Ryan Sparks
Curry Coastal Pilot

Before heading to San Francisco on his sailboat, Elizabeth Ann, to compete in his first Singlehanded TransPac race, Gary Burton of Brookings stated he was just hoping to finish the race and didn't have any misconceptions about winning the event his first go-around.

Burton may have to make some room in his trophy case as he currently sits in fourth place and is a serious contender to win the race with about 865 nautical miles remaining in his journey.

Leading the race for several days last week, the Elizabeth Ann was overtaken by faster boats such as the Archimedes, Frolic, and the current leader, Bandicoot -- all which havesignificantly less of a handicap when compared to Burton's boat.

Burton has been able to hold his current race position for the past two days and looks to make up ground as he enters the last few legs of the race.

At the time of this writing, the Elizabeth Ann is approximately two hours behind the Archimedes for third place and just over 26 hours behind the Bandicoot for the top spot. Burton is expected to finish at around noon on July 15.

Burton's talents at the helm have been noticed by race officials.

"Gary is blasting his way to Hawaii and has a real shot at winning this race," said race co-chairman Brian Boschma via email.

To track Burton's progress go to http://sfbaysss.org/shtp/tracker/.