SV Lenny is on the podium of the 2023 Transpac!2023-07-10
Before SV Lenny started the 2023 Transpac we had a moment to talk to the crew about the boat, a brand new Beneteau First 44 racing configuration, commissioned in Marina del Rey, CA, by the Naos Yachts team and their partners.
The crew had a few short days to test the boat in the Santa Monica Bay before the race start on June 27, here are some of their reactions:
it's a big boat, very powerful, wide and very stable, it will be very comfortable sailing thanks to the very good deck and cockpit layout
the inside layout is very comfortable
It's a beautiful boat. I can't wait to start sailing on this boat. The design and decoration is absolutely amazing, Isabelle Keller did a fantastic job. This boat feels like a thoroughbred that is impatient to step out of the box.
The boat is a good boat, well rigged, well set up and I can see some custom-made changes by Charles and his team here in LA. When you're at the helm you can feel that the boat is powerful, it might not go super fast but the average speed should be good. The foam deck is really comfortable.
The cockpit is very spacious, with lots of space for the helm person and the crew. I think that the design is really well thought out, I noticed the racing options that were chosen for this boat: the mast is back, the boat is very well balanced at the helm, even when we heel and with a lot of sails up.
The boat is wide and very stable offshore, it's going to be very nice to sail, the interior is very well set up, but that means the boat is heavy, so we have used lots of big sails. The sails from North France are extremely well-cut and we have lots of possibilities to raise different sails, we have 3 different storm sails, and that's thanks to the mast positioned back. I was quite surprised to see this on the First, she's a very spacious and very fast boat in light and medium winds.
As usual, I'm very impressed by the commissioning of the boat done by the Naos Yachts team and partners here in LA. All in all, the boat is beautiful, the hull decor is amazing, the variety of sails impressive, everything looks to be done for increasing the performance.
We caught up with the skipper after the arrival in Hawaii and were able to ask about the boat once again, here’s what he had to say.
I can honestly say that I have never been more at ease offshore on a boat! This boat is very safe, the deck and the cockpit are extremely well thought out, super well designed. One of the best surprises was the minimal amount of technical problems we encountered. Usually in a race like this we always have tons of small and big problems but this was not at all the case this time. The boat was very fast in reaching.
The interior layout is very spacious, the crew and I enjoyed that luxury.
SV Lenny - Skipper Log - 2023 Transpac
June 29- Day 3
Latest news from SV Lenny and her crew racing the 2023 Transpac - The boat has been on a starboard tack since the start and we were able to release the reef in the mainsail this morning. We’re flying the Genoa and the staysail now but the sun is not shining. We’ll have to wait a little longer for the sun and to be able to fly bigger sails.
Steering at the wheel one can feel the speed of the boat and every wave along the way. As the boat gets used to the ocean, so do we. We changed our shifts to 2 crews instead of the 3 originally planned, and we alternate more often. Our chef Pierre is taking good care of the crew, feeding us well - some of us have not been able to keep the food down (life on a racing boat!)...
As usual on a race, we had to do some repairs, from small fixes to more important ones. This, after all, is a boat that came out of the molds only 10 weeks prior to the race start.
Last but not least, this morning at 6am, I was steering the boat at 10 knots when a group of dolphins came to play with Lenny! It's always magical to see them jumping around the boat.
From 31.11N and 124.14W
July 1st - Day 4
Hello from SV Lenny sailing towards Hawaii. We are speeding along, and have already sailed 700 nm. The wind is finally on our good side, we were able to fly the Code 55 last night, and we are getting the A3 spinnaker ready. The “big BIG problem” we had, has been downgraded to “big problem”, we will have to climb up the mast in Hawaii because we can’t lower the genoa… although we did manage to furl it. We crossed paths with a Matson cargo ship this morning. They cross from San Diego to Hawaii so we’re on the right route!
We see trash in the water and we have also noticed fish nets and traps… unfortunate reminders that civilization is not far from us. Our shifts are pretty smooth now, we’ve come to an understanding on who snores, who takes over the entire bed in each cabin, and this new system works out pretty well. Pierre should really be given a Michelin star, last night he cooked a pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and carrots… to die for! The wine cellar is still intact, we might have become wiser with age! That’s the main news this morning, no photos today because we had to reboot our system while Microsoft decided to backup their system and that used up the entire date allowance for the month!!!
2 juillet - Day 5
Starboard Tack… the boat is heeling between 22 and 26 degrees, nothing new really on the sunny route to Hawaii.
