Photo of the Day

September 25 - Molokai, HI

Today's Photo of the day was taken by Bill Leary, who describes it as follows: "The photo shows the J/120 Gingerbreadman during this year's annual Labor Day 'Lahaina Race' from Maui to Honolulu. This year the traditional starting point was moved from Kaanapali up to Honolua Bay, and the fleet was given the option of sailing down either the north or south shore of Molokai. Gingerbreadman, and all of the rest of PH-1, chose the spectacular north shore, where the fastest course, as usual, was just off the beach. After many years of sailing this course, the location of the 'fast lane' is common knowledge, and staying in it means multiple jibes, lots of traffic, and this year even a minor collision between Gingerbreadman and the Farr 44 Tiare. The photo, shot from Tropical Splash - the eventual class winner - shows Gingerbreadman on one of her jibes into the beach off of Hakaano Peninsula."

Photo Bill Leary

Stamm Sets Record on
Leg One of Around Alone

September 25 - Torbay, UK

Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm, sailing Bobst Group - Armor Lux has established a new singlehanded transatlantic record from New York to Lizard Point, Cornwall, of 10 days, 11 hours, and 57 minutes, while in the process of winning Leg One of the Around Alone Race. Stamm's had to steer his boat - which has held the crewed transatlantic record until John Kostecki and illbruck broke it this summer - by hand for the last two days. In Class B, Brad Van Liew, formerly of Santa Monica, continues to clobber the competition.

A jubilant Stamm pops the cork
on a bottle of Mumm's.

Bobst Group - Armor Lux crosses the finish line.

Photos Roy Riley/Marinepics

Latest positions:
Class 1 - Open 60s
1. Bobst Group, Bernard Stamm, Finished
2. Solidaires, Thierry Dubois, Finished
3. Tiscali, Simone Bianchetti, 230
4. Garnier, Patrick de Radigues, 234
5. Hexagon, Graham Dalton, 311
6. Pindar, Emma Richards, 330
7. Ocean Planet, Bruce Schwab, 593

Class 2 - 50s and 40s
1. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, Brad Van Liew, 486
2. Spirit of Canada, Derek Hatfield, 1,068
3. Bayer Ascensia, John Dennis, 1,095
4. Everest Horizontal, Tim Kent, 1,175
5. Spirit of Yukoh, Kojiro Shiraishi, 1,469
6. BTC Velocity, Alan Paris, 1,520

Freedom, a Long Beach Ketch, on the Beach at Z-town

September 27 -
Zihuatanejo, Mexico

"Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa were hit hard yesterday by what became Tropical Storm Julio," reports Craig Gottshalk of Scorpion in Z-town. "Some 500 houses were reported damaged and over 1,000 trees were uprooted. Power was down in my neighborhood for 27 hours. Six shelters were opened and the governor of Guerrero came to assess the damage. Schools were closed today and the streets are still a mess. An unattended ketch dragged onto the beach near the muelle, where she remains. It is the Freedom, hailing port Long Beach, owner unknown. The port captain will not allow any attempt to rescue the boat until the owner can be reached. The story on the street is the person left in charge was discontent with his compensation and has disassociated himself from the boat. Perhaps a 'Lectronic reader can pass the word to the owner. It appears to me there is not much damage yet, although water has likely entered through a deck hatch. Other beached craft are the Zihuatanejo Scuba Center's dive boat, and a panga that ended up on the basketball court."

Zihuatanejo during the cruising season, sans hurricanes.

This basketball court has been littered with
small boats, thanks to Tropical Storm Julio.

Photos Latitude/Richard

Something Fishy About the Van Pham Survival Story

September 27 - San Diego

Yesterday, the L.A. Times ran a long story about Richard Van Pham, the Vietnamese fellow whose 26-ft sailboat Sea Breeze was reportedly dismasted on the way from Long Beach to Catalina - and who then drifted helplessly for 3.5 months until he was picked up by the U.S. Navy well offshore of Costa Rica. To our thinking, some parts of the story just don't add up. Specifically, Van Pham said he lived aboard his Columbia 26 MkI at Shoreline Marina in Long Beach. Marina officials, however, say he only spent four days there, and that was this in May. Secondly, he claims that he made a six-month trip to Chile and back with his little boat. We've known good sailors with faster boats who've taken three months just to make it back from Chile, so we're highly skeptical of this claim. In addition, he said he had a two-month supply of food when he left Long Beach. That's a little weird for a trip to Catalina. The biggest oddity, however, is that he claims he never saw a single plane or vessel after being dismasted on the way to Catalina. Baloney! We spent a lot of time this summer sailing between Long Beach and Catalina and Newport and Catalina, and can say with certainty that there are all kinds of vessels out there. In fact, it's one of the most heavily transited areas of ocean in the United States. Furthermore, if Van Pham got dismasted on the way to Catalina, he wasn't going to drift out of the area very quickly. On the other hand, judging from the condition of Van Pham and his boat, there is no doubt that he'd been at sea a long, long time.

