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Franck Cammas Is the Man in the Jacques Vabre!

November 17 - Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

The 4,200-mile Jacques Vabre Race from France to Brazil is, along with the Route du Rhum, the most prestigious - and exciting - race sailed out of France. For the second time in a row, 30-year old Franck Cammas has become the top dog with his 60-ft tri Groupama, covering 4,600 miles in just over 10 days - for a blistering pace of 17.57 knots. He was helped by crew Franck Proffit, who had crewed for Loïck Peyron when the latter won with Fujicolor in 1999.

The duo had to be fast, because Belgacom, with Jean-Luc Nélias and Loïck Peyron, finished just over an hour later. Belgacom actually averaged .11 of a knot faster, but sailed a longer course. While the first half of the race and the doldrums had been rough, it was great to the finish. "Like skiing on two inches of fresh powder!"

Photos Courtesy www.jacques-vabre.com

Karine Fauconnier

Taking a brilliant third just five hours out of first was skipper Karine Fauconnier, the first lady of the race, with Irishman Damian Foxall aboard Sergio Tacchini. This great finish is surely going to propel the stunning Frenchwoman to even greater glory, as she and her crew bested many of the giants of ocean multihull racing. For example, Ellen MacArthur, sailing with Alain Gautier, finished ninth.

But the day really belongs to Cammas, who has certainly proved his mettle over the years. At age 24, he won the Solitaire de Figaro, which propelled him into the 60-ft multihull ranks. A couple of years later, he cobbled together the parts of various outdated 60-ft tris to beat all the latest and greatest designs in the St. Malo Transatlantic Race. And now two Jacques Vabre victories in a row. And the future looks bright, for his new tri, a 60-footer from brand new molds, is nearing completion.

In another amazing feat, Lalou Roucayrol and Pascal Bidegorry, who would finish sixth, covered an staggering 613 miles in one 24-hour period. That's just 12 miles short of the record for 60-footers. The all time 24-hour sailing record is just under 700 miles, set by 110-ft maxi cat. Is there anybody else who thinks the America's Cup ought to be sailed in 60-ft tris?

Even though the Open 60s started the Jacques Vabre days earlier than the tris, they are still at sea. We'll have a report on Wednesday.

1. Groupama (Franck Cammas - Franck Proffit) 10d 23h 10m 41s
2. Belgacom (Jean-Luc Nélias - Loïck Peyron) 11d 00h 22m 42s
3. Sergio Tacchini (Karine Fauconnier - Damian Foxall) 11d 03h 20m 28s
4. Géant (Michel Desjoyeaux - Hervé Jan) 11d 06h 27m 31s
5. Biscuits La Trinitaine (Marc Guillemot - Yann Guichard) 11d 08h 11m 55s
6. Banque Populaire (Lalou Roucayrol - Pascal Bidégorry) 11d 09h 27m 44s
7. Sodebo (Thomas Coville - Jacques Vincent) 11d 11h 20m 15s
8. Gitana (Lionel Lemonchois - Marc Guessard) 11d 19h 50m 45s
9. Foncia (Alain Gautier - Ellen MacArthur) 11d 20h 38m 06s
10. Sopra Group (Philippe Monnet - Laurent Bourgnon) 11d 20h 55m 50s

Pond Scum Strike Twice at Marina Bay

November 17 - Richmond

We just received word that some miscreants twice ripped off a 30-ft racing boat at Marina Bay in Richmond. The first time they took all the blocks. The second time they came back and cut the halyards in order to take the shackles.

The particularly disturbing thing about this is that only sailors, knowledgeable sailors, would know enough to steal 'boat jewelry'.

A Tough Year for the West Marine 1500

November 17 - Tortola, BVI

Participation in this year's West Marine 1500 from Hampton, Virginia, to Tortola, British Virgin Islands, is way down to 32 boats, and they had a tough time on what can be an arduous course. The event started on November 2, and the awards ceremony was yesterday in Tortola - but a third of the fleet has only now just been able to leave Bermuda, having fled there and then been trapped by bad weather.

If we were to rate the degree of difficulty of the West Marine 1500 versus the Baja Ha-Ha, the former would normally be a six to eight, while the latter would usually be a two to four. If you want to get to the tropics with little trouble, it's lucky when you live on the West Coast.

Profligate's Progress

November 17 - Costa Rica

Doña de Mallorca this morning reported that Profligate, making a mad dash to Panama and hopefully the Eastern Caribbean, is currently located at 9º 55', 85º 45', and is off Costa Rica just 120 miles from the Panamanian border. It's expected she'll arrive at the Canal sometime on Thursday, and, if we can expedite the paperwork, perhaps she'll be in the Caribbean on Sunday. If the paperwork can't be completed before the weekend, it will mean a three day delay at the minimum.

Graphic Latitude/Annie & Chris

Profligate refueled at Roberto Membrano's new Puesta del Sol Marina in Nicaragua yesterday morning, and was given the grand tour by Roberto and Gene Menzies, who has been so important with the development. The crew received a warm welcome, a tour, and even fresh vegies from Mrs. Membrano. There were about six other boats in the marina, the entrance to which is extremely well marked from the sea. In nearby El Salvador, heavy surf can make crossing the bars into marinas tricky. Not so at Puesta del Sol. Even though the surf was reported to be very large, there was no problem with the deepwater entrance. How good was the surf? Quicksilver had flown in a team of Hawaii pros for some kind of special session.

Officialdom was not a problem in Nicaragua. In fact, since Profligate was only there for two hours, it was dispensed with.


November 17 - 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 Links

November 17 - 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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