Two new Australian-built boats are in a battle for overall corrected time honors in the 41st Transpacific Yacht Race that is too close to call

Two new Australian-built boats are in a battle for overall corrected time honors in the 41st Transpacific Yacht Race that is too close to call.

Philippe Kahn’s Pegasus, already in port with the Barn Door secured for logging the fastest elapsed time, will find out Wednesday by dawn’s early light whether it can claim Transpac’s first sweep in eight years and only the fourth in modern times.

Seth Radow’s Bull, a Sydney 40 One-Design Turbo with the image of an angry toro on its hull, must finish by 5:20:51 a.m. local time. At Tuesday evening’s roll call, Bull was only 17 minutes 4 seconds behind the magic number and gaining time by leaps and bounds at an average speed of 8.6 knots.

Although Pegasus’ elapsed time of 8 days 2 hours 34 minutes 3 seconds missed Pyewacket’s record by about 15 hours Monday, those two boats and Bob McNulty’s Chance posted the 10th, 13th and 14th fastest Transpac times ever.

The reason was the robust trade winds that kicked in halfway across the course. With following winds continuing to blow a steady 20 knots down the final straightaway Tuesday, boats were finishing like runaway floats in the Rose Parade. At times there were as many as four welcome luaus going on at once along a sweltering Transpac Row in the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor.

Nineteen of the original 33 starters had finished by day’s end. Wendy Siegal of Sunset Beach, Calif., with her apparent overall victory in Aloha-A Division, is one of the rare women to win class in Transpac – maybe the first since Sally Blair Ames won Class A with Constellation in 1959. Siegal sailed the 36-year-old Cal 40 Willow Wind, the oldest boat in the race. The six-person crew included navigator Duncan Harrison, who two years ago rebuilt their broken boom in mid-ocean just to finish the race. This win was built on a bold dive south the first day, then a 13-day spinnaker run from last place, picking off the other five boats, one by one. Siegal, 49. Said, “I’m not a rich sailor. I sell clothes at Nordstrom’s. I quit my job to do this race. I don’t know if I’ll get it back. But this is the ultimate.” . . .

David Janes’ new Transpac 52 J-Bird III from Newport Beach was the first finisher in Division 2 ahead of all the 70-rater sleds. But J-Bird III, designed by Alan Andrews, owed the sleds about seven seconds per mile and just missed correcting out on James McDowell’s Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion for overall in class. G.I. was the race’s overall handicap winner in ’99. Janes said, “I understood we were expected to sail fast, but to beat [the sleds] boat for boat is special. We saw G.I. about three-quarters of a mile to leeward when we passed them a couple of days ago. The boat is very stable, fast, well-balanced and takes off like a jackrabbit in a spurt.” Jim Demetriades’ sky blue Yassou, the other new 52, was fourth overall in Division 2. Janes highly recommends the new class to others. “They can sail up there with the big guys and they don’t need 5 million bucks,” Janes said. . . .

Bob Lane’s Andrews 61 Medicine Man from Long Beach, Calif. – five feet longer than it was in previous Transpacs – climbed from next-to-last to fourth among the eight boats in Division 2 by the end. Navigator John Jourdane said, “That boat is really fast. Our problem was we got stuck for 12 hours behind San Nicolas Island [70 miles offshore] the first night with no wind, but once we got in a breeze the boat just took off.”