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Transpac 2021 - Team Triumph

At Quantum, we love the thrill of being offshore; the beautiful sunsets and sunrises, miles and miles of flying downwind, and putting our skills to the test. We also love the stories that go along with such epic racing. So we asked Quantum team members competing in the 2021 Transpac to keep us updated on their trip to Hawaii. Read the blog posts from Santa Cruz 52, Team Triumph below.

Photo by Sharon Green

7/17/21 Life @ 20 Degrees

14:30 
TWD 330
TWS 14knots
TWA 9 
Cog 230
SoG 9.8

Day 1 we had a great exit off the coast, blue skies, wind from 260 degrees at 10 knots at the start gave the fleet a typical transpac start with all boats off on starboard. With the wind shifting left at the start we were able to win the pin at the gun with clean air and end up second boat to the island behind Bretwalda and just in front of Lucky Duck - both Rodgers 46's. Unfortunately the new Ker 46 plus broke it’s rig just after the start, a tough break for a beautiful new boat!

Learning lesson # 1, do not reef a masthead boat with a #1 genoa up. We tried to be tricky tacking up the fan of the island with this method that lasted about 5 mins " ok guys get the # 3 on the bow we are going to tack back to the island, shake the reef out, and hoist the # 3 for a tack change before we hit the shore again and by the way move the stack while you're at it " needless to say the team asked are you serious? Yes! I am. The team executed flawlessly. And we passed Lucky Duck back after getting passed with the G/R combo.

Trying to type at 20 degrees is all kinds of fun ! Wish we had a modern nav station! Anyway just reaching along with genoa up and GS would love to put up our new cabless A0 but feel we would sag away too much.

That’s all for now
Jeff

7/19/21 Ridge Gate

TWD 014
TWS 11.2
TWA 144
COG 237
Sog 8.52
Baro 1022.93

Well life at 20 degrees is finally over! We are now into our A 2.5, thinking about a change to the A2 but the wind is shifting 30 degrees and going from 18 knots to 8 knots. We have been in a battle with Horizon the last 2 days. Last night they were just on our transom 3.6 miles back and we hit the launch spot before them @ 11pm and set our A0 which allowed us to change lanes to the south of them. As we were reaching in 18 with our A/P genoa and Gs and putting miles on them as this wind angle was advantageous to us vs them. But unfortunately we had a hydraulic failure with our backstay with a cracked seal. Which needless to say was not fast with a floppy head stay. We drained the lower valve of oil on the backstay so we could pump the backstay down to get headstay tension. This solution would only last about 2 hours. So after realizing we did not have enough spare hydraulic oil on board to keep this solution going, the plan was to disconnect the outhaul from the system, drain the backstay into a cup, and refill the oil tank. Once this was done, we turned the boat dead down wind, cranked the mainsheet on hard and lashed the backstay down with spectra. This worked for awhile but we were still losing miles due to not enough tension. So, we decided to launch south with the A0.

We think this plan worked as of now (5:56 am July 19th). They bear 352 degrees @ 10.4 miles basically dead upwind of us! Hopefully it gets a bit lighter North for them. At the moment we are approaching our ridge gate that we planned on pre-race with Chris Bedford @ 29.30n 130w.

The most exciting thing about today is the navigator stew I made for the team that we serve at the ridge. Pork stew with onions, polblano's, jalepenos, garlic, tomatillos, negro modela beer and orange juice served over polenta.

Reservations are closed, just for team Triumph.
Jeff
 

7/19/21 Triumph Day 4 Communique

Good morning Friends & Family of Triumph.

We have entered the "slot cars" section of the Transpac. We are riding the bottom edge of the weather pattern known as the Pacific High. For the most part, you will see all boats are in their lane until the decision to gybe down to Hawaii. The good part is that the boat has flattened out and we can move about without holding on for dear life at 20 degrees of heel - just imagine your house tilted up 20 degrees in a light rain storm with the windows open.  

David, Chris, and I saw a whale jump 40-50 ft in the air, twice. We are glad it happened a second time as we were not sure it was real. Chris actually said it looked like something fell out of the sky.