But there's a possible explanation to the apparent contradiction. Van Pham said that he'd been in a car accident a number of years ago that had left him in a coma for six months. Once he came out of the coma, he said he forgot everything that had happened before, and had to relearn even the most basic tasks. Then he was a drifter living on disability checks. With all due respect to this gentlemen - who truly was heroic in surviving the ordeal - we suspect that there might be some periodic if not ongoing mental impairment issues. Otherwise, the story just doesn't add up. Van Pham said that he'd done a bunch of sailing in the Channel Islands. If that's the case, surely he and his boat Sea Breeze was seen by other sailors. In addition, if he lived aboard, somebody must have noticed. Can anybody shed more light on the situation?

Van Pham, aboard the U.S. Navy frigate which rescued him.

In other news on the Van Pham case, some 'Lectronic readers have asked how they can help him get another boat. He's already been offered a Coronado 25 by one sailor, and gear and money by others. We'll let you know if there's any fund.

Sea Breeze, as she looked when the Navy rescued Van Pham

From the photo, we'd guessed that Sea Breeze was a Columbia 24 MkI. Eric White, who owns the Columbia 40 Pelago and who used to own the Columbia 24 Binary, corrected us. "Yes, the boat looks a lot like a Columbia because the 24 was sort of a prototype of the Columbia 26 MkI. The 26 was created by stretching the 24's cabin two feet to allow for an 'enclosed' head and hanging locker. The giveaway is that the Columbia 24 had only one small port on either side of the forward part of the cabin whereas the 26 had two."

In Favor of the 'Land Canal' Across Baja

September 25 - Baja California

"I couldn't help but wonder at your faint praise for Ed Grossman's 'Land Canal' plans," writes Doug Covert of the Portland-based Serendipity. "I had my boat transported north in '00 by Grossman by truck, and agree that for me it was preferable to even the proposed 'mini-Bash' - assuming that the Land Canal already existed - since my final destination was Portland. But the thing was, I had tried to schedule my transport as early as mid-March, but Grossman didn't have a slot to move my boat until mid-June. I think the real problem is that that option is relatively expensive and really doesn't have much to recommend itself if a skipper's final destination is Southern California. For the trip to Tucson, the turnaround for one of Grossman's truck/hydraulic trailer rigs is 48 hours, so he can only do 2 to 3 boats a week - unless he shells out for another rig, and that won't reduce his costs any. I imagine he's just looking at the Land Canal as a way to greatly increase his capacity to move boats in a way that will appeal to many of the people who are now opting for the Bash. Sounds like a winner to me."

We've discussed the viability of the Land Canal with other members of Grossman's family for a couple of years. They are confident it would be a success. We're not so sure - but are interested to see what happens if it gets up and going.

Subs and Sailboats

September 27 - Falmouth, UK

The following is a letter that David Redfern sent to Scuttlebutt. It's so funny, we don't think Redfern would mind us sharing it with you:

"Tom Saliba's account of a submarine surfacing during the Swan Worlds recalls a story told to me when I was partying on a Dutch Submarine in Falmouth, Cornwall. On its crossing to Falmouth, the boat had been submerged in the Atlantic and following an Australian yacht on a crossing, for some considerable time. It took a long time for all of the crew to take a peep through the periscope at two young ladies sunbathing naked on the transom. The optics on a submarine are superb, by the way! After everyone had had a peep, the sub surfaced to screams from the sailboat. What happened next was in the tradition of a Dutch crew. They moored alongside and every one had a party together on the sub in the mid-Atlantic. Incidentally, on the sub at the time I was aboard, at around three in the morning, I thought they had run out of beer. The crew, however were very resourceful. They opened up one of the torpedo tubes which was stuffed full of Heineken kegs. 'It keeps it cool' was the explanation."

Coming Next Week . . .

September 27 - Auckland, NZ

. . . the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series leading up to the America's Cup.


September 27 - 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

Weather Updates

September 27 - 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 The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay is at

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.:

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:
For views of sea states anywhere in the world, see

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