Singlehanded Transpac Finishes Up Page 2

No matter where you go in the world it’s “never like this” when they switch the weather on. So it goes with distance events as well. The 2010 edition of the Singlehanded Transpac has been slow going much of the time, with difficult seas and opposing sets kicked up by distant storms. A thirteen-day crossing is certainly not the best-possible time for a
Publish date:
Social count:
No matter where you go in the world it’s “never like this” when they switch the weather on. So it goes with distance events as well. The 2010 edition of the Singlehanded Transpac has been slow going much of the time, with difficult seas and opposing sets kicked up by distant storms. A thirteen-day crossing is certainly not the best-possible time for a

Fourth to finish, late Monday, was Max Crittenden on Solar Wind. As he describes his ride, “Solar Wind is my second boat, a Martin 32 built in 1980 in the Vancouver, BC area. It’s a great sailing boat that affords ‘many opportunities’ for creative maintenance and detail design enhancements.”

The thing about the Singlehanded Transpac is that, sure, any and every ocean race represents somebody’s dream but this one is a deeper reach, a bigger ask, a more compelling statement than most any other. That is, how many of us have ever told a boss, a spouse, the people you’ve known since high school, I’m going to race my boat across an ocean all by my sweet self.

Which is probably why the Singlehanded Transpac also brings out the best in people surrounding the participants. The tradition, as photographed by Kathe Hashimoto, is that all gather “under the tree.”

To his surprise, George (“the 2010 Single-Handed Transpac is my Mount Everest”) Lythcott was greeted, not by the one family member he had been led to expect. No, the welcoming party looked like this, but a lot more jumpy and feelie in the moment . . .


Lythcott sailed an Express 27, Taz!! and made the crossing in 18 days. . On Day 17, he wrote, “I was hand-steering last night about 3 am. The sky was mesmerizing. The moon was behind some clouds, but through the open spaces I could see thousands and thousands of stars and the haze of the Milky Way against the black background. I was lost in the thought of being out in the middle of the Pacific alone, and as I looked straight up I saw an area where there were no stars. Hey. Then I realized I was looking at a black cloud. I looked for the edges, and it was massive, tracking behind me. Probably the size of Manhattan. I went below quickly and suited up. Foul weather pants and jacket, life jacket, harness and hat. I tethered myself as I stepped into the cockpit and all hell broke loose. The wind went from 14 knots to easily 25, and changed directions by 180 degrees. It started to rain heavily. The sails started banging around and the auto-pilot, now confused, shut down. I took the helm and started sorting things out. First, the #1, which was back-winded and poled out on the port side. Luckily, instead of breaking, the pole de-telescoped. I pegged the tiller, went forward, and took the pole down. The sail was now just flapping loudly. Next, deal with the main. Back at the helm, I eased the preventer. I was now steering Taz!! upwind toward Hanalei Bay.

“In the rush, I hadn’t closed the hatch and the inside of the boat got wet again. The only time the dampness still bothers me is early in the morning when it gets cold. I have nothing to cover me. Last night I used the spinnaker, the one I saved from the headstay yesterday. I hand-steered Taz!! another one and a half hours, until the wind returned to 62 degrees magnetic and dropped to 15 knots. Then I reset the sails and let the auto-pilot steer. I sat for a while watching the sky and looking for more squalls. They were there but off my port side and not a worry.

“Today, I’ve been thinking about how wonderful this experience continues to be. I am trying to memorize it. There may be other attempts, but there will never be another first time.”


Young former Marine Ronnie Simpson, sailing in the name of Hope for the Warriors, looked back on his own final day at sea and recalled, "I knew we were going fast. Fortunately, the GPS was there to show that I was traveling at more than 13 knots for what honestly felt like 30 seconds, indicating a highest speed of 15.2. I was soooooooooo stoked. I have seen 20 knots in a sportboat and 25.6 on a catamaran, but to reach 15 while solo on a tradewind swell in a 30-foot keel boat is a whole different ball game. That will go down as my best pure sailing moment ever to this point.

"So, uh, yeah. It's over. I'm in Kauai after completing my first Singlehanded Transpac. Was it worth it? Yes. Was it everything I thought it would be? No. it was more. Was crossing the line in Kauai the best single moment in my life? It's a distinct possibility. Finishing this race, in that very moment, was the realization of a dream. Two years ago, this goal of singlehanding to Hawaii nearly killed me, and it took everything I owned, stranding me in a foreign land with nothing. Except for the dream. And again this year, this goal of going solo across an ocean took a year out of my life, threw me for a loop, depleted my checking account and actually started adding grey hairs to my 25 year old head. But now that i've done it, it seems like the time, money and effort involved in every facet of achieving this dream were all great investments.

"To Don Gray and everyone who was has supported me along the way: Thank you. This may be a solo ocean race, but there are a million people who have made this possible for me. Just know that you helped someone realize a dream and gave me a great experience that i'll carry with me forever."


Landing Page Lead

The Volvo Returns to the Southern Ocean

Since the Volvo Ocean Race’s inception, the Southern Ocean has made it what it is. And no part of the race says “Southern Ocean” like Leg 7 from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil. The 7,600-mile leg, which starts this Sunday, is not only the longest of the event, but far more


SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comTeak deck paradise  I had a call recently from the man who replaced the deck on my Mason 44 five years ago. He was worried about the way people are wrecking their teak decks trying to get the green off. more


Gear: ATN Multi Awning

THROW SOME SHADEAmong the many virtues of cruising cats is the large expanse of netting between their bows, which is the ideal place to hang out with a cold one after a hard day’s sailing and let the breeze blow your worries away. Only trouble is it can get a bit hot up there more


How to Sail the Med

“After spending so many years sailing the Caribbean, I was frankly astounded at how much more I enjoy the Mediterranean,” says Scott Farquharson of charter brokers Proteus Yacht Charters. “The culture, the history, the food, the weather, friendly people, crystal-clear water—there more


Know-How: Rigging Emergency Rudders

We were 1,100 miles from the nearest land when we received a text message on our Iridium GO: “Rudder gone. Water in bilge. Worried pumps can’t keep up. Please call!”We had been in contact with the owners of Rosinante, a 38ft Island Packet, since they had first announced over the more


Experience: Hard Aground

This is a story of how mistakes are made and judgment is dulled to the point of catastrophe. It is also about how prudent planning, good equipment and a bit of luck can bring you back from the brink.We departed Norfolk, Virginia, on December 15 bound for Jacksonville, Florida, more


Vestas Discusses Fatal Collision, Recovery

Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-captains Mark Towill and Charlie Enright discuss the collision near the end of Leg 4 as well as the efforts the team has made to get back into racing trimJust over a month after 11th Hour Racing’s fatal collision with a commercial fishing vessel shortly more