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July 12 - Valletta, Malta

Maltese Falcon sailed out of Malta on July 7.

Belvedere-based Tom Perkins turns in this update on his new high-tech clipper Maltese Falcon: "The Falcon spent 20 hours visiting her home port in Malta (on her way to Italy for her 'debut'), where a local photographer, Robert Weatherburn, took these photos.

Maltese Falcon's rig silhouetted against the Maltese sunset
Photos above Robert Weatherburn

"Normally yachts are not permitted to sail in the harbor, but our pilot was so taken with the big black bird, that he gave us special permission, and she is so easy to handle that we had no problems in our maneuvers. Doubtless we were the first square-rigger to sail out of Valletta in about 100 years.

"We literally sailed every inch from Istanbul to Malta either beating to windward, or on close reaches. The wind varied from force 3 to force 7, and our speed averaged 10 knots, occasionally hitting 16 on the close reaches. We rotated our masts and unfurled and furled our sails, mostly the royals and t'gallants, as required by the wind strength, literally hundreds of times without a single fault. Christian, our athletic Spar Master, only went aloft twice, just to check on things - and probably also to enjoy the ride, from 190 feet above the waves.

"We are obscenely proud of our new clipper yacht!"

This photo "gives a feeling for the 'machine' decor of the interior. The shot was taken from the lower deck looking upwards through the glass floors and skylight - the yards on the main mast can be seen, seemingly rising towards infinity."
Photo Tom Perkins

Mucho Moonlight for Maritime Marathon

July 12 - San Francisco & San Pablo Bays

The Melges 24 Ego does the reach-jibe-reach dance to Carquinez.

Sun drenched skies gave way to brilliant moonlight as the 17 boats in Saturday's Midnight Moonlight Maritime Marathon made their way back to Belvedere Cove from the leeward mark (the Carquinez bridge). Host club San Francisco YC conducted a reverse-order downwind start off Angel Islands's Point Stuart, beginning at 1500 with the first boat, the Hunter 31 Sunset Woman, and ending with a Beneteau First 47.7, Veronese, at 1615.

Starting and finishing mid-fleet, the crew aboard the Express 34 Two Scoops focuses on the task at hand.
Photo Alan Smithee

As intended in this pursuit race, the finishers came in close to midnight - once they made it through a huge hole just south of the Richmond Bridge - Erik Menzel's Wylie Wabbit Devil May Hare finishing first at 2317, and the Cal 40 Harry Hannah last at 0014. You may recall that Menzel's Wabbit also won this year's Delta Ditch Run.

Adverse current for almost the entire way - an ebb going up and a flood coming back - made for an extra challenge. However the competitors were blessed with an almost full moon shining brightly in a clear sky and favorable wind speed and direction - with the exception of the aforementioned North Bay after-dark parking lot.

The Wyliecat 30 Tinsley Light, seen here soon after rounding the mark, was the only boat that didn't make it through the North Bay hole to finish the race.
Photos Latitude/Chris except as noted

Peregrine Migrates Home

July 12 - San Francisco

On May 6 Jean Nicca and his Passport 42, Peregrine, left Puerto Vallarta headed for San Francisco. Mill Valley's Richard Owens elaborates: "Jean plans to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on the morning of Saturday, August 19. This day marks both Jean's 70th birthday and his completion of a 15-year, mainly solo, circumnavigation.

Peregrine shows PV her tail.

Owens skippers an Olson 40, Spellbound, and a Norseman 535, Meredith. He plans to sail Spellbound out to the Gate to greet Nicca. "Possibly others from the Bay fleet might wish to join in. I want to give Jean as warm a welcome home as I can. From my brief encounter, I know he has wonderful stories to tell that would interest any sailor, and, in particular sailors like me who plan to follow in his wake starting in October.

