Tom Akin had a lot to say about sailing Flash, a TP 52, to Hawaii. His initial comments were, “I found out what is its like to be in a TP52 for seven days. You sit in water, you eat in water, and you sleep in water. It’s wet. The beast is not as luxurious as my Santa Cruz 52. I was looking for a creature comfort and couldn’t find one.”
Akin, his crew and Jeff Thorpe, Criminal Mischief’s navigator, worked non-stop over a very short period of time to get Flash into racing condition. From the time the boat arrived in Long Beach, two weeks before the start, until the evening before they took off, the deck was strewn with rigging materials, sealants and tools. The work that they did paid off. With more than half of the Transpac fleet safely docked in Honolulu, Flash sits second in class and second in fleet.
Akin had nothing but praise for each and every individual who sailed Transpac 09 on Flash. As their Aloha party wound to a close, Akin rose to the occasion and thanked them. He started by saying, “You’ll always have a special affinity for a boat that takes you 2,500 miles. It’s a bond that we’ll never forget. We did a lot of really good things and we have to be happy with that. If someone had told me that we would be sitting in the second in class, second in fleet position a few months ago, I would have told him he was crazy.”
His talented crew does not sail together regularly. Akin said, “Samba Pa Ti is a though boat and is sailed by professionals. They’re obviously much smoother and they got the angles down.”
Flash held the lead on corrected time for much of the race while Samba was “zigzagging all over the place,” said Paul Cayard. “We were pleasantly surprised to be in the lead. During the last two days, they got it sorted out and put on the afterburners and put 40 miles a day on us.”
Allie Cayard, the youngest and the only female on board said, “There was never a dull moment. There was always something to be fixed.” Allie sailed with her brother and father, Paul. She also noted how calm it was dockside compared to out on the Pacific Ocean sailing the world’s most enduring and greatest ocean race.