Photos of the Day:
Big Daddy Comes of Age

March 14 - San Francisco Bay

The Big Daddy Regatta, hosted by Richmond Yacht Club, was blessed with warm weather and excellent sailing conditions for its 21st birthday.

The start of Race 2

The event began Saturday (after a postponement waiting for the wind to work its way over from the Gate) with two races on the Berkeley Circle or Southampton courses (three for PHRF A), continued with drinking, dining and dancing on Saturday evening, and wrapped up with a pursuit race "around the TRADITIONAL Alcatraz and Angel Islands," to quote the race instructions - as opposed to the MODERN Islands? Actually the around-the-islands-any-way-you-want course returned to replace last year's less popular double-starfish course. The Wylie Wabbits did well in the pursuit race, nabbing three spots in the top ten, including a first for Kim Desenberg and John Groen's Mr. McGregor. For a full report, lots more photos, and results, see the April issue of Latitude 38. Also see for results.

Triumph starts the Pursuit Race

Entering Belvedere Cove

Arbitrage along Angel

The lightest of the weekend's breezes pushed the spinnaker parade down Raccoon Strait.
Photo Baylis Weaver

All Photos Latitude/Chris except as noted

Andrew and Ernie started the pig pit at 5:00am on Saturday and 12 hours later the 200-pound pig was ready for the buffet.
Photo Harley Gee

Cindy and Lesa poured Jungle Juice for thirsty sailors. The Jello Shooters went like a shot.

Learning the ropes

"Where's that buoy?"

The crew of Petard took home a bucket of champagne for "21st Boat"

The awards ceremony was preceded by an auction to benefit the yacht club's junior foundation.

Yachties - Including One Boat from Sausalito - Shot at Off Yemen

March 14 - Gulf of Aden

Don and Katie Radcliffe of the Santa Cruz-based Klondike, currently racing in Malaysia, received the following email from their Aussie friends aboard Penyllan off the coast of Yemen on their way to the Red Sea. "At 0800 on March 9, we were in the company of four other yachts 50 miles off the coast of Yemen and 100 miles from Somalia. The other yachts were Sea Dove with Rod and Karyn from Brisbane; Gypsy Days with Brian and Margaret Horwell from Melbourne; Narena, with Bruce and Cheryle Matthew from Phillip Island, and Imani, with Mark and Doreen and Maya and Tristan from Sausalito. We spotted three fast moving motorized dhows coming across our track from the direction of Somalia towards the Yemen coast. I was just about give a routine position report to an SSB net where by chance, Mike, the skipper of Bambola, a yacht attacked near here a week ago, was describing his attack. I broke into his conversation and asked for a quick description of the boats that attacked him. His response described the ones approaching us: local dhows, 20 meters long, probably made of wood judging from their radar echo, and inboard powered. They were covered with bright blue and orange plastic sheeting, possibly to conceal their identity or their cargo.

Yemen and the Gulf of Aden
Photo Latitude/Annie

"By this time we had formed a very tight group and had increased speed to the maximum we could sustain as a group, which was about 6.5 knots. One of the three dhows diverted and was heading directly for us from our port quarter. When he was about half a mile away we heard shots fired. We immediately called Mayday, Karyn on Sea Dove using VHF while I called the skipper of Skive and the skipper of Bambola, who were in direct communication with the German Navy HQ in Djibouti. They informed us that help was on its way, but would take several hours. Repeated calls of Mayday on other channels brought no response.

"The dhow was only very slowly overtaking us, and as no further shots were fired, an anxious 10 to 15 minutes followed as they gradually drew astern and we tried to coax more speed from our engines. His other two companion vessels did not seem to take an enthusiastic part in the pursuit, as both appeared heavily laden with people. All this time Karyn and I and some of the others kept up a barrage of Mayday calls and updating of the contacts that we had managed to make by the various radio frequencies.

"A Panamanian registered freighter answered one of Karen's calls and said that he was turning towards our position. Then a U.S. warship called and said he would be at our position in three hours. Finally, the attacking boat gave up the chase and turned for the Yemen coast. He might have given up because of the obvious long chase he faced, because we were a closely grouped bunch of five yachts, and because he was heavily laden with passengers. The appearance of the merchant vessel Royal Pescadores might also have been a deterrent.

"At 0912, a Coalition Forces Orion 4-engined Navy aircraft made contact, flew over, and then headed down the coast ahead of us! The pirates were astern. On his second pass, we managed to indicate to him the direction in which he had fled, and he took off in that direction. He later returned, asked if we needed assistance, then departed. At 1050 he returned one last time and asked for details of the yachts involved, reporting that he had seen many local small vessels but could not identify our attackers.

"Thankfully, we have escaped that attack unscathed and will pass the worst danger zone by tonight. We have 2-3 days to go before we enter the 'Gates of Sorrow' at the southern end of the Red Sea and head for the relative safety of Eritrea. As you can imagine our adrenaline is up, but we are pleased that we all handled things well under pressure, and very grateful that we have been so lucky."

The Gulf of Aden has, in recent years, been the scene of a number of violent attacks on yachties. As such, yachtie convoys are common.

As for the Radcliffes, they're participating in the Royal Langkawi International Regatta with their Beneteau 456 and having a ball. "We're doing well in Cruising Class B, even without a spinnaker, and can hardly keep up with all the parties and sailing too! It's just like the King's Cup in Phuket, Thailand."

Gary Jobson Speaks at Tiburon YC

March 12 - Tiburon

Annapolis-based media mogul Gary Jobson - the voice of American sailing - packed the house at Tiburon YC last Wednesday night, holding the crowd spellbound for the better part of three hours. It was a vintage Jobson performance, sort of a 'state of the union' address about sailing, full of insights, humor, energy and genuine enthusiasm for the sport. He showed several videos, talked at length about the recent America's Cup, signed books (West Marine was there selling his two latest, Fighting Finish and An America's Cup Treasury), shook hands, answered questions, posed for pictures, kissed babies (just kidding) and generally appeared to have as much fun as the audience did.

