Tritium Racing finishes first in Transpac 2013

Gladstone's Long Beach owner John Sangmeister skippers the ORMA 73 yacht on the 2,225 nautical miles 'Transpacific Yacht Race'

Published  9:16 AM HST Jul 19, 2013
HONOLULU -

Tritium Racing arrived first in the Transpacific Yacht Race, or Transpac, from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Thursday at 9:52 p.m. Hawaii time, covering more than 2,225 nautical miles in five days, 11 hours, 52 minutes and 33 seconds.

The Tritium Racing team faced several unexpected challenges along the course including large amounts of debris left over from the tsunami in Japan in March 2011.

The delays and concern for safety prevented the crew from breaking the race record set by Bruno Peyron in 1997 aboard Commodore Explorer, an 86-foot catamaran, in five days, nine hours, 18 minutes, and 26 seconds.

Transpac’s first race was in 1906 and took 12 days to complete and has since become one of the premier international sailing events.

The Tritium Racing team navigated the Lending Club named yacht, a 73-feet offshore trimaran, on the Transpac 2013 race; a journey that began on Saturday, July 13, following two earlier launches on July 8 and 11 that included more than 59 boats.

"This was an extraordinary journey and I couldn’t be prouder of the amazing crew of world-class sailors, our terrific partner Lending Club and this truly remarkable yacht that we were fortunate to race," says John Sangmeister, yacht owner and skipper, and president and CEO of Gladstone's Long Beach. "This was a journey that started two years ago and became a reality in just six short months. I sincerely want to thank my family, friends, crew and everyone that has supported us along the way."

Sailing with the number "USA 3," the nine-member crew included John Sangmeister, skipper, Renaud Laplanche, CEO at Lending Club, Ryan Breymaier, captain, Gino Morrelli, watch captain, Will Oxley, navigator, Peter Stoneberg, main trimmer, along with Howard Hamlin, Jay Steinbeck and Erik Berzins.

The Tritium Racing team is an award-wining group that includes America's Cup winners Sangmeister and Morrelli, New York to San Francisco Monohull World Sailing Speed Record holder Breymaier, four-time SAP 505 World Champion Hamlin and two-time French Laser National Champion Laplanche.

Tritium Racing sailed an ORMA 73 yacht. Originally built and raced as an ORMA 60 in 1998, the yacht went through several transformations including extending it to 72 feet and adding a 17 feet bowsprit to the central hull before Sangmeister purchased the vessel in February 2013. The team immediately began converting it into an offshore boat again, including the addition of a new engine, classic rig, central dagger board and foil system.

Tritium Racing takes its name from the chemistry compound Tritium. Sangmeister’s father competed in the 1964 Little America’s Cup trials in his C-Class catamaran "Hydrogen." Sangmeister owned and raced a Formula 40 catamaran named "Hydrogen II" named as homage to his father.

"Tritium or H3 is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen and this boat is certainly a radioactive iteration of its predecessors," he said.

Tritium Racing is honored to represent and partner with Lending Club, the Switlik Parachute Company, Garmin, KVH satellite communications, Aere Docking Solutions and Gladstone’s Long Beach.

The Transpac 2013 sailing race was open to monohulls and multihulls and started at Point Fermin in San Pedro, Calif., near Los Angeles and finished at Diamond Head Lighthouse in Oahu, Hawaii, east of Honolulu. The first start was on Monday, July 8 with subsequent starts on Thursday, July 11 and Saturday, July 13. The staggered starts helped compress the finish times for a fleet that had widely different speeds over the 2,225-mile course.

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