Transpac Update – 240 miles to go!

It was a tough 24 hours for Flash and a great 24 hours for Samba. The sailing has been great. Lots of high speed sailing….24 knots of boat speed. These TP52s with the bowsprits and deeper keels are great boats to sail. Everyone on Flash is driving the boat and experiencing the exhilaration. At one point late yesterday afternoon, we were “ripping” along at 25 knots in 28 knots of wind. The water was coming down the deck 1foot high at times and Allie had to keep standing up to avoid the wall of water from her position at the mainsheet. I said to her, “Al, this is a little bit of what the Volvo is about.” She smiled and said, “Show me the money!”

There has been a lot of squall activity in the past 48 hours now that we are firmly down in the trade winds. Squalls are little storms that brew at the bottom of a cloud…a cloud that releases its energy in the form of wind and sometimes rain. In dealing with squalls, one tries to avoid the windward side of them and get lined up for the good “downwind” side. Sometimes this “line up” happens naturally and you are perfectly set up just by nature. Sometimes you have to gybe a few times to get the line up right.

Onboard Flash, we did not have the natural line up so we did a lot of maneuvering to try to get a few bursts of wind. We also could not avoid two of the bad ones and we went very slow for and hour in each of those. It looks like Samba did a better job of getting the good part of the squalls.

Another factor that could be relevant is that Samba set up to the west of us. In fact they were to the west of everyone, in the corner, and we were second most west. The whole rest of the fleet is inside is to the east. Maybe the west just had that much more wind.

We have maintained or extended our lead on our competitors. This may confirm that the west is best. Anyway, we are still second in class and second overall this morning, relinquishing the top spots to Samba for the first time in the race. We never really expected to be challenging to win this race in first place, but once you get a taste of it, you don’t want to let go. Samba had a 1.25 hour lead on us in handicap at 0600 today. Anything is possible so we are pushing hard here.

This non-stop, downwind sledding, is really fun. We have one more fantastic day of it today, as we will probably finish just shortly after midnight tonight. It has been a lot of fun and the whole crew of Flash thanks Tom Akin, our skipper for making it all happen.

I will write a summary report in the next few days if I don’t write another one before the finish.


Flash will finish the Transpac Race around 0130 local time tomorrow July 13

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