'Lectronic Index

Previous 'Lectronic Edition

Photo of the Day: Got Your Outfit Ready for Carnival?

February 7 - Trinidad

Let the accompanying photo remind everyone that Carnival is very early this year - it's happening right now, February 3-8. If you're in the Caribbean, there's no bigger Carnival than Trinidad. For many of the folks in that country, Carnival is almost their whole life. Many folks don't realize it, but Carnival is also a very big deal in Mazatlan, Mexico. So read up on it a bit, get your costume ready, and join in on the fun.

Photo Courtesy Trinidad Tourism Board

Golden Gate Yacht Club Midwinters

February 7 - San Francisco Bay

Yucca, Hank Easom's beautiful 8-Meter, was less than 100 yards from her Sausalito berth, just beginning the 45-minute motor over to the 11 a.m. start of the fourth GGYC Midwinter race on Saturday. "We've got eggs," announced Hank, who spun the boat into a bat turn back to the dock. "I think we have just barely enough time to haul out."

Easom and his six-man crew flew into orbit, getting Yucca up out of the water on its cradle and began removing an improbably thick carpet of herring eggs off the bottom. Using a pressure washer and various improvised scraping tools, the smelly job was done in less than 15 minutes. "Yummm, eggs for breakfast!" declared Charlie Mohn, covered in the slimy fish goo.

Al Blair had the motor running even as Yucca was halfway back into the water, and the boat left at warp speed. With the pedal all the way down, Yucca arrived at the starting line just a few minutes late, but fortunately in plenty of time for the ensuing one hour postponement. Eventually, a nice 10-knot westerly filled in and the fleet got underway for a two-lapper up and down the Cityfront.

With a clean bottom and typically solid tactics, Yucca took her fourth bullet in the series to, we think, mathematically wrap up the Seaweed Soup Trophy (best performance) for an unprecedented fourth time. "It helps to have your own boat yard!" claimed Hank.

Faster Horses and Two Scoops

View from Yucca as she hunts down the tail end of Division 1

Hank Easom (standing) and crew aboard Yucca

, the newest 1D-35 on the Bay

Zephyra won their class and is currently leading Division 1 overall.
All Photos Latitude/Rob

We have no idea who else won on Saturday, but suspect the results will be posted soon at www.ggyc.org.

Ellen Coming Down the Home Stretch - in Record Time

February 7 - Ushant, France

As we write this report at 11 a.m. PST, British singlehander Ellen MacArthur is closing in on the finish line of her solo round-the-world record attempt. And, although it would be tempting fate to declare that she will definitely break Francis Joyon's 72-day, 22-hour record, with any luck at all, she'll do just that.

At this writing, Ellen, aboard her 75-ft trimaran B&Q, is making close to 20 knots in 16 knots of breeze. The finish line, off Ushant, France, lies less than 100 miles ahead. If she crosses it within the next 43 hours, she will have set a new solo circumnavigation record and will have become only the second person to successfully circumnavigate solo nonstop aboard a multihull.

Although Ellen has had to surmount major obstacles during her 27,000-mile ordeal, such as horrendous weather and gear breakage, it is probably safe to say that her greatest challenge has been physical fatigue. Her support team reports that the 5-ft tall, 28-year-old dynamo is deeply exhausted as she comes down the home stretch, after battling frustrating winds during the past few days. One can only imagine the mental stress she is under as she drives toward the finish. Massive crowds of well-wishers are expected to greet Ellen when she arrives at Falmouth, England.

At this writing, B&Q's ETA at the finish is expected to be between 2300 tonight and 0100 local time tomorrow morning (between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. PST). Check out www.teamellen.com for up-to-the-minute coverage, and look for a wrap-up report in the March edition of Latitude 38 magazine.

Ellen MacArthur aboard B&Q
Photo Courtesy DPPI / John Bandsilled / B&G

Remember Wind? continued ...

February 7 - San Francisco Bay

We received this response to our piece in Friday's Lectronic Latitude from Michael Moore:

My wife was doing a bit of surfing this morning and came on 'Lectronic Latitude, and saw the photo sequence of Hoot rounding down. It's really hard to believe that was 10 years ago. Since the text pretty much said you guys don't remember anything about the event, I'll do my best.

First of all, that crash was indeed right under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was at the end of the Crewed Light Ship Race. The photos were taken by a guy named Donald Hilbun, I believe. The crew included owners Andy and Annette Mcfie, me, another guy named Dom, and a bow man named Glen. There was probably someone else, but as they say here in the South, I've slept since then.

