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Nicorette Takes Rough Sydney-Hobart

December 29 - Hobart, Tasmania


Ludde Ingvall and his super-maxi Nicorette took line honors in the 60th Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. Last year Nicorette retired from the Hobart race in Eden when her bow canard was damaged.

Meanwhile, the super-maxi Skandia, which had retired from the race with a damaged canting keel, lost her keel and capsized in the Tasman Sea. Skipper Grant Wharington and his crew took to liferafts. Skandia is floating upside down. A tug is on its way to try to salvage the 98-footer, which is wallowing in huge seas about 80 miles off the northeast coast of the island state of Tasmania. It is not known if her mast has broken.

The Skandia crew abandon ship

At least 44 out of the 116 boats racing withdrew, including one-time leader Konica Minolta, which suffered structural damage to its cabintop from an enormous crashing wave. The New Zealand crew agreed that the structural weakness would only get worse in the heavy seas. Syd Fischer, a veteran of 35 Sydney-Hobarts, reported that his Farr 45 Ragamuffin had been dismasted due east of Flinders Island. All crew are reported to be okay.

Konica Minolta
Photos Ian Mainsbridge/PPL

For more photos, see the PPL Web site www.pplmedia.com. See also http://rolexsydneyhobart.com.

Information from Southeast Asia

December 29 - Langkawi, Malaysia

Richard Donaldson-Alves, coordinator of the Mobile Maritime Net, South East Asian Waters, 14,323 MHz 0025 z Daily, Wx 0055 Z, writes:

"When the tsunami surged into both Rebak and Telaga Harbour marinas destroying the berths, pontoons and pilings - this action freed many yachts which were then sucked out from the marinas into the open sea. Other yachts were quickly on the scene rescuing those that had decided to depart for Africa with no one board. Great credit to all those that helped - many absent owners will never now how close they came to losing their boats!

"Thailand's and Phuket's western coastline suffered extreme shoreline damage and many lives lost - whilst many yachts hardly noticed the event, eg: in Nai Harn Bay which faces west, there were over 90 yachts anchored out from the surf line - they merely rose up then down as the tsunami passed under them to go on to the beaches and beyond.

"Only a couple of yachts are reported beached in Phuket waters - although many speed and dive boats were beached and damaged, mainly because they were moored close in to the beaches."

Donaldson-Alves has compiled a list of yachts affected by the Tsunami in Langkawi's waters. His list and a bulletin board are to be found on the Cruiser Logs Web Site at www.cruiser.co.za/Tsunami1.asp.

Our own staff has been busy tracking down Web sites with disaster-related information. See www.worldchanging.com, www.sumankumar.com, www.command-post.org, and www.tsunamihelp.blogspot.com.

Caribbean Report

December 29 - St. Barth, FWI

You've heard of Doctors Without Borders? Well, we might as well be called Reporter Without Tools. Here we are in St. Barth in the French West Indies, ground zero for big boat activity at New Year's. The biggest private sailing yacht in the world, Jim Clark's new 292-ft clipper ship Athena, is here (as is his 156-ft sloop Hyperion). Also here is the world's largest motoryacht, Larry Ellison of Oracle's new 452-ft Rising Sun. (Whoever thought the world's biggest sailing and motoryachts would be owned by Northern Californians, who only a few years ago didn't have much money at all?) The world's second largest motoryacht is also here, Paul Allen's humorously named 420-ft something Octopus. He, of course, also has Tatoosh, a 300-footer, and Meduse, a 200-footer, but they must be someplace else.

Lots of other large sailing yachts are around - Hasso Plattner's 147-ft needle Visione, several 150-ft Perini Navis, and other assorted mega yachts - presumably for the New Year's Eve race/parade. In all, about 30 large yachts are expected, including one or more J Class 130-footers.

So how come the Wanderer has no decent story or photos?
1) The primary and back up cameras are out of action.
2) The computer is out of action.
3) The borrowed dinghy leaks like a sieve and the outboard is trashed because the old gas deteriorated into varnish inside the engine.
4) And not helping at all is the fact that the Wanderer lost his wallet while attempting to fix the engine.
Other than that, things are going really well.

Sailors of the Year

December 29 - Mill Valley

The Envelopes, please - Who will win the 2004 Latitude 38 sailor of the year awards? Pick up a copy of the January issue tomorrow to find out. Here are the past winners, listed since the inception of each category:

Sailor of the Year
1996 Jeff Madrigali
1997 Paul Cayard
1998 Mark Rudiger
1999 Dee Smith
2000 John Kostecki
2001 Philippe Kahn
2002 John Kostecki
2003 Shark Kahn

Woman Sailor of the Year
2000 Liz Baylis
2001 Melissa Purdy
2002 Liz Baylis
2003 Liz Baylis

Junior Sailor of the Year
1998 Robbie Horne
1999 Katie Clausen/Abby Swann
2000 Molly Carapiet
2001 Molly Carapiet
2002 Trevor Bozina
2003 Brooks Reed

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