òòò News Flash òòò

July 6, 4:45 pm PDT - Pacific Ocean


Singlehanded TransPac competitor David Bennett, sailing the Hobie 33 'Space Cowboy' out of Brickyard Cove, was rescued from his liferaft 380 miles northwest of Hawaii this afternoon by the U.S. Navy vessel 'Ingram'. SSS Race Committee officials on Kauai report Bennett as being "safe and sound". The circumstances that prompted Bennett to abandon his vessel, which was apparently sighted floating in good condition some five miles away, are not clear. Bennett had been having rigging and autopilot problems, and like all of the competitors was suffering from fatigue and lack of sleep. The Navy vessel is headed to Washington.


Anna Stockel of the Santa Cruz 50 'Sundowner' crossed the finish line first this afternoon to become the first woman to take line honors in the Singlehanded TransPac. Her exact time is not known. Chuck Beazell in the Hunter 54 'Joe' was expected to cross the finish line several hours later. More on the Singlehanded TransPac in tomorrow's 'Lectronic Latitude.

Photo of the Day

July 6 - Marion, South Carolina

In the '60s, Southern California was Ground Zero for the building of fiberglass production sailboats. No fewer than 20 builders were located within a small radius of Costa Mesa - names like Columbia, Cal, Coronado, Islander, Ericson, Yankee, Westsail, and DownEast to name just a few. Most of these had disappeared by the end of the '70s.

In the mid-'80s, the French - never known for being business whizzes - decided that for some reason they could make a go of boat building in the United States. And the accompanying photograph - of the 3,500th sailboat Beneteau has built in Marion, South Carolina - proves they were right. In addition to launching their 3,500th boat, the company unveiled plans to double their production capability.

Photo Courtesy Beneteau USA

Weather Updates

July 6 - Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean Weather

Today's surface weather chart shows great Trades for both the Singlehanded TransPac and the Vic-Maui fleets to finish their races.

Click here to see enlarged graphic.

University of Hawaii Meteorology Graphic


California Coast Weather

It's 0900 and it's gusting to 23 knots at Pt. Arguello. It's still July.

Pacific Sea State

Check it out at: http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/RSSA/PacRegSSA.html.

Tropical Disturbances

Kirogi is fading off Japan; everywhere else is quiet.



July 6 - 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 http://www.bitwrangler.com/yotreps/


July 6 - North San Francisco Bay

Brothers & Sisters Regatta

Twenty boats celebrated Independence Day in one of the few races available on the Fourth: Tiburon Yacht Club's Brothers & Sisters Regatta. You don't have to be a brother or sister to race, just take the Brother and Sister Islands to port. The fleet enjoyed warm, sunny skies and plenty of wind. The breeze really kicked up between 3:00 and 4:00 pm (as usual) when the boats were finishing. One racer reported a top wind speed reading of 29.5 knots.

Top finishers in the Spinnaker Division were: 1) 'Jarlen', 2) 'Hooligan', 3) 'Joy Ride'. Top finishers in the Non-Spinnaker Division were: 1) 'Frisky', 2) 'Don Wan', 3) 'Risky'. You can visit Tiburon YC at http://tyc.org/.

Bob Bloom's J/35 'Jarlen' rounds the weather mark. She stayed in front for the entire race to get the gun and a first place finish.

The Newport 30 MkII 'Ruckus', owned by Paul Von Wiedenfield of Richmond YC, passes the Brothers lighthouse.

Both photos Walt Bilofsky/Tiburon YC

July 6 - Pacific Ocean

Victoria to Maui Race

James McDowell's SC 70 from the Lahaina YC covered another 340 miles yesterday leaving her only 340 miles to what's going to be a mai tai finish for the home boy in Lahaina. 'Grand Illusion' appears to be on her way to first in her class, first in fleet, and a new record. Makes you wonder what all the SC 70s are doing on the Great Lakes. For details, visit http://www.vicmaui.org.

Singlehanded TransPac

It's been shaping up for a great first to finish battle between Anna Stockel on the Santa Cruz 50 'Sundowner' from Santa Cruz and Chuck Beazell on the Hunter 54 'Joe' from Alameda. If Stockel wins, it will be yet another victory in what's so far been the best year ever for women racers. In any event, both boats should cross the finish line off Hanalei Bay, Kauai, today. Our man John Riise is on the scene so we'll have details in tomorrow's 'Lectronic Latitude.
For details, visit: www.sfbaysss.org.

Singlehanded Profile:

Chuck Beazell, 'Joe', Hunter 54

Boat: 'Joe' Hunter 54 (1982)
PHRF rating: 42
Yacht Club: Sequoia YC, SSS
Homeport: Alameda
Occupation: Engineer
Age: 34

'Joe' starting the SSS TransPac
Photo Latitude/Richard
Chuck's main motivations for doing the 2000 Solo TransPac are "to have fun and try not to make the same mistakes I made in the '96 race." One of those was a big one - 75 miles from Hanalei Bay, 'Joe's mast fell. Chuck cut it loose and still managed to finish second in class under jury rig. An active sailor with a big, fast boat (and nearly new rig), Chuck could well be the guy to beat in this year's run for the plumeria.

Chuck has owned 'Joe' (named for a favorite dog he had as a kid) for 13 years. Over the past few years, most of the modifications and upgrades he's done on the boat have been related to general sailing. The only mods or additions made specifically for this 2000 Solo TransPac are a double-headsail arrangement in case the fleet sees dead downwind running conditions like it did in 1998, and a JRC radar. Its proximity alarm will help give Chuck peace of mind for his naps (max 15 minutes in the shipping lanes, longer out of them).

When asked who deserves special thanks for helping get him to this year's starting line, Chuck names the company he worked for until a few weeks before the race. "They closed due to lack of funding," he says. "That gave me the time to finish getting ready for the race. Not all start-ups result in millionaires!" he says.

It's understandable that Chuck is going to be monitoring his boat's rig more closely than most other competitors. "I probably spend more time inspecting mast bend and rig tension than anyone else on the Bay. Hopefully I'll get over that paranoia early enough to enjoy the race."

Navigation: Four GPSs (two fixed, two handheld), all Garmin. Steering: "It depends on how well my new autopilot (AutoNav below-deck hydraulic) works. If it can steer with the spinnaker, I'll let it steer. If it can't, I'll steer as much as I can." (Navico below-deck autopilot backup. )
Food: "Yes, I'll take food. I'll tell you what I bought when I leave the store. I don't understand all the jokes about Dinty Moore - I'm sure I'll have many cans aboard."

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