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Fishy Goings-On at Catalina

October 16, 2013 – Catalina Island

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Things got a little out-of-hand for one Buccaneer. © 2018 The Catalina Island Marine Institute

It looks like someone had maybe just a little too much fun at Buccaneer Days earlier this month and didn't want the party to end. The well-costumed reveler was found passed out on a Catalina Island beach this weekend, so comatose from the previous weekend's merrymaking that more than a dozen friends had to help cart him off to the hospital. At last word, he was home resting comfortably after having his stomach pumped. Interestingly, hospital workers report (on condition of anonymity) that all that came up was a pile of smelly fish and squid, which could explain the patient's pasty coloring.

Or it could be an 18-ft long oarfish discovered by a scientist at Catalina Island Marine Institute. Either way, cool story.

- latitude / ladonna

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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See the current magazine here.

Simpson's Autopsy Report Released

October 16, 2013 – San Francisco

Five months after his untimely death on May 9, Andrew 'Bart' Simpson's autopsy report was finally released yesterday. It held few surprises, citing "blunt trauma with drowning" as the cause of death for the 36-year-old America's Cup sailor. 

Simpson died when Artemis Racing's 72-ft training cat capsized and broke in two, throwing team members into the water. Though it's unknown if Simpson was conscious at the time, extensive head and neck trauma, along with substantial injuries to his torso might indicate he wasn't. He was trapped under the capsized boat for 10 minutes before being rushed to shore. Three attempts to revive him failed. His death prompted AC officials to add 37 safety recommendations to the event.

- latitude / ladonna

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New Hope in Nina Disappearance

October 16, 2013 – South Pacific Ocean

Close scrutiny of recent satellite imagery has sparked new hope that the long-missing American schooner Niña may yet be found, and that her seven crew may still be alive. 

According to family and experts, this ship-shaped image is the same size as NiƱa but Kiwi authorities won't go searching until they have higher resolution images that the American government won't release. © 2018 Texas EquuSearch

As reported earlier, the 70-ft vessel set sail from from Opua, New Zealand, May 29 bound for Newcastle, Australia. New Zealand search and rescue resources mounted their largest search ever, but had no luck in locating the schooner or any evidence to confirm she had sunk.

After the search was abandoned, families of the crew enlisted the help of the non-govermental American search organization Texas EquuSearch. Their staff procured satellite imagery of areas beyond the original search — apparently prompted by inconsistency between the reported location of two satphone mayday calls. Although not razor sharp, imagery from September 15 clearly shows a hull shape similar to Niña's, located 184 miles west of Norfolk Island (roughly a third of the distance to Australia's east coast).

The anxious families have implored New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre to resume the search, but they reportedly require sharper, more detailed imagery before they can do so. Ricky Wright, the father of 19-year-old crewmember Danielle Wright, told the New Zealand Herald, "We have been asking the US State Department for help in getting better images, specifically for better resolution of the September 15 image, but we get no help."

Well-known Auckland-based meteorologist Bob McDavitt was the last person to have direct contact with the Niña in early June. After the satellite imagery was produced he was quoted as saying, "You don't want to take away people's hopes. . . (But) there's about a vessel a day or every other day going past that part of the world." Surviving at sea for four and a half months is not unheard of, but hope diminishes with every passing day.

- latitude / andy

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Weekend Racing Round-Up

October 16, 2013 – California

IOD racing
SYC hosted the IOD NAs October 11-13. © 2018 Martha Blanchfield / RenegadePR

International One Designs competed in their North American Invitational last week out of Sausalito YC. Boats were rotated through the two local skippers, Ron Young and Rich Pearce, and four visitors, each representing their fleet. Roy Weedon of Nantucket YC won five out of seven races, running away with the regatta. For details, see

Farr 40s at Campbell Cup
Jeff Janov's Dark Star won the Farr 40 class for the third time at LBYC's Campbell Cup. © 2018 Rick Roberts

At Long Beach YC's Campbell Cup this week, Bob Little sailed Roy P. Disney's Andrews 68 Pyewacket to victory over four Santa Cruz 70s in the West Coast 70 class, while Jeff Janov's Dark Star, with Dave Ullman calling tactics, topped the Farr 40 class.

Crazier and crazier. Now those daredevils on kiteboards are foiling! © 2018 Chris Ray /

On a picture-perfect Friday on San Francisco Bay, with a good bit of flood tide and 12 knots of breeze, StFYC kicked off the three-day Kite Foilboard California State Championship featuring a 20-board international fleet. Local sailor Johnny Heineken, repeat Kiteboard Course Racing World Champion, trounced the competition, winning 10 of 12 races.

At the mark
What's under your board? For Johnny Heineken's results, it doesn't seem to matter. © 2018 Chris Ray /

Richmond YC hosted 31 boats on Sunday for the Laser Short Course Championship. They got in five races in mild conditions. Vaughn Harrison, regatta chair Christine Neville, and Peter Shope took the podium positions, in that order. "The races were run in light wind," said Harrison, "but it really made for some interesting situations, big pileups and fun times." Four fleets were represented — and scored unofficially. Treasure Island Sailing Center topped Santa Cruz, Lake Washington, and Shoreline. Some sailors, not identifying with one of these fleets, spontaneously formed their own teams.

Lasers short course
A general recall in the first start of the Laser Short Course Champs. © 2018 Tom Baffico

Yes, there really is a Franks Tract Regatta, and no, it no longer sails through False River, which forms the northern border of Franks Tract. Instead, Andreas Cove YC's famous race stays on the San Joaquin River. Located at Owl Harbor at Seven Mile Slough, ACYC is small, friendly club that welcomes guest entries in this weekend's two-day regatta. The aesthetically-challenged Franks Tract Tractor Trophy will find its home in some yacht club's trophy case, but everyone's eligible for division prizes. See

Franks Tract Regatta Tractor Trophy
The legend of the submerged Franks Tract tractor lives on. Which lucky club will get to display this trophy? © 2018 /

- latitude / chris

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Ad: Sale Boat of the Day

October 16, 2013 – Long Beach, CA

2006 50-ft Beneteau 51.5 Ambassador
Beneteau 50
Click on the photo for details.
© 2018 Flying Cloud Yachts /

This Beneteau 5-cabin layout is the perfect combination of great sailing performance, stability at sea (and anchor), and comfortable living. Her 16' 2" beam translates into about twice the interior volume of traditional 50 footers, leading to a level of comfort unsurpassed in her class. $219,000.

Flying Cloud Yachts

© 2018 Flying Cloud Yachts /

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(562) 594-9716 • Toll-free (877) 648-6713

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