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Photos of the Day

October 25 - Bay of Biscay

Today's two Photos of the Day are of the great Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm, one of six starters in the Velux singlehanded around the world race that just started from Bilbao, Spain. The six-boat fleet was caught by surprise by the severity of conditions in the Bay of Biscay, and the two photos show Stamm and his Open 60 Cheminées Poujoulat battling for survival in 70 knots of wind.

Four of the other boats have had to seek shelter or are in the process of trying to take shelter to effect repairs to their boat. One of these, 67-year-old Sir Robin Knox-Johnstone's Saga Insurance, was initially reported as having rolled, but apparently was just knocked so far over that the masthead instruments were washed off while underwater. It will be interesting to see how well a 67-year-old can bounce back from that.

Other than Stamm, the only other contestant who hasn't headed for shore is Kojiro Shiraishi aboard Spirit of Yukoh. He took off on a flyer to the northwest, which might be the wrong direction to the next mark, the 12,000-mile distant west coast of Australia, but apparently was the correct direction for survival.

As it now stands, Stamm has resumed racing and has passed Cape Finisterre. Thanks to the fact that all those who went to shore have to take at least a 48-hour penalty, and others will take even longer than that to get restarting, Stamm is building a big lead.

Everybody knew the 30,000-mile race was going to be tough, but nobody expected it to be so tough so soon. To follow this race closely, go to www.velux5oceans.com.

- latitude / rs

Alex Thompson's Hugo Boss, also currently out of action
Photos onEdition

Hurricane Paul Weakens and Misses Cabo

October 25 - Baja California Sur

Hurricane Paul weakened more quickly than expected, became a tropical storm, and has passed to the south of Cabo San Lucas. It's currently headed toward mainland Mexico - as you can see from the graphic - with its primary threat now being rain.

What was expected is that Paul would weaken, as October hurricanes, and particularly November hurricanes, have a hard time surviving off Mexico. To see for yourself, check out the graphic of all October hurricanes around Baja since '49. Note that only two of them ever made it north of Cabo, neither at hurricane strength, and neither near the end of the month. These facts were critical in the setting of the Baja Ha-Ha dates from the beginning in '94.

Graphics Courtesy National Weather Service

As such, while much of the rest of the U.S. is starting to get nailed by heavy rain, heavy snow, and cold, Ha-Ha participants can look forward to a very warm Saturday and Sunday in San Diego, followed by a 67-degree day on Monday for the start. At this time, winds for the start are forecast to be typically light from the NNW, so we hope everyone brought a light spinnaker or gennaker. Further down the coast, it looks as if the breeze might get into the low teens.

- latitude / rs

Advertisement: Diesel Engine Seminars at KKMI

October 25 - Pt. Richmond

Diesel Engine Seminars at the KKMI Boathouse. Spaces still available for class on Saturday, October 28. Call or email Ginger to reserve your spot. (510) 235-5564.

Come One, Come All

October 25 - San Diego

Garry Schaeffer of San Diego wrote asking for the details of the Baja Ha-Ha Halloween Costume Party and BBQ, as well as when the fleet would be leaving so he can wish everyone a bon voyage from the deck of his Hunter 33 Kei.

We think that's a wonderful idea, so we'd like to tell everyone that the party starts at 1 p.m. on October 29 at Cabrillo Isle Marina and is hosted by our good friends at West Marine. Everyone is welcome, but be sure to come in a fabulous costume! Dinner and beverages are $10 for non-Ha-Ha-ers, or any crew other than Captain and First Mate.

If you'd like to chaperone the fleet over the starting line the next morning, be at Coronado Roads (about 90 minutes from Cabrillo Isle Marina) by 11 a.m. To really get in the spirit, wear your costume from the night before - we're guessing some people will have actually 'slept' in theirs. With 183 official entries, this is the biggest Ha-Ha to date and should make for a spectacular start!

- latitude / ld

Allianz Cup Presented by Oracle

October 25 - San Francisco

The World Match Racing Tour makes only one stop in the United States this year, and that stop is San Francisco. Starting today and running through the weekend, 16 teams will compete for a $100,000 purse in the Allianz Cup Presented by Oracle. They are also competing for points - San Francisco is the fifth in a 15-race 'tour' which runs through next year and has stops all over the world. The points leader at the end will be named the top ISAF World Match Racing Champion.

The World Match Racing Tour is sailing's leading professional series, and some of the most famous faces in international and America's Cup sailing are scheduled to be competing. They'll be sailing borrowed J/105s off the hosting St. Francis YC. Skippers include: Chris Dickson (NZL) and Larry Ellison (USA); skipper and syndicate founder, respectively, of BMW/Oracle Racing; Peter Gilmour (AUS), three-time World Champion and current defending champion; Dean Barker (NZL), helmsman for Emirates Team New Zealand; Ed Baird (USA), three-time America's Cup participant including his present role as coach/skipper/helmsman on Alinghi; Peter Holmberg (ISV), another Alinghi alumni, and Jesper Bank (DEN), the skipper of United Internet Germany.

Great Britain's Ian Williams was points leader coming to San Francisco, having won the Bermuda Cup in Stage Four of the series October 10-15. The 15th and last race of the World Match Racing Tour, the Monsoon Cup, takes place in Kuala, Terengganu, Malaysia, in late November, 2007. The new ISAF champion will be announced in December.

The level of talent and courses planned should make for some great spectating off the Cityfront. To connect this world class event with the local community, organizers will be staging an 'Allianz Cup Village' on the spit next to the St Francis YC from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Latitude 38 will have a booth in the tent, so come on by and say hello!

See the December issue of Latitude 38 for a full report on the Allianz Cup. See also www.allianzcupsail.com. You can get all the background, and follow the tour through its conclusion, at the event Web site: www.worldmatchracingtour.com.

- latitude / jr & cw

Get that Last Super Summer Sailing Weather

October 25 - San Francisco Bay

If you can sneak away from work early the next couple of days, you should have fantastic sailing conditions, with unusually warm weather on the Bay. Although Saturday and Sunday are expected to be a little cooler with some clouds, 71 and 67 aren't bad at all for the end of October.

- latitude / rs

Gordie Nash sails his highly customized Santana 27 Arcadia in the kind of conditions you can expect this weekend. Gordie says, "This picture was taken by Jim Coggan of Tiburon. He was standing on his front porch of his house on Raccoon Strait. Jim's boat is the green Carl Schumacher design Auspice."

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