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Photos of the Day: Singlehanded TransPac

June 28 - Tiburon

They're off! Today's Photos of the Day come from Saturday's start of the Singlehanded TransPac from San Francisco to Kauai. Latitude 38 Managing Editor John Riise was on the scene to report and take the accompanying photos: "The 14th running of the Singlehanded TransPac race got underway in good breeze, sunny skies and T-shirt-warm weather on Saturday, June 26. At least until they got outside the Gate. Twenty-four boats in two divisions answered the starting guns in front of the Corinthian YC shortly after 10 a.m. Next stop: Hanalei Bay, Kauai. The sponsoring Singlehanded Sailing Society will have regular updates on the race at their Web site, www.sfbaysss.org. You can also find bios of most of the skippers there. Also look for periodic updates here, and a full report on the race - one of the largest Solo TransPacs in recent memory - in the August print issue of Latitude 38."

Class 1 start included (left to right) Audacious, Dog Bark, Koinonia and Zapped

Monday Morning Update: "Like a dog's nose, cold and wet," reported Al Hughes of the Open 60 Dog Bark on the first night of racing. Blasted by 25-30 knot winds and rough seas right out of the Gate, many boats were busy with damage control in rough conditions. Blown sails dominated the reports, forcing Greg Nelson and his Black Soo Starbuck, veterans of the event, to withdraw to Monterey. The only other serious gear damage was to Jim Tallet's laptop computer. When a big wave slapped his J/33 Zapped over on her side, the laptop went flying into the bilge.

By Sunday night, the winds had started to abate to about 20 knots - "at least in my neck of the woods," wrote Mark Deppe aboard Alchera. He had shaken the reef out of the J/120's main. Elsewhere on the course, Chuck Beazell aboard the Hunter 54 Joe had reported a 17-knot surf and Carl Eshelman aboard Audacious had caught two albacore.

Most of the fleet has dived south to avoid a high pressure system forecast to drop on top of the rhumbline. As of Sunday evening, 33 hours into the race, Dog Bark was at the latitude of San Diego, having covered 343 miles over the ground - but only 178 miles toward Hawaii. "The trick," says Mark Deppe, "is to know how far south to go. Too far and you add so many miles to the trip that you can't make them up. Not far enough, and you get stuck in the high and go very, very slowly."

Ken 'The General' Roper, back for his eighth running of the Singlehanded TransPac.
Photos Latitude/JR

Miss Laney and Sail A Vie trade tacks in Golden Gate Strait

Greg Morris kicks back on the aptly-named Color Blind.

Bill Merrick's Ergo blasts through the chop on her way out to sea.

Defending '02 winner Jim Kellam is back with Haulback.

Steve Saul's Waterline 45 Kaien bounces through chop outside the Gate.

West Marine Pacific Cup Starts Today

June 28 - San Francisco

Speaking of racing to Hawaii, the first group of Pacific Cup boats leaves San Francisco today for Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. Good luck to all of you!

Boats will be starting every day through Friday, the latter being the big day because the 140-ft schooner Mari-Cha, arguably the fastest ocean racing yacht in the world, will be taking off that afternoon in hopes of crushing the course record. Given a decent breeze, we think it's possible she can do it in 5.5 days.

In an interesting aside, Mike McMullen of Old Town Tiburon told us he woke up about a month ago to see Mari-Cha anchored in the middle of Raccoon Strait! She must have arrived to the Bay late at night, and needed a place to drop the hook before moving on to the KKMI Boatyard. It wasn't a normal anchorage, but it served the purpose.

Great News - Dawn Wilson to Be Returned to the U.S.

June 28 - Ensenada, Baja California

Dawn Wilson - liveaboard in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, who has been jailed for many months under extremely dubious circumstances in Ensenada - will reportedly become part of a U.S. - Mexico prisoner exchange. Alas, it's only done every three months, and the next one isn't until September. More details later.

Somebody Will Always Build a Bigger One

June 28 - Amsterdam, Holland

Although Joe Vittoria's 247-ft mega sailing yacht Mirabella, with the tallest mast in the world, was just launched, in some respects she's already soon to be outclassed. For Jim Clark - remember Silicon Graphics, Netscape, the $150 million donation to Stanford, and the 156-ft sloop Hyperion? - is expected to take possession of his 295-ft three-masted schooner Athena in September in Amsterdam. While none of Athena's three masts will be as tall as Mirabella's single one, Athena's will nonetheless be 195 feet tall, the maximum height to still be allowed through the Panama Canal. Athena is expected to displace 982 tons.

Photos Courtesy Royal Huisman Shipyard

Tripui Trailerpark Burns at Puerto Escondido

June 28 - Puerto Escondido, Baja California

We've received a second-hand report from the vessel Springbok that the Tripui Trailerpark has burned to the ground at Puerto Escondido. The trailer park's market, laundry, and other facilities were critical to the ease of life for the cruisers in Puerto Escondido.

Drug Withdrawal Drama in the South Pacific

June 28 - South Pacific Ocean

"For the last few nights I've been tuning into a very dramatic situation via the Shoutcast.com broadcast of the Pacific Seafarers Ham Net," writes Rob Spakowski of Newport Beach. "A call came from the sailing vessel Fingolfin, which reported that the skipper had run out of medication - I believe it was morphine - used to treat a condition associated with a previous surgery. He and his wife were headed to the Marquesas and the trip took longer than they expected. The skipper went through severe withdrawal and uncontrollable pain, and was quite ill. This took place Thursday evening. When I tuned in on Friday, a ship had pulled alongside and attempted to deliver new medication. The two vessels bumped very hard, resulting in the injury of the man's wife. Medical professionals and the Coast Guard were on frequency, and were trying to determine the severity of her injuries. It seemed likely she had suffered a broken hip and/or leg.

"When I tuned in tonight, it appeared that the boat had lost her mast due the collision, and thereby had lost her ability to communicate. Further, the medication passed along turned out to be the wrong kind. Various hams from California, Hawaii, and Australia have been coordinating a rescue effort. It's really amazing to listen in as it unfolds, as everyone seems to be working extremely hard to help facilitate a positive outcome for this poor couple. These guys that run the Net are to be commended. Everyone out there sailing should take comfort knowing these guys are around to help when no one else is. At last word, it sounded like the French Navy was expected on the scene before long."

It's Nip and Tuck with Ellen MacArthur and Another Great Record

June 28 - Atlantic Ocean

With just 350 miles to go in a west to east transatlantic record attempt with her 75-ft B&Q trimaran, Ellen MacArthur was running 7.5 hours behind Laurent Bourgnon's record time, but with a very decent chance to overtake it. Having sailed 238 miles in the previous 12 hours(!), she needed to average 17 knots the rest of the way to put another notch in her sailing belt.

Photo Courtesy B&Q

BMW Oracle Drubs Alinghi

June 28 - Newport, RI

If anybody thought Larry Ellison might not be serious about winning the next America's Cup, they weren't at the recent UBS Cup in Newport, RI. A much better prepared BMW Oracle whipped the Cup holders Alinghi in both the Pro-Driver and Owner-Driver divisions.

Gavin Brady (left) and Larry Ellison won the Pro-Driver and Owner-Driver Series respectively.
Photos Thierry Martinez

Baja Ha-Ha Count

June 28 - Tiburon

Lauren Spindler reports the Baja Ha-Ha has already received 27 paid up entries and sent out 174 entry forms.

The Wanderer reports that all crew position on Profligate have been filled. It looks like it could be the biggest Ha-Ha ever.

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