Photos of the Day: Cabrillo Series
January 19 - San Diego
Heading south toward the middle Coronado island
Race 1 of Southwestern Yacht Club's Cabrillo Series, which takes San Diegans on various local ocean courses, was "sailed in weather more like a cold New England autumn day" last weekend. Carl Hancock comments, "Race 1 is a 33.4 mile jaunt around two of the Coronado Islands. This year's race was sailed in a 20-kt easterly breeze which, sadly, went away towards the end of the day and made for a struggle to finish."
Warren Gross' Silhouette and Mike Honeysett's Wiki Wiki, both Beneteau 40.7s, on the west side of North Coronado Island
Forty-six boats started. Colin Shanner's J/125 Lucky Dog won overall by 22 seconds. For more info on the Cabrillo Series, and complete results from Saturday's race, see www.ssop.org/RaceCommittee/RaceIndex.htm.
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Silhouette on a compass course of about 0 degrees, heading back to San Diego.
Key West Race Week Update
January 19 - Key West, FL
Going into the final day at Acura Key West, five class winners have been decided but several others are still too close to call.
John Demourkas and crew on the Farr 40 Groovederci hike hard off the start.
Ernesto Bertarelli steered Alinghi to its fourth win of the series Thursday, taking overall victory in the Farr 40 division, while Claudio Recchi and his Italian team aboard Let's Roll clinched the Melges 32 class with a first and a second on Thursday. Bobby Oberg's NKE Electronics has clinched the PHRF-3 class with all first and second place finishes. The J/29 Rhumb Punch has sealed victory in PHRF-5 with straight bullets (discarding their second-place finish in race 5), but both NKE Electronics and Rhumb Punch are tied for first in the PHRF National Championship. Today's racing will determine the winner. The fifth class winner decided already is DealrsChoice in the 14-boat Corsair 28(R) fleet.
The top two places in each of the three IRC divisions are separated by two points. Dan Meyers' Numbers is engaged in a battle with Edgar Cato's Hissar in IRC-1. The two Farr-designed 60-footers seem to be evenly matched. In IRC-2 Magic Glove, Colm Barrington's brand new Ker 50, will try to protect a narrow advantage over the TP52s Samba Pa Ti (John Kilroy) and Windquest (Doug DeVos). In IRC-3, Esmeralda, Makoto Uematsu's Club Swan 42, has finished with five firsts and three seconds, but Spirit of Malouen is still within striking distance.
The Melges 24 fleet is the event's largest.
Photos Tim Wilkes/Acura Key West/timwilkes.com
In the talent-laden 47-boat Melges 24 class, Giovani Maspero's Joe Fly increased its lead over Dave Ullman's Pegasus 505 to five points on Thursday, but things can change quickly in such a huge fleet. Among the J/109 leaders, Tastes Like Chicken and Current Obsession are only one point apart. Donald Wilson's Convexity made a major move in the 33-boat J/105 class, cutting a 19-point deficit to Masquerade down to four. Wilson placed second in Race 8 while Tom Coates and the Masquerade crew suffered a 24th in Race 7 to tighten the standings.
In Wednesday's KWRW update, we gave a link to video on ESPN's site. You can search there for the sailing updates (sprinkled amongst such riveting features as volleyball and curling), or try www.jobsonsailing.com for a direct link. Complete race results are at www.premiere-racing.com.
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Ocean Film Festival Starts Today
January 19 - San Francisco
The Fourth Annual San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, the first of its kind in North America, kicks off today at the Cowell Theater in the Fort Mason Center, and will run through the weekend. This year's program is jam-packed with films about the ocean world - from sea kayaking in the Aleutians to watching whale sharks in Mexico and just about everything in between. The $60 weekend pass is a bargain, especially considering that individual programs are $10. Check out this year's schedule and buy your tickets at www.oceanfilmfest.org.
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And the Answer Is . . .
January 19 - San Francisco Bay
For months people up and down the West Coast have spotted a strange spider-like craft on the water and wondered "What the heck is that thing?" We featured it in 'Lectronic on October 6, as well as in November's Sightings. At a preview yesterday, Marine Advanced Research disclosed exactly what the heck it is: Anything you want it to be. While not precisely definitive, the answer is meant to inspire creativity. "Proteus is the prototype of what we hope to be a new class of water vessel - the Wave Adaptive Modular Vessels, or WAM-Vs," explained Ugo Conti, co-founder of Marine Advanced Research.
The prototype WAM-V skims over the waters of the Bay.
The funky cat was well named. Proteus was a Greek sea god known for changing forms, and the name usually has connotations of flexibility and versatility. And this thing is nothing if not flexible. Hinges and ball joints work together to allow Proteus to shimmy over waves with the ease of a sea snake. "It plays the waves instead of fighting them," Conti explained. It's this flexibility, coupled with the Arneson surface drives and 2,000 gallon fuel capacity, that should allow WAM-Vs to easily cross oceans, a claim confirmed by the vessel's original designer Jim Antrim. The low draft - 8"-16", depending on what kind of load it's carrying - makes beaching the cat in remote lagoons possible, and the segmented inflatable pontoons add a measure of security in the event of a hull breach. Conti suggests WAM-Vs could be used for anything from marine research to search-and-rescue operations.