I was spending a nice quiet evening at home when Andy called wanting to know if I could sail the Crewed Light Ship with him. As my wife was a regular and scheduled to sail the race with Tim and Karen Knowles on Dragon Song, I made it a condition that Andy promise to beat Dragon Song. I think the response was "I could beat that old man with one arm tied behind my back!"

The only early setback I remember was getting to the boat with no boots, so I sailed the whole race in sandals. I remember a nice uneventful trip to the Light Bucket. But there were squalls waiting out there. Just as we rounded there was one coming in. We were somewhat dumbfounded when Andy said we would outrun it. He gave it a great try. It was one hell of a ride before we finally found the back of a wave with the bow. After cleaning up and looking around, discretion seemed the better part, so we jib reached for a while.

Eventually conditions moderated a bit, and the kite was an option again. We enjoyed a nice sail down the channel and eventually were approaching the South Tower on port jibe with Zamazan outside of us. And that is where the story really got interesting. It was clear that we were going to want to jibe shortly after passing the south tower. But we were all pretty much just concerned with getting past the South Tower Demon in the newly building conditions without incident.

And then I looked across to Zamazan, and my heart missed a beat.

Mike: "Andy, they are going to jibe."
Andy: "No way. No one in their right mind would jibe in here."
Mike: "Yes, they are. There is a man at the mast and a man in the pulpit."
Andy: "No, there must be something else going on."
Mike: "Andy, they are going to jibe. There goes the butt end up, trip ... pole is through ... they jibed."

So right at the South Tower, we jibe. No problem, everything is great, watch the puff, ease ... Ease ... EASE ... EASE THE DAMN KITE!!!!!!!!!

Photo Donald Hilbun

I swear I was trying. But the winch was loaded up with about 5 wraps having just been occupied by the guy. As I was easing sheet, it was pooling at my feet, all bound up on the winch. You've seen the result. The best line of the day came just before the boom dropped.

Andy: "Don't ease anything ... I can steer out of it!" I suppose he was doing a great job of drying the rudder out wiggling it around like that. We eventually recovered, and got sailing just in time to watch Dragon Song go sailing by, all smiles.

Ahh the memories, they are all I have left for now, living in Tennessee, and working in North Georgia. Lake sailing hardly scratches the itch. Thanks for posting the pictures again. And you were right, you did run them right away.

Oryx Quest 2005

February 7 - Gulf of Oman

They're off! The latest round-the-world adventure, the Oryx Quest 2005, is now in its third day. The following press release, hot off the press an hour ago, describes the action so far:

Kimball Livingston, SAIL magazine's West Coast editor, was in Doha for the start. He sent the above photo with the comment, "A typical shoreside scene in the new sports capital of the Middle East ...."

After leaving Doha, Qatar, on Saturday, February 5, the four state-of-the-art yachts competing in Oryx Quest 2005 are heading in a southeasterly direction along the Gulf of Oman and will soon be out into the Arabian Sea. Two battles amongst the competitors have developed: at the front between Geronimo and Doha 2006 and behind them Cheyenne and Daedalus are very closely matched, with just 79 nautical miles separating the entire fleet.

Local conditions are playing a big part in deciding which boats get the breeze, but the first major obstacle of the race will be a region of high pressure directly in the path of the yachts. Sailing through the center of the high pressure is tactical suicide because wind travels at the slowest velocity and its direction is unpredictable. Instead the skippers and their weather routers aim to travel around the edges and cut across before they add too much distance to their journey.

Doha 2006 crewmember Paul Larsen has found time to describe life on board so far:

"The first day and a half has been hard work on the 'pumps' (two-man coffee grinders) with sail change after sail change. Decisions aren't made based on how tired we are but on what is needed. Everyone is dead tired but conditions are improving which should allow us to all catch up on the sleep we have missed out on in the hectic past few weeks. We must fuel the human engine as much as possible - lots of food and water as our bodies begin to harden up to the rigors of sailing one of these big, powerful boats."

Doha 2006 was also involved in an extraordinary incident when the boat hit something with the port rudder while leading. The crew promptly dropped headsails and turned the catamaran around, running backwards in order to free the object, which they discovered to be a shark. Although Geronimo managed to take the lead during this maneuver, it seems even Jaws cannot stop skipper Brian Thompson and the Doha 2006 crew, who were soon in the chase once again.

Race positions at 1800 (GMT) Monday, February 7, 2005:

1. Geronimo
2. Doha 2006
3. Cheyenne
4. Daedalus

Visit www.oryxquest.com for the latest positioning data.

