Transpac Wrap Up….

So as the spray settles and I am on the eve of leaving Hawaii and the 2011 Transpac in my wake, I have a couple of final things to add…

First off, a huge congratulations to James McDowell and the whole crew of Grand Illusion for their first-in-class and first overall in the 2011 Transpac.  It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.  I met James years ago when he came to one of our J World Racing Weeks.  He’s one of the nice guys in the sport, and clearly one of the fast guys.  The string of GI successes is long and strong, so the win in the 2011 is not terribly surprising.  And I have to say, not only is is great to see the success he has had in sailing, but it’s also great to hear that he still has fond memories of his positive experiences with J/World…  thanks for the kind words, James, and a seriously huge congratulations to you and your crew!

The SC52 Prevail entering the Molokai Channel

As we prepare to take leave of Hawaii and sail Hula Girl back to California, I want to thank all the people who made this event so memorable.  The crew of Hula Girl were all (as I have mentioned numerous times already) fantastic.  Thanks to all the family and friends who sent notes of encouragement, and who let their loved ones skip out on their work and home responsibilities for the sake of adventure.  Of course there are the Transpac volunteers who work so tirelessly to run the event.  And the fabulous Waikiki Yacht Club who accommodated Hula Girl at their wonderful facility.

Of course, thank you to our sponsors:  title sponsors Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square and Miss Pearl’s Jam House…  when you come visit J World in San Francisco Bay, this is definitely the place to be!  West Marine, Atlantis Weather Gear, Spinlock, McLube, and Expedition Software.  These are the suppliers that help the best sailing teams in the world, and the most fun boat you’ll sail this weekend (yours!).

A huge and special thank you goes out to our hosts in Hawaii, Joe and Christin Shacat.  When we came ashore late at night, they had a reception waiting that outdid anything I have ever seen before.  Let me paint the picture:  after nine+ days of offshore racing, of freeze-dried dinners and sleep deprivation, of showers-in-a-can and stinky clothes, we flake the sails, fire up the iron genoa, and follow our guide boat to the marina.  Much to our delight, Geoff’s wife Debbie and the crew had a cooler of icy beers and tequila which they passed off to us to take the edge off the trip!  As you motor into the marina, the Hawaii Yacht Club announces your arrival over the PA system, and a cheer goes up from all the revelers waiting…  Aloha indeed!

When you tie up at the reception dock on the Waikiki side of the marina, there is a flurry of activity: paperwork gets checked, agricultural compliance verified, boat inspectors do their thing…. the boat gets lei’d, each crew gets lei’d, there are photos going off everywhere, and somehow a Mai Tai appears in every hand.  As if that isn’t enough, you barely have a chance to peel your lifejacket off, and you are whisked away to the yacht club where the spread that Joe and Christin had arranged is waiting.  This was a serious spread.  We’re talking platters of food, sushi, veggies, drinks, and every delicacy that we’d been dreaming of!  We were thrilled to see our good friend Jeff acting as BBQ master (this man cooks some seriously amazing things!), and all the friends and family of our team there to welcome us.  It was impressive.  We didn’t get our gracious hosts out sailing on the Hula Girl during this visit since the quadrant issues consumed unexpected time, but they have a standing offer, and we sure hope they’ll take us up on it…  they are a real pleasure, and we owe ’em!

And on a personal note, thanks to my lovely wife Lisa for putting up with my sailing habits, and my parents for the continual support my life aquatic…  but I know they ‘get it’ and they have more than a little salt water in their veins too!


Wayne Zittel
s/v Hula Girl, Honolulu, Hawaii