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Transpac 2023

The first starts of the 2023 Transpac are just around the corner, and the wide range of our 55 registered entries prove that there is no one right boat for this classic 2225-mile ocean race.

The current list ranges in length from Steve Campo’s Hobie 33 BAZINGA, to Manouch Moshayedi’s RIO100 to three MOD70 trimarans that will be looking for breakaway boat speeds in the high thirties.

As always, the 2023 Transpac fleet will feature races within the race. The Santa Cruz 50/52 fleet is one of the long-standing rivalry classes. This year, our 50th entry was Chris Messano’s Santa Cruz 50 DECEPTION that is one of many boats undergoing work with high hopes in the bargain.

Messano and co-skipper Bill Durant are excited to put the improved DECEPTION through her paces this summer, particularly because the crew consists largely of the Messano and Durant families. Despite being the last SC 50 built and fast out of the box, this was in 1987 and this competitive class has been steadily upgrading to raise the bar in performance ever since.

Their extensive efforts to renovate DECEPTION to its new look (shown at right) are impressive: a new stern scoop, a new rudder, gutted and refurbished (and minimalist) interior, new flush portlights and hatches, removal of deck tracks in favor of cleaner and lighter floating clew ring system, and pedestal winches (to name a few).

And if this weren’t enough, their plan after racing to Cabo is to fit a new modern T-bulb keel for even less drag, more stability and better offwind speed.

“I love to refurbish classic cars, and this has been a similar passion for me,” said Messano. “We wanted to do this right: take our time, use the right materials, and have not just a better-looking boat but one that performs closer to modern standards of performance.”

DECEPTION joins Michael Moradzadeh’s SC50 OAXACA and Dave Moore’s SC52 WESTERLY as the first of the Santa Cruz 50/52 entries – almost certainly with more to come. These boats were literally made for the trade wind surfing conditions of Transpac.

 Transpac © Transpacific Yacht Club

The competition among the sleds will also be fierce. Already, there are five Santa Cruz 70’s, two Andrews 68’s, and Chip Merlin’s celebrated Bill Lee Custom 68 MERLIN signed up for those 2225 steadily bluer-and-warmer miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Point Fermin to Diamond Head.

The competition isn’t always between boats. Tom Holthus is back for 2023 with his Botin 56 BadPak, and he is competing against himself as well as against the fleet. Holthus was the Division 1 winner in 2021 (on the current BadPak, shown at left) and in 2019 (on the Pac52 BadPak), and is looking for a three-peat. Holthus says a key to this success is a team that is largely unchanged, with many thousands of miles of racing together.

Sharon Green© Copyright 2022. Transpacific Yacht Club
Sharon Green© Copyright 2022. Transpacific Yacht Club

“We will have a crew of 10 who are not only excellent sailors but are really compatible,” he said. “We’ll not be making any major changes to the boat and sails in this cycle, but will focus on building our strengths in knowing the boat and each other well. With the Cabo Race, the Islands Race and the SoCal 300 to train on, we’ll be ready to go in July.”

Holthus is also confident they can be contenders for the overall King Kalakaua Trophy, awarded to the team finishing first overall on corrected time, but he knows that he can really be competitive only against boats starting on the same day—in the same weather—and that is a matter of chance. With different fleets starting on different days, he says, “Winning involves favorable weather, something we cannot control beyond those other teams starting on the same day.”

Another important award, the Barn Door Trophy, will be presented to the fastest monohull on the course. At 100 feet in length, RIO100 would seem to be the favorite, but the entry process is not over yet for another contender to possibly join the fleet.

It’s less than six months to first gun. More boats are sure to join, and you can be one of them. Come race the classic, Los Angeles-Honolulu since 1906.

More information on the race, its history, current entries and more go to

by Transpacific Yacht Club

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