Brendan Huffman from UK Sailmakers’ Los Angeles loft recently completed his second Singlehanded Transpacific Race (SHTP), a 2,120-mile course from San Francisco, CA, to Kauai, HI. As he had in 2021, he sailed the race aboard his Santa Cruz 33 SIREN.
SIREN was a division standout early in the race, and Brendan managed to maintain his position in the top spot in the Kū division. Brendan crossed the finish line in Hanalei Bay after 13 days and 4 hours, placing 5th overall in this year’s 18 total boat fleet. This was his ninth race to Hawaii and second Singlehanded Transpac.
Brendan sailed this year’s race with a UK Sailmakers inventory, including an X-Drive mainsail and an A2 spinnaker (pictured).
His sail inventory consisted exclusively of UK Sailmakers sails, all of which also were used in the 2021 SHTP and many other races in windy San Francisco Bay. Brendan noted that all his sails performed to the high level expected despite the mileage they had sailed and regular usage. Brendan said, “Both my X-Drive mainsail and 125% genoa are four years old. Even after two races to Hawaii, they both have plenty of life left in them.”
The first half of the race was a close reach in mostly breezy conditions. During the second half of the race, Brendan alternated between his A2 spinnaker and winging out his genoa during naps and squalls.
“One morning, I set the A2 in 15 knots of breeze but then it quickly rose to 25-28 knots for three hours. By then, I had a decent lead on my fleet and considered dousing the chute; but how often do you get to sail downwind in the middle of the Pacific by yourself and surf down waves like that? I was careful, however, and the asymmetrical chute flew beautifully making for easy steering.”
Brendan Huffman aboard his Santa Cruz 33, SIREN, in the 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Race.
In preparation for this race, Brendan worked with other lofts within the UK Sailmakers network to develop an effective and manageable sail plan for the race. He noted that there had been lots of useful input from colleagues before this race, as there had been for his previous SHTP.
Brendan said, “My nine races to Hawaii have given me considerable knowledge and perspectives that I have and will continue to pass along to my customers planning to race or cruise offshore, regardless if shorthanded or fully crewed.”
Brendan went on to say that this ninth race to Hawaii was the most challenging in terms of weather and how hard he pushed himself. He can certainly rest assured knowing his goal of improving on the results of his last SHTP has been achieved.
SIREN at anchor in Hanalei Bay, Hawaii, after the finish.
Rather than a return delivery, Brendan had previously arranged to donate SIREN to the youth sailing program at the Kauai Sailing Association. “At the SHTP trophy dinner, the KSA juniors sang Oli Mahalo (song of gratitude) for me. I was very moved by this gesture. I’m fortunate to have had a wonderful support team in both Marina Del Rey and Sausalito for two SHTPs who helped prepare this 45-year-old boat to cross the ocean twice, and now its new life with the KSA. Thank you all! I’ll cherish forever my terrific memories of SIREN and my solo races to Hawaii.”
The Singlehanded Sailing Society has been running the SHTP biennially since 1978. The Singlehanded Sailing Society notes that, “Since then, more people have made it to outer space than have raced singlehanded from San Francisco to Hawaii. But, if you like to sail by yourself, paradoxically, you’re still in good company.”
Double rainbow at the Hanalei Bay anchorage.