For 100 years, sailors have been racing to Hawaii from Southern California. Okay, probably ages longer, competitive spirit being what it is, but the 2019 Transpac marks the 50th anniversary of the 2250-mile sailboat race.
Little did I know, this big race is one of Jeff's lifetime sailing ambitions.
Enter the wizard: Merlin is a 68-foot-long sled designed by Bill Lee. The boat was built in 1977, and promptly set a record** in that year's Transpac that stood for 20 years. Tampa-based attorney Chip Merlin*** purchased the sweet sloop a year and a half ago and set about updating her and now, just like that! It's showtime.
There's been more than a year's worth of preparation, rebuilding, outfitting, refitting, and organizing logistics. I haven't documented it because –– in a parallel to nie moje malpy, nie moj cyrk –– the fiberglass dust, punch lists, invoices, and files of safety documentation have been a few states away from me.
The intrepid crew includes Chip Merlin, Brian Malone, Kat Malone, Mackenzie Cook, Keahi Ho, Mike Pentecost, James Clappier, Chris Watts, Adrienne Cahalan, variously from Florida, California, Hawaii, and Sydney, Australia.
The Transpac website will be tracking the fleet –– keep in mind, instant-gratification junkies, that the updates appear with a 4-hour lead-time. That is, the updates are NOT in real-time.
Boats are expected to finish in a week or two, depending on weather and what-not. Here's the link to the Transpac race site.
Here's the link to Merlin Racing (find a treasure-trove of videos on YouTube too!). And here's the Merlin Facebook page.
Crossing fingers and knocking wood, next stop Honolulu. Laki maika'i, all y'all.
*Identify the literary reference, win a prize.
**8 days, 11 hours.
***If your family name is Merlin, I think you are more or less obliged live up to it.
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