Photo of the Day
September 8 - Drake's Bay
Today's Photo of the Day, sent by Melissa and Greg of the Berkeley-based Ericson 39B Pacifica, is not a pretty one. The two were in Drake's Bay for the holiday weekend when they came upon Eos, a J/37 that had gone up on the beach. Together with two other boats, they attempted to pull the J back into deeper water, but were unsuccessful. The Coast Guard and Vessel Assist didn't have any better luck, at least initially. Ironically, it was a particularly nice weather weekend in Drake's Bay. So how did it happen?
"We didn't speak to the skipper," write Melissa and Greg, "but the word in the anchorage was that the boat had been borrowed from the owners, who were traveling overseas. The skipper had sailed in to anchor close to the shore, where the wind blowing about 20 knots off the cliffs. He had full main up, and as he came in and dropped anchor close to shore, there was a backdraft, plastering the main against the spreaders so he couldn't lower it. So he was powered up and headed toward the beach. He started the engine, but since he had already dropped the anchor, the anchor line fouled the prop. The next thing he knew, he was aground."
Etchells Pre-NA Regatta
September 8 - San Francisco Bay
John Dukat checks in from Richmond YC: "Do believe SFYC's Craig Healy and crew won the five-race Etchells pre-North Americans regatta hosted by RYC over Labor Day weekend. Folks from as afar afield as Texas, Chicago, Rhode Island and Seattle dropped by to see what's in store for the NAs in about two weeks.
Craig Healy and crew
"Breeze was a real problem. In the morning it was a shifty northwesterly that made setting a decent weather leg problematic. The afternoon westerly blew in right about 2pm and gave the visitors their money's worth.
"To the existential question 'Where's the beef?' this fleet says, 'It's on the rail.' One crewman introduced himself as the 'guy who eats his ribeye with hollandaise.' Clearly a mid-boat guy."
Photos Courtesy RYC
Disney's Pyewacket Scores Again
September 8 - Sardinia, Italy
For the second day in a row, Roy Disney's Los Angeles-based MaxZ86 Pyewacket took honors in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Sardinia. The two victories have been significant because because she's convincingly beaten the longer 90-ft Alpha Romeo, which has been the top boat in the Med. The latter does not have canting keel technology. Pyewacket has also beaten Randall Pittman's new Dubois 90 Genuine Risk, which has a canting keel, boat-for-boat and on corrected time.
And what of Hasso Plattner's MaxZ86 Morning Glory, which was to tour the world racing with Pyewacket? After departing Cork Week mid-regatta in a huff, Plattner has the boat - which has been sailing for less than a season - up for sale. For a mere $5 million.
Ellison and BMW Oracle Kicking in Marseille
September 8 - Marseille, France
Six boats have been fleet racing in the First Act of the next America's Cup in Marseille. BMW Oracle, benefiting from having sailed the most so far, is leading with a 3,1,1,1 record, having sailed in winds as high as 28 knots. Close behind are Alinghi and Emirates New Zealand. In an entirely different tier are France's K-Challenge, South Africa's Shosholoza, and France's Le Defi. The South Africans have been impressive, however, considering how little experience they have.
Despite some dire predictions, it now appears that there will be between 10 and 12 boats competing for the America's Cup in Valencia. At least one team is expected from England and Germany, and probably two from Italy.
Of course, what would an America's Cup report be without some off-stage drama? In today's installment, Ernesto Bertarelli of Alinghi told reporters that former helmsman Russell Coutts is as well paid as the greatest football (soccer) players in the world and doesn't lag behind CEOs in Switzerland. Bertarelli accused Coutts of only being after the money, and, having paid 75% of the salary already, Bertarelli looks forward to meeting Coutts in court.
Late August Storm in Baja Hard on Two Boats
September 8 - Sea of Cortez
We regret being late in reporting this, but in the early morning hours of August 26, the 55-year-old wooden sloop Water Witch, out of Port Townsend, was lost on the rocks at Isla Carmen in the Sea of Cortez. It had been a night of nasty lightning storms and powerful squalls. Boats in the next anchorage over said it was like being in a washing machine. Doug, the owner, and Louise, his crew, were in shock but were rescued in good health.
Mike Rickman of the Eureka-based Prout 37 Amazing Grace, who forwarded the information, also reports that the Gulfstar 50 Why Not was grounded at Candeleros in the same storm. Despite damage to the rudder and skeg, Why Not was able to back off and headed to port for repairs. At least there haven't been any hurricanes in the Sea so far this year.
Whales of a Time
September 8 - San Pedro Channel
On Monday, the Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca had a lovely light-air sail from Two Harbors, Catalina, to King Harbor, Redondo Beach. A mile or so from Pt. Vincente, we saw what's become an ever more common sight - a pod or two of very large whales. Large as in well over 50 feet. In fact, in our last four trips across the San Pedro Channel, we've seen several large whales each time. Monday's was the biggest group, however, with about eight of them within a half-mile distance. There were about five boats in the area, and all slowed or stopped completely so as not to bother the mammals. Several were rewarded with whales surfacing less than a boatlength away. It was a lovely sight.