Photo of the Day

February 17 - Oakland

Today's Photo of the Day comes from Mike and Janice Kranz of the Oakland-based Islander 34 Hummer.

Photo Mike and Janice Kranz

We'll let them describe: "In all our years around boats, we have never seen anything as tragic as what we witnessed on the afternoon of February 2 in the Port of Oakland's Central Basin. There was a major fire which spread very quickly and destroyed two boats. Fortunately, no one was injured, although we learned later that the owner of the sailboat was aboard his boat and initially unaware of the fire aboard the boat in the slip next to his. Apparently someone had the presence of mind to alert him with just seconds to spare before his boat also burst into flames. The wind was gentle and was blowing out of the west. Had it been blowing from the east, there is no telling how many boats would have been lost, as it took over 12 minutes from the time we called 911 to the time the first fire engine arrived.

"Having witnessed this makes me want to be sure and inspect my boat for fire hazards, including that all fire extinguishers are properly mounted and charged, and that electrical systems and fuel system engine compartment fire suppression systems are functioning properly. Because the marina gates were locked and I'm getting too old to climb barbed wire fences, all we could do is stand by helplessly while we waited for the fire department to respond to our 911 call. There are more photos on our Web site at"

Northern Californians Are Rolex Sailors of the Year

February 17 - Marin County

John Kostecki of Fairfax, and Liz Baylis of San Rafael, have been selected by journalists from around the world as the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the year. This is a big, big, big, big deal, the equivalent of an actor and actress winning Oscars. That they both come from Northern California is . . . well, astonishing.

John Kostecki during the Volvo Race

Liz Baylis in Hawaii aboard E.T. at end of the Pacific Cup, an event in which they broached "at least 40 times."

According to the press release, John Kostecki, who also was named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in 1988, made international headlines in 2002 when he skippered the yacht illbruck to win the Volvo Ocean Race, after nine months of intense around-the-world racing. In addition to winning overall, illbruck won four of the nine race legs and on the seventh leg, broke the world monohull speed record with a 484 mile 24-hour run. Kostecki's responsibilities as skipper included selection of illbruck's 14-person crew as well as management of the training program and onboard strategy during the race. As one of the Rolex panelists put it, "The illbruck team's accomplishment was like scaling Mt. Everest without oxygen while everyone else was hiking the Appalachian Trail."

Liz Baylis, a first-time nominee for the award, crowned her sailing resume with a hard-fought victory at the 2002 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Spain. Having originally assembled her team in preparation for the women's match racing discipline at the 2004 Olympics, Baylis had steadily climbed into the top six in the ISAF Match Racing World Rankings. Panelists also credited Baylis for crewing to a class victory in the 2,200-mile Pacific Cup aboard an Antrim 27 with just three people aboard. In addition, she co-helmed a Farr 40 to second place at the Belvedere Cup, a match racing series, and skippered to fourth place at the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup, also a match racing event.

Ollie to Get Naked in Latitude?

February 17 - Zihuatanejo, Mexico

This is a photo of Ollie, ER doctor and enthusiastic sailor. While in Zihua for Sail Fest, she told us the following story: A boatowner on the East Coast was having a Swan 65 or similar large yacht trucked to the KKMI yard in Richmond. Then he got a call from the truck driver, who said the mast was too long to carry on the trailer. "Would you mind," the truck driver is said to have asked the owner, "if I cut the mast in half and when you get to Richmond you can have the yard weld it back together?" The boat owner reportedly told him that he could do it, and the boat supposedly arrived at KKMI with the mast ruined for it having been cut in half.

Having heard the story, we gave Ollie the arched eyebrow treatment. "I can absolutely assure you that the story is true," she told us, "because my partner works at KKMI, and he knows all about it. In fact, if it's not true, I'll gladly pose stark naked for a two-page spread in the pages of Latitude. I guarantee it!"



Photo Latitude/Richard 

Well, Ollie, start primping, because Paul Kaplan over at KKMI tells us that he has no idea what you're talking about.

Del Rey to
Vallarta Race

February 17 -
Pacific Ocean

The Mac 65 Joss's 18-year old record in the Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta Race is under severe challenge this year, most specifically by Roy Disney's R/P 76 Pyewacket. The big sled is in turbo mode, which means a ton has been removed from her keel and her spinnaker pole is now 43 feet (!) as opposed to the 27-footer they used to race to Hawaii. In the early going, Pyewacket is on a record pace, but the trick is always carrying the wind past Cabo San Lucas over to the mainland.

For the latest standings and Rich Roberts' always excellent coverage, visit

Pyewacket started on Friday

The PHRF-B start on Wednesday
Photos Rich Roberts

There's Always Nice Weather Somewhere in the World

February 17 - BVI

Photo Devon Mullin

We don't know if it has anything to do with global warming, but the folks in the Northeast are snowed in to beat the band. On the other hand, as this photo shows, it's sunny and warm in the British Virgins where these folks are having a salubrious time while the warm tradewinds push their charter cat between islands.

Jules Verne Action Tightens Up

February 17 - Southern Ocean

In the early going of their attempts on the Jules Verne Around the World course record, everything was going well for the maxi-tri Geronimo, as they had great weather, while Ellen MacArthur's maxi-cat Kingfisher2 was tortured by light air. Although Geronimo still has a big lead on Kingfisher2, and a nearly 2.5-day lead on the record held by Orange (now Kingfisher2), the trend is changing. Having finally gotten great wind in the Southern Ocean, Kingfisher2 is starting to post better runs than Geronimo when she was there, and Geronimo's 2.5-day lead over the Orange record will dip in the next few days as the big tri is in slow conditions and this is where Orange really put the pedal to the metal. It's very interesting action.

Photo Jacques Vapillon

It's not easy sailing in the Southern Ocean, particularly when all your wind instruments go out. MacArthur describes what it was like effecting the repairs:
"Unfortunately, all the wiring connections are in a tiny compartment inside the main beam. There was a small hole which I was able to climb through - then a space just big enough for me to fit my shoulders in. I went in to do what I thought might have been 20 minutes soldering - but extracted myself from the hole after just two hours! The hardest part was getting tiny 4-strand electrical wires into a connection box as we pounded along. Each time a wave came up and hit the underside of the beam, a jet of water squirted up through the drain holes beneath me, and the only way I could communicate with the guys was by radio as it was far too rough to hear anyone's voice."

Fossett and PlayStation Ahead of Record Pace

February 17 - Canary islands

While the the other two maxi-multihulls attack the Jules Verne record, Steve Fossett and the maxi-cat PlayStation are going after the Spain to San Salvador east-west transatlantic record. And doing well. Although in the early stages, having just passed the Canary Islands, they are 4.5 knots ahead of the record pace.


February 17 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace

Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? The YOTREPS daily yacht tracking page has moved to

Weather Updates

February 17 - 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

Top / Index of Stories / Subscriptions / Classifieds / Home

©2003 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.