Photo of the Day
September 10 - Santa Catalina Island
Today's Photo of the Day comes from last Saturday just around the corner from Long Point at Catalina. It's our understanding that a guy and his young sons left Newport Beach at 0300 in their Bertram 42 sportfisher and headed for Catalina. For reasons that aren't clear - it was a beautifully clear night and there's a bright light on Long Point just a hundred or so yards away - the boat piled right up on the rocks. Nobody was seriously injured, thank goodness, but the boat was badly damaged.
Some Vessel Assist boats were dispatched to try to put the Bertram off the rocks and to a nearby beach. They weren't quite successful, as the Bertram went to the bottom before they could pull her onto the beach. What you see here is a photo of the salvors scratching their heads trying to figure out how to raise the boat.
Big Boat Series Begins Tomorrow
September 10 - San Francisco Bay
St. Francis YC's 39th Big Boat Series kicks off tomorrow, with 114 boats signed up to compete in 11 classes. If all entries actually start, this will be the biggest Series in history, surpassing the 2000 milestone of 112 boats. The seven-race, no-throwout Series will continue for four days. Five Rolex Submariner watches will be awarded at Sunday's trophy ceremony to the winners of the most competitive classes.
As usual, the racing will occur on two race tracks, the Cityfront (south course) and Berkeley Pier to Yellow Bluff area (north course). The starting order among the bigger boats is: 1) America's Cup (an in-house skirmish between two Oracle boats); 2) Americap-II A (9 boats, including five TP-52s); 3) SC 52 (5 boats); 4) Farr 40 (15 boats); 5) Americap-II B (8 boats); and 6) Americap-II C (6 boats). The starting order in the other group is: 1) 1D-35 (11 boats); 2) J/120 (8 boats); 3) Beneteau 40.7 (6 boats); 4) Express 37 (9 boats); and 5) J/105 (35 boats).
All but one of last year's BBS class winners are back to defend their titles - Pendragon IV, Chance (Farr 395), Yassou, Barking Mad, Winnetou, Zsa Zsa, Chance (J/120), Golden Moon and Good Timin'. Check out www.stfyc.com for the full entry list, as well as the racing and social schedule.
Who Wants to Get Married?
September 10 - San Francisco
"I'm responding to the 'Captain Needed' letter from the couple looking for a captain to perform their marriage ceremony," writes 'Reverend' Capt. Randall Leasure of the Half Moon Bay-based Westsail 32 Tortuga. "Latitude is correct that it is a wives' tale that just because you are a USCG-licensed Captain you can perform wedding ceremonies. Having just married my friends at Lake Arrowhead this summer, I have researched this. I joined a 'paper ministry' called the Universal Life Church in order to be ordained to perform the ceremony, because being a captain is not enough.
"If anyone else is looking for a captain to perform their ceremony, I'm available for a small fee. Hey, that suit was expensive! I can be reached via email."
How to Get a Moët Mini Belt
September 10 - San Francisco Bay
"A couple of sailing friends and I are headed for Abacos next month," writes Stephanie Lucas, "and when I saw that Moët Mini Belt in the September 5 'Lectronic, I thought 'This is a must for our trip!' But unless I'm missing it - quite possible - I couldn't figure out how in the world to order one from their Web site. They give product specs, but no price and no purchase instructions. When you click on the shopping cart icon you merely get an email address. Any suggestions?"
Photo Courtesy Moët et Chandon
If Moët marketed champagne like they are the Mini Belt, they'd be broke. The number we were given for further information is 877-SPIRITS - which translates to (877) 774-7487.
Speaking of the Moët Cup between the America's Cup winner Alinghi and Oracle BMW, that racing will take place starting next Monday. Monday night will be the big fireworks show off the St. Francis YC, and you'll not want to miss that. The boats have been seen getting tuned up at KKMI in Richmond and sailing on the Bay. We'll have a larger preview in Friday's 'Lectronic.
Rocky Mountain High of the 1D-35 Nationals
September 10 - Belvedere
#10, front and center went on to win the Nationals
Photo Bob Grieser
Liquor store owner and 'regular guy' John Musa from the racing citadel of Fort Collins, CO, claimed honors in the eight-race 1D-35 National Championship Regatta with Jacaibon. The San Francisco YC-based event concluded yesterday. A major factor in the victory was tactician Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, who has won 1D-35 National Championships twice before on two different boats.
Jacaibon notched her first major regatta victory for owner John Musa in commanding fashion, finishing ahead of second place Chris and Kara Busch's San Diego-based Wild Thing by a whopping 24 points. The DeVos brothers from Holland, MI, were third. The best local finish was Bill Wright's Zsa-Zsa in fifth.
The winning crew of Jacaibon. Musa is in the front row on the left; Hutchinson is second from the right in front.
McKee Leads The Mini-Transat
September 10 - La Rochelle, France
The Mini-Transat - officially known as the 2003 Transat 6.50 Charente-Maritime/Bahia Race - is one of the wildest events in sailing because boats are limited to 21 feet in length - but that's about the only limitation, as they can pile on the sail area and stretch the sprits about a mile in front.
When the singlehanded event started in 1977, the course was from Penzance, Cornwall, to the Canary Islands and, after a stop, on to Antigua. That first running was won by Norton Smith of Mill Valley in the Wylie 20 American Express. Amy Boyer, of Alameda, finished well in Little Rascal, a Wilderness 21. Back in those days, the boats were conventional.
