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Photos of the Day

April 28 - Antigua

From Ragnar
Photo Courtesy
Eaux Vives

Today's Photos of the Day come courtesy of Susie Bowman and Lance Batten currently in the Caribbean on their 40-ft Beneteau Eaux Vives. Seems Susie and Lance went to the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta last month to leave a little of their DNA (by way of drool) on the "acres of polished brass and fresh brightwork." Since they were there, they hopped a ride aboard Ragnar, a 44-ft French pilot boat gaff schooner owned by Skip and Barbara Eaton.

Below, 136-ft Eleonora leads 73-ft Victoria of Duxberry. "It's a real thrill seeing some well matched J-Class Yachts charging down on you with a huge crew in matching uniforms hiked out under massive clouds of sail," Susie and Lance related.

Duxberry and Eleonora
Photo Courtesy
Eaux Vives

Geronimo Smashes Fossett's Record

April 28 - Yokohama, Japan

Photo Courtesy Geronimo

Pending confirmation from the World Sailing Speed Records Council, Olivier de Kersauson and his 110-ft trimaran Geronimo have crushed Steve Fossett's San Francisco to Yokohama record. ODK and his crew sailed across the finish line in Yokohama on April 27 after just 14 days, 22 hours, 40 minutes, and 41 seconds at sea, nearly five days faster than Fossett's 1996 record.

ODK skippered Geronimo through storms and calms, always pushing the envelope just enough to avoid damaging the boat. "For us, capsizes and breakages are failures. To win you have to finish, and that's our job," ODK said after arriving in Yokohama.

Steve Fossett himself sent ODK a congratulatory email. "I confess to a twinge of jealousy of your success, but on the other hand you have honored us with the recognition of our prior record by seeking to break it," Fossett wrote. "Please accept warm congratulations from myself and my original crew."

Donna Lange Lives Through Leg One

April 29 - Opua, New Zealand

Donna Lange

As this issue of 'Lectronic is being uploaded to our servers, 42-year-old singlehander Donna Lange is pulling into Opua, just shy of her expected destination of Auckland. The gutsy Lange left Bristol, RI, last November aboard her Southern Cross 28 Inspired Insanity on a planned two-leg circumnavigation. Last month on the Indian Ocean, Lange coincidentally passed within 100 miles of record-seeking singlehander Dee Caffari aboard Aviva. Lange is expecting to spend the next several months in New Zealand before taking off on the second leg of her trip. Check out www.donnalange.com to read about this extraordinary woman.

Opening Day on the Bay

April 28 - San Francisco Bay

We don't see PICYA's Opening Day on the Bay celebration this Sunday as the reason to start sailing on the Bay, we see it as an opportunity to continue sailing on the Bay. Regardless, it is the official start of San Francisco's 2006 boating season, and this year's Mardi Gras theme is full of promise. The party starts at 10:30 in Raccoon Strait with the Corinthian YC's Blessing of the Fleet followed at Noon by a parade of decorated boats, starting at Crissy Field and ending at Pier 39.

If you decide to join the fun by boat, be sure to keep a sharp eye out as this is the one day of the year when everyone else is out too. You don't want a game of bumper boats to spoil a fun day.

This reminds us, now that the weather's finally warming up and you're dying to get out on the Bay, be sure to pick up the May issue - coming out Monday - and check out our Guide to the Perfect Daysail.

Whale of a Tale

April 28 - San Francisco Bay

A humpback whale photographed from the Latitude 38 'helicopter'
Photo Latitude/LaDonna

On the way back to the Bay during the St. Francis YC Ocean Race last Saturday, Paul Farr's J/105 Jupiter hit a whale. They not only hit a whale, they got stuck on one. And he was not happy about it. Jupiter was a few miles west of the Golden Gate when it felt like the boat hit bottom. It turned out that a humpback only slightly smaller than the 34-ft boat managed to get caught between the keel and rudder of the still-moving boat. The whale thrashed about for several minutes, finally freeing himself, only to turn and start ramming the boat. Fearing serious damage, Farr called a Mayday. After 15 minutes of constant ramming, the whale's anger was apparently spent and it disappeared. The crew found no damage and informed the Coasties, who'd just arrived, that they were good to go to continue racing. The Coast Guard followed for a few minutes, then broke off.

The whalers carried the kite about 20 more minutes before they jibed only to discover they had lost steering. The rudder had apparently been bent and only worked on one tack. They tried dousing sails and motoring only now to find they now had no steerage at all. They called the Coast Guard back, informed them of the situation and requested a tow. As if the day to that point had not been exciting enough, the tow was a real Nantucket sleighride, as the speedy J would occasionally take off down a wave and overrun the tow rope. One time they hit 14.6 knots this way and remember, this is with no steerage and no sails up. The boat was eventually secured, safe and mostly sound, at the St. Francis YC docks.

Look for a detailed report on this unusual incident in the June issue of Latitude 38.

Annual Ensenada Invasion Begins Today

April 28 - Newport Beach

Celebrating its 59th consecutive year, the annual Lexus Newport to Ensenada Race begins at noon today in the waters off Newport Harbor. With 457 boats entered, it might appear to uninformed observes to be an invasion force rather than a yacht race.

Although regarded by many as more of a booze cruise than a serious yacht race, this anxiously anticipated annual fun cruise carries the distinction of being the largest international sailboat race in the world. And within the 23 classes, there are some very serious competitors. Doug Baker's Long Beach-based Magnitude 80 is said to be the 'boat to beat', as Baker and Co. are determined to break the record set by Roy Disney's R/P 77 Pyewacket three years ago (10h, 44m, 54s). Her closest competition is expected to be Doug DeVos' Michigan-based maxZ86 Windquest as well as the maxZ86 incarnation of Pyewacket, which Disney recently donated to the Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship. The latter, however, has been somewhat de-powered, and will be crewed mostly by amateurs.

At the other end of the spectrum are the Cruising Classes - which contain about a third of the fleet. In order to heighten the fun factor and de-stress these crews, Cruisers are allowed to use their engines from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Hey, they wouldn't want to be late to the party, would they?

For complete results and info, see www.nosa.org.

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