July 26 - August 1, 2015: Issue 224

Wild Oats XI & Raggamuffin 100 In Iconic 48th Transpacific Trade Wind Race

Wild Oats XI Crew and family members in Honolulu this morning 

 Wild Oats XI and Raggamuffin Finish Iconic 48th Transpacific Trade Wind Race

Sunday July 26, 2015:,7.46am: 

Australian maxi yachts Wild Oats XI and Raggamuffin have finished one of the world’s oldest and longest yacht races in record times.

Wild Oats XI  completed the 2,225 nautical miles(2,560 mi; 4,121 km) Transpacific in  6 days 10 hours 37 minutes 02 seconds (Corrected Time: 6:12:37:38) while Raggamuffin 100 has completed the race in 6 days17 hours:26 minutes (Corrected Time: 7:07:00:41). Transpac tells us ‘There are no official results until all of the boats are in’ but Preliminary Results show these Australians have done exceptionally well in what has been a challenging race.

Rob Mundle OAM, sailor, author and journalist, has been posting daily reports throughout the race on Wild Oats XI progress, cataloguing barely a breeze at the start, a helmsman being hit in the face with a flying fish while cleaning his teeth and the supermaxi having to negotiate its way through a mass of flotsam and jetsam.

“I’ve never seen so much rubbish in the ocean. It was everywhere we looked. “navigator Nick Whitesaid on July 23rd.

Started in 1906, it is one of yachting's premier offshore races famous for fast downwind sailing under spinnaker in the trade winds and attracts entrants from all over the world. The Transpacific Yacht Race (Transpac) is a bi-annual event that commences off San Pedro, Los Angeles at the Pt. Fermin buoy, and ends off Diamond Head Lighthouse in Honolulu.  The race is organized by the Transpacific Yacht Clubwho can trace its founding to a letter challenging California yachtsmen to sail to Hawaii from King Kalakaua in 1886. 

Kalākaua, born David La’amea Kamanakapu’u Mahinulani Nalaiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua and sometimes called The Merrie Monarch (November 16, 1836 – January 20, 1891), was the last reigning king of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He reigned from February 12, 1874 until his death in San Francisco, California, on January 20, 1891. During his reign hula was revived, after having been banned in 1830 by Queen Ka'ahumanu, who had converted to Christianity. He is also known for having revived surfing and the Hawaiian martial art, Kapu Kuialua.  (1.)

In 2013, the fully crewed monohull, Dorade, won first overall, making it the oldest boat in the fleet to win and a 2-time winner, having won the Transpac in 1936, 77 years prior. Raggamuffin 100 also raced in 2013, placing 3rd in the seven yachts racing in Division 1, which may be her Official Result this year too. 

Wild Oats XI is a joint entry in this race by Australian owner, Bob Oatley AO, and American Roy P. Disney, who was co-skipper with Pittwater’s Mark Richards. Roy P. Disney is a son of Roy E. Disney whose Pyewacket, a 73-foot maxi ultralight designed by Reichel/Pugh, in 1997  set a new monohull elapsed time record of 7 days, 11 hours, 41 minutes, and 27 seconds. Roy E. Disney sailed in 15 Transpac's over 30 years before retiring from racing in the Transpacific.

Since 1949 the fastest in the fleet have traditionally competed for the unique Transpacific Yacht Club Perpetual Trophy -a 3 1/2 x 4-foot plaque of hand-carved Hawaiian koa wood---better known as the "Barn Door." Smaller boats unable to match the larger ones in sheer speed compete for a prize more reflective of crew performance: the King Kalakaua Trophy, a metallic model of a sailing canoe, for the best corrected handicap time.

The first Australian yacht to enter the Transpacific was Kurrewa III in 1949, also the year the other long race the Transpacifi Yacht Cub organises was inaugurated;

Australian Yacht to Cross Pacific

ADELAIDE, Thurs: Entry of their Australian yacht Kurrewa III in the 1949 Trans Pacific yacht race from Los Angeles to Honolulu had been received enthusiastically in America, Mr. F. J. Livingston and Mr. J. M. Livingston said today. They said that Californian yachtsmen believed an international competitor would create added interest in the2200-mile contest, the world's longest yacht race. The race will begin on July 4.The Livingstons will sail their yacht to America via Auckland- and Honolulu. They expect that the 7000mile trip will take two months. They will have a crew of eight— mostly young Sydney amateurs. Australian Yacht To Cross Pacific. (1949, January 13).The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950), p. 14 Edition: HOME. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article83763170 


MELBOURNE, Apr. IB.-The sister of the bachelor owners of a? ketch which left on a 7000-mile journey to Los Angeles to-day made a snap decision five hours before sailing time to go with them. She was Miss Emily Livingstone, of Urratum Station, near Mt Gambier. Her brothers, Frank and John Livingstone, pastoralists, will contest the 2200-mile trans-Pacific yachtrace from Los Angeles to Honolulu! in July in their 58-ft. ketch Kurrewa III.

Miss Livingstone said: "I had no intention of making the trip, but the cook signed off at the last minute and I decided to take his place. However, I am not sure whether I will stay on after. Auckland. I will just see how things go."

Her brothers are confident that the Kurrewa in will stand up to most weather as she survived a 80 m.p.h. cyclone in the Tasman Sea recently, where she ran under bare poles for 24 hours. TRANS-PACIFIC YACHT RACE. (1949, April 20). Cairns Post(Qld. : 1909 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42622315

The Story Of Kurrewa III

Hurricanes, cyclones, minefields, and the 'officially missing' notice have not daunted the South Australian-bunt Kurrewa III from racing in the most famous yacht races in the world.

Built in 1929, Kurrewa III (formerly Nautilus) was bought by John and Frank Livingstone, South Australian graziers, in 1946, after the yacht had finished her war career in Thursday Island. The craft was Australia's first entry in the 2,200 mile trans-Pacific yacht race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, easily the longest yacht race in the world. Prior to her eventful voyage to San Francisco and back, Kurrewa III had: —

Taken two months to sail from Thursday Island to Sydney, after passing through a minefield in a hurricane and later being posted as missing. Raced twice in the Sydney- Hobart yacht race, once in the Hobart-Auckland race, and once in the Auckland-Sydney race. Survived a cyclone between Auckland and Sydney to make a record crossing of 10 days. To compete in this year's trans-Pacific race, KurrewaI III sailed 10,000 miles, leaving Melbourne in mid-April to arrive in time for the start on American Independence Day. July 4. Her crew was Frank Livingston, owner skipper. John Livingston, owner mate, Emily Livingston, cook, Terry Hammond, Bill Gordon and Henry Podmore, all of New Zealand, and Australians Allan Bath. Frank Lush and Bill Mitchell. Kurrewa III is 56 feet long, and draws seven feet. A ketch of 22 tons, she sailed under Bermuda rig. The Story Off Kurrewa III. (1949, November 12). The Advertiser(Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74657424 

World's Longest Yacht Race LOS ANGELES, Friday. - Sportsmen were signing up to-day for what will be the world's longest yacht race-3800 miles, from Los Angeles to Tahiti. The trans-Pacific Yacht Club, which sponsors the annual Honolulu- race, was invited by the Governor-General of French Oceania(M. A. Anziani) to sponsor the Tahiti run. According to tentative plans the yachts will leave Los Angeles early in June, 1950, to finish in Tahiti early in July for a combined July 4-Bastille Day celebration. World's Longest Yacht Race. (1949, October 1). Advocate(Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91759593 

Kurrewa placed 16th in a field of 24 yachts. Since that time Sydney yacht Solveig has raced(1951: co - skippers, Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen) and Astor (1963 , owned and skippered by Peter Warner) has also put in a good showing.

Rob Mundle reported yesterday, July 25th our time;  ‘Wild Oats XI will remain in Honolulu for only four days. On Monday a delivery crew, including some of the Transpac race crew, will sail her back to the open sea and head southwest towards Sydney. It will be a one-stop passage of more than 4500 nautical miles that will take at least three weeks to complete.’


1. Kalākaua. (2015, July 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved  from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kal%C4%81kaua&oldid=673021816

Kurrewa III image courtesy Archives Office of Tasmania

Raggamuffin 100 crew this morning in Honolulu (Some of the 20 crew on Ragamuffin - photo courtesy Todd Rasmussen)


Monday July 27th (3:.49 am Sydney Time): Transpac Media Release

Elapsed times were short of record pace, but still a great achievement in a difficult race

Honolulu, HI – The Barn Door Trophy is made from a large ornately-carved piece of Hawaiian Koa wood, and is an iconic symbol of excellence for the Transpac: many of the most famous racing yachts in the world of offshore sailing have their names inscribed on the brass plaques around its perimeter.

TPYC's famous Barn Door Trophy

In 2009 when the existing course record was smashed by over a day by Neville Crichton’s canting-keeled Alfa Romeo, Transpac YC recognized that this class of designs was unique and needed its own trophy, so the Merlin Trophy was born to honor the boat that did so much to encourage high-speed offshore-capable design.

Today the names inscribed on the 2015 plaques was determined at the Transpac’s Diamond Head finish line: Roy Pat Disney’s and Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI had the lowest elapsed time on the course to win the Merlin Trophy, and the first monohull without powered assistance was Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio 100, who will win the Barn Door Trophy.

Wild Oats XI is a 100-foot custom design famous for its numerous victories in the Sydney-Hobart race in its native Australia, and was competing this year for its first Transpac. The goal was a course record, but the weather was uncooperative this year. Nonetheless, the team felt this was a significant achievement.

