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Rain Drop Takes Pac Cup

July 28, 2008 – Kaneohe Bay

rain drop pac cup
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Rain Drop sailing to the finish and an overall win in the 2008 Pacific Cup. Photo Latitude / Rob
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Joby Easton and Bill Huseby sailed Easton's immaculate Cascade 36 Rain Drop into Kaneohe Bay at 12:45 HST Saturday afternoon, claiming overall honors in the 2008 Pacific Cup. Twelve days, 2 hours, 54 minutes and 33 seconds after leaving San Francisco, the duo put the finishing touches on a decisive win, slipping in a little over 30 minutes ahead of Paul Cayard's SC 50 Hula Girl, as the latter chased her to the finish line off Kaneohe Bay. Following the welcoming, Huseby went down the dock as Cayard's crew received their leis and, in some cases, virgin mai tais. Hula Girl 'senior' crewmember Ralf Steitz noticed Huseby in the crowd, and congratulated him.

"Thanks for the push," Huseby responded. It sure didn't seem like they needed any 'push' given that the next closest boat in Doublehanded 1 isn't expected to finish until this afternoon. In Doublehanded 2, Andy Hamilton and Sarah Deeds crushed, sailing Hamilton's Moore 24 Bar-ba-loot to a 7-and-a-half hour win, finishing at 9:43 the next morning. Dave Rasmussen's Synergy 1000 Sapphire was next in after Hula Girl finishing just after 9 p.m. for second in Division D and third overall when Dean Daniels Hobie 33 Sleeping Dragon arrived seven hours later to correct to first in division and second overall.

raindrop arrival
Joby Easton and Bill Huseby enjoy a mai tai for their efforts. Photo Latitude / Rob
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

At the 100-mile check in, the crew of Steve Waterloo's Cal 40 Shaman decided that no matter what happened, they had to finish the race that day. So they reported their finish-line ETA as 23:59 on July 26. Despite a light patch 15 miles from the finish, they crossed the line at 23:47, taking what was one of the tighest divisions in the race. The entire way across, Shaman, Jim Quanci and Mary Lovely's Cal 40 Green Buffalo, Rodney Pimentel's Cal 40 Azure, James Partridge's Cal 2-46 Gaviota and Timm and Victoria Lessley's Cal 40 California Girl had been engaged in what resembled more of a buoy race often times with less than five hours separating them.

"We sailed within sight of California Girl for 96 hours at one point," Waterloo said. "Finally, we waited until Family Hour before gybing to lose them."

Green Buffalo was one of three boats to hit a whale during the race. "We were 300 miles out, in the middle of a beautiful afternoon doing about 11-knots in 22-knots of breeze," Quanci said. "I was down below and heard a 'BANG. . . BANG. . . bump, bump, bump. The boatspeed went down to two knots and the steering went stiff. I came up on deck and looked back and 40-ft sperm whale surfaced in our wake, turned and started following us."

The dazed cetacean dropped it's pursuit shortly therafter, and a thorough check of the boat revealed no damage — other than a spooked crew and a stiff steering system.

"The whole crew got real quiet," Lovely said. "When we finally did start talking after about an hour, we talked about what we'd take if we had to abandoned ship."

Steve Waterloo's "Shamans" won the ultra-competitive Division A. Photo Latitude / Rob
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Divison B winner, Chris Gibbs' Wyliecat 39 Checkered Past, encountered a pilot whale who found its depth sounder irrestible and came for some bump-and-grind. That was the least of their problems. A couple days out from San Francisco, two D-rings on the wishbone boom that create outhaul tension failed, requiring navigator Geoff Ashton to climb the rig and effect a repair in thirty knots of breeze. Then, further across, their tiller exploded. Ashton and Grant Donesley repaired that, and the 'broken boat' sailed to a comfortable win in Division B.

In Division C, Michael Maloney's Express 37 Bullet consolidated on their gains made past the halfway point to handily win Division C. Ken Olcott's Schumacher 39 Recidivist unseated Hula Girl for the Division E lead, but the yet-to-finish Calkins 50 Sabrina has a half hour lead on corrected time as of this writing and will take the division if they can make it here by 1:30 p.m.

chx pst
Geoff Ashton and Grant Donesely of the Divison B winning Wyliecat 39 Checkered Past demonstrate both the tools and technique required for a mid-pacific tiller repair. Photo Latitude / Rob
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Philippe Kahn and Richard Clarke sailed the Open 50 Pegasus OP-50 to elapsed time honors with a time of 7 days, 15 hours, 7 minutes and 50 minutes, beating the previous doublehanded race record by almost three days. Division honors went to Chip Megeath's R/P 45 Criminal Mischief.

