Tom Furlong's Report on ELUSIVE's 2,070-Mile Pacific Cup
The Pacific Cup, the bi-annual 2,070-mile race from San Francisco, CA to Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, HI, has been an objective of mine for many years. Our preparations for the race began over the winter. Although Elusive is in top form for Bay Racing, a 2,070-mile offshore race requires a significant review of the material condition of the boat and a lot of safety and habitability equipment. Our winter work included new standing and running rigging, a refit of the mast and boom, new topside non-skid, an emergency rudder, larger adjustable driving platforms, a bottom job, installation of a water-maker, installation of jammers on the main sheet, and maintenance on most major systems. Because the race features deeper angles once the trade winds are reached, we decided to utilize the short sprit and spinnaker pole combination. A new offshore main (with two reefs), new J-4, new jib top, and several new or used spinnakers rounded out the major items.
The start for the Pac Cup is by class, with the slower classes leaving early in the week and the faster classes late in the week. We were grouped in ORR D, as one of the smaller boats in a class which featured four Santa Cruz 50’s, boats built to race to Hawaii. They were going to be the boats to beat. The race usually features three distinct phases. The first day’s objective is to get offshore far enough to reach the synoptic wind and avoid the glass off that occurs in the evening. The second is to head for a position to round the Pacific High Pressure, which is usually located offshore and near the rhumb line to Hawaii. This is a reach, usually with fairly good wind depending on your proximity to the high. Ultimately the wind moves farther aft as you pass the high and you can then jibe and enter the trade winds that take you to Hawaii.