Photos of the Day

May 9 - Benicia

Today's Photos of the Day are from Tim and Laurie Merrill, and are of their Tout Suite during the recent Opening Day and Blessing of the Fleet at Benicia. "We have now won best overall for three years in a row," they report. "This year's theme was Freedom of the Seas."


Photos Courtesy Tout Suite

illbruck Takes Transatlantic Leg

May 9 - La Rochelle, France

John Kostecki of Fairfax and his crew aboard illbruck crossed the La Rochelle finish line last night to win the transatlantic leg of the Volvo Ocean Race - despite suffering from the flu. During their swift 10-day crossing, they covered 484 miles in 24 hours, to set a new monohull record. Indeed, they are the only monohull sailors to have ever averaged over 20 knots for 24 hours. illbruck has been outstanding in the long ocean legs, having won all four of them. Currently they have an eight point lead over Assa Abloy with just two legs left. In other words, only a total collapse - and maybe not even that - will keep illbruck from winning the Volvo.

illbruck after finishing the Leg 7 finish line
Photo Rick Tomlinson

Bruno and the 'G' Class

May 9 - Atlantic Ocean

In Part II of James Boyd's interview with Bruno Peyron in, Bruno explains that his upcoming plans call for racing against other maxi cats - and hopefully the maxi tri Geronimo - this summer. By the end of the year, however, he will sell his record-breaking Orange. He says three syndicates are interested and that price is not the issue, but more who will be willing to commit to participation in the 2004 version of The Race. Peyron will be doing 2004's The Race on his own boat, an even larger catamaran. As far as Peyron is concerned, trimarans have not demonstrated any superiority over cats in the ocean. Peyron is all calling for a 'G' class of boats, as in 'Grand'. This would include all the maxi multihulls, the new Mari Cha and other performance maxi monohulls, and Open 60s, which have demonstrated better than maxi performance.

Just 17 Miles

May 9 - Red Sea

Yesterday we reported that the Rakelley family of the Portland-based Cascade 36 Voyager told us they had only gone to weather for 17 miles of their trip up the Red Sea. While we didn't disbelieve them, this sounded almost impossible, so we wrote to ask for confirmation. It turns out that it's true. Indeed, the Dana Point based Sea Glass and another yacht sailed all the way up the Red Sea without having to sail to weather. This is almost unheard of. On the other hand, another Northern California boat, Tony Johnson's Ericson 39 Maverick got hammered.

More Bad News for Leopard

May 9 - Southampton, England

It's been a horrible month for Brit Mike Slade's near new R/P 90 Leopard of London. During a delivery trip from Antigua to England, they hit something, causing severe damage to the rudder post. So much water rushed in that the crew estimated the boat would have gone down in 15 minutes were it not for a watertight bulkhead. After trying to stay with the vessel, they finally abandoned her.

She was later picked up by a tug and towed to port in Spain. After the hole was sealed up, it was decided that she should be shipped back to England for repairs. A special cradle was shipped to Spain, and she was loaded aboard the yacht transport vessel Connick III. Nobody saw it happen, but in Force Five conditions, she moved, sliding halfway off the deck. Were it not for the ship's crane, she probably would have fallen overboard! Nonetheless, the movement caused the forward cradle to punch a large hole forward on her port side. Some think the boat will be repaired by Christmas, others think the prospects aren't so good.

Slade once did the St. Francis YC's Big Boat Series with the Farr maxi Longobarda. His boat had some trouble here, too, running hard aground trying to get back to the club.

For a great photo of the current mishap to Leopard, visit


May 9 - 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 9 - 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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