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Photo of the Day

September 14 - The Solent, UK

Photo James Boyd

Today's Photo of the Day is by James Boyd of The Daily Sail and is of the Disney sponsored Volvo 70 Black Pearl to be skippered by Marin's Paul Cayard. In fact, that's Cayard at the helm. The Black Pearl has been spotted undergoing sea trials in The Solent last week, and was formally introduced a couple of days ago. She was christened by - and isn't this British? - Lady Gabriela Windsor, the lovely blonde daughter of the Duchess of Kent. We're not sure who either of those two ladies are, but they are apparently aristocratic enough for such a launching. Disney's sponsorship, through Buena Vista Films, is to promote Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, to be released next summer. Won't all sailors be talking like pirates when that film comes out?

Based on the crew introductions, Curtis Blewitt is the only other Bay Area resident who will be sailing with Cayard, who won this balls-out around-the-world event two times ago.

By the way, if you're a true sailing addict, check out www.dailysail.com. It's a pay site, but they've got more detailed racing coverage than any sailing site we've ever seen.

Big Boat Series Starts Tomorrow

September 14 - San Francisco

Ninety-five boats are set to begin racing tomorrow in the 41st Rolex Big Boat Series, the annual 4-day, 7-race series hosted by St. Francis YC. This year's fleet consists of 34 boats in four IRC divisions, as well as five one design classes (1D-35, J/120, Sydney 38, Express 37, and J/105s, which at 29 boats make up almost one third of the entries).

The most interesting class, in our opinion, will be the 9-boat IRC-A division, which will be going to a weather mark out near the Potato Patch. This group, which is top-heavy with pro sailors, includes some of the most prominent campaigns in the sailing world: Morning Glory, Genuine Risk, Beecom, Peligroso, Moneypenny, Pegasus 52, Flash, Pendragon 4, and Staghound. The smart money would be on the planing boats, but no one is quite sure how IRC will treat these boats.

Moneypenny, a new Swan 601 (above) and TransPac Barndoor winner Morning Glory (below) get ready at KKMI.

Just launched this spring, Peligroso, a DenCho 70, preps at Anderson's in Sausalito.
Photos Latitude/Rob

The racing, which promises to be cold and somewhat windy, commences at 11 p.m. Thursday, with two races a day scheduled each day until Sunday's Bay Tour. As usual, there will be two separate race tracks - Cityfront and North Course - with the big boats heading out into the ocean, which should create some fantastic viewing from the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge (aka, the Latitude helicopter).

Check www.stfyc.com for the full schedule, list of competitors, and more.

Owner's Leg Lost in Grounding and Dismasting in the South Pacific

September 14 - French Polynesia

Yacht broker Jim Laflin of the Catamaran Company in Florida tells us that John Silverwood, the owner of the San Diego-based Lagoon 55 Emerald Jane, lost his leg during a sailing mishap in French Polynesia on June 25. Silverwood, along with his wife and four kids, had bought the cat in Florida, sailed her up the East Coast, down to the Caribbean, through the Canal, and to French Polynesia. They were in the process of a circumnavigation when disaster struck. According to Laflin, they hit a reef and the cat was badly damaged. At some point the mast fell, hitting Silverwood in the leg. Thanks to the French Navy and Air Force, he survived the injury, but lost his leg. According to Laflin, Silverwood told him that once he gets fitted with an artificial leg, he hopes to continue the trip with another boat.

We hope to have a more definitive report for the October issue of Latitude 38, which will be published on September 30.

Speaking of Cats . . .

September 14 - Newport, RI

Ted Hood is one of the legendary figures in sailing, particularly in the Northeast United States. He founded a major international sailmaking company, has designed many racing and cruising yachts, and in his day was a formidable racer. A very nice guy, we've always viewed him as being old school and conservative. As such, we were surprised to see the headline of an ad that read: WHY DOES TED HOOD BELIEVE THAT TWO HULLS CAN BE BETTER THAN ONE? That's right, Hood is promoting catamarans! Alas, they are powercats from 47 to 62 feet. Nonetheless, it means something in that part of the yachting world when a name like Hood promotes two hulls. All his sailboats continue to be monohulls, but can a sailing cat be far behind?

Light Hurricane Season so Far in Mexico

September 14 - Eastern Pacific Ocean

While the Atlantic has gotten clobbered by tropical storms and hurricanes this year, the Eastern Pacific has been relatively quiet, with three mild hurricanes and six mild tropical storms, none of which has threatened land. September is usually the worst month, so let's hope for continued good luck down there. By this time last year, Mexico had had six hurricanes - including a Category 3 and two 4 - and four tropical storms. All of those missed land, too, except for Javier, which crossed the Baja peninsula in the Middle Reach, but at reduced force.

Le Grand Bleu

September 14 - San Francisco

An unidentified reader reported that there is a huge motoryacht at South Beach Harbor called Le Grand Bleu, and wondered what we know about her.

Photo Latitude/Richard

If she's the same Grand Bleu as in the accompanying photo, she's a 350-footer that was commissioned by one of the McCaw Brothers of the Pacific Northwest. Alas, business reversals resulted in her being put up for sale a short time later. She was purchased by Roman Abramovitch, the Russian multibillionaire, known for paying outrageous sums of money to acquire the world's best soccer players for his Chelsea Team. If Abramovitch is in town, he might be trying to buy the Golden Gate Bridge or something.

Please Get It Down by Friday

September 14 - Tiburon

The extended Baja Ha-Ha deadline is this Friday, so the Ha-Ha folks are asking that you please get your entries in by then. They need an accurate count so they can order all the free T-shirts, hats, tote bags, and Pusser's Rum for all the entries. After a slow start, the Ha-Ha fleet now has 133 paid entries.

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