Not much excitement other than a likely seal failure in the backstay ram - this is the device that increases or decreases tension on the backstay which in turn stiffens the forestay and the mast.  This might sound trivial but in actuality is a critical part and without it we are all but dunfir. This actually is a critical item when sailing upwind and reaching. The hydraulic repair was undertaken by the Navigator, who will remain nameless, for this report. My dad always said stick to what you know but when on board, everyone's an expert at many things :). The repair involved bleeding the oil under the backstay ram but rather than capture it, we drained it off the transom and we can't say where it went from there. We carry a quart of spare hydraulic but I was told we should always carry a barrel (i.e., 55 gallons) or fill one of the unused water tanks with it. We adapted and overcame - our on board Olympic hopeful and rigger extraordinaire, David Leibenberg, worked his rope magic and so far she is holding. This kid is a bundle of energy. He moves about the boat like a monkey on speed, fixing, adjusting and organizing things. 

Tonight we have the "Navigators Stew". Jeff (it is ok to use his name in this case). This meal is labeled "Hagis" on the boat menu as a placeholder but this meal reportedly is a step above and would make the Scottish blush. The stew contains Pork Shoulder, poblano and jalapeno peppers, garlic with romano and parmesan cheese and beer.  We are eager to report back on this delicacy. 

A few brave soles are taking transom showers today. I am one of those. These sorts of things should be mandatory but are not until day 5. The skipper will start adding labels in strategic spots on the boat to encourage this. 

As the YB Tracker shows we are in a duel with Horizon. Nothing we haven't planned for. We have a secret weapon which we will share in the next communique. We also have the legendary Navigator, cook and hydraulic repair man onboard. We will prevail! 

Best to all. 
Steve Sellinger, Skipper & Amateur Label Maker

7/20/21 Day ?????

TWD 035
TWS 20.3
TWA 157
Sog 12.5
COg 240

What day is it? We are having a great battle with Horizon. It's a shock cord race. We take miles from them then they take them back. We look to be exiting the slot cars as some boats have gybed earlier than I thought as we have been on the favored gybe the whole race. I have been stressing since we dove south on Horizon on day 2. They have been gaining bearing every day on the higher road along with my fear that the weather is going to favor the boats on the north right corner at the end of the race. Well to my surprise Horizon gybed to the south and not on a great angle to come across our transom by 11 miles. Now my stress has been relieved. Well almost - now the big guys like Artie have gybed south. So back to second guessing what is happening.... The long range charts are showing me the north is opening up and that should be the way as the lows don't seem to be a factor for us on our routing?

So for the fun stuff here is a report from our owner Steve!
Best Jeff

Good afternoon people of the terra firma.

Triumph and her crew are in good spirits. The wind is behind us and consistently 18 - 24 knots.  Our running kites are up and we are doing what we do - sail downwind, surfing waves. High boat speed is 21.3 knots held by Thorpe followed by Justin with a 21.1 knot ride. For some reason several crew members are having a competition for the number of bowel movements. I do not approve or condone this school yard nonsense. However, to facilitate crew harmony I let this one play out. 

The Navigator's Stew did live up to all the fanfare. Thorpe's Yucatan Stew and Polenta was truly delicious and we spent the better part of last night's watch dreaming up other menu possibilities.  For some reason my Transpac craving for a Big Mac and a Diet Coke is back again - I can't explain this as I am a loyal Del Taco fan. 
The Law Man (Justin Law) smuggled a chair on board. This one I approve and appreciate and see many opportunities. This "Wind Chair" is a perfect addition to Triumph furniture. After 3 hours of trimming from the Wind Chair, it took 2 hearty soles to extract our navigator from the depression he had made in this chair. 

Other important missives to report:

With excess water in the tank and the co-navigator Brad "Wheels" Wheeler reiterating his Transpac rule for showering, (Day 3 is suggested, Day 4 is greatly encouraged and Day 5 is required), 6 of the 8 crew took full advantage of this opportunity.  Of course, Wheels is one of the 2 who has so far refused. He reminds me of Nancy Pelosi getting her hair cut. The navigator is the other criminal but he claims to have a doctor's note so we aren't pushing it, yet.

In the haste to get sails changed and bagged, Nick Gan's show went missing and was found after an exhaustive search tucked inside one of the packed sails. Shows are important to avoid loss of digits and important as a bowman. 

