No Illusion – Hershorn wins Around Oahu
Part-time Aspen resident Peter Hershorn skippered his 32-foot catamaran Illusion to another victory in the Waikiki Yacht Club’s Three Day Around Oahu Regatta over Memorial Day weekend in Hawaii.Hershorn and his three-man crew set a new speed record on the second leg of the race from Kaneohe Bay to Kaena Point. Illusion was also the first craft to finish the other two legs.”We had an excellent crew,” said Hershorn, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a skiing accident in 1973. Hershorn’s crew included former Olympic medalist Randy Smyth of Florida, who also designed Illusion’s sails, and Hawaiian sailors Dan McFerrin and Matt Merrill. Hershorn lives in Aspen in the summer and Oahu in the winter.
As the crow flies, circumnavigating Oahu is about a 100-mile journey, “but you sail a lot farther than that because you’re jibing and tacking back and forth,” Hershorn said.”It was close at the start but then we took the lead on the first leg and managed to hold the lead for the rest of the race,” he said. “On the second day, we were yards apart [from a Reynolds 33-foot catamaran] but tactically we were able to hold him off in our bad air.”When we popped our spinnaker, we took off and left them behind.”The Reynolds catamaran finished second to Illusion, followed by an F 31 trimaran, Bobsled. The field included eight multihull boats from 20 to 41-feet, and about 18 monohulls.
“It was the most multihulls we’ve had in a major race in Hawaii in a long time,” said Hershorn, who began sailing in 1974. “More people are getting into it, realizing that multihulls are the way to go. They’re fast, efficient and you need fewer crew to sail them.”And it’s much more comfortable to sail because you’re not heeled over all the time.”Yachts encountered 15 to 25 mph winds during the Around Oahu race.Hershorn’s Illusion was originally built as a “CDK F 28,” but it has been refitted twice: The first to extend the bow and the second to lengthen the stern and heighten the mast to make the boat faster in light wind conditions.
Made of fiberglass, foam and carbon fiber, Illusion is now 32 feet – after the latest overhaul last winter with Smyth’s help. He added 22 inches to the transom, 4 feet to the mast, and a carbon-fiber main sail.”It’s always been an incredible yacht, being able to withstand Hawaiian conditions, 15 to 35 knots of wind and up to 15-foot seas,” said Hershorn. “Now, it’s even better.”In 2001, Hershorn’s Illusion won the Around Oahu Regatta, setting a new speed record en route. That record – seven hours, 45 minutes – still stands. (This year’s pace was about a half hour behind, including all three legs.)In September, Hershorn and his crew will race Illusion in the Maui to Honolulu race as the defending champions. Illusion also owns the speed record in that race, from last year.In September, Hershorn and his crew will race Illusion in the Maui to Honolulu race as the defending champions. Illusion also owns the speed record in that race, from last year.
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