“What a machine; what a ride; what a crew,” shouted an elated Disney as they docked inside Honolulu’s harbour to the cheering and clapping of an adoring crowd of family and supporters. Disney has 21 Transpacs to his credit. Disney and skipper Mark Richards assembled an international pro team of 16 sailors for this campaign.

Wild Oats XI - photo Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

A proud and extremely happy Bob Oatley was on the dock to welcome the team. As much as the 87-year-old wanted to be part of the race, his health prevented him from doing so. Being on the dock to salute the success was the next best thing.

A few hours later Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin 100 crossed the finish, runner-up to Oats. This was the second Transpac for ‘Rags’, which is actually in modified form from when she last raced here in 2013: she is narrower and lighter, but not enough to match Oats in the downwind VMG sailing common to this race. 

Explaining Rag’s decision to go far north in the hunt for more wind, helmsman Matt Allen said “We had a choice: go down the middle with Oats and follow her and lose, or head north and try to find more pressure to get around her on the top of the course.” Ragamuffin sailed with a pro-am mostly Australian team of 20 crew.

Several hours later Manouch Moshayedi's Blakewell-White-designed, Kiwi-built Rio 100 sailed across the finish line, sailed by an international pro-am crew of 19 as the first monohull equipped with only manual-powered systems to sail the 2225-mile course in the shortest elapsed time. Their finish time – at 3:30 PM Hawaii time – was several hours from breaking the current Barn Door record of 6D 19H 44M 28S set by Hap Fauth’s 74-foot Belle Mente back in 2011, but by all accounts this year’s difficult race weather was not favorable to many boats in the fleet, so Moshayedi was still pleased.

“We set out to win this trophy, and did, and it’s not too often that you can achieve these goals in ocean racing,” he said. “The boat and the team were fantastic, and its great to be a part of Transpac history. We look forward to coming back next time and breaking that record.”

Tactician Gavin Brady said he’s been on many successful offshore race teams, but this one was both well-coordinated and congenial, a feat not easy with 19 people, one of the largest crews in the race this year.

“It sounds like a lot of people, but every one works, and works hard. This is a physical boat and all the effort that it takes trimming sails requires 8 guys at a time on the handles, so we had to have 19. This makes life on board a challenge, especially after a lot of days and the weather getting warmer each day. But everyone got a long really well, this was a great group of guys.”

There was one disturbing aspect of this race that had Brady incensed: trash. “There was so much floating debris out there, its hard to describe or comprehend,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Maybe because the High was pushed north so we sailed this year into the waters where it is normally, but this is a great tragedy to have so much garbage out there.”

Brady said the team did many evasive maneuvers and once even a back-down to stop the boat and shed the keel of a fishing net.

“We’ve got to as racing sailors let everyone know about this,” he said, “because otherwise no one would believe it.”

Other finishers in the last 24 hours included Paul Stemler’s J/44 Patriot, who in Division 7 is a runner-up in corrected time to Harry Zanville’s Santa Cruz 37 Celerity, who is still leading overall in ORR corrected time scoring; Tracey Obert’s BBY 59-foot ketch Marjorie, the first to finish in Division 8; and Drew Belk’s Beneteau First 40 Precepts II. On the eastern horizon within range of the live 100-mile tracker and due to finish some time tonight or tomorrow morning are the following boats: Dave and Peter Askew’s R/P 74 Wizard, who as ex-Belle Mente still holds the Barn Door record and is currently leading Division 2 in corrected time; Ross Pearlman’sJeanneau 52 Between the Sheets in Division 8; Alex Farrell’s 1D35 Alpha Puppy in Division 7; Joel Young’sBeneteau 523 Transformer in Division 8; Sam and Willie Bell’s Lapworth 50 Westward; and Pat Benz’sGunboat 66 Extreme H2O, the first multihull to finish the race this year.

For those that wish to follow finishers on the Yellowbrick tracker system for when they arrive within 100 miles of the finish, there is a real-time window set up at this link: http://yb.tl/transpac2015-Finish. For other entries still on the course the tracker has a 6-hour delay and is found at http://yb.tl/transpac2015.

Daily race analyses videos made by Seahorse Magazine USA editor Dobbs Davis are viewable to the YouTube link from the Transpac YC home page.


Wild Oats XI Records - Transpac 2015

August 2, 2015 

The remnants of the Wild Oats XI crew (those still in Honolulu) seen here receiving one of their trophies at the Transpac Race awards ceremony last night. Roy Disney (who shared the entry in the race with Bob Oatley) is holding the trophy (his son is with him). "Oats" won "Overall Elapsed Time", 1st on corrected time in the 100ft class, and first foreign yacht on elapsed time. Navigator, Nick White, received the Navigator's Trophy for the division. "Oats" is now sailing 4300nm back to Sydney. 

Pic is from Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing - post courtesy Rob Mundle.

 Transpac 2015 Wild Oats Welcome to Hawaii

Report by A J Guesdon and Transpac Images courtesy Todd Rasmussen and Sharon Green2015.