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Photos of The Day

April 16 - England

Today's Photos of the Day are of the 245-ft megayacht Mirabella V motoring in the Solent in England, and recently undergoing sail trials in the same area. This is the yacht, you'll remember, that has such a tall mast that she wouldn't clear the Golden Gate Bridge roadway by about 80 feet!

The first sail trials - she sets 40,000 square feet of sail - reportedly went smoothly, although as you can see, it wasn't blowing a gale. Nonetheless, this reminds us of something we were recently told by the skipper of a 115-ft sailing yacht: "Yes, she's a big yacht, but she's easy for one person to sail. The hard thing is keeping her clean - that takes five people!"

We're a big fan of wild ideas and record-breaking projects. Nonetheless, don't you think this Ron Holland design is a little on the homely side? Maybe it had to do with having to squeeze in unusual boat features such as a jacuzzi to accommodate 20.

Photos courtesy of Mirabella V

Pyewacket Crewman Attacked by Flying Barracuda

April 16 - St. Maarten

We've heard fish stories before, but Hogan Beatie's tops them all. The 34-year-old professional sailor was riding in Pyewacket's 36-ft protector when he was attacked by what appears to have been a barracuda - in the boat! The incident occurred on Wednesday, April 14, in the late afternoon. Beatie and three or four other Pyewacket crew were blasting out to sea from Pyewacket's base in St. Maarten at over 30 knots. Hogan was not driving, but was standing in the stern of the boat on the port side, wearing only shorts.

All of a sudden, "He was hit in the stomach so hard that he thought he'd been shot," says Mik Beatie, longtime Bay sailor and Hogan's father. The blow laid him flat on deck, where he looked down to see a squirming silver mass. Hogan pounded on it a few times and the fish went back in the ocean. The whole incident happened so quickly that the other guys aboard the boat only saw part of the three to four-foot fish as it was going back into the water. (In fact, no one is positive it was a barracuda, but scales left aboard - and on Hogan - suggest that it was.) The attack removed a portion of skin and left Hogan's stomach area with deep lacerations, one of which extended up into his chest - Hogan commented that his slight beer belly probably prevented more serious injury! Fortunately, no organs or muscles were damaged. Also fortunately, Pyewacket crewman Mauricio was aboard the Protector. A male nurse, Mauricio was able to stop the bleeding with towels as the Protector blasted back to the dock, radioing ahead for an ambulance to meet them.

From there, it turned into a typical Caribbean Adventure. The two ambulance guys took one look and said, "We need to take you to the hospital on the French side." At the French hospital, nobody spoke English. They were convinced that Hogan had been in a knife fight and wanted to call the gendarmes. Ultimately, Hogan's wounds were closed up with more than 60 stitches in a 3.5-hour operation. After some thought, the only reason Hogan could come up with for the attack was the shiny watch he was wearing on his left wrist. (The fish came over the left side of the boat.) It's well known that barracuda are attracted by sparkly things. Hogan tried to go back to work the next day - besides being mastman aboard Pyewacket, he is in charge of maintenance on all the winches - so the crew decided to fly him home for a 'forced recovery'. He's due to arrive in San Clemente later this evening, where he'll convalesce with his fiance, Mariah. "It's a good thing it didn't bite him lower down," notes Mik. "They're getting married in August."

Photo Latitude/Rob

Yacht Piracy off the Pacific Coast of Panama/Colombia

April 16 - Panama

Instances of yacht piracy on the West Coast have been very rare, so we were surprised to get the following report from Les Sutton and Diane Grant of the Northern California-based Albin-Numbus 42 Gemini:

"Yesterday at the Internet cafe here in Balboa, Panama, we heard about a piracy of a Japanese vessel on the rhumbline between Panama City and the Galapagos. I did a 20-minute interview this morning with Shigeo and Kazuyo, the two people aboard, who are fine and in good spirits considering their ordeal, and learned these facts:

Yumemaru, their 40-ft Japanese-flagged sailing vessel, was attacked on April 5 at 3 p.m. at 03 degrees 20 minutes north, 084 degrees 44 minutes west - of the Pirate Vessel [Editor's note: Or a couple of hundred miles off the Pacific Coast of Colombia about one-third of the way to the Galapagos.]

The fishing vessel was approx. 15 to 20 meters in length, red bottom paint, black topsides and a white cabin about two-thirds of the way back from the bow. The boat was made of wood. Once the boat collided, blue paint was visible underneath the black paint.

Shigeo and Kazuyo were heading to the Galapagos and had observed a 15 to 20 meter wood fishing vessel, black topsides and white cabin, for some time. She had no name or lettering. At 3 p.m. local time, the fishing boat deliberately rammed their port quarter, and five men wearing masks and carrying pistols and knives boarded their vessel. They were quickly tied up in the cockpit, and their boat was systematically stripped of all electronics and personal possessions - including their boat registry papers and all their charts. In the process of boarding, their radar arch was severely bent along with three stanchions and their lifelines. Although the couple estimate that there were more men involved, only five came aboard.

The following gear was taken from their boat:

VHF Radio, SSB Radio, 3 GPS units, depth and speed instruments, two pairs of binoculars, three watches, 100 charts, boat registry papers, and three cameras. No food was taken. Their computer and money was in a locked chart table that wasn't apparent to the pirates, so they weren't taken.

Once the pirates had taken all they could, they left. With a Pacific Ocean chart that they have been recording their travel on, they were able to get a magnetic bearing back to Panama City, where they arrived about three days ago. Because of their shyness and the language barrier, the news of their ordeal is only slowly spreading.

Three Bids Now for Sausalito Challenge for the America's Cup

April 16 - Sausalito

It looks as though John Sweeney's dream for raising funds for a Sausalito YC America's Cup entry on Ebay seem to be heading toward fruition. Within the last 36 hours, there have been three bids to be the main sponsor of that effort. The opening bid was $18 million, but it's now up to $18,600,100. No names have been mentioned.

Call us skeptical, we're not going to believe in this new-fangled way of raising money for the America's Cup until the Sausalito Challenge has actually received the money.

Pacific Sail Expo in Oakland Through Sunday - and Latitude Is There!

April 16 - Jack London Square

Pacific Sail Expo, the West Coast's biggest sailboat show, is having a good run, and continues through Sunday in Jack London Square. If you believe the handout program published by Soundings, Latitude isn't in the show. But we're are. In about the same location as always.

At 4:45 this afternoon, the Wanderer will be giving a seminar on the differences between cruising to and in Mexico, and to and in the Caribbean. He considers questions such as which one is easier to get to, where the people are friendly, which is less expensive, and so forth.

At the close of the show tonight, all Ha-Ha vets are encouraged to stop by the Latitude booth and have a beer or glass of wine during a little bit of a reunion. Foxy of Foxy's in Jost van Dyke will play guitar and regale everyone with stories. We hope to see you there!

Saturday at 6 p.m., the Wanderer will be giving the featured presentation of the day, on the Baja Ha-Ha.

There's lots of great stuff at the show, so you don't want to miss it. Hmmmm, Mexico or the Caribbean?


Photos Latitude/Richard

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