Transpac 2019

Published: 06/27/19 at 03:22pm

Our very own Frederic Laffitte will be participating in the 2019 Transpac aboard Hamachi! Race starts July 10, stay tuned for updates posted here.

Hamachi Crew

July 13, 2019 Update

There are 3 other J125’s in the race and Jason may make reference to them in his reports: Reinrag2(previous overall winner), Snoopy, and Velvet Hammer.

Shawn, Matt and David also referred to as the Starboard watch took the early watch 8-12am, while Jason, Fred and Lucas aka the Port watch had the dog watch 12-4am. Here’s Jason’s report from the dogwatch:

Currently power reaching in 10-15 kts. with full main, J1AP and genoa staysail with 9-10 kts boat speed. Clouds just cleared and beautiful night. Good start and run across to Catalina. Missed clearing West End by 100 ft. Turned north for a bit and holding that part of course splitting Hammer and Snoopy with Reinrag to the south. Good dinner and settling in to watch rotation.


Earlier, Jason had reported on Facebook that Hamachi was the first J125 around Catalina.

The morning brings a new day. Here is Jason’s report for today:
Port Watch of Jason, Fred and Lucas crushed the Dog Watch (12-4am) and put the hurt on Snoopy. Boat is going fast and we like our place on the course. Power reaching in 15-20kts w reefed main, AP and genoa staysail. Rough wet conditions above and below deck. Starboard watch has had a bit of a puke fest. Shawn has been laid low since last evening and Matt struggled through the night. Boat is doing well. Crew in good spirits. Saw flying fish and albatrosses. Looking to thread the weather needle in next 36 hours.

If you have been at sea, no explanation necessary. The first 24 hours can be brutal to get your sealegs on.

Here's a video just sent from Hamachi at the west end of Catalina Island.

Pole is out! After beating and power reaching in rough and wet conditions for 26 hours, the wind clocked around enough to put out the pole and set the code zero. Especially symbolic since it will be all spinnakers after that. Soon there after we came down and crossed 400 yards in front of Snoopy. I guess mid ocean crossings are part of one design racing! The boat has flattened out and the ride has smoothed. Shawn is feeling better - we were getting a little worried. Sleep is still hard to come by - I might be at 5 hours for the trip. Appetites are coming back, which is good since we need to lighten our load of food! Not sure where we are overall - not sure we care. We are all sailing our own races at this point. We have sailed mostly 225 deg mag to get south and will skirt under the high.

Let’s hope the wind continues to clock, as it should and give them the following seas and winds we all dream of and expect when heading into the tropics.

July 14, 2019 Update

This is shaping up to be the one design ocean race we expected. The J/125s are insight and crossing jibes. Fortunately, HAMACHI is in front. Here’s Jason’s report:

Great night of sailing. We were ripping along with Code Zero, full main and genoa staysail hitting up to 16kts in 12-18kts of wind. Watched Snoopy pass out of sigh behind us. At the midnight watch shift we put up the A3 to run deeper and avoid spinning up into the high. At the 4am watch shift we put up the A2.5 to sail deeper still. Around 2am we saw Velvet Hammer slip past our stern 2miles out chasing a deeper line. They now sit on our hind quarters matching our heading - this is one design drag racing across the Pacific!

Boat is in good shape except for a bad speedo. Not really sure how fast we are really going but we are having fun and appear to be doing well. We have WAY TOO MUCH food onboard and just offered other boats in the fleet to come on by.


The last photo is an image taken onboard Saturday 30 nm west of Catalina Island. Boat speed 8.5. You can see Velvet Hammer to the left who are now behind HAMACHI! We hope to receive more onboard photos.

After solid 10-20 for the first 40 hours it got light this morning.

Hamachi switched to its A2.5 at the 4am watch shift and worked south/southwest in 10 knots most of the day. The lighter air and flat seas allowed us to do some much needed housekeeping, which included going up the rig and doing a check as well as configuring halyards. We flew the drone for the first time and captured these pictures of the boat and crew with Matt Pistay aloft. A general funk has permeated the boat and it’s been traced to many damp socks and gear. It's now 5pm and the skies are clearing and the wind is filling.

Okay, how many of you out there have been the recipient of boys’ used sporting gear thown into the dirty clothes bin next to your good blouse? Multiply that, surround yourself in it and you get a sense of what the living conditions are like….and they aren’t even in the tropics yet!

On to the pictures: the first one really gives you a sense of what it was like the first 2 days.


These pictures are from us blast reaching with full main, Code Zero and genoa staysail around 3pm on Saturday. We spent 26 hours pushing upwind from the start and we had just put the pole out and started bearing off as the wind clocked around. Soon after we came down on and sailed 1/4 mile in front of Snoopy. Good to see that we have a boat speed advantage on the other J/125s.

The second shot is from the drone-awesome to be able to look at the whole boat at sea.


Matt enjoying the ride and Jason driving. Was completely overcast Saturday and so far Sunday but the sun is threatening.


July 15, 2019 Update

The "Old Man" loves the boat. An hour ago he said "we should double hand PacCup in this thing next year". Lucas is loving the experience, and so is the rest of the crew. Fred tells us this has been a gentle sail so far - he expected worse. Matt has been running all over the boat fixing things and doing projects, because he just can’t sit still. Shawn is back to his old self and enjoys the driving. It was a little rough for David during the first 48 hours with Shawn down and out - so he had to split his time between sailing and navigating. Since then things have smoothed out and I have been downloading gribs and doing some of the navigation busywork. The boat is super easy to sail so it’s mostly doublehanded on deck crews with David doing nav and me doing nav / media. Can't believe it’s already 25% done!!

