David Dahl of Newport Beach, is sailing the race for the first time with his two sons and six of his closest friends.
LOS ANGELES一 The biennial Transpacific Yacht Race draws returning competitors, new competitors, and all competitors in-between. A total of 41 monohull were signed up for 51st edition of the 2225-mile offshore race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Hawaii, which began July 13, 16, and 17, with staggered start times in an effort to compress the fleet’s finish times.
Whittier Trust CEO and Newport Harbor Yacht Club member David Dahl is participating for the first time this year in the Transpac, or as he calls it, the “granddaddy” of Pacific Coast sailing.
“The granddaddy in college football, in my view, is the Rose Bowl… and on Pacific Coast sailing the Transpac is the granddaddy of them all,” said Dahl.
The well-respected race is one of the world’s oldest major ocean races and has been raced biennially, with few exceptions, since 1906.
“We’re going to be in a very, very competitive fleet,” said Dahl. “We’re almost an all-amateur boat, 80 or 90 percent of the crew it will be their very, very first Transpac race.”
Dahl is racing with his two sons, Sean, 23, and Michael, 28, and six of his closest friends. The crew have been preparing for the Transpac for the last 18 months, sailing in several offshore races including the Newport to Cabo San Lucas Yacht Race and Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race.
“I think both of them [Sean and Michael] started off by saying let’s do this because its dad’s bucket list but all of the sudden a month into it, I realized they weren’t doing it for dad any longer…they went into competition, ambition mode and said we’re doing this because of the thrill of it,” said Dahl.
The group is sailing an Andrews 77, designed by Alan Andrews and built by Dencho in 2003. Originally named Alchemy, the team renamed the boat in March of 2020 to Compadres.
“We renamed the boat Compadres just because of that lifelong friendship,” said Dahl.
Whittier Trust is the Heritage Sponsor for this year’s race and the family has been involved in the race since 1923. The Whittier brothers sailed the Transpac race in 1923 when racing resumed after World War I. The brothers set sail on Poinsettia, a 107-foot yacht, but after a two-day long storm blew its sails to ribbons, Poinsettia was forced to turn back.
Since then, many Whittier employees have sailed in the race and Dahl said he figured it was his turn.
“It was really the desire to get in shape and get the practice for the Transpac that led us to continue in the last 18 months to go off and do the offshore racing,” said Dahl.
Dahl said they have three goals for the race: be safe, be fast, and have fun. He said he hopes sailing this race with his sons helps inspire his sons to do the same with their kids.
“I hope it’s one of those lifetime experiences where one day they’ll look at their children and say I did this with your grandfather and I did it and it creates kind of a legacy going forward,” said Dahl.
Compadres took off on July 17 and Dahl expected they would reach Honolulu in six days.