standard Fly Pegasus, fly!

What’s a perfect Transpac ride?  A lot depends on what you’re doing, this time.

Philippe Kahn was plenty happy in 2009 when he and Mark Christiansen set a new doublehanded record in an Open 50 named, as all the man’s boats are named, Pegasus. For 2011, however, the maestro of mobile software is going retro. 

After seven months in the shed, Kahn’s Andrews 68 has been “de-turboed” as he says: “We cut 12 feet off the mast, shortened the fin and went to a smaller bulb with a few thousand pounds of lead in the bilge. We also took out the bow sprit, and the new, shorter pole gybes easily inside the forestay. Combine that with a simplified deck, and three to five of us can handle her at full potential in 35 knots of wind. A perfect Transpac ride!”  

Pegasus is now close to the configuration of a stock Santa Cruz 70, Kahn says. “We plan to sail her surfing to Honolulu like a Moore 24 as opposed to sailing across the waves, reaching, like a Melges 24. I surf, and I love surfing, and what we want is to have fair racing with the other boats in the ’70s’ class using the Transpac ORR rating. We hope to get more people wanting to do this and have some great Pacific Ocean sailing.”

Gee, it seems only yesterday that the cool thing was to go “turbo.”

The upper end of the fleet for the 2011 race has seven 70-footers entered, two 68-footers and, of course, good ole Ragtime. The fleet has two starts, July 4 and July 8, and no one is more qualified to decide how he wants to do it “this time” than Philippe Kahn. He has sailed 12 races to Hawaii, three of them doublehanded. The new record he set in 2009 with Christiansen stands at 7 days, 19 hours, which got them to the Diamond Head Buoy ahead of all the 70s, turboed or un, and lopped two days off the doublehanded record. 

He was already a more accomplished sailor-competitor, years ago, when he declared to your reporter, “I have to learn how to sail before I die.”