Saturday, July 11, 2009

Alfa Romeo Smashes Transpac Record by a Day

Written by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Honolulu, HI (July 11, 2009) - Alfa Romeo, Neville Crichton’s Reichel Pugh 100, set a new elapsed time record for monohulls in the Transpacific Yacht Race by making the 2,225-nautical mile crossing in 5 days, 14 hours, 36 minutes and 20 seconds (subject to ratification). The sixteen-man crew beat the previous course record set by Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory in 2005 of 6:16:04:11 by over a day. Alfa Romeo II crossed the finish line at 00:36:20 am HST on Saturday.

Crichton, who lived in Hawaii for a period of time and sailed his first and only Transpacific Yacht Race prior to this one 30 years ago. Crichton’s sailing program has changed considerably since 1979 when he raced in a 42-footer and finished eighth in a 22-boat fleet. Crichton and his fleet of Alfa Romeo sailboats have taken line honors in 171 races. Crichton’s wins include races considered the Holy Grail of offshore racing – the Fastnet and the Sydney Hobart. Crichton looking forward to the Sydney Hobart Race said, "There will be six 100-footers in the race. Five are certainly are capable of winning the race."

Following the win when Team Manager, Murray Spence, was asked to elaborate on what it took to prepare the boat and team for the race, Crichton stole the microphone and responded, "Money." Everybody laughed and no one could argue. Crichton said that he was very happy with the race. "We had no mechanical problems: not one."

Crichton’s team included Stan Honey, Ben Ainslie, Michael Coxon, David Endean, Ryan Godfrey, Stan Honey, Andrew Hutchinson, Phil Jameson, Lance Jenkins, Gavin McPherson, Peter Merrington, Murray Spence, Craig Sattherwaite, Joao Signorini, David Rolfe, Tony Mutter and Alfa’s shore crew, Ian Goldsworthy.

Honey, who has a 50% batting average when it comes to winning the Transpac. He boosts his Transpac wins to 11 with Transpac 2009. Among the Transpac records that Honey set are the fastest corrected time of any singlehanded sailor in a monohull (set in 1994 on Illusion, a Cal 40 and superseded), the fastest Transpac passage in a monohull of any singlehanded sailor; and the fastest passage in a monohull (set in 1999 on Pyewacket, a Santa Cruz 70, in 1999, also superseded.) Honey has also been aboard fastest passage and fastest 24-hour runs in the Atlantic as a crew on ABNAmro One, a Juan K VOR 70 and Playstation, a Morrelli & Melvin catamaran. Those records have been superseded. Honey is on call with Franck Cammas and Groupama to go for a 'round the world record.

Honey’s comment on his Transpacific crossing aboard Alfa Romeo and the weather conditions that enabled the team to break the previously set 24-hour run record in the Transpac, established in 2005 by Morning Glory , was "We had steady winds. We never had a slow spot." During Transpac 09, Alfa Romeo had a 399-mile day, a 423-mile day and a 393-mile day.When asked when he knew that Mother Nature had given Alfa Romeo the conditions to set a new course record, Honey said, "About three days before the start." The weather shaped up perfectly for the 100-footer.

During the race, Murray Spence, the team manager, the reported, “The Volvo guys on board are saying that this sailing is their reward for toughing it out around the world. This sailing is definitely a long way from sailing upwind in 45 knots with 3 degree temperature.” Over half a dozen members of the record-breaking team fly directly from the completion of the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race and having set 24-hour monohull records on Ericsson 4, a Volvo Open 70. Read More...