading directly toward Hawaii. Given that the distance yet to cover - about 600 nm - is longer than most boat trips, it seems premature to call this the home stretch. Everything is relative, I guess.

Nighttime conditions continue to be challenging. It was blowing a steady 25 when we executed our jibe. It was also 2 a.m. and the seas were rolling. Come to think of it, they weren't good conditions to accomplish anything, other than coming back to the cockpit soaked. I nailed that!

It has really warmed up. The off-shift crew is doing their best to stay cool, and welcoming suggestions.

Recent observations have inspired me to write a screenplay:

The Trimmer

SCENE: Cockpit of a boat sailing in the Transpac race. GRINDER sits in front of a winch, handle at the ready. TRIMMER sits across the cockpit in a beanbag chair, holding the spinnaker sheet that is wound around the winch.

As action begins, the leading edge of the spinnaker curls over.

TRIMMER: Grind, grind, grind!

GRINDER does nothing. Before the TRIMMER speaks again, the curls flips back.

TRIMMER: OK!

END SCENE

FIN

We're now performing this play dozens of times a day around the clock with a rotating cast. No two shows are quite the same!

For more colorful tales and photos of life aboard an entry in Transpac 50, visit the dedicated pages to blog posts at 2019.transpacyc.com/news/boat-blogs.

For more information on Transpac 50 and its history, events and sponsors, visit the main website at 2019.transpacyc.com.

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