Better Late than Never

September 23 - Newport Harbor

While in Southern California a month ago, we caught some shots of the Balboa YC's last beer can race of the year. Check 'em out.

Photos Latitude/Richard 

Let's Get Ready to Rumble, America's Cup Style

September 23 - Auckland, NZ

With close to half a billion dollars having been spent, it's just a week to the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup in New Zealand, which over a period of months will determine the challenger for the America's Cup next February. Finally, the syndicates will be sailing for keeps.

Julie Ash of the New Zealand Herald interviewed Russell Coutts - victorious skipper for New Zealand in the last America's Cup, who this time around defected to the Swiss for big bucks - overview of the upcoming action. Coutts said that no team would be dominant; that Oracle's light and narrow boats are probably the most radical; that Conner has gone from a standard boat last time to the most narrow; that Prada has some rigging elements inside the mast; and that Great Britain probably has gone with a tandem keel. Coutts, an engineer by training, says he loves the innovation.

The Oracle team's two boat testing in New Zealand

Photos Courtesy

New York Times Missing the Beat

September 23 - New York, NY

On the eve of the start of the Louis Vuitton Series, the New York Times has informed Herb McCormick - their excellent boating columnist who covered the last America's Cup - that he won't be needed. Apparently, there is no complaint with McCormick's work, but rather a shakeup in the Times Sports Department. As a result, it's believed that members of the regular sports staff - perhaps a football writer? - will cover the America's Cup. We in Northern California are familiar with how that works out.

Jane Eagleson, Barby MacGowan, Keith Taylor, and Bruno Trouble - all experts on the importance of insightful sailing coverage - suggest that sailors might write the Times and protest the change. Send your thoughts, preferably on a company or yacht club letterhead, to Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., Chairman and Publisher; Howell Raines, Executive Editor; and Neil Amdur, Sports Editor. The address is: The New York Times, 229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036. We'll be sending letters and hope that you will also.

Ha-Ha Entry Stabbed at San Diego Police Docks

September 23 - San Diego

Michael Fitzgerald and Sylvia Fox, who will be participating in the upcoming Ha-Ha with their Mapleleaf 48 Sabbatical, have two pieces of unpleasant news from down south.

First, Chuck Allen, who is signed up to sail in the Ha-Ha with his wife Linda on a St. Augustine, Florida-based Ingrid 38, was stabbed in the back at the San Diego Police Dock at 6:45 a.m. on September 8. The assailant, whose name we're in the process of getting, also had a boat at the dock. There was apparently no provocation, and the assailant, who may have mental health issues, has reportedly been charged with attempted murder. Allen, after exploratory surgery, is apparently healthy enough to do the Ha-Ha. If anybody has more facts, or if Chuck would be kind enough to call us, we'd appreciate it.

The other news is that the Amigo Net reported that a cruiser in Puerto Escondido, Baja, had his van seized because he was using it to transport other cruisers between Puerto Escondido and Loreto. This pisses off taxi drivers, who get big fares between the anchorage and the town.

Puerto Escondido
Photo Dave Wallace

Wall Street Journal Partners with Clipper Ventures

September 23 - New York, NY

If the Times is backing away from sailing, the Wall Street Journal is jumping in, as Clipper Ventures plc announced that the Journal will be a partner for their 2002 and 2005 Clipper Round the World Yacht Races. The Clipper Round the World Race is, in their words, "an esteemed circumnavigation for amateur sailors, racing aboard identical ocean-racing yachts, each sponsored by an international city, over 11 months and some 35,000 miles of challenging seas." Hong Kong's 60-foot racing yacht, one of eight Clippers competing in the 2002 race, will be sponsored by the Journal.

Latest on the 'Land Canal' Across Baja

September 23 - San Carlos, Baja California

"Regarding Steve and Angelina's letter in the September issue about the current status of the 'land canal' across Baja," writes Gerry Cunningham, "I had a chat with a disappointed Eddie Grossman about a month ago. He says that in spite of progress made to date, the ecology people put a hold on the project because they are disturbed by the claims of the developers that the Mexican government's 'Nautical Stairway' will bring 50,000 boats to the Sea of Cortez a year. Who wouldn't be upset by that, especially we cruisers. The irony is that environmentalists have included the 'dry canal' in their target, when in actual fact, the idea behind the project is to reduce the number of boats in the Sea of Cortez. After all, those owners who are hesitant to face the Baja Bash and remain stranded enjoying the Sea of Cortez could use the 'dry canal' to reduce the Bash to a mere 300 miles. Eddie has purchased the dredge needed for the eastern terminus at Bahia de los Angeles, and is keeping it busy at Marina San Carlos until the dry canal project re-starts."

Here's Latitude's take on the situation. First, whatever parts of the Nautical Stairway the Mexican government completes - and we don't think there will be many - will be fiscal disasters. That the idea has even gotten this far speaks to the monumental ignorance of all those backing it. For their next project, we can only expect they'll be starting a string of government-backed tanning salons in Puerto Vallarta.

Anybody who thinks 50,000 Californians are going to take their boats
to Baja - and sail to San Evaristo, like this boat - is muy loco.
Photo Dave Wallace

The concept of the Dry Canal isn't quite so dubious, but we still don't understand it. If anyone wants to avoid the Baja Bash, they can have Grossman truck their boat to Tucson, where it can be transferred to another truck for shipping anywhere else in the States or Canada. They've been doing that for years. The new option is paying to have your boat delivered to just halfway up the Baja coast, which can still be a hell of a nasty sail to Southern California - let alone Northern California or the Pacific Northwest.


September 23 - 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

September 23 - 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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