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Photo of the Day: Carnival Preview

March 1 - St. Barth, FWI

We're back in St. Barth after a couple of weeks in the Bay Area helping finish the March issue of Latitude 38, which comes out tomorrow, and getting reacquainted with gray skies and cold temperatures.

Photo Doña de Mallorca

While away, we missed Carnival in St. Barth. While it's not Rio or even Trinidad, everyone seemed to have a grand time. Doña de Mallorca was there to take photos, and we'll have a big selection on Wednesday.

Zuni Bear Wins SORC on a Tie-Breaker

March 1 - Miami Beach, FL

The fleet completed one race yesterday, on the last day of the 2004 Acura SORC, held just off Miami Beach, where two classes were decided on tie-breakers.

In the Farr 40 class Peter De Ridder and Mean Machine of Monaco took first place with 54 points overall. John Kilroy Jr.'s Samba Pa Ti, from Los Angeles, featuring Paul Cayard, earned second place overall with 60 points. Jim Richardson's Barking Mad of Boston finished in third place with 63 points. HM King Harald V of Norway and Fram finished in 16th place overall.

Daniel Meyers' Numbers, featuring Brad Butterworth and Ken Read, earned first place in the IMS class, tallying six first place finishes on the week.

The Sailing World Course saw fierce competition in the PHRF and J/105 classes. Richard Bergmann's J/105 Zuni Bear, of San Francisco and San Diego, and Jim Doane's Flame, of Boston both finished competition with 16 points. Zuni Bear, with two first place finishes, won the tie-break to take home top honors. A tie-break between two Miami-based boats saw Bob Berg and Love That Chicken edge out Gordon Ettie's Sazerac for first place in the PHRF 3 class.

Race management was provided by volunteers from the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, the Coral Reef Yacht Club, Miami Yacht Club, Lauderdale Yacht Club and Nassau Yacht Club. For more, including complete results and photos, see www.acurasorc.com/reports/index.php. Also see our report in the April issue of Latitude 38.

Profligate's Progress

March 1 - St. Barth, FWI

The greatest boat show in the world continues in St. Barth. When we dinghied in yesterday, side by side at the Charles de Gaulle Quai were Georgia and Ranger. Georgia is a big, fat, 150-ft plus maroon cruising boat that to our eye has a striking resemblance to a multi-tiered wedding cake. Ranger, on the other hand, is the latest, and most likely fastest J Class yacht ever. That means she's about 140 feet, and as low and sleek as Georgia is big and fat. Our sources tell us they are both owned by John Williamson, a big developer out of Atlanta.

Georgia and Ranger, the odd couple, from the sterns.

Ranger, alas, didn't have the best start in life. On the day she was launched, so the story goes, somebody discovered that the Morse cable to the transmission was reversed, meaning when put in reverse, she'd go forward, and vice versa. While that was being changed, the boat was apparently turned around. So when the order came to put the boat in reverse, she was actually put into forward - and
slammed hard enough into the dock that she had to be hauled, repaired, and repainted - a three month delay that resulted in their having to sail down the North Sea in the horrible month of November. Anyway, the yacht looks

Another shot of the 'odd couple'. The boat in the foreground is Ticonderoga. She's only 72 feet.

All the talk in the area is of this weekend's Heineken Regatta, and largely of the upcoming battle between Roy Disney and Hasso Plattner's new MaxZ86s with canting keels and canard rudders. While flying down to join Profligate, Charlie, one of our crewmembers for the Heinie, found himself sitting next to Stan Honey, navigator on Disney's Pyewacket. Honey was very gracious, and invited Charlie to have a tour of the boat.

First thing yesterday morning, we were awakened by Cherie Sogsti, vet of many Ha-Has, banging on the hull. She's down here as part of a group, many of whom are from Newport Beach, who have chartered two 50-footers with about eight
people on each boat. Anyway, we took Cherie and a bunch of her friends, with Guy, one of our Heineken crew, up to Grand Saline for boogieboarding, swimming, and looking at all the topless women. Everyone had a great time and the water was spectacular. After stopping in Gustavia to pick up more of our crew, we continued around the island to Baie St. Jean, for more swimming and fun.