We have settled into a routine and the bodies are adjusting. We all crash out now when we are off watch. The food has been amazing. Had the enchiladas and daube today. It's taken a few days to work out the navigation routine but David has done an excellent job getting data to Fred and I. The three of us have worked well to develop a tactical and strategic outlook.

The Port Watch is currently on the dog watch (we rotate every day) sailing under a near full moon and broken clouds scooting along at 10-11 kts in 10-13 kts of wind. Seas are pretty flat but confused every now and then. Feels like Southern Straits. It's a beautiful night and we had dolphins alongside for a while..

July 16, 2019 Update

Team Hamachi enjoyed a beautiful night with nearly full moon, partly cloudy skies and 10-12 kts. When the sun came up the skies cleared and it got hot! This allowed us to dry things out and several of the crew, me included, decided to change clothes for the first time. We eagerly awaited the morning position reports and continue to find ourselves in agood spot. We are fortunately to have six good and eager drivers onboard so we can rotate to keep the boat going fast.

After a relaxing morning the wind filled from the northeast to 15-18 kts and we now have prime J/125 sailing conditions. The boat has popped up on the step and we are doing 13-15 kts through the water with the top boat speed competition in full effect (currently at 17.6kts). The high is consolidating and we expect strong trades to the finish. We are working to catch two Roger 46s in front of us, as well as hold off the other J/125s, and the weather is showing that its a drag race to Honolulu with potential record finish times.


The Hamachi crew had a relaxing lunch of fresh spaghetti Bolognese on the back patio. The tunes were pumping. Everyone is well fed, rested and loving the experience!

The boys are eagerly lined up awaiting their turn to drive and the Godfather Fred is sitting in the barko lounger critiquing their performance.


July 17, 2019 Update

Well, we don't know if it’s EXACTLY half way but we have 1250nm to go and it seemed like a good excuse for a party (not that Team Hamachi ever needs an excuse to party). We gathered on the back patio to contemplate the race so far and pass our flask, which quickly devolved into a YMCA dance party with the drone circling the boat, all while doing 15-16 kts.

Our objectives going into the race were: 1) be safe, 2) have fun, and3) win. So far we are doing well in all three categories. Taking stock half way, here's some thoughts:

- Best Moment(s): Sailing away from our closest competition

- Crew Lowlight(s): Too many body fluids and damp socks in a small cramped cabin

Things We Have Plenty Of:

- Food: The weight Nazis will cringe knowing we went to sea with four days of frozen food and enough snacks for 12 days. There was a calculus of carrying more weight on the reach to keep the crew happy and sailing fast versus taking every last ounce off the boat.

(A well fed crew is a happy crew and a happy crew makes a winning crew!)

- Dude Wipes: Great marketing on someone's part. We can sail fast confident that our "dude parts" will stay clean to the finish.

- Boat Speed: Of the four J/125's, we are the only one with six crew.

Despite this extra weight, and all of our frozen food, we seem to have great boat speed.

Things We Need More Of:

- Purrell: clearly we should have thought this one through. We left with a small half empty container. Definitely need more of that.

- Hot Cocoa: The key to a fast boat is a well fueled crew. We have plenty of Starbucks Via but need more cocoa for our mochas.

- Ventilation: use your imagination

- Boat Speed: While we've got a lot, you can always have more...

- Kudos:

1. David Rogers has been crushing it as our Lieutenant Huru. It was rough going (literally and figuratively) in the first 24 hours as he was making up for a sick crew member and doing all of the boat data collection and navigating. Over the past few days he's stepped up the game and built tools to track the fleet, our performance and answer everyone's questions.

2. The Cooks: We are four days in and still eating frozen gourmet food.

Thank you Janet, Marian and Jason for doing all the cooking!

Are We There Yet?

The days are blowing by are we are a little shocked its already half way. Normally its a 10-11 day race for a J/125 but this year we are on track to finish in around 8 days.

Up Next:

Sleep. Eat. Sail Fast. Repeat.

July 18, 2019 Update

Transpac is a race within a race within a race. There are four J/125s, an above average collection, who are competing with each other to be the fastest J/125 on the west coast. Each boat has donated to a prize for the first across the line. This was our main focus going into Transpac, as it’s been a friendly rivalry and a great chance to meet other J/125 owners. All four J/125's are racing within Division 3, which is highly competitive and comprised of 13 boats. It's a great honor to win your class at Transpac, especially in a class this competitive. Finally, there is an overall winner based on corrected time for all 92 boats.

For Team Hamachi, we have been tracking the other J/125's from the start. After day 2 we started tracking other boats in our Division and were both surprised and excited to see Hamachi climb our Division ladder. Then on Tuesday Hamachi started trending towards the top of the overall standings and now we've held the #1 in ORR (fastest boat overall) title for 24 hours. The crew is ecstatic but a little uneasy. We like being a pursuit boat, quietly seeking to pass the leader. We are not used to being the boat everyone is watching and trying to take down.

So needless to say the dance parties have stopped, along with the drone flying. We spend every moment pushing the boat to go as fast as possible. Living below is like driving your VW camper van down a black diamond mogul run. We constantly pull weather and position reports, we are gybing to find the best wind and wind angles. We are 920 miles from the finish and SENDING IT. Our current 24 hours record is 336nm. Top boat speed is 21.8kts (David Rogers).

Summary: This may be the last at sea update as time is now very short:
eat, sleep, sail fast, repeat...

July 19, 2019

Latest message from Jason!

550 nm out. Sending it in 20-22 kts. Just blew up the A2,5. Now running under A4. top boat speed around 23kts. See you in Hawaii!