Photos of the Day

January 25 - Panama

Today's Photo of the Day is of Amanda Swan-Neal of the Seattle-based Hallberg-Rassy 46 Mahina Tiare taking a freshwater shower in the dinghy. In Panama. When it rains in Panama, it really pours. And it rains just about every day. If it didn't, there wouldn't be enough fresh water to operate the Canal. Amanda and her husband John Neal have just returned to the Pacific after sailing to the very high latitudes of Europe. They are now on their way to Hawaii.

The other shot is of the Panama City skyline as viewed by yachts anchored out at Isla Flamenco YC. The closer you get, the less impressive the skyline gets. As for the Flamenco YC, which is really a boatyard/marina, the more impressive it seems. They have a huge Travelift, 160 slips, excellent security, and all the trimmings. It's going to become a major yacht center.

Photos John Neal

Yesterday's Mystery Photo Revealed

January 25 - South Pacific

"It's Savu Savu, Fiji," says Jim Coggan. "We chartered a 36-ft ketch there in '91 for two weeks. Our kids Chris and Brian were 9 and 6 at the time. Our captain was a wonderful Fijian named Stephen. We were able to go east past Taviuni to Vanua Mbalavu. The people were great, the diving was pristine, and the fish were plentiful. We saw only one other cruiser the entire time. It was a great adventure for our family, and we frequently talk about returning . . . aboard our own boat."

George Backhus of the Sausalito-based Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow - currently in Auckland - was a little more precise. "The photo is of the Copra Shed 'Marina' in Savusavu. It's a great place and town . . . when Fiji isn't 'couping'. Say, isn't that Keith MacKenzie's Crowther cat What's Up Doc?"

Yes, it is Doc. In fact, here's another photo of his cat, this time from Penrhyrn Atoll in the Northern Cooks.

Photo Keith MacKenzie

And no, there isn't any prize for getting it right.

Long Beach YC's Congressional Cup Becomes Part of World Tour

January 25 - Long Beach

The Swedish Match Tour, the world's leading professional sailing tour, announced that the Long Beach YC's Congressional Cup, to be held April 7-13 this year, has become part of the tour. The Congressional Cup is one of the oldest and most prestigious match racing events in the world, and is currently one of only two Grade 1 match race regattas in the United States. Previous winners of the Congressional Cup include Dennis Conner, Bill Ficker, Ted Turner, Terry Hutchinson, Chris Law, Peter Gilmour, Gavin Brady, Peter Holmberg, Chris Dickson and Dean Barker. The Congressional Cup will be the fifth event of Swedish Match Tour 2001-02.

It should be added that the Congressional Cup offers superb viewing for spectators from the Seal Beach Pier. The match racing battles between some of the world's best sailors bring their competing boats within just feet of the Pier in the heat of action. The accompanying photo shows you what all spectators get to see from close up. Great stuff, don't miss it!

Photo Latitude/Richard

Cape Horn to Port in Next Leg of Volvo

January 25 - Auckland, NZ

It's back into the freezing Southern Ocean for the crews on Sunday when they start the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race - 6,700 nautical miles from Auckland, New Zealand, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is the leg of the race that takes the fleet around Cape Horn, a very symbolic landmark for seafarers, and back up into the South Atlantic, and it is the last of the long ocean passages. For many, it will be their first time rounding the famous Cape. Will they take a little alcohol to pour into the sea in honor of the sailors who have lost their lives there in years gone past? Will they pierce their left ear and wear a golden earring as they have earned the right to do?

Wind is what the Volvo Ocean racers want, and plenty of it! They will search for the depressions and strong winds of the Roaring Forties and the Screaming Fifties. The most direct route would take the fleet to 65 degrees south, increasing the risk of icebergs and very cold weather significantly. Too far south and they run the real risk of being to the south of the depressions and finding strong headwinds. The sailing will be fast, with mainly following winds, until Cape Horn, where the seas and the wind will funnel between Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic peninsula. The weather there can feature some of the roughest conditions in the world before the fleet turns hard left and enters the South Atlantic.

Cape Horn marks the dividing line between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic to the east. The Cape is the southernmost point of a not-very-large island and therefore is not part of the landmass of South America being separated from Tierra del Fuego by the Beagle Channel. Tierra del Fuego itself is separated from South America by the Straits of Magellan. Once round Cape Horn and heading north, the winds become lighter and more variable. "You go from wild and cold to possibly very humid, hot and thundery," explains Neal McDonald. "You have to cater for all those conditions with sail selection, food, clothing. It's a leg that takes the most organization, and, statistically, it is the leg that causes the most carnage."

Small Women and Big Cats

January 25 - London, UK

Tracy Edwards used to be the heroine of British sailors. Then along came Ellen MacArthur, whose achievements have far eclipsed Edwards - and just about everyone else's. But it now seems that the two women may do battle in an around-the-world race with maxi cats. While at the London Boat Show, MacArthur announced that next winter she'd be racing one of the Gilles Ollier 110-ft maxi cats around the world non-stop. But now it's widely rumored that Edwards - whose all-women assault on the Jules Verne record with the old ENZA was halted by a dismasting - will be chartering Club Med, a sistership to MacArthur's boat, to go after that same record. Edwards, however, will not be on the boat, but just putting together the all-female team.

Photo Courtesy Club Med

Leave it to a Frenchwoman, however, to top all that. Frances Arthaud, who set all kinds of record with the trimaran Pierre 1er, which Steve Fossett later bought and campaigned as Lakota, is reported to have something even more spectacular planned. Her former boyfriend - and still good friend - Philou, tells us that Frances is putting together a charter to singlehand the maxi trimaran Sport Elec - which currently holds the Jules Verne around-the-world record - to go after the record . . . singlehanded! This would be something, to because our knowledge, nobody has ever taken a maxi multihull around the world. We're not even sure it's possible.


January 25 - 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

January 25 - 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

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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