Photos of the Day

October 26 - Le Havre, France

Our Photos of the Day are of some of the fastest boats on the water. Is the Volvo the big ocean race of the winter? Not if you're French. In that case, the really big deal is the doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre, which departs on November 3-4 from Le Havre, France, to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. Traditionally, it's been a classic race for the Open 60 monohulls, but the event - named after a Kraft Food Products brand of coffee - has now been opened up to 50 foot trimarans and the growing class of Open 50 monohulls. The monohulls leave a day earlier and sail a 4,340-mile course, while the multihulls sail a 5,300-mile route that takes them around Ascencion Island. Who is entered? None less than Vendée Globe winner and heroes Michel Desjoyeaux, Ellen MacArthur, and Yves Parlier in Open 60s, and top multihull sailors such as Loïck Peyron and OSTAR winner Francis Joyon. Currently, the incredible fleet consists of 14 60-ft trimarans, 13 Open 60s, and seven Open 50s. It's a really big deal!

Photo Rick Tomlinson

Both Photos Courtesy

Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Kostecki and illbruck Victorious in Leg One

October 26 - Cape Town, South Africa

It was a terrific victory for Northern Californian John Kostecki and the German boat illbruck in the England to South Africa first leg of the Volvo Around the World Race. illbruck held an early lead, lost it, then overtook and passed the vastly experienced Grant Dalton and Amer Sports One with just a couple of hundred miles to go. Kostecki and the illbruck crew had been practicing hard for two years, while Dalton only got his boat a short time before the start of the event. In the tight reaching heavy wind conditions of the last several hundreds miles, Kostecki's experience showed. This is the second Whitbread/Volvo in a row where the first leg was won by a Northern California skipper. Last time it was Paul Cayard in EF Language. Invariably, the winner of the first leg has gone on to win the whole event.

illbruck Challenge skipper John Kostecki is congratulated by
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Helge Alten in Cape Town.
Photo Richard Langdon/Electronic Image

Dee Smith of Novato was aboard Amer Sports One, which, given their short prep time, did a fabulous job. Here's his report:

"We finished 36 hours ago, and it's good to be on land after 31 days at sea. Sorry we couldn't hold the illbruck off. We have some problems that are being sorted out now. Basically, we couldn't change sails very well with our halyard lock problems. Then we would wait to see if the shift or pressure would change. By the time we did change, the shift would be gone - so we just couldn't stay ahead of the game. Were we slow in that condition? Don't really know, but I'm sure we could do a lot better. And yes, we should have been able to hold them off. We were lucky to be far enough ahead of everyone else that it didn't matter. The good news is we did get a second place, and a huge time advantage on the other boats during the stop over. We have more time to rest, six days off next week. More time to get the boat sorted and go over all the data from the race. I was very worried that we could have started the regatta with a 6th place finish. Now the crew have confidence in the boat and ourselves. We know we are not faster, but not slower either. It is time just to take a deep breath and be happy where we are. I am very happy with the way the back end of the boat is working. Grant and Roger's vast experience in sailing around the world (13 trips combined) match up with Bouwe and my tactical knowledge. What we did do well was not make any big mistakes, in fact only a couple of small ones. This way, when the opportunity came up to grab the lead, it was possible because we were close enough. Still much work to do, but we think it can only get better."

Thompson Continues to Lead Mini Transat

October 26 - Atlantic Ocean

Brian Thompson, the Brit who spent a bunch of time in Northern California aboard Steve Fossett's Lakota, continues to lead the 3,000-mile second leg of the Mini Transat from the Canary Islands to Brazil aboard I Must Be Mad. The Mini Transat, of course, is a singlehanded race for 21-footers, of which 55 are competing. Two surprises: The 6'5" Thompson, who was also a watch captain aboard PlayStation, claims the 21-footer is actually pretty big. And, that a lot of what he learned on the big multihulls translates down to his little 21-footer - specifically, knowing when to back off the throttle.

Brian Thompson
Photo James Boyd

Blue & Gold Goes Soy

October 26 - San Francisco Bay

Oski, one of the Blue & Gold tour boats on San Francisco Bay, is switching from diesel fuel to organic soy diesel. As a result, there is supposed to be less smog and a sweeter smell on the Bay. We'll see.

Survivor Back to South Pacific

October 26 - The Marquesas

Survivor, the popular television show that we've never managed to see, will be returning to the South Pacific for the next season. The new location is Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas, perhaps the most popular destination when cruisers sail from Mexico to the Marquesas. We're not sure that bringing Hollywood to the Marquesas is such a good idea - but nobody asked us.

'Lectronic Editor Heading off to Ha-Ha

October 26 - San Diego

The normal editor of 'Lectronic will be off on the Baja Ha-Ha for the next two weeks, so there might be fewer 'issues' coming out during that time. If all goes well, however, we'll get a number of nearly live photos and up-to-date reports from the Ha-Ha mother ship and beach parties. So be with us to follow the action.


October 26 - 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

October 26 - 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 (Note: This page seems to be working correctly again.)

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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