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Photo of the Day

October 7 - Antigua, West Indies

Photo of the Day
Photo Courtesy Tropical Studios

Today's Photo of the Day is of historic English and Falmouth Harbors, Antigua, West Indies. This was the site of a very important English naval base, much of which has been restored. For the last 30 years or so, it's been better known as the home of the wild and wooly Antigua Sailing Week. But come early December, it will again be the site of the ACYM show, which is a boat show for charter agents and charter boats. This is fitting, for it's here at Antigua that Commander Nicholson founded the charterboat industry in the Caribbean.

Act 9 of the America's Cup Starts Today

October 7 - Trapani, Italy

Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

All 12 of the teams vying for the 32nd America's Cup will be spending the next three days fleet racing in the last Louis Vuitton Act of the season. The action at Trapani, Italy, has been spectacular, with enormous crowds turning out for the action and ambience. Alinghi, the Defender of the America's Cup, has a good grip on the season championship, leading Emirates New Zealand by eight points and BMW Oracle and Luna Rossa by nine points. Once this action is over, there won't be more America's Cup racing until next May in Valencia.

The Status of the Pacific Seafarers Net and Internet Updates in Doubt

October 7 - Humboldt Bay

"There has been a major upheaval on the Pacific Seafarers Net, with myself and John VK4CEJ pulling back our participation due to lack of ability to recruit net
controllers," reports Robert Reed of Humboldt Bay. "We're both burned out, and the only net control left who is capable of submitting the scribed reports is Dick KB6USC, who is in Mexico. When he gets back, we will discuss some things and decide whether we will continue on with the Pacific Seafarer's Net.

"Except for some hard-working people like David Brown VP6DB on Pitcairn, and Don N6HG, who have been willing to step up and take control and give us some time off to rest, we both said 'screw it', because if we didn't pull away, we'd have gone insane. I work from 9 to 12 hours per day, and the net happens just after noon Australia time for John. It just was not possible for us to continue posting to the Internet forever. It might happen again if we can get more help, but unless that happens, it's a thing of the past.

"Sorry, as it was good while it lasted. For the next month or so we are trying to figure out what to do about this manpower shortage. If we can't rectify it, the net will continue without an Internet update - but most likely it will just fade out altogether. Another alternative is to have the cruisers take it over and figure out a way for them to submit the updates. But realistically, I don't think that will happen. I think we should all be grateful that it lasted as long as it did. The Pacific Seafarers Net has been on the air since the early '70s, and maybe longer than that."

The bottom line is that while the Pacific Seafarers Net seems to still be going, there is no guarantee that it and the interesting postings won't suddenly disappear. That would be a shame, because all the volunteers who worked so hard and long provided an incredible free service for all these many years.

Hurricanes and the Ha-Ha

October 7 - San Diego

A few days back, Roland Larson, citing Hurricane Otis down around Cabo, wondered if the Baja Ha-Ha would go on as planned. Thanks to Rita and Katrina, people understandably have hurricanes on the brain. The truth of the matter is that hurricanes are a common fact of life on the Pacific Coast of Mexico during the summer. For example, in 2001, there were eight of them, including two Category 4s. In 2002, there were six of them, including two 4s and two 5s - and the 145-knot Kenna in the third week in October. In 2003, there were seven hurricanes, none of them level 3 or more, but one as late as October 26. Last year, there were six hurricanes, two of them being 4s. Fortunately, the hurricanes start offshore and most of them head northwest and even further from land. If there were no hurricanes off Mexico during the summer, that would be a real cause for concern.

Before the start of any Ha-Ha, the Poobah consults with Commanders Weather to see if the upper level conditions and the water temperatures in Mexico are ripe for a late season hurricane. Usually there is still a slight possibility about 1,000 miles away near the Guatemalan border, but virtually none off the coast of Baja. For one thing, by the first week in November, the water in places like Turtle Bay is quite cold.

We once checked the paths of all hurricanes on the Pacific Coast of Mexico for the last 50 years, and, as we recall, not one of them would have crossed the Ha-Ha course during a Ha-Ha. If you want to double-check our research - and we encourage you to do so - visit weather.unisys.com.

For what it's worth, the Ha-Ha is not the first group of boats to head from Southern California to Cabo. The sportfishing boats that participate in the marlin tournaments head down in mid-October.

Angry in England

October 7 - Devon, UK

Mark Bridgwater, 49, became angry when he discovered that his wife Tracey, 42, had advertised their 53-ft ketch Rebel at a bargain price. So he smashed open the seacocks below the waterline at Dartmouth Harbour, Devon, causing the $100,000 vet of a Med cruise and liveaboard boat to go to the bottom.

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