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Photo of the Day

January 16 - Florida Keys

Today's Photo of the Day is of Ocean Planet, the Wylie 60 that former Alameda resident Bruce Schwab twice raced solo around the world. Unfortunately, the Schooner Creek-built boat was significantly damaged last Saturday after being slammed against a concrete seawall during a blow in Florida.

"The reality of having my boat pinned against a concrete seawall in big waves and 35+ knot winds was worse than anything that I experienced in my two solo circumnavigations," reports Schwab. "Our fenders had exploded and the last docklines were breaking as I arrived, so my boat was naked against the cement."
The extent of the damage is unknown at this time, but repairs will take several months. Ocean Planet is naturally knocked out of Key West Race Week, which starts today, and Schwab has been looking forward to.

For details and updates, visit www.bruceschwab.com.

Photo Courtesy Ocean Planet

It Sort Of Looks Like It Came From Outer Space

January 16 - St. Barth, F.W.I.

But it's actually the new port captain's facility at St. Barth, F.W.I. It's not your basic harbor administration look, is it? But everybody seems to approve of the new 'frisbee' roof, which is apparently made of a "boat-like" composite.

The second shot is from the upper part of the tower looking down on 'Ticonderoga corner' of the Charles de Gualle Quay and out to the Gustavia anchorage. Check out the attractive new hardscape on the quay. Pretty stylish.
As much as we enjoyed our recent time in St. Barth, we're back home now, and thrilled to be back in our flooded out Mill Valley editorial offices. Just thrilled.

St. Barth is obviously doing very well, thank you, but you have to wonder why. After all, for much of the last century the locals were nearly starving to death because it has no agricultural land and little water. Many residents had to leave the island to get jobs to feed their families. And it's not like St. Barth is near the top of the list in the Caribbean when it comes to great natural harbors. Nearby St. Martin, for example, is much more blessed.

Photos Latitude/Richard

We think the reason St. Barth has done so well over the last 30 years is the people. Collectively, the local population kept the island clean and safe, even in the hard times. And as tourism evolved, they've managed it wisely. Rather than grab quick bucks by allowing gaudy hotels and ugly condo projects, they insisted on smaller high-quality places. Plus, the island residents treated visitors nicely, and didn't rob or mug them. As a result, the island is reaping huge rewards.

The other islands of the Caribbean have a lot to learn from the success of St. Barth, above all, the importance of treating visitors nicely and not mugging them. We wish them all success and prosperity.

Maxi Cat Cheyenne In San Diego

January 16 - San Diego

About a dozen readers answered our inquiry as to the location of Steve Fossett's maxi cat Cheyenne (ex-Playstation) by reporting she's in San Diego. Thanks for those responses. We're looking into what she is doing there and what might become of her. As you may recall, she was dismasted during her last around-the-world adventure, and currently is without a stick.

It's also reported that Olivier de Kersauson's maxi tri Geronimo is also in San Diego. She is said to be going to make an attempt on the San Francisco to Yokohama record early this year, but there's been no action yet.

Photo Thierry Martinez

Acura Key West 2006, Presented By Nautica, Starts Today

January 16 - Key West, FL

What is generally known as Key West Race Week starts today off the Conch Republic in what's expected to be near ideal sailing conditions, with 10 to 15 knot winds expected out of the southeast. Considered by many to have the best racing conditions in the United States, Key West has attracted 286 boats from 14 countries and 12 states. Boats will compete in 19 classes. The glamour fleets will include the Swan 45s, for which this will be their world championship, the TransPac 52s, and the Farr 40s. A number of Northern California sailors have gone east to compete.

Photo Latitude/Rob

Wifi In Mexico

January 16 - Mexico

Are you using wifi to get email and surf the web while on your boat in Mexico? If so, we'd like to know how it's working, and if you're able to 'surf' in places you didn't expect. We're also interested to hear from anybody using amplified wifi antennas, and to learn how well they have been working.

Please email Richard.

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