Photos of the Day

Megayacht Sustains Mega Damage

August 23 - Florida

It's not uncommon for small boats to take knockdowns. For example, over the years boats like Santana 20s, Cal 25s and J/24s have taken such severe knockdowns on San Francisco Bay that they've sunk. And once in a while an even bigger boat will get knocked over good. An Express 37 racing offshore a number of years ago was pinned with her masthead in the water for nearly an hour before coming back up.

But the last thing anyone expects is for a megayacht such as the 130-foot 'Sariyah' (pronounced as though it rhymes with 'Maria') to get knocked over. We've raced against the big Saudi-owned boat in the Caribbean during the last several years - which is when we took the accompanying photographs - and she looked as stable as you can imagine. But she was indeed knocked down during this year's Key West to Baltimore Race when she was serving as the race committee boat. It was the same race in which both maxis 'Zephyrus' and 'Chessie Racing' were dismasted.

According to the account by Rebecca Reilly that appeared in the September 'Yachting World', 'Sariyah' was cruising along at about 13 to 14 knots in 25-knot winds when at about 0530 she was hit by what was believed to have been a microburst that sent 70 knots or more of wind and rain almost straight down. It's believed that the huge yacht's top spreaders went under and for a few seconds it was feared the big yacht might not right. Although she did, that wasn't the end of the action. More than 1,000 gallons of water poured into the engine room through the ventilation openings, countless system alarms went off, and all kinds of stuff broke in the cupboards. 'Sariyah' had been carrying four sails at the time, and all of them were destroyed by intense flogging and the inability to fully furl the main and mizzen. You don't want to know how much it costs to buy a set of sails for a 130-footer.

'Sariyah' in Happier Times

Photos Latitude/Richard

Tropical Disturbances

August 23 - Atlantic/Caribbean

The good news from the Caribbean is that Hurricane Debby, which brushed by St. Martin and the BVIs, was not very devastating. As one observer on Tortola reported, "It was like a pissing boy fountain rather than Old Faithful." And everyone is happy for that. After going ashore over the Dominican Republic and losing force to just Tropical Storm status, Debby is expected to regain hurricane strength over water as she continues in the general direction of Florida

Hurricane Debby

Hurricane Alberto
Unisys Weather Graphics
As for former hurricane Alberto, this guy is just unbelievable. He's still got 45 to 55 knot winds, but has gone 'extratropical' and - we're not making this up - is only a few hundred miles from Cape Farewell, Greenland! Alberto, you're a stud.
All is quiet on the tropical front in the northeast Pacific. For details on tropical activity, visit and

Pacific Weather Updates

August 23 - 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


Yap in the New Millennium

August 23 - Yap

Kirk and Cath McGeorge, who are based out of Honolulu but rarely there, decided starting the new millennium working was a lousy idea. So they left Guam, where they'd been earning money and fixing up their Islander 37 'Polly Brooks' for the last two years, and headed south. After some interesting adventures, they arrived at Yap, which they describe as follows:

"Yap is a lovely, clean island and the locals are very hospitable. the Yappese cling proudly to their ancient cultural traditions, so it's not at all uncommon to see men and women of all ages at the post office and markets dressed in simple loin clothes for the men and and grass skirts and leis for the women. Everyone wore flowers in their hair and chewed betel nuts, which of course resulted in blood red smiles."

For more on the McGeorges and Yap, checking out the October, not September, issue of 'Latitude 38'.

Yap Days Festival
Photo Courtesy 'Polly Brooks'


August 23 - 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


Magic Cat in Europe

August 23 - Ireland 

"A fabulous week in a fabulous place!" was how Roy E. Disney summed up the mid-July Ford Cork Race Week in Ireland. Disney and his merry men sailed his R/P 75 'Pyewacket' in the gigantic (650 boats!) seven-race regatta, hauling home eight pieces of Waterford crystal in the process of winning their 30-boat class. The excellent regatta is run by the Royal Cork YC, which is famous for being the oldest yacht club in the world, dating back to 1720. Read Roy's account of his Irish adventure in the September print issue. . . 'Pyewacket' will appear in the Med next, where she's scheduled to participate in the Maxi Worlds in early September.

Photo by Laurence
Courtesy Roy E. Disney

'PlayStation' Departs Today for Record Attempt

August 23 - New York

Steve Fossett and the crew aboard his 105-ft catamaran 'PlayStation' will be leaving New York this afternoon at 4 p.m. Eastern time for a third attempt on the New York to England sailing record. The current mark was set 10 years ago by Serge Medec in 'Jet Services V' with a time of six days and 13 hours. The 'PlayStation' crew consists of Steve Fossett (USA), Skipper; Stan Honey (USA), Navigator; Brian Thompson (GB), Watch Captain; Ben Wright (AUS), Watch Captain; Gino Morrelli (USA), Watch Captain; Damian Foxall (IRE), Crew; Peter Hogg (NZ), Crew; David Scully (USA), Crew; Nick Moloney (AUS), Crew; Tom Weaver (USA), Crew; Tim Krojer (GER), Crew; Stu Wilson (USA), Crew. The owner, designer, navigator and watch captains are all personal friends of ours and well known to many Northern California sailors. We wish them and the rest of their crew a safe and swift passage. Once the boat arrives in England, the hulls will be cut in half and extended another 20 feet in order to eliminate the boat's tendency to 'pearl' the bows. The rig will remain the same.

Help Wanted

August 23 - San Francisco

Always wanted to work for a top flight America's Cup syndicate? Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing, which now owns four IAAC boats and will be representing a powerful St. Francis YC challenge for the Cup in 2003, has several help wanted ads in the September 'Latitude' to be distributed on September 1. Alas, they are not looking for helmsmen.

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