As a great sailor (two-time collegiate sailor of the year, winning America's Cup tactician, and much more) and excellent communicator (TV commentator, video producer, magazine editor, author of 13 books, and veteran of about 1,900 speeches), the 52-year-old Jobson is, in our opinion, the highest authority on sailing in this country. Here's a smattering of what he had to say that evening:

"With all the delays, this America's Cup was an exhausting event. But if you think it was painful to watch, it was even worse for us behind the cameras. Our producers got really crabby, and couldn't understand that covering sailing isn't at all like covering a hockey or football game."

"Oracle and OneWorld would have clobbered Team New Zealand, too. Paul Cayard would have won the whole thing."

"Russell and Brad did what anyone would have done. Their choice - to basically pay the Kiwis to take over TNZ or get paid by the Swiss - was like choosing between the Volvo Race and the BT Global Challenge. Gee, should I get paid handsomely to sail around the world downwind in cool boats - or shell out your own money to sail upwind around the world in slower boats?"

"Team New Zealand's fatal flaw was too young a crew. Dean Barker, 29 years old, brought in all his young friends. You need more experience and maturity aboard to win the Cup."

"The honeymoon between Ernesto (Bertarelli) and Larry (Ellison) will end in a few months."

"You'll need TIVO to watch the next Cup - 1 p.m. in Portugal is 4 a.m. in the morning here!"

"No matter what kind of sailing you do, have fun!"

Jobson, who brought his twin 16-year-old daughters to the show, is presently crisscrossing the country giving speeches (see for the schedule, Gary's bio and more). Catch him if you can.

Rumor and Fact, Not Exactly the Same Thing

March 14 - Tiburon

In Wednesday's 'Lectronic, we had an item under the title Two Juicy Rumors. The first was reports on Iranian television that Osama Yo Mama has been caught, the second was that Oracle BMW, now headed by Kiwi Chris Dickson, will merge with the New Zealand America's Cup effort.

Just so everyone's clear on this, a rumor is not the same thing as a fact. A fact is something you should be able to count on. A rumor is totally unfounded speculation that is often false and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt.
So when a member of the audience at the Gary Jobson presentation at the Tiburon YC asked him to comment on a "report" in 'Lectronic that Oracle BMW might combine with the Kiwis, we would have preferred that the audience member had asked Jobson to comment on a "rumor" reported in 'Lectronic.

In any event Jobson laughed off the notion of an Oracle-Kiwi collaboration as being silly. By the way, Osama hadn't been caught either.

This Used to Be a No Smoking Zone

March 14 - Montserrat

Photo Dave Gendell

Dave Gendell of SpinSheet sailing magazine in Annapolis forwarded this shot he took on March 2 of the continually spewing ash from the volcano at Montserrat as seen from Shirley Heights, Antigua. Because of the violent eruption, major lava flows, and ash up to six feet deep, Montserrat has been mostly abandoned.

Not Exactly Right About This and That

March 14 - San Francisco

In last month's Changes, we had an item about Russell Long of San Francisco joining Garrett Loube, Bird Livingston and Suzie Grubler for a little sailing fun on Loube's Bravura in New Zealand. In the item we wrote that Long, now the head of Bluewater Network's effective environmental efforts, had his own America's Cup campaign, Liberty, at age 21. With more than a quarter of a century of billions of sailing bits stored in our little brains, we should not have relied on our memory. Long called to tell us he was actually 24 at the time, and that his entry was called Clipper. We should have known this because Pan American Airlines, gone but not forgotten, was the first ever commercial sponsor in the America's Cup. In fact, Long had intended to call his boat Pan Am, but the America's Cup folks didn't look kindly on it.

Way more important than Long's efforts back then are his environmental efforts today, particularly with two and four stroke outboards. If all goes well, we'll have a Latitude interview with him in the May - not April - Latitude.

Geronimo on the Edge

March 14 - North Atlantic Ocean

After sailing for more than two months at an average speed faster than any other sailboat in history, Olivier de Kersauson's maxi-tri Geronimo will have to average 15.97 knots over the last 1,200 miles to establish a new Jules Verne Around the World record. A few days ago the record looked out of the question, now it's quite possible but by no means assured. There are light airs ahead, to be followed by a final 300 miles of good breezes from a good direction. It will be all over by Sunday.

Photo DPPI

Pacific Puddle Jump

March 14 - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

In advance of setting sail for French Polynesia, roughly half of this year's 54-boat Pacific Puddle Jump fleet gathered at the new Vallarta Yacht Club last week to celebrate their imminent departure. The event was co-hosted by Latitude 38, Paradise Village Resort & Marina, and the YC. Each boatload of voyagers met with a Latitude editor to share sailing tales and cruising plans. (Look for a full report in the April edition of Latitude.)

Photo Latitude/Andy

At least half of this year's fleet anticipate completing a full circumnavigation. If they do, this initial 2,800-mile crossing will be the longest patch of open water they will face without any possible landfalls. 'Jumping the Puddle', therefore, is a bold undertaking by any standard. As such, we salute these spirited adventurers and wish them the best of luck.

As in years past, the P.J. Class of 2003 includes folks from a wide range of backgrounds, traveling on radically different budgets. The boats they sail are equally diverse, ranging from a slick, aluminum-hulled Deerfoot 74 to more traditional heavy-displacement double-enders such as several bullet-proof Westsail 32s.


March 14 - 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 14 - 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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