HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Soon after the sun started to rise, Bella Mente of the New York Yacht Club was the first to cross the buoy marked finish line of the 2011 Transpacific Yacht Race, a quarter mile off Diamond Head with an unofficial arrival time of 5:44:28 am HST. The yacht overtook the larger Magnitude 80 to win the prestigious "Barn Door Trophy" at this year's 46th Transpac race of 2,225 nautical miles from Southern California to Hawaii.
However, it remains to be seen if the Bella Mente's true elapsed time for her journey will beat the Transpac record setting time by the Morning Glory, of Disney movie fame, back in 2005 at 6 days, 16 hours and 4 minutes. (6:16:04:11).
Magnitude 80 arrived second, with the O Canada expect to arrive in third.
But the Transpac is a handicapped race, with boats of different sizes and capabilities. So once all competitors have finished, one will reign supreme, and its not always the one that "finishes" first.
Members of the Waikiki Yacht Club are excited because there are 4 ships from Hawaii involved in this year's race, three are represented by the WYC, Grand Illusion, Pegasus-Motion X and Cazan. Chaschmer is represented by the Maui Boat and Yacht Club.
The good news for Hawaii sailors, is that as of early this morning, the Grand Illusion and the Pegasus were said to be running neck and neck, and with their "corrected times" for handicap, one of them may just win the overall race.
If Grand Illusion wins, it'll be her second win in the past 7 races. She won back in 1999 with owner/skipper James McDowell with a time of 7 days, 8 hours and 40 minutes. (7:08:40:10).
The race began with the first round of boats on July 4th, from off Point Fermin, San Pedro near Los Angeles and the second comprised of the second larger, faster vessels like the Bella Mente, leaving on July 8th. It began with 53 boats but will end over the coming days 48 after some dropped out due to problems with their boats and/or crews.
A special trophy in honor of Colonel Curtis Pi`ehu Iaukea, who wrote the first invitation on behalf of King Kalakaua to sail from the West Coast to Honolulu, will be presented next Friday, July 22nd at 5pm at the Waikiki Shell to the best foreign competitor in this year's Transpac.
Iaukea was the chief diplomat for the Kingdom of Hawaii during the reigns of both King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani, and later served as his personal staff to the Kalakaua. As the most traveled member of the Hawaiian Administration, the trophy honors the race's foreign participants.
Ramsay Wharton was live on the press boat Loco Moco Friday morning off Diamond Head when Bella Mente came in. She talked Owner/Skipper John "Hap" Fauth at the Waikiki Yacht Club about his victory. Click on the video to hear her report and listen to the skipper.