Photos of the Day: America's Cup
March 3 - Auckland, NZ
Today's Photos of the Day are from the recently completed 31st America's Cup in New Zealand, in which the Kiwis were beaten 5-0 by the Alinghi Team from Switzerland. The racing wasn't quite as lopsided as the result indicates, as the Kiwis had to drop out twice with equipment failures. Two of the other races were extremely close and exciting. Nonetheless, everybody agrees that the Alinghi boat, despite not having a 'hula skirt', was as fast as the Kiwi boat, and the Swiss team's crew work was even better. Everybody also agrees that the postponements and laydays caused the event to really drag on toward the end.
Ernesto Bertarelli hoists the America's Cup
Photo Photo Wave/Louis Vuitton Cup
The question of whether Larry Ellison and Oracle BMW will be back next time representing the Golden Gate YC was answered within seconds of Alinghi crossing the finish line in the last race, as they presented Alinghi with a challenge for the next Cup, and thereby become the 'Challenger of Record' for the next America's Cup. This means that Oracle and Alinghi will be in the driver's seat for negotiating the rules for the next Cup. Ernesto Bertarelli, the money behind and active sailor aboard Alinghi, has become good friends with Ellison, and they reportedly share a similar vision for modernizing the Cup. Ground rules for the next event are expected to be announced later today in New Zealand.
Congratulations to the Swiss for bringing the Cup to Europe for the first time in 151 years.
Alinghi sails upwind in Race 5
Photo Bob Grieser/Louis Vuitton Cup
Defeated champions Team New Zealand
now go into Challenger mode.
Photo Louis Vuitton Cup
Crime Does Seem to Pay, and Very Well, Too
March 3 - Beverly Hills
Latitude readers may remember that last year we ran a story about Rex DeGeorge, a Beverly Hills lawyer who is now serving a federal prison term for scuttling his luxury yacht off the Italian coast to collect an inflated $3.6 million insurance policy. The then 65-year-old DeGeorge had previously filed claims for three other yachts lost under suspicious circumstances, and collected on all of them.
In addition, DeGeorge has filed 29 other claims with insurance companies. For example, in 1990, the lawyer filed claims with two insurance companies contending he was totally disabled because of a heart condition and brain damage caused by an auto accident. For the next nine years, he received $8,200 a month in benefits under terms of his disability policies. In 1999, the two insurance companies stopped all payments, alleging that he had faked the ailments and was continuing to work as a lawyer.
DeGeorge recently sued the insurance companies for non-payment, and a six-person jury decided in his favor. One juror said they felt he was getting away with something, but based on the evidence and the court's instructions on the law, they had no choice but to side with him. They had been told about his boat insurance fraud in general terms, but not the details.
The only good news is that DeGeorge is scheduled to be in jail for 7.5 years, and that he owes the U.S. government $2.8 million in restitution. He has paid nothing back to the insurance company on the fraudulent claim. Insurance consumers such as you and we pick up the tab for that.
Berth Boom in Baja?
March 3 - Baja California, Mexico
Jack Williams, back from Baja after doing research on his cruising guides for both the Pacific Coast and the Sea of Cortez, reports that the owners of the Giggling Marlin in Cabo San Lucas have acquired an enormous amount of property at the Muertos anchorage on the east side of the Baja peninsula almost as far north as La Paz. They've got electricity in, a big road, a Giggling Marlin restaurant, and have built an airstrip long enough to accept twin engine jets. We're talking luxury homesites. In addition, the owners told Williams that they will be using earth moving equipment to dig out old sea level salt ponds to build a 3,000 berth marina. Williams is not sure they have the permits or the potential time frame for building such a marina.
As we report in the March issue, it seems three more marinas will be built or activated in the La Paz area. How you say 'berth glut' in Spanish?
Photo Mary Shroyer
As for the 'Nautical Stairway' project at Santa Rosalillita on the Pacific Coast of Baja, Williams checked out the breakwaters for the supposed marina. He noted that there's a nice little surf break . . . inside the harbor!
Geronimo Back in the Jules Verne Lead
March 3 - South Atlantic Ocean
Olivier de Kersauson and his maxi-tri Geronimo are back ahead of Orange's record pace in the Jules Verne around the world challenge as they are slowly working up the east coast of South America. It's light going, but trimarans do much better in light airs than do catamarans. It's actually hard to compare Geronimo's pace with that of Orange, as Bruno Peyron's cat was far to the east at the same point in time. But with probably less than two weeks to go, it's going to be a thrilling dash to the finish.
Ellen MacArthur and the maxi-cat Kingfisher2, of course, was also in pursuit of the record, but was dismasted in the Southern Ocean. They are proceeding under jury rig to western Australia.
Isobar Is for Sale
March 3 - Philippines
"I am the daughter of Richard Steinke, whom you have written about many times in Latitude," writes Jessica Hickey. "Regretfully, he passed away last week in the Philippines, and I now have the job of trying to take care of the Isobar and decide how to get her into the loving hands of someone dedicated to classic wooden boats. I am not capable of giving her the care she deserves and hope to see her go to a good home. I am faced with having to deal with a boat a half a planet away, and making decision on how, where, and when to sell her. If anybody has any suggestions on how to do this, or would be interested in buying the boat, they can contact me at (206) 285-4300, (206) 268-0964 (direct), or (206) 427-7320 (cell)."
Isobar is a 45-ft strip-planked sloop designed by Don and Les Harlander of Richmond. Steinke had been sailing her around the world for the last 12 years. See the January issue for our latest report on him and a photo of the boat.
March 3 - 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 www.bitwrangler.com/psn.
March 3 - 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