Louis Vuitton Repechage

November 26 - Auckland, NZ

Photo Bob Grieser/Louis Vuitton

In the first race of these two do-or-die match ups, Team Dennis Conner had an early lead over OneWorld, and Sweden's Victory a lead over Team Prada. Both lost by significant margins in races where there was less than 10 knots of wind. Of the losers, Team Dennis Conner appears to have a better chance of coming back - partly because of similar boat speed, and partly because they and Prada have both initiated off the water action to get OneWorld chucked for 'not sailing fairly'. Yes, it's more about OneWorld supposedly having gotten proprietary information from the New Zealand team.

Can Environmental Activists Own 300-ft Yachts and Private Jets?

November 26 - Seattle, WA

"OneWorld Challenge announced today that they had joined with The Waterkeeper Alliance in an effort to protect and restore the quality of the world's waterways, and to preserve and protect the world's oceans from polluters. Waterkeeper Alliance is the international umbrella organization of over 90 Waterkeeper programs throughout North America, Latin America and Europe. Waterkeepers patrol their waterways, respond to citizen concerns, identify environmental problems and devise appropriate remedies and advocate compliance with environmental laws."

Photo Latitude/Richard

On the surface, this might sound like a good thing. If you look a little deeper, however, we think it stinks. OneWorld gets its money from Craig McCaw and Paul Allen. Three years ago, while on our annual New Year's working vacation in St. Barts, we raced against McCaw, who raced his 118-ft daysailer Extra Beat. We're friends with some of the crew, who told us the family was staying ashore in a villa, and that the family's private 727 was being kept in St. Kitts because it was too big for the little strip at St. Barts. As we recall, Allen - or at least his 200-ft motoryacht - was also there.

Two years ago, Craig and brother John were back at St. Barts for New Year's, but with two new motoryachts. One of them, Le Gran Bleu, was well over 300 feet. The other, Tatoosh, was right about 300 feet. That year we raced against Bellatrix, a new 72-ft boat that was carried aboard Le Gran Bleu as deck cargo. Both Le Gran Bleu and Tatoosh carried sportfishing boats, subs, and other boats.

Last year, only Tatoosh, now owned by Paul Allen, showed up for New Year's at St. Barts.

We don't have a problem with people making a lot of money, and keeping the money in circulation by spending it on boats and planes and stuff. However, we have no stomach for individuals who could easily be considered guilty of wretched excess - to say nothing of habits the environment can't possibly sustain - pretending to take the high road on environmental issues and preaching down to the rest of us. It's sort of like the Rev. Jessie Jackson, having fathered a child out of wedlock and then covered it up, giving spiritual guidance to President Clinton after his dalliance with Monica. What incredible hypocrisy! Given their ultra, ultra extreme consumptive lifestyles, if McCaw and Allen want to donate to environmental causes, we suggest they do so privately. (In fairness, it should be noted that Tatoosh and Le Gran Bleu both were reportedly built to be operated with minimum pollution.)

As for Waterkeeper Alliance, we think they ought to be ashamed of themselves. No matter how badly you need the money or support, sometimes it's best just to say 'no thanks'.

What do you think about this?

Columbia Overdue

November 26 - Vancouver, BC/Mazatlan, Mexico

Michael Pordes of Favonius out of Vallejo YC, an alumnus of the Baja Ha-Ha Class of 2000, wrote to us anxiously this morning, "I got a very concerned telephone call this evening from a friend whose 24-year old son, Darren Lewis, an Australian national, signed on as crew on a 48-ft steel-hulled British-registered sloop called Columbia, as part of a Discovery Sailing Academy cruise that left Vancouver harbor on October 22. The plan was to sail the clipper route from Vancouver directly to Mazatlan.

"Darren's parents are quite concerned, as they have not heard from their son, who promised to call and check in with his parents as soon as they docked or anchored. The Lewises will call both El Cid and Marina Mazatlan tomorrow and have Columbia inquired about on the local morning net. However, if possible would you please ask readers to look out for the Columbia, and ask that if anyone has any knowledge of its whereabouts to contact either myself or Sara and Mervyn Lewis directly.

"Mr. Lewis spoke to the U.S. Coasties, and they confirmed that Columbia checked out from Vancouver, BC, on 10/22. Given the length of the voyage, the Coast Guard estimated the travel time as approximately 30 days, but these are some worried parents. The captain's name is Boguslaw Norwid-Niepokoj, but he goes by 'Bob', and he is a licensed Ocean Master. The call sign is RH-777. No word if they are SSB or EPIRB equipped."


November 26 - 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.

Weather Updates

November 26 - 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

Check out the Pacific Ocean sea states at: http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/RSSA/PacRegSSA.html.
For views of sea states anywhere in the world, see http://www.oceanweather.com/data.

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