Photos of the Day:
Heineken Regatta

March 10 - St. Martin/St. Maarten

Today's Photos of the Day are of the recently completed three-day Heineken Regatta in St. Martin/Sint Maarten, and were taken by the talented and ubiquitous Tim Wright.

This year's 23rd annual 'Heinie' attracted more than 200 entries, including Steve Fossett's maxi-cat PlayStation, fresh from smashing the east to west transatlantic record.

For those who haven't done a Heinie before, it's strictly a Caribbean style event - which means everybody is welcome, from the smallest and oldest boats to those with trick racing programs; the enthusiasm is very high; and the post race drinking and partying are very hard core. In fact, the day after, lots of participants were seen with their livers in a sling.

Dick Johnson reports: "More blue sky, wind northeast at 15 knots, warm water, little white fluffy clouds, and a stinking hangover from the previous night's ravin' on the waterfront at Marigot intertwine - it must be St Maarten and it must be the 23rd Heineken Regatta. One great thing about St Maarten's three day regatta format is that you - if you are little younger than your reporter - race your ears off all day and party all night for the whole three days, and can still be poured aboard the plane home on Monday. What you will be like back at work on Wednesday, however, is anybody's guess."

Steve Fossett and PlayStation tried to break the two-hour mark in the 37-mile around the island race, but fell short by 4 minutes and 36 seconds. They were a victim of the dying winds on the east coast.

More on this event in the April issue of Latitude 38.

Photos Tim Wright/

Hatfield Dismasted in 70-Knot Winds and 40-ft Seas

March 10 - Ushuaia, Argentina

On March 7, Canadian Around Alone skipper Derek Hatfield reported that his Open 40 Spirit of Canada had been dismasted 30 miles to the ENE of Cape Horn. The captain of a cruise ship confirmed that winds had been around 70 knots and waves 40 feet tall. Here's Hatfield's story as appeared on

"I was so exhausted that I could hardly think, but when I heard the wave I knew that I was in trouble. It was not as big as some of the others, but it was breaking and it made a huge roar as it approached the boat. In seconds we were falling down the face of it until the bow dug in, and then we pitch-poled. The boat went straight up and then fell over sideways. I was at the back of the boat and got flung forward. The next thing I knew I was in the water under the boat. I heard the water gurgling and knew that I was under the boat, then all of a sudden I heard explosions - loud explosions that reverberated through the water. I knew in that instant that the mast was breaking. It was unreal. Gurgling water and huge bangs. Suddenly, without the mast the boat came back upright and I was dragged back on deck."

Spirit of Canada at the start
Photo Joyce Black

Dismasted and with a loose keel, Hatfield and Spirit of Canada have made it safely to Ushuaia in southern Argentina. With so much wrecked on his boat, Hatfield assumed he was out of the race for good. However, lots of supporting emails have him wavering.

Just under four hours after Bernard Stamm crossed the finish line in Salvador, at 16:23:30 GMT to be exact, Thierry Dubois sailed into port on Solidaires to take first place for the leg. The French skipper had led on the water until yesterday morning, but a final push by Stamm thwarted his chances of taking line honors. He does however take overall honors for the leg because Stamm will be assessed a 48-hour penalty for stopping in the Falklands for repairs.

Pacific Puddle Jump

March 10 -
Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

For generations courageous ocean voyagers have set sail in early spring from the Mexican coast to the storied isles of the South Pacific. In recent years, as the cruising phenomenon has grown, the annual westward migration has taken on a new character. Roughly 50 boats now typically make the 2,800-mile crossing to French Polynesia, with their first possible landfall in the Marquesas. Although each boat will ultimately be on its own during the crossing, many crews get to know each other before setting sail, and stay in touch via a daily radio sched.

For the past six seasons, Latitude 38 has acknowledged their bold undertaking - which we've dubbed the Pacific Puddle Jump - by throwing a kickoff party in their honor at the Paradise Village Resort and Marina on Banderas Bay. This year's event, held March 4, drew about 60 Puddle Jumpers for an afternoon of fun and games. Check out the April issue of Latitude 38 for a full report, complete with photos and interviews.

 Photos Latitude/Andy

After a few shots of tequila, some of the younger members of the P.J. Class of 2003 took over the stage at Philo's Bar in La Cruz. Left to right are Mike and Heather Hibbetts of Orion and Erik and Lisa Hauge of Hoonah.

Former Navy Commander Joe Jenners and his wife Michelle Scott of the San Diego-based Hans Christian 48 Mi Gitana, will be setting sail for the Marquesas any day now.

John Kostecki in Stellar Star Performance

March 10 - Miami, FL

Having recently won the prestigious Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award for skippering the winner in the Volvo Around the World Race, Marin resident John Kostecki has set his next goal as winning the difficult Star Class in the Athens Olympics. New to the class, he's obviously a quick study, as he and crew Austin Sperry got third in the big deal Bacardi Cup Star Class regatta just finished on Biscayne Bay. Peter Bromby and Martin Siese of Bermuda won the event for the second time in a row while current world champions Ian Percy and Steve Mitchell took second overall.

Geronimo in a Nail-Biter as Around the World Effort Nears the Finish

March 10 - North Atlantic Ocean

After 58 days and with less than a week left in his Jules Verne around the world attempt with his maxi-tri Geronimo, Olivier de Kersauson is slightly ahead of Orange's record pace - but he's nonetheless gloomy. The problem is that the weather between him and the finish off France is 'spasmodic' and mostly light, and that on days 58, 59, and 60, rival Orange turned in days of 411, 518, and 496 miles - all excellent for that part of the world. Geronimo, on the other hand, covered just 358 miles in the last 24 hours. De Kersauson moans they haven't had a decent wind since rounding Cape Horn and that a catamaran, which doesn't point as high or sail as fast in light weather, wouldn't even have made it to the equator by then.

Swiss Defy Stereotype as Cup Arrives in Geneva

March 10 - Geneva, Switzerland

The Swiss, generally considered to be low in passion, turned out a crowd of 40,000 on an icy day when Ernesto Bertarelli and the Alinghi crew showed up with the America's Cup. Few experts anticipated such enthusiasm.

Ellison Steps Down as CEO of Oracle BMW Racing - Not Oracle

March 10 - San Francisco

In other America's Cup news, Larry Ellison has stepped down as CEO of the Oracle BMW Racing Team, appointing the sometimes mercurial Chris Dickson to take over that role. Dickson's first task is to plan the strategy, budget, management structure and program for the next challenge. Oracle BMW races under the burgee of the Golden Gate YC, the Challenger of Record for the next America's Cup, likely to be held in 2007.


March 10 - 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

March 10 - 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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