We have started to figure each other out a bit more each day.  We know now that Thorpe wakes up a grumpy old man and we surmise this is due to low blood sugar. Justin Law may have solved this by dropping a dark chocolate covered espresso bean in his mouth just before he wakes.

Tomorrow is the traditional halfway ceremony where Nick Gan and Chris Snow will be sharing for the rest of the crew what this means to them by using the grass skirt, coconut chest coverings and various native wigs along with the yucallelle (that small Hawaiian guitar - I have no idea how to spell this and no spell check onboard). We are recommended an Elvis or Don Ho song in praise of Hawaii and the sea gods but we will report back on this. 

For now, we continue on, sailing, sleeping, eating, repeat. Everyone is in high spirits and working to the goal of safe transit to Hawaii.

Enjoy the terrafirma with all its glory.

- Skipper Steve

7/21/21 Half Way

19:14 
TWD 041
TWS 19.1
BSp 10.5
Cog 249

Today we have reached our half way point and as usual our owner Steve has captured what it's like on the yacht Triumph which I can't compete with so again you will see below he has a gift for roasting me.
Last night we had our first gybe to port around midnight to check the sea state and angle. As we were touching the gybe split angle of 59 the sea state was pretty bad so we came back after about 20 min, then got a nice headed angle of 45 that we spent the rest of the night and morning on. Since then we have been gybing back & forth on cloud lines to stay out of the sunshine and get a nice shift and pressure. Our overall game plan for the final section of the race is forming. We are trying to take shifts to get south to a bit better wind and lower our barometric pressure # as today we spent time in 1028 which I have never done before. We have a 1034 High, a little too close for comfort we are now @ 1024. At the moment we are on a great shift of 041 to bring us back to the right of the great circle as we want to favor the right approach with a shift to 070. The TP storms are not going to affect us as we can't get to them.

Horizon bearing as of 3 pm today was 031 @ 17.6 miles we are getting closer to setting them up dead upwind of us for the second half of the race.

-Jeff now for Steve....

Good afternoon supporters of Triumph. (First, let me acknowledge what you now know - that I rely heavily on spell & grammar check - but many thanks to Jordan, my daughter and others who help me in that regard.)
Last night we encountered a non-responsive 1000 ft cargo ship at sea, had a crossing with Warrior One within 25 boat lengths and a weather buoy within 10 boat lengths. We also crossed paths with our friends on Compadres. The night was pitch black making driving a challenge but we prevailed. 

There has been a debate on board whether today is Day 5 or Day 6. If you count 1 day as 24 hours and add up those hours, and divide by 24 that should give you the number of days - so day 5, right? Not everyone is onboard with that. I will use Day 6 despite the obvious mathematical error.

We are over the hump/half way point and it seems we continue to perform at a high level. I suppose your YB tracker looks as though we are side tied to Horizon. They are close but we cannot see them. We can, however, feel them and sometimes smell them and the odor is awful.

I am chided for my fastidious cleaning routines. Everyone partakes in a daily complete clean of the boat including the throne. This pleases the sailing Gods.

Last night we ate very well thanks to the Law Man. Justin's Mom provided the El Dorado casserole which was completely devoured by the crew. Thanks Law mom!  Speaking of the Law Man, he has been a critical piece to our overall performance, pushing the boat and her crew to focus and keep trimming. He is a great teacher for the team. Oh and btw, his wind chair (purchased on Amazon for $15) has been officially named "Dolores" in honor of Dolores from the Seinfeld episode.

The bow team of Zack Hanna and David "the monkey" Leibenberg have been called in to duty several times. They are unbelievable in their zeal to ensure fast gybes, sail changes and line maintenance. David's canyoneering (repelling into cracks and such) has come in handy on Triumph as he shimmies up and down the rig and out the spinnaker pole. David had the high speed record for the day - 23.6 knots! And, despite my desire not to engage in this childish nonsense, he claims to be leading the Bowel Movement Count (BMC) record of 9. (This is and will remain an unverified record). David competes at everything he does.  

Nick Gan, our in-house systems manager and accountant continues to ensure we make water and all systems are functional.

Today Nick and The Snow Man gave an A+ performance for the half way party with a recreation of a story about the traditions of sailing to Hawaii. Chris Snow played the UKULELE and recited a poem about our adventures. The more time I spend with Chris, the more I like him.

