Pegasus Sets New Double-Handed San Francisco to Hawaii Record

Read the Skipper’s race log here

HONOLULU, HI–(Marketwire – July 30, 2008) – The Waikiki Yacht Club announced today that Skipper Philippe Kahn, with co-skipper Richard Clarke of Canada, set a new record for the 2008 Pacific Cup race of 7 days, 15 hours, 17 minutes and 50 seconds. The prior record was set by Volvo Ocean Race winner Stan Honey in 1992.

Commenting on the record, Honey said, “Congratulations on beating my DH record from 1992, of 8 days, 20 hours, 47min set on the Santa Cruz 70 Mongoose. Nicely done!”

Crossing the finish line just before sunrise, the Pegasus Open 50 had the fastest elapsed time of all 61 boats, including fully crewed racing machines that ranged from 45 feet to 73 feet in length.

“Just the two of us, it’s so rewarding and real,” said Kahn. “We had a great side bet and competition with Dave Ullman and Adrienne Cahalan on Holua, a fully crewed SC-70. This is some of the best sailing that I have ever done. Richard is an awesome teammate!”

A Fast, Wild Ride

The start Saturday was a picture-perfect afternoon, windy with a strong ebb tide. A powerful North Pacific gale hit the fleet during the first 36 hours of the race. There were breakages and injuries. “This is what sailing is all about — endurance, survival, strength and intelligence. With gusts more than 40 knots, this race was a test for every crew. Richard and I are a great team. We really complement each other, and sailing double-handed is an amazing intense experience. You are on twenty-four by seven,” stated Kahn.

Squall after squall and hole after hole, the skippers wondered if they made the right navigational decisions, especially just after sundown on July 23, when the Pegasus flying at 25 knots ran over a large fishing net, bringing the boat to a stop and putting the kite in the water, which ultimately wrapped around the keel. “Up until this point we’d been pretty lucky, but now we were in for trouble,” Kahn said. “It was dark and we needed to get that sail off the keel. Because of the darkness, we couldn’t dive in the ocean to free the boat, especially double-handed, so we did what we could from above, pulling, pushing, grinding, cutting, yanking and winching.” Exhausted, but determined to not give up, the duo finally succeeded after 11 tries. The Pegasus continued charging toward Honolulu.

The Sailboat and Crew

The Pegasus 50 is an Owen Clarke designed Open 50 acquired by Pegasus Racing in 2007. After an extensive refit, it was christened as Pegasus and launched in San Francisco. To train for the double-handed race, Kahn and Clarke developed all the skill-sets usually covered by a full racing crew. Ultimately they competed successfully against full racing crews in the Pacific Cup.

Kahn, a well-known technology visionary and most recently creator of MotionX applications for the Apple iPhone 3G, said, “The race isn’t about technical equipment; it is about good old-fashioned navigation skills, which includes tracking the clouds and squalls. You must find the balance between sailing minimal distances and extending south to find more breeze. I’ve been in these high mid-Pacific ridges nine times before, but it is different every time. Luckily, I learned navigation skills from the best, Mark ‘Rudi’ Rudiger, one of the most sought-after ocean racing navigators in the world. Rudi passed away earlier this month; this race and record are dedicated to Rudi and his family.”

About the Pacific Cup

Started in 1980, the Pacific Cup race has attracted sailors of all stripes, from the hard-core ocean racer to the family ready and prepared for a true adventure. Stan Honey, Philippe Kahn and other luminaries in the sport have taken home Pacific Cup trophies, as have many family enterprises. The 2008 race was one of the most heavily attended in recent years, with 61 entries from 24 to 73 feet competing for a range of trophies including the Pacific Cup itself for best corrected time over the 2070-mile course from San Francisco to Honolulu. For more information, visit

About Pegasus Racing

Pegasus Racing is a world-class one-design sailboat racing team made up of some of the finest sailors in the sport. Led by Philippe Kahn, successes range from winning the Melges 24 Worlds twice (2003 and 2007), to winning the Transpac (2001 and 2003) and setting the Pacific Cup double handed record (2008). For more information on Pegasus Racing visit

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