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October 15 - The Tropics

Getting ready to feast in the Marquesas

Is your life a boring drag, devoid of passion? If so, you might do what Mike Harker did. Despite virtually no sailing experience, he did the Baja Ha-Ha and cruised Mexico for a couple of months. He then bought a new 46-footer in Florida, sailed her to the Med, then back across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, to Florida and back, then to Panama, Ecuador, the Galapagos, Marquesas, Hawaii, and San Francisco. Read more about it in Part II of the Latitude 38 Interview in the November issue.

A view from a peak in the Marquesas

What's next for Mike? Having done 24,000 miles, Harker will start a two-year circumnavigation in the spring.

Under sail on a lovely trip across the Atlantic

Fabio, a Brazilian crewmember

Carla of Namibia, signed on as crew in Antigua

Seeing a ray while freediving in the Galapagos

One of the two Dutch women who offered to pay for the food and cook if Harker and Fabio would take them cruising to Panama's Las Perlas Islands

Replacing the broken rudder in the Marquesas
Photos Mike Harker

Act III, the 32nd America's Cup

October 15 - Valencia, Spain

Now on to Act III of the 32nd America's Cup, which is fleet racing. Things are looking familiar. The wind was fluky and all over the place for the first two races in Valencia, Spain, and the Kiwis were able to make the best of it. BMW Oracle leads only the South African team. But there's lots of racing left.

Fore! Yells the Coast Guard

October 15 - Puerto Rico

Tiger Woods' new 500-ton megayacht Privacy, reportedly a present to his new Swedish bride Elin Nordegren, was stopped by the Coast Guard off Puerto Rico for failing to alert the Coast Guard 96 hours in advance of arrival - as Homeland Security laws require of vessels over 300 tons. The crew pleaded ignorance. If Tiger and bride were looking for privacy as the boat name indicates, the Caribbean was the place to be. It's the low, low season, for God's sake.

More Agony for Tracy Edwards

October 15 - Qatar

Tracy Edwards, made a MBE for her achievements as a sailor, is taking more of a drubbing in the British press just months before what's supposed to be the start of a Qatar-based around the world race she founded for maxi multihulls. Gregory Browne, the financial director and one-third owner of Quest International Sports Events, claims that Edwards has made payments worth hundreds of thousands of British pounds for personal bills, which "could amount to fraud" and be criminal.

Conner Goes Woodie

October 15 - San Diego

In an Associated Press story by Bernie Wilson in the San Jose Mercury News, it was reported that 62-year old Dennis Conner, who has won the America's Cup four times and lost it twice, probably won't be able to come up with the $100 million necessary to play again. But he's not been idle. In addition to continuing to be a terrific Etchells sailor, 18 months ago he bought Cotton Blossom II, a 49-ft Q class woodie that had been built in Oslo, Norway, in 1924. Conner had sailed on the yacht in '62 and '63, and had never forgotten her.

Despite being a lifelong sailor, Conner told Latitude that he was surprised how long it took and how much it cost - more than $1 million - to restore the boat. The main guys were Doug Jones, Wilson McDonald, and Dave Henderson. Although Conner would like to sell the boat locally to keep her in the area, he's got so much money in her, he says he "might have to park her in Monaco next to the Princess's yacht" and put her up for sale. A classic yacht once owned by Dennis Conner would be an attractive offering.

The racing of classic yachts in the Med is extremely glamorous and prestigious. Fellow San Diegan, naval architect Doug Peterson, is reported to have restored and raced more than one woodie in the Med.

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