Tech entrepreneur Philippe Kahn wins yacht race

HONOLULU — LightSurf founder and chief executive officer Philippe Kahn won
the 42nd Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

Monday, Kahn and crew completed the race, which began July 4, at 3:15 a.m.
local time. Their finish time of seven days, 16 hours, 31 minutes and 17
seconds was the fourth fastest ever for the race.

” Either the weather was going to cooperate or not,” said Kahn. “We did break
a record for the daily run, and what was interesting about that is we did it
without a lot of wind.”

Along the way, Kahn used his company’s technology to keep fans abreast of
the crew’s progress. With wireless technology, he posted messages and photos
from aboard the yacht onto an online captain’s log.

LightSurf designs deploys, and manages carrier-class wireless multimedia
picture and messaging services like Sprint PictureMail. Kahn, now in his
early 50s, founded the private company in 1998 in Santa Cruz.

In 1994, he founded Starfish Software, a developer of software for wireless
devices. That company was acquired by Motorola four years later.
In 1983, he founded Borland International, a maker of professional software
development tools headquartered in Scotts Valley. Under his direction,
Borland grew to employ several thousand people worldwide and post $500
million in revenues.

Born in France, Kahn’s graduate and postgraduate work was in pure
mathematics. In the 1970s, he worked in Zurich, Switzerland, under Niklaus
Wirth on Pascal, the computer programming language.

Kahn was one of the first key programmers for the Micral, an Intel-based
machine developed in France. The machine is recognized by The Computer
Museum as the first personal computer available outside a build-it-yourself

This marks the second year running Kahn’s team has won aboard his racing
yacht, Pegasus 77. Their boat and one owned by Roy E. Disney, Pyewacket,
were the only two Division 1 boats. Ten other ocean racers competed in
Division 2. The race, which covered 2,225 nautical miles, began at the edge
of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and ended at the Diamond Head volcano east of

The prize, called the Barn Door, is a 3.5-by-4-foot slab of carved Hawaiian
koa wood that goes to the boat with the fastest elapsed time.
Besides his consecutive Transpacific victories, Kahn also has won two
Pacific Cup races across the Pacific.

This may be the last match between Kahn aboard Pegasus 77 and the Disney
crew aboard Pyewacket. Pyewacket has been sold to an Asian buyer and Disney
expects his new yacht to arrive in the fall. Pegasus 77’s price is $1.45

Sentinel staff writer