Photo of the Day

May 8 - Brittany, France

Today's Photo of the Day is of Bruno Peyron's Orange, and comes from the Web site, which today features the first segment of an excellent two-part interview with Peyron.

Photo Gilles Martin-Raget/

Folks not familiar with Peyron might assume the 46-year-old - who had sailed around the world twice non-stop on multihulls and came up with idea of The Race - is some kind of wild man. Au contraire! Despite having done 280,000 ocean miles on big multihulls, Peyron is a very conservative sailor, and told Boyd that a big part of picking his crew was getting guys who would accept the philosophy that with a big multihull, unlike a monohull, you don't always sail with the pedal to the metal. The reason is that big multihulls are capable of such great speeds that catastrophe would be the result of never backing off. Indeed, on both his Jules Verne record runs, Peyron opted to heave to. How do you drop the main to heave to in 60 knots of wind? Check out the interview at

Getting Bashed on the Way Up Baja

May 8 - Baja California

Bob Fraik of the SC 52 Impulse has the latest on boats getting hammered doing the Baja Bash:

"Two boats, Wings and Blarney3, diverted to San Carlos to help Rob and Kristen on the Pearson 36 ketch Sol Mates, which lost her steering. Wings had the parts to make the steering cable repair. Adam on Blarney3 arrived this morning and was going to help Rob with the repair. We're still not sure if we are going down to help them bring Sol Mates the rest of the way home. I talked to Adam and Rob briefly this morning via SSB and it sounds like they have everything under control, so I probably will not need to go.

"Another unfortunate situation has developed with the boat Brass Ring. During this morning's Amigo Net, Brass Ring called in with a medical priority. The skipper reported that the boat's engine is out and that she's slowly taking on water. The skipper has leukemia, was extremely fatigued, and was having medical issues. He requested assistance, so I called the Coast Guard, who then contacted the Mexican Navy Search and Rescue. We have been in contact with the Coast Guard several times today, as we have been trying pass messages back to Brass Ring. The Coast Guard has arranged for a helicopter to pick up the skipper - who is apparently singlehanding - from San Juanico. At last word, Brass Ring did make it into San Juanico.

"I also overheard that Fantasy dropped their rig. There were no injuries reported. I'm not exactly sure where they are."

As we reported earlier, Rich Mullinax of the Martinez-based Beneteau 446 Still Searching decided to come north using the Clipper Route as opposed to doing the Baja Bash. It worked out well for him. Check out his report in the June issue of Latitude 38.


Rich Mullinax
Photo Latitude/Richard

Volvo Ocean Race

May 8 - Atlantic Ocean

John Kostecki and illbruck continue to maintain about a 40-mile lead over Mark Rudiger and Assa Abloy in the transatlantic leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Kostecki and illbruck seem to have profited from their extreme preparation for the race, as they're almost always just a little faster than the competition. If illbruck wins this leg, they virtually have the event wrapped up.

For what it's worth, Volvo paid $7.5 million to acquire the rights to the event, and another $25 million to run it. Are they getting their money's worth?

Photo Daniel Forster/illbruck Challenge

It Was No Bash Up the Red Sea

May 8 - Red Sea

If there's one common passage in the world of cruising that has a worse reputation than the Baja Bash, it's the northerly trip up the Red Sea. It's about the same distance as the BB, and the battle is against the same strong winds on the nose. Ironically, some boats had an extremely unusual - and easy - trip up the Red Sea this year. Tom Rakelly and family of the Portland-based Cascade 36 Voyager, for example, reported that they only had 17 miles when the wind was on the nose. To our mind, this is the equivalent of having summer winds out of the east on San Francisco Bay for 29 out of 30 days. In fact, we wrote to ask confirmation. This is the reply that we got:

"The wind was reported to be abnormal this year by the Harbormaster Philip at Abu Tig Marina in Egypt. But we don't know this as a fact, being that this was our first trip in the Red Sea. However, we only tacked into the wind for 17 miles, all the rest of the time the wind was coming from behind the beam. We did use for our weather forecast. Each morning on the radio net, a yacht would read the Wetteronline four-day forecasts. They proved to be very accurate. There were several yachts - Sea Glass out of Dana Point and Star of the West out of Auckland - that sailed the entire way without sailing into northerly winds.

