The tactical pas de trois among Pegasus, Pyewacket and Chance in the 41st Transpacific Yacht Race has taken off into a headlong sprint to the finish and a possible rare sweep for the winner
The tactical pas de trois among Pegasus, Pyewacket and Chance in the 41st Transpacific Yacht Race has taken off into a headlong sprint to the finish and a possible rare sweep for the winner.
At Sunday morning’s roll call Philippe Kahn’s mythical winged horse had flown 335 nautical miles in the past 24 hours, was 404 miles from the Diamond Head finish line and led Roy E. Disney’s magical cat by eight miles, with Bob McNulty’s dark blue blazer another six miles back.
The recent surge along the normal track of trade winds carried the trio past Seth Radow’s Bull, a Sydney 40 ID-T competing in Division 4, into the 1-2-3 positions for overall corrected time honors, despite their near-scratch handicaps. None will approach Pyewacket’s elapsed time record for a monohull of 7 days 11 hours 41 minutes 27 seconds set in1999, but besides the Barn Door trophy for fastest elapsed time as well as first in class in Division 1, the winner also could ultimately claim first place on handicap.
That has happened only three times in modern-day Transpacs – most recently in 1993 by John DeLaura’s Silver Bullet and in ’91 by – guess who – McNulty with his original Chance. Both were standard ULDB 70s, not the 73-to 75-foot state-of-the-art sleds racing today, all designed by Reichel/Pugh of San Diego.
Better yet, it promised to be a photogenic daylight finish sometime Monday, and it could be one of the closest ever. That record is Ragtime’s stunning 4-minute 31-second upset of Mark Johnson’s Windward Passage in ’73 – a virtual photo finish after sailing 2,225 nautical miles across the trackless eastern Pacific.
The latest position reports showed Pegasus at 24-39 latitude and 151-30 longitude, Pyewacket at 24-30, 151-15 and Chance at 24-31, 151-08 – clearly placing Pegasus on a track eight to nine miles north of its rivals. If Pyewacket can work any of its feline witchcraft with that southerly leverage, now is the time.
In other classes, James McDowell’s Grand Illusion, the ’99 overall winner with a home port of Haiku, Hawaii held on to first place in Division 2, although David Janes’ new Transpac 52 J-Bird III, Newport Beach, Calif., held a 16-mile lead boat for boat.
Brent Vaughan’s Cantata, Newport Beach, took over first place in Division 3 from Yoshihiko Murase’s Bengal II, Japan, which was starting to pay the price for the extreme northerly track it has followed above the rhumb line from the start.
Although slipping to fourth, perhaps temporarily, Bull retained its lead in Division 4, boat for boat and on handicap.
Wendy Siegal’s Cal 40 Willow Wind, Sunset Beach, Calif., strengthened its first-place handicap position in Aloha-A Division over the 75-foot Shanakee II, which finished early Saturday, although the 65-foot schooner Bonaire took an eight-mile lead in the class 218 miles out. Those boats and Barry Ruff’s Aloha-B entry Axapac from Canada, all of which had a six-day head start, could finish Monday close to Pegasus, Pyewacket and Chance.