We are definitely starting to understand the Navigator called Thorpe. We believe we have developed a strategy to manage the Thorpe Agro Content (TAC). We TAC by delivering a small piece of chocolate or a sandwich. It seems to be working. Fingers crossed!

Wheels seems to be developing a kinship with Thorpe, so much so that he has avoided the transom shower. He has not provided a doctor's note so a code red could be set in motion soon.  Recall from an earlier communique that Thorpe has a doctor's note due to a soap and water allergy.

We continue on, trimming, grinding, driving, sleeping, eating, repeat. 

Thanks for the support. 
Aloha is in the air!
- Skipper Steve

7/22/21 Spy Games

19:35 
TWD 057
TWS 21.7
TWA 155
BSP 14.2
COG 256

Hi from the stress ship Triumph... Man, we think the guys on Horizon have found a way to hack into the yellow brick tracker live data feed to track our every move! Man, I have never seen a matching track so perfect. We had to employ our own countermeasures from this attack to shake them a bit to get some leverage. How did we employ this strategy? Well with the trackers we get reports every 4 hours. After one report the wind was a gybe split so we gybed right after meaning we had 4 hours to work with before they knew we had gybed. We were really aggressive gybing back and forth on 5 degree shifts in 22 to 25 knots now after 4 hours we see they gybed to match and they won't know we are now on starboard! Hopefully this has worked but time will tell as this race is going to come down to a very close corrected time battle. Maybe under our 2013 time win on the R/P 52 Meanie where we won by 3 mins I would expect something similar this year hopefully in our favor again!
Man, I have slept about a total of 3 hour in 2 days. I don't see getting any more anytime soon...

Jeff 
Now for our Skipper Steve:

Dual in the Sun. 

For those paying close attention to YB, you can see we are in a battle royale with the vessel Horizon. They seem to be reading our minds as we gybe on every wind shift, so do they. Did they smuggle a tracker onboard Triumph or are they just darn good sailors - probably the latter. We also are holding our own in a Santa Cruz 52 which is 5000 lbs heavier than the lighter Santa Cruz 50 which makes me proud of our boys.  

Everyone is gelling. Our gybes are completed in 6 minutes from decision to turn through to execution. Quite an advancement primarily due to the coaching of Mr. Jeff Thorpe. He has high expectations and does not tolerate any non-sense in sailing execution. So we give him a wide berth and listen and learn. His knowledge of the wind, race course and weather is on another level. 

Other miscellany:

  • The boat is clean and so is her crew. Even the foul language has decreased.
  • There is significant debris in the ocean and we hope to avoid.
  • We enjoyed Cuban cigars and Hanna's legendary rum cake last night - truly a treat. 
  • The skipper, yours truly, really f'd up and we have at least 2 crew members suffering from caffeine withdrawals. Did I do these guys a favor in the longer run, maybe but for now we are watching them battle the caffeine demons.

That's all for now. Send prayers our way. We will sleep when we get to Hawaii!
- Skipper Steve

7/23/21 Under 500

TWD 61
TWS 19
twa 160
bsp 12.1 

Man this race has been exhausting. Every time we have a few reports and gain back the miles to finally think we have a chance of correcting out when we finish, we get 2 or 3 reports showing they gain it back or more in a couple of reports! Now I raced on Horizon in 2017 and we won by over 7 hours on corrected time and beat the SC 52's by hours on elapsed time. But I always felt if the 52's were sailed well they would have a chance in the right conditions to beat Horizon, which is such a special boat!

I was asked to race on Horizon again this year but i wanted to try to prove my point that they could be beat given the right team & conditions with a stock SC 52. In 2007 we beat them in a modified SC 52 Kokepelli 2. Not sure why I like to make my life difficult but here we are with a real chance to prove this....Not sure it really matters but I really want this one so we push on with very little sleep!

Jeff

From Skipper Steve: 

Good Afternoon from Triumph. We are at N 25 degrees 03.617 minutes Latitude and W 149 degrees 39.965 minutes. It is sunny and hot. Wind is 18-22 knots. Swells are 3-6.

