Photo of the Day

February 19 - Sea of Cortez

Today's Photo of the Day is of Catherine Breed, 9, and her sister Alexandra, 7, covered with sea life this winter in the Sea of Cortez. The girls did the Ha-Ha with their parents Charles and Robin aboard the Dublin-based Elliott 46 Bravado - "our kids would do the Ha-Ha over Disneyland every year" - and then sailed up to La Paz and the nearby islands for some winter cruising. The kids had a great time with the sea life, swimming with young sea lion pups for an entire day. "The most incredible thing happened when a seal pup dove down, got a long-legged starfish, and handed it to Catherine! Not once, but twice!" The second photo is of Charles and his lovely daughters climbing Isla Partida with Bravado in the background.

Photos Courtesy Bravado

What's the weather like in that part of the Sea in the middle of winter? "We did not see a huge drop in water or air temperature, just a few degrees," says Charles. "The big problem was the wind, which can blow 30 knots all day and all night for days during the winter. Jellyfish string of pearls became more abundant, but only affected my wife and one daughter; I could swim through them just fine. We almost always wear a thin full wet suit. Isla Partida, not Espirito Santo, had the better anchorages and diving."

A Great New Cruising Destination on the Pacific Coast of Mexico?

February 19 - Tres Marias Islands, Mexico

David Jensen of Hopalong reports that the Tres Marias Islands, currently a penal colony about 60 miles north of Banderas Bay, may become "a nature preserve open for the promotion of eco-tourism." This according to a February 13 article in Noroeste, a daily Spanish language newspaper in Mazatlan. The article said prisoners would be moved off the islands by mid-March, and that a private concessionaire is expected to operate the reserve. Emilio Azcarraga, president of Televisa, is the principal investor in the project.

Map Courtesy Charlie's Charts

Who is Emilio Azcarraga? If we're not mistaken, his father - who died young several years ago - controlled much of television in Mexico. Apparently his son does now. We've also heard that the father once gave Dennis Conner several million dollars at the end of an America's Cup campaign that was critical in Conner hanging on to the Cup. On the victorious trip back to the dock, Conner held up a huge sign that said, "Thanks Emilio!" You know Larry Ellison's ultra-luxurious 235-ft motoryacht Katana that was his home base in New Zealand? It originally belonged to Azcarraga.

The Tres Marias are three - duh! - islands an average of 7 miles by 7 miles, with a number of smaller islands including Isla San Juanito, which is several miles across. The three main islands are volcanic and quite barren, but have peaks as high as 2,000 feet. They are spread out along a stretch of coast about 60 miles west of San Blas. They would be a spectacular addition to the cruising delights of Mexico. However, we don't have any details on how or when they might be accessible.

According to legend, the Tres Marias were once the home of a tribe of women - beautiful, of course - who only had contact with males a few times a year, and only for commercial and procreation purposes.

The Limiting Factor

February 19 - Panama Canal

Do you know what the major limiting factor is in the height of masts being built for today's mega sailing yachts? It's the Bridge of the Americas on the Pacific Coast side of Panama next to the entrance to the Panama Canal. Because of it, mast height is limited to about 190-ft. Unless, of course, you want to try one of those 'telescoping' jobs or never intend to bring the boat through the Canal.

Photo Cherie Sogstie

By the way, the boats on the moorings in the foreground are at the Balboa YC, which has still not been rebuilt after a fire destroyed the main building. If those burned walls could talk, the tales of raunch they could have told. In the old days, it's where gold-digging young Panamanian women would go to meet and mate with American soldiers, hoping to score permanent access to the United States. There were some wild times.

Entertainment While Waiting for the Start

February 19 - Pacific Ocean

"Last Sunday was a beautiful day on the Hauraki Gulf," writes George Backhus of the Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow. "Too beautiful! As we have experienced many times during the Louis Vuitton Cup series, we hurried out to the race course to wait. We waited more than 2.5 hours for the America's Cup start to start on Sunday. At least it was a great race. While waiting, many people relax, socialize, party, swim, fish, read the paper, and so forth. One guy decided to have a little fun with his dog, much to the entertainment of the rest of the spectator fleet - over 2,000 boats!"

Photo George Backhus

Taking your dog water-skiing is pretty cool, but a few folks might remember when Merl Petersen of the schooner Viveka took an elephant water-skiing on San Francisco Bay. If you don't believe it, there were photos in the daily papers. Of course, if anybody tried that stunt these days, they'd been slated for assassination by PETA.

Big Cats on the Move

February 19 - Southern and Atlantic Oceans

After a slow start in their assault on the Jules Verne record, Ellen MacArthur and the maxi-cat Kingfisher2 have gotten wind and the pace. In the last five days, they've covered a minimum of 500 miles a day. That would be equal to doing a TransPac in under four days! As such, they've finally pulled ahead of the pace set by Orange when she established the current record. Alas, the maxi-tri Geronimo, having benefited from great wind, is further along her record attempt and still more than two days ahead of Kingfisher's pace.

Meanwhile in the Atlantic, Steve Fossett and PlayStation continue on a record pace for the east to west transatlantic record despite less than ideal weather and several setbacks.

Photo Bob Grieser/Louis Vuitton Cup

New Zealand Down Three-Zip in A-Cup

February 19 - Auckland, NZ

After losing again on Monday, the Kiwis are down 3-0 to Alinghi in the America's Cup. They had been in terrific attacking position until the start of the final downwind leg when they muffed an asymmetrical set, giving Alinghi another boat length or two to stay out of their gas. The critical part of the race took place just before the start, when Alinghi's Brad Butterworth sagaciously decidedly he wanted the right rather than left side of the course, which gave Alinghi an early lead they never relinquished.

With the Swiss needing only two more victories, now the talk is turning to where and when the next Cup might be held. Current favorites are just outside of Lisbon, Portugal, or Palma de Mallora, Spain, in 2007. Why so long a wait? The football World Cup is to be held in Germany in 2006.


February 19 - 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 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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