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Mari-Cha IV Smashes Transatlantic Record

October 10 - Plymouth, UK

In a monumental achievement, Robert Miller's right-out-of-the-box 140-ft nearly flat-bottom schooner Mari-Cha IV has annihilated the monohull transatlantic sailing record from New York to Plymouth, England. Her time of six days and about 18 hours crushes Bernard Stamm's old record by two days and three hours. The all-carbon modern schooner's 18.2 knot average means she could complete the West Marine Pacific Cup course from San Francisco to Hawaii - which Miller intends to do - in under five days. There is a whole crop of 86 to 100-ft all-out monohulls that have either been just launched or will soon be launched. It's unlikely any of them will be able to stay with the new Mari-Cha except in upwind races, for which she wasn't tweaked.

Mari-Cha IV
Photo Thierry Martinez

In addition to breaking the transatlantic record, Mari-Cha IV sailed 525 nautical miles in 24 hours, becoming the the first monohull to break the 500 mark. In so doing, Miller and his big schooner bested the previous monohull mark of 484 miles set by Marin's John Kostecki with illbruck.

What's to become of the 146-ft ketch Mari-Cha III that did the West Marine Pacific Cup last year? The 70-year-old Miller will use her exclusively for cruising.

Mari-Cha III
Photo Latitude/Richard

Visit www.mari-cha4.com for more details and photos.

A New Alternative to the Baja Bash?

October 10 - La Paz, BCS

Doug Nicholson of Basta! - which he hopes survived Hurricane Marty in La Paz - reports that Dockwise Yacht Transport has announced new routes for their semi-submersible yacht transport ships, including from La Paz to Ensenada and Vancouver in April and May. We at Latitude 38 have been encouraging them to do this for years, and are glad to see that they are going forward with it. It means that given enough money, you could easily cruise Mexico in the winter and the Inland Passage to Alaska in the summer. So far we haven't gotten a sample quote back, but we remember that some folks paid $4,250 to have their Columbia 36 shipped from Ensenada to Vancouver. So it's not cheap, but it nonetheless might be worth it. For details, visit www.yacht-transport.com.

We must caution, however, that one boatowner has told us that Dockwise doesn't always live up to their obligations. He reports that he and 11 other owners in Australia contracted with Dockwise to have their boats delivered to the United States. But when the Dockwise ship got to New Zealand, they got enough boats to fill the ship, and left the dozen boatowners in Oz high and dry. Has anybody else had an experience like that?

Photo of the Day

October 10 - La Paz, BCS

Today's Photo is courtesy of Mary Shroyer, and is of her and Mac's Marina de La Paz following the destruction caused by Hurricane Marty late last month. As the photo shows, the entire middle of the marina was swept away. Mary has told Latitude that she and Mac will rebuild the marina.

More Great Costumes from Buccaneer Days at Two Harbors, Catalina

October 10 - Two Harbors, Catalina Island

All Photos Latitude/Richard


American Still Leads the Mini-TransAt

October 10 - Atlantic Ocean

Having gotten out of the doldrums, the Mini-TransAt fleet is back in the trades for the hot run to Brazil. Seattle's Jonathan McKee, 1,072 miles from the finish, continues to lead.

1. Jonathan McKee, Team McLube, 1,072 miles to finish.
2. Pierre Rolland, Extrado, 1,125 mtf
3. Samuel Manuard, Tip Top Too, 1,134 mtf
4. Armel Tripon, Moulin Roty, 1,140 mtf
5. Alex Pell, Aquatec-Santaiveri-Texknit, 1,186 mtf

Hurricane Mysteries

October 10 - Eastern Caribbean

While the Sea of Cortez has had an unusually active hurricane season this year, the Eastern Caribbean has so far been untouched. It's often the case that when one has an active hurricane season, the other has a light one.

The Latest on Cruiser Dawn Marie, Being Held in a Mexican Jail

October 10 - Tijuana, Baja California

Her attorney reports: "Today I was served notification with Dawn Marie's appeal ruling from the 6th Unitary Tribunal. Although we did not get a full reversal (acquittal), there is good news to be had, because the tribunal did not confirm the Judge's ruling, but instead deemed it necessary - as we suspected it might - to reopen Dawn's court case. What does this mean? It means that within the following few days, the court in Ensenada will be ordered to reinitiate or do over some of the stages of the trial, because of defects within its substantiation. Although in appearance this does not improve Dawn's situation, in practice, it will afford us the opportunity - since we're back to trial - to offer into evidence key issues which the former defense attorneys overlooked, such as an expert medical examination, examination on the chemistry report (and all its shortcomings), etc.

"The road ahead is still long, but a last we shall be in a position to considerably better Dawn's legal situation for when it comes time for her to be sentenced - for the second time around. It may not seem like it, but this is very good news trial-wise. Believe you me, we had to 'run with what we had' in the appeal, but now, the second time around we'll get a chance to do things way better than that retard who dared to call himself a defense attorney who handled the case before us.

"To put it in baseball terms, the first time at the plate was with a faulty bat and a hungover hitter, but we still managed to hit a single. Not too bad, with a better chance at scoring further along the inning."

Lic. Fernando Benítez Álvarez del Castillo
Misión de Santo Tomás Nº 1515
Zona Río, Tijuana, B.C. 22320
(664) 634-6711, 634-2977

Ketch Stolen from Alameda

October 10 - Alameda

"Pepina, our 71-ft custom ketch, our home, has been stolen from under our noses," write Ted and Jeanie Conway. "We have lived aboard Pepina for 14 years, and she's taken us safely many thousands of miles at sea. During the night of either October 7 or 8, she was stolen from her dock at Grand Marina in Alameda. We have contacted all the appropriate authorities - police department, Coast Guard, etc. - and I chartered a plane to check all the anchorages and marinas down the coast. All to no avail. We're asking everyone to keep a lookout for our special girl, as we miss her very much. In case anyone is wondering, no, she is not insured against theft.

"If anyone sees her or has other information, please contact Ted Conway at (510) 814-0771. Please keep a lookout for her."

Photos Courtesy the Conways

There is no way a distinctive ketch like this can hide for long, no matter if she's on the California coast, Mexico, Hawaii, or even the South Pacific. We hope she's found before she's abandoned or destroyed. So please do keep your eyes open for her. 


October 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 www.bitwrangler.com/psn.

Weather Updates

October 10 - 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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