Photo of the Day

April 11 - Mazatlan

"I just sailed 200 miles from Puerto Vallarta to Mazatlan," reports Lynne Stevens of the Juneau-based Islander Freeport 36 Wild Flower. "It was my first singlehanded trip. By the way, thanks for inviting me to crew on the Banderas Bay Regatta, I had a great time on Profligate."

Lynne Stevens
Photo Latitude/Richard

Internet Problems

April 11 - San Francisco

Thom Dyson of Antioch writes, "I saw your note in the 'Lectronic version about the BCDC having a message that said, "Please don't send us e-mail." I just checked their site and they now have a note explaining that their DSL was out for a while. That is the reason that e-mail was bouncing. There is now a link on their home page listing their e-mail addresses. Love 'Lectronic Latitude. Love the print version, too."

Apparently they were getting their net fix from North Point Communications, which abruptly went bankrupt and pulled the plug on Internet access for 100,000 customers. If that was the case, we can understand, as we had our plug pulled, too. Nice going, Public Utilities Commission!

BCDC staff are very important, because they basically tell the commissioners, who have no expertise, what to do. Our favorite part of the BCDC Web site is the profiles of the staff. If you take the time to read 37 of them, you discover that only one of them, Brad McCrea, is a sailor or expresses an interest in actively enjoying the Bay. Is it any wonder they - and therefore the commissioners - are so clueless and insensitive to mariners and mariners' interests?

Havana Daydreaming?

April 11 - Havana, Cuba

"The Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba has the pleasure to invite all the sailing sea lovers to participate in the 8th edition of the Morro Castle to Havana Race on May 30," writes our good friend Lic. Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich, Commodore of the Hemingway International YC. "This nautical sporting event is open to boats and crews from the world over. The course will take the boats between Rio Almendares and Morro Castle, then on to the finish at Marina Hemingway. After that, the members of the Hemingway International YC will host a big party to strengthen the friendly relationship among the international nautical community."

Here are some photos from our cruise to Cuba to give you a feel for the place.

Photos Latitude/Richard

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

April 11 - Atlantic Ocean

The World Cruising Club has announced that the 16th running of the 2,700-mile ARC from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia will start on November 25. It's a very diverse international rally, as there are all kinds of boats and they hail from 20 or more countries. We did it with Big O back in '95, and it was a blast. Entry slots are running short, however, as 150 of the 225 slots are already filled. For further info or a complete list of the current entries, visit

Sailing Records

April 11 - The World's Oceans

What does it take for a world sailing record to be ratified by the WSSRC? "In order to eliminate any questions of error, the ratification board requires a series of hourly fixes for 12 hours prior to the claim, for the 24 hours of the claim, and then 12 hours after the claim. That's 48 hours of GPS fixes in all. Additionally, these fixes have to have been polled from an agency outside and independent of the yacht. Such detailed requirement sometimes takes a while for the claimant to obtain, especially when the yacht is in a race, when a vast number of individual fixes are on file. This explains the delay in announcing some ratifications. Once the WSSRC office has all the requisite information, a ratification can usually be announced (or rejected) within 48 hours."

The WSSRC announced ratification of Grant Dalton's maxi cat Club Med's 24-hour record of 655.12 nautical miles. In addition, Bernard Stamm's 24-hour monohull record of 467.70 miles with the Open 60 Armor Lux - Foie Gras Bizac. Interestingly enough, the all-time 24-hour records for monohulls and multihulls were set in February of this year. Speed moves on!

Monohull record-holder
Armor Lux - Foie Gras Bizac
Photo Thierry Martinez

The Race

April 11 - Marseille, France

While the official part of The Race is over, Warta Polpharma crossed the finish line yesterday after 99 days and 12 hours. This is about 20 days slower than when Bruno Peyron, who founded The Race, sailed her - as Explorer - around the world in '93. Interestingly enough, Cam Lewis of Team Adventure was one of his crew. The final boat, Tony Bullimore's Team Legato is still on the course and still having trouble. Not yet to Gibraltar, crewman Slava Sysenko fractured his leg yesteday after a large wave broke over the netting, catching his leg under a sail. Sysenko insists that broken leg or not, he'll stay with the boat until the end. Neither Warta Polpharma or Team Legato did as well as they'd hoped, but we at 'Lectronic salute the crew and teams for their perseverence. Despite all their problems, frustrations and breakdowns, they continued to soldier on.

