Friday, July 15, 2005

The 100 Year Ocean Racing Triumvirate

A good follow-on to yesterday's post is a discussion about the Transpacific Yacht Race (Los Angeles to Honolulu) which began off Long Beach, CA on July 11. Kimball Livingston reports for SAIL Magazine here on the atypical start to this years race - rather than punching through to the usual boisterous offshore sea breeze, competitors langished in Los Angeles smog for two days and, according to the race web site, boats are only now picking up the trade winds that usually provide a sleigh ride to paradise for this classic competiton. This is a 2,225 mile endurance sail. Most boats understandably attempt with a full complement of crew - here's an article that details the record seven boats sailing doublehand this year, meaning a crew of just two sailors. According to the article the doublehanding sailors are just looking for a challenge. ;-)

"I used to run big boats and raced them all over the world for my whole life, and you get bored sailing on big boats," said Bruce Burgess, who will leave for Hawaii today on Two Guys on the Edge. "You get to the point with five people on a boat where it isn't fun. There isn't a whole lot to do."

2005 is the 100 year anniversary of the Transpac...notable in and of itself but worth placing in the context of the 100 year anniversary of the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge this past May and the 100 year for the Newport-Bermuda Race next year - together the three of these races practically define modern ocean racing. There's a very good story in this triumvirate on how the past 100 years have shaped the sport and where collectively we're heading with the next 100. One thing is for certain, the proving ground is timeless.

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