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Photo of the Day

February 6 - Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Today's Photo of the Day appears to show that it was so hot during the Pursuit Race part of the Zihua Fest just concluded in Zihuatanejo that the women couldn't even bear to wear tops. Outrageous. Photographer Alex Hasenclever of Maitairoa reports that these three women were crew aboard the Andrews 70 Elysium - which ended up winning the race.

Photo Alex Hasenclever

The Volvo Melbourne Inshore Race

February 6 - Melbourne, Australia

ABN Amro One, with St. Francis YC member Stan Honey navigating, continued their unbeaten streak in the Volvo Race, by winning a very exciting and entertaining inshore race held at Port Phillip, Melbourne, over the weekend.
There was lots of excitement even before the opening gun, as it wasn't clear if Brasil 1, dismasted in the last Southern Ocean leg, could make it to the line. After being trucked all the way across Australia, and just getting their new mast up hours before the start, they did join the other boats - and shocked everyone by doing superbly in the first four legs of the 24-mile event. Then they were enfeebled by a boat problem. If you're guessing the problem was with their canting keel, don't consider yourself clairvoyant, as problems with Volvo 70 keels have been the theme of the race.

Photo Oskar Kihlborg

The first boat across the starting line in about 12 knots of breeze however, was Ericsson, with John Kostecki, also of the St. Francis, calling tactics. Unfortunately, race officials said they were only first across because they were over early, and had to go back. They ultimately rallied to finish fourth.

The line on the Volvo boats is that the ABN Amro boats, One and Two, are fastest in a strong breeze and upwind, while the Farr boats, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, skippered by Paul Cayard of the St. Francis, are better in lighter winds and downwind. And that's pretty much how it played out. While it was light, ABN Amro One was at times headed by Pirates and Spain's Movistar, but when the breeze came up to 20 knots late in the race, ABN Amro was gone. After the race, Cayard noted that in the inshore events, it's better to be faster upwind than downwind. Nonetheless, Cayard and crew hung in to finish second in front of Movistar, and this despite a clew blowing out on a spinnaker.

For everything you could possible want to know about the event - and more - visit

Spectacular Midwinter Sailing

February 6 - San Francisco Bay

Photo Latitude/Andy

Perfect sailing weather was granted to the participants of the Sausalito Yacht Club's Midwinter Race #4 on Sunday. After weeks of ugliness, conditions on the Bay were ideal with a moderate easterly and visibility from the Sausalito headlands to the Berkeley clock tower. The results have yet to be posted to www.syconline.org, but it sure looked like everyone was making the most of the fine day.

The Mexican Cruising Season Started so Good, but Now . . .

February 6 - Mexico

The start of the cruising season in Mexico this year was brilliant, as the domestic clearing regulations were changed, making it so much easier and less expensive for cruisers to move about Mexico. But now, the SET Ministry is proposing that all boats over 34-ft be required to carry transponders so the government can always know where they are.

What's this all about? Mary Shroyer of Marina de La Paz tells us it all started with good intentions. A lot of fishing boats violate the fishing grounds in Mexico, and requiring them to have transponders would be a really good thing for monitoring purposes. Well, apparently the company that makes or sells the transponders has convinced the government that it would be a great idea to require that all cruising boats over 34-ft have them also! Especially since they plan on charging cruisers $80/month for the 'service'!

Then there's the matter of Temporary Import Permits, which allow cruisers to keep their boats in Mexico for more than six months without having to import them and pay a heavy duty. We've yet to confirm this, but on Friday, Vilma, a longtime boat document agent in Puerto Vallarta, told a couple that Temporary Import Permits have been done away with! The way the couple understand it, boats in Mexico longer than six months "will be treated like cars." Which the couple took to mean would require them to pay duty on their boat.

Nobody else seems to have heard about this, but we've got them checking.

Another James Frey?

February 6 - St. Barth

"I just read the February issue story on sailing around St. Barth and the characters down there," writes Sam Certus of Sunnyvale, "and have to say that I wonder if some of them are embellishing their stories - sort of like Oprah's best friend author James Frey. Take that Julian character, who claims that he provides snooker tables for the Rolling Stones while they are on tour. I'd like to see some proof that he's not making it up."

Fair enough. How about the accompanying photo of him laying on a table autographed by a couple of the Stones - including Keith 'The Loser' Richards who, incidentally, apparently has roles in the new Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Photo Courtesy Julian

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