It is increasingly warmer, and we are almost at the half-way point. We are probably going to arrive on Saturday, day time, depending on how well we can cross the transition area. We are positioned between two weather systems and the wind is a little all over the place in speed and in direction. We have also had a few strong rainstorms, the rain feels good.
The Gold Medal for really annoying problems is awarded to the water maker. We are going too fast and we’re heeling too much for the water maker pump which keeps disconnecting! So, in order to make water we’ve had to be very creative, losing speed to bring the boat flat on the ocean, which allows us to fill up our bottles. Lots of other minor problems, as expected. We are discovering the boat and we are listing the changes we will need to make for the next legs of the voyage that will see SV Lenny sail through the Pacific Ocean all the way to Australia.
In case you are wondering about the food situation onboard, everything is A-OK. I have become Chef Pierre’s assistant and am proud to report that I have become a master chef when it comes to preparing avocado toasts in the morning. Pierre continues to prepare excellent meals, we’re definitely not dieting on this boat!
Tonight is the traditional Captain’s dinner, marking the halfway point. The Menu will include Foie Gras and Duck Confit… we will also open a really good bottle of Beychevelle wine.
We are not forgetting that we are racing and we’re keeping tabs on the competition… We are working on keeping our current 4th place in line honors, the two Dehler 46 sail really fast, they’re racing against each other south of us… we’ll see where we’re at when we reach Hawaii.
That’s all folks for today. More soon.
3 juillet - Day 6
Hello Landlubbers! We are halfway into our passage to Hawaii, there’s no turning back now! Nothing much new aboard SV Lenny; Flying spinnaker. Starboard tack. Grey skies. Rainstorms. That’s our daily routine at the Lenny office.
The wind has finally allowed us to fly another of our spinnakers, the one we had not yet used. The BIG BEN, the symmetrical runner S4. It feels like we’re driving a heavy truck, downwind sailing is not very fast but we’re going straight towards the finish line. So now we can say that we’ve tested every single one of our head sails, the pink A2 with the Naos logo, nicknamed Wumper. The gray one with the La Victoire logo nicknamed Patator. The yellow S2 with the Naos logo which is used in light winds during the transitions and which we will use again for sure. And the BIG BEN which, now that we’ve set it up, might stay up for a while. Each of the sails has a very specific function and use and optimum angles… so we change sails, and change them again because Fred and Romain (both naval architects) are not happy with the VMG, so we change the sails again and again and soon enough we settle back on the original sail.
In the galley, the mood is depressed. This morning Pierre found mold on the bread. It is a real disaster because the bread was to be toasted and eaten with Foie Gras. We will have to open our first bottle of wine to lift up the mood! Yesterday we had a pasta and porcini mushroom dinner with NY steaks and now he’s preparing a duck confit au gratin… tonight we will simply eat a little salad, it is the last one left.
The water maker is still giving us trouble, whenever we go fast or we heel, the pump stops pumping. The VHF/AIS stopped working. And in spite of the expertise of the crew we were not able to restart it.
More bad news, this time for the planet. The Pacific Ocean has become a giant plastic trash container. This is the 7th time that I have sailed to Hawaii and it’s worse every time. We caught a line in our rudders this morning, Fred and Romain (our fearless heroes) managed to disentangle the mess. 10 minutes later we avoided a big patch of floating fishing nets, we zig zagged between plastic containers and fishing nets, right now it feels like we’re in a minefield. It’s not fun being on the lookout.
The first estimates have us arriving Saturday noon, just in time for pre-lunch drinks, we only have a few thousand miles to go.
That’s it for the offshore news.
Second mail - 3 juillet
Photos from today and tonight.
In these photos you can see us enjoying the racing lifestyle, and don’t think that it’s an easy life… we actually posed for the photographer! When the photos were taken we were flying the big spinnaker at sunset, with 20 knots of wind. We are trying very hard to keep our third place (in line honors) and are racing after the 2 German boats south of us. We are in the last stretch, determined to fight till the finish line.
Galley news: Pierre made an amazing Duck Confit Parmentier, that’s a layer of mash potatoes, a layer of duck confit and a layer of mash potatoes baked in the oven. This was for the traditional Captain’s dinner, and tonight, in honor of our friend Lenny S. we opened our very first bottle of wine during this crossing. This bottle comes from Lenny’s personal cellar and was given to me last week just before we left Marina del Rey.
The whole crew is doing great. It is a little strange for Fred and I to be sailing with so many people, we’ve raced this route 5 times just the 2 of us, which meant that one of us was always up.
I also want to mention how great it is to be on this race with my son Clément, who is discovering offshore sailing, and getting used to it! I think that he’s starting to enjoy this. It’s a great way to celebrate his 25th birthday (in a few days).
