The 20th edition of the Pacific Cup is nearly 24 hours old and the cream is beginning to rise to the top in each of the respective divisions. History continues to be made as Charles Devanneaux and co-skipper Matthieu Damerval have surged to the front of the fleet to take an early Line Honors lead. Just behind their revolutionary Beneteau Figaro 3 A Fond le Girafon, Emmanuel Sauquet’s Hanse 505 Outremer is engaged in a close battle with sistership Anais. All three boats are sailing at close to 10 knots and blazing a fast path to Hawaii.
Stiff winds, reported by weather authorities as sustained in the high 20s on the beam (from the side of the boat) made for a demanding first night for the 29 original starters. Race veterans compare last night's conditions to the 2002 and 2016 races which were marked by unusually stiff breezes.
The good news is that, as of this writing, the fleets are near the end of the rather rough stuff and are about to enter a zone of considerably more forgiving winds in the high teens.
31 boats, prepared, trained, stocked, and rigged for Hawaii, are scheduled to start from the San Francisco Cityfront's St Francis Yacht Club on Monday to lead the 2018 Pacific Cup to Hawaii.
Comprising two double-handed divisions, a cruising division, and a small but significant PHRF division, these boats will be the first of our 61-boat fleet to point their bows out to Hawaii. Most will carry a sacred ti leaf, brought from Hawaii and believed to help guide the boat back to the leaf's home on the island of Oahu. All will carry modern GPS and charts.
The Mount Gay Bon Voyage party capped off a final official day of the Pacific Cup Village at Richmond Yacht Club. Informative and cautionary talks at the Skippers Meeting ("don't hit the coral", "check the weather", "take pictures", "have fun) followed the handout of Skippers' bags with an assortment of swag and the paper and electronic binders that contain critical race documents.
Well, it's a lot of math. An article from the chair of the tech committee can be found here that explains it all. Possibly more than you want to know.