Photo of the Day
December 19 - St. Barth, FWI
Today's Photo of the Day was taken earlier this month at the fantastic chandlery at St. Barth in the French West Indies. For some reason, we'd taken Profligate to the Caribbean without any of the 70,000 Caribbean guide books and charts we have of that area, so we were on a shopping trip. Specifically, we were looking for the Imray-Iolaire yachtie's chart for St. Martin and St. Barth. As we were fumbling through the stack of them, we spotted an iconic figure of the Caribbean standing off to the side - Don Street, skipper for zillions of years of the ancient and engineless Iolaire, author of many cruising guides, creator of most of the great Imray-Iolaire yachtie charts for the Caribbean, and famous for almost never being without a Heinie in his hand.
Despite having not seen Street since 10 years ago when we both had our boats hauled out in Venezuela, we said, in our best stage whisper, "Too bad Don Street wasn't here, for he could surely tell us which of these damn charts we were looking for!"
Street raised a sleepy eye and replied, "A-24."
While posing for a photo with Doña de Mallorca, he told us that Iolaire is for sale in London, but that he's cruising Lil' Iolaire - which looks almost like the big one. In fact, we'd seen her just that morning being smartly sailed into the harbor under jib and mizzen.
One of the great things about the Caribbean is that you can't help but bump into sailing legends.
Standing by for Launching!
December 19 - France
Frenchman Bruno Peyron has announced that his new, second generation maxi multihull will be launched on December 22, and will be named Orange in honor of the French telecom company for an attempt on the Jules Verne around the world record this winter.
The new Gilles Ollier design built by Multiplast will be 124 feet, making it about the same size as Cheyenne (ex-PlayStation), and about 15 feet longer than the three first generation maxi cats that competed in The Race. Peyron, who organized The Race, later renamed one of them Orange, and sailed around the world in 64 days to set a new Jules Verne record. His attempt in the new boat will be to lower the benchmark even further.
Bringing Utopia to the Caribbean
December 19 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
"We did the '99 Ha-Ha aboard our Jeanneau 40 Utopia," reports John Tindle, "and cruised Mexico until 2002. We then sold that boat and bought a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45 in Martinique, naming her Utopia also. From January to May we - including my wife Cynthia and the famous cruising Aussie Mattie the boat dog - sailed in the Bahamas. I'm now in Ft. Lauderdale getting the boat ready for our trip down to the Caribbean via the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. We hope to be sailing with Neener3 and Mistral, a couple of other California boats. We'd hoped to join Profligate and Little Wing in St Martin, but we don't think we're going to make it. We'll try for Antigua Sailing Week this year and St. Barth for New Year's of next year. Happy holidays to all!"
Around the World in 21-Ft Mini-TransAt Boats?
December 19 - Honolulu, HI
That's what Brian Caldwell of Honolulu is proposing for 2006-07. You might remember Brian, who at age 20 became the youngest solo circumnavigator, having sailed the Contessa 26 Mai Vavau around the globe. That was about five years ago. More recently, he acquired the Magnen-designed Netcarrier 6.5 meter, and has been competing on the other side of the Atlantic. He turned in a very credible fifth in the Doublehanded Mini Fastnet, and 11th in the Open Demi Clé. But doublehanded around the world in this most extreme and most tiny of racing boats? When England's Daily Sail first heard about it, they thought Caldwell was pulling some sort of April Fool's joke.
Caldwell isn't completely crazy, as he'd proposed a 'tradewind route' that will make use of the Panama Canal. While he wants to make another circumnavigation, he wants to do it "without getting hammered by a Southern Ocean gale every couple of days."
Waiting for the Bridge
December 19 - Sint Maarten
The biggest big boat yachting center in the Caribbean has become Simpson Bay Lagoon, which is surrounded by both the Dutch and French halves of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. The only way in and out of the lagoon is when the drawbridges open. There is one on the French Side and one on the Dutch side. Each opens three times a day for outgoing traffic, and three times a day for ingoing traffic. It can be quite a show.
Here's a couple of shots from when we entered on the Dutch side earlier this month. The first photo is of just part of the lineup of yachts making their way up the channel to the bridge. These are big boats. The dark hulled sailboat, for instance, is the 164-ft Princess Zeynap, and the yacht in front of her is an 86-ft Swan. In the second photo, the big motoryacht trying to squeeze through the 56-ft wide opening is over 200 feet long. What happens if you miss the last bridge opening of the day? You're screwed until the next day, so you might as well drop the hook in Pelican Bay and pour yourself a stiff Mt. Gay and tonic.
December 19 - 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.
December 19 - 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.