TRANSPAC RACE PREP
Ocean Navigator|July - August 2021
How a group of determined mostly military veterans built a race team
Eric Burian

Editor’s note: In July of 2019, after 10 days on the race course, the Andrews 70 sloop Trader crossed the finish line in Hawaii to complete the 2019 Transpac Race. Trader’s race wasn’t a winning effort according to the official race results, but for “Team Trader” the completed race was a resounding success, the result of intensive planning and training of a team of 10 sailors, many of whom were military veterans with little or no offshore sailing experience. As Team Trader prepares to compete in the 2021 Transpac, 2019 race navigator Erik Burian, a retired U.S. Navy nuclear submarine commander, looks back on how the 2019 race effort came together and how Team Trader will approach this year’s race.

The 2019 Transpac effort started in the summer of 2018 when retired USMC Colonel Doug Pasnik and his wife Karen Fetzer hosted a group of sailors that regularly sailed with them aboard SY Trader, a 1993 Andrews 70, at their home in Kaneohe, Oahu. As skipper and owner of the boat, Doug announced his intention that night to enter the 2019 50th Transpac race the following summer. This was both a considerable leap into a major sailing endeavor and also what Pasnik viewed as the next logical step in the evolution of Team Trader.

In the nearly three years since that challenge to advance to the next level of blue water sailing, Trader has come a long way, in both sea miles and as a capable vessel for veteran outreach, a vehicle for veterans to mentor younger shipmates, and an expanding opportunity for rising women sailors.

Rescued from Hong Kong boatyard

In 2014, Pasnik located and rescued Trader from where she lay in disrepair in a boatyard in Aberdeen Harbor, Hong Kong. After relocating the boat to Oahu, several dozen people periodically sailed on Trader as their schedules and interest permitted, but it was a stretch to call that group a coherent team. Yet, with every social sail, the core group who would ultimately race in the Transpac started taking shape. Those few years were a vital period to understand what it would take to recruit and retain a reliable and consistent cadre of sailors who worked well together and had the confidence to take the big boat offshore in often challenging conditions.

Safely operating a 70-foot sailboat, with the sail area equivalent to the square footage of most people’s homes, in the open ocean conditions around the Hawaiian Islands requires a level of proficiency that only comes with regular training and getting genuine buy-in from a sufficient number of colleagues. This key element of building a core team is what continues to inspire former Marine aviator Pasnik.

Trader had a distinct advantage in creating sustainable and resilient teamwork from the very start. Through existing connections and social outreach, many in the group were either active duty military, veterans, military spouses, or one degree of separation from someone who was. This commonality of experience is reflected in the formally communicated “Trader Principles and Values.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM OCEAN NAVIGATORView All

Stay Connected

Satellite phones have evolved a full ecosystem of gear and services

9 mins read
Ocean Navigator
July - August 2021

Respecting Paradise

Thoughts on voyaging responsibly

6 mins read
Ocean Navigator
July - August 2021

Yankee sails on

The steel ketch Yankee in the Connecticut River.

3 mins read
Ocean Navigator
July - August 2021

TRANSPAC RACE PREP

How a group of determined mostly military veterans built a race team

7 mins read
Ocean Navigator
July - August 2021

NOAA upgrades its global weather model

More data and a better global weather model should make for improved weather distributed to users, like this temperature gradient map.

3 mins read
Ocean Navigator
July - August 2021

From North Sea fishing to Sea of Cortez voyaging

The former Dutch fishing vessel turned power voyaging yacht Varnebank in Mexican waters.

4 mins read
Ocean Navigator
July - August 2021

Chatter Chartroom

IN 2019, MY HUSBAND, DOUG PASNIK, AND I RACED OUR first Transpac together with a team of 10 on our Andrews 70, Trader, comprised primarily of military veterans (see story on page 22). This year we are doing the race again and inviting four mentees from The Magenta Project to race with us.

7 mins read
Ocean Navigator
July - August 2021

Doing it all with one screen

The steering station on this Gunboat cat is equipped with large-screen B&G Zeus MFDs.

8 mins read
Ocean Navigator
May - June 2021

Don't scrimp when it comes to the crimp

Solid crimp connections make your power voyager’s electrical system more reliable.

5 mins read
Ocean Navigator
May - June 2021

Chartroom Chatter

Maritime Publishing acquires Ocean Navigator

7 mins read
Ocean Navigator
May - June 2021
RELATED STORIES

The Forever Virus

The Omicron wave could possibly mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic. What else does the virus have in store for 2022 and the years to come?

10+ mins read
Newsweek
January 28 - February 04, 2022

Hole in the Net

What good is a social safety net if the people who need help the most can’t access it?

8 mins read
Newsweek
January 28 - February 04, 2022

Books to Look Forward to for a New Year

ALONG WITH THE PROMISE OF A BRAND-NEW YEAR COME NEW READING CHALLENGES to start and winter weekends that are perfect for cozying up with a good book.

7 mins read
Newsweek
January 28 - February 04, 2022

AUDRA MCDONALD

PARTING SHOT

2 mins read
Newsweek
January 28 - February 04, 2022

Bullying Tactics

China is trying to force trading partners to toe its line on Taiwan. The U.S. and EU must fight back

5 mins read
Newsweek
January 28 - February 04, 2022

Cultural Traditions to Celebrate

Each year, UNESCO compiles traditions, knowledge, skills and art from communities across the globe, in a list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage.” The chosen items are not historical monuments or artifacts, but rather “living expressions inherited from our ancestors.” In a time of rapid globalization, the list serves to recognize and celebrate cultural diversity and highlights how traditional ways of life interact with the contemporary world. From the navigation skills of Micronesian wayfarers to a thousand-year pottery tradition carried by women in northern Peru, here’s a snapshot of this year’s list.

3 mins read
Newsweek
January 28 - February 04, 2022

NO APOLOGIES

THE CHRISTIAN PROPHETS WHO PREDICTED DONALD TRUMP WOULD BE REINSTATED AS PRESIDENT IN 2021 AREN'T READY TO ADMIT DEFEAT YET

9 mins read
Newsweek
January 28 - February 04, 2022

GOLF GOES TO NETFLIX AND IT HAS COMPETITION FROM TENNIS

Formula One racing got a huge boost in interest in North America through the Netflix series “Drive to Survive.”

6 mins read
AppleMagazine
January 21, 2022

A DIGITAL DIVIDE HAUNTS SCHOOLS ADAPTING TO VIRUS HURDLES

When April Schneider’s children returned to in-person classrooms this year, she thought they were leaving behind the struggles from more than a year of remote learning.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
January 21, 2022

THE HOTTEST CARS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2022

The chip and supply chain shortages of 2021 have been difficult for automakers and consumers alike.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #534