Photos of the Day

November 15 - Colon, Panama

Today's Photos of the Day come from John Rader, who writes: "On October 16, we transited the Canal from the Balboa YC to Colon - which is east to west despite the fact that we were going from the Pacific to the Atlantic. The first photo shows the crew celebrating an uneventful passage aboard Blue Bell. They are John Rader and Catherine Wilkinson of the Alexandria, Virginia-based Dufour 45 Cohabitat; Susan Rhodes of the D.C.-based Bristol 41 Blue Bell; Shana and Doug Moler of the Seattle-based Freya 39 Anitra; and Ted Rhodes of Blue Bell.

The second photo was taken while anchored off 'The Flats' at Colon after the transit. Here the transit crew was joined by George and Sonjia Tuperis of the Vancouver-based F/P 39 cat C'est Si Bon II and Rick and Lynn Parnell of the Seattle-based Crealock 37 Sapphire."

They look just like normal folks, don't they?

Kenna's Affect on San Blas

November 15 - San Blas, Mexico

Paradise Village Harbormaster Dick Markie sent us the accompanying photographs of San Blas, Mexico, Ground Zero of last month's hurricane Kenna smashing into mainland Mexico. The devastation from such a powerful hurricane was tremendous, as many of the already extremely humble homes had their roofs torn off and walls knocked down. However, Markie credits the Mexican Army and Navy with doing an excellent job of responding quickly with food and other basic supplies. Many of the Ha-Ha participants donated clothes, which were taken to the mainland on Profligate for distribution in San Blas. We'll have more on relief efforts to this wonderful little area of Mexico.

To those who asked with great hope, no, we don't know if the port captain's office was blown away. The San Blas Port Captain has always been a thorn in the side of cruisers, as he claims - in violation of Mexican law - that all cruisers must use a service to check in.


Boat Massacre Continues in Route du Rhum

November 15 - Atlantic Ocean

The 60-ft trimarans are among the most spectacular sailing designs in history, capable of incredible speeds - particularly in flat water. But given the extreme conditions to date in the Route du Rhum, they are also proving to fragile and subject to capsize. (Check out the photo of Loick Peyron's Fujifilm). Yesterday saw the dropping out of three more of these tri's, bringing the total to nine. Alain Gautier, one of the world's most experienced offshore racers, explains what happened to his Foncia:

"Tonight, I was sailing in a wind of 35 to 40 knots in strong seas with waves of 10 metres. In addition, it was a cross sea at the time which made the navigation very delicate. It was a pyramid-shaped wave which came in very quickly and took hold of the boat underneath, and that's when I heard a big crack. It was dark but I had seen several waves of that type during the day. First of all the underside of the exterior coating was broken across a two metre wide area. I tried to repair it then the outer skin exploded along a five metre length to starboard. In fact, the water was coming into the beams with every incoming wave. I am also heading for Madeira and I am retiring from the Route du Rhum because I can't, on the one hand, continue in this way, and on the other we would never be able to repair it within the 72 hours allowed."

 The other tri's dropping out are Karen Facconier's Sergo Tacchini, which had a structural problem that caused the mast to fall, and Bayer Crop Sciences, which is also having structural problems. With everyone still more than 2,100 miles from the finish, another 24 hours of rough weather is expected. Already contestants are questioning the timing of this race, which is held every four years.

Given the conditions and positions of the boats, it's hard to tell who is actually in the lead, but one name pops to the top in monohulls - Britain's Ellen MacArthur aboard Kingfisher. Fellow Brit Mike Golding is 24 miles back with Ecover.

Alinghi Advances to Semi-Finals, Oracle BMW Closes in Also

November 15 - Auckland, New Zealand

Could things have gone any better for Larry Ellison yesterday? It started with Oracle stock jumping almost 8%, which on paper at least made the Atherton resident a billion or two wealthier than the day before. Next, via satellite, Ellison joked with the Oracle Conference in San Francisco that Chris Dickson had taken his place on Oracle BMW, but that he would be back behind the wheel before it was all over. Finally, Dickson and crew on Oracle BMW came from behind on the first leg to pass OneWorld, backed by the hated Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, to win the third race in their best of seven match racing series. One more win, and Oracle is in the Semi Finals. Oracle BMW currently has the longest winning streak of anyone, but two of the three races with OneWorld have been very close.

The Swiss entry Alinghi is already in the Semi-Finals, as Italy's Prada, after falling behnd 3-0, conceded the series. Prada's reasoning is that since they almost certainly won't win this match, it's better for them to take more time off to tune their boat and preserve their sails. Prada is not to be written off. After a terrible first Round Robin, they've come back very strong, and each of their losses to top rated Alinghi have been by very slim margins.

Also roaring back is Team Dennis Conner in the single elimination bracket, with its second convincing victory in a row against GBR. Team Dennis Conner is sailing their new boat, retrieved from the bottom of Long Beach Harbor. Armed with what might be a much faster boat, they are beginning to seem like a bigger threat. They lead GBR by a score of 2-1. Rounding out the action in the lower bracket, Sweden drilled the French for the third time, putting them one loss away from elimination.

Photo Franck Socha/Louis Vuitton Cup

Photo KEYSTONE/Laurent Gillieron

Wind Howls at Turtle Bay

November 15 - Turtle Bay

"Had the Ha-Ha been in Turtle Bay on Tuesday, November 12, it would have been an interesting experience for all concerned," writes Ernie Copp of the Long Beach-based Cheoy Lee 50 Orient Star.

"We had localized Santa Ana-type winds up to 46 knots, with huge clouds of dust being stripped from the big hill and spread evenly over the boats. While the winds were close to being out of the north, the wind waves were only two feet high. But when the wind veered to the east there was more fetch, and the waves got to three to four feet. There were 13 sailboats and one converted fishing trawler in the bay at the time, most of them Canadians. None of the boats dragged, but one heavy inflatable flipped."

Turtle Bay as during calm times of the 2001 Ha-Ha
Photo Latitude/Richard


November 15 - 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 15 - 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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