Jean Nicca, as he prepares to check out of PV.
Photos Richard Owens

"In his words, he likes to 'make tracks' between stops. Given his experience and his bristol Passport 42, named after the fastest bird in the sky, he does whenever at sea."

Hawaii Updates: It's All Downwind from Here

July 12 - Pacific Ocean

West Marine Pacific Cup

Position reports as of last evening put the entire Pacific Cup fleet of 43 boats dead center between Hawaii and the mainland, with Tom Akin's SC 52 Lightning maintaining her lead of both the Division E 'big boats' and the entire fleet. Other Division leaders include California Girl (Cal 40) in Division A; Tutto Bene (Beneteau 38s5) in Division B; ET (Antrim 27) holding onto Division C; Sapphire (Synergy 1000) heading Division D and The Contessa (Swede 55) topping Doublehanded Division.

Lightning is leading in the Pac Cup charge.
Photo Latitude/LaDonna

Although the finish is still a few days away, there's a big buzz in the fleet right now over who will win the 'Million Mile Trophy' sometime today. Somebody at West Marine added up all the miles of all the boats in all the Pacific Cups and figured out that some boat in this race will pass the literal millionth mile. The boat with the best corrected time run today will win that one-time-only award (well, okay, it may return for the 2 millionth mile in about 2025). Current best prospects are all the leading boats just mentioned, as well as Basic Instinct (Elliott 10.50), Orizaba (J/130) and Synge (Synergy 1000). Be sure to tune in to Friday's Lectronic Latitude (or to the Pacific Cup Web site at www.pacificcup.org) to see who went that magic 'extra mile'.

Singlehanded TransPac

Over in the Singlehanded TransPac, the agony of the windless first week has largely been forgotten as everyone still sailing is now on final approach into Hanalei Bay, Kauai. Six of the 13 boats left in the race have finished so far, with Lou Freeman on the Swan 51 Seabird having just come in as we were typing this. The finishers, in order, are:

1) Dogbark, Open 60, Al Hughes
2) Alchera, Custom J/120, Mark Deppe
3) Tiger Beetle, N/M 43, Rob Macfarlane
4) Foolish Muse, Olson 30, Andy Evans
5) Ragtime, J/92, Bob Johnston
6) Seabird, Swan 51, Lou Freeman

Lou Freeman on Seabird just finished.
Photo Latitude/JR

No word yet on who's going to correct out in the money, but everyone is crunching the numbers and there are hints at more than one surprise ending. For more: www.sfbaysss.org.

It's Down to 30 for Young Morning Light Crew

July 12 - Los Angeles

The 25 men and 5 women chosen from among 538 applicants for Roy E. Disney's Morning Light film project share one quality besides their youth: unlimited ambition. One typical teenage candidate will enter Yale University in the fall while another is shooting for the stars as she studies to become an astrophysicist.

But first, Hawaii calls.

The 30 will participate in Selection Trials in Long Beach August 5-13. The final team of 15 will be announced at the end of those trials and will undergo four months of training on the Transpac 52 in Hawaii starting in January. Then 11 or 12 will race Morning Light from Los Angeles to Hawaii in the 44th Transpacific Yacht Race starting July 15, 2007, without professional assistance on board.

The 30 represent 14 states, plus Canada, Australia and the West Indies, and include minorities. Among the 30 selected are 6 Californians: Trevor Bozina, 21, San Francisco; Graham Brant-Zawadzki, 21, and Robert (Max) Moosmann, 19, of Newport Beach; Anna Brun, 20, and Parker Shinn, 19, from San Diego; and Piet van Os, 22, La Jolla. Together they will be the youngest crew ever to sail a Transpac. Robbie Haines, and Olympic gold medalist and veteran ocean racer, is the sailing team manager.

The film, scheduled to be released in 2008, will chronicle the recruitment, training and performance of the crew through the race in 2007. It will be a straightforward documentary not to be confused with the creative format of currently popular TV reality shows.

For more information, see: www.pacifichighproductions.com.

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