WIZARD - Volvo Open 70

Peter Askew, Baltimore, MD
New York YC
Built 2011 as Groupama 4, Juan Kouyoumdjian design

The entry of WIZARD brings another first-to-finish contender to the race, with a proven boat (winner of the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race as Franck Cammas’s Groupama 4), proven team (winners of the 2019 Transatlantic and Rolex Fastnet Races), and determined drive to set a new monohull course record.

Peter Askew and his brother David have been long-term racers, both offshore and inshore, on a wide variety of boat types over the years. Their last Pacific race was winning the first-to-finish Barn Door Trophy in the 2015 LA-Honolulu Transpac on their last WIZARD, a Reichel/Pugh 74.

“I like ocean racing, and the 600-mile races [eg, Fastnet, Newport-Bermuda, Middle Sea Race, Caribbean 600, etc] are great, but a race like the Transpac Tahiti is a lifetime opportunity to stretch out on a true oceanic race,” said Askew. “As an amateur, there are few opportunities where I can race across the equator like the pros do on the Volvo Ocean race, Transat Jacques Vabre or others.

“And to have a rival like Pyewacket will be great to push us both in a match race towards the monohull race record.”

PYEWACKET - Volvo Open 70

Roy Disney, San Diego, CA
San Diego YC
Ex-Blackjack, ex-Telefonica

A press time, the PYEWACKET team was still making arrangements to ship their latest race boat of this name – the Volvo Open 70 Blackjack, ex-Telefonica – to its new home in California from Australia. Team manager Robbie Haines says the team is excited about the race and this project, one with a clear intent to challenge the course record. According to owner Roy Disney, the race to Tahiti is one that complements the team’s strong record of having raced 23 Honolulu Transpacs, 7 Pacific Cups, and one Victoria-Maui race, and twice breaking the Transpac record in 1997 and 1999.

He said about the reason to do this race: “The obvious answer is…Tahiti. And a chance to break that record, a chance to cross the Equator for the first time. Its also where I spent my second honeymoon.”

In preparation for the race, PYEWACKET plans to do local and west coast long distance races like Puerto Vallarta, Ensenada, the So Cal 300, etc.

CABRON - Botin 80

Steve Meheen, Houston, TX
San Diego YC
Built at Cookson, launched 2013

CABRON is a Botin 80 (ex-BEAU GESTE) built at Cookson and launched in 2013. She captured line honors in the 2014 Auckland to Fiji Race later went on to win the Groupama Race in 2016.
Under Steve Maheen’s more recent ownership, CABRON has been hunting for monohull course records in various Southern California to Mexico races, and has them already for the Newport-Ensenada and San Diego-Ensenada races. The next target before setting off to Tahiti is the race to Puerto Vallarta.
With her light weight, high stability and generous sail area, Maheen and his Misfits Racing Team will be a serious contender to seek a new course record to Tahiti as well, currently held by MAGNITUDE 80 and set in 2008 at 11 days 10 hours 13 minutes 18 seconds.

ZEPHYRUS - Reichel / Pugh 77

Damon Guizot, San Marino, CA
Los Angeles YC
Built Jim Betts, launched 2002

Designed and built for fast offshore passages and extremely active around the world under her first two owners, ZEPHYRUS’s third owner Damon Guizot is just as passionate about offshore racing, being an active participant in most long races in Southern California. She has never yet raced to Tahiti, so this will be a suitable addition to a long pedigree of racing heritage.

MEDICINE MAN - Andrews 63

Bob Lane, Long Beach, CA
Long Beach YC
Built Dencho Marine, launched 1990

With guidance from designer Alan Andrews over the past two decades and more, Bob Lane’s MEDICINE MAN has grown from 56 to 61 and now 63 feet as she has evolved through many design and configuration changes to keep her on the cutting edge of offshore speed. Its therefore safe to say this yacht is one of the fastest for her size anywhere in the world.

Coupled with Lane’s experience – he says he has raced an impressive 17 Transpacs, dozens of races to Mexico, and the record-breaking 2008 edition of the Tahiti race – MEDICINE MAN promises to be a contender.

NACIRA - Class 40

Benoit Parnaudeau, Arue, PF
Tahiti YC
Built Beaufort design, launched 2006

As a Class 40, NACIRA was designed and built for shorthanded ocean racing, such as the 2006 Route du Rhum, the 1 Transat Jacques Vabre in 2007, the Plymouth-Boston Transat, La Solidaire du Chocolat and two Quebec-St Malo races.

