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Photo of the Day

April 28 - San Francisco Bay

When most one designs fade from prominence, they eventually end up racing in HDA classes, or not at all. The Islander 36, once the 'big boat' ODCA class on the Bay, not only never lost its one design status, they may actually put more boats on the starting line this summer than they ever did in their heyday! Read the secrets to the class revival in the new issue of Latitude 38 coming out Friday.

The Islander 36 fleet has a full plate of racing and cruising. These 31 folks posing on Ophira took part in the Benicia Cruise 2002.
Photo Courtesy Barb Henderson

Profligate's Regress

April 27 - Antigua

Our winter season is over in the Caribbean. It's time to dash to Panama in order to make it up the Pacific Coast to California before the start of hurricane season on June 1. We have a crew of 11 aboard the 63-ft cat, and hope to make the San Blas Islands, about 1,200 miles, in just under six days. It all, however, depends on the winds. This late in the year, they generally aren't as strong, but we'll almost certainly have the swells and current with us on what almost always is a downwind sail.

Thanks to a new Skymate system, we hope to sail in touch by email, and thanks to a Nobeltec navigation system, we hope to be able to tell you where we are.

Morning Glory chases Pyewacket in the first race of Antigua Sailing Week. You have to see these boats outperform 'normal' yachts to believe it. This is what they ought to be racing in the America's Cup, as they offer spectacular performance and are extremely nimble.

For the last two days, we've been watching the action at Antigua Sailing Week, which is featuring three of the hottest boats in sailing. Two of them are the new MaxZ86s, Roy Disney's Pyewacket and Hasso Plattner's Morning Glory. What a spectacular sight to see these canting keel, canard rudder boats go at it. They point so high and run so fast, it's just dazzling! For full-on racers, it seems you'd have to have the canting keel, canard rudder technology to keep the pace.

To date, Morning Glory has been showing her stern to Pyewacket more than vice versa, but it's always been close.

Making things very interesting, however, on a boat-for-boat basis is Mari-Cha IV, Robert Miller's Briand 144 modern schooner, which smashed the transatlantic record the right out of the box. She was able to get the better of the 86s in the first race, which was a destination course with lots of off-the-wind stuff. She's a bit of an odd looking boat, but the monster can move. She wasn't made to point, however, so in the last two Olympic style courses, she was beaten boat for boat by the two 86s.

The middle part of the 140-ft schooner Mari-Cha IV.

The business end of Mari-Cha, flying to weather. We'll have more photos of her on Friday.

Morning Glory and Pyewacket, which are nearly identical, have been having great boat for boat races, with Morning Glory having a slight edge. Also showing well again here in the Caribbean has been Roger Sturgeon's Santa Cruz-based TransPac 52 Rosebud.

A still photo of the MaxZ 86s makes them look just like two other giant yachts, but they're not.

We did the first race aboard Mike Slade's R/P Leopard of London, which despite a full-on interior, was, up until a short time ago, one of the fastest boats in the world. She's still darn fast, but can't compete with the stripped out boats with the canting keel, canard rudder technology. She's the largest boat we've ever raced on, and boy does it take muscle to make her go. Think of four sails laid out inside the boat from the companionway hatch to the bow. Each one takes about 10 guys to move. They need the bottom one on deck ready to set, then five minutes later they need it stowed down below. And what a sweet-sailing yacht, particularly to weather. We were tacking in just over 80 degrees, something we cat sailors can only dream about. Owner Mike Slade is as personal and relaxed an owner as you're going to find, and Chris the captain's responsibilities are incredible. It was a great day of sailing.

Mike Slade, at the wheel of Leopard of London. Chris the captain is just to the left of him.

Leopard of London charging alone on the second day in about 18 knots of wind. She looks lovely.

We're off to the San Blas Islands to see those little Kuna Indian rascals again, and do the canal. We'll try to let you know our transit time so you can watch over the Internet.

More Antigua Sailing Week photos:

You'd hardly think that an Olson 30 would be a good boat for all the upwind stuff in the Caribbean, but Jamie Dobbs has made his a consistent winner for years.

We were most impressed by the consistent spacing of the rail meat on Paradis, one of the many yachts that is as lovely as she is big.

Smaller boats race at Antigua, too, and the action is just as tight and exciting.

Tom Hill's Titan, a R/P 75 - like Disney's old Pyewacket - has been sailed extremely hard and well.

Approaching the weather mark.
Photos Latitude/Richard

April 28 - Caribbean Sea

Update dispatched from Profligate at 12:30 pm PDT: First 24 hours out of Antigua for crew of 11: hot and breezy with what the French call 'agitated seas'. First 24 hours run was 240 miles under reefed main and tiny jib. Today hit 21.9 with reefed main and tiny jib during squall. It was a little much, so we've backed off. Did we mention it was steamy hot?
This message sent courtesy of Skymate, which provides no waiting offshore email, weather, as well as fax/voice, without the need for an SSB radio.