New Check-In Is Not What Was Promised

February 7 - Ensenada, Baja, California

Here's the good news: The 'integral' one-stop check-in has opened up in Ensenada. Here's the bad news: It's not the 'check-into-the-country-once-and-that's-it-until-you-leave' that was promised by President Fox last fall. Here's a report from Paul and Debi Shaimas:

We arrived in Ensenada the day President Fox was in town to open the Centro Integral de Servicios (one stop check in/check out). Although we did our arrival paperwork through Baja Naval (Roger Greg of Baja Naval is great and we highly recommend both him and Baja Naval), we opted to do our own check out.

The Centro office is nextdoor to the Port Captain's building. Inside are five numbered windows: Migracion (Immigration), Capitania de Puerto (Port Captain), Conapesca (Fishing License), Aduana (Customs) and Banjercita (Bank). Cruisers start at Window 1 (Migracion) and then work their way around the various windows. Some tips for others that follow us:

1. Take multiple copies of everything you think they might need. For departure, we needed (1) five copies of our despacho (leaving) crew list, (2) copy of our stamped and signed arribo (arrival) crew list, (3) receipt for the payments we made for the arrival paperwork, (4) copy of our temporary import permit, (5) copy of our passports, (6) original passports, (7) original visas, (8) paid invoice for Baja Naval (to show no outstanding marina bills). We left with most of the paperwork, they just needed to see it.

2. For arrivals and departures, plan one trip to take in your paperwork in the a.m. and another trip to receive back your stamped and approved crew list in the p.m. One stop DOES NOT mean in and out in one trip. If you arrive late in the day, you will need to come back the following morning to pick up the paperwork. For departures Saturday or Sunday, you must process the departure papers on Friday. Since you must depart within 48 hours, it would appear that Monday morning departures are not available.

3. Fees for Migracion, Conapesca or Aduana are paid at the Banjercita window. Fees for Capitania de Puerto are paid at their window (NOT at the Banjercita window) via Mastercard or Visa. If you only have cash or an ATM card to pay the Capitania de Puerto you have to go to a bank in town to make the payment and then return with your receipt.

4. We tried to use Captain Rains' 'Lista de Tripulantes' from the Mexico Boating Guide but were advised that it is for departures, not arrivals. As near as we can figure out, the arrival form is the same as the departure form except it does not list subsequent destinations. In either case, the Migracion window has blank copies of the form that can be filled out on the spot.

We were disappointed to realize that the 'one check in/check out' procedure applies to each port, rather than to the country. But from what we have heard of the 'Paperwork Cha-Cha' (a la Captain Rains), even this is a major improvement. Cruisers should show support for the Centro Integral de Servicios so that the program can be more quickly expanded to other ports!

Orange Alert!

February 7 - The Ocean Planet

Bruno Peyron's maxi-cat Orange II continues to shred the planet at an amazing pace, already about 1,800 miles and four days ahead of Steve Fossett's absolute world record time of 58 days, 9 hours - and Orange is only two weeks into the trip! The last three days have been particularly intense, as Orange has been clocking 650 miles
daily (an average speed of 27 knots). Peyron and crew should be rewarded later today with a new record time for the Ushant-Cape of Good Hope course."We'll be beginning radar watch tonight for icebergs," reports Bruno. "We'll be on the edge of the convergence zone and not far from where they may be. It's starting to get fairly cold, especially when we're doing 30-35 knots and the waves at 6ºC are crashing over us."

See www.maxicatamaran-orange.com for more, including updated boat positions every 15 minutes.

Tom Hill's Titan 12 Smashes Record

February 7 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL

This press release came in just in as we were uploading today's report:

Nine boats have broken the record in the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race, but it will be Tom Hill's Puerto Rican entry Titan 12 that will go down in the books as the new record holder. The Reichel/Puch 75 shaved almost 13 hours off the previous record set in 2003 by Zephyrus V for a new benchmark of 2 days, 10 hours, 24 minutes and 42 seconds.

Titan 12 officially finished the race at 00:29:42. The race course was 810 miles from the Port Everglades inlet off Fort Lauderdale, across the Gulf Stream, through the Bahama Islands, past Cuba and on to the finish at Montego Bay, Jamaica.

With six boats left to finish by tonight or early tomorrow morning, Makoto Uematsu's Japanese entry Esmeralda, with multiple world champion Ken Read (Newport, RI) aboard, currently leads the fleet on corrected time.

For race results and more information, visit www.montegobayrace.com.

Top / Index of Stories /
Previous 'Lectronic Edition
Subscriptions / Classifieds / Home

©2005 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.