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Touched by Angels

October 9 - San Francisco Bay

Hundreds of boaters came out over the weekend to enjoy Fleet Week festivities, which included the Blue Angels aerial ballet.
Photo Latitude/JR

Fleet Week returned to the Bay this past weekend, with a parade of ships led by the mighty aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and spectacular airshows both Saturday and Sunday, which were capped off by the Navy's incomparable Blue Angels flying team. The best 'seating' was right along the Cityfront, and many hundreds of boats were out to enjoy the show both days.

- latitude / jr


Kiwis Win Star Worlds

October 9 - San Francisco Bay

Rohan Lord and Miles Addy (#65), a strong Kiwi team, lead the way at this mark rounding. They ended the series in sixth.

New Zealanders Hamish Pepper and Chris 'Tiny' Williams triumphed over 75 other Star boat teams to win the Wells Fargo Private Bank Star World Championship, which was contested on the Berkeley Circle October 1-6.

Much was unusual about the Worlds this year, most notably the conditions. Boats measured in with heavy weather sails and the expectation of stiff summer conditions, but missed them by a week. Instead, the entire series was sailed in shifty, light to medium air, with even a little rain thrown in Wednesday and Thursday.

Also unusual was that Pepper and Williams have only been racing Stars since January. Considering the depth of talent present for the Worlds - certainly one of the greatest gatherings of Olympic medalists and World Champions ever seen on the Bay - their victory was notable and sweet. It was also the first Gold Star for New Zealand (World Champions get to fly a literal gold star on their sails), and makes the Kiwi team a favorite for the '08 Olympics, where conditions in Quindao are expected to be much the same.

New Zealanders Chris Williams (hiking) and Hamish Pepper struck gold.
Photos Latitude/Andy

Second were South American champions Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil, followed by the 2005 defending world champions Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau of France. The top American finishers were Andy Horton and Brad Nichol in fourth.

Look for a complete report on the Worlds in the November issue of Latitude 38. Complete results can be found at www.stfyc.com.

- latitude / jr

Yo, Ho, Ho, Ho!

October 9 - Two Harbors

The flags along the new pier welcomed all members of the pirate persuasion.

Saturday was the annual Buccaneer Day at Two Harbors, Catalina, and a record number of folks dressed as pirates, wenches, or what have you showed up to share in the fun and fantasy. We heard some harbor officials give an early guesstimate of 4,000 participants, but we believe the true number was closer to four million. They came on every type of boat, and were rafted as many as six abreast.

Speaking of breasts, there were more propped up and perfumed than anywhere we've been before. And this was one occasion when it would have been rude not to sneak a glance or two.

Despite the all the people, all the booze, and all the fantasy costumes, it was about the biggest peace and love crowd one could imagine - although we can't vouch for what happened after 11:30 p.m. The only complaint we heard the next day is that a few people got grumpy when they realized that shuttle service to distant Emerald Bay only took place as scheduled - and that was at 5, 10, and 11 p.m. If folks missed those boats, they either had to hitch a ride or swim.

- latitude / rs

On Buccaneer Day, the dinghy dock was busier than
Port Royale when the spoils were distributed.

Having formulated a plan to plunder the 11 p.m. Catalina express to the mainland, this pirate couple was all smiles.

One lovely woman had
everyone seeing red.

"Love me or I'll shoot your guts out," this lacy pirate lass told her soul mate.

This sweet lass took on pirate colors while sitting on a picnic table.
Photos Latitude/Richard

Death at the Island

October 8 - Two Harbors

The body of the a 53-year-old man who has been a frequent visitor to Catalina aboard his Hunter 42 Romancing the Seas was found floating three miles off the island early on Sunday morning. Authorities, including homicide detectives
from Los Angeles, are still trying to figure out what happened.

The victim, whose name has not been released, is said to be a veteran cruiser, a licensed captain, and a certified diver. He and his wife had apparently spent the afternoon of October 7 relaxing with their kids and having cocktails on their boat in Cherry Cove. Later on they took their 10-ft hard-bottom dinghy to the Isthmus Cove dinghy dock to check out the Buccaneer Day festivities ashore. We've been
told that this was somewhat unusual, as the couple apparently didn't care for big and noisy crowds, and the Buccaneer Day crowd at Two Harbors is about as big and noisy as you can get.

Once ashore, the man and woman split up - he to use the restroom and she to get drinks for the two of them at the indoor bar. Battling one's way through the crowd to the indoor bar, ordering drinks, and coming back outside again was no small task that night. It could - and apparently did - take a half hour or more. Once outside, the woman couldn't find her husband in the throng.

Apparently, he returned to the dinghy dock to see if his wife might be there. Not liking the chaotic scene at the dinghy dock, he got into their dinghy and drove it up on the nearby beach - as a number of others had done to avoid the dinghy dock congestion.

Somehow the couple eventually hooked up again, but when they did there apparently were some angry words based on their frustrations. We're told they returned to their boat, at which point the husband - to the wife's surprise - took
off in the dinghy without saying where he was going. It was about 9 p.m.

Some time later, the Marina del Rey Flyer, on its way from Two Harbors to Avalon, spotted what appeared to be a dinghy on their radar, heading east at a low rate of speed. It was a little to the east of Blue Cavern. On the way back from
Avalon, they noticed the dinghy on the radar again and decided to investigate. They found Romancing the Seas' dinghy with nobody aboard.

When they alerted the Two Harbors office on channel 16, the victim's wife was listening. Devastated, she contacted harbor officials and was brought to shore. The Coast Guard and Bay Watch were immediately alerted, and a helicopter with heat sensing equipment began searching a grid based on where the dinghy had been found. The search was called off at 4 a.m.

About two hours later, a boat returning to the mainland spotted the victim's body floating about three miles off the island, with some kind of wound to the head. Had the victim fallen off his dinghy and it came around and hit him in the head? Maybe. But the dinghy's 10-hp outboard had a prop-guard that is designed to prevent such accidents. In addition, when found, the dinghy had been motoring forward, not in a circle, with the throttle at idle. Had the man been hit by another dinghy or boat? There was a lot of dinghy and vessel traffic that night.

At this point the only things known for certain are that the man is dead, his family is grieving his loss terribly, and the staff at Two Harbors are heartbroken at
having lost one of 'theirs'.

- latitude / rs

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