Transpac 2019 is rapidly drawing to a close.
Half the fleet has finished the race after enjoying high-speed sailing at the Diamond Head finish line.
Some 70% of the 82 entries that will finish in this year's edition have or will have finished between noon Saturday and noon Monday — a remarkable high density flood of racers arriving happy, tired, thirsty and wholly satisfied with this year's race.
Two key Long Beach boats arrived — Chubasco, taking first in her division, and Medicine Man.
As the boats of sailors arrive by water, their fan clubs are arriving by air. Sunday, I left Long Beach Airport on Hawaiian Airlines' direct flight to Honolulu. Thanks to the 8:30 a.m. morning flight and the three hour time difference, I was ready to join the greeting committee on the top deck of the Hawaii Yacht Club, bellowing out an enormous "Aaaahhh-looooo-haaaah," by lunchtime.
I expected to have families and friends of those racing on board — but was pleasantly surprised that Alamitos Bay YC Staff Commodore Chuck Clay was on the same flight. Clay was at the helm of OEX when disaster struck last week, and the yacht sunk.
Hawaiian Air is old school; they still provide complimentary meal service on board. They get you in the Aloha mood early — with Hawaiian food and drink on board — even the heads have coconut hand soap and Don Ho music piped in.
TPYC race officials say 75% of the entries in this year's anniversary edition are newcomers to the race, but there are a lot of familiar faces on the arrival docks and Aloha parties being held at Waikiki and Hawaii Yacht Clubs.
All of them, even among the Division 1 and Division 2 teams deprived of course records and corrected time victories due to their first night of light air, were in a party mood.
A continuing steady stream of finishers is expected in the next 24 hours. As they enter the Ala Wai Harbor they are being greeted by loved ones, beautiful and fragrant leis, and the coconut mai-tais given every yacht in the race, regardless of their results.