Photos of the Day
Ringing in the New Year
December 12 - St. Barts, Eastern Caribbean
The greatest boat show on earth? We think it takes place each
New Years at St. Barts, a 3x7 mile island with a population of
3,000 in the Eastern Caribbean. In the first photo, the J Class
yacht 'Endeavour' drops her anchor prior to backing down to the
Charles de Gualle Quai - which is slightly out of the photo and
where all the megayachts stern tie. The stern-tied yachts you
see in the foreground are 'dinghies' by comparison. The other
shot shows the outer anchorage at Gustavia, where the overflow
yachts anchor. Many of them are motoryachts in the 125 to 150-foot
range, although some are over 300 feet long. Check out the catamaran
in the lower left corner to get an idea of the scale. That's
'Highest Honor', a Lagoon 82 catamaran.
Want a prize position at the Charles de Gualle Quai for New Years?
If you don't own the legendary ketch 'Ticonderoga' or J Class
yacht 'Endeavour', you'd better have a motoryacht in the 150
foot range. Anything smaller doesn't do justice to the other
boats at the quai. Anything larger can't fit in the harbor. Even
though it's still early December, the Charles de Gualle Quai
is probably already full. The reason is that the stern-to space
is allotted out on a first-come, first-serve basis. According
to captains we've spoken to, the dock fees are actually very
low - like $1,000 for the month. But there's a catch. If you
leave for an afternoon, there's no guaranteeing you'll get your
same space back. And if you don't return by 5:00 p.m., you've
given up your spot to any one of the other 100 megayachts coveting
The owners of these yachts would think nothing of slipping $25,000
to the Port Captain for a coveted spot on the quai. But captains
have told us that's the worst thing you could possibly do. "The
only things the officials will accept is maybe a boat shirt and
a short ride on the yacht at the end of the season," one
told us. Indeed, locals tell the story of a high roller who got
a spot and then tried to slip a wad of 100s into the port captain's
shirt pocket. Infuriated by what he considered a gross insult,
the port captain took the wad of bills out of his pocket, tossed
it on the ground, and began stomping and kicking the money. All
the while, he shouted words - in French, of course - to the effect
of, "Take your fucking boat out of the harbor right now.
You have insulted all of us. You and your boat are banned from
St. Barths forever!" It was a big scene enjoyed by everyone
but the owner.
New Year's Eve is the biggest day at St. Barts, as it's when
they have the Around the Island Parade - which is really a semi
serious race. The last time we did it with 'Big O', the average
size boats in Class A was 135 feet, the average size in the fleet
- which included some 30 footers - was 75 feet. The winner two
years ago was 'Mari Cha III', the 154-foot holder of the transAtlantic
and Sydney to Hobart records. Last year it was Craig MacCaw's
118-foot daysailer 'Xtra Beat', which nipped the J Class 'Endeavour'.
Knowing that you wouldn't want it any other way, we'll be in
St. Barts from the 26th to January 10th to keep you in the know.
Photos by Richard
Back By Popular Demand
December 12 - Jungle Coast of Mexico
Due to popular demand, we're running a couple more photos of
the Jungle Coast of Mexico. The first is of some of the fleet
hanging out at Chacala, It's a great little cove with room for
about 25 boats. If you anchor bow and stern, you shouldn't roll
too much. There's a volcano crater right near the edge of the
bay. All you have to do is hike about 20 minutes up through the
The second photo of the beach at Rincon de Guayabitos, a resort
area with about 60 small hotels. While a tourist area, it's still
Mexico as opposed to some part of Mex-ifornia.
The third photo is of a couple enjoying the view of Punta Mita
from their front row seats on the foredeck. Cruising Mexico is
all about just sitting back and wallowing in warm temperatures
while surrounded by the bounty of nature.
Photos by Richard
December 12 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace
Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of
weather are they having? Check out YOTREPS - 'yacht reports' -
Abandoning 'Team Phillips'
December 12 - Atlantic Ocean
What caused Pete Goss and crew to abandon his 120-foot cat 'Team
Phillips' in the North Atlantic on Sunday? According to the team's
managing director, 'Team Phillips' was travelling at a relatively
high speed to the northeast under bare poles, when they deployed
a drogue that slowed them down to a more comfortable 12 to 15
knots. While in this state, the aft beam and underside of the
center pod were smacked by three large waves. The pod is where
the hydraulic linkages for the steering was bonded in. Steering
lock to lock, and with a big depression approaching, they decided
it was time to get off the boat.
