Photos of the Day
November 12 - Atlantic Ocean
The first couple of days of the Route du Rhum have featured carnage to several boats and attrition of the fleet. At 1730 GMT yesterday, Lionel Lemonchois reported that the upper part of the mast had just broke while Gitana X was sailing upwind with a reefed main sail and the small jib, with 20-25 knots of southwesterly wind. The sea was beginning to grow heavier, with waves reaching approximately 10 feet. Gitana was averaging about 12 knots.
For reasons as yet unknown, the spar broke approximately 23 feet below the masthead, right at the top of the mainsail (which had two reefs), and below the staysail stay fixation point.
Lemonchois managed to secure the broken part onto the undamaged mast portion and started to head back home, downwind, towards La Trinité-sur-Mer on the Atlantic Coast of southern Brittany, about 200 miles away.
With the expected strong winds, Lionel's main problem was to slow down the boat, since it was impossible to lower the mainsail, which was hooked at the second reef point, and obviously he couldn't use the halyards. He decided to let the ropes drag behind the boat, in order to keep the speed below 20 knots. Eventually, he was able to get the main down, and reached port in 17 hours under squally skies.
In the wee hours of the morning, Francis Joyon on Eure & LoireLorénove confirmed to the Race Committee that he had just capsized, and that he is uninjured. He was 175 nautical miles from La Corogne (Cape of Finisterre, Spain). Joyon was sailing close hauled in a very rough sea. He was on a maneuver at the foot of the mast when he was hit by a squall. "The boat was immediately lifted on one float and I rushed to the cockpit, but I did not have time to ease the sheets. The boat capsized in two seconds. At the moment I am hiding in the cockpit and I am trying to empty the boat of water. I will ask assistance from a tow boat. We will arrange all that today. Anyway I will not set off the distress beacon. I will stay on my boat, and I am not in distress and I do not need any further assistance."
Belgacom skippered by Jean Luc Nélias had to turn around and head towards Port La Forêt. Nélias discovered he had problems with the main sail track. The sail was blocked at the top of the mast, and he couldn't sail closehauled.
Bayer CropScience will arrive in La Trinité-sur-Mer this afternoon: Frederic Le Peutrec is having problems with his autopilot. Giovanni Soldini on TIM is in Lorient for repairs after discovering cracks in between the cockpit and back beam.
Less than 12 hours after the start of the 18-boat 60-ft ORMA trimaran fleet, race favorite Franck Cammas' Groupama capsized, and was rammed minutes later in total darkness by Jean Le Cam's Bonduelle. Neither skipper was injured. Groupama was towed to Roscoff, France, and an inspection of Bonduelle revealed damage and delamination to the port side float. Repairs are underway and Le Cam hopes to rejoin the fleet. Ten multihulls are now on their way across the Atlantic. Four have abandoned so far.
In the monohull fleet, Yannick Bestaven of the Dominican Republic, leading his class yesterday, had to head towards Lorient last night as he heard cracking noises from the keel. The 50-ft monohull Défi Vendéen is turning back to Sables d'Olonne as it is taking on water.
The Route du Rhum takes singlehanded multihull and monohull sailors from St. Malo, France, to Guadaloupe Island in the French West Indies. The monohulls started on Saturday, the multihulls on Sunday. The leaders of those multihulls still racing are now catching up to the monohulls.
Gitana X with her truncated mast
Photos Above Courtesy Gitana X
Eure & Loir on a happier day
Photo G. Martin-Raget/ Promovoile
The leaders this morning are:
60-ft Monohulls: Sill, Roland Jourdain
See www.routedurhum.org to follow this event.
Auckland Attention Turns to Big Boats
November 12 - Auckland New Zealand
When the sailing was done in the Etchells Worlds on the Hauraki Gulf, the British team of Stuart Childerley, Simon Russell and Roger Marino had dominated. The three sailors had only limited practice together before this series. They sailed so well that rumors abound in Auckland that more than a few of the America's Cup syndicates are keen to have a quiet ale with Childerley, who also won the Worlds last year.
In second, Australia's Mark Bradford had a regatta to be proud of, with three wins, a third, and a fifth. Third was Cameron Miles, the 1999 World Champion. John Bertrand came in sixth, Dennis Conner seventh, Iain Murray ninth. There were seven Australian crews in the top 10, not that the Aussies are counting or anything.
Auckland's sailing focus now shifts back to the Louis Vuitton eliminations. Tuesday was supposed to be the first day of the quarter-finals, but heavy winds postponed racing. When competition gets underway today (Wednesday on the other side of the dateline), Team Dennis Conner plans to sail USA-77 instead of USA-66, which saw them through rounds 1 and 2. USA-77, you may recall sank off Long Beach during testing this summer after she lost her rudder.
USA-77 is raised after sinking in Long Beach
Photo Team Dennis Conner
Said skipper Kevin Read, "We're very much looking forward to racing with USA-77. This is what we have always considered to be our race boat. Our mishap in California set our program back a bit but we've worked really hard to capitalize on the situation. Our boat builders and shore crew have done a great job. We're very comfortable with it now, and comfortable that it does have a performance edge over USA-66." For more, see www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/story941.html.
November 12 - San Mateo
Photos Bob Frank
"On the night in question I was returning
from a very productive day of fishing on the Bay. There was the
normal air traffic which lands into the wind on runways 1 &
2 at SFO. Their approach flight pattern brings them normally
over the South Bay directly from the San Mateo Bridge, about
1000 M east of Coyote Point. While approaching Coyote Point Channel
markers 1 & 2, I noticed the lights of an incoming 747 which
was having great difficulty correcting to the East and appeared
to be losing altitude. I studied my chart, quickly estimated
the jet's speed and heading, noted my position, heading and speed
and suddenly realized we were on a collision course. Knowing
that larger vessels have the right-of-way and without much time
I accelerated past markers 3 & 4 just as the massive liner
blasted above and astern of me. I could feel the abrupt shudder
and noticed the surface of the Channel quiver and boil. There
were a very sudden blast as the powerful vortices (believe it
or not, there were three) gripped my
November 12 - Redwood City
Yesterday we ran a letter from Dave Wallace of Air Ops, in which Dave related how he and wife Merry boat-trained their two miniature schnauzers, Myka and Sasha, for the Baja Ha-Ha last year.
Photo Air Ops
He later sent this photo of the two savvy
sailors (the canine ones), with a new friend made while cruising
in the Sea of Cortez. When asked why the two dogs were getting
cozy with a Mexican soldier, Dave reminded us of his letter in
the March 2002 issue
of Latitude 38.
"We gave eight soldiers a ride from Bahia San
November 12 - 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 http://www.bitwrangler.com/yotreps.
November 12 - 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 http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/wind.
The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay is at www.wrh.noaa.gov/Monterey.
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.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/Southwest.shtml.
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