Photo of the Day
February 11 - Isla Grande, Mexico
Somebody stole my favorite stick! Today's Photo of the Day is of a bunch of Profligate crew sitting on or around the Wanderer's favorite surfboard at Isla Grande near Ixtapa/Z-town early this month.
Two days later, we moved Profligate into Ixtapa Marina while we returned to the States to resume work. A day later this beloved board - an 11-ft single fin Surf Tech shaped by Mickey Munoz with wood veneer with a band of purple colored Hawaiian doodling - was ripped off by some miscreant. If you should happen to see this board, please seize it on our behalf. You'll be justly rewarded. The theft comes as a major surprise to us, as Elsa, the very pleasant harbormaster, and several tenants assured us the harbor had excellent security. We suppose we should have invited some of the resident crocs to stay aboard during our absence.
Zihua Sail Fest
February 11 - Zihua Bay, Mexico
This was an event that almost didn't happen again. The Wanderer had dreamed of a semi-organized late January sailing event in Z-town for the last two years - in part because it would give him an impetus to make the 200-mile sail south of Manzanillo, the southern tip of Mexico's Gold Coast. Friends Jan and Signe aboard the Deerfoot 64 Raven, and Blair and Joan Grinols aboard the 45-ft Capricorn Cat, gave positive response to the concept, with the Grinols agreeing to take any and all aboard in a fund-raising race against Profligate. Alas, it didn't come together last winter, and by mid-January, it looked like lassitude was once again going to rule. That's when Rick of Rick's Bar, Jimmie Zinn of Dry Martini, and other cruisers really picked up the ball, making arrangements with the port captain and navy, getting shirts made, and beer donated. With them having done so much work, there was no way we could not come down with Profligate.
The Zihua Fest started with a Friday sunset raft-up aboard Profligate and Capricorn Cat, with snacks brought by cruisers, and many cases of beer provided by Sol and Corona. Originally it was just going to be a dinghy-in party on Profligate, but fortunately the ever cooperative Blair decided at the last moment to bring his cat over for a raft-up. It was a good thing he did, because nearly 100 people showed up. Everyone had a fine time and enjoyed the sunset for which Z-town is renowned.
Saturday was the boat parade around the harbor and up to Ixtapa, where boats set sails to try and sail back to Z-town in light air. The fleet was honored to have the port captain, well-liked by the cruisers, and other dignitaries lead the way. A film crew also came down from Mexico City - alas, it was an unusually hazy day with very, very little wind. Oh well.
That night there was a big burger fest with traditional entertainment at Rick's Bar. During the evening festivities, Jimmie Zinn introduced some kids from the Netzahualcoyotl Indian School in Z-town, as the school would be the recipient of the funds raised.
On Superbowl Sunday, Adam Sadeg of Blarney 3 organized beach games, while Capricorn Cat and Profligate had their match race for charity. Cap Cat took about 30 guests, while the larger Profligate carried about 40. Things didn't look good at the start, as there was almost no wind. Fortunately, there was about 6 to 8 knots later in the day so we had some decent sailing with the nylon sails up.
As always, the waters outside of Z-town were bluer than blue, and the race was briefly interrupted so everybody could take an offshore swim - something that might add interest to the America's Cup. After most of the crew were recovered, the racing was resumed. Down by the leeward mark of Guano Island, a humpback whale made a dramatic breech, and for the next five minutes slapped the water. The Wanderer likes to think he was waving to him.
All Photos Dustin Except as Marked
Volvo Ocean Race
February 11 - South Atlantic Ocean
Corrections on a Dismasting
February 11 - Southern Ocean
"Conditions were as hard as one can only imagine. Snow storms and winds up to 48 knots in the squalls. Really freaky waves, as always down here. We had a storm chute, small jiffy reef in the main, and a storm jib in the foil just in case. The gradient wind varied from 28-32 knots. Conditions change from very hard to severe in just a few seconds. Pitch black, snow and the power of the wind just became too much. The spinnaker was rigged with a 'martin-braker' - emergency release to trigger the shackle that holds the spinnaker at the spinnaker pole, which can be operated from the deck. We did not even have time to release the spinnaker with the 'martin-braker' when the wind shift and strong gust with snow came in. We went flat on our side the wrong way. I believe, had the rig not broken, we could have totally submerged the boat.
"The big waves came in through the companionway. Remember the knockdown of Amer Sports One? We have two companionways further apart, further outboard. The rig did not have a failure itself: It was a result of us being knocked over. We do not know whether hitting the mast in the water and overloading it, or something else caused the mast to break. Likely speed of SEB when hitting the rig in the water was 27 knots, so the loads on the rig when smacking the water must have been enormous. After this giant hand pulled the boat over, there was water flooding through the hatch and then a first bang, which was followed by the sound of breaking carbon.
"The hull, which was over at 90 degrees, stood up as the rig gave away over the side. The terrible noise of breaking parts and water moving around inside was left for us. A quick check that everybody was still onboard and not injured took away the first knot in the stomach. We then went ahead and tried to get the rig organized and back onboard, but it seemed too dangerous after a while. The splinters of damaged parts of carbon were everywhere, just waiting to cut somebody up. To wait four hours for daylight was not an option. By then the hull would have been severely damaged. The waves were doing their best to increase the damages when the mast tube was crushing on the sheer line. By far the safest option was to let it go."
Photo Oskar Kihlborg/ Magnus Woxen/Denniz Corsman/Team SEB
February 11 - 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 http://www.bitwrangler.com/yotreps/
February 11 - 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 http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/wind/. The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay has moved to www.wrh.noaa.gov/Monterey/.
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.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/stuff/southwest/swstmap.shtml.
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
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