Photo of the Day

Standing Out in the Crowd

November 30 - Isle of Wight, UK
Steve Fossett stands out in a crowd - just as his now 125-foot catamaran 'PlayStation' stood out among the rest of the fleet at the Hoya Around the Isle of Wight Race June 10 in England. For while about six other skippers are feverishly working to get their cats ready for the December 31 start of The Race, Fossett has been down in Cabo San Lucas. Twice, actually.

No, he wasn't sailing, and no, he wasn't hanging out at Squid Roe. In fact. he was at the Los Cabos airport with his twin engine Citation X private jet getting ready to attempt a new westbound around-the-world global speed record for medium-weight aircraft. Two days later he and his two-man crew were back, having flown around the world in the record time of 51 hours and 35 minutes. In fact, they only broke the old record by three minutes. They had stopped nine times, at Kona, Majuro, Palau, Singapore, Maldives, Nairobi, Abidjan, Fortaleza, Brazil, and Barranquila, Colombia. Each time they had between 23 and 35 minutes to load six tons of fuel and clear customs. That they could clear customs in Baranquilla in less than two hours was a miracle in itself.

Photo Courtesy Hoya

What makes Steve run? According to his Web site, he's trying to 'expand the boundaries of the possible' - which he certainly has done. Others have speculated that his quest of global achievements is also an attempt to achieve a type of immortality. No matter if either or both are true, it's better than hanging around the bar in some country club.


Boat Shuffle Update

November 30 - Alameda

"Having just read the recent 'Lectronic Latitude, I guess I've been outted," emails Chris Maher. "Yes, it's true about our selling 'Blarney3' and buying a Beneteau First 42 in Puerto Rico. But that's just the start of the story. As you know, I've been involved with the Ha-Ha since its humble beginnings, and have sailed in three of them. When the Ha-Ha left this year without me and I started seeing the photos posted on the 'Lectronic Web site, I went into my winter funk early. My wife Sheila had no trouble noticing. So while the Ha-Ha fleet was sailing down the coast, I decided that my Ha-Ha veteran Morgan 38 'Blarney3' had become too small for my family, so I decided to try and find a bigger boat. I had sailed on Hall Palmer's First 42 in the '95 Cabo Race and in the MEXORC, and he'd let my family use the boat for two weeks in the Sea of Cortez. I liked the boat and the way it sailed, but never considered it for our next boat because it was a two-cabin model - and our sons Patrick and Thomas, now 12 and 10, each need a cabin of their own. But as if by divine intervention, I learned about a rare three-cabin model in Puerto Rico. So while the fleet was coming around Cabo Falso, Sheila and I were flying out to look at the new boat. This is where my good friend Adam Sadeg at California Cruising Yachts got involved. In order to buy the new boat, I had to sell 'Blarney3' - so I listed the boat with Adam's California Cruising Yachts. He gave me a 'to do' list so the boat would show better. So for the next two weeks I did everything on the list and the boat looked fantastic. So good, in fact, that Adam my yacht broker friend bought the boat for himself!"

Injured in the ARC

November 30 - Atlantic Ocean

Ernst Benda, the German owner and skipper of the Wauquiez Pretorian 'Half & Half', is reported in good condition at a hospital at the Cape Verde Islands after being airlifted there on Thursday night. Benda had been knocked unconscious by the boom during an involuntary jibe in an unexpected line squall. Thanks to the on-board safety equipment required of all ARC boats and a quick thinking crew - two of whom are doctors - Benda could be airlifted to the hospital where he is in good condition.

According to reports, a call was made to the U.S. Coast Guard in Norfolk, Virginia, to coordinate a rescue. The cruise ship 'Marco Polo' soon closed on the yacht's position. Because of a large sea running, Benda was transferred from the small boat to the cruise ship aboard an inflatable. He was then taken to the Cape Verdes.

'Half & Half' and her remaining crew are 1,950 miles from St. Lucia. The ARC is currently being led by 'Milene', an IOR maxi from Norway.


November 30 - 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


America's Cup

November 30, New York

You win some and you lose some. Team Dennis Conner, the New York YC challenge for the 2003 America's Cup in Auckland, are delighted to have signed on Computer Associates as a $10 million platinum sponsor. They're also glad to have helmsman Ken Read and most of the old crew back to race the two boats that are to be designed by Reichel/Pugh and built by New England Boat Works. On the debit side, the word is that Peter Holmberg, a Virgin Islander who was a key member of the Team DC afterguard, is heading for Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing Syndicate at the St. Francis YC. The America's Cup world is a small one, and it's common for rivals to become teammates and then go back to being rivals again. Rarely are there any hard feelings, particularly since the money has gotten so much better.

The Race

November 30 - Planet Earth

The fleet for December 31's The Race appears to be filling out better than expected. Tony Bullimore's 'Team Legato', the old 'ENZA' stretched to 110 feet, is about to get her new mast and looks as though she'll be at the starting line. In addition, Roman Paske's 'Polpharma-Warta', the old 'Commodore Explorer', which hasn't been heard from much since she lost her mast, is back in the water in Brittany. Lastly, the much troubled 'Team Phillips' is about to set off on a 2,500-mile qualifier.

Weather Updates

November 30 - Pacific and Atlantic Oceans

Hurricane Season Comes to a Close

Prior to the start of the Atlantic/Caribbean hurricane season, NOAA and Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University both predicted there would be seven hurricanes, three of which would feature winds in excess of 110 knots. Now that the season is over, the results are in: Eight hurricanes, three of which were in excess of 110 knots. That's close, damn close. Having said that, anyone who thinks they can predict the number and location of any hurricanes within a season is being awfully presumptuous. There are just far too many variables. This year, for example, NOAA and Gray came up with about the same prediction - but for entirely different reasons.

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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