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Photos of the Day: Three Bridge Fiasco

January 31 - San Francisco Bay

Kwazy (Wabbit #26) won their class.

Due to wimpy winds Saturday's running of the Three Bridge Fiasco resulted in many more DNFs than finishers. The Singlehanded Sailing Society hosts this annual fun fiasco for singlehanded and doublehanded boats, which must round Blackaller buoy near the Golden Gate Bridge, Red Rock near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and Treasure Island (in any order), starting and finishing at Golden Gate YC.

Enzo on her way to a win
Photo Courtesy Enzo

Melinda (skipper) and Bill (crew) Erkelens sailed their turbo Hobie 33 Enzo to a win overall and in the doublehanded division. Describing the race, Bill commented, "We had a great sail. We went TI-Red Rock-Blackaller. We rounded TI just behind Kame Richards on his Express 37 and Synergy, and just ahead of an Antrim 27 and a 1D-35. They all went back along the shore of TI and we went across to the Oakland shore following Bart Hackworth on his Moore, who was leading the boats going our way. We sailed low into the Olympic Circle and along the Richmond sea wall for more pressure. We ran out of wind entering Raccoon and drifted a mile or so into the light Westerly. Then it was a fetch to Blackaller and a run down the beach."

The Mumm 30 Sand Dollar was second in PHRF-1 to Sensation.

Photos above Latitude/Rob except as noted

"Even though our instruments read zilch," said Synthia Petroka, who sailed the Hawkfarm Eyrie with Sylvia Seaberg, "we were making .5 knots in the right direction from the Bay Bridge towards the Berkeley pier - gotta love those persistent winter ebbs!"

"With all zeros on our instruments," continued Synthia, "we occupied our hands with adult beverages to keep us from over-fiddling around with the lines. About 1530 the numbers showed we had no chance of finishing before the 7:00 p.m. time limit, and we were OOB (out of booze), so we circumnavigated TI and completed the One Bridge Fiasco."
Two Photos Above Courtesy Eyrie

Results aren't final, but you can see the list at www.sfbaysss.org.

Vendée into the Homestretch

January 31 - Les Sables d'Olonne, France

Wednesday is the day that sailing history will be made. Sometime in the afternoon, the winner of the Vendée Globe singlehanded, nonstop round-the-world race will cross the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne, France, in what looks to be a new record time. Perhaps the most 'historic' part is that, at this writing, no one knows for sure which of three boats that will be. As of the official position report this Monday morning, France's Vincent Riou on PRB once again had a narrow lead - less than 5 miles - over countryman Jean Le Cam on Bonduelle, and Britain's Mike Golding was only 51 miles behind them. With changeable winds between 12 and 24 knots and 580 miles to go, it was still anyone's race. This will almost certainly be the closest finish ever for the Vendée - in the 2000-2001 race, Ellen MacArthur finished about 25 hours after winner
Michel Desjoyeaux - and possibly the closest finish for long-distance ocean racing ever.

Vincent Riou aboard PRB
Photo Vincent Riou

In other Vendée news, Conrad Humphreys on Hellemoto is in trouble. Currently running in the 8th spot 3,300 miles from the leaders, one of the hydraulic rams which cant his keel to one side or the other had failed. Now it appears the other redundant system has also failed. Humphreys at first attempted to secure the top of the keel at centerline using spare jibsheets inside the boat. Now he has worked out a system where he goes onto the 'wrong' tack, lets gravity swing the keel that way, ties lashings in the top of the keel, then tacks back. He's only getting a fraction of the cant of the hydraulics, and the system only lasts a few hours before everything stretches and he has to redo it, but it's better than nothing. There is also a problem with fore-and-aft movement of the strut, and Humphreys is not sure he'll be able to finish the race. (Seven of the 20 starters have either dropped out or been disqualified.) This would really be a shame - you may recall that Humphreys was the one who anchored in a small South African port a month into the race (allowed as long as the racer doesn't go ashore or get outside assistance) to replace a broken rudder and fix rigging problems. Once back in the fray, he has made steady progress up through the fleet.

Conrad Humphreys onboard Hellemoto
Photo Conrad Humphreys

For more on the Vendée, log onto www.vendeeglobe.fr/uk/.

The Closest Race Ever?

January 31 - London, UK

What was the closest long-distance ocean race ever? It might well have been the great clipper race of 1866, when five ships, loaded to the gills with tea, set off from Foochow, China, on the same tide, bound for London. The prize for the first tea to hit the London docks was the British equivalent of $50,000 - the price of a new ship. While others fell by the wayside, the slender 853-ton Ariel, John Keay commanding, and 767-ton Taeping, under Captain Donald McKinnon, sighted each other numerous times on the run home. And after 99 days and 15,000 miles, they arrived off Dungeoness within an hour of each other and took pilots aboard at virtually the same time. The ships docked within minutes of each other and the captains ended up splitting the prize money.

Music in the Galapagos

January 31 - Galapagos Islands

In Friday's 'Lectronic, we published photos showing that Hawkeye had visited the Galapagos. Here's proof that Joe Scirica of the Redondo Beach-based Beneteau 40 CC Music did, too.

A marine iguana. Now we know where the Japanese get their inspiration for the monsters in their horror movies.

We knew they had penguins in the Galapagos, but pink flamingos, too?

One of the restaurants on the beach in the Galapagos. We hope nobody goes there expecting a Denny's.

Pipsqueak, the ship's cat on Music

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