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Photos of the Day: Mirabella

December 1 - Portsmouth, UK

Photos Courtesy Mirabella V

Fun Mirabella factoids: Her lifting keel weighs 150 tons! Her mast and rigging weigh 31 tons!

Today's Photos of the Day are of Joe Vittoria on the bow of the about to be launched 245-ft Ron Holland designed Mirabella V in Portsmouth, England, and of the magnificent yacht just after she was launched.

My how times have changed! Many Northern California sailors can remember when Ron Holland was a nobody, and got his big break in the late '70s designing the 40-ft Imp for Belvedere's Dave Allen. There's no telling how many of those would fit into the main salon of the 478-ton Mirabella. The huge yacht, to be available for charter later this year in the Caribbean and Med for $250,000/week, is not only the largest sloop in the world, but will have the tallest mast. Her carbon stick is 100 feet taller than any mast ever built before, and would not make it under the Golden Gate Bridge by something like 80 feet. Shaking this boat and her systems down should be a real challenge.

A Little Warmth on a December Day

December 1 -
Galapagos Islands

No doubt sensing that most 'Lectronic readers were damp and cold on this first day of December, Mike Harker of the Manhattan Beach based Hunter 466 Wanderlust was nice enough to forward this shot of Lena, one of his crew, diving in the Galapagos Islands. As you might notice, no wetsuit was required. Mike reports that all of his underwater shots are taken with a Canon digital IXUS S400 in a Canon housing while he free-dives.

Photo Mike Harker

America's Cup to Valencia, Spain

December 1 - Valencia, Spain

As you may have heard, the America's Cup has been awarded to the wild and warm Mediterranean city of Valencia, the fourth largest city in Spain. This hotbed of recreational activity - and nightlife - supposedly gets 12 to 17 knots of breeze every afternoon. Some say this consistent wind is good, others complain that the reliability will thwart lead changes. But if anyone gets too bored, they can head up the coast to Barcelona or to the nearby Balearic Islands. It seems to us the only thing that could prevent the 2007 Cup from being a smashing attraction is a possible lack of entries. Many experts feel that Alinghi and Oracle have nearly prohibitive financial and technological edges, and will discourage most other competitors. Especially when the ante will be close to $100 million.

In an attempt to make the Cup more exciting, the modified designs will displace about a ton less and have about 8% more downwind sail area. It's hoped this will make them more responsive to puffs and therefore promote more lead changes. In other changes, the number of crew will be increased to 17 and after a certain date skirts will only be permitted around the keels.

We don't know about the rest of you, but these changes seem too little and too late. With boats like the new Mari-Cha IV, the new maxi 86s, maxi cats and tris, and even 60-ft tris that have no trouble hitting 35 knots, don't the AC boats seem dowdy and boring?

No Wonder Nobody Leaves La Paz

December 1 - La Paz, BCS

According to Money magazine, La Paz, Mexico, is the fourth best place for Americans to retire. It was noted you can get a nice three bedroom house for $100,000 and that health care was good and taxes low. No mention was made of hurricanes or blistering summer temperatures. La Paz was the only city outside the United States to make the top ten.

In Business News . . .

December 1 - Los Angeles

Well-known yachtsman Roy Disney of Los Angeles hit the financial page headlines today when he stepped down from the board of directors at Disney. That's not such big news in itself, as he'd reached the age of mandatory retirement. What did cause sparks was forthright contention that for the last seven years Michael Eisner, chairman of Disney, has done a very poor job and should also step down.

In more pleasant news, Disney's new canting keel MaxZ86 should soon be in the water. She's expected to race in the Caribbean this winter.

Speaking of MaxZ86s, Dee Smith of Novato sent us these photos of Hasso Plattner's about to be launched Morning Glory. Smith says he's been working on the design and construction for 18 months, and is eager to sail the boat for the first time next week.

Photos Dee Smith

Profligate's Progress

Using the Globalstar satellite phone, Doña de Mallorca reports that Profligate and crew are about six hours from Aruba, having finally left the rough and dangerous coast of Colombia behind them. They are currently making eight knots in 15 knots of wind and four to six-foot seas which, as they've been since Panama, are right on the nose. Between Cartagena and Cabo Vela, where the seas are often very sloppy, their speed was often down to four or five knots.

Map Latitude/Annie & Chris

As the crow flies, it's about 500 more upwind miles against a strong current to Antigua. They are now trying to decide whether to rhumbline it across the Caribbean, which could result in very nasty conditions and almost zero progress if the reinforced trades kick in, or make their way to Grenada and then up the Antilles chain. The latter is almost twice as long, but is potentially much faster and easier.

Leaving Cabo on November 7

Hauled out at a little yard in Vocamante, Panama, to replace the saildrives

Flamenco Marina outside of Panama City

What it's looked like most of the time
Photos Sarah Owings

Latitude Hits the Streets Today!

December 1 - San Francisco Bay Area

Photo Latitude/Annie


December 1 - 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

December 1 - 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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