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The Real Millennium

October 11 - The Caribbean

Last year everybody made a big deal about millennium sailing vacations. Even though this year is the 'real millennium' - although it, of course, is completely arbitrary, too - nobody has said peep about it. Nonetheless, if you plan to be sailing in the Caribbean on New Year's Eve - like Dinah aboard the Swan 76 'Tiana' - you'd better make your reservations now. Caution: while there isn't the outrageous price-gouging there was last year, the base prices have jumped considerably over just a few years ago. This reflects the real cost of running charter boats and the generally increased demand for charter vacations.

Photo Latitude/Richard

Weather Updates

October 11 - Pacific and Atlantic Oceans

Tropical Weather

It's all quiet today in the Eastern Pacific/Mexican hurricane region. In some years, there are no tropical storms or hurricanes after the middle of October, but we'll have to wait and see. One good sign is that the Eastern Pacific isn't unusually warm.

It's also quiet in the Atlantic/Caribbean. The 'hurricane season' in that part of the world continues through the end of November, however, so it's far too early to say it's over. In fact, last year Hurricanes Irene and Jose, Tropical Storm Katrina, and Hurricane Lenny all kicked up after the middle of October. Lenny, a real nasty hurricane with winds to 130 knots, didn't come around until November 24, so everyone must remain vigilant.

San Francisco Bay Weather

To see what the winds are like on the Bay 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 Eastern Pacific. Check out today's sea state at:
For another view, see


Poor Children's Christmas Tree

 October 11 - La Paz, BCS

Two delighted Mexican boys with their gifts.
Photos Bill Steagall

Mary and Bob Penney of Capricorn IV
from British Columbia, helpers for the Tree.
The only Christmas presents some 2,700 truly poor kids in La Paz received last year were from the Arbol de Navidad del Niño Pobre, or Poor Children's Christmas Tree, report Bill and Barbara Steagall, who have lived aboard their ketch 'Inspiration' in La Paz for 15 years. 'The Tree' is sponsored by the La Paz chapter of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. Each year Bill and Barbara and other volunteers work to gather donations - either in the form of money or new or nearly new toys - which are placed under the tree in the park on the La Paz waterfront. On Christmas Day, several thousand kids, selected because of their particularly impoverished situation, get one gift each.

If you'd like to help support this excellent program with either money or gifts, contact Bill at [email protected], or in La Paz from after mid-November on Channel 22. The 'Jaycees' is an international organization that's now in 100 countries. It would be a good thing if you helped them help the kids.


October 11 - 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


The Race

October 11 - Europe and USA

Activity surrounding The Race, the no-holds-barred around the world event that departs Barcelona on December 31, is heating up.

Over in England, for example, Kiwi Grant Dalton and his 112-ft maxi cat 'Club Med' caused quite a stir when London traffic had to be stopped so the Tower Bridge could be raised to allow the cat to pass beneath. She barely fit. They got the press coverage they were looking for, however. A few days before, they got the kind of press coverage they hadn't really been looking for, when Dalton had to appear before a Southampton Magistrates Court for violating ColReg Rule 10 - for sailing the wrong way through a traffic separation lane in the Dover Strait! During the incident, 'Club Med' passed nearly 20 ships - several of which felt the need to take evasive action - at speeds of up to nearly 30 knots. Two of the vessels were ferries with 800 people aboard. What made it all the more frightening to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and other ships is that 'Club Med' has an active radar reflector, which makes it appear as though she's a ship on radar screens. As such, it looked like ship was zig-zagging at high speeds the wrong way through a shipping lane! Oh well, we suppose any publicity is good publicity.

After the gig in London, Dalton and crew sailed across the Bay of Biscay to their new Vilamoura, Portugal, base in a record time of three days. This was something of a shakedown, as despite having set the all-time sailing record of 625.7 in 24 hours, the big cat suffered serious structural damage to her main beam. In fact, Dalton brought in Kiwi engineers and ultimately spent nearly $250,000 to hopefully fix the problem. The bows were also replaced after one failed during a second transatlantic attempt. The new bows are also more round at the bottom "to help the boat move through the water". As if it needs much help.

If it sounds like there's been a lot of trouble for 'Club Med', as least Dalton, like Steve Fossett and 'PlayStation', has had chances to break and repair his boat. Other entries, or at least projected entries, haven't been so lucky. Of the two near sisterships to 'Club Med', 'Code Blue' just hit the water the other day, and 'Team Adventure' for Maine's Cam Lewis isn't even scheduled for launching until the end of the month - at the earliest! But we'll say this for Cam, if anybody could get the most out of a not completely shook down boat in an around the world race, it's a cowboy like him. The accompanying shots are of Cam sailing the 86-ft 'Commodore' - a former maxi cat which has been stretched for The Race - during a fund-raiser two years ago on San Francisco Bay.

Photos Latitude/Richard

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