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Photos of the Day

September 13 - San Francisco

Today's Photos of the Day are of the St. Francis Big Boat Series (presented by Rolex) that is being held on the Bay through Sunday. Latitude photographer Andy Turpin, who took the accompanying photographs, reported that there were overcast conditions with 15 to 18 knots of wind. In other words, it wasn't post card stuff, and it wasn't the wild and woolly stuff the Big Boat Series is famous for. Better luck today - Friday the 13th - through Sunday.

Photos Latitude 38/Andy


Missing Cat Found in Tahiti,
Crew Missing

September 13 - Taravao, Tahiti

As reported on Monday, former National Basketball Association player Brian Williams, 33, who now goes by the name Bison Dele, his 32-year-old girlfriend Serena Karlan, and captain Bertrand Saldo have been missing in French Polynesia along with Dele's Crowther 57 catamaran Hakuna Matata. They were last heard from on July 8, when they reported they were headed to the Tuamotus, Marquesas, and Hawaii. The boat has now been found in Taravao, at the isthmus of Tahiti, by Patrique Humbert, a charter boat captain and friend of Saldo. But there is no trace of the crew.
Foul play is feared, and the FBI are looking for Dele's older brother, Miles Dabord, formerly known as Kevin Eugene Williams. Dabord had sailed aboard Hakuna Matata in French Polynesia just before the crew had gone missing. He recently showed up in Phoenix with Dele's credit cards and passports, and attempted to buy over $100,000 in gold coins. He was detained, but not arrested. Yesterday, federal agents broke into a Tijuana hotel room he was believed to have been staying in, and seized his car in Santa Clara. Even more ominous, Dabord, who has been estranged from his mother for several years, called her on Thursday and threatened to commit suicide. A San Francisco FBI forensics team has been sent to Tahiti to help out.

Dele, who played college ball at Arizona, was on the Chicago Bulls championship team of '96-'97 and later other NBA teams. When he retired, the 6'10" player reportedly walked out on a $30 million contract. Karlan most recently lived in New York City.


Bison Dele


Serena Karlan


Prologue for Around Alone Underway

September 13 - Newport, RI

Thirteen skippers, including Northern Californian Bruce Schwab aboard the Wylie 60 Ocean Planet, left Newport, RI, yesterday in a 'prologue' leg to New York City. At the latest report, Schwab and Ocean Planet - running on the thinnest of finances - were in the top three.


Ocean Planet in Newport
Photo Billy Black Courtesy www.billyblack.com


Aussie Cruisers Robbed by Government Pirates?

September 13 - Mexico

"We have personally never had any dealings with pirates," report Rob and Mary Messengers of Maude I. Jones, who have been out cruising their 46-footer since the first Ha-Ha nine years ago, "but now some of our cruising friends have. We just got the following email from our Aussie friends Bas and Roz Dolkens of Spirit of Witchwood. They've been out for three years, and were just on their way back to Oz from the Philippines."

"Some of you may be unaware that we were boarded and robbed while anchored just south of Buka Passage, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. A pack of five bastards armed with what Roz says were semi-automatic weapons came aboard. I thought they had machine guns, but I don't watch Rambo movies, so I wouldn't know for sure. They stole about $10,000 U.S. of gear and equipment, including most of my clothes - but none of Roz's. They also took food, beer and wine, a computer and printer, scanner, cameras, binoculars, seven of our 11 life jackets, and other stuff. They did, however, leave all the boat equipment so we could depart quickly and not create problems for them with authorities. They fiddled with the computer that we're typing this on, but caused it to crash - whereupon Roz convinced them it was buggered. So they left it.

"We are totally unharmed and the boat was virtually untouched. When they left, I demanded some of the food back because we had a long way to go to Australia and no more money with which to buy stuff to eat. So they handed back a crate with breakfast cereal, EasyYo Yogurt, and two flasks of Tanduay Rum. Hic! We believe that the 'robbery' was orchestrated by the local authorities acting on false information that we were carrying a shipment of guns. Rather than search us officially and confiscate said guns, they recruited four thugs to board us. The fifth guy was obviously a local official. He may have been Police or Customs, it doesn't matter, as they are all crooks in this 'developing nation', having received their training from the politicians that 'lead' them. The four thugs were permitted to rob us as payment for their part in the operation, but had strict instructions on what they could and could not take. If we had had the guns, the officials would have made a far greater profit by taking them rather than by officially confiscating them. If we didn't have any guns - as was the case - we would be on our way, with no problems or consequences in the country for them.

"Anyway, we are alive and getting over the trauma. We expect to head for Oz about September 20 with the full moon, but it all depends on the weather."


Racing through Hurricane Gustav

September 13 - Boston, MA

After three weeks and 3,000 miles of intense racing across the Atlantic aboard six sisterships in the Challenge TransAt, BG Group nipped Logica at the Boston finish by just eight minutes. The big story, however, was that the fleet had to sail through Hurricane Gustav. Here's a report from BP Explorer:

"Spirits are flying high after our extreme adventure with Hurricane Gustav. The facts are: Max sustained wind speed: 78 knots. Average wind speed 55-65 knots. 40-45-ft seas. Pressure: 968mb. Length of time in storm: 10 hours. Sails carried: trysail and storm staysail.

"Supper last night was a somber affair before we got ready for the storm. A storm watch was drawn up by Alfie consisting of three on, three off, and the rest of the crew retired to their bunks and lashed themselves in. At first we could see in the dying light the hurricane approaching and the wind slowly starting to build. Suddenly, it was upon us like an express train.The wind went from 30 to 50 knots in a matter of minutes, and within 15 minutes a huge sea was running.The wind howled through the rig like a living animal while BP Explorer was constantly lashed by huge waves breaking and smashing across the yacht. For the first couple of hours we ran southwest trying to keep the wind on our beam as the hurricane intensified as the center moved closer to us - approximately 80 miles away. I had never seen anything like it. The yacht was knocked down, but came right back up again. DJan, Patrick, Mike and Keith all were completely underwater at some time, and I was physically knocked over at least six times behind the helm, once only being held by my lifeline. Dawn broke to see the system moving away and the stars came out to reveal a fantastic sky."


BP Explorer at the start in Southampton

John Burfitt, skipper of the winning BG Group wasn't quite as frightened. "I've been through hurricane force winds before with Challenge yachts, so am not too concerned. These boats are very tough and seaworthy, so long as the crew are tough and seaworthy enough to look after the boat, the boat will look after you."


BG Group at the finish in Boston
Photos MarinePics Courtesy www.challengetransat.com



YOTREPS

September 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/


Weather Updates

September 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

Check out the Pacific Ocean sea states at: http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/RSSA/PacRegSSA.html.
For views of sea states anywhere in the world, see http://www.oceanweather.com/data/.


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