"We sailed a submarine across the Pacific," said 'criminal' Ty Reed about the wet 'n wild R/P 45. "It was an awesome trip."

Mark Jones' TP 52 Flash takes advantage of a Hawaiian sunrise for a finish-line photo opp. For everyone whose ETAs were around sunrise on Sunday, but finished at 'O-dark-thirty - this could have been you. . . Photo Latitude / Rob
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The welcoming crew here at Kaneohe YC is in overdrive. From the 'leis and trays' gals to the mooring committee, it's amazing how welcoming and genuinely excited about the event this group of volunteers is. For updates check out

- latitude / rg

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Mock Battle Stuns Spectators

July 28, 2008 – San Francisco Bay

For tall ship aficionados, mock sea battles between 'Lynx' (foreground) and 'Californian' are a high point of any festival. © 2018 Eliot Hudson

Boom! Looks real, sounds real. . . Smoke from 'Californian's cannon can be seen a mile away. © 2018 Eliot Hudson

"Hey! Are those guys using live shells, or what!" At the end of what was supposed to be a mock sea battle Sunday between the visiting tall ships Lynx and Californian, spectators were stunned to see the latter ship's jib boom snap like a twig, as if struck by a cannon shot.

Oops! That wasn't in the script. No worries. Californian's nose job should be complete by week's end. © 2018 Eliot Hudson

Turns out the breakage had nothing to do with Lynx' mock attack, but rather was due to a metal rigging element which failed and led to a chain reaction of stresses, with the jib boom being the weak link. It's all in a days work for the crews of such ships. We can remember a tall ship fest some years back when Lynx' jib boom snapped in strong winds right before the Parade of Sail was about to begin — sadly, it was her very first visit to the Bay. Hey, it happens. As Californian crewman Chuck McGohey explains, "That's why ships always used to carry plenty of extra spars back in the day."

McGohey figures the Californian will be repaired by the weekend, in plenty of time to make the next tall ship fest August 7 at Channel Islands Harbor. Speaking of departures for points south, we're told that Eagle will be departing the Bay this evening on the tide, around 7 p.m. If you're not busy after work, why not show her some Bay Area hospitality by sailing out the Gate alongside her — and tell her  to come back and visit again soon.

- latitude / at

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Singlehanded TransPac Update

July 28, 2008 – Hanalei, Kauai

Singlehanders are a resourceful lot. After the pin on Ragtime!'s primary autopilot sheered off - and the other autopilots conked out - Bob Johnston cobbled together this fix for the original unit that steered the boat the final 200 miles into Hawaii. Photo Latitude / JR
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Fortunes continue to rise and fall in the waning days of the Singlehanded TransPac. The 16th running of this popular event started off Corinthian YC on July 12 and has ended for a third of the 22-boat fleet as you read this. Boats are now finishing daily off picturesque Hanalei Bay, Kauai, and with two exceptions, the remainder of the fleet should finish easily before the Saturday, August 2, deadline.

Jim Fair finished his second Singlehanded TransPac aboard Chesapeake yesterday - 22 years after his first. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Currently anchored in Hanalei (in order of finish) are Dogbark, Hecla, Alchera, Polar Bear, Chesapeake and Ragtime! Of those, perhaps the biggest surprise was Eric Thomas aboard the Olson 30 Polar Bear. Hailing from Duluth, Minnesota, neither he nor the boat had ever sailed any great distance on saltwater before taking off for Hawaii. As you may recall, the fleet was slowed by very light winds the first few days, followed by often boisterous tradewinds and nightly squalls. While most newcomers sail conservatively, Eric sailed the Bear aggressively and kept the heat on the whole way. "In lots of ways, it was just like sailing the Lakes," he said. "We also have either hardly any wind — or way too much."

Getting enough sleep is an important part of every singlehander's repertoire and each handles it differently. Eric's method was simple and effective: once the boat got in the trades, "I'd stay up until the first squall," he says. "Sometimes that was right after dark, sometimes it was two in the morning. But until I got that first squall, I'd keep the spinnaker up." Once the blustery cell had passed, he'd get the spinny down and proceed under shortened sail for the rest of the night. In the morning, the spinnaker would go back up and the little Olson would start another day of surfing toward Hawaii. Eric's performance will almost certainly earn him a division win, although the overall win of the '08 Solo TransPac now appears as though it will go to the even more amazing performance of Skip Allan, who should be sailing his custom Wylie 27 Wildflower across the finish line as this is being uploaded to our servers. More on that Wednesday.

