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Photos of the Day

September 2 - San Francisco

Photo of the Day
Kite surfer Anthony Chavez crosses just in front of Howard Hamlin's 18-ft skiff at the finish of Thursday's Bridge to Bridge Race.

Out of the cold, gray mist and fog they came late Thursday afternoon: Howard Hamlin's blue-spinnakered Pegasus White 18-ft skiff on the right and Anthony Chavez kite board on the left, both flying at nearly 20 knots toward the finish line of the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge Race.

Hamlin was farther downwind as they approached the Oakland Bay Bridge, but he had to jibe to make the finish line, while Chavez had set himself up for a straight shot under the span and crossed just in front. "Ten feet, I think that was all he got us by," Hamlin said.

Chavez flies toward the finish.

Chavez, wary of the long bowsprits the skiffs carry downwind, said, "I thought I was gonna get speared at one point."

The five-mile race from the Golden Gate is a change of pace feature of the annual 18-ft Skiff International Regatta. Chavez, 28, is one of the lead competitors in the Thursday night summer kite board series on San Francisco Bay. Only six skiffs started the race, joined by 12 windsurfers and 21 kite boards.

Chad Freitas and Shark Kahn (left) are overlapped after finishing; windsurfer Seth Besse (center) finished between them for third overall. Andrew Cuddihy's 18-ft skiff (right) was next.
Photos and Report Rich Roberts

The wind was about 20 knots, but Chavez said, "I thought either the skiff on my right or the windsurfer on my left were going to beat me if the wind went light, but we had good wind all the way to the finish."

Hamlin, sailing with Mike Martin and Trent Barnabas, was not terribly disappointed. It was the first time in four years he had beaten all the other skiffs between the bridges, and with a second place to John Winning in the day's first romp around the buoys he increased his lead to six points over the defending champion from Australia. The ninth and tenth races remain today. Only a disastrous day could deny Hamlin the championship.

For more photos of the week's racing, see www.UnderTheSunPhotos.com. For complete results, see host St. Francis Yacht Club's site at www.stfyc.com.

Pirate Captain Announces His Crew

September 2 - Southampton, UK

Paul Cayard, skipper of yet-to-be-launched Black Pearl, the U.S. boat competing in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race, announced his team yesterday. The Pirates of the Caribbean represent seven countries and contains four past winners of the race. The Pirates lineup is Cayard (USA, skipper), Julian 'Jules' Salter (GBR, navigator), Freddie Loof (SWE, watch captain), Rodney Ardern (NZL, watch captain), Dirk de Ridder (NED, trimmer/driver), Nigel King (NZL, trimmer/driver), Craig Satterthwaite (NZL, trimmer/driver), Justin Ferris (NZL, bowman/trimmer/driver), Curtis Blewett (CAN, bowman), Jerry Kirby (USA, bowman), and Justin 'Juggy' Clougher (TAS, bowman). Collectively, the group has 12 Volvo Races, 20 America's Cups, and 6 Olympic games between them. Per the race rules, only 10 of the 11 Pirates will sail on each leg, with rotations planned primarily between bowmen.

Skipper of The Black Pearl, Paul Cayard
Photo Courtesy www.volvooceanrace.org

"For this campaign, it was important to start with an experienced group," said Cayard. "We are the last team to hit the water so we don't have a lot of time to train. We will be counting on experience to help make up ground on all the other teams."

See the current issue of Latitude 38 for an overview of the upcoming Volvo Race, or go straight to www.volvooceanrace.org. Just 64 days 'til the start!

Labor Day Weekend Preview

September 2 - San Francisco

There's a whole lotta racing going on around here this weekend, starting today at noon with the Windjammers Race from StFYC to Santa Cruz. The 35-boat fleet includes the R/P 77 Scout Spirit (ex-Zephyrus IV), under charter to Bill Turpin and his talented 16-man crew, many of them Alta Vita alumni. Santa Cruz YC staff commodore Jim Ritchey will also be along as the '17th man', as he was the high bidder on a silent auction last weekend benefitting the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization (the opportunity was originally offered on eBay, but yanked for violating some policy concerning charity auctions).

