Photos of the Day

December 10 - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Is it warm enough for you here in the States? If so, you'd be burning up down on Banderas Bay in Mexico. Just ask Jean, who did the Ha-Ha aboard the Swan 53 Mistress. The former employee at OCSC in Berkeley was cooking aboard Profligate during an afternoon spinnaker run down the Banderas Bay last week. Or, you could ask Cherie, who was asked to pose "like Marilyn Monroe would have." Cherie also sailed aboard Mistress in the Baja Ha-Ha, but has since become chummy with Greg Retkowski, skipper of the San Francisco-based Morgan Out Island 41 Scirocco, who also did the Ha-Ha.

Photos Latitude/Richard

Cruising Boat Hit by Freighter Last Week off New Zealand

December 10 - Nagle Cove, Great Barrier Island

Jordan, Kate and Jonah Bigel departed Seattle in September of 2000 on a proposed circumnavigation aboard their Shannon 50 ketch Queen Jane. On December 3 off New Zealand, there was an interruption to their plans. Here's a slightly edited version of what they report on their Web site:

"On December 3 at approximately 6:20 pm, our Queen Jane was struck just outside Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand by the container ship Southern Cross II that was bound for Nuku'alofa, Kingdom of Tonga. All aboard are safe, and Queen Jane is currently moored at Nagle Cove on Great Barrier Island.

Queen Jane (and Jonah)

Southern Cross II
Photos Courtesy Queen Jane

"Shortly after 6 pm, Kate and Jonah were down below, and Jordan joined them in order to keep an SSB sked with the sailing vessel Skive. After speaking on the radio and making a log entry, the outboard freighter smashed into the bowsprit of the Queen Jane, sheering it clean off, and stopping the boat dead in its tracks. While the damage to the bow was severe, the boat was intact belowdecks, and only a small breach in the deck allowed water to enter - and only a very small amount at that. After requesting the ship to stand by, New Zealand Maritime Radio was contacted. We started the motor and began to head toward land while assessing the damage. Once we had ascertained that the damage was not life-threatening, Maritime Radio arranged for an escort vessel to lead us into Great Barrier Island. We are grateful to be alive and are in a state of shock still some six hours after the collision. If we had been hit amidships, the Queen Jane would be at the bottom now. Further, any lesser vessel would probably also have been sunk after such a strike. It is only because of the incredible strength of this vessel that we are still afloat. Our thanks to the Shannon Boat Company for building such a tough boat."

We don't want to sound critical, but this sounds like yet another case of a cruising sailboat being hit as a result of not having anyone on watch. Latitude 38 readers will remember that just over six years ago, the Sleavin family's Compass 47 Melinda Lee was hit by a ship 30 miles off of New Zealand. In that tragic case, the boat quickly sank and three of the four Sleavin family members were lost. Always keep a watch, and always assume that your small boat won't be seen by a larger boat.

Blake's Murderer Arrested

December 10 - Macapa, Brazil

Police in Macapa, Brazil, report that Ricardo Tavares, 23, has confessed to last week's murder of sailing legend Sir Peter Blake, 53, of New Zealand. Seven local residents - known as the 'Water Rats' - admitted to storming Blake's Seamaster on Wednesday night. They robbed the boat, but claimed they shot Blake in self-defense after Blake shot at them with a rifle. Blake is reported to have been hit twice in the back with gunshots. The robbers' excuse is that they "didn't know there was anybody famous aboard." Would that have made any difference?

Blake's tragic death once again raises the question of whether it's smart to carry guns aboard. In recent issues of Latitude, two former cops who became cruisers argued against it. In both cases, they said that the loss of an outboard and other gear wasn't worth the loss of anyone's life. It's difficult to second guess such a great sailor and terrific person as Peter Blake, but you can't help but wonder at his decision.

Not so Fast Geronimo!

December 10 - France

It has long been thought that Olivier de Kersauson's new 110-ft trimaran Geronimo would be the only boat attempting to break the Jules Verne Around the World record this winter. But in a surprise, the Gilles Ollier designed and built 110-ft maxi cat - which sailed in The Race as Innovation Explorer - has been rechristened Orange after the France Telecome's mobile telephone subsidiary, and will also go after the trophy. The project is being headed by Frenchman Bruno Peyron, who created The Race, and previously held the Jules Verne Trophy with the 80-ft cat Explorer. It will finally be a chance to see how a big tri fares against a big cat. The boats should leave France sometime in February to make the Cape Horn and Southern Ocean during the southern hemisphere's summer.

Charity Cash for San Blas

December 10 - San Blas, Mexico

Last week the Wanderer was happy to present $2,400 in cash to Captain Norm Goldie of San Blas to be used for the poor indigenous people who live in the mountains behind San Blas. About half the money was raised aboard Profligate, with the rest coming from generous contributions from other sailors. Thanks to you all. This money will be well spent.

Photo Latitude/Richard


December 10 - 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

December 10 - 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 Winds and Pressure

The University of Hawaii Dept. of Meteorology page posts a daily map of the NE Pacific Ocean barometric pressure and winds.

Pacific Sea State

Check out the Pacific Ocean sea states at:
For another view, see

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