Ruben Gabriel at the start. Although Sparky lost its rig yesterday, Ruben fashioned a jury rig and is once again underway for Hanalei Bay. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

At the other end of the 'fortunes' scale, Wen Lin on Wenlimir set off an EPIRB on Saturday. Details of the incident were sketchy at presstime, but we can tell you that both Wen and the boat survived the incident and are now safely back in the Bay. The other misfortune of the weekend befell Ruben Gabriel, whose Pearson 23 Sparky had lost its mast 680 miles from the finish. Again, details were sketchy, but we understand that, as of Sunday evening, Ruben had fashioned a jury rig and was proceeding toward Hanalei at about 3 knots. The Coast Guard is aware of and monitoring the situation.

We'll have another Solo TransPac update on Wednesday. In the meantime, check out the race website at


- latitude / jr

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Weekend Racing Wrap Up

July 28, 2008 – The Bay

antrim second half
An Antrim 27 tearing it up on Saturday's YRA Second-half Opener. © 2018 Peter Lyons /

It was another busy weekend for racing on the Bay. For those who don't like straight-leg hiking in a wetsuit on the Cityfront, there was the YRA Second Half Opener, hosted by Encinal YC. For those who do, St. Francis YC hosted the 2008 Laser North Americans, which featured a more intra-continental scope. The YRA results aren't available as of this writing, but should be at the above link by the time you read this.

Laser Nas'
Racing wrapped up yesterday at the Laser North Americans hosted by St. Francis YC. © 2018 Peter Lyons /

Seventeen Laser 4.7s slogged through an 11 race, two throwout series from Thursday through yesterday. Diego Reyes, sailing for the Royal Vancouver YC, posted six bullets to finish five points clear of runner-up Cameron Hall of St. Petersburg, FL. In the 43-boat Laser Radial divison, winner Allan Clark posted seven bullets and 13 total points over the six qualifying and five gold fleet races sailed by the split fleet. Runner-up Cameron Summers finished 15 points back. The Radial division featured a handful of the junior sailors who had just completed the US Sailing Youth Champs in late June at San Francisco YC, one of which was Santa Cruz' Ben Lezin, sailing for the St. Francis and San Francisco YCs. Lezin finished in seventh place overall, five spots ahead of the top female, Saratoga's Claire Dennis, who earned that distinction at Youth Champs as well.

In the 58-boat full-rig division, Toronto's David Wright notched six bullets in the 10 of 11 races he sailed, good enough for a 16 point margin over the runner-up, fellow countryman Bernard Luttmer, who also sat out the last race. Third went to US Olympic Trials runner-up Brad Funk of Clearwater, FL. Finishing fifth, Jupiter, FL's Luke Lawrence atoned for a late misstep at June's Youth Champs where he dropped from first to fourth on the final day of racing. The top Northern California finisher was Santa Cruz' Steve Bourdow, fresh off a runner-up finish crewing for Nick Adamson at the Gorge for the 505 North Americans the week before.

Because Latitude's Racing Editor is off the continent and on Hawaiian time — both the time zone and state of mind — he wasn't around to witness these two or walk the docks. So, shoot Rob an email if you've got a good yarn to spin — he'd love to hear first-hand accounts of both for the September issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / rg

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Southern California Ha-Ha Preview & Reunion Party

July 28, 2008 – Two Harbors, Catalina

The Grand Poobah wants to remind everyone that the Baja Ha-Ha will be hosting a free Ha-Ha Preview & Reunion at Two Harbors, Catalina, on August 9. It will be a super-casual event directed toward folks signed up or thinking about signing up for October's San Diego to Cabo San Lucas rally. But it will be open to everyone — folks who have done the Ha-Ha in the past, folks who are thinking about doing it at some point in the future, and even folks just looking for a place to sit.

The Preview & Reunion will start with a potluck BBQ at 6 p.m., during which time folks can discuss the pleasures — and problems — of cruising Mexico in the winter. Once it gets dark, there will be a new and best-ever Ha-Ha slide presentation, followed by a Q&A period. In addition, there will be hats and shirts as door prizes.

We hope to see as many of you there as possible. In fact, if you're planning on attending — the weather should be great — please send a RSVP to Richard.

- latitude / rs

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