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Photos of the Day

February 17 - Banderas Bay, Mexico

Today's Photos of the Day - as promised in the Wednesday 'Lectronic - are of what a French chef does after catching a boobie on a fish hook. As renowned French chef Stephan Demichelis demonstrates while on a sailing charter on Banderas Bay, you take the hook off the bird's foot, wring the bird's neck, pluck its feathers, and then prepare it for the oven. Bon apetit.

Photos Eugenie Russell

True to their heritage, the French crew ate everything - including the liver and other bits. Not that there's a lot of meat on a boobie. "If you closed your eyes, it tasted just like fish," says skipper Eugenie Russell.

The accompanying photo is of Chef Demichelis' Les Templiers restaurant at Vence, the famous artists' town - Picasso, Matisse, etc. - above the Cote d'Azur on the road between Nice and Cannes in the South of France.

No Pirates Ever Sailed this Fast Before

February 17 - Wellingon, New Zealand

If you want to see some astonishing sailing video that gives you an inkling of the speed and brutality involved with racing in this year's Volvo Race, visit www.piratesracing.org to see Paul Cayard and crew in action aboard Pirates of the Caribbean en route to their third place finish in the just-finished Melbourne to Wellington leg. Every one of the guys on these boats are extreme athletes of the highest caliber, for they have to be able to do this day and night, with the suspicion lurking in the back of their minds that their boat could be developing severe structural problems. We've got to believe that climbing Mt. Everest - in all but the worst weather - would be a cinch by comparison.

The 1,500-mile leg from Australia to New Zealand had a remarkably close finish, with Movistar overtaking ABN Amro One to win by just nine seconds in light winds. ABN had been slowed in the earlier going when their mainsail split.
Do crew get hurt on these boats? Check out bowman Gerd Jan Poortman, bowman for ABN Amro Two, who early in the last leg was blown from the bow back to the daggerboard. In addition to numerous facial injures, he dislocated his tailbone.

First Light Drifts to Barbados and Is Destroyed on the Beach

February 17 - Morgan Lewis Beach, Barbados

Former Tiburon residents Andy and Jill Rothman had the rudder break on their J/44 First Light 1,000 miles east of Barbados last month as they were crossing the Atlantic to the Eastern Caribbean to conclude a nearly nine-year circumnavigation. Despite great efforts on the part of the Rothmans and crew Bruce Ladd, and help from other boats, skipper Andy finally made the difficult decision to abandon the boat in the interests of safety. Another vessel picked them up and took them to Barbados.

Sailing west across the southern part of the North Atlantic is relatively easy, as the wind, swell, seas, and current all are behind you. So it wasn't a complete surprise to learn that First Light washed up on Morgan Lewis Beach in Barbados yesterday afternoon. She was first spotted offshore at 10 a.m., but for some reason it appears no attempt was made to save her - until late afternoon when a "large Caterpillar tractor" tried to pull her ashore. In the end, she was broken up, personal contents scattered over the sand. The boat had apparently drifted about 50 miles west each day.

Photo Courtesy NationNews

What an unfortunate ending to a long and proud sailing career. What's even worse is to read some of the criticism the owners of First Light are taking on some of the sailing boards. As so often is the case, those who know the least, and who are unfamiliar with the quality of sailors aboard, and of other mitigating circumstances, are the most critical. Idiots.

We'll have a first hand report from the Rothmans in the March issue of Latitude 38, coming out Wednesday, March 1.

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