Saturday, July 16, 2011

Transpac Report 07-16-11 Headed for the Barn...

Breeze On!

Ronnie Simposon driving, BJ Caldwell trimming

In an early sat call this AM, according to crew member Sherry Smith, the crew was “grinning ear to ear, as Alpha Puppy is finally  gobbling up the miles.” The mood aboard AP was decidedly upbeat this morning; the lures were pulled in as AP lost a few more strikes today. As Smith pointed out, “We are just going to damn fast!”  

Skipper Alex Farell said “We passed (the First 40) ‘NAOS’ just a mile off their beam in the early hours today. It’s good to finally have them behind us. Unfortunately we are running out of real estate, and all of this makes the last jibe into Makapuu an important tactical consideration, however the bad news is,  not having the stealth of the previous 6 hour delay telegraphs, any decision we make.”

The top speed of 18.6 knots during this latest party, was laid down by solo circumnavigator BJ Caldwell. “We are hoping the Molokai channel has more in store for us” Caldwell said.  

Skipper Farell reported “that wind speeds are in the steady 18’s and at 20 we are surfing well but colliding in to the waves in front, while at 21 knots we surf uninhibited, we are hoping for increased breeze on the final jibe into Honolulu.”

Alpha Puppy is currently out 150 NM and is expected to finish at 06:07 Sunday morning.

For additional information contact:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Transpac Report  07-15-11
Alpha Puppy, Nothing Heard… Bella Becomes the Lady of the Ball.

Bella Mente, First to Finish, Barn door Winner…

Nothing heard from the Alpha Puppy crew today as they no doubt were strongly focused on trying to take some time out of their competitors today. Times have improved with the 18 knot breezes they are seeing today. They appear to be setting up for a jaunt north for their final jibe into Honolulu.

 Ignoring the TPYC ETA’s which are rarely accurate until inside the 100 mile marker, the AP crew should be at the finish line at around 0700 Hours on Sunday.

Big congratulations to the Bella Mente boys as their apparent photo finish tuned into a romp over Magnitude 80, as they split north and came screaming in on the headed jibe to Makapuu. While just hours earlier, the DTG between the barn door challengers was a scant 3 miles, the boys on Bella sealed the deal with a 3 hour finish in front of Mags 80.

Look no further than right here, tomorrow for the final report, as AP heads into Honolulu.    
For additional information contact:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mahi, Rainbows, Squalls and WIND!

Transpac Report  07-14-11

Rainbow on the horizon, fish on the lure and wind!

The mood aboard AP was decidedly upbeat this morning as the catspaws morphed into dogspaws.  The “Puppy” began to find her legs as the wind built to a steady 15 knots. “The wind was a welcome relief,” said owner Alex Farrell.  It wasn’t such a relief, however, for one unsuspecting Mahi-mahi.  As we took off on a wave we had a strike, however at 12 knots the boat and mahi soon parted company.

Ronnie Simpson commented, “ Just as we are about to kill one another, the wind began to pick up and we were finding a consistent 15 knots. Last night’s squalls were just what the doctor ordered;  we had breezes in low 20’s at the height of it,  we were able to connect the dots and keep things moving ‘like a hungry man at a buffet’ throughout the squall lines.”  While the breeze has picked up, it is still looking like this will be one of the lighter Tranpacs in recent years. The untypically lighter breezes have even had an influence on the squalls, as the squall breezes were lighter than normal, but welcome none the less”  

For a boat that wants wind and surfing conditions, this isn’t going to go down in history as the optimal race for the crew. The “Pups” continue to look forward to the channel, and the always windy Koko Head – Diamond Head sprint to the finish.

Alpha Puppy is presently at 24.53 N  147.46 W and 595 miles out of Honolulu
For additional information contact:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Transpac Report 07-13-11

The Puppy is Barking for Breeze…

In a morning sat phone call to the “puppies”, the crew sounded like they found two cases of Red Bull in the bilge and had consumed them all. Ronnie Simpson tried to order pizza and beer for the crew, “not for the finish, but now!”

Spirits were high on board today, but the underlying frustration of bringing a knife to gun fight prevails.  Crew member Sherry Smith commented “its tough being on a planing boat with a rating influenced by surfing ability  and not being able to surf, it’s downright frustrating; it turns things into a waterline  race once again.”  The crew has been jibing on every shift, and according to owner Farell, "are working hard with total focus." However as crewmember Sean Doyle commented, “We are sailing our asses off 24 hours a day, trying to nurse every ounce of speed out of the boat, unfortunately there is only so much you can do with 10-12 knots of winds speed.”