Even when the German container ship Hoescht Express pulled alongside,
getting from one vessel to the other wasn't easy. Wearing survival
suits, lifejackets and personal emergency beacons, Goss and in
his crew jumped into the stormy Atlantic toward lines dragged
from the container ship. To make sure there was no mishap, a Royal
Air Force Nimrod - with heat sensors that allowed them to track
each individual - flew overhead. All seven were able to make it
to nets from the ship and scramble into the pilot door.
Prior to leaving, Goss and crew struck the sails and raised the
daggerboards, in the hope that she'll be able to survive the conditions
for later recovery - assuming, of course, that salvage boats don't
get to her first. She's recently been tracked at two knots.
More detailed coverage, visit http://www.quokkasailing.com/stories.
In other news affecting The Race, the so-called Prologue that
was to have been held at Monte Carlo had been called off. The
problem is that several boats are stuck in England or Spain due
to terrible weather and unable to get to the Med.
December 12 - Paradise Island, Bahamas
Doug Baker's Long Beach-based Andrews 70+ 'Magnitude' swept the
inaugural Crystal Cup at Atlantis, winning all six races overall
against a small 10-boat PHRF fleet. Baker and his mostly Southern
Californian minions (tactician Dee Smith, boat captain Steve
Dodd, Keith Kilpatrick, Sam Heck, Billy Bird, Fred O'Conner,
Chris Carson, Kurt Jacobi, 'Bones', Deneen Demourkas, Randy Moreno,
and Rob Moore) each took home beautiful Waterford Crystal vases
for their efforts - which, trust us, are considerable when the
boat sails in its 'turbo mode' around the buoys. The actual Crystal
Cup - a stunning three-foot high, 30-pound Waterford Crystal
trophy that apparently took 250 hours to create - will stay
on display at the Atlantis resort.
The theme of the lavish four-day regatta was to have fun, both
on the water and ashore. The racing was rather low-key, with
all boats starting together and later being scored as three classes,
and half the starts were downwind. Jeff Salzman's Connecticut-based
S&S 48 'Harrier' won 'B', while Donald Fritz's diminutive
Tartan Ten 'Full Bore', from Toledo, Ohio, took 'C'. Nicole Christie's
J/120 'Euro Trash Girl' won the bumpy 160-mile feeder race from
Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, topping a five-boat fleet.
Shoreside, the crews enjoyed the run of the huge and luxurious
Atlantis resort. Diversions in the $850 million, 13-acre complex
include a huge casino, 38 restaurants, too many bars to count,
a gigantic waterslide, mini-golf and all the other amenities
associated with a facility of such grand proportions. The resort
also boasts the world's largest marine habitat, "second
only to Mother Nature." Some 50,000 fish exist in various
pools and aquariums, many of which can be viewed from an elaborate
underground maze called The Dig.
We could go on and on about this wonderful regatta, the wonders
of Atlantis, and how cool it was to sail on 'Magnitude' - but
you'll just have to wait for our feature story in the January
issue. In the meantime, check out www.crystalcupatatlantis.com
for full results, lots of photos and a virtual tour of Atlantis.
A Baker's Dozen - The 13-person
crew of 'Magnitude'
with their spoils of victory.
Photo courtesy Atlantis
With the leaders having covered 8,700 miles, only 27 miles
separates Michel Desjoyeaux of PRB and his good friend Roland
Jourdain of SILL Matines.
Check out www.vendeeglobe.com.
December 12 - Pacific Oceans
The Atlantic/Caribbean region hurricane season is over.
San Francisco Bay Weather
To see what the winds are like on the Bay and just outside
the Gate right now, check out http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/wind/.
California Coast Weather
Looking for current as well as recent wind and sea readings
from 17 buoys and stations between Pt. Arena and the Mexican border?
Here's the place - which has further links to weather buoys and
stations all over the U.S.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/stuff/southwest/swstmap.shtml.
Pacific Ocean Weather
You can view the University of Hawaii Department of Meteorology
satellite picture by clicking
Pacific Sea State
Seas are normal in the Pacific. But you might check at: http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/RSSA/PacRegSSA.html.
For another view, see http://www.oceanweather.com/data/global.html.
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