Photos of the Day

December 13 - San Diego

Dana Hardy on Dauntless
All Photos Mark Albertazzi

140 boats competed in the Hot Rum Regatta, a three-race midwinter series put on by San Diego YC in November and December. The photos you see here are from Race Three last Sunday. Race Two was abandoned this year, due to dying winds and a conflict with Navy traffic. The club explained the situation on their Web site:

"By 12:37, most of the boats had started, and the wind was getting very light. Around 12:50, the Race Committee vessel Corinthian was contacted by the Navy tractor tugs. The tractor tugs had been dispatched to maneuver the Navy tanker leaving the Navy fuel pier and they were 'concerned' with the congestion of recreational vessels becalmed in the area making navigation for this maneuver impossible.

"By 1:00 all competitors had started, but the competitors that had not made it past Ballast Point were mostly becalmed in or near the channel. Many competitors were also inside the mandated 500-ft safety zone around the Navy tanker. At that time, the Harbor Police also contacted the RC vessel Corinthian. Their bottom line was that the competitors in the race were posing a navigational hazard for the Navy tractor tugs and the Navy tanker. The Race Committee was responsible for rectifying the problem . . . NOW."

The race officers unanimously chose to abandon the race for the safety of all concerned.

Dennis Conner and Jay Butler's Cal 40 Persepone (which came in seventh overall in the series) and Greg Stewart's 6 meter Sprig beat to weather.

The fun part of sailing as a kid in dinghies is playing tag with friends. As we get older the kid in us doesn't go away and the boats get more interesting. Here Greg Stewart on Sprig and Paul Plotts on Dauntless play a little cat and mouse.

The fleet heads out the channel past Pt. Loma.

Louis Vuitton Semi-Finals

December 13 - Auckland, NZ

Oracle BMW is down three races to nil in their battle with the Swiss Alinghi team, a seven-race match to reach the Louis Vuitton Finals for the America's Cup. Oracle has been narrowing the gap each day, and even led for most of the third race, before an abrupt windshift allowed Alinghi to slip ahead. For the third race, the Oracle team had once again tried a drastic change, as Chris Dickson, who has been running the show, took helmsman Peter Holmberg off the boat and put himself at the wheel.

Photo Bob Grieser/Louis Vuitton Cup

Even if Oracle were to lose today's scheduled race and the series to Alinghi, all is not lost because they are in the winner's bracket. At the very worst, they will have to sail off against the winner of the OneWorld and Prada series. Currently, that series is tied, but OneWorld has been the faster boat and should prevail. Since Oracle recently hammered OneWorld 4-0, they would be favored in a rematch, which if they won, would mean they'd have to square off against Alinghi once again - hopefully better and faster for the extra experience.

An Incredible Year of Sailing

December 13 - Antigua

When Mike Harker arrived in Antigua on November 29 after crossing the Atlantic, it was not only his 56th birthday, but the end of a year of remarkable sailing. Harker, whose first offshore sail was the 2000 Ha-Ha with his Hunter 340 Wanderlust, did the Baja Bash back to California singlehanded. Then in February of this year, he took delivery in Florida of a new Hunter 460. After sorting the boat out, he sailed it singlehanded across the Atlantic via Bermuda and the Azores. The first leg to Bermuda, starting from Jacksonville, took him six days. After Harker had two solid days of sleep, his weather and routing guru, Herb Hilgenberg, said right then was the time to go, so he sailed for 13 days and nights before reaching Horta. After three days of sleeping and eating, he continued on to the next island in the chain, then did a five day sail to Lagos, Portugal. He then sailed to Gibraltar, where he was met by the doctor and lawyer who had been his crew on the Ha-Ha, and continued on to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands. He spent the summer with four to six crew aboard, filming 12 episodes of a series for German television.

In Horta
Photo Courtesy Mike Harker

After the end of summer, he singlehanded down to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, where he picked up a 23-year-old Swede and a 25-year-old German as crew for the Atlantic crossing. The first 1,000 miles was great, but then the rotary motor on the autopilot crapped out. That meant changing to one on, two off shifts for the next six days. They finally made Antigua after 18 days, completing a 12,000-mile Atlantic Circle and Western Med cruising in just 10 months.

Harker is proud to report that he had virtually no problems with either the boat or the gear. More in the January issue of Latitude 38, which will be distributed beginning December 30.

Accidental Cruisers

December 13 - Mediterranean Sea

While in Europe, Harker might have crossed paths with Terry and Shari Owen of Belmont - and now the South of France - who we're calling the 'Accidental Cruisers'. Two years ago, the couple had been content to limit their sailing to 28 years on San Francisco Bay aboard the same Ericson 27, Tango II. Then just for kicks, Terry went back East to help a fellow Coyote Point YC member find a new cruising boat. While looking at boats, Terry got the cruising bug, and before long, he and Shari were searching the United States, then Europe, for cruising boats. The oddest thing about their adventure is that they didn't have any preference about where to cruise, they were just going to start wherever they found the boat they liked. That boat turned out to be a Contest 38 at Port Grimaud, France, which is near St. Tropez.

One of the Owen's favorite anchorages in Europe
was Villefranche, just over the hill from Nice.
Photo Latitude/Richard

When asked to described their five-month adventure this summer in the Western Med, Terry and Shari can only speak in superlatives: "fantastic," "tremendous," etc. Their only regret is not starting years ago. He's in his early 60s, she's in her mid-50s. In any event, they've already got at least three more summers of cruising planned for the Med.

The White House Is Monica's Place in Auckland

December 13 - Auckland, NZ

We received the accompanying photo so long ago that we can no longer remember who sent it, but it's still pretty funny. The name of the business in this very respectable looking 'White House' on one of Auckland's better streets is Monica's Place. It's a nudie bar. So much for taking a jab at American politics.

The Cruising Season Is Alive at Paradise Resort and Marina

December 13 - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

The cruising season is going full bore at Paradise Resort and Marina in Banderas Bay, Mexico, where even an exact replica of the Niña has pulled in.

Photo Linda Miller

Earlier this week, Harbormaster Dick Markie reported 20 new boats arrived, followed by 16 the next day. If there is a dip in tourism, it's not being felt at Paradise, where the hotel is booked solid and turning away guests for even the penthouse suites, and where you'd better have reservations for the marina, or you're stone cold out of luck.

What's the secret at Paradise? They've got terrific hands-on owners, who've built - and are continuing to build - a first class facility, and then they manage it extremely well. And then they publicize it. How about a few words from the folks at Ixtapa Marina, Puerto Vallarta Marina, Banderas Bay Marina, Mazatlan and El Cid Marinas, Palmilla and Marina de La Paz, and all the rest? What's happening at your places?


December 13 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace

Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? The YOTREPS daily yacht tracking page has moved to

Weather Updates

December 13 - 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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