Photos of the Day

Ringing in the New Year

December 12 - St. Barts, Eastern Caribbean

The greatest boat show on earth? We think it takes place each New Years at St. Barts, a 3x7 mile island with a population of 3,000 in the Eastern Caribbean. In the first photo, the J Class yacht 'Endeavour' drops her anchor prior to backing down to the Charles de Gualle Quai - which is slightly out of the photo and where all the megayachts stern tie. The stern-tied yachts you see in the foreground are 'dinghies' by comparison. The other shot shows the outer anchorage at Gustavia, where the overflow yachts anchor. Many of them are motoryachts in the 125 to 150-foot range, although some are over 300 feet long. Check out the catamaran in the lower left corner to get an idea of the scale. That's 'Highest Honor', a Lagoon 82 catamaran.

Want a prize position at the Charles de Gualle Quai for New Years? If you don't own the legendary ketch 'Ticonderoga' or J Class yacht 'Endeavour', you'd better have a motoryacht in the 150 foot range. Anything smaller doesn't do justice to the other boats at the quai. Anything larger can't fit in the harbor. Even though it's still early December, the Charles de Gualle Quai is probably already full. The reason is that the stern-to space is allotted out on a first-come, first-serve basis. According to captains we've spoken to, the dock fees are actually very low - like $1,000 for the month. But there's a catch. If you leave for an afternoon, there's no guaranteeing you'll get your same space back. And if you don't return by 5:00 p.m., you've given up your spot to any one of the other 100 megayachts coveting your place.

The owners of these yachts would think nothing of slipping $25,000 to the Port Captain for a coveted spot on the quai. But captains have told us that's the worst thing you could possibly do. "The only things the officials will accept is maybe a boat shirt and a short ride on the yacht at the end of the season," one told us. Indeed, locals tell the story of a high roller who got a spot and then tried to slip a wad of 100s into the port captain's shirt pocket. Infuriated by what he considered a gross insult, the port captain took the wad of bills out of his pocket, tossed it on the ground, and began stomping and kicking the money. All the while, he shouted words - in French, of course - to the effect of, "Take your fucking boat out of the harbor right now. You have insulted all of us. You and your boat are banned from St. Barths forever!" It was a big scene enjoyed by everyone but the owner.

New Year's Eve is the biggest day at St. Barts, as it's when they have the Around the Island Parade - which is really a semi serious race. The last time we did it with 'Big O', the average size boats in Class A was 135 feet, the average size in the fleet - which included some 30 footers - was 75 feet. The winner two years ago was 'Mari Cha III', the 154-foot holder of the transAtlantic and Sydney to Hobart records. Last year it was Craig MacCaw's 118-foot daysailer 'Xtra Beat', which nipped the J Class 'Endeavour'.

Knowing that you wouldn't want it any other way, we'll be in St. Barts from the 26th to January 10th to keep you in the know.

Photos by Richard


Back By Popular Demand

December 12 - Jungle Coast of Mexico

Due to popular demand, we're running a couple more photos of the Jungle Coast of Mexico. The first is of some of the fleet hanging out at Chacala, It's a great little cove with room for about 25 boats. If you anchor bow and stern, you shouldn't roll too much. There's a volcano crater right near the edge of the bay. All you have to do is hike about 20 minutes up through the mango grove.

The second photo of the beach at Rincon de Guayabitos, a resort area with about 60 small hotels. While a tourist area, it's still Mexico as opposed to some part of Mex-ifornia.

The third photo is of a couple enjoying the view of Punta Mita from their front row seats on the foredeck. Cruising Mexico is all about just sitting back and wallowing in warm temperatures while surrounded by the bounty of nature.

Photos by Richard


December 12 - 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


Special Viewing

December 12 - On the Race Circuit

Looking for some great views of Steve Fossett's modified and lengthened 125 foot cat 'Playstation'?