As beautiful as the day had been, the forecast was for a strong front with 25 to 30 knots to come through. And it did. We made it back just in time to get the hook down before the sky turned dark, the wind howled, and the rain poured down. Nonetheless, when Cherie and Guy checked their skin at the end of the day, they found they'd gotten quite a bit of sun. As the photo shows, Guy needs to work on more coverage with the sunblock.

By the end of the day, it was raining and blowing, but Cherie and Guy had still gotten more than enough sun. Guy, obviously, needs to get longer arms for better coverage on his back.

When reading the Heinie rules, you can't help but be struck by how different attitudes are in the Caribbean versus back in the States. Back in the States, safety is everything, and fun is whatever might be left over after the lawyers get done. Not in St. Martin. In order to be eligible for the 'spirit of Heineken' trophy, each member of the boat's crew has to drink a minimum of 10 cans of Heinie a day, and preferably three or four times that. And at least one member of the crew had to have drank so much that he/she puked profusely. Furthermore, contestants are advised that in order to win the award, they have to party - "and we mean really party," say the instructions. Not that folks here need much encouragement. Apparently 360,000 cans of Heinie were consumed during last year's event.

The not quite so wild BVI Spring Festival is at the end of March.

Today's last thought is about following the weather. A couple of months ago there was considerable discussion about whether lots of cruisers in Mexico were obsessed with weather reports, even when making very short sails up the Sea of Cortez. It turns out that the French have an expression about those who follow the weather to the extreme: "He who follows French Meteo (French weather service) never leaves the disco."

You've heard of 'doctors without borders?' These are 'sailors without suits'.
Photos Latitude/Richard and Doña de Mallorca

10 Years after the First Ha-Ha, and Still out Cruising

March 1 - St. Martin, FWI

Rob and Mary Messenger, who did the first ever Baja Ha-Ha in 1994 aboard the 46-ft Maude I Jones, report they are in St. Martin and still cruising after more than 10 years. But not for long. Their money is finally running so low, they will have to consider the four letter word . . . 'work'. But we're hoping we can get them to crew for us in the Heineken Regatta this weekend aboard Profligate.

Fun and Fixes with Capricorn Cat

March 1 - Aur, Marshall Islands

Vallejo's Blair Grinols checks in on fun in the Marshall Islands with his 46-ft Capricorn Cat and fellow cruisers, some of whom are also from Northern California.

"All of the boats here at Aur, C'Est La Vie, Roxanne, Karmaladen, Cardinal Sin, Infidian, and a French boat, Ramonvert, have been loading on the Cat each morning and we have been going out to the pass to dive the outside of the reef. Awesome. 150 to 200-ft visibility.

"We were scheduled to go out again today but I suffered a couple of breakdowns that required a lay day so I could fix things. One of the water bladders sprung a leak. Easily fixed. Port engine reverse gear refused to work when anchoring yesterday. Not so easily fixed. Took a couple of hours of sweat to replace the shifting cone with my spare. While anchoring, after returning to the anchorage, I caught a dinghy painter in the starboard prop and stripped the zinc collars off the saildrive. I also damaged a slinger/washer in front of the propeller hub, so I have to get the hooka running and go down and remove the prop and install new zincs and try to straighten the little slinger. Got to take the bad with the good."

Dumb Luck at Pt. Bonita

March 1 - Marin Headlands

Doug Frolich of Larkspur has a cautionary tale about the rough waters just outside the Gate.

"I sail a Moore 24 named Low Profile. I just read your story about the boat that was lost in the surf off of ocean beach - very sad. I am writing to you because I witnessed an event on February 24 that nearly turned out the same way. That Tuesday I went out to the headlands above Pt. Bonita after work to check out the sea conditions, before the big storm predicted for Wednesday. The tide was just turning to ebb, and I thought it might be interesting to see some breaking waves on the shoal. The conditions did not disappoint me. Over falls were developing with the combination of the ebb and the increasing swell. The wind was light however.

"Much to my surprise, I saw a sailboat approaching from the north, and heading across the north shoal. As I watched the progress of this boat I contemplated calling the Coast Guard, because large over falls would develop every couple of minutes producing huge amounts of jetting whitewater, randomly over the shoal. It was just dumb luck that the position of the sailboat and one of the deadly waves did not coincide. The boat did make it around Bonita, but I do not think he knew how fortunate he was. Some pretty hazardous conditions can develop suddenly this time of year, off our coast."


March 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

March 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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