May 2007

Arizona Sailors To Race In Transpac 2007

From The Lehmans

Two long-time Arizona sailors will be racing in the Doublehanded Class of Transpac 2007. The boat is a trailerable Fast 40 owned by Al Lehman, Jr. of Payson. The crew will be Al Lehman, Sr. of Gold Canyon.

The Transpac was started in 1905 and has been sailed in odd numbered years except for a few years during WWII. The race is from Los Angeles to Honolulu and is handicapped at 2,225 miles.

There will be three starts this year: July 9, 12 and 15. The slowest boats start first followed by the faster boats on later dates. The Lehmans expect to start on July 12. About 65 boats are expected to compete in Transpac 2007

This year all boats will have transponders automatically reporting their positions every six hours. The reported positions can be followed on the Internet at the Transpac 2007 Web site, The Lehman’s boat is named Narrow Escape.

Narrow Escape is 40 feet long, 8 feet wide, and has about 4 feet 10 inches of headroom in the cabin. The boat draws 7 feet with the keel down and about 3 feet with the keel retracted, making the boat trailerable.

The boat weighs less than 5,000 pounds. The interior is stripped out and consists of four pipe berths, a small navigation table, a single-burner swinging propane stove, and a marine head.

The race is not a Great Circle sail to Hawaii. The boats must first head south to get below the Pacific high and get into the trade winds.

Going too far south extends the distance sailed. Not going far enough south gets the boat into the Pacific high with light winds.

Also, the boat must be sailed well 24 hours a day. The toughest part is at night when the body wants to sleep and there is no visual stimulation.

Al Sr. said, “We will always have someone on duty, but at night we will probably use the autopilot.” After the first two or three days the spinnaker will be set and probably flown the remainder of the race.

Al Jr. thinks, “We can do the race in 11 days, maybe less if the winds are good.”

Both Lehmans started racing in the early 1970s, first on Lasers and then a Catalina 22, winning the Catalina 22 class in the Arizona Yacht Club races in 1977. Al Lehman, Jr. went on to race a Prindle 16, going to the Nationals twice.

Al Lehman, Jr. has won the Arizona Yacht Club racing championship several times and has raced in two previous Transpacs.

Al Lehman, Sr. switched to cruising boats in the late 1970s and has sailed to Hawaii and back, from Tampa, Florida, to Maine; Puerto Rico to Florida, and has spent several years cruising the Sea of Cortez.

Currently Al Sr. and his wife Sandy live part of the year on a boat that they sail from Washington state to Alaska in the summer.