Then visit

Abandoning 'Team Phillips'

December 12 - Atlantic Ocean

What caused Pete Goss and crew to abandon his 120-foot cat 'Team Phillips' in the North Atlantic on Sunday? According to the team's managing director, 'Team Phillips' was travelling at a relatively high speed to the northeast under bare poles, when they deployed a drogue that slowed them down to a more comfortable 12 to 15 knots. While in this state, the aft beam and underside of the center pod were smacked by three large waves. The pod is where the hydraulic linkages for the steering was bonded in. Steering lock to lock, and with a big depression approaching, they decided it was time to get off the boat.

Even when the German container ship Hoescht Express pulled alongside, getting from one vessel to the other wasn't easy. Wearing survival suits, lifejackets and personal emergency beacons, Goss and in his crew jumped into the stormy Atlantic toward lines dragged from the container ship. To make sure there was no mishap, a Royal Air Force Nimrod - with heat sensors that allowed them to track each individual - flew overhead. All seven were able to make it to nets from the ship and scramble into the pilot door.

Prior to leaving, Goss and crew struck the sails and raised the daggerboards, in the hope that she'll be able to survive the conditions for later recovery - assuming, of course, that salvage boats don't get to her first. She's recently been tracked at two knots.

More detailed coverage, visit

In other news affecting The Race, the so-called Prologue that was to have been held at Monte Carlo had been called off. The problem is that several boats are stuck in England or Spain due to terrible weather and unable to get to the Med.

Crystal Cup

December 12 - Paradise Island, Bahamas

Doug Baker's Long Beach-based Andrews 70+ 'Magnitude' swept the inaugural Crystal Cup at Atlantis, winning all six races overall against a small 10-boat PHRF fleet. Baker and his mostly Southern Californian minions (tactician Dee Smith, boat captain Steve Dodd, Keith Kilpatrick, Sam Heck, Billy Bird, Fred O'Conner, Chris Carson, Kurt Jacobi, 'Bones', Deneen Demourkas, Randy Moreno, and Rob Moore) each took home beautiful Waterford Crystal vases for their efforts - which, trust us, are considerable when the boat sails in its 'turbo mode' around the buoys. The actual Crystal Cup - a stunning three-foot high, 30-pound Waterford Crystal trophy that apparently took 250 hours to create - will stay on display at the Atlantis resort.

The theme of the lavish four-day regatta was to have fun, both on the water and ashore. The racing was rather low-key, with all boats starting together and later being scored as three classes, and half the starts were downwind. Jeff Salzman's Connecticut-based S&S 48 'Harrier' won 'B', while Donald Fritz's diminutive Tartan Ten 'Full Bore', from Toledo, Ohio, took 'C'. Nicole Christie's J/120 'Euro Trash Girl' won the bumpy 160-mile feeder race from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, topping a five-boat fleet.

Shoreside, the crews enjoyed the run of the huge and luxurious Atlantis resort. Diversions in the $850 million, 13-acre complex include a huge casino, 38 restaurants, too many bars to count, a gigantic waterslide, mini-golf and all the other amenities associated with a facility of such grand proportions. The resort also boasts the world's largest marine habitat, "second only to Mother Nature." Some 50,000 fish exist in various pools and aquariums, many of which can be viewed from an elaborate underground maze called The Dig.

We could go on and on about this wonderful regatta, the wonders of Atlantis, and how cool it was to sail on 'Magnitude' - but you'll just have to wait for our feature story in the January issue. In the meantime, check out for full results, lots of photos and a virtual tour of Atlantis.

A Baker's Dozen - The 13-person crew of 'Magnitude'
with their spoils of victory.

Photo courtesy Atlantis

Vendée Globe

With the leaders having covered 8,700 miles, only 27 miles separates Michel Desjoyeaux of PRB and his good friend Roland Jourdain of SILL Matines.
Check out

Weather Updates

December 12 - Pacific Oceans

Tropical Weather

The Atlantic/Caribbean region hurricane season is over.

San Francisco Bay Weather

To see what the winds are like on the Bay and just outside the Gate right now, check out

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

You can view the University of Hawaii Department of Meteorology satellite picture by clicking here.

Pacific Sea State

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

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