Fossett and Cheyenne Looking Good
March 26 - Atlantic and Southern Oceans
Photo Claire Bailey
In her quest for the Jules Verne around the world trophy, Steve Fossett's mega cat Cheyenne suffered through three fluky and light air days, but is finally back in the Atlantic trades some 1,000 miles south of the equator. Despite the terrific slowdown, she's still about 1,000 miles ahead of Orange's record, as Orange was slowed in the same area.
Mark Featherstone of Devon, UK, prepares to hoist a sail.
Photo Nick Leggatt
Photos Courtesy www.fossettchallenge.com
Rival Olivier de Kersauson in the maxi tri Geronimo, sailing two weeks behind Cheyenne, is 500 miles - or about one day - off Cheyenne's pace. Anything can happen before it's over, but right now things are looking good for Fossett.
Fellow Californian Szabo Makes Move at Cayard
March 26 - Miami, FL
Rich Roberts reports that day five of the U.S. Olympic Star Class Trials on Biscayne Bay featured wet, windy and nasty weather, two masts down and boats like bathtubs. More of the same is due today (Friday), and Marinite Paul Cayard is now looking at San Diegan George Szabo as his nearest threat.
Szabo and crew Mark Strube bagged their second win in the last four races, the only boat to match Cayard and crew Phil Trinter step for step lately as the trials reached the midway mark of 16 races scheduled with three days remaining. Szabo/Strube leapfrogged another San Diegan, Vince Brun, and crew Mike Dorgan (10th Thursday) into second place, 12 points behind Cayard/Trinter.
George Szabo/Mark Strube (7995) turn downwind ahead of Howie Shiebler/Will Stout (8077) and Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter (8159). A few minutes later Shiebler/Stout lost their mast as Szabo/Strube went on to win.
Howie Shiebler, a San Francisco veteran accustomed to similar conditions on SF Bay, and crew Will Stout were close behind Szabo/Strube on the second downwind leg to the finish. As they jibed, a puff rolled their boat and the whisker pole dipped into the emerald water, throwing them out of control and snapping their mast in the middle.
Vince Brun/Mike Dorgan sail past Howie Shiebler/Will Stout (right), who have just broken their mast.
John Dane of New Orleans and crew Henry Sprague, Long Beach, CA, saw their mast drop quietly over the bow. "We didn't make any mistake at all," Sprague said. "We were having a great race. We don't know why it broke. Funny, it's very peaceful when it comes down - not even a snapping sound."
John Dane (left) and Henry Sprague clean up the damage after their mast fell.
Photos Rich Roberts
For complete standings see www.ussailing.org/olympics/olympictrials/2004.
Restepping a Mast During a Regatta
March 26 - San Francisco
Dick Enersen writes, "Huge kudos to Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter for their performance on Tuesday in the Star Trials. [See our report in Wednesday's 'Lectronic.] To be able to replace a mast and then go out and win two races is truly impressive. It should be noted, just for historical interest, that their accomplishment is not without precedent. In the 1972 Olympics, sailed in Kiel, the great Brazilian Finn sailor Joerg Bruder competed in the Star Class. On the way out of the harbor, Bruder and his crew Jan Aten snagged a shroud on a piling and brought the rig down on their heads. They calmly got the boat back to the dock, brought down a spare mast, stepped it, rigged it and sailed out to win that day's race. We at St. Francis YC are enormously proud of Paul, and all our Olympic class sailors, and wish him, and Phil, all the best for the rest of the regatta, and beyond."
Lowell North and Peter Barrett also reportedly unstepped and restepped their mast during a major Star class event.
25th Anniversary Cruise Continues
March 26 - St. Barth, FWI
This has been the best winter of our life, which we attribute almost entirely to our 25th Anniversary Cruise to the Caribbean with Profligate. We've been able to spend about half the time on the cat and half the time back home working. The two biggest things we've noticed: 1) There are so many layers of stress back in the States, particularly California, that we don't think most people appreciate it. 2) Northern California has become one of the most arrogant, know-it-all, narrow-minded, orthodox places we can think of. Here in the Caribbean, there's a greater sense of freedom, and among the international cruisers, a much greater diversity of opinions and willingness to appreciate the differing views of others.
Alas, the cruise is not far from being over. Early next week we set sail for Anguilla and the British Virgins, the latter where we'll participate in the BVI Spring Festival. It's been years since we've been back to the British Virgins, and we can't wait. Pyewacket will be there, too, with Latitude 38 Racing Editor Rob Moore aboard. So look forward to a firsthand report from that revolutionary racing yacht in the May issue.
After this month's adventure, we return to the boat in Antigua at the end of April for a day or two of Antigua Sailing Week, then the 1,100-mile trip to Panama, followed by the delivery back to California. Antigua is going to be great, as the racing fleet is shaping up to be one of the best in years, with both the MaxZ86s, the new record-blasting 144-ft Mari-Cha, and many others. The Wanderer has an invite to race on a 90+ R/P, and can't wait for confirmation and the event itself. You know how most folks hunger for the approach of summer? We hunger for the approach of winter, which to us is the start of the cruising season in the tropics.
The airport on St. Barth
As many of you know, the airport here at St. Barth is tricky and has a very short runway, bookended by a ridge and the ocean. While waiting for a sailing friend's plane to take off, we watched a small, private twin engine plane try to land. The pilot freaked out halfway into the first attempt, when he could have landed easily. On the second attempt, he came in way too high, slapped the plane down on the runway, but was going too fast. He overshot the runway and ended up on the sand of beautiful beach at Baie St. John. With the plane disabled at the end of the runaway, the commercial flight with our friend aboard started their take-off . . . but quickly realized that something was wrong. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the incident. But talk about the walk of shame! A mother and her two young children had to walk up the very visible runway, with hundreds of curious people watching, while her husband and the firemen busied themselves with towing the plane out of the sand and back to the terminal. We can only imagine the hell hubby was going to catch that night.