Photos of the Day

November 14 - Ft. Bragg

Today's Photos of the Day come from Jason McWilliams who happened to be at Fort Bragg's Noyo Harbor last Saturday when the Coast Guard was doing some rough water training. As you can see, you want to be careful entering that harbor, particularly during a big swell in the winter.

Photos Jason McWilliams

Oracle BMW and Alinghi Win Again

November 14 - Auckland, New Zealand

After exciting second races in the Louis Vuitton Quarter Finals, both Alinghi and Oracle BMW have advanced to commanding 2-0 leads in their respective best of seven match-ups. Although Prada has been sailing much more competitively since 'Mr. Prada's' first round robin blowup over the Italian boat's poor performance, the top-rated Swiss boat still managed to cling to a last leg lead and win by eight seconds.

Oracle's 12-second victory over a very game but faltering OneWorld was equally exciting. After leading the entire race by margins of less than 45 seconds, Oracle's spinnaker pole broke at the beginning of the last leg. OneWorld tried every tactic they could to take advantage of Oracle's debilitated state, but having sleeved the broken pole, Oracle's team showed a lot of cool in holding off the Seattle boat by 14 seconds. This latest win is beginning to make Larry Ellison look like a management genius and Chris Dickson like a sailing super hero. It will be remembered that after one race in the second Round Robin, Ellison stunned the experts by not only reinstalling the controversial Chris Dickson, but putting him in charge. They haven't lost since, and in the process have beaten Alinghi once and OneWorld three times. Oracle even seems to have solved their off-the-wind speed problems.

Photos Bob Grieser/Louis Vuitton Cup

In the lower bracket, where losing the best of seven series means elimination, Team Dennis Conner beat GBR Challenge by well over a minute - although the official Louis Vuitton site had the result backwards for the longest time. In addition, Sweden's Victory Challenge again bested the hapless radioactive French entry. More racing today.

Clearing for Fuel

November 14 - Mexico

One of the biggest problems while cruising Mexico is knowing what rules to follow when clearing into a port. For example, if you just come into a port to take on fuel, do you need to check in? Enrique Fernandez, manager of Cabo Isle Marina says you don't have to clear in Cabo. Dick Markie, Harbormaster at Paradise Village, says you also don't have to clear at Puerto Vallarta to take on fuel. It's a different story, however, at Barra de Navidad. Why? Markie says it's because the port captain became angry after many cruisers not only took on fuel, but then stayed at the fuel dock all night, and then maybe the lagoon or outer harbor for a few days. So he cracked down.

Profligate takes on fuel at Barra de Navidad
Photo Latitude/Richard

The bottom line is that the rule in Mexico is there is no consistent rule. Some cruisers hate the uncertainty, others think it's part of the country's charm.

Standing Alone in Around Alone

November 14 - Cape Town, South Africa

For an inland country, the Swiss are currently having great success on the ocean. Alinghi is doing great in the Louis Vuitton Series, and now Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm has brought his Open 60 Bobst Group-Armor Lux over the finish line in Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa, to win Leg Two of Around Alone 2002-03. Stamm completed the 6,880-mile leg from Torbay, England, to Cape Town, South Africa, in 29 days, 21 hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds - almost a 10-knot average. Thierry Dubois of France finished second in Solidaires, and Emma Richards of Britain was third with Pindar. Northern Californian Bruce Schwab, who had been beset by boom and weather problems, is still 2,772 miles out - but soldiering on.

In Class B, former Southern Californian Bran Van Liew is showing his stuff once again on Tommy Hilfiger, with a nearly 800-mile lead.

Capricorn at Sea Again

November 14 - Pacific Ocean

A few days ago we got a report from Blair Grinols aboard his 46-ft Capricorn Cat some 1,178 miles from Hawaii. "Lat 21º 57'N, Lon 134º 34'W. Wind 15-20 on the starboard stern. Sky about 50% clouds. Warmer, no tee shirt today. Took a shower outside. We had a small catastrophe yesterday, as we broke the spinnaker halyard and the spinnaker went overboard. Managed to turn the boat quickly enough so we didn't run over it and tear it up. We ran on the genoa for the rest of the day and night, and averaged close to 7 knots. The stand-off block just below the spinnaker halyard exit box broke a couple of days ago and allowed the halyard to chafe on the side of the exit box. Anyway, it gave us a chance to fish, as now we can stop the boat without too much trouble. This morning, 'old dad' went up the mast to thread in a new halyard and you might know a big fish ran away with all the line on the pole. We couldn't do anything but watch. After successfully installing a new halyard, and putting a new line and lure on the fishing pole, we continued to fish and we caught that sucker again! A nice big 35-pound mahi. We had fish tacos for lunch and have enough fish to last for every meal till we get to Hawaii."

Capricorn Cat 

Route du Rhum Destruction Continues

November 14 - Atlantic Ocean

Despite leading the storm-wracked Route du Rhum, Thomas Coville has decided to return to port with his 60-ft trimaran Sobedo because of structural problems. "We have been experiencing crazily strong waves for several days; there are no words to describe the conditions. When the waves hit the boat, Sobedo was thrown sideways by several meters. These incredibly violent waves have damaged the under part of the exterior coating of the forebeam of the boat. I am forced to bear away to relieve the boat. The starboard forebeam has been considerably weakened by a hole of about 50 centimeters [20 inches] on the side where the exterior coating is delaminated. The port beam is distinctly less affected. The impact of the waves has also pulled off the starboard aft trampoline."

Fujifilm in happier times

It was even worse yesterday for Loïck Peyron, one of the best and most experienced offshore multihull sailors, skipper of the 60-ft tri Fujifilm. Early in the morning, he reported that although under bare poles, he was being thrown into the air by 30-ft and bigger waves. Then that the bow was failing. Next that the port ama was filling with water. Then the port ama breaking in half - and the mast, of course, coming down. Finally, he issued a distress signal and will be picked up by a ship.

So far, 19 of the 58 entries have retired due to capsizing, hitting ships (2), being dismasted, or other problems. There's going to be a long book about this incredibly difficult race.


November 14 - Perth, Australia

A month or so ago Australian golfer Greg Norman launched Aussie Rules, at 228 feet long the largest private aluminum yacht in the world. At 38 feet wide, it's a long putt from one side to the other. It has all the normal toys, from 42-ft sportsfish, smaller watercraft, sub, and decompression chamber.


November 14 - 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 14 - 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 views of sea states anywhere in the world, see

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