Thierry Overtakes Emma After Pindar Loses Main Halyard

November 8 - Atlantic Ocean

Thierry Dubois and Solidaires have moved to second place in the Around Alone Race after Emma Richards lost her main halyard on Pindar. Dubois jokingly reports: "There was only one charming creature on the Atlantic Ocean yesterday, and it was fate, destiny, chance - some force of attraction? - that I crossed her path. Perfect or what! No dream or hallucination after several weeks at sea on my own, not a siren sent by the Swiss gods to lead me astray, but a real woman, girl, a beauty...the charming EMMA on her beautiful boat! I steered towards her, hoping that I would surprise her in the middle of a sunbathing session on the deck in a skimpy bikini, instead there's no one about and nobody answers the VHF. Musing that she was frightened by the approach of a big bad sailor, recognizable by his beard and his smell, she had to hide herself in her cabin, I told myself. Disappointed, gutted even, I sailed off on my route against my will, on my own... I'm a lonesome poor skipper!

"Once out of sight, at a good distance, I receive a message from her: what cheek! She was taking refuge up her mast! She was inventing terrible excuses on the lines of 'I was busy replacing my main halyard'...well it was too late by then!"

Richards reported yesterday on her disaster: "I couldn't believe it. Last night my little world of boat, sea and race fell around my ears again. A few hours after dark, the main halyard snapped, dropping the whole mainsail to the deck in less than a second (only wish I could hoist it that fast!) It has snapped right at the top, so I have no choice but to don my hard hat and drag myself up the mast to replace the halyard.

"I would have done it immediately but it was pitch black last night and so I was bound to make a simple error that would force me to go up again this morning, and I doubt the bruising that is bound to occur as I bounce my way up the mast will permit me two trips up there.

"I got some sleep and with a clear head this morning I have a new halyard ready to go. I have also taken a spare block and lashing in case that was the cause of the chafe, a knife to cut away the old dead end up of halyard up there, and a lashing to lash me to the mast so I could use both hands to work instead of just holding on for dear life in an awful motion. There is a horrible sea running as the wind has been shifting round which will not make my life any easier. At least I'm not scared of heights! Ems x"

Leader Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group-Armor Lux has run out of straight road as the South Atlantic High is sitting right in front of his bow. Only one option was open to the Swiss skipper in his mind - to head down to the fringes of the 'roaring forties':

"I had to take the bull by the horns and jibe south after my downwind run through the narrow passage between the two high pressure systems. Three hours later, 35 knots of wind and 4.5m (approx. 15 feet) waves, a battering guaranteed!"

Frenchman Thierry Dubois,
skipper of Open 60 Solidaires
Photo Thierry Martinez
Courtesy Around Alone

Solidaires sailing with a special spinnaker designed by French schoolchildren for
Amnesty International
Photo Courtesy Around Alone

Emma Richards, British
skipper of Open 60 Pindar
Photo Thierry Martinez
Courtesy Around Alone

Pindar, in New York Harbor at the start

Big Name Racing in the Virgins

November 8 - Virgin Gorda, BVI

Last year, the finals of the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship Regatta were sailed in 20-25 knots of wind, but anyone who prepared for those conditions this year was in for a big surprise. This year, the waters off the North Sound in front of host club Bitter End YC were dead flat with just 4-6 knots of breeze for most of the
racing in Rhodes 19s. There were also enough big shifts to make lake sailor Andy Burdick feel right at home. Sailing with crew Dawn Riley, Burdick never finished worse than second to win the five-race event going away.

Final Results: 1. Andy Burdick / Dawn Riley, 7; 2. Keith Musto / Guy de Boer, 14; 3; Tom Leweck / Butch Ullmer, 15; 4. Nigel Musto / Ian MacKechnie, 16; 5.
Mary Jordan / Julia McKiever, 25; 6. Kristen & Peter Lane, 26.

The Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship Regatta is part of the bigger Pro-Am Regatta which finishes today, with Latitude 38's Racing Editor crewing on one of the Freedom 30 yachts provided for the event. Celebrity skippers include Ed Baird, 3-time Pro Am winner; Mark Reynolds, Olympic Star Gold Medalist; Marie Bjorling, Top-Ranked Women's Match Racer from Sweden; Dawn Riley, America's Cup and Around the World veteran; Lowell North, the legendary 'Professor'; Rod Johnstone, 2000 Winner; Butch Ullmer, 1999 Winner; Keith Musto, the U.K.'s best known dinghy sailor; and Tom Leweck, 2001 Winner, the 'Curmudgeon' of Scuttlebutt. See our report in the December issue of Latitude 38.

Summer Sailstice 2003

November 8 - Northern Hemisphere

Summer may seem like a long way off today, but some folks are already planning for it. June 21 marks the summer solstice, and the third annual Summer Sailstice. The Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVIs, and Albatross Yacht Charters in Poros, Greece, plan to join the venues participating. In 2002, Summer Sailstice was celebrated in 36 states in the U.S., five Canadian provinces, the Virgin Islands, Mexico and New Zealand, with almost 400 boats participating.