In 2014, NACIRA arrived in French Polynesia and did 4 editions of the Tahiti Pearl Regatta, winning the racing monohull category in 2017.

NACIRA has just celebrated her 100 000 NM, and with Benoit Parnaudeau she is now ready to return to an ocean race that has the same distance as the downwind race she was built for: the Transpac Tahiti distance = Route du Rhum.

ANGELIQUE – Columbia 57

Andy KURTZ – Sebastopol, CA, US

Andy Kurtz’s Columbia 57 Angelique has an interesting history: the 1969 design from Bill Tripp, Jr was sold as a kit to a boatyard in the Pacific Northwest. After assembly and launching, the first owner sailed her once, ran aground, and never sailed her again. Since then she has had two other owners since Kurtz found her in Ft Lauderdale 13 years ago, from where he sailed the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Mexico, and then to Hawaii where he ran her for charters for a year before coming to her current home in the San Francisco Bay area.

“After arriving here I discovered that the fore-deck was a termite nest and so proceeded to completely reconstruct the boat,” said Kurtz, “with a new deck, bulkheads, tanks, engine, and electrics. The project isn’t really completely finished yet, but it’s about 95% complete at this point.”

Since age eight Kurtz has been sailing both for fun and for a living, with some 30 ocean crossings in his resume. Boom damage to Angelique in the Pacific Cup in 2018 kept them out of contention in that race, and some collision damage forced him to dropped out of the Honolulu Transpac 50 this year, so Kurtz will do the Transpac Tahiti race in 2020 in his quest to do this race all the other great Pacific ocean races as well, including those mentioned along with the Victoria-Maui Race too.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about doing the Hobart race,” said Kurtz. “And I will be close after cruising to New Zealand once the Tahiti race is finished…hmmm.”

SENSEI - Norseman 447

Chris Mellor, Pt Richmond, CA
Built 1983 Norseman Yachts
Bob Perry design

Chris Mellor is the quintessential amateur yachtsman, bridging both the racing and cruising cultures in sailing: he has competed in the 2003 LA-Honolulu Transpac, and regularly competes in local races in San Francisco Bay on other yachts. And on his own Norseman 447 he has already cruised to the South Seas, taking two years in 2005-07 to sail with his wife and 9-year old daughter on a trip that he says “changed his life.”

Chris has entered the Transpac Tahiti race because he likes “the excitement of competition, and this race is a rare event, one with lots of cachet.” He is in the construction business, which he says is thriving and will be hard to leave for a month, but his end goal is to do a circumnavigation on SENSEI when is ready to make the break from working life.

His plan is to compete in the race to Tahiti, leave SENSEI in the islands and return in 6 months to take her back to Hawaii and then home to California…or not: “One of the great things about cruising is that you can always change your mind!,” he says.

DAD’S DREAM - Morgan 38.2

Bill Boyd, Long Beach, CA
Hawaii YC
Built Morgan Yachts, launched 1982

DAD’S DREAM is a classic Brewer-designed ocean cruising yacht, more than capable of making a safe and seaworthy passage through the tradewinds and doldrums en route to Tahiti. Yet Bill Boyd is seeking to swap this boat for a small, lighter and faster design to head to Tahiti with a singular vision: do the race with his pal Scott Atwood and one other partner, with all three bringing their teenage daughters on the race (hence the name “Dad’s Dream”).

Bill has extensive experience – 7 Honolulu Transpacs and one race from San Francisco to Point Venus, Tahiti on a Santa Cruz 50 – and wants to share this experience of life offshore with his daughter Andrea and Scott and his daughter Kimberly.

“Scott and I have given great thought on our motivation in doing this race,” Boyd said. “We both have a love of the sea, have sailed all over the world, hundreds of thousands of miles. But the thrill of sailing with the most precious thing in our world is OUR DAUGHTERS! The dream of making land fall with them, the special bonding under the stars, seeing the Southern Cross together for the first time in their lives! Sailing in the Southern latitudes crossing over the Equator and watching the water run down the drain the other direction. This is what DAD’S DREAM IS ABOUT! And TRANSPAC TAHITI RACE 2020 is making this come true.”