We’ve passed the 1000 nm before the finish line mark. We’ll be in Honolulu on Saturday, just in time for drinks !
July 4 - Day 7
Hello everyone, we’re still on the Hawaii highway, but the sun is not shining much… we’re waiting for it under gray skies. We’re going quite fast, we’ve tied Romain to the helm and he loves it. We are about 840nm from the finish line so about 96 hours or 4 days.
We’re really going fast, in the last thousand miles our average speed was over 9 knots.
The night was quiet, except for a few strong starts followed by no wind. This morning Olivier, forgetting that he was not helming a lagoon 46, managed a beautiful mess… the pasta plate that Pierre had in hand went flying through the galley and landed on my desk, in my office space.
Right now, we’ve decided to go as fast as possible, the winds are more northerly than expected so we need to go South a little more than we had planned on our routing. We’ll just wait and see what that means in terms of ratings, the positions of the boats keep changing which means that nothing is set yet and that the race is still wide open.
In other news of the day: Fred, Thomas and I took a shower. We used a bucket and took our shower at the stern of the boat, it wasn’t very warm but it felt good. I had had enough of sleeping with my own strong body odor, imagine the smell of a wild fox … We’re still very conservative with the water usage because at this speed we can’t make water. Tonight’s dinner is curry chicken, by our favorite Chef Pierre. We are running out of bread.
Today is July 4th, Independence Day in the US, but …. We’re not taking a day off, no holiday for this crew!
Kisses from offshore.
July 5 - Day 8
Only 780 nm left before we reach Hawaii. Everything is going well, nothing broke or went wrong today. The sun has finally decided to come out, but the wind has weakened. We are resting.
Dinner menu: chicken curry with rice.
Good night to our friends on land.
July 6 - Day 9
Good evening from the Offshore, we are finally on a portside tack on the Hawaii highway, 560 nm from the finish line. We tacked earlier than planned because of a rainstorm. We will see tomorrow if this decision was the right one.
The sunset last night was very nice, after a sunny afternoon, while the morning had been a little tougher. Fred and I were on the same shift, just like the good old days of our double-handed races. We faced strong rainstorms for 1.5 hours, we were probably doing 11 to 12 knots on average, it felt like we were speeding along like we used to on the Girafon (Figaro 3) with top speeds around 17.5 knots and, very often, speeds around 14 to 15 knots. The deck was SMOKING! The wake behind us looked like snow, left behind by a heavy truck. It was great, with the Big Ben spinnaker and staysail in winds up to 26 knots. If this First 44 was lighter it would be a rocket, but unfortunately we are still carrying extra “luxury” pounds… They say “leaner is meaner” and in our case we’re not lean but still mean.s Life aboard is routine, we are getting close to finishing our bread supply, Pierre continues to amaze us with his creativity in the galley. For lunch he made a "everything goes in" salad, he basically emptied the fridge, which was amazing. Tonight we will eat pork tenderloin and pasta. and we will be on the lookout for any wind that can help us gain a few miles on the direct route. The crew continues to take showers with a bucket at the stern of the boat, and we will be all nice and clean when we cross the finish line.
That's all folks... I'm sending some photos, enjoy!
July 7- Day 10
Game over, we will arrive in 48 hours. 400 nm to go in a very erratic wind which is not fun for our nerves. The clouds push us in the right direction when suddenly the wind goes the other way and stops us instantly then remains weak... the Hawaiian trade winds are not with us. This morning we were still at the head of our division but there are 5 boats that can all be on the podium and Lenny is in the middle of the pack right now, based on our rating and our current position. We think, and hope, that it is just as difficult for our boat friends, with s*&^y winds just like us. This thought keeps us sane. On the technical side, our engineer, Clément, managed to fix the VHF and AIS, which we lost 6 days ago. He noticed a loose wire, took the box apart, reconnected the wires to the motherboard and made it all better. And since the conditions were good, he also managed to make some water... which allowed all of us to take a good shower, clean our underwear and t-shirts... we are now a clean crew! In the galley, Pierre is planning a pasta bolognese dinner and a chocolate fondant to celebrate my daughter, Tiphaine's 23d birthday. Happy birthday sweetie, we will eat the fondant while thinking about you.
Kisses to everyone
On July 8 at 3:44 pm (Hawaii time) SV Lenny and her crew crossed the finish line, 11 days, 5 hours and 44 minutes after they had started the race. They sailed over 2225 nautical miles from Point Firmin (Los Angeles), CA to Honolulu, Hi.
They finished second in their class and 9th ORR overall. We’re so proud of the entire crew and thank everyone who helped make this possible.