Chaos Reigns at Star Worlds on Day 3

April 28 - Gaeta, Italy

So report Magnus Wheatley and Sacha Oswald for Yachts and Yachting:

The problems all started Monday morning at the weigh-in of American crew George Szabo (of San Diego) and Christian Finnsgard who were informed that they were a full one pound over the permitted limit. Cue a frantic cycle around town to shed the excess weight, after which the boys jumped back on the scales only to find that they were still over the limit. The Italian crew of class chairman Riccardo Simoneschi and Marco Marenco were also found to be over the limit alongside two other competitors.

The event staff informed Szabo and the others verbally that they were not allowed to race and that they should stay on shore. Szabo checked the sailing instructions and found that there was no provision for re-weighing during the event despite the notice of race stating in article 8.2 that there was (the two documents governing the event were at odds with each other).

Szabo and Simoneschi protested, claiming redress for the situation on the grounds that they were told that they were not allowed to race despite no official protest by the race committee. The jury upheld the protest and then made the astounding decision that race two was to be re-sailed on Tuesday with a premise that "no boat will be scored worse for race two than the score they achieved from the race sailed on Monday."

These championships are, for some, the final qualifying event for the Olympic Games, and a series of counter protest threats emerged, forcing the committee into a lengthy jury session to decide how to dig themselves out of the situation fairly. As the day rolled into afternoon the postponement flag still flew from the Base Nautico until a decision was made at 2:30pm to can the day as the crews scattered around the town, confused, ill-informed and frustrated.

The committee reopened the redress hearing, the result of which was that race two would not be re-sailed. The overweight crews would receive average points over the series for that race. The committee admitted their anomaly between the SI's and the notice of race, also admitting that they were wrong to verbally tell the crews to stay shoreside without formally protesting. The class agreed to a procedure with the race committee for weighing during the remainder of the event. Wednesday's planned lay day was scrapped in favor of running race three, however the wind had other ideas and today's sailing was canceled due to lack of breeze.

For the complete report and photos, see www.yachtsandyachting.com/default2.asp?section=11&article=12740.

Other Americans in the event are not faring well either. With a DNF due to massive rig failure and an OCS, U.S. champions Paul Cayard (of Kentfield) and Phil Trinter are in 52nd place after two races. Mark Reynolds (of San Diego) and Steve Erickson, also suffering an OCS, are in 64th in the 102-boat regatta. See www.starclass.org for complete results.

Royal Match

April 26 - Copenhagen, Denmark

Rob Kothe reports:

On May 9 an international match race in Copenhagen Harbour between Denmark and Australia will feature HRH Crown Prince Frederik and the Crown Princess-to-be, Australia's Miss Mary Donaldson, battling each other with the assistance of two sailing icons from their respective countries.

Australian John Bertrand will champion the cause for the Tasmanian-born bride-to-be. Famous for his come-from-behind victory with Australia II in 1983 when he beat Dennis Connor to take the America's Cup from the New York Yacht Club, Bertrand is currently in quest of another World Championship in the hotly contested Etchells class to be held in Mooloolaba this July. [For an exciting description of Bertrand's closely sailed battle for New Zealand's Etchells title, see Kothe's complete article on www.sail-world.com.]

Crown Prince Frederik is a top world ranked Dragon sailor, but has called in a top gun in his match race against his bride-to-be. The Danish boat will be skippered by Jesper Bank, 47, Denmark's triple Olympic medallist, who won a Soling Class fleet and match racing Olympic bronze medal in 1988, a gold in Barcelona in 1992 and another gold at Sydney in 2000. Bank was also helmsman aboard the Swedish Victory Challenge in the last Louis Vuitton Cup.

Asked what position non-sailor Mary Donaldson would take on the Australian boat, Bertrand replied, "Most of our crew will be Danish. I'm hoping the famous Danish sailor, Paul Elvstrom, a 76-year-old quadruple gold medallist, will honor us with his presence. Mary will be our interpreter, from Australian into Danish, and vice versa."

Perhaps Bertrand, the patron of Skandia Geelong Week, the largest keelboat regatta in Australia, would like to see an Australia-Denmark return match in Geelong in January 2005. Maybe we are going to see the birth of a new world sailing series?

Classy Classified Ad

April 28 - Newport Beach

CATALINA 400, 1996 with Aerorig. Little used, professionally maintained, innovative Aerorig. Two staterooms with private heads. King aft, twin wheels. Inverter/Link. Stereo, ST6000 AP, ST60 sailing instruments. LPG, DC refer with separate freezer. Located Newport Beach. $149,500. Contact Carl Mischka at (949) 500-7261 for showing.

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