It has been fairly mild sailing out here about 600 miles off the coast of California for the past 24 hours. There is still a high Marine Layer cover in the sky which is probably a good thing because 8 days of total sunshine would be draining. The winds have been in the 12-18 knot range and backing to the north and northeast.

We are in the middle of our main competitors in the TP 52 class. Samba Pa Ti who has been sailing very fast these first few days is about 20 miles ahead and to the south of us while Valkarie and some of the SC 70’s like Pyewacket are 20-40 miles a stern of us. I am sure you can check out the fleet positions by going to We have made a 5 mile gain on Samba in the last 10 hours…maybe a bit of compression with different winds. The Samba hull shape is very fast reaching which is what we have done in the first three days. They have taken their advantage and leveraged it to the south. They obviously feel there will be more wind in the south in the coming days.

The sea is smooth out here so good sleeping weather.

I am going for some right now.

0330 PDT – The July 5th start of the Transpac Race was a good one. We had about 12 knots at the start and the wind held on a long starboard tack toward the West end of Catalina Island. We made a few short tacks to get around the West end about 2.5 hours after starting.

At 100 feet in length with a canting keel, Alfa Romeo pulled away from the fleet quickly. Samba Pa Ti, one of the four TP 52s led the way in our group and on Flash we were second to round the West end. The Santa Cruz 70’s were just ahead of us so we were all mixing it up on the shorts tacks up the coast of Catalina.

After Catalina, the fleet cracked sheets a bit and started heading about 210 degrees magnetic. We held onto Samba Pa Ti pretty well in this stability sailing. At one point in the night, Samba, Philippe Kahn’s Pegasus and us were all within about five boat lengths.

The first night was cold and a bit rough with wind speed in the low to mid 20’s and short steep waves. We were all pretty wet and uncomfortable. My daughter Allie’s boots were soaked and her feet were cold so I filled her boots up with warm water from the kettle and then drained them. This did not make them any dryer but they were warm and she really liked that little trick.

As Monday came around, the fleet started to spread out a bit, the wind moderated and clocked and life got a bit smoother. We shifted to the Jib Top reacher early in the morning and by midday Monday we had a flat reaching spinnaker up. It was pretty nice to have a spinnaker up within 24 hours of the start.

With the more eased sailing, Samba took off on us. They probably have some pretty nice reaching sails for those angles. Also, they are set up lighter than Flash in displacement so once the wind began to ease and clock, that was good for Samba.

Life onboard Flash is good. No major problems. We have been eating our freeze dried Beef Stroganoff and Chicken Terriyaki. The weather looks like the wind will get a bit lighter (10-12 knots) over the next 24 hours then start a slow build after that into the trades. The wind is clocking slowly over this period also.

We saw a few whales off the coast but not nearly as many as we did in the race from SF to LA a few weeks ago. That is mainly because we are sailing perpendicular to the coast and most of the whales swim along the coast.

The moon is fairly full and even thought we are still under the marine layer, we have good visibility on deck at night. This makes the long night watches a lot better.

That’s all for now.


You can follow the fleet by going to and click on the Tracker.

It is the eve of the start for us on Flash, the Farr designed TP52 which has been modified with a deeper keel, bowsprit and square top main. The Trans Pac is a 2250 mile race from LA to Honolulu which is run every odd numbered year. There are three starts in this years race in an effort to get the whole fleet to finish as closely as possible. The smallest boats started last Monday and another group started on Thursday. We are in the final group tomorrow. Unfortunately for the first two groups, there was very little wind out on the Pacific last week. Things are starting to shape up tomorrow and Monday. This should give a big advantage to the boats in our group for overall honors.

Some of the well known names in our group are John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti, Roy P Disney’s Pywacket, and Neville Chrighton’s Alfa Romeo-the 100 foot R/P super Maxi that will be gunning for the outright record which currently stands at 6 days 19 hour set by Hasso Platner’s Morning Glory.

Our boat, Flash, was originally built for George Andreadis and I sailed on her (Atalanti) in the first Med Cup season in 2005. A bit of work has gone into making Flash seaworthy and somewhat waterproof.

So at 1255 PDT tomorrow we will be off. The router currently has us finishing at midnight on July 14. That is, of course, subject to change.
The Flash crew;
Tom Akin-Skipper
Jay Crum
Joe Crum
Paul Cayard
Danny Cayard
Allie Cayard
Paul Allen
Skip McCormick
Hogan Beatie
Will Paxton

You can follow the fleet by going to and click on the Tracker.

We just ate at PF Chang’s and finished it off with “The Great Wall of Chocolate”!

Off to a real bed for the last time for 8 days.