Many details have yet to be worked out, such as top speed and price, but sea trials will continue on the Bay for the next several months until the official launch in May. Check out the February issue of Latitude 38 for the full story. If you can't wait that long, surf on over to www.wam-v.com.
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Crowes' Tabu Is the Latest of Custom Boat Launches
January 19 - Newport Beach
We were sorry to have missed the launch on January 6 of Rich and Sheri Crowe's one-off Farr 44 sloop Tabu - especially since we hear they were pouring champagne like there was no tomorrow. The couple has been co-skippering offshore voyages for the OCC School of Sailing and Seamanship for many years aboard Alaska Eagle and other vessels.
Tabu is 'piped' into the drink, as proud parents, Rich and Sheri Crowe look on.
Having logged thousands of miles on their first homebuilt boat, Confetti - including a circumnavigation of South America - the Crowes' latest creation is a highly-refined update that may eventually retrace earlier routes. Rich, a meticulous craftsman, has long been a strong proponent of cold-molded construction. With much help from Sheri, Tabu was built of Alaska yellow cedar strip planking and mahogany veneers, then sheathed with Dynel cloth. Tabu features a comfortable interior with six berths, and draws only 18" with her ballast keel up. Is she fast? You can bet on it. The Crowes are expected to give Tabu her first long-distance sea trial soon.
Tabu's immaculate construction gives new meaning to the phrase 'home-built'.
Photos Courtesy Tabu
This is the third of three one-off boat launches that have crossed our radar recently. The others are Peter and Susan Wolcott's 52-ft custom cat Kiapa, a Morrelli & Melvin design launched recently at Portland's Schooner Creek Boatworks, and Arjan Bok's 43-ft cat Rotkat, which was owner-built in a shed along the South San Francisco waterfront to a Gary Lidgard design.
Look for more on all three boats in the Sightings section of the February issue of Latitude 38.
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Cruise Ship Fees for Sailboats?
January 17 - Puerto Madero, Mexico
"We're the flamenco people who did last November's Baja Ha-Ha, and had a ball," report Richard and Andrea Black of the Santa Cruz-based Sceptre 41 Saeta. "We're now at Barillas Marina in El Salvador on our way to Spain, but want to alert everyone of a bad experience we had trying to get our zarpe in Puerto Madero to clear out of Mexico. It involved lots of visits and payments of port fees in various places. None of it was all that bad until we got to Immigration. Until the beginning of January, all yachts had to be processed at the airport, about 10 miles inland. As far as we can tell, this was basically just a rubber stamp and a signature. At least that's what the port captain assured us.
"At the start of the year, however, the responsibility for yachts was transferred to the Immigration office in Tapachula, 20 miles inland. Having completed everything else, we took a taxi into Tapachula to find out that the people there didn't have a clue what they were doing. Nonetheless, they decided that they should apply the laws pertaining to cruise ships to yachts such as ours. They gave us a copy of the relevant statute, despite the fact it explicitly said it pertained to 'commercial vessels.' As such, they insisted we pay a fee of $262, which is the rate for cruise ships with one to 500 passengers! Having no friends in town, and trying to get back to the Capitania before the office closed on Friday, we paid the exorbitant fee. But Immigration then kept our passports, saying that they would bring them down to the boat the following morning when they 'inspected us.' This made us very nervous, but they actually did show up when they said they would. The clerk came, along with her boss and her boyfriend, and all three were having a jolly outing. At long last, we had our passports stamped, and they filled out papers stating that they had 'inspected' our boat - although it was anchored in the bay and they were standing in the Capitania.
"The money isn't the issue, but rather that they clearly intend to apply this process to all the boats that come behind us. If this is truly the policy of Immigration, then wouldn't they be applying it to northbound boats leaving Cabo? We don't believe they are.
"Despite this incident, Mexico was great! We didn't get to stop anywhere for very long, as we're trying to get to Spain by next summer. But we've realized that Mexico deserves an entire season, not just a few months. Oh well."
We, and all southbounders, would certainly like to know what experiences other people are having getting their zarpes to leave southern Mexico for Central America. Have other boats had to pay similar ridiculous fees to get their zarpes? As for Immigration policies, veteran cruisers to Mexico know that just because certain rules and fees apply in one place certainly doesn't mean they apply anywhere else. For example, in some places - we think La Paz is one of them - boats wanting to clear out for the U.S. have to get time-consuming and expensive medical examinations for all their crew before they are allowed to leave. You didn't hear it from us, but this is the reason almost all veteran cruisers leaving Mexico for the States clear out for Ensenada, because it requires a simple domestic rather than complicated international clearance. And then when they get up by Ensenada, they blow right by and into San Diego. Officials in San Diego don't care about any clearance papers from Mexico. We wonder if it's the same for officials in Guatemala and El Salvador.
In any event, we've encouraged the Blacks to contact Tere Grossman, President of the Mexican Marina Owner's Association, to see if she can't look into this.