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Photo of the Day: Maltese Falcon

August 4 - Viareggio, Italy

Today's Photo of the Day is of Tom Perkins' recently-launched Maltese Falcon sailing past the Perini Navi Shipyard in Italy at what Perkins estimates to be about 13 knots. He doesn't know for sure, because he was back in California when the photo was taken. "If I'd been aboard," he says, "I might not have let the crew put the rail under in that gust!" The boat is powered, of course, by the unique Dynarig, in which 15 square sails are set on three unstayed rotating masts.

Photo Courtesy Perini Navi

Later in the day, while between the Straits of Bonifacio that separates Corsica and Sardinia, Falcon hit 18.3 knots without much sail up. "The crew is waiting for me to return," says Perkins, "to use the check stays and then shoot for the 20-knot barrier for the first time."

The amazing thing about this photograph, taken by Giuliano Sargentini for Perini Navi, is how nimble the boat looks - for being 289-ft long and displacing 1,240 tons! She is, you'll remember, the largest privately-owned sailing yacht in the world. Falcon is available for charter at 335,000 euros a week, but if you were thinking about New Year's in the Caribbean, she's already booked for that popular time period

- latitude / rs


Hurricane Chris And Atlantic Hurricane Forecast Both Tumble

August 4 - Atlantic - Caribbean

Tropical Storm Chris, which threatened to become a hurricane in the northern Leeward Islands such as St. Barth, St. Martin, and the U.S. and British Virgins, lost shape and weakened over the last two days. As a result, residents of St. Martin experienced nothing but light rain - and a big sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, William Gray of Colorado State University, who makes more public hurricane predications than anyone, has downgraded his hurricane forecast for the Atlantic this year from 17 tropical storms and nine hurricanes to 15 tropical storms and seven hurricanes. Midseason hedging of bets is nothing new for Gray and his associates, and to our thinking is an indication of the fact that there are so many variables in weather that hurricanes and hurricane frequency are all but impossible to predict.

It's been a relatively quiet hurricane year to date in the Atlantic-Caribbean so far, and about an average year in Mexico, with virtually no damage done in either region. However, the historically busy hurricane months are August and September, so it's no time for anyone to feel overconfident.

Charts Courtesy weather.unisys.com

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Classy Classified: Rafiki 37

August 4 - Southern California

RAFIKI 37. Completely cruise ready. New bottom 5/06, new mast, boom, Furlex furler, main, electrical and plumbing 2001. Radar, GPS, SSB/Ham, electric windlass, two VHFs, autopilot, solar panels, inverter, diesel heater, many sails and covers, extras list too long, Volvo diesel 600 hours. Original owner. She is in exceptional condition and is probably one of the best cruising boats ever built. $79,950. (805) 443-2103.

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Whale-Strike of Mureadritta's XL

August 4 - Honolulu

More incredible photos have arrived of the July 25 sinking by whale-strike of Mureadritta's XL, Antony Barran's Las Vegas-flagged ILC 40.

Nick Barran, Antony's father and captain for the return trip to the West Coast after the Pacific Cup, sang the praises of others for the successful rescue of XL's crew. "My crew of David Smith, Nathalie Criou and James Clappier were all outstanding. The Coast Guard executed a textbook operation, coordinating with the container ship Maersk Darwin to pick us up, who then transferred us to the long-liner Cammie M. We were 415 miles away and ended up back in Honolulu within three days - amazing! What a team! We are truly grateful."

Check out the September issue of Latitude 38 for a complete report.

- latitude / ld

Mureadritta's XL slips beneath the waters of the Pacific
as her crew awaits rescue.

The whale's head made a big impression on XL.
Photos Courtesy
Mureadritta's XL

New Charges Against Accused Murderer of Cruisers

August 4 - Newport Beach

One of the most bizarre items we've ever reported in 'Lectronic Latitude was the alleged murder in November 2004, of former cruisers Tom and Jackie Hawks of Newport Beach. Regular readers will recall that Skylar Deleon, then 26, and two accomplices posed as potential buyers of the Hawks' 55-ft trawler Well-Deserved, and allegedly murdered the Hawkses during a sea trial by binding them to an anchor and throwing them overboard.

Although Deleon has yet to be convicted of that crime, an equally-bizarre update on the case came to light this week. On Monday Deleon pleaded not guilty in Orange County Superior Court to plotting 'hits' on both his father and cousin, who are potential witnesses against him in the murder trial. The evidence against him regarding these new charges includes both audio and video recordings of Deleon soliciting two inmates to commit the crimes. Deleon's father, John Jacobson, who has been in hiding out of state, refered to the ongoing ordeal as,"a bad dream you never wake up from."

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