Big News of the Day

August 11 - Oracle Racing
 Perhaps it's noteworthy that the first 'official' announcement that Larry Ellison will be going after the America's Cup comes not at a gaudy press conference, but quietly appears at an 'under construction' site on the Internet. starts out with the statement: "Winning the America's Cup requires a team effort - no individual can do it alone. Oracle Racing Inc. is assembling a strong organization to create a winning team. Meet the people who are committed to making this challenge a winner." It then lists the management team as being Bill Erkelens, Chief Operating Officer; Paul Cayard, Afterguard; Robert Billingham, Operations Manager; John Cutler, Sail Team Manager; Chris Perkins, Chief Financial Officer. Most of this crew are veterans of the AmericaOne syndicate, although John Cutler was the helmsman for Dawn Riley's America True syndicate.

In addition, Farr Yachts will be in charge of boat design while Mickey Ickart will lead the sail design. As for the sailing team, only one member has been announced: Kiwi Chris Dickson at the helm. There is no mention of the St. Francis YC, but it's almost certain the challenge will be under the club's burgee.

Larry Ellison Aboard 'Sayonara'

Photo by Daniel Forster
Courtesy Oracle Racing

Bottom line? Northern California is going to make a run at the America's Cup like we've never had before, it will be stylish, and money - for once - will be no object. It will also be lead by Ellison, a man who is more than just determined not to be anything but first. This is going to be fun!

Photo of the Day

NorCal Cats

August 11 - Eagle Lake

Richard Silvera reports that catamaran racing is alive and alive and well in Northern California, as on July 22-23 the annual race at Eagle Lake (near Susanville in the Sierras) attracted more than 40 cats from Northern California, Nevada, Oregon and even British Columbia. The event was one of several race weekends sponsored by the MHRA (Multihull Racing Association) throughout the extended summer. The photo of Silvera and his lovely crew Sonja Johnson was taken from the committee boat as the Chico Cats crossed the finish line. The duo, who are also members of the Butte Sailing Club, took first place.

Photo Courtesy
Richard Silvera

Weather Updates

August 11 - Pacific Ocean

San Francisco Bay Weather

To see what the winds are like on the Bay right now, check out Looks like it's going to be a great sailing weekend.

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.

Pacific Ocean Weather

Check out the weather map at right.

University of Hawaii Meteorology Graphic

Click here to see enlarged graphic.
Pacific Sea State

Seas are relatively normal in the North Pacific.
Have a look at
For another view, see

Tropical Disturbances

Storms are dying and building in the Northeast Pacific well off the coast of Mexico. Former Hurricane Gilma is down to 25 knots and virtually broken up, but Depression 10E looks to be heading for Tropical Storm status soon.

In the Atlantic, Alberto is still at hurricane strength, but in the process of making almost a 180 degree turn back toward the Med! Depression Four, which was off Florida with 20 knot winds, is dying rather than building, and heading north.

See and for more.

Tropical Depression Ten-E off Mexico

Tropical Depression Four (left) and Hurricane Alberto

Unisys Weather Graphics


Pretty Pictures from Points Beyond

August 11 - Caribbean

Devan Mullins of Newport Beach provided us with a couple of nice cruising shots. The first is of Cayos Cochinos, a little set of islands about 10 miles off the coast of Honduras. "The shot was taken from a light tower on top of the island and it looks this way for 360 degrees," says Devan. That's 'Points Beyond', his Shannon 38, in the distance. The other shot is of 'Points Beyond' sailing off of Key West.

Photos Courtesy Devan Mullins

Situation in Fiji Still Dicey

August 11 - Fiji

George Backhus of the Deerfoot 62 reports from coup-ravaged Fiji, "We've received a lot of email from you wondering what we have been up to since we arrived in Fiji eight weeks ago. Yes, the political situation in Fiji is still dicey. So far, it has not affected us too much, but we have been avoiding populated areas and maintaining a readiness to head directly west to Vanuatu if the situation warrants. We keep a close ear to the short wave radio, listening to the latest news from the BBC and the local Fiji radio station which is called, believe it or not, "Bula 100." Thanks also to Cate's brother, Matthew, who regularly emails us reports on the crisis from the Website. We feel very bad for the Fijians. The racial, power and money struggle between a very few here will set back the already fragile economy by at least 10 years. The good news is that George Speight and his band of hooligan supporters are 'detained' on an isolated prison island so it looks as if the military can finally begin to reestablish peace and order to the country. We remain bound and determined not to let that #!*&[email protected]! screw up our Fijian cruising plans!"

Baja Ha-Ha Profile

August 11 - Baja Ha-Ha World Headquarters

Entries are steadily trickling in for the Baja Ha-Ha 2000 Cruisers' Rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. The following is a profile of one Ha-Ha couple. (For bios on all participants, see the September, October and November issues of 'Latitude 38' magazine.)