Scout Spirit
Photo Virginia Scott

All aboard are hoping to break Merlin's near-mythical 1983 record of 5 hours, 59 minutes, on the 67-mile course. "The weather was bad last night - fog and no wind in Santa Cruz," said Turpin. "Hopefully, it will improve for the race."

After the WJ fleet clears out, a bunch of 'national championships' kick off at 1 p.m. - StFYC is hosting the Express 27s (11 boats), Moore 24s (9), and Antrim 27s (4), presumably down on the TI course, while SFYC is holding the J/120 North Americans (11 boats, including one from Long Beach) on the Southampton race track, also beginning at 1 p.m. These regattas go on through Sunday, with the StFYC contingent joining that club's Labor Day Regatta on Saturday and Sunday (Melges 24s, J/24s, and 1D-35s). Simultaneously, the 18-ft Skiffs will be racing on the Cityfront in their final day of competition.

On Saturday, about 80 boats will race in the 17th Jazz Cup, an easy 26-mile downwind sail from TI to Benicia. Collectively, it's by far the busiest weekend of the year on the SF Bay racing schedule - but, happily, Monday is Labor Day, a day of rest for both racers and nautical scribes. You can look for our next 'Lectronic report on Wednesday.

Big Benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters

September 2 - Santa Cruz

The 34th Annual Day on Monterey Bay Regatta, a benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters, attracted 34 boats and more than 200 sailors last Saturday. The low-key pursuit race began and ended at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, and was followed by a barbecue for 400 people, three raffles, and a silent auction. More than 100 local businesses contributed in some fashion to the event, which raised over $38,000 for this worthy cause.

An outrageously fine day on Mo' Bay
Photo Virginia Scott

Class winners were: Div. I - Animal, Sydney 38, Craig French; Div. II - Mercedes, Moore 24, Joel Verutti; Div. III - Gails Warning, Moore 24, Richard Emigh; Div. IV (non-spin) - Bahama Breeze, Catalina 42; and Div. V (multihull) - Miss Blue Eyes, F-28, Bert Lemke. See www.scyc.org for full results. The Day on the Bay was generously sponsored by SCYC, West Marine, Lee-Kahn Foundation, Armadillo Willy's, Karleen Appraisal, Comcast Spotlight, and KWAV 97 FM.

Everyone wins in a regatta like the Day on Mo' Bay, causing us to wonder why there aren't more sailing events for charity in the Bay Area. Other major sailing centers - San Diego, Annapolis, and Newport come immediately to mind - put us to shame when it comes to benefit regattas. Are we missing something here?

Blind Sailors to Complete Pacific Crossing

September 2 - Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Scott Duncan and Pam Habek on the beach in Tahiti
Photo Courtesy Tournesol

Scott Duncan, 38, and Pamela Habek, 42, set off on their 'Blind Circumnavigation' on October 11, 2004, aboard Tournesol, a Valiant 32-ft cutter. They made it to Mexico safely as part of last year's Baja Ha-Ha, then joined this spring's Pacific Puddle Jump. They completed the 2,870 mile passage from Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, to the Marquesas in French Polynesia on June 4, after 31 days at sea. 

As of August 31, the couple were Med-moored to the quay in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. "We will be sailing from here to Niue Island, Tonga, and then finally to New Zealand's Bay of Islands in November. Upon reaching New Zealand, we will be the first legally blind people to cross the Pacific Ocean!"

See www.blindsailing.com for more.

Kevin Burnham Talk at Corinthian YC Postponed

September 2 - Tiburon

Kevin Burnham flips out in Athens
Photo Ben Radford
Courtesy US Sailing

Winner of the Olympic Gold Medal in Men's 470s at Athens last year, Kevin Burnham had been scheduled to be the next speaker featured in the Corinthian Yacht Club's monthly Legends of Sailing series. Kevin has had to postpone this appearance. Check www.cyc.org/speakers/index.html for updates.

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