Owner Vivian Farell categorized the last 24 hours as “uneventful” however “felt like fresh showers and the addition of the MacGuyvered staysail rig helped keep the boat smiling.”

Alpha Puppy is presently at 25.9 N  145.36 W  and 745 miles out of Honolulu

For additional information contact:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Transpac Report  07-12-11
Mutiny on the Puppy…

Ronnie Simpson up the rig for maintenance and no doubt looking for wind…  
Mutiny on the puppy? We jest of course, however according to owner Alex Farell there was a healthy discussion on board last night about heading south. The “puppies” have had a rough go of it right from the beginning.  Farell expressed the frustrations they have had since the start. “First I was working on the jammed cooling system for the boat right up to our 5 min warning, we weren’t even sure we get it fixed to allow charging.” However Farell repaired, and buttoned things up just in time for the gun. “The next gremlins were the problems with communications, no ability to email for days, no weather. It really did make it sailing by Braille for the first three or four days. Were that not enough, the water maker shut down and there was obviously a big potentially race ending concern. (since repaired) Everyone pulled together and we have been able to fix anything that has gone wrong so far to date. The crew has been tremendous, not only MacGuyvering at the expense of sleep but sailing as hard as they can the entire time. Add that to the stress of the light wind and it’s enough to make anyone crazy. The crew remains in high spirits, and are we are only 1 hour 48 minutes corrected from the podium."
Presently AP is about 895 miles out of Honolulu

For additional information contact:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Transpac Report 07-11-11

Searching for the Southern Cross…

Pre-halfway party- Left  to right: BJ Caldwell, Sean Doyle, Sherry Smith, Ronnie Simpson, Alex Ferrell, (not shown, Vivian Farell)  
Ronnie Simpson checks in this morning with this report: “All is well this morning, although we’d give our eye-teeth to be further south this morning. We’d love to jibe outta here, but it would ultimately be too painful.”  Ronnie commented, “We’ll be looking for our ‘Southern Cross’,  in the mean time, we’ve made our bed  and have to make the best of it for the time being.  We are currently seeing 10-15 knot breezes and sailing about 245 degrees with boat speeds of 8-12 knots, not the stuff we need. We are going  deep and slow at the moment but it’s the only option, going any further north is death”

Simpson reported, “Its still wide open, it’s still anyone’s race with over one thousand miles to go, but the guys that are going to be tough to catch, are on that damn Hobie 33. Looking at the corrected time deltas, there are just a few hours of corrected time to make up, overall I think we can do it. Once again though, the Hobie will be the toughest as we’ve got ten hours to pull out of them and they are going well. We did have our first small squall last night, the breeze kicked up to 23 knots which was a nice change from the lighter stuff we’ve been seeing, even if it was only a brief time”

Alpha Puppy reports all is well with the water maker, they have stored an extra 15 gallons or so in addition to the emergency stores they already have.   

Ronnie has recently completed the Singlehanded Transpac, and sailed the return to California, the last 600 miles without a keel. For more about Ronnie, see:

For additional information contact:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Transpac Report  07-10-11
Surfing by Braille…
                                           “Alpha Puppy” pre-Transpac

Surfing by Braille was the mantra last night aboard “Alpha Puppy” according to owner Vivian Farell. Husband and co-owner Alex Farrell and Sean Doyle split the helm duties on what was a very windy pitch, black night. “We had breeze in the solid 20-25 knot range and solid, 10-14 knot boat speed, with surges above 18 knots” according to Vivian Farell.  “Alpha Puppy” the fleets third smallest boat, posted gains on competitors thorough out the windy night.

Disaster Diverted.
Yesterday afternoon “Alpha Puppy’s” water maker packed it in. After the first attempt at solving the problem yielded negative results, the team began discussing a worst case scenario solution. Looking at diverting to CA and comparing that with continuing at the higher speeds to Hawaii, neither seemed a viable solution given the water on board combined with the need to rehydrate freeze dried food. Fortunately, the soon to be thirsty crew ferreted out a solution and got the water maker producing at capacity.

 While the team relished in that victory, the moved on to the communication problems that have plagued them from the start, and Alpha Puppy now has plenty of water, and complete communications for the first time since the start.

For additional information contact: