Orange II on Fire
February 14 - Southern Ocean
Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
With all the press about Ellen MacArthur's tremendous solo circumnavigation, not enough people have been aware of what Bruno Peyron and crew are doing with the maxi cat Orange II to the around-the-world record for crewed boats. They are destroying it in an achievement that - dare we say it? - at this point is right up there with what Ellen did. Since Orange II started 22 days ago, they have averaged 22.7 knots - and thus are four days ahead of the pace set by Steve Fossett's Cheyenne. That's nearly 20% faster than an already tremendous record! Compared with her previous attempts which were canceled because of breakdowns, the boat was completely gone over to make her more reliable. The most important change has been going to bigger rudders. The older ones were two small and made the boat uncontrollable in certain conditions. Now she is said to handle beautifully. As for her crew, they are all 30 to 40 years old. Peyron says younger sailors don't have the necessary experience for a boat such as Orange II, which has hit over 42 knots.
When it comes to around-the-world sailing records, we are living in an incredible era. No matter if it's singlehanded monohull, singlehanded multihull, or crewed multihull, the old records are being crushed.
Berkeley YC Midwinters
February 14 - Berkeley
The Mumm 30 Racer X chases the J/105 Advantage3.
Saturday's fourth and final Berkeley YC Midwinter race was sailed in a 10-12 knot westerly under sunny skies - as good as it gets in February around here. After a 55-minute postponement, 83 racers were treated to an 8.8-mile triangle, windward-leeward course on the Berkeley Circle, using 'F' as the upwind mark. For once, the wind stayed steady, offering a fair test of tactics and boatspeed. "Finally! A perfect day!" claimed race co-chair Bobbi Tosse.
A pair of Melgi in the hunt
Sunday's race, we're told, was pleasant despite lighter winds and no sun. Just 24 boats showed up for the race, which, with winds from the southeast, used 'D' as the windward mark. Both Saturday and Sunday series are now over, though podium finishers will progress to the Champion of Champions on Sunday, February 27.
Nine-year-old Hayden Stapleton shinnies up Cal Ypso's mast to search for wind.
Class winners from the weekend follow. Overall winners of both series can be found at www.berkeleyyc.org.
SATURDAY SERIES (Feb. 12):
SUNDAY SERIES (Feb. 13):
Twilight Zone on the way to a Merit 25 win
Newporter 40 Ketch Lost at Isla Isabella
February 14 - Isla Isabella, Mexico
"I regret having to report that Greg and Mae Goland's Newporter 40 ketch Maxine sunk in the southeast anchorage at Isla Isabella," writes Susan Meckley from Dharma in Paradise Village, Nuevo Vallarta. "It seems to be a case of the rock in the middle of the anchorage claiming yet another boat. The couple were rescued by a panga and taken to San Blas. Both of Maxine's masts are sticking above the surface, and she is a hazard to navigation.
"People need to be warned that the anchorage at the Pinnacles outside of the main anchorage has only six inches of sand on top of hard coral. I know because I dove on it recently. Not thinking it was safe as an overnight anchorage, we elected to continue on to Nuevo Vallarta."
The Socialist America's Cup
February 14 - Valencia, Spain
It can't be the best news in the world for the 2007 America's Cup that Spain's Socialist government has announced they will be making all decisions with regard to the staging of the event. It was previously assumed that the Valencian government would be in charge. It's safe to say that a 'nationalized' America's Cup does not bode well for an Auckland-type America's Cup. But we'll have to see.
Mystery Photo of the Day
February 14 - San Francisco Bay
Photo Copyright 2005 Erik S. Simonson
Today's Photo of the Day is a mystery shot. Erik Simonson, who took the photo, was out sailing on Saturday and came across what looked a lot like an orange locomotive putting about on the water. What is it? The only hint he'll give is that "It's the first time I've seen one of these pods free from the mothership."