Photos of the Day

September 17 - San Francisco Bay

What might well have been the biggest Big Boat Series in history was canceled last week, leaving the Bay relatively quiet on Saturday and Sunday. One of the most conspicuous boats out was Bruce Schwab's Wylie Open 60 Ocean Planet, which patriotically carried the flag back and forth across the Bay (see photo below). It's been a long and mentally exhausting week for everyone, and our Saturday afternoon sail proved to be a wonderful tonic. We hope everyone else out there enjoyed their sail as much.

Ocean Planet

Photos Latitude/Richard

Use the Bay Intelligently

September 17 - San Francisco Bay

These are understandably tense times, so when we use the Bay, it would help if we stay well clear of potential targets. This Friday San Francisco Airport was temporarily closed because a mariner in a Zodiac - apparently a big fan of Latitude 38 - was observed too close to the SFO runways for comfort. In other words, don't anchor right next to the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, or make high speed runs directly at oil tankers.

Update: We just spoke to Dan Baker, the person who was at the end of the
runway, and his story - which will appear in the October issue of Latitude 38 - will
probably disgust you. Baker decided to go to the end of the runways - never
inside restricted space - to make sure that somebody was protecting the Bay
side of the runway - and discovered to his horror that they were not. As he
told Latitude this morning, "In just 30 seconds I could have motored close
enough so that I could have hit an operating Boeing 767 - just like the one
that was driven into the World Trade Center - with an apple." One of the
pathetic excuses given by authorities from the various agencies why it
wasn't being protected is that they didn't have a boat! Baker offered them
the use of his 12-ft Zodiac. We'll offer them the use of Profligate, and
we're sure hundreds of boatowners would be happy to do the same thing. But
if this is an example of the kind of 'home defense' that our combined
military, Coast Guard, airport police, fire departments, local police and
other law enforcement agencies can provide, God help us!

By the way, when we went sailing on Saturday, we had a similar idea as
Baker, and one of the first things we did was sail out to see what kind of
protection had been put in place for the Golden Gate Bridge. Since there
was no evidence of added protection anywhere near the South or North Towers
of this critically important structure, we assumed that the protection was
concealed. Now we can't help but wonder if any defense has been put in
place at all.

Drugs in Mexico

September 17 - Mexico

Last month a reader wrote us asking about getting prescription drugs in Mexico, and we're getting conflicting reports. As we understand it, you used to be able to get virtually anything without a prescription. More recently, that's no longer legal. Nonetheless, many farmacias - particularly in the more outlying areas - will sell anything without a permit.

Can we get a more definitive answer from people who have been living and patronizing Mexican farmacias for several years?

Fleet Week

September 17 - San Francisco Bay

Fleet Week was scheduled for San Francisco Bay on October 5-7. We've yet to hear word on whether it has been canceled or modified, and are looking into it. Presumably the Fleet has more important business at this moment, but hopefully there will be an opportunity for mariners to pay tribute to the fleet. As this photo shows, at least some of the fleet is underway, and several more were following behind. We're not even sure what they are, but usually they are in storage at Mare Island.

Photo Latitude/Richard

Clipper Record Attempt Postponed

September 17 - New York

Rich Wilson and Bill Biewenga intended to depart New York City yesterday aboard the 53-foot Nigel Irens-designed trimaran Great American II on a 15,000-mile trip around Cape Horn to Melbourne. The trip was to commemorate the Australian Gold Rush of 1851, and to beat the clipper ship Mandarin's record of 69 days. The duo - who were volunteers after the World Trade Center disaster - are now expected to leave on Wednesday. Their boat isn't the latest and hottest machine, and the course is not one that's been challenged by private yachts, but it will provide great educational material for Wilson's sitesALIVE! Web site based out of Boston. A life-long sailor, Wilson has used his adventures to help create educational fare for elementary, middle and high schools. Back in '93, Wilson and Biewenga sailed Great American II from San Francisco to Boston by way of Cape Horn in 69 days, breaking the old record held by the clipper ship Northern Light. These are a couple of good guys, and we intend to follow their progress.

Great American II
Photo Courtesy sitesALIVE!

Steve Fossett, who was getting ready to leave New York on another attempt at the transatlantic record with PlayStation, has decided it would be inappropriate at this time to leave from the Statue of Liberty. As such, he's moving up to Newport and will, if the weather conditions cooperate, depart from there.

It's Fall

September 17 - Richardson Bay

You can tell, because some of the leaves are turning and the Canadians are filling up the anchorage in Richardson Bay.

Photo Latitude/Richard

Bertarelli Is Best

September 17 - Cowes, UK

In a rather stunning development, billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli of Switzerland and the Swiss Alinghi America's Cup team won the Rolex Farr 40 World Championships in Cowes, England, by a very comfortable margin. Bertarelli attributed all of his success to his stellar crew, headed by Russell Coutts. Bertarelli's 12 Meter won the recent Worlds, but he wasn't driving.

Etchells North Americans

September 17 - Lake Michigan

Dennis Conner and crew topped the 43 boat fleet. For photos and results, see (yes, 'Etchells' is misspelled in the page's file name).

Volvo Ocean Race

September 17 - Southampton, UK

With the start of the Volvo Around the World Race on September 23, Grant Dalton of the Nautor Challenge has finally chosen the Studio Frers design, meaning Lisa McDonald and the women's team will be sailing the Farr design. Dalton says the boats were extremely close, and which would be better depends on the wind conditions during the 27,000 miles race. Northern Californians John Kostecki, Mark Rudiger and Dee Smith are all major players in the event.


September 17 - 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

September 17 - 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

No 'Lectronic Latitude tomorrow, as we're on deadline week for the October print issue of Latitude 38.
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