Last night was fun-filled terror with a series of squalls. I have never liked squalls and after last night I hate them even more. We drove right into the heart of the death star squall but came out the other end. Nick, Jeff, David (aka Spider Monkey) were on deck sailing in 22-25 knots of breeze, when about to be eaten, David asks for relief and Jeff looks to me and says you're up and I say NFW bud - that is above my pay grade. Jeff told The Spider Monkey to sit tight because we are not changing drivers during a squall. Moments later it was game on and we were swallowed whole and wind speeds quickly reached 30-33 knots with torrential rains. The rest of the crew was bunked below. Brad and Chris reported to be listening as Triumph hydroplaned and we yelled to each other about the rapidly changing conditions. Justin reportedly silently thanked David for his timing as Justin had just done a tiring 4 hour shift. Zack slept through the entire event. The Spider Monkey kicked the death star squall’s ass!  He is the boat MVP today. Only one day because we can't let this go to his head! BTW he continues to lead in the BMC. 

We survived and are stronger for it. Today I served up nachos with the leftover Yucatan stew, jalapenos and piles of cheese. We are all eager for dry land, a mai tai, shower and a bed that doesn't roll all night spitting you from side to side. We are eager to see our loved ones.

As you can see the race is close.  We owe Horizon around 2 hours of time and as we approach we are constantly recalculating all the various possibilities. We need a header (wind to turn us to the right) and if we don't get that it may not work out. Pray for a header please. Or for a rogue fishing net to get wrapped around their keel temporarily!

Either way, this race may be won or lost by less than a Harbor 20 race in Newport Harbor. A lot less than the 25 minutes Thorpe needs to wake up before engaging.

On the safety topic for the day, this morning we found one of the crew's PFD cylinders rolling around the cabin! That person will remain unnamed to avoid the wrath of a spouse. We got him squared away. 
For now, we race on.

7/24/21 The Hunt for Red October

18.30
TWD 070
twa 156
TWS 17.5
BSp 11/5

Well we have really been enjoying our beat down of a lighter boat the last 2 days! When the wind was above 22 knots we were pretty even; gains & losses spread equally among the cracker reports and when the wind was under 17 and a flat sea state. But just wow the speed difference in 18 to 20 knots and big sea state I calculate to be around a .01 to .03 of a knot some reports show up to a knot? Not sure about the knot most likely wind speed difference on that. That spread over the 700 miles that we have been feeling those losses - the miles add up. So we keep pushing hard as we all know offshore anything can happen... That sucks about Lucky breaking a rudder 30 miles from the finish while winning class, I am sure the boys are in a big rum storm.

We are just wanting and waiting to defect to a lighter boat. Even Steve was tempted to break out the sawzall and start cutting the interior out. So here we sit wounded waiting for rescue while we keep gybing and peeling sails in hope that they can't find us just yet!
Jeff
 

Hello Team Triumph,

It has been a thrilling and exhausting 24 hours for Triumph and her crew, with 11 gybes and 4 sail changes. We are doing what we can to fend off the faster Horizon. We are taking advantage of the wind shifts and cloud formations for greater pressure. Win or lose, we left it all on the race course.

Last night had a close crossing - too close for me as I was on watch as Mr. Bill (newly named Rock ‘n Roll) came towards us on Starboard. We were on Port. She had the right of way, although Col Regs applies at night and this means both vessels must avoid regardless. Maneuvering these beasts in the middle of the day is tough - night time with impaired visibility can be impossible. No way can we gybe within 2 miles to avoid. She was not receiving our hails on the VHF Channel 16 Emergency Channel (not sure why ) as we saw their lights approach, she crossed roughly 20 boat lengths astern of us. Likely they may have not had someone below to make the call - we will find out when we talk on land.

Not much other news. The crew continues to perform at a high level. We are starting to chuck food overboard and have mounted a head of cabbage on the companionway. I challenged The Snow Man to keep it there.  He did well but eventually it rolled off. This is our mindset after being at sea for what seems like a very long time. Besides, it is getting really hot and our brains are getting cooked from the sun.

If all goes well we will hit the windward side of the Island of Molokai (Hey Lena - hope you and your family are doing well over there) tomorrow morning sometime between 11-12 am PST - we are maintaining our PST clocks to avoid confusion onboard. 

From there we gybe for the red bell buoy off Diamond Head. Land, shade, Mai Tai's and friends and family await. Trust me, we are ready for all of that.

Aloooooohaaaaa!
- Steve

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