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18-ft Skiffs: Rockin' and Rollin' All Day Long

August 23 - San Francisco Bay

Shark Kahn on Pegasus Black (left), leads the Australian DeLonghi team.

The 18-ft Skiffs return to San Francisco Bay this week for their annual 10-race International Regatta. And it was "Showtime, folks!" right from the first start yesterday, when six of the seven starters capsized and only three finished. As Rich Roberts wrote from the event's press office, "If the Golden Gate wind tunnel keeps howling at 20 knots, this chaos is likely to continue through Saturday, or until the local marine hardware stores run out of parts."

DeLonghi goes critical.

As of this morning, after two races, 17-year-old wunderkind Samuel 'Shark' Kahn, sailing Pegasus Black with Cameron MacDonald and Paul Allen, tops the leaderboard with a first and second, followed by Australian John Winning's Yandoo, with Andrew Hay and Geoff Bauchop (3,1), and Howie Hamlin on Pegasus White with Mike Martin - fresh off a 505 North Americans win the previous weekend - and Trent Barnabas (2,3).

Skiff Sailing Foundation Blue in trouble

In the good summer breeze for which the Bay is famous, the 'eye-deens' don't so much sail in the water as fly low over it. Do yourself a favor and check them out, on the water and at the staging area in Crissy Field next door to the sponsoring St. Francis YC.

To follow the action, log onto www.stfyc.com and follow the 'Regatta Information' trail.

- latitude / jr

Teabagging on the UK entry West Marine
Photos Erik Simonson / www.h2oshots.com

Why Leave Paradise?

August 23 - Phuket, Thailand

Max Young of the Antioch-based Perry 47/50 Reflections is on a slow circumnavigation, one that is becoming all the slower because he has found Thailand to be such a wonderful place.

"Some of the things I enjoy most here in Thailand are saying "Sa-was-dee-krub" (hello), and always getting a smile back, the wonderful drives in the countryside, and the amazing waterfalls. In general, Thailand is about one of the most spectacular countries I have ever been to. When I got here eight months ago, I wrote that I thought I was going to stay longer than I had planned. And why not. After all, why leave paradise?"

Funny, but Young didn't mention anything about the female crewmembers on the boat he was on.

Another attraction of Thailand is that it's not expensive. "Friends Bob and Nancy Bush from the Island Packet 51 Mar Bella have had some teak work done since they have been here, and feel that the craftsmanship is exemplary and low cost. They were also very impressed with the medical facilities available on the island. Nancy mentioned that she had a complete physical - including X-rays, mammogram, complete bloodwork, stress test, etc. - for just US$235!"

"Yachting in the Phuket area has been enjoying a boom from the resident ex-pat community since the import tax was reduced to 0% at the end of last year. There are currently three marinas in operation on the island, with two more on the drawing board."

Funny, but Max didn't mention anything about the scenery.

- latitude / rs

Photos Max Young

A Tale of Two Cities

August 23 - Monte Carlo, Monaco, and Honolulu, HI

The accompanying map shows almost the entirety of the little 700-year old monarchy of Monaco, which we assume most people know is on the Mediterranean Sea surrounded by France near the border with Italy. If you look carefully, you'll see a yellow-striped area that marks the addition of a new breakwater. It may look small, but it actually added about 15% to the area of the whole country! What's more, it can accommodate a number of cruise ships or gigayachts at the same time, to say nothing of hundreds more smaller large yachts. Now that the breakwater has been built, there is major work going on to put in the facilities for the smaller boats.

Photos Latitude/Richard

While in Monaco, which is one of the gems of the yacht harbors in the Med, we couldn't help but think about the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor in Honolulu, which should be the world class yacht harbor of the Pacific, but over the last several decades has become a world class disgrace. It shows what a difference there can be when someone dynamic like Prince Albert and the Grimaldi Family are in charge and create jobs, fun, and wealth, as opposed to the legislators and bureaucrats of Hawaii, who seem to be stuck in a 1950s time warp.

For those who would argue that developments such as those at Monaco are just for the rich, while the Ala Wai is for the enjoyment of everyone, nothing could be further from the truth. Thousands of people each day have a blast in Monaco, and don't even have to spend a cent, because it's such a happening place. The Ala Wai, on the other hand, is about the deadest yacht harbor in the world for its size, and generates very little in the way of fun, jobs, or even access to the ocean. The only exceptions - and they are major ones - are the Hawaii and Waikiki YCs.

- latitude / rs

What Do Women Want?

August 23 - San Francisco Bay

Freud was confused. And based on the name of this lovely blue yacht, so are we.

- latitude / rs

Photo Latitude/Richard

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