This year’s Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu will have its multiple starts in July and for its 50 or more entrants it could mean dodging boat-threatening floating objects.
Transpac organizers report they have been monitoring the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 tsunami for over a year and have noted there are several resources available on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website with up to date information on the floating debris.
Late last year there was a very large section of concrete dock washed up on a beach South of Newport, Oregon, and not long after another one washed up on a beach on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. And in recent months there has been debris identified as a part of the tsunami debris on the coast of the Hawaiian Islands.
Race organizers say phone discussions with people at NOAA have determined that they are monitoring the debris field carefully but do not know yet whether the drift of this debris will directly effect the race course.
“There will be, most likely, more ‘stuff’ in the water than usual over our course,” the organizers point out, “so a good lookout will be prudent.
“In the past our racers have cooperated by observing samples during their trips home from Hawaii to the West Coast of the US,” they add. “And in 2013 we will again assist with that survey and in addition we will ask some of the race boats if they will take part in the survey on the way to Hawaii.”
Race organizers believe in general the debris will be well north of the usual racecourse to Hawaii. However, objects may be much more apparent on delivery trips home to the mainland, which may go much closer to the debris path. They promise to continue to monitor the situation and hope to be able to give better advice to the racing crews when the race start is closer.