Photos of the Day: Pineapple Cup

February 26 - Montego Bay, Jamaica

One of the longest-standing records in modern yacht racing history finally fell last month, when Bob McNeil's beautiful dark green R/P 86 Zephyrus V pulled into Montego Bay on the sunny afternoon of Monday, February 10. They had just finished the 26th Pineapple Cup, the biennial 811-mile sprint from Fort Lauderdale to Jamaica, winning the race overall and setting a new elapsed time of 2 days, 23 hours, 5 minutes and 57 seconds. That lowered the previous benchmark, set by the legendary 73-foot ketch Windward Passage in the dark ages of 1971, by 4 hours, 34 minutes.

The second boat, Bill Alcott's new-to-him Andrews 68+ Equation (ex-Magnitude) arrived 29 hours later. The
rest of the 17-boat fleet dribbled in over the next few days, with the last boat, the Cal 39 Shanty Irish, arriving after almost a full week on the course.

Run by the Montego Bay YC, the Lauderdale YC, the Storm Trysail Club, and the Jamaican Yachting Association - with sponsorship from the Jamaica Tourist Board and Air Jamaica - the race once again sent just under 20 boats from Florida to Jamaica leaving four marks (Great Isaac Light, Great Stirrup Light, Eleuthera and Cuba) to starboard - a beat across the Gulf Stream, a reach through the low-lying Bahama Islands, and a 240-mile sleighride through the Windward Passage from Cuba to the finish line.

For our full report, results, and more photos, see the March issue of Latitude 38, to be distributed starting Friday, the last day of February. See also

Z-5 on final approach
Photo Geoff Evans

The Z-5 crew celebrates.
(owner Bob McNeil is the guy in the red hat)

On board the Santa Cruz-based TP-52 Rosebud
Photo Steve Benjamin

Spirit of Minerva
crosses the finish line.

Checking the fleet's progress

Equation finished at sunset,
29 hours after Z-5.

Flying battleflags

Robin Jeffers in mid-flight
at Rick's Cafe in Negril

Photos Latitude/Rob except as noted

Top America's Cup Action in Envelopes

February 26 - Auckland, NZ

There's not been much America's Cup action on the water in the last few days, because of too little wind, lay days, or too much wind. Who knows when they're going to race again in an event that is - unfortunately - rapidly going flatter than week-old champagne. In fact, all that has kept the event in the news are letters with a suspicious powder inside, supposedly from terrorists, threatening the America's Cup if the U.S. attacks Iraq. The letters were sent to the United States Embassy and Australian High Commission.

Note to numskull terrorists: 1) Although it sometimes doesn't seem like it, the America's Cup will almost certainly be over before the U.S. attacks Iraq, and 2) Australia never entered the America's Cup, and the last American team has been out of it for a month. Keep this kind of sloppy work up and you'll reinforce the common belief that most terrorists are people with the intelligence and emotional development of a child and the weapons of an adult.

In any event, nobody in New Zealand seems particularly worried about the threat. In fact, one or two have suggested it was a way to keep the moribund event in the news.

Mexican Government Buys Isla Espiritu Santo

February 26 - Sea of Cortez

U.S. conservation groups have come up with $3.3 million U.S. to buy Isla Espiritu Santo from the ejido - native communal group - that owns it on behalf of the Mexican government. It will now be administered by the Commission of Natural Protected Areas. The David and Lucile Packward Foundation has donated another $1.5 million U.S. for the island's long term management and protection.

Espiritu Santo, on an unusually gloomy day. Normally, it's brighter than this.
Photo Latitude/Richard

We think this is a great thing - as long as it doesn't mean folks are prohibited from visiting. Twenty miles from La Paz, Espiritu Santo is extremely popular with cruisers. In fact Caleta Partida, the old volcano cone that separates Espiritu Santo from Isla Partida, is perhaps the most popular anchorage in Baja and has been the site of Sea of Cortez Sailing Week for 19 years.

The Latest on Visas for French Polynesia

February 26 - French Polynesia

"When we went north to San Francisco to secure our visas for French Polynesia," write Ben and Lisa of the Berkeley-based Cooper 416 Waking Dream. "Here is what we found: "A six month visa is possible if the necessary paperwork is submitted at least two months in advance of arrival in French Polynesia. The submitted paperwork must include five copies of everything translated into French, police reports, proof of current employment, and so forth. Six month visas are not available upon arrival in French Polynesia.

