Photo of the Day
November 13 - Panama
Today's Photo of the Day comes from Greg Retkowski and Cherie Sogsti of Scirocco, who later report on Panama. Down in Central America, where the quality of ice is suspect, they've come up with a way to keep their drinks cold without polluting their cocktails.
Louis Vuitton Quarter Finals Are Juicy!
November 13 - Auckland, New Zealand
With the start of the Quarter Finals of the Louis Vuitton Series yesterday, the action heated up dramatically as three of the four races, held in 14 to 19 knots of wind, were extremely tight. Alinghi, the top ranked qualifier from Switzerland, beat Italy's Prada by a misleading 1 minute and 18 seconds, as they were only ahead by eight seconds at the final weather mark. Prada had to do a penalty turn on the last leg as a result of having hit Alinghi on a previous downwind leg. Larry Ellison's Oracle BMW from the Golden Gate YC nipped Seattle's OneWorld by just 12 seconds. It had been a back and forth battle, and OneWorld lost the lead for good on the final weather leg when they elected to do their 270 degree penalty turn. OneWorld pulled to within meters on the final downwind leg, but Oracle BMW withstood the challenge. The win means that Oracle skipper Chris Dickson has yet to lose. Team Dennis Conner, sailing their new boat pulled from the bottom of Long Beach Harbor, led GBR Challenge around the entire course until the very end when they tried to force the Brits into a penalty to offset the penalty they themselves had incurred in pre-start maneuvers. The desperate attempt failed, and Team Dennis Conner also lost by a deceptively large margin. In the fourth race, the Swedish Victory Challenge dispensed of the French with relative ease.
The same match-ups are in store for today, as they continue the best of seven series. Alinghi, Oracle, OneWorld, and Prada are all in the upper quartet, which means losing the series puts them into a second chance bracket. If any of the other four teams lose, they pack their bags and head for the airport.
Scirocco in Panamanian Waters
November 13 - San Mateo
"On October 18, Greg Retkowski and I entered Panamanian waters aboard his Morgan Out-Island 41 Scirocco," reports Cherie Sogsti. "Before I arrived here, I only knew two things about Panama: It has a Canal and Van Halen sang about it. Panama is country number 32 for me, and it all makes sense. Exactly 500 years ago, Christopher Columbus began exploring these same waters. First came Columbus, then half a century [sic] later, Cherie and Greg.
"There is not just a political line of demarcation separating Costa Rica from Panama. They are very different countries. Prostitution is legal in both countries, but in many ways, that is where the similarities end. As we sailed by the shores of Panama, I watched the coast transform. Jungles began to spill like waterfalls into the sea. The landscape became hot, steamy and passionate. If I was a country, I'd want Panama to be my lover."
The view from the top of Taboga Island, with Panama city eight miles away in the distance.
"These Panamanian girls gave us
a ride in the back of their truck."
Route du Rhum Continues to Be Rough
November 13 - Atlantic Ocean
If you take some of the most talented and aggressive singlehanded skippers in the world, put them on the most high tech boats in the world, and add in North Atlantic fronts with winds over 80 knots, there's going to be carnage. So it is that in the early stages of the Route du Rhum, four boats have capsized, three have been dismasted, and nine others have retired. That's out of a fleet of 58. And now the leaders are about to sail into southwesterly gales. Here are some of the reports:
"At midnight, Philippe Monnet reported wind shifts from 20 to 70 knots. Monnet's Sopra Group had only the storm jib up and was sailing in survival mode. The extremely strong wind hit the trimaran too hard, the staysail got caught up in the furler forming a huge pocket. This catapulted the trimaran right over sideways some time after midnight. Monnet has been safely airlifted, having had to abandon the boat in the dangerous conditions.
"The next victim of capsize occurred at 0610 GMT this morning, when Yvan Bourgnon on Rexona Men was hit by brutal wind forces, which lifted the boat and knocked it over. Close by, Loïck Peyron on Fujifilm was severely beaten by the same sort of conditions. With no sails up, on starboard tack, in massive waves and 45 knots of wind, Loïck Peyron realized at 0900 GMT that his starboard float was broken in two, neatly cut between the two beams. Two hours later, at 1100 GMT, the French skipper called in again Fujifilm had dismasted. The front of the starboard float exploded, and the mast immediately gave out. The mast fall damaged the port float, which is now filled with water. Peyron is calm and claims there is no emergency situation. He is now sailing a 'proa', heading downwind towards Portugal. The majority of the powerful but vulnerable trimarans are sailing with solely a storm jib and the main sail down."
In the monohull division, the Brits continue to hold to the lead. The monohull fleet is doing better than the cruel harvest of the 60-foot trimaran fleet, and the race is full on. Mike Golding's Ecover has been in the lead since yesterday. Ellen MacArthur on Kingfisher is catching up at a steady pace, only 4 miles behind at the 15.00 GMT position report, and moving three knots faster. With three reefs in the main and a storm jib, Golding was calm, with high morale despite the conditions, "The conditions are very bad, and the wind will be increasing, making it even more difficult. It is a very, very rough sea, and sailing at 14-15 knots of speed, each wave is quite an impact. We have just got to get through this and catch some nicer conditions." Australian Nick Moloney on Ashfield Healthcare is still leading the Class 2 monohulls.
Alain Gautier's Foncia is still sailing, in second place.
Loïck Peyron and Fujifilm
Positions on 11/13/02 at 15:00:00 GMT:
Multihull 60' ORMA
Monohull 60' IMOCA
For details, visit www.routedurhum.org.
November 13 - 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' - at http://www.bitwrangler.com/yotreps.
November 13 - Pacific Ocean
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.
The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay is at www.wrh.noaa.gov/Monterey.
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/Maps/Southwest.shtml.
Pacific Winds and Pressure
The University of Hawaii Dept. of Meteorology page posts a daily map of the NE Pacific Ocean barometric pressure and winds.
Pacific Sea State