Cal Maritime

A drone captures the Cal Maritime team at the start of the Cabo race — the cadets' shakedown cruise in preparation for Transpac.

And they’re off! The 50th running of the famous biennial yacht race across the Pacific has almost 100 entries. According to their Facebook page, “The Transpacific Yacht Race will sail from Long Beach, California to Honolulu, Hawaii.”

The first of three starts was yesterday, July 10, with the slower boats starting earlier, and making the Honolulu finish more intense. The next group will leave on Friday, July 12, with the fastest boats starting the race on Saturday, July 13.

The Cal Maritime entry has two Long Beach students on board, Wilson High grads Ryan Schack and Hailey Thompson. They will be led by two experienced watch captains, Max Moosmann, racing his second Transpac, and Tyler Wolk, on his fourth. This will be the first race to Hawaii for the 11 students.

Moosmann explained why almost 800 sailors are competing in this year’s historic race: “Transpac gives you the opportunity to wake up for every watch with a single-minded focus. You have left society to invent your own, balanced by managing race strategy, equipment, health, and relationships. If you and your crew are determined to succeed at maintaining all four of those elements, you will collectively build one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences of your lives.

“How many opportunities do you have to switch off the nonsense to solely focus on a common goal and passion for one to two weeks?”

Moosmann ended with, “I feel incredibly privileged to help introduce 11 Cal Maritime Cadets to that. It will be an experience that will forever impact their lives.”

Wolk explained what he thinks will be the biggest learning experience for those students on board: “First off, I think it is great that we finally have an entry to Transpac. It has been almost four years since I became the offshore coach at Cal Maritime and I have been dreaming of doing this with the cadets since the moment I stepped foot on campus.

“While it has been nearly 25 years since our last go at the Transpac Race, our team is fortunate that a lot of the fundamentals of offshore racing are in our curriculum.”

He continued, “Teamwork and communication is key in the shipping industry, and while a bridge team on a ship may be smaller than our watch teams, the same principles we teach in bridge resource management are going to be heavily used while we sail. The biggest learning experience will probably be at night mainly because it is important for them to know that performance at night wins races.”

Wolk ended with, “Constant trimming and always pushing the boat is something they aren’t 100% used to. We may be called an offshore team, but the reality is that we are really just a keel boat team in the collegiate world. Most of our racing only goes for 6-8 hours and the team goes home for the night.”

On board every boat entered, there are stories about why this race is on so many sailors' bucket lists and all they have done to prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally for this test at sea. According to race officials, 75% are newcomers to the race this year.

Seven of the boats entered call Long Beach home: Alamitos Bay YC — Michael Gebb’s Zimmer, Shoreline YC-Stephen Ashley’s Onde Amo; Long Beach YC — John Carpenter and Will Durant’s Chubasco, Chris Wacker’s Flyingfiche II, Bob Lane’s Medicine Man, John Sangmeister’s OEX and Tom Camp’s Trouble.

Many of the 94 entries have crew members on board from Long Beach or have some local connection. For example, the crew on board Oaxaca, a Santa Cruz 50 that hails from Tiberon, will be eating gourmet meals each night prepared by sailing provisioning expert and Long Beach City College culinary school graduate Cindy Bambam, who lives in Naples.

Thanks to Hawaiian Air and its flights out of Long Beach, I'll be in Hawaii to greet the finishers, and keeping our Grunion readers up to date on our favorite sailors and the stories of their journey.

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