Photo of the Day

January 18 - Baja California

It's been 2.5 months since this picture was taken at Turtle Bay, the first landfall for Baja Ha-Ha VII. If any of you first-time cruisers are tuned in down in Mexico, we'd love to know the two or three most important things you've learned so far. We're looking for one-liners, not essays. Muchas gracias.

Some of the Y2K Ha-Ha Fleet
Photo Latitude/Richard


California Cruising Question

January 18 - Castle Valley, Utah

"Thanks for the wonderful coverage of Baja Ha-Ha VII," writes Craig Tuttle of Castle Valley, Utah. "Your articles are so well written that with a little imagination a person can actually pretend to be part of it. Really a treat for people like me, stuck in snowy Utah. And who knows, maybe someday we'll actually be part of it. Anyway, we'll be trailering our Kent Ranger 26' sailboat, 'Sundagger', to Southern California this summer. We'll dunk the boat at Santa Barbara or Ventura, and spend five weeks cruising south through the Channel Islands, to Catalina Island, and along the southern coast to San Diego. I'm hoping that you or a reader might be able to recommend a great spot to be for the 4th of July festivities and fireworks?" Can Craig get a little help from Southern California sailors?

Speaking of the Ha-Ha, we stopped by headquarters yesterday, and found three more requests for entry packets. Please folks, they are in hibernation until May. They don't even have a pulse until then.

Communique from Europe

January 18 - Menorca, Spain
"We agree with 'Latitude' that it's a mystery why more American boats don't cruise the Med," write Paul and Suzie Zupan of Sausalito, but who are now in Menorca with their 70-foot ketch 'Latitude'. "We have been in Menorca, Balearic Islands, since October when we sailed from Barcelona, Spain. We thought we would move on to Sardinia by Christmas, but have been enjoying this island too much. At this time of year there are few tourists, so we share the island with the locals and a few cruisers. The weather has been mostly sunny and warm - 15C, generally breezy, with one or two major storms. And it's true, we have only run into one American, and he has been living on land in Menorca for 20 years. No American cruisers. However, we have met several really wonderful British cruisers, and quite a few locals. We have a busy social life just keeping up with the dinner invitations. Why wait until May, the Balearics are a wonderful place to spend the winter."

The island of Menorca in the Med
Photo Courtesy the Zupans

We'll have more on the Zupans' most unusual adventure in the March or April 'Latitude 38'.


January 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


It's Official, Oracle To Ventura

January 18 - Ventura

Oracle Racing has confirmed that Ventura Harbor will be its California sailing base for the spring and summer of 2001 as it prepares for America's Cup XXXI that starts in the fall of 2002 in Auckland. As such, in early March their team of approximately 70 people will relocate in Ventura. Oracle will be two boat testing on a daily basis with USA 49 and USA 61, the two boat previously owned by AmericaOne. USA 61 lost to Prada in the Challenger Finals last time, and more recently dropped her keel to the bottom of the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand. The sailing operations in Ventura will support boat development testing, crew sail handling and race practice. Adjacent ends of the Ventura Boat Yard and Ventura Isle Marine will be used to form the team's training site.

As we said yesterday, this will be the biggest thing to ever hit Ventura.

Ventura Isle Marina
Photo Courtesy Ventura Isle Marina

By the way, while at Key West Sail Week, Gary Jobson predicted that a U.S. boat, he didn't know if it would be Ellison's, MacCaw's or Conner's, would bring the Cup back to the United States in 2003.

'Club Med' Loses the South

January 18 - Southern Ocean

Seventeen days into The Race and the big blue 'Club Med' catamaran continues to be the benchmark and reference for performance in this non-stop unlimited circumnavigation. In spite of losing distance on second placed 'Team Adventure' over the last 24 hours, 'Club Med' still held a lead of more than 100 miles at noon today as they approached the Greenwich Meridian at 45 degrees South.

The leading pair are being caught by their first real Southern Ocean depression and are beginning to experience the long ocean swells and strong cold winds that this part of the world is famous for. The lead held by 'Club Med' yesterday was 50 miles larger than today's, and this reduction in margin is due to the 'elastic' effect of racing between weather systems. 'Team Adventure', further west, has been sailing in more breeze for the last 36 hours as it was the first boat to feel the stronger winds on the front side of the next east traveling depression. Their speed has therefore remained a few knots higher than the blue boat's. Dalton said this on the issue: "Last night 'Team Adventure' sailed the whole night in 5 knots more wind than we had, which is why they came in on us. We were bouncing around in less wind, all sails set but not enough breeze. Sometimes you get a lead and stretch and sometimes the lead drops. The French call it the accordion effect. We had a 200-mile lead 36 hours ago and I suppose we paid part of it back in tax last night."

When this low pressure passes over the leading pair the boat behind (further west) will fall out of the wind first allowing the leader to stretch out again and hand back the losses experienced during the depression's initial approach. With the arrival of the first southern depression high winds and exciting sailing are in the cards for the 13-man crew over the next 24 hours. Earlier this morning Dalton said: "We have just gybed onto port and the speed is hovering between 27 and 32 knots now. We are really getting across the ocean fast on this boat. The sea will build now and we should get a real sleigh ride. We are about to see what this boat is really like in the true Southern Ocean. We are going to pull this thing along over the next few days. We don't want to be anywhere near the middle of this big low. There's 50 knots deep inside it so we'll climb away to the north a bit. This is the first time we've ever run in waves with a genniker set. So far we seem to be able to handle it pretty well. We've stuck the bows in once but it wasn't anything to make me think about changing my life insurance policy."