"Three month visas can be secured the same day by going to the French Consulate in San Francisco - if you live in San Francisco and as far north as Washington, but not if you live in L.A. or elsewhere. We were also able to secure the visas for other cruisers by bringing all of their paperwork and a letter stating that my passport number was authorized to get a visa for their passport number. The effective date of visa is no more than three months from date visa is secured. Visas cost $9 each. A three month visa may also be obtained by mail, with about two months needed for processing. Paperwork necessary for the San Francisco consulate includes two copies each in English of Boat Documentation, international health insurance, two recent months' bank statements, passport photos, completed application including certification of current employment, and original passport. Three month visas are not available upon arrival in French Polynesia.

Ben and Lisa
Photo Latitude/Richard


"A one month visa can be obtained upon arrival in French Polynesia.

"We were instructed by the French Consulate in S.F. that the process for visas is the same regardless of which French Consulate you deal with in the United States. The only difference between consulates are what paperwork may be necessary, so call in advance. We found the two visa employees at the San Francisco consulate to be very helpful and friendly."

What We Ride

February 26 - Santa Cruz

An anonymous surfer-sailor from Santa Cruz wrote in asking what kind of board the Wanderer rides. The Wanderer started surfing in 1964 after buying a blank from Jack O'Neill's shop in Santa Cruz, glassing it at his grandparents' house in the Santa Cruz Mountains, then hitting Cowells Beach. O'Neill, of course, has been big in sailing as well as surfing. The Wanderer later rode a long and heavy board by George Olson, a board almost as heavy as the Olson 30s he later owned. The Wanderer, now totally in senior surfer stage - only long boards, only in warm water - now rides Mickey Munoz designs by Surf Tech. Either the 10'6" tri-fin Glide model, as seen here off Punta de Mita, or the 11-ft single fin Ultra Glide model. Munoz, by the way, is the only big time surfer we know that ever crewed on a winning boat in the America's Cup. Sailing and surfing, they go together.

Photo Latitude/Richard 

Richard Steinke of Isobar Passes On

February 26 - Manilla

Don and Kate Radcliffe of the Santa Cruz-based Beneteau 456 Klondike, currently in Phuket, Thailand, confirm earlier reports that Richard Steinke, well-known Sausalito cruiser with the Les Harlander-designed Isobar, recently passed away in a hospital in Manilla. Steinke has had a series of health problems in recent years, and entered the hospital feeling poorly. Steinke lived out his last years doing what he loved best, cruising and racing his boat. He was the subject of a feature story in the January Latitude. Steinke was a friend of ours and a good guy.

"We are trying to get the bottom complete so we can go to Langkawi, Malaysia,
on March 8 for the regatta there on the 11-16," the Radcliffes report. "There is a feeder race from the Ao Chalong YC to Rebak's Marina - the Champagne Cup."

No Wind at Cape Horn

February 26 - Cape Horn

Nearing Cape Horn is the last place the crew of the maxi-tri Geronimo figured they'd have problems with light wind in their attempt to wrest the Jules Verne record from Orange. But, while leading Orange's current record by nearly three days, the big tri has been dying in light winds near the Horn. At last report, they'd given up 300 miles to the record holder in just 24 hours, with more light air on the horizon. The record attempt won't be over until it's over.

As for Ellen MacArthur and the dismasted Kingfisher2, there won't be another Jules Verne attempt for her anytime soon. It's not that she doesn't want to go after it, but she has four year's worth of commitments to Kingfisher to race the cat in other events and record attempts, and there's no opening in the schedule.

Stamm Must Stop

February 26 - Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

In the current 7,880-mile Around Alone leg from New Zealand to Brazil, Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group-Armor Lux - winner of the first three legs - has just been forced to relinquish his lead to his closest rival, Thierry Dubois on Solidaires, and by doing so has put in jeopardy the three point lead he currently holds over Dubois in the overall rankings. Stamm gave up the lead by pulling into Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, for repairs to his canting keel. "For me, there is five hours of work to do once I stop. There are 50 holes to drill in the two steel plates, and afterwards to align them."


February 26 - 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 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

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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