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Photo of the Day

March 15 - Isla Isabella, Mexico

Photo Shannon Switzer

If we were an art professor, we'd have our students write an essay on the meaning of today's Photo of the Day by photographer Shannon Switzer. After all, the work explodes with symbolism and speaks far more to the human condition than do most photographs in museums and galleries. Consider the stark presentation of the four major elements - air, water, earth, and life. And the way the vast sea and never-ending sky so thoroughly separate the upside-down, free-falling female form from the bold and static rock. And notice how only the woman's head is in the shade, a brilliant statement by the artist that her subject's travels are a triumph of emotion over reason, and are as much spiritual as physical.

All in all, the photo could be a metaphor for the life of young Liz Clark of Santa Barbara, who is seen heels over head in the photo at Isla Isabella, Mexico. Liz left the States in late January aboard her Cal 40 Swell to begin her surfing safari under sail to Mexico and beyond. We'll have more on Liz and her adventures in the April issue.


Rescued Tanker Crew Covered in Oil

March 15 - Mediterranean Sea

Photo Courtesy Searose G

We bet the guys in this photo are thanking their lucky stars their tanker went down in the relatively warm waters of the Med. These poor guys spent more than nine hours getting the hell beat out of them in a liferaft with 40-ft seas and winds over 50 knots. As you can see, they had the added pleasure of being coated in thick crude oil.

The crew of the oil carrier Searose G successfully rescued nine of the ten men in the raft, with the last man drifting away unconscious before he could be saved. We hope the survivors get big settlements and spend the rest of their days adrift in something more comfortable than an oil-covered liferaft.

Another Day, Another Take on the City of Berkeley Versus the Boy Scouts of America

March 15 - Berkeley

The always liberal City of Berkeley has long had it in for the conservative Boy Scouts of America, because to be part of the Scouts a youngster has to be straight, believe in God, and embrace other conservative values. Or at least not renounce those values in public. Apparently the Scouts actually have a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, such as President Clinton instituted for the U.S. military many years ago. That policy didn't solve the problem, of course, but allowed everyone to pretend that it didn't exist.

Because of policies of the Boy Scouts of America, in the late '90s the Berkeley City Council voted to stop giving the Berkeley Sea Scouts free berthing. There were actually two Sea Scout groups in Berkeley at the time. As a result of the Berkeley City Council action, one of the troops decided to move to Richmond. They are still there and doing fine, thank you, because the Richmond City Council isn't as activist as the Berkeley City Council.

Provided with a battleground, the Boy Scouts of America took the City of Berkeley to court. They've lost three times now, most recently in the State Supreme Court.
Are the Berkeley Sea Scouts the bad guys in this drama, or were they just caught between a rock - the Boy Scouts of America, which isn't as tolerant as they could be - and a hard place - the Berkeley City Council, which isn't as tolerant as the U.S. military or Bill Clinton? God only knows.

One person whose opinion we respect and who is very familiar with the matter along the Berkeley waterfront came to this conclusion: "The Berkeley City Council made the right decision, but for the wrong reason. The Berkeley Sea Scouts shouldn't get free berthing, but only because there are so few participants in the program that it doesn't make sense."

Missing in Action at Big Daddy?

March 15 - Richmond Riviera

"Where the heck was Latitude's photoboat on Saturday?" asks Nick Salvador. "You guys missed Richmond Yacht Club's Big Daddy Regatta just because it was a little cold and wet?"

No, Nick, it wasn't the weather forecast. Our Bertram 25 photoboat had been living on borrowed time, and apparently has breathed her last. The mechanic was able to finally get one engine going early in the week, but come Saturday the normally more reliable other engine refused to roll over. Pissed us off more than you can imagine. Christine Weaver, one of our staff members, managed to fire off a few good shots while racing, and LaDonna Bubak, the newest addition to our editorial team, managed to get some at the party that night (see below).

After several months of searching, we've made an offer on a replacement photoboat, but she's a long ways away, and the boat and engine surveys haven't been done. So we're not going to have a replacement photoboat on the water for weeks. In the meantime, if your organization has a big event coming up and you want photo coverage, maybe our photographers can hitch a ride on your crash or committee boats. Gracias.

Saturday's racing actually took place under sunny skies, with just a few puffy clouds ringing the Bay, and wind building from light to breezy. In this shot, the Olson 25 Clean Sweep works on getting their chute down. Sistership Shark on Bluegrass was quicker. The green boat is the Moore 24 Highway 101.

Kelika, a Hunter 33.5, approaches what was supposed to be the leeward mark in the third race on the Southampton course. The tight reach and the super short leg resulted in a spinnaker left in its bag on the bow.

The T-shirt explains the theme of the shoreside activities. Note the wheel in John Belushi's left hand. Very nautical!

Bed sheets made into togas were the fashion statement in the clubhouse on Saturday night.

The forecasters got it right on Sunday, as the rain and cold more than made up for taking the day off on Saturday. Nevertheless, 68 entries stuck it out and finished.

"Puff off!" It was puffy too, as you can see from the crew on the J/90 Ragtime, who had been hiking hard just before this shot caught them getting their feet dipped in saltwater.
Sailing Photos Alan Smithee and Latitude/Chris
Party Photos Latitude/LaDonna

For complete results, you can see www.richmondyc.org, but we can tell you here that the Sydney 38s were the big winners of Sunday's Big Daddy Pursuit Race, taking first, second, third, seventh and eighteenth. The top boat was Thomas Thayer's Howl.

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