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All Entries Start the West Marine Pacific Cup

July 7 - San Francisco Bay

The crew aboard Kyrnos, Frederic Laffitte's Barnett 56 from Woodway, WA, show off their rail-meat skills.

We are happy to report that every one of the 43 entrants in the biennial 2006 West Marine Pacific Cup have crossed the starting line and are well on their way to Kaneohe Bay on Oahu. Staggered starts for six divisions ran all week, ending with Division E yesterday afternoon.

Elyxir, Skip Ely's Santa Cruz 52 out of La Selva Beach, leads the way for Free Range Chicken.

Wednesday's exciting start for the eight boats in Division D was a raucous ride with a stiff breeze and rollers in the Bay. Seven Division E boats, the 'big boys' in this 2,040 mile race, found moderate winds inside the Bay yesterday afternoon but got slammed just outside the Gate. Even so, there have been no reports of serious gear problems.

Not surprisingly, the Division D and E boats are quickly gaining on the other divisions. Division D's Riva, Scott Campbell's Vancouver, WA-based J/46, is less than 30 miles behind Stray Cat Blues, Fremont's J/35 owned by Bill Parks, the trailing Division C boat. Division A's Green Buffalo, a Cal 40 owned by San Franciscans Jim Quanci and Mary Lovely, is leading the fleet and their division, making about 125 miles a day.

John McPhall's Fox Island, WA-based J/160 Jam makes a splash.
Photos Latitude/LaDonna

Belvedere's Michael Moradzadeh aboard the Passport 40 Cayenne (Div. A) reports that the odd wind patterns that plagued the early days of the Singlehanded TransPac are affecting Pacific Cup racers too. But many are making the best of it by doing their grocery shopping in the ocean. "A couple of tuna became lunch on some fortunate boats," Moradzadeh noted. "The hardcore racers, of course, turn up their noses at fishing while racing, but the West Marine Pacific Cup is a wide open race and more than one sailor has taken home the trophy with a fishing pole in the other hand!"

Check www.pacificcup.org for regular updates.


Tales of Success and Failure on the Wind-Challenged Pacific

July 7 - Pacific Ocean

The Singlehanded TransPac race, which started on June 24, has so far been a total bust windwise. At this writing, the majority of the fleet is just reaching the 1,000-mile halfway point - after almost two whole weeks of sailing! The deadline for the race has been extended a week, until July 22. A huge, persistent Pacific High is being blamed for the Doldrum-like conditions, and two of the 17 boats entered have already dropped out because of it.

The good news for the Solo T-Pac is that the Open 60 Dogbark will finish this afternoon. This is the second time Seattlite Al Hughes has sailed the former BOC round-the-world race boat to first-to-finish honors, having had a spirited down-to-the-wire drag race in 2004 with another boat. This time, Al and the 'Dog are all alone. The next boat, Mark Deppe's J/120 Alchera, is still some 300 miles out. See www.sfbaysss.org.

Dogbark, and the rest of the SSS T-Pac fleet, set sail for Hawaii two weeks ago Saturday.

Also 'victimized' by the mill pond conditions was the R/P 72 Beecom, which was attempting to set a new record in the 4,500-mile run from San Francisco to Yokohama, Japan. Beecom stalled out under the high and owner Isao Mita finally threw in the towel this morning. The boat is now scheduled to divert to Hawaii, where she may start a Hawaii-Yokohama record attempt in the next few days. See www.superyachting.com.

Beecom's previous appearance in the Bay Area garnered her a second place in IRC-A in the Big Boat Series.
Photos Latitude/JR

Thankfully, the Pacific Cup and Vic-Maui races have restored the yin-yang of ocean racing, as both of those Hawaii fleets are currenly enjoying good breeze. See today's top story for more on the Pac Cup. For information on the 17-boat Vic-Maui fleet, log onto www.vicmaui.org.

Classy Classified: 33-ft Schumacher Cruiser

July 7 - La Paz, BCS

33-ft Carl Schumacher performance cruiser, by Westerly Marine, 1984. Cruised Mexico since 1995. Sleeps 6, great storage, Yanmar diesel, 11-ft inflatable, 15hp Johnson, 6 gph watermaker, GPS, SSB/Ham, more. $35,000. Must see at www.latestcaper.com. (970) 433-9960.

Atlantic Record

July 7 - The Lizard, UK

The counterpoint to the unusually pacific Pacific was made over the weekend when Bruno Peyron's mighty catamaran Orange II sailed to a new Atlantic record. Taking off from New York on July 2, the 120-ft 'new generation' maxi-cat sailed the traditional 2,925-mile Ambrose Light-Lizard course in 4 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes and 54 seconds - averaging 28.02 knots and breaking the former 'unbelievable' record set by Steve Fossett's PlayStation in 2004 by a tad more than 8 hours.

This despite damage to one of the boat's rudders from hitting ice early in the attempt. Peyron figures that cost them six to eight hours - and yes, he's convinced the crossing can be made in under 4 days.

Orange II arrived off the coast of Cornwall yesterday.
Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

The Atlantic record makes Orange II the queen and Peyron the current king of offshore speed sailing. In addition to the new Atlantic mark, Orange II also holds the record for fastest around the world (50 days) and fastest 24-hour time (765 miles). To our knowledge, no other boat in history has held all three of sailing's most coveted records at the same time.

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