US sailor Alex Mehran crossed the line early Monday morning on his Owen Clarke designed Open 50 Truth to set a new solo Transpac record. His passage time of 8d 12h and 21m demolished sixteen year old record held by the Open 60 Wild Thing by nearly two and a half days.
Truth (ex Pegasus) now holds all three short-handed records on the west coast of the USA to add to her east coast tally of solo Route du Rhum and Transat records from her days as Artforms. To date, undoubtedly the most successful American sailboat of her type ever to sail on either coasts.
The last 48 hrs proved extremely challenging for the former Newport RI based Class 40 sailor in what is his longest single-handed passage to date.
“I spent last night on starboard with the A6 frac and made some good ground. At daybreak it was time to gybe and I got everything set just as always. Main out to give the kite more shadow, keel to 20 degrees so I am not rolling all over the place while on the bow, assure the snuffer line is clear, smoke sheet and snuff the kite… I guess I let too much sheet off or something else happened and the whole thing wrapped up first on the solent stay, then on the baby stay and became a total mess. This happened to us once on Cutlass during the Montego Bay race and we had to cut the baby stay down to get it sorted! If I had remembered that experience maybe I would have gotten the sock down further without experimenting with every control line trying to get it off the solent stay, but no. I had to try everything and in the process get the thing considerably more twisted. It took about an hour and a half to get the sail below.
When racing offshore I always have an overwhelming sense that the competition is breathing down my neck. I think it comes from all the dinghy sailing I did when I was younger. So was I going to be smart and learn from my mistake? No. I couldn’t lose any ground. Code 3 came out of the stack since I didn’t want to go with the A2, the A4 was shot and I really couldn’t tackle untangling the A6. It was a good choice I thought.
Everything was set. Sheets on, furler on and out, halyard made, dial down and hoist. Should be perfect. And then out peels the first third of the sail just as I got it on the lock, spins up the furler on the tack line grabbing all the furler control line it could, total mess at the end of the sprit and impossible to open or close the sail anymore. Trip to the end of the sprit trying to un-spin left my hands feeling numb with no results, tack line off and furler line on, opposite, sheet off with those combos, sheet on, etc. Nothing worked. So finally I detached the furler from the drum, did a magic dance and hooray – the sail opened! Ran back to trim on. This was going to be sweet. But wait, the sail was wrapped on the solent stay. Repeat A6 procedure above and two hours later I was in the same spot, now less a functional code 3 since it was in a heap down below.
Took an hour to re-hydrate, eat and think. Took another hour of looking at the A6 and trying to untangle it in the forepeak. Took another thirty minutes for a little psychiatry with myself……”
That’s enough of that, you get the picture. A bad day out of the office that came good in the end. Congrats Alex, well done and thanks for the entertaining stories.
Alex Mehran's Truth blog