Photo of the Day

November 19 - San Francisco Bay

Today's Photo of the Day is of the Moore 24 Sparrowhawk sailing across the face of Alcatraz. Vaughn Seifers suggested that we might put it on 'the cover'. Since we've already got a photo for the December cover of Latitude 38, we'll use the shot for the 'cover' of today's 'Lectronic. In any event, she's looking good.

Photo Courtesy Vaughn Seifers

Lifesdream Is Found!

November 19 - Oahu, HI

Here's a wild sea story with an improbable but hopeful ending. In 1989, Harvey Owens, then 35, started what would be 10 years of work finishing off a Stan Huntingford 54 hull in Everett, Washington. Then two years ago, he and two friends sailed the 'Seahawk 54' to Hawaii, where he took up residence with his wife Krista and her then 9-year-old daughter Taysia at Ko Olina Marina on Oahu.
The real drama started in May 2 of this year, when the three of them took off for California to begin what was to be the start of a two-year cruise. Alas, they got clobbered by a severe three-day storm. They lay ahull on the 17th, and when they awoke on the 18th, the rudder shaft had broken and a line had gotten into the prop. At 4 p.m. on May 20, while 585 miles from San Francisco, they abandoned
their boat and were taken aboard a ship. For a man who had spent 10 years of hard work on the boat, and for a family that "have the sea in our blood," it was devastating. What made it worse, said Krista, is that the Coast Guard asked their buddyboat to backtrack 17 miles to help. The skipper reportedly said it was too rough and continued on.

Just before they left the boat, Lifesdream, Krista took a black marker and wrote the following on a bulkhead: "If found, please contact us at 808-277-5953 or 808-389-3111. Take what you want, but leave us our home."

Photo Courtesy Rob Coleman

"Never in a million years did we think we'd see our boat again," said Krista. "And for Harvey, not having a boat was like not having a life." The only small indication that they retained any hope of seeing the boat again was that they decided to keep the same Hawaii telephone numbers until the end of the year. Unable to live without a boat, Harvey and Krista bought a Fuji 45 ketch in Samoa. On October 27, Harvey and three men from the Ko Olina set sail on her for Hawaii via Penrhyn and Christmas Islands. Krista, along with her daughter, remained at home in Washington.

On November 8, Krista got the call from the Coast Guard. One of their aircraft had spotted Lifesdream adrift 90 miles south of Maui! She couldn't believe it. When Harvey called Krista from Penrhyn the next day, he couldn't believe it either. "It had been so emotional," said Krista, "that he was in a state of shock. He couldn't believe he was going to get his home back."

But it wouldn't be easy. For one thing, Harvey was in no position to help. Secondly, the Coast Guard couldn't continue to monitor the position of the boat. So as each day passed, the last known position became more out of date. It fell to Krista, back in Washington, to organize a posse to try to recover the boat. Mike Christie, a shipwright, fisherman, and good friend of the couple's from their two
years at the Ko Olina, was kind enough to spearhead the effort. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to come up with a boat and crew for a week, by which time searching for Lifesdream would have been like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack.

In a story turn that even Hollywood would reject as too improbable, on November 18 the Coast Guard called Mike Christie to report that Lifesdream had been spotted drifting just 14 miles from the Ko Olina Marina! So in two days less than six months from the time she'd been abandoned 585 miles from San Francisco, the ketch had managed to find her way back to within 14 miles of where she had started the passage from! Lifesdream was taken in tow by the skipper of the fishing boat Mazeltov and brought to the Marisco Boatyard at Barber's Point. Harvey and Krista are naturally concerned that someone might try to claim salvage rights on the vessel, but Fred of Marisco told Christie that there would only be the normal charges for the tow, getting the water out of the boat, and berthing. While Krista hasn't seen the boat yet, she's been told that both the main and mizzen masts are gone, and that the engine was immersed in water. The elevated main salon wasn't in bad shape, and the aft cabin is just as they had left it.

With Harvey still 1,100 sailing miles from Oahu, Krista in Washington until later this month, and the value of Lifesdream yet to be determined, the family's future is uncertain. They had already gotten a berth for the Fuji 45 in Dana Point starting in June, and were going to make it their home. But suddenly it looks as though they're about to become a two-boat family.

New Money in Mexico

November 19 - Mazatlan, Mexico

Les Sutton of the Northern California-based Albin 42 Gemini, which has been sailing in the Sea of Cortez for three years now (see top photo) stopped by to show us the new 20 pesos note. The difference between the new and old is that the new is plastic - indeed, it has a clear window that you can see right through.

For those counting pennies and pesos, there's more good news. Last year the exchange rate got as low as 8.5 pesos to the dollar, but it's now up to 10 pesos to the dollar. And while nobody is saying the cost of living in Mexico is as low as it used to be, Sutton reported that he paid $4.60 for a tamale in Mollie Stone's, a tamale that he could have bought for 50 to 60 cents in La Paz or Mazatlan.

Lastly, Sutton reports that Marina Mazatlan is going full steam once again. It has been pretty empty due to all the legal squabbles, but now boats from the recently completed Ha-Ha are starting to pour in. For what it's worth, there are a large variety of berth rates in Mazatlan. For a 42-footer, they range as low as $216/month for some slips at Isla Mazatlan Marina, to $400/month at Marina Mazatlan, to $600/month at the more upscale El Cid Marina.

Photo Latitude/Richard

OneWorld Calls Out Team Dennis Conner

November 19 - Auckland, New Zealand

Having been given their choice of opponents in the upcoming Quarter Final Repechage - or loser's bracket - of the Louis Vuitton Challenge, Seattle's OneWorld Syndicate has elected to do battle with Stars & Stripes. This means that Sweden's Victory will take on Italy's Prada. In other words, the U.S. versus the U.S., and Europe versus Europe. We assumed that OneWorld would have wanted to go against Victory, which had even lost a race to the lowly Le Défi. Stars & Stripes, on the other hand, has a new and apparently much faster boat, and the Prada team is no slouch. It will be interesting to see where it goes. The racing starts on the 23rd.

Alinghi and Oracle BMW, already in the Semi-Finals, won't do battle for another three weeks. The loser of their nine race series will face the winner of the Quarter Final Repechage. The winner of that will face the winner of the Semi-Finals for the right to face defenders Team New Zealand in the America's Cup.


November 19 - 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 19 - 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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