Romeo Luckier than Juliet
October 7 - Auckland, NZ
Sailors and race officials alike were challenged by the initial southeasterly wind during Flight 5 of Round Robin 1 of the Louis Vuitton Cup Monday. The wind started from a direction of 130 degrees, but backed more than 150 degrees before settling in the northwest by the end of the nearly 3-hour race.
That was on Course Romeo, which could be considered lucky just to get its two matches off in the northeast Hauraki Gulf. The two matches on Course Juliet, in the northwestern gulf, sat through a nearly four-hour delay before being postponed due to lack of wind.
Scoops are made for napping, at least on
Mascalzone Latino, on Course Juliet.
Photo Bob Grieser
Courtesy Louis Vuitton Cup
The winds on Course Romeo fluctuated so much that Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio was forced to change every mark of the course after the opening beat. "The wind was established on the first beat," Reggio said of the 130 wind direction. "Kenny (Read, Stars & Stripes helmsman) sailed by with about seven and a half minutes to the start and I asked him what wind he had. He said '131'."
Stars & Stripes may have had the same wind reading as the committee, but they didn't have the luck against OneWorld Challenge. With young helmsman James Spithill guiding USA-67, OneWorld opened a lead of 1:57 at the windward mark en route to a 1:21 victory.
The Alinghi Team won in similar fashion to OneWorld. Namely, the Swiss survived the wild wind variations and overcame a feisty GBR Challenge to post another point on the scoreboard.
With so many teams completing a different amount of races, the leaderboard is a little jumbled. After the unbeaten OneWorld Challenge (four races) and Alinghi (five races), in first and second, respectively, with 4 points each, Oracle BMW Racing and Sweden's Victory Challenge are tied with 3 points on 3-0 records. Team Dennis Conner stands alone in fifth with 2 points on a 2-3 record. GBR Challenge and Prada are tied for sixth, each with 1 point on 1-4 records. Mascalzone and Le Défi are at the bottom of the board, each winless in four matches.
Offshore Championship Turns on a Protest
October 7 - Long Beach
First Scott Soonier and his sailing crew eluded Hurricane Lili, then got a boost from the Navy to overtake Claudia and win their second U.S. Offshore Championship for US Sailing's Lloyd Phoenix Trophy, which concluded Sunday, October 6. Rolex Watch U.S.A. sponsored the event, which was held at the Long Beach Yacht Club.
Hurricane Lili hit New Orleans the day after the sailors from the Southern Yacht Club flew out of town last week. Claudia is Claudia Wainer, who appeared to be the event's first winning woman skipper until after the sailing was done and the title turned on a protest involving two other teams.
Ten teams from across the country competed over three days on Catalina 37s in the Long Beach outer harbor, sailing in the shadows of cargo-laden container freighters and barges parked in limbo due to the waterfront labor dispute. There were two buoy races each Friday and Sunday and a 24-mile distance race Saturday.
Doug McLean's Alamitos Bay YC team led going into the last two races Sunday but stumbled to fourth and sixth place as Wainer, sailing for LBYC with an all-male crew, and then Soonier came on strong. Wainer won Sunday's first race in 12 knots of breeze going away, then finished a conservative fifth to Soonier's first in the last race to finish with 13 points to Soonier's 14 - pending protests.
The protest stunned Wainer, who won the 2001 Schock 35 class nationals and has won the prestigious women's One-Design Championship on the same waters the last three years. It involved an incident between San Diego YC's Ross Ritto and the U.S. Naval Academy's Mike Stapleton at the first windward mark in Sunday's first race. Wainer had already gone around well in front when Ritto risked crossing Stapleton on port tack within a few feet of the mark. It was close, and Stapleton, who had the right of way on starboard tack, later filed a protest that he had to alter course to avoid a collision.
The jury agreed, which disqualified Ritto from second place behind Wainer and moved everyone else up a spot. That left Soonier tied with Wainer at 13 points, and the Louisiana team won the tiebreaker - in Wainer's case, a heartbreaker - for having won two races to Wainer's one. "It was a tough way to lose," Wainer said. "We sailed our hearts out and won on the water."
"That's sailboat racing," Soonier said. "Sometimes you can't control your destiny." Ironically, Soonier added, a protest against him cost his team a chance to win the same event at Long Beach two years ago, although they had won it at the Naval Academy in 1997.
For the complete story, see www.ussailing.org/pressreleases/2002/OffshorePost.htm.
October 7 - 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/
October 7 - 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