Photos of the Day

Not-so-Minor Hurricane Damage

August 22 - Caribbean Sea

Here are three photos that give a little idea why folks in the Caribbean have a healthy fear of hurricanes. They show the damage caused by Hurricane Lenny, a relatively weak hurricane that settled in between St. Martin and St. Barts last year after most people figured that the hurricane season was over.

Chris Columbus named St. Barts after his brother. The structures seen in the photos are just over the hill from the bay named after Chris. Fast forward to the 1950s, when the Rockefellers flew down to the Caribbean in a seaplane and bought up many of the best properties for nearly nothing - including the property that backs the beautiful bay at Columbie. Out on the point they built perhaps the most distinctive structure in the Caribbean, the pyramid-shaped 'hurricane house'. The house was actually used by the CIA to spy electronically on Cuba in the '60s. There are no roads to the former Rockefeller place and spy shack, so the CIA had the Army Corps of Engineers build a brick shithouse of a dock.

As you can see from the photos, even a damn-the-expense Army Corps of Engineers dock is no match for a minor Caribbean hurricane. Steel plates were bent in unimaginable ways and cement was blasted out in all directions. In the second photo, Dona de Mallorca stands at the top of the driveway, about 200 feet from the end of the pier and about 30 feet above sea level. Even that far up from the ocean, the roadway was totally destroyed. In the third photo, Caribbean legend D. Randy West stands in the garage of the house and poses with some of the rocks that were thrown up into the garage with enough force to knock the pick-up truck sideways.

This is just one example of the damage. Over in the main town of Gustavia, some of the 2,000-lb cement jacks used to form the breakwater for the port were tossed up onto the road 20 feet above sea level. No matter if you're at land or sea, take shelter when even a minor hurricane heads your way.

Photos Latitude/Richard

Hurricane Debby Update

August 22 - Caribbean Sea

As we write this, Hurricane Debby is passing just to the north of the British Virgins, and her 65-knot winds are putting her at the minimum hurricane strength. So far the reports from the Caribbean are excellent, as Antigua, St. Martin and other Leeward Islands she's passed have felt little affect and almost no damage. For great island by island first hand reports, visit Debby is showing a slight northern component, which hopefully will take her to the north of Puerto Rico. While not a particularly large or strong hurricane, she's still headed in the general direction of Florida and remains a source of concern.

Hurricane Debby
Unisys Weather Graphic

There are no other tropical storms of concern in the Atlantic/Caribbean or the Eastern Pacific. But for more tropical weather details, visit and

Pacific Weather Updates

August 22 - Pacific Ocean

San Francisco Bay Weather

To see what the winds are like on the Bay right now, check out It's a great time of year to be sailing the Bay.

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 graphic at right.

University of Hawaii Meteorology Graphic

Click here to see enlarged graphic.

Pacific Sea State

Seas are normal in the Pacific. But you might check at:
For another view, see

American Invasion

August 22 - The United Kingdom and the United States

The Americans are coming! The Americans are coming! One of the great success stories in fiberglass boat production was Westerly Yachts of England. They started in 1963 with bilge keel 22-footers and rocked the boatbuilding world in the late '60s by producing 2,500 of the slightly larger Centaurs. They claim that was the largest number of any model fiberglass production boat of that size in the world, but we think Catalina might have beat them with a couple of models. Nonetheless, in recent decades Westerly has been in financial trouble as a result of tired designs in a new world. In July, Westerly was sold to two businessmen from Houston who had previously owned Westerlys. About the same time, Hunter Yachts of Florida, which has been leading many of the changes in modern production boat design and manufacturing, picked up all the Westerly equipment for their new plant in Portland, England, that will come on line in November. Up to 400 locals will be employed to build the Legend 290, 320 and 340.

But that's not the full extent of the American invasion. The British company Prout Catamarans Ltd., which has built 4,200 cats during the last 40 years - and claims 10 million ocean miles with an unequaled safety record - was sold to Quest Marine Holdings, which, like Hunter Marine, is based in Florida.

Kids Don't Float!

August 22 - Seward, Alaska

Spotted at the Seward Small Boat Harbor: a really good idea. Under the sign in the photo are about a half dozen kid-sized life jackets available to borrow for free. PFDs must be worn by children six and under on any size private boat in all 50 states (yes, even Alaska). By the way, this photo was taken at about 9:30 on a July evening.

Photo Latitude/Chris


August 22 - 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


Plenty of Practice Boats

August 22 - San Francisco

Larry Ellison's St. Francis-based challenge for the America's Cup in Auckland in 2003 won't be lacking for practice boats. In addition to the two AmericaOne boats he bought from Paul Cayard's AmericaOne syndicate, Oracle Racing has acquired both of the boats from John Kolius' Aloha Challenge from Hawaii.

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