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News Flash: Pacific Cup Boat Sinks Off Hawaii

July 26 - Hawaiian Islands

Antony Barran's Mureadritta's XL on her way out the Gate at the start of the 2006 West Marine Pacific Cup
Photo Latitude/ LaDonna

As the latest edition of 'Lectronic Latitude was being uploaded to our server, we learned that Antony Barran's Las Vegas-based ILC 40 Mureadritta's XL hit a whale and sunk yesterday morning about 450 miles north of the Big Island. Mureadritta just finished the West Marine Pacific Cup last week, placing fourth in Division D, and was on her way back to the West Coast from Kaneohe Bay when a whale rammed the boat on the starboard side. The four crew - Antony's father Nick and three others - tried to stem the influx of water but the boat was too damaged. They abandoned ship at 9 a.m., reporting no injuries, and the cargo vessel Maersk Darwin picked them up last night. They are expected to arrive in Honolulu on Friday. We'll have more details in Friday's edition of 'Lectronic.


Photo of the Day

July 26 - South Pacific

Photo Courtesy Sailors' Run

Today's Photo of the Day is of Debbie Hartjoy of the Longbranch, WA-based Baba 40 ketch Sailor's Run with an "I'm in the middle of childbirth" grimace on her face. But as you can tell, Debbie is not giving birth, she's landing a dorado. Off Fiji, as it so happens.

Jeff and Debbie did the '99 Ha-Ha, where they were a great team. For example, once they were caught with the chute up in too much wind. Unable to take it down safely, there was no option but for Jeff to drive for hours on end. After quite a bit of time had passed, he needed to pee in the worst way. Jeff didn't want to pee in his pants, so Debbie rushed to his rescue. Having grabbed a bottle from down below, she unzipped Jeff's fly, pulled out his spigot, and encouraged him 'relieve the watch'. So while Jeff battled to keep from rounding the boat up or down, he was, with Debbie's help, able to get the relief he so badly needed. Now that's teamwork.

Jeff and Debbie just sent us a CD full of photos from the seven subsequent years they spent cruising the Pacific. But apparently they're not done with cruising. "We're back in the Bay Area for now," they wrote, "but have sent in our application for this year's Ha-Ha."

Sort of Like 'George Washington Slept Here', but not Quite

July 26 - San Rafael

We walked into our favorite sushi bar - Kama Kazi in San Rafael - about 9 p.m. last night and plopped down in an empty seat. Our friendly Asian waitress ran over and seemed to be in a tizzy. "You just missed her! She just got up from the very seat you're in and left with her husband."

"Who, Paris Hilton?"

"No, Liz Baylis. You know, the famous Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. She's one of the best in the world. And she just raced to Hawaii and won your new trophy, the Latitude 38 Trophy for being the best of something. When she and her husband Todd Hedin came home from Hawaii a couple of days ago, they came straight here from the airport. And they were just here again. It's so exciting!"

Liz and Todd raced aboard the Antrim 27 E.T. with designer Jim Antrim, and indeed won the new Latitude 38 Trophy for being the best relative to the other boats in their class. A well-deserved congratulations to them all.

In yet another coincidence, this morning Liz and Todd sent over a bunch of photos from their first in class, second in fleet, crossing. Here are a few we thought you'd like:

Liz, calm as a cucumber, doing a little last minute light reading at the St. Francis just before E.T.'s start. Is she sitting on something or just levitating?

Liz, still calm, driving E.T. in a rainy squall.

Aggressive small boat racing to Hawaii is inherently a wet proposition. As best we can guess, E.T. is ripping along under full main, staysail, and chute - while somebody is having trouble in the cockpit gathering a recently dropped chute.

More aggressive small boat sailing in the trades. The crew have the rest of their lives to dry out.

A clean crew is a happy crew. Certainly Liz would be able to identify this showering crewmember by his bottom, but we can't.
Photos Courtesy E.T.

It's a Bird, It's a... Powerboat?

July 26 - Maui, HI

Meet Earthrace, an 80-ft wave-piercing powerboat that left Maui earlier this week bound first for Vancouver, BC, before making its way to San Francisco Bay. Powered by twin engines that run on bio-diesel, the carbon-fiber Earthrace is on a mission to promote ecological awareness and the use of renewable fuels. You can learn about the ongoing program, as well as the team's search for sponsors, at www.earthrace.net.

Owner/skipper Pete Belthune's ultimate goal is a crack at breaking the current powerboat record for a circumnavigation of 75 days, set by Cable & Wireless in 1998. Belthune hopes for a 65-day trip. It's interesting to note, however, and perhaps a sign of the times in offshore sailing, that the current world record for all vessels is held by the maxi-catamaran Orange II, which circled the globe in March, 2005, in 50 days, 16 hours, 20 minutes . . . a full two-weeks better than what Earthrace hopes to achieve.

Maybe It's the Humidity, but there Have Been a Lot of Sticky Fingers in French Polynesia

July 26 - French Polynesia

"Although we highly recommend a cruise to French Polynesia, there's a dark side to Paradise," report Paddy Barry and Alison aboard the Baltic 42 Zafarse: "Several boats have had dinghies, motors, and surfboards stolen! The 68-year-old circumnavigator aboard Shoestring had his dinghy and 15hp Johnson outboard stolen from his boat in Cook's Bay, Moorea. His dinghy was in the water and the line was cut. The thieves apparently like 15hp and larger outboards. The research center run by UC Berkeley has had two runabouts with 25hp motors stolen so far this year. In addition, thieves came aboard a boat anchored off Fare, Huahine, during a rainstorm at night, and stole two surfboards while four young men were sleeping below. Another boat lost surfboards later in the week from the same spot. Huahine is a beautiful island and the problem seems to be centered in just around the town. I suppose this could happen anywhere."

A word to the wise. If given a chance, thieves will always strike during rainstorms or squalls, as the rain and noise make it less likely they will be detected.

The Answer Is $70 Billion!

July 26 - Los Angeles County

The question is, "How much money does U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mieta estimate was lost due the delays in the unloading of ships at L.A. and Long Beach Harbors in the summer of 2004?" That's a lot of money lost attributed to labor problems, limited working hours, and lack of infrastructure. The good news is that this summer those same ports are handling a record amount of cargo without any delays.

Call us naive, but it seems to us that - in the short term, at least - a lot of the country's and world's problems could be solved by being smart and working together.

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