Summer Sailstice is a new holiday just for sailors. It's easy to participate - just log onto and sign up to be eligible for great prizes. Then plan your own sailing celebration wherever you sail. The Web site is designed to help you find crew, a boat to crew on, announce your individual participation or offer to host a gathering or raft up.

30 Yachts celebrated Sailstice 2002 at the Jeanneau Rendezvous, Bedwell Harbour on South Pender Island, BC. 
Photo Courtesy

For information on sailing in the BVIs or Poros, Greece, for Summer Sailstice, please contact the Bitter End Yacht Club at (800) 872-2392 and Albatross Yacht Charters at (800) 377-8877.

Route du Rhum

November 8 - St. Malo, France

The Route du Rhum, from St. Malo, France, on the English Channel, to Guadaloupe Island in the Caribbean, starts this weekend.

Lionel Lemonchois, skipper of the trimaran Gitana X, reports, "Rather strong south westerly winds (25-30 knots) are forecast for the exit to the Channel. I've not met those sort of conditions with this boat. But there's no reason for everything not to go perfectly well. We'll take things steady, get through the mind field before stepping on the gas. The main thing is to avoid gear failure."

Sylvain Mondon from Météo France explains the reference to mine fields: "With the wind which has been blowing over the Atlantic in the last few days, we are going to run into waves five meters (16.5 feet) high."

Anne Caseneuve, who is entered on a 50-foot multihull had her boat's onboard laptop stolen the day before yesterday. As Gitana Team has one spare, they have lent it to Anne for the race, in an example of the solidarity between the participants in this race.

Gitana X, her most visible differences X-shaped crossbeams and banana-shaped floats, awaits Sunday's start at the harbor in St. Malo.

In spite of the persistent rain of the past three days, the 59 boats of this seventh edition attract the madding crowds. The dockside is heaving with the densely packed crowds.

Red Right Returning, then Hard Right

November 8 - San Mateo

Bob Frank writes, "Attached are a couple of photos that are somewhat comical. Both are of a powerboat in Coyote Point in San Mateo a few weeks ago.

"The photo above clearly shows the channel markers; don't know what this guy was thinking (or doing); even at high tide, he must have been MOVING to climb up those rocks.

Photos Bob Frank

"Maybe you could have a reader contest on best 'excuse', e.g.:
'dropped the wine glasses, uhhh, I mean eye glasses',
'sorry, cell phone rang in the cabin and I had to get it',
'an alien space craft came out of nowhere and I dodged to miss it',
'the guy fishing on the jetty hooked a huge shark, so I swerved not to cut
his line',
'I guess my GPS needs calibration'

Good idea, Bob. We'll send a 'Roving Reporter' T-shirt to the reader who sends in the best ('best' being subjectively defined by whoever's handy in the office) excuse by 1000 PST Monday morning. (We'll send a T-shirt to Bob too.) Send your responses to the webmistress.

"On another subject: I posed a question to BAMA on how to boat-break a dog (a house-broken Lab in my case) for overnighting on the water. She does great when we daysail, but she explodes when we get back to the marina - absolutely amazing holding power. Overnighting in the marina is no problem.

"The challenge: How do you train her to 'go' in the cockpit when you overnight on the boat?"

If you have any experience meeting the above challenge, email your advice for Bob to 'Lectronic Latitude.


November 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

November 8 - Pacific Ocean

Weather Most Foul

70 mph winds, high surf, flooding, widespread power outages, property damage, closed highways, bridges and schools, and various other infrastructure failures - no, not another hurricane, it's the first big winter storm of the season raining destruction on Northern and Central California, just two weeks after Hurricane Kenna ravaged the west coast of Mexico.

Whereas all Bay Area bridges are open today, last night the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was closed due to high winds, and motorists on the Bay Bridge had to navigate in the dark. Also during the night, a 700-ft dry dock barge broke free of Pier 70 in San Francisco and drifted toward the Bay Bridge. Three tug boat captains captured the barge at Yerba Buena Island before it could hit the bridge.

Winds are more moderate right now, but high wind warnings are still in effect, with winds predicted to gust up to 50 mph this evening. A flood warning has been posted for coastal areas from Sonoma County through Monterey County, and high surf and small craft advisories are in effect through the weekend. An urban small stream warning is in effect through at least 1600 today. Expect flooding to worsen in the usual areas around high tide (1318 at the Golden Gate). As we post this, it is high tide in Pacifica, and the surf is putting on quite a show, with occasional waves crashing over the seawall and onto the sidewalk, even crossing the street!

For updates and details, listen to the radio, particularly KCBS (740 AM), or see and check the weather links below. In particular, has a good diagram of the various storm watches and warnings, but has been a little slow to load this mooring. You can also call the weather service at (831) 656-1725. CNN has some good photos and video at

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 views of sea states anywhere in the world, see

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