Scott and Jean Adam of the Marina del Rey-based Davidson 58 Quest, and their Seattle guests Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, were seized by Somali pirates on February 18 while 240 miles off the coast of Oman — and 750 miles from the coast of Somalia. The couple, he 70 and she 66, and their guests, he 67 and she 59, had been on their way from Mumbai, India to Oman. The hijacking occurred just three days after the Adams had decided to split off from a large group of yachts in the Blue Water Rally.
As we go to press, Quest is being followed by a coalition warship with an onboard helicopter, as the pirates navigate her toward Somalia, where the victims will likely be taken inland. Based on past experience, yachties captured by pirates are usually not killed, but are often kept in captivity in poor condition for many months if not longer, until a suitable ransom is offered. A wild card in the mix is that the pirates are Muslim and the couple have been described by some as Christian missionaries. Friend Scott Stolnitz, who has been cruisng for the last several years with his wife Cindy on the Marina del Rey Switch 51 Beach House, downplays this angle and says the Adams just passed out Bibles if needed or requested in remote communities.
While attacks on commercial shipping continues unabated in the 'pirate alley' between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea — 30 vessels and over 700 crew are currently held hostage — attacks on cruising yachts have been relatively uncommon. It might be a coincidence, but just last week a New York court sentenced the only Somali survivor of the attack on the Maersk Alabama, which was successfully resolved by Navy sharpshooters, to 33 years in prison.
Scott and Jean Adam bought Quest in New Zealand in '02 and brought her back to Marina del Rey. After two years of living aboard, they left in '04 on what was supposed to be an eight- to 10-year circumnavigation. During the ensuing time, the couple have been very adventurous cruisers, as opposed to dock or anchorage potatoes, which can be surmised from their website at www.svquest.com. Our thoughts and prayers are with the four Americans.
Although the weather on the Bay was pretty wet and gray on Saturday, it certainly took a turn for the better, albeit colder, on Sunday. The scoring part of the Corinthian Midwinters wrapped up yesterday with some thrilling finishes. Richard Courcier's Farr 36 Wicked won PHRF 1 on a countback after tying with Mark Howe's Farr 36 War Pony and Steve Stroub's SC 37 Tiburon, who took the second and third spots respectively. Scott Easom's Farr 30 Easom Rigging walked away from the rest of PHRF 2, although Frank Morrow's IMX 38 Hawkeye did manage to break Easom's stretch of bullets with a win in Saturday's rainy race. The Express 37 division went to Bob Harford's Stewball, while Charles James' Roxanne took the J/105 division title. PHRF 3 was another really close one, with Robert Bloom's J/35 Jarlen beating James' son Elliot — sailing the family's Mancebo 31 Bloom County — on a countback after the two boats tied with 10 points a piece. PHRF 4 was all about Bryan Wade's Ultimate 24 Max, which scored bullets on both days. Gordie Nash and his modernized Santana 27 Arcadia came out swinging, erasing a seven-point deficit carried over from the first weekend with a pair of bullets that put him in first in PHRF 5 after yet another countback. PHRF 6 went to Lon Woodrum's Moore 24 Frenzy, which cruised to a pair of bullets. George Ellison's Schumacher 30 Shameless romped in the SF Bay 30 class also bulleting in both races.
Non-spinnaker 1 went to Glenn Isaacson's Schumacher 40 Q, while Non-spinnaker 2 went to Jim Erskine's Cal 33-2 Kira. Non-spinnnaker 3 went to Richard von Ehrenkrook's Cal 20 Can O' Whoopass, which took the division finshing with three straight bullets. The Catalina 34s went to Kurt Magdanz' Amandla by a healthy margin, and Krik Smith's Dream scored three bullets and a second over the series to finish with a three-point win in the Alerion Express 28 division. the Cruising Cat division went to J.E.B. Pickett's Seawind 1160 Serenity and Peter Stoneberg's Shadow took an uncontested win in the other multihull class. The Aotea Team Trophy went to the Corinthian YC's own CouldNaThinkaOne, made up of Kira, Jim Snow's Cal 20 Raccoon and Jan Borjeson's Elliot 1050 Basic Instinct, despite the fact that the San Francisco YC's Can of YucQa won two divisions head-to-head with the CYC team. The full results are up, and don't forget about March 19's Pursuit Race — even though it doesn't count for the season, it should be fun. If you took any photos over the weekend that you'd like to see in Latitude 38, send them here by 9 p.m tonight.
Down in Auckland, Artemis became the first team to flip an AC 45! The team, led by Paul Cayard, was probably missing helmsman Terry Hutchinson — off representing them on an Extreme 40 in Oman. The damage was limited to the wing, and although it looked pretty extensive, you can bet that all the king's men will have that thing back together PDQ. Curious that, although Team New Zealand has not been named as a challenger, the anchorwoman in the first of the two videos says that the boat should be ready for TNZ to sail next week. . . hmmmm.
The Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego will take place on San Diego Bay, March 2–6, 2011.
The San Diego stop features match and fleet racing by 11 RC44 teams representing nine nations and marks the start of 2011 RC44 Championship Tour. There are numerous spectacular free viewing areas along the downtown waterfront.
The RC44 class was conceived and co-designed by four-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts, and sails with an evenly split amateur and professional crew line-up.
Many of you are reading this today from the comfort of your home because you're lucky enough to have the day off to celebrate Presidents' Day. But did you know that "Presidents' Day" doesn't really exist? Commonly thought to be a federal holiday to commemorate the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22), Presidents' Day is not the official name of today's holiday — it's actually "Washington's Birthday." The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 originally included a proposal to change the day's name to Presidents' Day, as well as set it as the third Monday in February, to include Lincoln but, while the date change stuck, the name change was rejected.