'Lectronic Index

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Tsunami Yields Reports of Horror and Heroism

January 21 - Thailand

Telaga Harbor, Malaysia, was like a boiling cauldron during the tsunami.
Photo Doug Walling

In the aftermath of Asia's devastating December 26 earthquake and tsunami, a variety of reports have reached Latitude 38 from cruising sailors in Thailand and western Malaysia.

Although there was little or no loss of life within the cruising community, and damage to boats was relatively minor compared to the devastation ashore, some cruisers witnessed horrific scenes of carnage. In the days following the tragedy sailors lent their energy and expertise to the relief efforts.

Look for our tsunami report in the February issue of Latitude 38, with excerpts of several firsthand accounts.

San Francisco's Coates Cleans Up at Key West 2005

January 21 - Key West, FL

Photo Jack Hardway

Key West 2005, presented by Nautica, which started the week with very strong winds, has seen those breezes go light. Yesterday's racing started with 14 knots, but before it was over, the wind was light and extremely fickle. One boat at the head of its pack dropped to 24th place.

Photo Jack Hardway

But with one day still to go, San Francisco's Thomas Coates and Masquerade, with three victories in eight races, have sewn up the J/105 class. They were also boat-of-the-day in the nearly 300-boat fleet on the windy first day.

Deneen Demourkas of Santa Barbara continues to lead the Mumm 30s with Grooverderci.

Photo Tim Wilkes

Hasso Plattner, from Northern California some of the time, leads the Farr 40s. Plattner is driving while Russell Coutts is helping out.

We'll have a detailed report on Key West 2005 in the February 1 edition of Latitude 38.

Photo Tim Wilkes

Heartbreaker on Maui

January 21 - Maalaea Bay, HI

"The oldest boat on the island of Maui, apart from the famed brig, the Carthaginian, battled the elements for the last time during a Kona storm in south Maui," reports Athena Andersen. "On Thursday, January 13, the 42-ft ketch Blue Star broke free of her mooring in Maalaea Bay, and ran aground on the beach in front of the Sugar Beach Resort. Gusty Kona winds and heavy surf pounded the wooden hull boat, causing it to break apart in less than 24 hours.

"The custom ketch was built in Long Beach in 1936. She had a colorful life, including 30 years as a liveaboard berthed at Ala Wai Harbor in Honolulu. The latest owner, Blue Liles, purchased her just a month before and moved her from a slip in the Maalaea Harbor to a mooring in the bay.

"This normally placid, leeward shore of Maui can swiftly turn into a hazardous place for a boat on a mooring or at anchor during the winter months. Although the anchorage is used year round, it is only safe as a seasonal anchorage. Over the years, many boatowners have learned that fact the hard way."

Photos Athena Andersen

Pagurus II Gone

January 21 - Baja California Coast

We've been reporting on a situation with the Cheoy-Lee 42 Pagurus II in 'Lectronic Latitude for several days now. The southbound boat started taking on water off Cedros on January 3. Owner François Lavoie and two crewmembers, exhausted from fighting the leak and from days of rough weather, were taken off the boat on the 4th by a cruise ship which had come to their aid. Lavoie hoped that Pagurus might stay afloat long enough for him to recover her and resume cruising. Unfortunately, it now appears that will not happen. We spoke with Lavoie, who is back home in Montreal, yesterday. He reported that the liferaft for the boat - which was in a container strapped to the cabin top - had been found, inflated, by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard also reported intermittent transmissions from the boat's EPIRB. Both of these devices are hydrostatically activated (when they are immersed in water), which leads Lavoie to conclude that his 40-year-old wooden classic sank. We'll have a more detailed account of this incident in the February issue.

When Is Opening Day on the Bay?

January 21 - San Francisco

People have been asking, so we're going to remind everyone that it will be on Sunday, April 24.

Opening Bay in the South Bay, on the other hand, is Saturday, April 16. Don't get the two confused.

Ellen MacArthur Taking a Beating, Losing Ground

January 21 - Atlantic Ocean

After Ellen MacArthur and her 75-ft tri B&Q raced three-quarters of the way around the world at an incredible pace, things have turned sour in the last week or so. First, fatigue after all that battling in the Southern Ocean finally seemed to have caught up with her. Then the wind went very light. Yesterday, the headboard on her main came off the mast, requiring her to ascend the 30-meter rotating mast not once, but twice. "I feel like I've been beaten up this morning . . . I'm stiff as hell, and moving round with the speed and elegance of an arthritic robot!"

At B&Q's nav station
Photo OC/Ellen MacArthur

What's worse, her lead over Francis Joyon's record pace is now down to a guesstimated 1 day, 15 hours. MacArthur is now a little more than halfway from Cape Horn to the equator, something like 750 miles, and the track ahead still doesn't look very promising.

Vendée Globe Leaders through Doldrums

January 21 - Atlantic Ocean

Vincent Riou aboard PRB has made it through the doldrums and now maintains a comfortable 126-mile lead over Jean Le Cam on Bonduelle and a 177-mile lead on Mike Golding. The weather systems to the finish are complicated, but it's clearly Riou's race to lose.

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