With the Mount Gay Rum party in our wake and just three boats left on the race course, Pacific Cup 2018 is very quickly drawing to a close. The award ceremony is tonight and almost on cue, the most “pro” of all the programs, Pyewacket, left before the awards, with the Yellowbrick tracker showing the Andrews 70 already headed back to California. Speaking of Pyewacket, they’re among the boats that will be picking up plenty of hardware in Pacific Cup 2018.
Winning the premier BMW of San Rafael E division over stiff competition that included another Alan Andrews designed sled, a top-tier mini-maxi, a radical 40-footer full of skiff rockstars and two more Corinthian sleds from the Pac Northwest, Pyewacket continues to be a major threat in any race in which she enters. With an incredibly well maintained and optimized platform that was built for this race and quite literally the ‘best of the best’ in the sailing world, Pyewacket adds a special element to the ‘FUN’ race to Hawaii.
Pyewacket will also be awarded the Bjorn Johnson Best ORR Performance Trophy and the Latitude 38 Performance Awar
E division 2nd place - Prospector claims second in division, but will also win the fastest passage award and the Pacific Cup overall corrected time trophy.
E division 3rd place - Blue
E division 5th place - Westerly will win the Bill Lee “Wizard” Trophy for first Bill Lee designed yacht on corrected time .
The Pasha Hawaii D division saw history be made as one of the most famous inshore one-design offshore boats in history won a major Category 1 ocean race for the first time. Renowned pro sailor and boat builder Rufus Sjoberg has earned a reputation for campaigning very extreme boats in the ocean and the year that some guys from Richmond took a Melges 32 and won a Hawaii race will be remembered for a very long time. After a humbling 2016 run, the team came back with a different approach in 2018 and with more mild conditions, she crushed. Rufless has been sold locally in Hawaii, and we will all collectively wait with bated breath to see what the next Rufless will look like. Rufus remains as fired up as ever to race the Pac Cup and we fully expect his next boat to be truly wacky, competitive on handicap and rating with boats twice it’s size.
Rufless will also win the team award for Richmond Yacht Club, teamed up with Wolfpack and Motorcycle Irene.
2nd place - J World’s Hula Girl
3rd place - Zamazaan
Before the race, we were captivated by the entry list in the Alaska Airlines C division. We knew it would be a close race with virtually every team being able to potentially claim the win if they got their conditions. In the end, a group of young sportboat sailing Canadians from BC came in and stole the show on the J/92 Zaff. Working the boat hard down the race track and sailing almost blind in regards to weather data and fleet position, merely implemented the game plan of “sailing fast towards the mark” and it worked out for them. A very simplistic approach to ocean racing, the guys benefitted from an unexpected wind shift at the end to pass Sweet Okole in the standings after the Farr 36 was already at the dock and unable to fight back. For Wampold, this is just another incredible adventure under sail. The R2AK veteran and intrepid sailor who sailed a 27-foot cruising yacht from Canada to Australia plans to sail Zaff back to Canada singlehanded.
2nd place - Sweet Okole
3rd place - Poke and Destroy
Weems & Plath B division featured a huge fleet of boats from all over the racer/ cruiser and displacement race boat spectrum. In the end, Karl Haflinger’s Seattle based J/35 Shearwater claimed a resounding victory, correcting out ahead of the rest of the fleet by more than ten hours. Again showing why J/35’s are such a good all around platform, Shearwater slipped through the light stuff and made fantastic speed and angles in the running stages of the race to run with her larger rivals boat for boat, let alone on handicap. The bigger boats in the B fleet probably weren’t stoked to have Shearwater added to their fleet last minute, but an interesting fact to point out is that had they been in the C division, they would have won that one too.
2nd place - Free
3rd place - The Fugitive
Jim Quanci was planning on racing in the Singlehanded Transpac this year, but when his boys told him they wanted to race to Hawaii again, the didn’t even hesitate to race the boat in the Pacific Cup instead. Winning the Coral Reef Sailing Apparel A division, the past Singlehanded Transpac overall winner and 15-time Pac Cup veteran has been sailing his Cal 40 Green Buffalo for decades and knows how to make the boat go well in any conditions. Leading the race overall in the early stages, Quanci stalled in light winds up north but managed to hold off his main rivals and re-assert himself when challenged.
Quanci’s two boys also helped him win the “fastest family afloat” trophy for best family performance on corrected time. This was a very competitive trophy with a lot of families in contention.
2nd place - Bombora
3rd place - Eliana
Bill and Melinda Erkelens are basically the mid-90’s Chicago Bulls of yacht racing.
We say this only a bit tongue in cheek as the married couple pulled off a seriously impressive win in the DH2 Mount Gay Rum division to earn the three-peat, as they have now won their division three races in a row on the Jim Donovan designed MORC 30 footer Wolfpack. Ultra professional and organized, the Erkelens’ quietly come in race after race with a super well prepared boat and then they sail it with ruthless efficiency and make themselves very hard to beat. Early on in the race, they took a beating on the leaderboard, but set themselves up to come in hot and rapidly surge up the leaderboard to claim an ultra competitive class. Wolfpack will also win the team award for Richmond Yacht Club with Motorcycle Irene and Rufless.
2nd place - Bacon Berger. KYC conmodore Frederic Berg and Michael Bacon will also win the first Hawaiian boat award for best corrected time by a Hawaiian entry.
3rd place - Foamy. Skipper Lester Robertson and navigator Randy Parker will also win the Moore 24 Perpetual Trophy.
Likely the most anticipated battle in the entire race, the Pau Maui Vodka DH1 division pitted six Express 27’s against one another in a big doublehanded throwdown for the ages. Express 27’s have proven to be a weapon in this race for decades, and it was only fitting that perhaps the best of the ULDB’s would turn out it’s big fleet on the 20th edition of the race. The family rivalry that existed between Will and Julia Paxton was simply epic and it came down to the wire. Julia Paxton and her partner Andy Goodman on Loose Cannon “played the game better than i’ve ever seen it played”, said Will Paxton. The elder cousin, Will, has raced in 19 Hawaii races and is a professional sailor who has been a part of three overall Transpac wins, so that’s really saying something. Goodman and Paxton will likely incur some checked bag overage fees on the flight home as they will also take home the First Carl Schumacher Design, Express 27 Award and Best PHRF Performance Trophy
2nd place - Motorcycle Irene. Winner of team award for Richmond Yacht Club with Wolfpack and Rufless.
3rd place - Alternate Reality
4th place Fired Up! has won the best first passage award.
The Kolea Cruising Division, according to all of the top finishing entries, was most definitely a “race” and not a cruise. The ‘fun’ race to Hawaii’s most relaxed division featured a couple of Hanse 505 sisterships fully sending it down the course with a renowned pro sailor on each crew. Matt Solhjem’s Anaïs was the first boat into the barn due to taking a better, more southerly route than her main rival Outremer, who over baked it a bit and got stuck up north in light air. Anaïs reported a lot of damage to various downwind sails, bowsprit, code zero, instruments, etc, but plans to use this experience to come back stronger and sail in the Transpac next year and perhaps the Pac Cup the following year. The biggest division in the race, the cruising division adds a fantastic element to this race and makes for an un-intimidating entry into ocean racing.
2nd place - Outremer
3rd place - Bear Boat