Huge speeds, high loads and tons of water flying around and hitting the boat and the crew mean things wear out quickly. When daylight broke this morning Dalton and his crew noticed a worrying failure up front: "The constant pressure of water on the trampolines has broken the lashing that holds them in place, right about where the net attaches to the front of the forward beam and the port hull. The staysail was lashed down to the net at this point and I suppose the constant water pressure on it was what caused the lashing to fail. It happened during the night and luckily no one went over there to change anything as they would probably have fallen through the net and into the sea. Other than that the only damage we have sustained is the 100 or so miles Cam has taken out of us over the last couple of days."

Ranking of 01-18-01 / 1400 GMT (0600 PST)

1. Club Med
dtf 17,676
2. Team Adventure
dtf 17,796 / dtl 120 miles
3. Innovation Explorer
dtf 18,342 / dtl 666 miles

* dtf - distance to finish
* dtl - distance to leader

For details, check out

Graphic Courtesy Team Adventure

Sails in Uncharted Territory

January 18 - Auckland, New Zealand

"Everyone brags when their sails are on a winning boat, but nobody is mentioning who built the sails that failed for 'PlayStation'," writes George Backhus of the Deerfoot 62 'Moonshadow' from Australia. "I think the sailing public should know."

The new 'Cuban Fiber' sails were built for The Race by Halsey-Lidgard of Auckland. A member of the 'PlayStation' team told us that it's still unclear whether the problem was with the design, the fabric or the actual construction - or a combination of the three. In all fairness, building sails for these monsters is going into uncharted territory, and perhaps they should have been tested before the start of The Race.

Meanwhile, 'Innovation Explorer', trailing 'Club Med' and 'Team Adventure' in The Race, reports that she's pretty much down to her last downwind sail - and she still hasn't even reached the Roaring Forties.

Key West Race Week Update

by Rich Roberts, 'Yachting' Key West Race Publicity Director

January 18 - Key West, Florida

Since she won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics last September, JJ Isler of La Jolla, CA, had been folding clothes instead of sails, but 'Yachting' Key West Race Week 2001 was time for her to show that she was not ready to settle into motherhood. In a Farr 40 class that features world-class sailors moonlighting as tacticians - including Star gold medalist Mark Reynolds, San Diego, and America's Cup winner Russell Coutts, New Zealand, not to mention husband Peter Isler - JJ Isler guided Tom Neill's bright red 'Nitemare' from Chicago to its first victory in Wednesday's only race for the class. 'Nitemare' nosed out Oscar Strugstad's 'Dawn Raid' from the UK (Ian Walker tactician) by 11 seconds. Isler, the mother of two young daughters, placed second in a 15-ft women's 470 at Sydney with Pease Glaser as crew, but she is enjoying the 40 feet of space. "Dinghy sailing is fun, but you have to do so many jobs," she said. "It's great just to be able to look around, and you stay dry all day."

The weather was relatively tranquil Wednesday following Tuesday's kaleidoscope of conditions. Winds were 6-10 knots, the emerald seas sailboat-friendly and shifts subtle, although occasionally significant. All classes did only one race each. Three remain to be sailed through Friday. The Farr 40s have had a different leader each of the first three days. Now it's Steve Kaminer's 'Predator' from Annapolis, MD (Gavin Brady), which moved up from third as Jim Richardson's first-place 'Barking Mad', Newport, RI, (Terry Hutchinson) swallowed a 20th place in the eight-race, no-throwout series, and Alexandra Geremia's second-place 'Crocodile Rock' from Santa Barbara (Vince Brun) was 25th. Peter Isler is aboard Brack Duker's 'Revolution' out of Marina del Rey, which shares second place with George Andreadis' defending Grecian champion, 'Atalanti XII' (Robbie Haines), four points behind 'Predator'. Philippe Kahn's 'Pegasus' of Santa Cruz (Reynolds) is fourth overall and stalking 'Barking Mad' for the U.S. Farr 40 berth in this summer's Admiral's Cup in England. With three YKWRW races and Saturday's distance race to Ft. Lauderdale remaining. 'Barking Mad' leads that contest within the regatta, 3.5 points to 5. Each buoy race is weighted at 0.5, the distance race at 2.5. Two other candidates seem out of contention.

In other contests Wednesday, B&N von der Wense's 'Turbo Duck', Annapolis, continued to command the Mumm 30 class with a fourth-place finish. Two-time defending champion Harry Melges, Zenda, WI, regained command of the Melges 24s with a third place as Neil Sullivan's Melges 24 'M-Fatic', Annapolis, with former Olympian Morgan Reeser driving, finished fifth but sucked up a 58th place on a review in that 59-boat fleet. Most of the PHRF classes were too close to call, although Warren Hudson's Frers 33 'Eclipse', Chicago, has four consecutive firsts in PHRF 9. Tuesday's Boat of the Day was Brian Porter's Melges 24 'Full Throttle' from Lake Geneva, WI, with a 2-1 in the 59-boat fleet.

For complete results see:

Weather Updates

January 18 - 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 Ocean Weather

You can view the University of Hawaii Department of Meteorology satellite picture by clicking here.

Pacific Sea State

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

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