Photos of the Day

Shooting Celestial Bodies

August 24 - Pacific Ocean

A strange thing happened to the Santa Cruz 52 'Vitesse' on her delivery home from Hawaii: Her entire five-person crew, lead by Robert Flowerman of Sausalito, decided they want to do some celestial navigation. For those of you who've grown up in the era of $99 GPS units, celestial was one of the main navigation tools available to mariners, and required shooting celestial bodies with a sextant and working out the math. So there they are, in the photo at left: Howard, half of Harry (way down at the bottom), Robert, Doug and Susan. Frankly, we suspect this was a staged photograph, for the skies look overcast, and a sextant is about as useful as a bicycle on a boat when it's cloudy.

Photos Courtesy Susan Stromsland

Weather Updates

Tropical Weather

August 24 - Atlantic/Caribbean

When hurricanes pass over land, they lose the warm moist air that helps fuel them. So when Hurricane Debby passed over Hispañola, she came out of it a mere tropical storm. Nonetheless, she's expected to regain strength as she continues on toward Cuba and perhaps the Florida Keys. Meanwhile, Alberto, which started way back on August 4 is still kicking up 45-knot winds up near Greenland.

The tropical Eastern Pacific is quiet, but expect more storms soon. For details on tropical activity, visit and

August 24 - 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.

Click here to see enlarged graphic.

University of Hawaii Meteorology Graphic

Pacific Sea State

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


Too Much Weather Information?

August 24 - The South Pacific

When Bill and Sam Fleetwood of the Monterey-based Gulfstar 50 'Blue Banana' did the Puddle Jump earlier this year, they knew they were going in season and thus didn't bother to consult weather gurus or weatherfaxes before casting off. They had a great trip. But now that they're getting more weather information in the South Pacific, they're confused: "We don't know if it's a weird weather year, we've turned chicken, or we've been getting too much weather information, but ever since we started downloading weather faxes and starting learning about highs, lows, troughs and fronts, we can't seem to find a favorable departure date for the next destination!"

To read more about the Fleetwoods' adventures - the couple met several years ago through 'Latitude' - check out the September Sightings.

Sam Fleetwood displays the Cook Islands flag she sewed.
Photo Courtesy the Fleetwoods


August 24 - 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


Rudders Up to the Task

August 24 - Honolulu

In long downwind races - such as from the West Coast to Hawaii, a tremendous strain is put on rudders. This is particularly true when boats have inexperienced drivers who have trouble anticipating, oversteer and round up or round down. Of course, sometimes the rudders just fail because they weren't strong enough or there was a manufacturing error.

Here are a couple of boats that lost their rudders in races to Hawaii this summer. Murray Tough's Elite 37 'Prairie Voyager' from the Glenmore Sailing Club lost hers in the Victoria to Maui Race. Her crew was able to jury rig a steering system to get her to Honolulu. She's seen here getting a rudder built at Ala Wai Marine - which, by the way - has been getting great reviews from customers.

The second boat is Jack McGuire's Hinckley 42 'Alcyone' from Aptos that lost her main rudder, reasons unknown, for less than a day during the West Marine Pacific Cup. With the main steering system knocked out, they set up their emergency rudder, which appears almost comically small. It comes as no surprise that such a small unit didn't work very well. Nonetheless, 'Alcyone' and her crew also made it to Ala Wai Marine.

Learn from the experiences of others: Make sure your rudder and steering system are up to the task of long downwind races.

Photos Latitude/Richard

Light the Afterburners

August 24 - San Francisco and Monterey Bays

With just four days until we go to printer, our editorial department is in overdrive. So were Mike Martin and crew Steve Bourdow when the accompanying picture was taken during the 505 North Americans, an excellent regatta held in earlier this month out of Santa Cruz YC. Read Dan Strellis' account of the action in the September 1 issue. . . In other 'coming distractions', you can look forward to Nick Adamson's feature report on another cool dinghy-fest, the recent Vanguard 15 North Americans at the Treasure Island Sailing Center. Nick literally had a front-row seat to cover the action - he dominated the regatta!

Photo Scott Lechner

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