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Pyewacket Takes Line Honors in Light-Air Ensenada Race

April 25 - Newport Beach

Last Friday's 58th Annual International Lexus Newport to Ensenada Race featured 466 entries in 23 classes from maxis to Ancient Mariners. Finishing first was Roy Disney's MaxZ86 Pyewacket, stopping the string of first-to-finishes by multihulls. But it was Mike Campbell and Dale Williams' 70-ft Peligroso, designed by Tim Kernan, that corrected out first. For details and photos, visit www.nosa.org.

Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta a Smash!

April 25 - Antigua

According to Kenny Coombs, this year's just-completed Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta was the best ever, as the somewhat lighter winds than normal allowed the great classic yachts of the world to really spread their wings without the risk of being damaged. Overall honors went to the 65-ft Nat Benjamin schooner Juno, which international financier George Soros had built on Martha's Vineyard a few years ago using techniques from 70 years ago. We'll have photos from Tim Wright in our Wednesday edition.

File photo of Juno, the epitome of understatement, sailing off St. Barth in February of 2004
Photo Latitude/Richard

'Bluewater Route' or 'The Masochists's Route'?

April 25 - Pacific Coast

While at Strictly Sail Pacific earlier this month, somebody left a copy of Exploring the Pacific Coast, San Diego to Seattle, by Don Douglass & Reanne Hemingway-Douglass, at our booth. So we picked it up and paged through it.

On the cover, the book touts both "expert local knowledge" and "Proven Cruising Routes" - whatever the latter might be. Intrigued, we checked out the "Bluewater Route" from San Diego to San Francisco - and were dumbfounded. According to the book's so-called experts, this Bluewater Route is "preferred by sailboats or larger powerboats wanting to make maximum speed to San Francisco during time of prevailing northwest winds or other favorable conditions."

We think that's complete nonsense. For starters, we'll ignore the fact that prevailing northwest winds are anything but favorable - in fact, wind from anything but directly on the nose would be nicer.

As for the 'proven route', it consists of - and we're not making this up - going outside of all the islands off Southern California except for San Clemente and San Nicolas, to a point off Point Conception, then pretty much in a straight line up to San Francisco. This should more accurately be named the 'Masochist's Route', and reserved for recommending to one's worst enemies. After all, by going outside of the islands, one will almost certainly take a bigger beating from stronger headwinds and bigger seas. If this route is taken during prevailing conditions in the spring and summer, somebody is more than likely to take an unnecessary beating. There is no great alternative once north of Conception, of course, but in Southern California the conditions are almost always more favorable inside of all the islands.

According to the book, one of the advantages of the Bluewater Route is its "simplicity" - as if navigating up the coast of California inside of the islands is in any way complicated. It also makes the claim that by taking this route, one goes "inside of the major tanker routes." This is simply not true, as many ships use the Santa Barbara Channel and are otherwise inside of this route. In fact, anyone who uses this route will have to cross major ship routes at least twice.

To be fair, the book does have a lot of helpful photos, diagrams, and charts. Although we don't have the greatest faith in the charts. One of the first ones we looked at, the chart of the Channel Islands on page 76, indicates that it's about 40 miles from Long Beach and Newport Beach to Catalina. That's way off.

Nobody knows better than we that to err is human, and typos and other mistakes are inevitable. But the recommended 'Bluewater Route'? We think it's rubbish, and that the so-called 'experts' owe everyone an explanation.

Give the Sea Lions an Inch, and They'll Want the Whole Boat

April 25 - Newport Beach

Photo Glenn Twitchell

As Glenn Twitchell's photo shows, the sea lion problem on Profligate in Newport Beach has gotten much worse over the weekend. Why one little bugger has even snuck up on deck without an invitation. That does it, we're headed north! With any luck, the wind will keep blowing out of the south all week.

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