​Transpacific Yacht race underway

LIHUE — Dozens of boats recently started the 2,225-mile journey from Point Fermin in Los Angeles to Diamond Head in the 49th biennial Transpacific Yacht Race, more commonly known as Transpac. There are currently 55 monohull and multihull entries from the U.S., Japan, Australia, Norway, Italy, Canada, Peru, England and Russia, ranging in size from 33 to 100 feet. There will be three separate waves that start today, Wednesday and Thursday.

“This year’s race attracted a strong turnout of new racers, including Ken Read with his 100-footer Comanche, navigated by well-known racer Stan Honey,” said Bo Wheeler, Commodore of the Transpacific and Kaneohe yacht clubs. “Read and crew will be seeking to add another elapsed time race record to Comanche’s outstanding record inventory.

Weather permitting, Comanche will try to beat the current monohull course record of 5 days 14 hours 36 minutes 20 seconds, set by Alpha Romeo in 2005, and have her name recorded permanently on the Transpacific Honolulu Race Elapsed Time Trophy that was created and donated by Transpac veteran Roy Disney.”

Wheeler said that Manouch Moshayedi’s 100-foot, fixed keel Rio 100 is back to defend and break her 2015 Barn Door Trophy victory for the first to finish monohull to cross the Diamond Head buoy. He added that the current multihull course record is also expected to be broken by contenders that include Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo3 and H L Enloe’s ORMA60 Mighty Merloe, among others. The bulk of the rest of the fleet will be competing for corrected time trophies in their classes.

Transpac was originally inspired by King David Kalakaua to initiate the islands’ economic and cultural ties to the mainland. His yacht, Healani, won the first Challenge Trophy on July 4, 1889. During the years that the king was an active yachting enthusiast, it was his custom to invite the skippers and crews of the competing boats to join him at his boat house following the July 4 race.

He would fill the Challenge Trophy, as it was originally named, with champagne and pass it around for all to enjoy; hence the trophy’s colloquial name — the Kalakaua Cup.

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