Photo of the Day

August 21 - Donner Lake

Today's Photo of the Day comes from Betty Schmidt, who was one of 127 cruisers who showed up at a cruisers' 'Raft Up' at Donner Lake on August 17. According to Schmidt, most of those in attendance had done at least one Ha-Ha.

Photo Courtesy Betty Schmidt

The Nautica Star Class Worlds

August 21 - Marina del Rey

Rich Roberts reports that, "England's Iain Percy and France's Xavier Rohart thrived in the best winds of the week and survived some tough justice in the third race of the 81st Nautica 2002 Star Class World Championship Tuesday to put themselves in rare positions. They could become the first of their nationalities to claim the world's most prestigious one design sailing crown. In fact, it's any country's regatta at the halfway point. Five of the top six fly different flags, led by Brazil's Torben Grael, followed by Rohart, San Francisco's Paul Cayard, Percy, San Diego's George Szabo and Ireland's Mark Mansfield. They have separated themselves slightly from the other 100 boats, although that picture could change when some established stars who are struggling discard their worst scores after the fifth, next-to-last race Thursday.

"Tuesday brought the strongest winds of the week, as much as 15 knots at the end of the 10-mile race, and Percy and Rohart loved it. 'Conditions were more to our liking,' Percy's happy crew, Steve Mitchell, said. 'None of this bloody American stuff we had earlier.' He was smiling broadly when he said it because, Percy added, 'We've always had good results in strong winds. When we got clear we were able to pull out. The windier the better. It's much more fun.' They finished 1 minute 44 seconds ahead of Rohart, who was 1:18 ahead of Brazil's Alan Adler. Cayard and Grael followed Adler across the finish line. Along with Rohart, they are the only three competitors with all single-digit finishes."

Photos Rich Roberts

The leaders (after 3 of 6 races):
1. Torben Grael/Marcelo Ferreira, Brazil, (3-1-5) 9 points.
2. Xavier Rohart/Yannick Adde, France, (6-8-2) 16.
3. Paul Cayard/Hal Haenel, San Francisco, (7-9-4) 20.
4. Iain Percy/Steven Mitchell, UK, (19-4-1), 24.
5. George Szabo/Austin Sperry, San Diego, (1-20-10) 31.

What the Heck?

August 21 - San Francisco

"I witnessed something last Sunday, all or part of which may be of interest to you or your readers," writes Jonathan Hunt. "I live on Ocean Beach near the Cliff House, and mid-morning a large - 250-300-ft - ship came down the shipping channel from the west. Most things were normal about the ship with the exception of one thing - it was moving at an incredible speed. In a matter of a very few minutes it had traveled from the Lightbucket to abeam Seal Rocks, and was putting out a rooster tail of what appeared to be 30 feet. It passed out of sight toward the Gate without slowing, and I would estimate its speed to be about 30 knots or more. I searched the ID numbers and found it was something called the HSV-X1, an Australian ship chartered by the U.S. armed forces for testing. After half an hour or so, it came back out the Gate at the same high speed, and disappeared out of sight toward the Farallones, again in what seemed like a minute or two.

"What made the sighting all the more bizarre was that during the interim of it coming in and out, we saw two six-man outrigger canoes heading down the beach a couple of hundred yards offshore. Conditions off Ocean Beach are rugged much of the year, with the wind waves, tidal lines, and whatnot. But these two canoes were doing just fine in the calm conditions of early fall, and made their way down to about the windmill on Fulton St., turned around, and were back around Seal Rocks also pretty quickly. Not quite, however, at the speed of the HSV-X1. I didn't look at the tide tables, but I assume it was around slack water, and the conditions were about as flat calm as they ever get. But it was a surprise to see these two flat-water racing paddle boats out in the open ocean - although I think larger ones possibly race between the Hawaiian Islands."

The truth of the matter, Jonathan, is that we in the United States are way, way behind the curve when it comes to multihulls. While in Naples a few years ago, we saw a near sistership to that vessel - we can't remember if it's actually a cat or a tri - tied to a dock in Naples, Italy. They used it to run tourists out to Capri and the other nearby islands. But it was far from the most impressive high-tech ferry we saw. We traveled from Holyhead, Wales, to Dublin, Ireland, on a catamaran so huge that it had two McDonalds and a casino, and carried 450 passengers, 150 semi trucks and countless cars. And it still did 33 knots across the Irish Sea. Its reported top speed was 42 knots. If we're not mistaken, it was built in Tasmania, of all places.

Just the Mention
of the Name

August 21 - Cinq a Terre, Italy

Just the mention of 'Italy' brought back fond memories of tromping along the coast between Capri and Ventimiglia. Does this shot of the little harbor in one of the Cinq a Terre villages give you wanderlust?

 Photo Latitude/Richard

America's Cup Heating Up

August 21 - Auckland, New Zealand

With less than two months to go before the start of the Louis Vuitton competition leading up to the America's Cup Finals, the pundits are heating up. Before there's been any competition, they seem to suggest that the star of Oracle is rising slightly, while those of Dennis Conner, sunk boat, and Prada, squabbling international afterguard, are fading. In addition, the Kiwis - who are hurting for money and the leadership of the late Peter Blake - are viewed as increasingly unlikely to be successful in their Defense.

The dock talk is that Bruce Farr has designed the narrowest boat with the least sail area for Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing Challenge for the Golden Gate YC, which would suggest that the boat is also perhaps the lightest. There's two things we've liked so far about the Oracle campaign. First, helmsman Peter Holmberg. So far, he's been short on talk and long on match racing success. Similarly, the entire Oracle effort has seemed short on hoopla and long on being focused on the goal at hand. If they don't win the Cup, it won't have been for the lack of money or honest effort.

Photos Bob Greiser and Sally Samins
Courtesy Oracle Racing

Check out the September issue of Latitude 38 for the America's Cup schedule, which starts in October and lasts into February.


August 21 - 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

August 21 - 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 is at

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 views of sea states anywhere in the world, see

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