"Tony and Terry of the Richmond-based Ericson 39 Maverick - often featured in Changes - are stuck in Abu Tig Marina getting their engine rebuilt. The two of them wanted a Red Sea experience to remember, so he sailed non-stop from Massawa to Abu Tig, bashing headwinds almost every day - and 'wine-ing' about his helpless state every day on the morning net. His story has a sad ending, as it only took us three more days than them to get north, and we got to see so much more of the coast and the reefs, which were just beautiful. Tony is a great guy and a better man than me for sailing the Red Sea non-stop, but I think we did it a better way."

Voyager in the Suez Canal
Photo Courtesy Voyager

Three Men Overboard

May 8 - Santa Cruz

"The recent Moore 24 Nationals at Santa Cruz featured three days of good racing in mostly 15-20 knot winds and three-foot seas," reports Skip Allan of the Wylie 28 Wildflower. "You wouldn't think falling overboard was a serious risk in such conditions, but during Race 3, one of the leading boats did a windward broach while planing under spinnaker - and two cockpit crew and the helmsman were flushed overboard. After spending about five minutes in the 52-degree water, two of the swimmers were recovered by their remaining two crew, who did a great job in dousing their spinnaker and making a return. Their helmsman, however, was in trouble and sinking fast. His race-required lifejacket was not keeping him afloat, and only the top of his head was visible when I pulled him alongside using a Life-Sling polypro rope. Being a singlehanded spectator to the racing, I was unable to lift him aboard amidships, but did manage to get him aboard via the stern ladder. Despite coughing up a lot of water, he was recovering well by the time we reached the dock. But it was a near thing, and in another minute he may well have sunk for good. I feel the direct cause was the Musto Regatta lifevest he was wearing did not provide the minimum flotation to keep him afloat. This popular brand of lifevest is worn by many sailors primarily for its comfort, not for its life-saving ability. It is not Coast Guard approved, and only gives nine pounds flotation when new. It appears the flotation of bubblewrap filling is subject to deterioration, especially when hiking hard against lifelines. If you go overboard wearing cold water sailing gear and boots, this type of lifevest may not keep you afloat.

"With all the comfortable, Coast Guard approved, foam filled lifevests now available, it is a mystery to me why regatta organizers currently allow such non-approved vests to satisfy their PFD requirement. Judging from the Moore 24 incident, this is a false sense of security and nothing more. If you or your children rely on such a vest in Northern California sailing conditions, I would give it a second look. The tragedy of Larry Klein is too fresh to be forgotten.

"My participation in the recovery was non-heroic, but rather what any professional seaman would have done in the circumstances. Nonetheless, it was discouraging to me that about 12-15 racers passed in proximity to the swimmers, but nobody stopped or came back, except for the boat that had lost the crew over! The two excuses that I heard were 'we were going so fast that by the time we would have doused, we were past them,' and 'we saw other boats in the vicinity, and thought they were taking care of things.' I don't wish to make an issue of this separate part of the day's happenings, other than to point out that the very first racing rule of Part 1, Fundamental Rules, Rule number 1 is 'A BOAT OR COMPETITOR SHALL GIVE ALL POSSIBLE HELP TO ANY PERSON OR VESSEL IN DANGER.' Which brings up an interesting question. At what point is a person overboard 'in danger?' In the tropics, it may be one thing, and in 52-degree water with wind waves, it may be another.

"Interestingly, as I sailed close-hauled on starboard tack to the scene of the three swimmers, a port tack tailender, not under spinnaker, came barreling at me, shouting 'get out of the race course!' When I pointed out the swimmers, they stopped shouting at me - but sped right on by. Again, I do not wish to criticize the participants in the Moore Class Nationals, as many are my friends. In the heat of action, sometimes decisions can get blurred. But lives could have been lost in this situation."

Can we all agree that any sailor who has gone overboard in Northern California waters is 'in danger', and that nobody should ever sail by someone - or group - who has gone overboard, at least until they are absolutely, positively certain that a successful rescue is underway?


May 8 - 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

May 8 - 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 another view, see

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