Photo of the Day

April 2 - Los Angeles

Start 'em young!
Today's Captain of the Day is 15-month-old Spencer Underwood, who was recently spotted at the helm of The Bill of Rights out of Los Angeles.

Photo Devan Mullin

The Catana Could Have Been a Contender

April 2 - The Atlantic Ocean

About a week ago we reported that a group of French professional sailors were going to see how fast they could sail the brand new and stock - complete with air conditioning and washing machine - Catana 582 catamaran from New York to France. Alas, after about four days of rough weather, they had to turn back. We don't know exactly why because it's hard to read their Website, but we think it was because they ripped the clew out of their main in winds up to 50 knots, and later irreparably damaged their genoa in high winds. The crew is stopping in Bermuda on their way back to New York, at which time they will apparently restart.

Photo Courtesy

Update: Thanks to Joseph Oster, here's a bit of the Catana's log when they were doing well: "The boat is absolutely perfect. It's incredible how safe we feel aboard this catamaran. When we were surfing down the waves in gusts of wind, we got close to 33 knots, and crashed more than once in the wave that was in front of us. But thanks to the volume of the bows, Saint Nicolas always got out well."

Cats are great, but they are weakest when having to sail to weather in strong winds. In those cases, it's usually prudent to dramatically slow the boat down to reduce the loads - and most of all make it safe for the crew. Just ask 'Commodore' Tompkins, who just delivered Profligate back to California from Puerto Vallarta.

Maxi Monohull Level Racing

April 2 - The World

Remember when Santa Cruz 70s had near level racing in the TransPac? The days of little boats have gone, now that Roy Disney and Bob McNeil have started working with Bill Lee to develop a level class rule for 86-footers. McNeil's new boat, the R/P 86 Zephyrus V will debut on San Francisco Bay later this month, while Disney - currently kicking butt with his current R/P 75-footer in the Caribbean - is looking for a builder for his new R/P 86.

"Our vision is to create a competitive class of purpose-built racing yachts for the world's great offshore events," Lee told Keith Taylor. "Multihulls and larger yachts may at times be faster. However, this is a vision of creating not just one large fast boat, but a class of large fast boats that can race one another on a level basis without a time allowance - in many cases for course records."
The new boats will be modern turbo sleds, in that they will be easily driven, have sail plans bigger than America's Cup boats, and carry nearly six tons of water ballast when sailing upwind. If three such boats sign up, they'll be allowed to race in the 2005 TransPac.

Mystery Schooner Identified!

April 2 - Antigua

Photo Jim Drake

"I believe the mystery schooner in your March 27 'Lectronic about the Antigua Classic Regatta is Ashanti of Vegisak," writes Valerie Hoskin of the Long Beach based Valerie K. "She was on the west coast a few years ago, and my husband Ron and I had the pleasure of getting a tour from the crew. We repaid them later with a champagne cruise around Alamitos Bay in a classic barrel-back speed boat. As Emma said from the back seat, 'It sets off a wonderful vibration!' By the way, thank you for the link to YOTREPS, as it allow us to keep track of our friends Paul & Mary aboard the Tayana 37 Aventura."

Orange Still In One Piece

April 2 - The Southern Ocean

All the way across the Indian Ocean, Bruno Peyron and his crew have been beset by the most inhospitable Southern Ocean weather any of them have experienced. And just today, they admitted that four days ago Orange started suffering from delamination.
"The aft beam fairing 2.5 meters from the port hull had delaminated in the area that gets the onslaught of the waves - rather like what they experienced on Team Adventure in The Race, but less serious," reported Peyron. "Add to that two cracked bulkheads in this impact zone. It all must have happened when we were pushing a bit too hard in the crossed seaway on the continental shelf to the south of Africa and beating just before the Kerguelens".

Happily, it wasn't as serious as it first seemed, because the damage was quickly found during one of the systematic check-ups of each part of the boat. It was the composite wizard, Yves Le Blevec, who noticed it from the access to the aft beam from inside of the video room in the port hull. "In fact, the honeycomb core had collapsed due to the slamming of the waves," explained Philippe Péché who assisted Yves with the repairs. "Then, the inner and outer skins started to peel and little fibres of carbon were even beginning to hang on the outside of the beam. But thankfully it wasn't too serious because we noticed the problem in time; but it's clear, if we hadn't noticed it, it could have become much more serious!"

Despite the bad conditions and the boat problems, Orange is still about 2,000 miles ahead of Sport Elec's Jules Verne record pace.

Yelapa and Fat Thighs

April 2 - Mexico

"Since Yelapa is one of the current topics in 'Lectronic," writes Lonnie Spencer of a Palo Alto and Puerto Escondido-based Newport 30, "I wonder if you know about Maggie Stites? She is a wonderful woman who spent years volunteering in the Palo Alto schools when her children were there. Maggie is all about justice, equality and peace. As she began to lose her sight some 25 years ago, she decided somehow that Yelapa was to be her home. She lives humbly behind the beach, and has a lovely little book of poetry for sale. If anyone goes there, ask for Maggie, la gringa ciega.

"On the topic of surviving hypothermia, a woman who swims daily in the Bay tells me that through constant exposure, one gradually builds up permanent extracutaneous fat which offers protection from exposure. I'll bet those guys who survived for 3.5 hours in an overturned fishing boat were from Duluth. Back in the '60s, I remember reading that New York women who insisted on wearing mini-skirts in winter were getting fat thighs due to this effect."

The Crew of Wild Wild West at Yelapa
Photo Latitude/Richard


April 2 - 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 2 - 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 The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay has moved to

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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