Two Santa Cruz 50s have brought entries for this summer’s 13th Tahiti Race to six, exactly the average number for the first dozen races reaching back to 1925.
The early deadline for entries is Jan. 31. After that fees rise from 33% to 50%, depending on boat size.
The 3,571-nautical mile race to Papeete, organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club, starts June 22 from Point Fermin in San Pedro at the southern tip of Los Angeles.
The SC 50s Fortaleza, owned by Jim Morgan of Long Beach, and Mighty Tongaroa, owned by Bill Boyd of Honolulu, are now committed, along with Chris Welsh’s Spencer 65, Ragtime; Doug Baker’s Andrews 80, Magnitude 80; Bob Lane’s Andrews 63, Medicine Man, and Allen Hughes’ Open 60, Dogbark.
Why are they all doing it?
“Who doesn’t want to go to Tahiti?” Morgan responded. “Any fifty-ish guy who grew up watching Gardner McKay’s ‘Adventures in Paradise’ has wanted to go there all his life. The smell of coconuts and [local] Hinano beer is too much to pass up.”
Morgan bought Fortaleza (formerly Allure) to do last year’s Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii as part of the Division 50/52 class resurgence. With that wind in his sails, Tahiti was a logical progression.
“It’s a big time commitment,” he said, “but that’s why we got the boat. What we do on Fortaleza is ocean racing.”
Fortaleza did Transpac with eight crew; Morgan plans to do Tahiti with six.
The problem for many participants in these days of busier personal schedules is getting enough time off work to do a race that takes from two to three weeks to sail, not counting preparation and getting the boat and themselves back home afterward.
Part of that is balanced by the rare opportunity; this will be the first Tahiti Race in 14 years. “What are you going to remember 20 years from now,” Morgan asks, “going to work or going to Tahiti?”
The other part—getting the boat back home—could take a month or longer of hard upwind sailing, and even with a hired delivery crew would mean “a lot of wear and tear on the boat,” Morgan said.
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