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Photos of the Day: SoCal Fun

August 11 - Catalina Channel

The Wanderer, Doña de Mallorca, and Profligate are still in Southern California, "having a blast." Since the first of the month in Santa Barbara, they've had 21 overnight guests, and visited King Harbor, Two Harbors twice, Avalon twice, the Californian's slip in Long Beach, and are currently in Newport Beach.

"If you have a boat that sails well in 12 knots, the conditions down here could not have been more ideal. Lots of fun, and lots and lots of sun," says de Mallorca.

One of the fun things happened yesterday, when a quarter of the way across from Two Harbors to Newport Beach, we crossed paths with a fellow named Allan Thompson aboard his Inter 20 catamaran, who was in the process of sailing from Two Harbors to Hurricane Gulch near Pt. Fermin.

In this first shot, he slowly eases up to the back of Profligate

A short time later, he's pulled up to the big cat's starboard transom and is chatting up de Mallorca.

We asked him to give us a little catamaran show, and he responded with the moves seen above and below.

So we rewarded him with a can of Pacifico which we'd imported months before from Puerto Vallarta. Great times in the Catalina Channel.
Photos Latitude/Richard

Historic Schooners of Key West

August 11 - Key West, FL

A town made prosperous in the 1800s by shipwrecks, Key West has no shortage of sailing history. To enjoy a taste of it, many visitors sail aboard one of a selection of historic charter boats. Among these, two schooners, Western Union and the America can be seen every evening taking passengers out to view the sunset.

While visiting the Keys, we sailed aboard the 130-ft Western Union, a working schooner launched in Key West in 1939 (yes, 1939 - that's not a typo). As her name implies, her job was to lay cable for the telegraph company of the same name all along the east coast as far north as Nova Scotia, throughout the Caribbean, and as far south as Venezuela. She was not taken out of service until 1974, when fiber optics made the heavy cable obsolete.

Because of all the shallow reefs and flats over which she must sail, Western Union has a flat bottom and no keel, just a 14" keelson from bow to stern.

The 139-ft Schooner America, built in 1995, is a replica of THAT America (you may have heard of her Cup). However, unlike the original, this model sports a modified fin keel, carbon spars with wood veneer, and yellowish Kevlar sails (which look more like natural cotton). Like her namesake, she is very fast.
Looking at this photo, one can almost smell the gunpowder from the cannon fire exchanged between Western Union and America.

One might assume this is the original galley onboard Western Union, but this little cabin, just aft of the foremast on deck, was originally a work shed which housed a large winch. The cable-laying crews cooked on deck.

Summer sunsets in the Keys are spectacular, thanks to the thunderclouds that build up each evening.

Several passengers were needed to help hoist the sails, a gaff main and foresail and an inner and outer jib.

Steve plays 'Blow the Man Down' on the concertina. He serenaded the passengers with traditional music and served as MC.

The crew of Western Union strung 20 miles of this cable at a time, then went back to port for more.

Some passengers got a turn at the wheel.

Photos Latitude/Chris

To learn more about Western Union, see www.schoonerwesternunion.com. For more on America, see www.schooneramerica.com. Both are owned by Historic Tours of America. America sometimes spends part of the summer season in Newport, RI.

The Ultimate Challenge of Raphaela le Gouvello

August 11 - Peru

The first woman to sail the Atlantic on a windsurfer departed Friday from Peru on her ultimate challenge: a Pacific Ocean crossing, solo and unassisted, on her sailboard. This 43-year old French woman from Morbihan hopes to traverse the 3,400 mile course to Tahiti in three months' time. If all goes according to plan, she should reach the Tuamotu islands by the end of October, where she will be met by a team boat. "After Tuamotu, I still will have a difficult navigation of 600 miles, between the atolls, before arriving on Tahiti: it will be necessary that I pay attention not to finish my crossing in a coral reef."

Her sailboard is unique: after crossing the Atlantic in 2000, she had a new board made for her at JPK Composites. This one is lighter, more stable and faster than her previous craft.

- Length: 25.74 feet
- Width: 4.29 feet
- Draft: 3.5 feet
- Laden weight: 1,100-1,210 lbs.
- Energy: batteries and solar panels
- Desalinator to transform saltwater into fresh water
- Communication with the ground: Iridium satellite phone and VHF radio
- Rigs and sails: six monofilm sails ranging from 13.86 to 24.42 square feet, four carbon masts and three aluminum booms
- 90-day supply of food consisting of dehydrated and freeze-dried meals, dried fruits and energy bars.
- Building site: JPK Composites (Larmor-Beach)
- Architect: Guy Saillard

For at least two months, she will be completely alone in the ocean. Her worst nightmare (other than sharks)? "Falling into the water and see my board leaving."

A Special Treat in Baltimore

August 11 - Baltimore, MD

Greg Retkowsky of Scirocco checks in with this report from the East Coast: "I was recently visiting my mom out east, and as our luck would have it when we visited Baltimore we were greeted by a special treat entering the harbor, the Libertad of Argentina dressed in flags being guided into port.

"Libertad is a training ship of the Argentinean Navy. Built in 1960 and with an overall length of 340 feet, it is truly a sight to behold. Libertad has the transatlantic record in a ship of its category, set in 1966 and yet to be topped. She is also the eight-time winner of the Boston Teapot trophy. Libertad is one of the biggest sailing vessels ever built."

Photos Greg Retkowski


August 11 - 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.

Weather Updates

August 11 - Pacific Ocean

San Francisco Bay Weather

Check out this guide to San Francisco Bay Navigational Aids: http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/sfports.html.

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

The site for the Pacific Ocean sea states has moved to http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/shtml/PacRegSSA.shtml.
For views of sea states anywhere in the world, see http://www.oceanweather.com/data.

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