The Attack on Lorna

April 11 - Trinidad

Several days ago we mentioned that Bo Altheden, the skipper of the sailing vessel Lorna, was shot and wounded while sailing with his wife Vivi off Venezuela on March 20. Here is their more detailed report:

"The S/Y Lorna was attacked by Venezuelan pirates near Punta Toleta, Venezuela, (10°44.6,N, 62°22.1,W) on Tuesday, March 20, 2001, about 12:30 pm. Lorna was motoring from Isla Margarita to Trinidad. The weather was fine, with sunshine, 5 knots easterly wind and very little swell. We had sailed from Isla Margarita on Monday, March 19 at 5 pm. The plan had been to visit the Venezuelan islands, but weather was not inviting; the easterly wind roared in the rigging day after day. The thought of going back to Trinidad against strong winds and heavy seas made us cancel the trip to Isla Blanquilla and Los Roques. Early Tuesday morning (March 20), the weather was beautiful, no wind and very little swell. We decided to keep on motoring; hopefully we would reach San Francisco Bay in the afternoon.

"By lunchtime, when I was occupied serving lunch in the cockpit, my husband Bo said, 'There is a fishing boat coming up.' I stood up and saw a small pirogue coming from behind us at high speed. I then sat down and let Bo deal with the fishermen before we had lunch. Bo went out on the gunwale to talk to the fishermen while I sat in the cockpit. I was unable to see very much because of the dodgers. Lorna is a steel ketch with a center cockpit, and the cockpit is well covered by bimini top and dodgers.

"I heard Bo say: "No cigarettes. No smoke." The next thing I heard was a shot! Bo came into the cockpit, screaming in agony, and slumped down. I helped him get down into the cabin, where he collapsed on the floor bleeding from a bullet wound on his back, to the left below the waist. In the same moment, four men with guns boarded the yacht and entered the cockpit and cabin. I retreated into the saloon while two of the men stepped over Bo and the third sat in the hatch. A fourth man was on the deck and another was in the pirogue.

"According to Bo, the men had started making hand signs asking for cigarettes at a distance of about 100 yards. They came closer and shouted for cigarettes from about 75 yards distance. Bo was a little suspicious, as he could see no fishing gear in the boat and all the men sat facing Lorna's starboard side. The pirogue came closer and, about 25 yards from Lorna, the men took out their weapons, which had been hidden under rags. At that time, Bo turned to go down into the cockpit and turn off the autopilot to steer away. Immediately, the pirogue accelerated and one man fired his revolver from about 20 feet away. Bo knew he was hit because he felt like he had been kicked in the back, and he saw a cloud of smoke from the gun. He thought that this was it; he would never survive. The bullet went through the hip bone, ripped open the colon and stopped near the pancreas. Internal bleeding and infection was the result of this.

"In the cabin, a short stocky man started asking for jewelry, using hand signs. They all spoke Spanish. Then the short man wanted 'moneda,' money, and 'armas,' weapons. We carry nothing of what they asked for. They did not believe me and they all started opening cabinets and tearing things out. They were extremely aggressive, and I did nothing; I was paralyzed from seeing my husband bleeding and obviously in pain. I was moaning and crying; one of them took a kitchen knife and threatened to cut my throat. Except for the revolver, the weapons looked old and homemade. One of the men was wearing a complete facemask: a cap covering his head to his neck with holes for eyes and mouth. His weapon looked like a shotgun with a short barrel, but it was very old or maybe homemade. They wore shorts, T-shirts and jackets. The short man was quite dirty, while another was taller and slimmer and was very neat. He was also very cool and calculating, pointing the gun at me every time I tried to get closer to my husband. The short, stocky man was evidently the leader and he was extremely aggressive, pointing his revolver at Bo when Bo tried to lift his head. His eyes were protruding, and his movements were jerky.

