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The Greatest Sailing Record of All Time?

March 16 - Brest, France

Orange II reaches the finish line off the island of Ouessant (Ushant)

Frenchman Bruno Peyron and his crew of the 120-ft maxi cat Orange II have completed their around the world trip in 50 days and 16 hours, which means they averaged an astounding 22.2 knots for nearly two months. Can anyone think of a
greater sailing achievement?

Photos Guilain Grenier/Orange
Courtesy www.martin-raget.com

Crosstown Traffic at the Big Daddy

March 16 - San Francisco Bay

Imagine Caltrans opening a new freeway before they put in a center divider or lane stripes and you get some idea of what the Big Daddy Pursuit Race was like last Sunday. The course, as always, is a simple one: start near Southampton and round Alcatraz and Angel Island - either way.

To our eye, the 97 boats in the reverse-handicap start split about equally, half reaching over to the Cityfront on the 'clockwise' course, the other half beating up Raccoon Strait. As you can see from today's photos, most of them met each other off Alcatraz - and it was just like that unmarked freeway: people doing crash turns, lots of shouting, lots of 'threading the needle' and a bit of road rage here and there as boats whizzed by each other, sometimes only inches away. Or at least it seemed like inches. The action was accentuated by a flood that had many of the counterclockwise boats crabbing up to the buoy sideways.

In the end, counterclockwise turned out to be the better call. While the clockwise boats all headed dead downwind through Raccoon Strait to the finish, the counterclockwise crowd sailed a hotter angle on the homestretch and were often able to 'catch' the competition, sometimes in the last few minutes. For example, Bruce Nesbit's Olson 34 Razzberries roared in from Alcatraz to beat Chris Longaker's identically-handicapped Express 34 Two Scoops by just over a boatlength at the wire.

The little light 'animal' boats made out the best in the 12-15 knot breeze and flat-water event, which was sailed in splendidly warm, sunny weather. Colin Moore's Wabbit Kwazy topped the fleet, followed a 'pride' of 20-ft Hobie Tiger cats (2nd, 3rd and 5th), Bill Erkelens' Toronado (4th), and then more Wabbits. (It was a zoo out there!)

Photos Latitude/JR

Look for a feature on the whole Big Daddy weekend in the April issue of Latitude 38. You can find results at the Richmond YC Web site, www.richmondyc.org.

Thirteenth Annual Banderas Bay Regatta Ends in Exciting Whimper

March 16 - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

It's been one of the most overcast winters in years in Mexico, which contributed to the very light conditions in the last race.

The three-race Banderas Bay Regatta ended in uncharacteristically light conditions yesterday, with only one boat - Kevin and Nancy Reath's Puerto Vallarta-based Beneteau 40.7 Something Wicked - of the 25 boats in the racing divisions crossing the finish line by the 5 p.m. deadline. A handful of other boats, led by the cat Profligate, came within 150 feet of the finish in suddenly building winds before being denied. It was the most thrilling 4 hour DSQ we've ever had. Thanks to being the only racing boat to finish the third race, Something Wicked was the overall winner of the regatta.

Something Wicked, the top boat in the regatta, chases Blair Grinols' Capricorn Cat, the top performing multihull.

Sandy and Kevin Reath, with Mike of North Sails, celebrate Something Wicked's top performance.

Also performing large were the members - 16 of them - from North Flathead Lake YC in Montana. Pete Sauer's Jeanneau 36 Anamchara, sailed by Pete, his wife, two young kids, and four other members of the yacht club, took top honors in fleet 5. They'd also been the top boat in fleet for the first two days. Fellow North Flathead Lake YC member Jack Muir, with lots of other Montanaites as crew, took honors in fleet 3.

The Sauer family, Pete, wife Sandee, Haylee, 11, and Tristan, 7, celebrate their win with Anamchara.

Jack and Sandy Muir of the Sabre 402 Tambourine won in fleet three. They are residents of Montana who cruise Mexico for three months each year.

The only disappointment in the whole event is that there weren't more participants. Given the facilities, the sailing conditions, the $0 entry fee, and the 50% off discount on berthing at Paradise Marina, this should be a 100-boat regatta every year. This year's only losers were those who didn't enter their own boats.

The big boat in this year's event was David Crowe's 70-ft cat Humu-Humu, which tied for first in the multihull division, but lost on the tie-breaker.
Photos Latitude/Richard

Slow Progress Rebuilding Langkawi Marinas

March 16 - Langkawi, Malaysia

Latitude 38 correspondents Tom Morkin and Liz Tosoni were in Malaysia during the December 26 tsunami. After talking with the management at both the Langkawi marinas which were destroyed in that disaster, they filed this report:

"We spoke with management at both of the Langkawi marinas that were destroyed as a result of the December 26 tsunami and here is what we learned: Prior to the tsunami, Telaga Harbour Marina was comprised of 70 slips and 8 swing moorings as well as Med moorings for 7 mega-yachts.

"The Med moorings in the west side of the harbor were untouched while all the slips and swing moorings were wiped away. Management wants to rebuild as soon as possible, however, they are waiting for authorization from the local government before they can proceed. They would like to be fully operational by December 2005, with capacity for 130 slips, but this remains to be seen. They are hoping to be able to begin construction on their own and be reimbursed by the government at a later date, but again, they need the approval of the authorities.

"Rebak Marina had 128 slips, all destroyed, and room for 70 boats on the hardstand. Luckily, the hardstand area is still fully operational. Management told us that the insurance claim is still in process, that they are looking for a contractor to take on the project, and that it will be at least a year before reconstruction begins.

"Reservations made even months ago, in the hardstand area for the rainy season, have been cancelled as priority has been given to boats that were damaged. So it's a bit of a scramble to find a place for your boat this season!"

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