|Horizon Finishing the 2019 Trans Pac Photo courtesy of Ultimatesailing.com|
By LEN BOSE
Like I had mentioned a month ago, the 50th anniversary of the Transpac race takes place on July 10, 12 and 13 with the smaller boats starting first. Over the last two weeks, I have been forced to prepare the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon for the race. The Transpac is 2,100 miles from San Pedro to Honolulu, Hawaii. This year, our harbor has five entries competing in four different divisions. I thought it might be interesting to interview some of our harbor’s skippers before the start of the race.
My first call was into the Staff Commodore from the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Dave Clark, who will be sailing his recently purchased Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion historically known as G.I.
G.I. has a long history in the Transpac and has won the King Kalakaua Trophy, for first overall on corrected time three times in 1999, 2011 and in 2015. Clark and I sailed in the 1983 Transpac together aboard Amante, and it’s interesting how a type of brotherhood occurs with your crewmates over the years.
This year, Clark has recruited Buddy Richley as one of his watch captains. He is the owner of Amante and also sailed with us on the boat in 1983. Clark has skippered in a Transpac before aboard his Santa Cruz 50 Adrenaline. This time, it’s rather special because his son, Brooks, will be joining him. The Clark family has a long history competing in the race with Dave’s father, William Clark, who competed in 1949 aboard Gallant and in 1957 aboard Kialoa. It’s kind of interesting to note that in 1949 aboard Gallant, Henry Buckingham was a crew member. Today, I assume Buckingham’s son, Jim, will be crewing aboard G.I., which is kind of cool. There have been rumors that Clark has been going the extra mile in provisioning G.I. for this year’s race. When I asked Clark about the menu, he kind of chuckled and was quick to respond that his wife, Shelly, was doing all the hard work. G.I. doesn’t have an oven, so most of their meals are vacuum baked and pressure cooked, which I have found out is a skill within itself. The race’s first meal is always the most difficult to swallow, because as we leave the California coast, the boats are close – reaching and tipping over quite a bit. “We will be serving something simple and easy to eat, like burritos, the first night out. We are concentrating on meals that you can eat with a spoon or a fork, rather than needing a knife to cut the meals,” Clark said. He also told me about the Aloha party, which is a greeting party at the finish of the race. “We have the previous owners, the McDowell family, greeting us,” Clark said...which just adds to the story even more.
Next up is Carson Reynolds aboard the Nelson Marek 68 Bolt. This will be Carson’s and his father Craig Reynolds’ fifth time sailing together. The companionship between the two is unique and priceless. I had a chance to sail with the two of them in 2003, and have always envied their relationship and the experience sailing the race together. The Reynolds family also has a long Transpac history, and if I recall, Craig’s grandfather also competed in the race as a skipper. Carson, who is a new father himself, feels strongly about his father and son relationship, and hopes to inspire his children in the same manner. The race team Bolt will be in a very competitive division with the strongest competitor being Roy Disney aboard Pyewacket. Bolt has taken to the strategy of being the lowest-rated boat, the boat with the smallest sails comparatively, and is betting on the big breeze to take the corrected time finish. I have always felt this a very strong strategy and hope we all have the breeze this year. “Because of our larger beam, we are hoping to perform well in the close reaching and that’s what we are concentrating on,” Reynolds said.
I was also able to contact Dan Gribble, the owner of the Trip 56 Brigadoon. When I inquired about his task list in preparation for the race, Gribble replied: “It feels like the list is still growing, but we are going to make it. I have my safety inspection later today.” Provision wise, it sounds like Brigadoon is the boat to be on with all of its meals being catered, packaged and well thought out. “No freeze dry food for us...remember the boat weighs 40,000,” Gribble said. When asked which point of sail the boat performs well at Gribble replied: “We will like the blast reaching with a big breeze and try to hold our own on the run. We have one of the bigger boats in our division.” Brigadoon will be returning to California after the race, and next year will be heading out to cruise the South Pacific.
|J 46 Patriot|
The last Newport Beach skipper I talked to was Paul Stemler, sailing his J-46 Patriot. Stemler competed in the 2015 race and finished at the top of its division, and at the close of the race felt that he could now check that off his bucket list. Well, his son, Pierce, has a different idea this year, and convinced his father to enter. The interesting part of the story is that most of the siblings of the previous crew have signed up this year. Stemler is hoping for a daylight finish, as his greeter is the Commodore of the Transpac Yacht Club, Tom Hogan, whose son, John, is sailing on the boat. This team has gone the extra mile preparing for the race and should do quite well.
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for Stu News Newport.