In the years since, the event has been French-ified - which is to say it's become a really big deal. Among the French sailing stars who have cut their teeth in the event over the years are the Peyron brothers, Isabelle Autissier, Yves Parlier, the Bourgnon brothers and Michel Desjoyeaux. It was also where Brit Ellen MacArthur made a name for herself. The course now goes from La Rochelle to the Canary Islands, a distance of 1,350 miles, then to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, an additional 2,900 miles. In addition to sailing what amounts to 21-foot skiff across nearly 4,500 miles of ocean, the course takes them across the Atlantic hurricane zone at the height of the season.
A day into this year's Mini-Transat finds Jonathan McKee, the two-time Olympic medalist from Seattle in front with Team McLube. McKee was very strong in the racing earlier this summer, and could well bring Mini-Transat honors back to the U.S. for this first time since Smith in '77.
McKee seen in second place after the first weather mark for spectators
Photo Courtesy Mini-Transat
Everest Horizontal Takes Another Blow
September 10 - Bermuda
Tim Kent's Open 50 Everest Horizontal has seen a lot of bad luck. She was dismasted in the Around Alone race, then flipped when her keel fell off in the Bermuda 1-2. After wild adventures recovering the boat, last Friday she was one of the boats hit by the 140 knots of Hurricane Fabian, which drove her on the rocks. Kent says the already-wounded boat apparently still looks to be in pretty good shape, but he's so low on funds he's trying to raise money just to be able to fly to Bermuda to investigate.
Everest Horizontal as she looked to divers during her recovery
Photo Courtesy Tim Kent
Apparently there was extensive damage to boats in Bermuda, although the ones hauled out did better than those on 'hurricane moorings'. Five of the Bermuda YC's famous IODs were lost, but the club says they still intend to hold their prestigious Gold Cup match race series.
Adventure Cat 2 Is Sailing Again
September 10 - San Francisco Bay
"Good news!" reports Jay Gardner of Adventure Cat Charters on San Francisco Bay. "Two and a half months after being dismasted, Adventure Cat has her new mast up, it's been blessed by the Coast Guard, and she's working again. The new Forespar mast looks great and is rock solid. We are ecstatic!"
Adventure Cat 2 is 65 feet by 34 feet, and is Coast Guard certified to carry about a million passengers.
TransPac Starting Dates Changed for the Moon
September 10 - Los Angeles
According to the TransPac YC officials, major changes are afoot for the 2005 running: "Skippers and crews in the 2005 TransPac Race will sail under a full moon in a big fleet led by some of the fastest monohulls in the world. In its first meeting since the highly successful 2003 TransPac race to Honolulu, the Board of Directors of the TransPacific Yacht Club on September 3 approved moving the traditional July 4 TransPac start date ten days later to capture the light of the full moon. "The full moon was so popular with skippers and crews this year, that we felt tradition should give way here," said 2005 TransPac Commodore Jerry Montgomery. The move also increases the chance of better winds. Montgomery allowed that historical data shows stronger trade winds circulating the Pacific High later in July. This will be especially helpful for many of the 30 to 50-ft boats, which start up to a week earlier than the fastest boats.
After almost doubling the entries from the previous two races, TransPac is anticipating up to 75 boats in 2005, said current TPYC Commodore Brad Avery. "Based on the fun people were having in Honolulu, TransPac is in a new era similar to the old days, with lots of families showing up to celebrate in Hawaii. It's a real race, not a rally, dominated by families and friends, racing good boats that make sense to own. This year's race included three J/160s, a J/145, two Beneteaus, a Swan 53, a Jeanneau 52, a Tayana 52 and 10 Cal 40s. All of these boats were well sailed by amateurs, with good sail inventories and weather programs. We're looking to grow these kinds of entries, which are primarily crewed by first-time TransPac sailors."
The TPYC Board also approved a new rating limit open to racing monohulls around 90 feet overall, up to the new Bermuda race limit of 30 meters. The new rating limit is intended to include boats with speed potential up to that of a canting keel MaxZ86 on the TransPac course. Previously, TransPac had invited a minimum of three MaxZ86 yachts to compete in 2005 for the famous Barn Door trophy. Currently, one MaxZ86 sloop, Zephyrus, is sailing. Two nearly identical MaxZ86s, both with canting keels, are under construction for Hasso Plattner and Roy Disney. All three are expected to enter TransPac 2005. Along with existing boats and those under construction, the new limit allows for new builds.
In TransPac 2003, the first to finish boat was the 77-ft Pegasus. The move to much bigger boats almost guarantees that the current TransPac record of 7 days, 11 hours, and 41 minutes will be shattered. "The development of big racing boats around the world has moved forward very quickly," said TPYC director Bill Lee. "Half a dozen newer boats around 90 feet are now sailing, with just as many being built. Along with much bigger boats, canting keels and water ballast are dramatically speeding up first to finish contenders. Our objective is to create a level playing field for these unique boats and have a great first to finish race to Hawaii in 2005. The TransPac is committed to the tradition of inviting new and existing boats to race."
"TransPac wants to do whatever it can to help foster fair racing on the TransPac course, not just for the maxi boats, but also the rest of the fleet," said Avery. "Yacht design is moving fast and sailors are seeing new technology on the race course. I think most sailors want to compete against these boats, as long as the boats are equalized through handicaps."
September 10 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace
Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? The YOTREPS daily yacht tracking page has moved to www.bitwrangler.com/psn.
September 10 - Pacific Ocean
San Francisco Bay Weather
Check out this guide to San Francisco Bay Navigational Aids: http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/sfports.html.
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
The site for the Pacific Ocean sea states
has moved to http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/shtml/PacRegSSA.shtml.