Photo of the Day

Eat Your Heart Out

December 8 - French Polynesia

This is one of those 'eat your heart out' photos, thanks to Christopher Miller of the Tayana 52 'Seaplusplus', currently in Auckland. It's the photo of him and his crew enjoying a little snorkeling in French Polynesia last summer. We hope your life is going as swimmingly.

Photo courtesy 'Seaplusplus'

Phone Anywhere From Anywhere

December 8 - The World of Sailing

We all remember Iridium, don't we? It was the satellite telephone communications system that went bust to a tune of about $5 billion dollars. Iridium was a sponsor of both a TransPac and a Ha-Ha in an effort to market the 'phone anywhere from anywhere' system.

For the better part of a year, the system has looked deader than a doornail, and any day the company was going to allow the 70-plus satellites to fall to earth. But things are changing. Last month Daniel Colussy, a former President of Pan American Airlines, put together a syndicate to buy what was left of Iridium for a mere $25 million. And in just one month, he's got the Pentagon to pay $36 million for a one year contract to use the phones. What's the attraction to the military guys? The first is that Iridium is the only company that can offer encrypted wireless phone service worldwide. That means Department of Defense guys can discuss classified information all over the world - assuming they get a good connection. Iridium did not have the best sound quality. The Pentagon also said they wanted to keep Iridium up so there wouldn't be widespread panic when 70 satellites fell to the earth. They really said that.


Firsthand News on the Ozone Layer

December 8 - New Zealand

Simon and Lori Elphick, who sailed their Nor'West 33 'Native Dancer' from Mexico to New Zealand this year, have some firsthand news on the ozone layer - or lack of it:

"If anyone has doubts about the hole in the ozone layer, consider this: Our solar panels are putting out 30% more power here during New Zealand's chilly spring than they did during the blistering heat of a Sea of Cortez summer!"

Photo by Richard

Special Delivery

December 8 - Mexico

Over the years, a lot of cruisers have complained that it's harder to find Latitudes when out cruising than it is back in California. Taking that complaint to heart, Latitude has instituted a new program whereby Doña de Mallorca will travel anywhere in the world to deliver a fresh copy of Latitude to anyone who wants it. Free! All you have to do is call.

The first recipients of this cool new service were Dan Walters and his wife of the Newport Beach-based Hardin Voyager, 'Tavarua'. The photo shows de Mallorca handing a day-old December issue to the Walters in their dinghy at Dick's Haven, a little anchorage just south of Chacala on mainland Mexico.

Photo by Richard


December 8 - 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


BT Global Challenge

December 8 - Racing

The BT Global Challenge, which organizer Chay Blyth hails as 'the world's toughest race', has proven too tough for 20 of the volunteer crew - each of whom ponied up $40,000 for the privilege. After just two legs of the 30,000 mile race - England to Boston and Boston to Buenos Aires - most of those who are bailing explained that the event "just wasn't for them". More specifically, there were complaints about boredom, dissatisfaction with the skipper or crew, disappointment at not being competitive, and plain old discomfort. It's not surprising that some crew would pick this time to leave, as the dozen 72-foot sisterships are scheduled to depart Buenos Aires on Sunday for the Southern Ocean - where things are really going to get tough.

This isn't to say there weren't plenty of happy moments. It wasn't bad when King Neptune boarded 'Flatiron' at the equator, or when 'Team Spirit' was greeted at the Buenos Aires finish.

For details and photos, visit

Photo courtesy BT Challenge

Weather Updates

December 8 - 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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