Californian Tops Miami SORC

March 11 - Miami Beach, FL

The 2002 Acura Southern Ocean Racing Conference regatta wrapped up yesterday in Miami Beach, with defending Farr 40 SORC champion John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti garnering another class championship and the U.S. National Championship. A second place finish in the day's first race sealed the deal for the El Segundo-based boat, familiar to Bay Area racers. The eleven point margin of victory at this year's event was significantly more comfortable than Samba Pa Ti's .25 point victory last year over Boston-based James Richardson's Barking Mad which was also runner-up this year. "It's really special, not only to defend the title but claim a National Championship in the process," said Kilroy. "The field here this week was outstanding and I really need to single out our new tactician, Jeff Madrigali, who was huge for us this week in finding 'good wind' in some challenging conditions." Kilroy also was awarded the Mark H. Baxter Trophy, presented for the best performance by a Farr 40 in the regatta.

The other California boats in the Farr 40 division, George Andreadis' Atalanti XII of San Diego and Non Sequitur, a familiar boat on SF Bay sailed by Dick Watts and Tom Thayer, took third and seventeenth respectively in the 20-boat fleet, the largest of the regatta. Hasso Plattner's Morning Glory came in fourth.

Racing was held Thursday through Sunday for the Farr 40, IMS and PHRF classes; Friday through Sunday for Melges 24, Mumm 30 and J/105 classes. For complete results and more of Sharon Green's action photos, visit

Sunday's action under blue skies and fair winds
Photos Sharon Green

Volvo Leg 5 Starts with a Bang

March 11 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This weekend, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet picked their way through the largest spectator fleet yet to start Leg 5 from Rio de Janeiro to Miami, a total of 4,450 nautical miles. Pushed by a 6-7 knot breeze, the Volvo Ocean 60s sailed out of Baia da Guanabana. djuice stunned the crowd with her speed in light airs but it was Grant Dalton's Amer Sports One that led the fleet into Leg 5.

In a classic port-starboard incident Team SEB t-boned illbruck Challenge on the first night out while they were short-tacking towards Cabo Frio. "We had a port and starboard, us on port them on starboard," explained SEB skipper Gunnar Krantz sheepishly. "We tried to duck them and missed the duck and touched them on the port aft corner with our bow."

The Swedish skipper accepted that the error had been theirs. "The problem was probably miscommunication maybe or something that went wrong. We haven't changed anything, we just did our 720 and continued racing. We'll look into it further down the track."

SEB was attempting to duck illbruck's transom and traveling at around 8 knots when her bow struck illbruck. illbruck skipper John Kostecki said that the collision was roughly one meter (3.3 feet) forward from the transom. Fortunately because the impact was on their leeward side, all the crew were on the opposite side of the boat, so no one was hurt.  The impact gouged a hole, the "size of your fist" in illbruck's hull, he said.

The Swedish boat's stem then scraped down the hull, in the process ripping out the aft stanchion that holds illbruck's guardrails. "It was pretty surprising," Kostecki commented, "it was 13 knots of wind and we had jibs up so it wasn't like the big overlapping Code Zero where you couldn't see to leeward. The visibility was good. I don't know - they just mistimed it I guess and hit us."

John Kostecki says that they were able to fill the hole before dark last night and will make further repairs this morning. He adds that he will be protesting SEB because of the damage. "It is hard to measure. We had 2-3 guys in the back on the leeward side of the boat trying to fix it. Maybe we lost half a mile or something."

Shortly later illbruck was stricken by bad luck when a strop, holding the big Code Zero sail broke and the sail was dropped into the water. To resolve the situation, illbruck had to bear away and ended up in the southernmost position of the fleet. "We had to go downwind to retrieve it and we had to go downwind to put it back up again and when we put it back up again we noticed it was torn." At one point the overall leader was in last place, but has worked her way back to fifth.

This marching band was part of the festivities
that saw the fleet off in Rio de Janeiro.
Photo Carlo Borlenghi/SEA&SEE

The gun goes off and Leg 5 begins.

djuice crosses in front of illbruck

A classic example of a port-starboard crossing:
djuice is on starboard and has rights;
Assa Abloy is on port tack and
(successfully) ducks djuice's transom.

Sailing Photos Rick Tomlinson

In the third day of the fifth leg, Team News Corp, having taken a flyer to the inside, is sailing west of the rest and is out ahead. News Corp could still gain from the early advantage of the weaker Brazilian current closer to the coast of Brazil. Once Jez Fanstone decides to go further offshore, this advantage should be equalized.

For details and more photos, see

Women Get to Learn Sailing

March 11 - San Francisco Bay Area

A couple of sailing clinics hosted by Bay Area yacht clubs are fast approaching. They may not prepare you for the Volvo Ocean Race, but could lead to a crew position on a racing yacht, a berth on a cruiser, or fun on your own boat. The Richmond Yacht Club's Women's Dinghy Clinic is on March 23 and 24. Taught in El Toros, this event is for beginning and intermediate sailors and costs $50-$60, plus $50 to charter a boat. For details and a registration form, see

More interested in keelboat sailing? Check out the Corinthian Yacht Club's Women's Sailing Seminars. They are scheduled for May 4-5 (Fundamentals) and May 18-19 (Spinnakers and Racing). The charge is $125 for one weekend, $225 for both weekends for members; and $145 one weekend, $250 two weekends for non-members. Info and an application are available at


March 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

Weather Updates

March 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 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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