"They started collecting whatever they could find and filled a thin sleeping bag with the items. They just threw things into it in a jumble: the Canon IS binoculars together with four pairs of sandals, fins and snorkels, a sailing jacket, my inflatable life vest, a searchlight, a handheld depth sounder, a small compass, a Sony Walkman, Wrigley chewing gum, whatever they could find laying around. They asked for liquor and I gave them three bottles of rum and some beer cans. Then, I wanted them out of the yacht and said 'finito' making hand signs that they should go. I also asked for las tarjetas, the credit cards, which they could not use. They threw them back but kept the little purse with bolivars worth about US$15. The little, stocky man carefully tore off all microphones he could find, ruining the loud-hailer and the two VHF sets. Fortunately, he did not see the microphone for the SSB radio.

"They all retreated to the aft deck. When I went out in the cockpit to look at their boat, they pointed their guns at me and made signs that I should sit down. When they left, I could see the little pirogue; it was white with a green stripe and a big black smudge in the rear end on the starboard side: no name, no number. It had a big gray outboard, probably Yamaha.

"I attended to my husband who was bleeding and perspiring. He crawled out into the cockpit where I made him as comfortable as I could with pillows and covered him with a sheet. He was conscious and told me to activate the EPIRB. After that, I tried the handheld VHF, but received no answer. We met a Venezuelan fishing boat (about 50-ft). I got their attention by waving a sheet. They came closer and I explained in Spanish that my husband had been shot, banditos. I asked them to please call Trinidad. There was no response. They turned away and went west. Lorna was running under autopilot, and I used the computer charts to set the course. I got the bearing for the waypoint, adjusted the autopilot so COG (course over ground) was the same as the bearing. I spent very little time on navigation. I tried 2182 on the SSB, but got no answer. I tried all the frequencies I could find in our list of different nets. I turned the knob trying to find a frequency where people were talking. Finally, I realized that this was not working, no one would help us. About 3 pm I found a frequency (14303) where I could hear voices. I went to 14000 and could read the voices clearly. I called: 'Break, break, Mayday, Mayday,' and there was a response from Eric Mackie on Trinidad, who was listening while preparing the weather forecast on TV6. I had no idea who was speaking, I was just so relieved to find someone to talk to.

"An hour passed and I suddenly realized that it would be dark before we could get any help. The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard needed permission to enter Venezuelan waters to assist us; this was taking time and Venezuela was not cooperative. About 6 pm we saw a patrol boat coming to meet us at 10°46.1,N, 61°55.1,W, and over the HF radio we were told to turn around and go with the swell. The patrol boat wanted to board us, but I considered this impossible in the heavy swell, about six to nine feet. I wanted them to launch their big rubber dinghy and take it alongside Lorna, but they did not respond to this suggestion. Bo told me that it was the Venezuelan Coast Guard. We had decided to turn around and go for Trinidad. Fifteen minutes later the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard arrived. They launched their dinghy, and two paramedics came on board. After that, two seamen came to help me take Lorna to the sound between the Chacachacare and Huevos Islands. There Bo was transferred to the Coast Guard vessel at 9 pm. Bo was taken to the Coast Guard station in Stauble Bay, where an ambulance was waiting to take him to St. Clair Medical Center. The two seamen and I brought Lorna to Stauble Bay, and they helped me to tie her up.

"A car took me to the hospital where I talked to Bo and paid the deposit for the hospital care. By 1:30 am (Wednesday morning), I was back in Stauble Bay and the Carenage Police were there to interview me. About the same time, Dr. Fung Kee Fung started the operation which saved Bo's life. The operation lasted five hours. We want to thank Eric (9Z4CP) Mackie, the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, Dr. Fung Kee Fung, Coral Cove Marina, Constable Seepersad at the Carenage Police Station, Jesse James of Members Only, and all the wonderful people around us."


April 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

Weather Updates

April 11 - Pacific Ocean

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 Sea State

Seas are normal in the Pacific. But you might check out the Pacific Ocean sea states at:
For another view, see

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