Caladesi - Hylas 44
Robert & Joyce Craven, Napa
"We grew up in the Midwest, met at the University of Iowa, and married. Bob followed a career in the computer business while I concentrated on raising two daughters. It never occurred to me during our 25 years in Silicon Valley that Bob's mid-life crisis would mean the purchase of a sailboat. But we worked out a deal; he could get the Venture 21 if I could get a new dining room set. In less than a year, the trailerable boat had to be replaced with a new San Juan 28 from the factory. We enjoyed the San Juan for many years on the Bay, Delta and nearby coast.

"Early retirement allowed Bob to crew on a 47-ft Brewer design from San Diego to Panama to Florida. Meanwhile, our move to Napa put the San
Juan on a dock in our backyard. After crewing on two more trips on the 47-footer - one to the Dry Tortugas and the other around the western Caribbean - being crew no longer cut it for Bob.

"In '96, a Freedom 32 replaced the San Juan, and we made plans for Mexico. That October, Bob and my brother left the dock to start the adventure. I joined them in San Diego - but only because of the 'for better or worse' promise I made back in '62. Fear to the point of terror describes my feelings as we crossed into Mexican waters. Fortunately, I had mobilized a force of family and friends to pray for me around the clock, as I was sure danger lurked behind every wave.

"Ensenada was pleasant, but oh how I hated passages and the lack of privacy with three people on such a small boat. I was still cranky despite the fact that on my birthday I was given the title 'Admiral' as well as a travel iron. But the people we met and the places we visited changed my mood considerably as we made our way as far south as Ixtapa and back to Puerto Vallarta.

Photo Courtesy the Cravens

"During that cruise, I casually mentioned that if we ever did the trip again, I'd want to leave with the Ha-Ha fleet, have a bigger boat, have only the two of us aboard, and be able to fly home for the holidays. This simple remark has turned into a Royal Order by Capt. Bob, who immediately began a quest for a larger boat. After months of searching, we found the Hylas 44 'Caladesi', which is coming down from Seattle so we can do the Ha-Ha on October 31."


August 11 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace

Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? Check out YOTREPS - 'yacht reports' - at


Kenwood Cup

August 11 - Hawaii

Though he wasn't in Hawaii last week, one of the big winners at this year's downsized (29 boats) Kenwood Cup was Annapolis-based yacht designer Bruce Farr. His office was responsible for drawing the entire winning New Zealand team - the all-conquering 'Sea Hawk' (Farr 47, Naohiko Sera/Ray Davies); 'Big Apple III' (Farr 45, Hideo Matsuda/Dean Barker); and 'Air NZ High Five' (Farr 47, Mick Cookson/Harry Dodson). In winning the prestigious Kenwood Cup for the second time in a row, the trio also finished in that order in the IMS racer class.

Farr also designed the top three boats in the cruiser/racer division: 'Smile' (Beneteau 40.7, Simon Whiston), the hot new 'Esmeralda' (Farr 50, Makoto Uematsu/Ken Read), and 'Fruit Machine' (Beneteau 40.7, Neill Whiston). 'Smile' and 'Fruit Machine', the race-optimized 'beach balls', were joined by the Farr 49 'Yendys' as the third boat on the runner-up Aussie K-Cup team. The latter boat, as everyone must know by now, is named after the boat's hailing port spelled backwards. Hopefully, this trend will die quickly before the world is treated to such silly names such as 'Notsob', 'Kroy Wen', or even 'Otilasuas'.

Back to the winners: A pile of 150 gleaming silver trophies was handed out at the awards ceremony, more hardware than we've ever seen assembled anywhere, including some 400-boat Ensenada Races. Only three boats - 'Andiamo', 'Glama!', and 'Tower' - failed to score a pickle dish, while some boats needed a wheelbarrow to haul home their booty. 'Sea Hawk' claimed 15 prizes, and the dominant J/105, Tom Coate's 'Charade', took home 10 on their private jet. As the final award was given out - the big one, the Kenwood Cup itself - the entire Kiwi team was marched onto the stage. They were presented their awards, as well as bottles of Mumm Champagne (big mistake!) and, as the cameras rolled, Dean Barker and the other skippers naturally used the bubbly to hose down the front tables. It was an exuberant moment, a fitting conclusion to this small but excellent regatta.



Photos Latitude/Rob

Tune in here on Monday for some more pictures, look for feature coverage in our September issue, and see for full results, photos and much more.

Weekend Preview

August 11 - San Francisco and Monterey Bays

The 505 North Americans are now underway at Santa Cruz YC, with 45 boats competing. Howie Hamlin and crew Peter Alarie won the first race, while Howie's former crew Mike Martin and his crew Steve Bourdow took the second. Racing continues through the weekend. . . The PICYA Chispa (Laser)/Youth (El Toro) Regatta will take place Saturday at Richmond YC. . . San Francisco YC will host the leadmine crowd on both Saturday and Sunday, with 65 boats now entered in their increasingly popular Summer Keelboat Regatta. Invited classes at that one design festival are Farr 40s (8 boats signed up), Express 37s (8), Hobie 33s (6), 11:Metres (4), Express 27s (7), Melgi (7), J/24 (7) and the roadmastering Moore 24s (18).

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