Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu begins


The first group of yachts in the 51st Transpacific Yacht Race left Los Angeles today on a 2,225-mile race to Honolulu.

The Transpacific Yacht Club released the first seven boats at 1 p.m. from the starting line, about one mile south of San Pedro’s Point Fermin lighthouse.

“The planning for this year’s race had many challenges,” said TPYC Commodore Jim Eddy in a statement. “And we miss having our friends from elsewhere in the Pacific and around the world join us for this race. Yet we are very thankful for the support we have received from our volunteers on both the mainland and in Hawaii, our owners, sailors and our sponsors to run the race this year. Everyone has worked hard to continue the Transpac tradition of ocean racing to paradise.”

There are a total of 41 boats in the biennial race, but they will start on different days based on their size, speed and type in order to compact the days that the boats reach the finish line at Diamond Head.

The slowest boats started today, while faster boats will start Friday or Saturday.

Because of the possibility of ideal weather conditions, the record for fastest completion of the race could be made this time around.

Included in the race is the Nalu V, a Cal 40 boat that had to drop out of the race in 2019 just 200 miles in.

“We had a mysterious leak, or several leaks, that we were never able to pinpoint the source,” said Mark Ashmore, owner of Nalu V. “It was serious enough to have us pumping out the bilge four times a day. The conditions were rough, and we launched off a few waves, so it was difficult to track the source. At one point I was able to get my head into the bilge to see some water seeping in.”

Ashmore, who started the race today, expects to finish it this year.

His team is dedicating their race effort to a friend and shipmate in the 2019 race, Mark Buttermann, who died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. They set up a donation fund to fight ALS and in a few weeks raised $14,000.