Photo of the Day

July 12 - The Golden Gate

This might look like an ordinary photo of a guy sailing out the Gate in an ordinary boat, but to the Wanderer, it's much more than that. The boat is the Wylie 28 'Wildflower', a prototype of the Hawkfarm class, and she was completed from a bare hull and deck by Skip Allan of Capitola. The photo was taken Monday, July 10, as Skip and 'Wildflower' started this year's West Marine Pacific Cup.

In 1977, when 'Latitude' was just two months old, we watched as Skip and about 70 other sailors sailed out the Gate in the the first Singlehanded Farallones Race. It was a nasty day on the ocean. The fleet was hit by winds of 45 knots or more and large seas, and so there were only about 12 finishers. Skip and 'Wildflower' were right near the top.

The following June, on a foggy day like the one in the accompanying photograph, we watched Skip and 'Wildflower' sail out the Gate again, this time on the first-ever Singlehanded TransPac. It was a very ballsy endeavor in those days, and Skip naturally finished near the top. He also made 'Latitude' a bunch of tape recordings of his thoughts as he went across, and interspersed them with music from his stereo. As a result, we'll never be able to hear the instrumental part of Eric Clapton's 'Layla' without also hearing the background noise of the wind in 'Wildflower's rigging and Skip whooping it up as he and his little boat surfed down another wave on a black night in the middle of the Pacific.

If memory serves us, Skip and 'Wildflower' also did the last two West Marine Pacific Cups in the doublehanded division, and both times finished at or near the top in both class and the whole fleet. Once he even brought a sailboard along because he was using the race as the first leg of a cruise deep into the South Pacific.

Photo Latitude/Richard

Yes, Skip and his humble little boat have done plenty of cruising, too. To the Pacific Northwest several times, to the South Pacific several times, and who knows where else. Skip and 'Wildflower' are a perfect example of what a fine sailor is capable of doing with a modest boat and just a few bucks. We'll be at the Kaneohe YC on Oahu to greet Skip when he finishes - and no doubt again places in the top five - and we'll bring back a story of minimalist ocean racing and cruising.

For more on the Pacific Cup starts, including more photos, see below.

The Perfect Omission

July 12 - North Atlantic

The hottest movie around these days is 'The Perfect Storm' based on Sebastian Junger's best-selling book of the same name. We have a lot of trouble with Hollywood reinventing history to either further their agendas or increase the drama of a work, so we don't plan on seeing the film - but that's a personal thing.

It's worth noting, however, that there have been significant complaints about the book - and therefore the movie - based on what some claim were instances of poor or non-existent research on the part of Junger. For instance, he makes the claim that the 'Andrea Gail' was modified in such a way as to make her less seaworthy - yet he never saw the boat and offered no evidence to back such a serious claim.

Perhaps even worse, in early editions of the book he made reference to skipper Ray Leonard of the Westsail 32 'Satori' - 'Mistral' in the film - which was caught up in the same storm. Based entirely on the reports of two inexperienced crewmembers, Junger portrayed Leonard as a coward. In a glaring journalistic omission, he never even interviewed Leonard - who in retrospect seems to have done the right thing by lying ahull. Indeed, it seems as though the real story may have been that the lives of many people were threatened by the fact that a couple of freaked-out, inexperienced women wanted to be taken off the boat - a boat which ended up undamaged on a Maryland beach a few days later, a boat which is currently being sailed by an owner out of Texas.

To hear the side of the story Junger neglected to mention, visit

Photo Courtesy Kent Leonard

More Sloppy Journalism

July 12 - Maui

David and Beki Fullerton, who did a recent Ha-Ha with their Express 37 'Mudshark', got married recently and were honeymooning on Maui when the Vic-Maui racing fleet arrived. According to them, here's the best story they heard:

Dan Sinclair's Andrews 70 'Renegade' - which was the second boat across the line and also smashed 'Pyewacket's old record - turned out loaded up on new high tech ni-cad batteries and a high output alternator for the race. During the first night they had electrical problems, so rather than face penalties for not being able to communicate with the race committee, they pulled into a small fishing village at 11:30 pm to look for help. They woke up someone who sold marine batteries and got new batteries for the boat. Not knowing the shape of the new alternator, they bought the one off the guy's truck! After several hours they were off again.

It's a pretty funny story if it's true, and would explain why the SC 70 'Grand Illusion' got such an early jump on them. Of course, stopping to pick up gear would be completely illegal. Using the phone numbers and email address for Sinclair provided by Fullerton, we tried to confirm the story but couldn't reach him. So for now, we'll 'Junger it'.

University of Hawaii Meteorology Graphic

Click here to see enlarged graphic.

Weather Updates

July 12 - Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean Weather

There's good news and bad news for the Monday and Tuesday starters in the Pacific Cup, as the near coastal winds are relatively light and the seas not too big. The good news is that this gives crewmembers unusually good conditions in which to acclimatize to life at sea. On the negative side, if the strong northwesterlies fill in for the fast boats that start on the next three days, all the Monday and Tuesday starting boats will be reeled in quickly.

California Coast Weather

Mariners trying to get north from Southern California can dance for joy again today, as at 0900 the wind is less than five knots at Conception, Argie and Santa Maria. Go north now young, man, go north.

Pacific Sea State

Check it out at: For another view, check out:

Tropical Disturbances

There are no tropical storms or hurricanes in the Pacific, which is bad news for the Pacific Cup fleet looking for strong winds to Hawaii. But we're starting to be overdue for another one, as it's been awfully quiet out there.



July 12 - Cyberspace and the Pacific Ocean

Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? Check out YOTREPS - yacht reports - at

Cruising Photo

If you're tiring of the traffic, congestion and overdevelopment in California, sooth your soul by checking out this photo of Mabneian Lagoon in the Louisiade Archipelago of Papua New Guinea. "From this great lagoon anchorage you could see eight different islands," reports Debby Cason of the Passport 40 'Dreamer' from Sausalito. Debby and her husband Roger cruised these waters for the better part of a decade.

Photo by Debby Cason


Singlehanded TransPac

July 12 - Hawaii

Only four boats remain at sea. The rest of the skippers are living it up at Hanalei Bay. See

West Marine Pacific Cup

July 12 - The Golden Gate

Ten more boats - the smaller racing machines - are slated to start today, and will be trying to quickly overtake the 50 or so boats already on the course. Tuesday's start had three groups headed out into the foggy gray on a strong ebb. Jonathan's Livingston's Wylie 39 led the way. The last boat under the Gate was Todd Hedin and Liz Baylis' Antrim 27 'E.T.', but if they can get out to spinnaker territory quickly in the less than awful winds and the rudder doesn't break, they're a huge threat to correct out first.

All Photos Latitude/Richard

Master Mariner 'Spirit' led the
way out the Gate on Monday.

Jonathan Livingston's 'Punk Dolphin' led Tuesday's pack.


'Omega I'

'Heat Wave'


'El Tiburon'


For details, see

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