Photos of the Day

Spotlight on 'Abracadabra'

September 18 - Richmond

Last Friday evening, Keefe Kaplan Maritime, Inc. (KKMI) of Richmond threw their annual industry-only party. It gets better every year, and hundreds attended this year's wild west round-up. During the party, the spotlight literally shone on 'Abracadabra', one of the two America's Cup boats Larry Ellison bought from the Hawaiian syndicate to be trial horses for the campaign he's mounting under the St. Francis YC burgee. The buzz was that the second boat was going to arrive soon. Could this mean that we're finally going to be seeing some America's Cup style match racing on San Francisco Bay?

Two of the people we saw at the party were Bill and Melinda Erkelens. Back in '94, we'd seen them at the end of the West Marine Pacific Cup. They'd taken first to finish honors in that event, covering more than 2,000 miles in just 11 days with the 26-ft Dogpatch 'Moonshine'. "Our best day was 240 miles, but we had several others in excess of 200," Billy remembered with a smile.

Since Billy has been the skipper of Larry Ellison's Farr-designed 82-foot 'Sayonara' for several years, we figured he'd have some answers for us on what the two 'Abracadabras' were doing in San Francisco.

Latitude: With the 'Abracadabras' having been bought by Ellison either here or rumored to be on their way, is it possible that we might see what many Northern California sailors have longed for, some America's Cup style racing on San Francisco Bay?

Erkelens: I'm sorry, but I can't comment, as Larry has imposed a total news blackout for now.

Latitude: Sources in New Zealand tell us that the former gray-with-green-shards AmericaOne boats - that Ellison has also purchased - have been painted white. Is that true?

Erkelens: I can't comment on anything right now.

Latitude: "A few weeks ago, we visited the Ellison Racing Web site, and to tell you the truth, it had that 'under construction' look. And now we can't find it. Has it moved?

Erkelens: "Uh, the news blackout, you know."

Right to Left: Paul Kaplan, wife Chris Kaplan, and Paul's "best friend".
Ken Keefe wasn't in western costume, so he didn't make the photo.

Photos Latitude

It wasn't the most revealing interview, but judging from the buzz around KKMI, we get the idea that Ellison - never one to think small - has big plans. And if some of those plans included America's Cup-style action on San Francisco Bay - where Ellison's business is based and where he keeps one of his large motoryachts - it wouldn't be the biggest surprise in the world. Stay tuned to 'Lectronic Latitude for further news.

Weather Updates

September 18 -
Pacific and Atlantic Oceans

Tropical Weather

Tropical storms that threatened to wreak havoc on western Florida and Baja California have either petered out or not developed. Gordon, which started down in the Yucatan and reached minimum hurricane force, faded just before reaching Florida. Damage was limited.

Tropical Storm Miriam, which threatened Baja with up to 40-knot winds, petered out to 30 knots or less as it worked its way up the east cape into the Sea of Cortez. No damage is expected.

Unisys Weather Graphics

Tropical Storm Miriam

Tropical Depression Gordon

San Francisco Bay Weather

To see what the winds are like on the Bay right now, check out Sunday, while roasting hot all over the Bay, featured a great sailing breeze in the Central Bay.

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

Today's weather map from the University of Hawaii Meteorology Department was unavailable when we went online, but you can check it at

Pacific Sea State

Check out today's sea state, which is unusual thanks to Lane. Take a look at:
For another view, see


The Colors of Mexico

September 18 -
Puerto Vallarta

Robert Sutherland of Mill Valley participated in last year's Ha-Ha with his Wylie 34 'Echo', then continued on to Puerto Vallarta. The two photos at right give a good view of his colorful life this summer. The sunset is as seen from the cockpit of his boat in her berth at Marina Iguana. The other view is of the colorful Marina Iguana condos and community pool. The pool is a good thing, because the daytime temps are normally in the '90s. Sutherland pays $270 U.S. a month for the 40 foot slip.

Photos Courtesy 'Echo'


September 18 - 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


Big Boat Series

September 18 - San Francisco

This is the big racing week on San Francisco Bay, with the biggest ever Big Boat Series. The weather is expected to continue hot until the Thursday start. Racing action actually begins today, with the One Design 35s.

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