Snap, Crackle and Pop at Transat Jacques Vabre
November 9 - Bay of Biscay
The infamous Bay of Biscay claimed three more victims Monday, whittling the 35-boat fleet which started the Transat Jacques Vabre over the weekend down to 29 in just two days of racing.
As if starting the biennial doublehanded transatlantic race in 25+ knot, on-the-nose winds and rough seas weren't enough for the 19 monohulls (Saturday start) and 16 multis (Sunday start), Sunday night a cold front rolled in, blasting primarily the multihull fleet with 35 to 45-knot winds and reported 20-ft seas. In the wee hours of Monday, EPIRBs went off on the 60-ft trimarans Sodebo and Orange Project. The former snapped off its port ama and capsized. The latter suffered a broken main beam and also went upside down. Three hours later, at 0615, a report came in that Foncia had also capsized. With the retirement of Brossard earlier on Sunday with a cracked main hull, that takes four of the ten 60-ft multis out of the running. The six co-skippers of the three capsized boats were rescued, some more banged and bruised than others but all okay. At this writing, their smashed boats were all either under tow back to land, or about to be.
Photos Courtesy RAF St. Mawgan
Also retiring were the Open 50 multis Victorinox (broken bowsprit) and Branec (broken port hull), and the Open 50 monohull Adecco-Etoile Horizon (reasons not specified). Either in port for repairs at this writing, or headed in, were the Open 60 monohulls Galileo (broken boom) and Cheminées-Poujoulat (steering problems). Boats headed back out after stopping in port for repairs included the Open 50 monos Artforms - one of two entries with American sailors aboard - and Defi Vendeen.
Official rankings as of this morning show that Virbac Paprec (Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron) has nabbed the lead in the Open 60 monohull class from Sill Et Veolia (Roland Jourdain and Ellen MacArthur). In the Open 50s, Gryphon Solo - with American Joe Harris Briton Josh Hall - leads the pack. Over in what's left of the Open 60 multihull fleet, Groupama (Franck Cammas and Franck Proffit) leads the way, while in the 50-ft multihull division, Crepes Whaou (father/son team of Franck-Yves and Kevin Escoffier) has a 112-mile headlock on that 6-boat fleet.
There's still a long way to go to the finish at Salvador de Bahia, Brazil - the 4,500 mile race generally takes two weeks. The good news is, the wind is finally clocking to the west and moderating, allowing the tired crews to both get some rest and to crack off and start the long, warm reach to South America.
For more, check out the Web site at www.jacques-vabre.com.
Baja Ha-Ha Fleet Begins Leg 3
November 9 - Mag Bay
The Baja Ha-Ha Rally left Bahia Santa Maria at 6:00 this morning under ideal light air conditions, spinnakers flying. Over the next few hours, the wind built to 15 knots out of the northwest.
During their stay in Bahia Santa Maria, the ralliers enjoyed hiking, shelling, surfing, body surfing and other leisure activities. Mothership Profligate hosted a Pusser's Rum tasting party, with a massive dinghy raft-up. Painkillers or grog cocktails were passed around, as well as free hats.
That evening local fishermen served 450 lobster and fish dinners, and a rock & roll band from La Paz trekked 60 miles cross-country to provide entertainment.
The fleet's expected to arrive in Cabo San Lucas tomorrow afternoon, and will be sending us photos from Legs 2 & 3. The following images are from Leg 1 and Turtle Bay:
Just north of West Benito Island, Profligate came across numerous pods of what her crew believed to be pilot whales. Many of the other entrants had close calls with blue whales.
The terrific sunsets brought out the romance in some couples.
Fresh sashimi anyone?
George Cathey of the San Francisco-based Dragonfly tri Impulse and his crew had a great first leg.
The Turtle Bay beach party site, with the desert hills and mountains in the background. Alas, 250 of the best beach party photographs were lost in a digital accident!
Photos Latitude/Andy & Richard
The Grand Poobah takes a sandwich break at the Turtle Bay beach party.
Photo Stuart Kaplan
Ecuadorian Ship Departs the Bay
November 9 - San Francisco
Photo Courtesy Grimsby
Guayas, the Ecuadorian tall ship that has been visiting San Francisco Bay, headed out to sea on Friday. "We were coming out of the Estuary when we noticed a fireboat spraying water," write Val and Greg Gillen of the Cal 39 Grimsby, "and then we saw the tall ship leaving its Cityfront dock. We sailed along with Guayas until she slipped into the fog which was rolling in fast. The crew in the yards were dressed in short sleeved whites, so we hope they got into warmer clothes fast!"
Green Flash at the Golden Gate
November 9 - Berkeley
Photo Paul Kamen
Paul Kamen has been trying to get a photo of the green flash for years. He finally achieved the feat from, of all places, his homeport of Berkeley Marina. "It wasn't an accident," notes Kamen, who when not sunset gazing sails the Merit 25 Twilight Zone. "I noticed that it was both very clear and relatively calm - the two main conditions for a GF." He set his new Canon digital camera on 'video' mode as the sun made its final exit below the horizon - et voila! This image was 'captured' from the video, which Paul notes is a useful feature for other green flash seekers. "With the green flash lasting only about half a second, you can see how difficult it would be to catch it at its peak with a single-frame shot."