Ocean Racing Update
November 10 - Atlantic Ocean
While the faster boats continue to finish the 2006 Route du Rhum, the carnage continues to mount for the rest of the fleet. Joe Seeten on TMI Technologies set off his distress beacon Thursday after discovering keel damage and reporting a broken shoulder. Briton Ross Hobson's trimaran Ideal Steirad capsized late Tuesday night in 45 knots of wind. Both skippers have been retrieved by commercial vessels.
Roland Jourdain on Sill et Veolia displays the repair he made to his luff while underway. Jourdain is expected to arrive in Guadeloupe later today, the first monohull to finish.
Dominique Wavre revealed on Thursday that the boom on his Open 60 broke a week ago. Although he was near the Azores, he scrounged up materials aboard the boat for the repair rather than stop ashore. He's now in fifth place in the IMOCA division.
Artist/sailor Lia Ditton does a visual interpretation of the name of her Open 40, Dangerous When Wet. Ditton, who is in second place in the Class 3 monohull division, has been providing very colorful and often entertaining daily updates during the race.
Photos Courtesy Route du Rhum
Franck-Yves Escoffier led the Class 2 multihulls across the line earlier this morning, and all but one of the ORMA 60-ft trimarans should have finished by tonight. With some of the 40-ft monohulls still 2,000 miles away from the finish line in Guadeloupe, the race is far from over. For complete results, go to www.routedurhum.com.
In the Velux 5 Oceans, American competitor Tim Troy officially pulled out of the race on Thursday. Troy never crossed the starting line, having discovered a week before the race began that his Open 60 Margaret Anna did not conform to stability requirements. Working with the boat's designer, Bernard Nivelt, the Maryland resident attempted to rectify the issue but ran out of time and money. Like the Governator, however, Troy pledges that he'll be back.
On the water, Bernard Stamm remains comfortably in the lead, and last night, 600 miles off the coast of Brazil, Mike Golding overtook Kojiro Shiraishi for second place. Complete position reports are at www.velux5oceans.com.
- latitude / ss
The First Hawks Murder Trial Begins
November 10 - Santa Ana
The trial of 24-year-old Jennifer Deleon for the murder of Jackie and Thomas Hawks began this week with gut-wrenching testimony from one of the Hawks' alleged killers. Alonso Machain, who will stand trial himself next year, provided the court with an eyewitness account of what the prosecution claims took place aboard the Hawks' 55-ft trawler Well Deserved the day of their disappearance nearly two years ago.
Machain claimed that Skylar Deleon, Jennifer's husband and supposed mastermind behind the murder plot, pretended to be a buyer for Well Deserved and scheduled a trial run aboard the boat on November 6. Deleon abandoned a plan to murder the couple that day, Machian said, because Tom Hawks, a retired probation officer, was in much better physical condition than expected and Deleon felt a third person would be needed to subdue the older man. Machain also claims to have heard Deleon call his wife Jennifer and tell her to come to the boat with their 9-month-old baby to make the couple "feel more at ease."
On November 15, Machain recounted that he and Deleon picked up John Fitzgerald Kennedy on the way to the boat for another test sail. Once they were about 55 miles out, he said Deleon and Kennedy overpowered Tom Hawks in the salon while he cornered Jackie in the galley and pulled out his stun gun. "I struggled with her. She was fighting me."
Husband and wife were handcuffed and, after Jackie cried out "How could you do this to us?" Machain said he helped Deleon duct tape their eyes and mouths. He claims the couple were then made to sign and fingerprint transfer of title, as well as power of attorney and other documents, with the promise that they would be released if they cooperated. "She was shaking uncontrollably," Machain recalled. "She kept saying she wanted to see her grandchild." He then related how Tom tried to console his wife of 18 years. "I could see Mr. Hawks trying to reach over and hold her hand and comfort her."
Tom and Jackie Hawks spent two years cruising California and Mexico aboard their 55-ft trawler Well Deserved and planned to move to Arizona to be closer to their new grandchild.
Photo Courtesy www.tomandjackiehawks.com
Prosecutors are trying to prove that Jennifer Deleon, who they acknowledge was not on the boat on November 15, was fully aware of her husband's alleged plans to kill the Hawks, steal their boat and plunder their savings, and actively participated in its execution. They claim the Deleons were drowning in debt - over $87,000 worth - and saw a quick way to fast cash when they spotted Well Deserved's $460,000 listing in a magazine ad. Jennifer Deleon's lawyers claim she knew nothing of the murders until afterward, at which time she became so frightened of what her husband might do to her, she cooperated with him.
The trials of Skylar Deleon and John Kennedy are scheduled to start in January. Deleon is also awaiting trial in the murder of another man, as well as for soliciting the murder of his father and cousin who are potential witnesses in that case. We will continue to update 'Lectronic with news in this tragic case and will have a full report in the December issue of Latitude 38.
- latitude / ld
Would Ellison Bring Cup to SF?
November 10 - San Francisco
Photo Courtesy www.americascup.com
The International Herald Tribune reports that San Francisco is the venue of choice to host the 33rd America's Cup, should Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle Racing team win the Cup in Valencia next summer. The report is based on comments made by team owner Ellison during the recent Allianz Cup. Rumors along these lines seem to circulate every so often, so it's hard to put much stock in this story. But it's certainly the strongest statement along these lines to come out in recent history.
Galvanizing Group in Mazatlan
November 10 - Mazatlan
Chris and Heather Stockard of the Saga 43 Legacy report that a group of Mexico cruisers, with the assistance of Marina Mazatlan, has arranged to have their anchor chains galvanized in bulk. "The process should take about 10 days at an estimated cost of 10 pesos (about $1) per foot, plus 10 pesos per pound for shipping," Chris said. "We scheduled it right after Thanksgiving so cruisers can take advantage of the service and still be able to head south before Christmas."
- latitude / ld
Victorian Christmas Celebration on Angel Island
November 10 - Angel Island
Start the holidays a little early at Angel Island this weekend with their Victorian Christmas Celebration at Camp Reynolds. This is one of the few times each year that the public is allowed to tour the lovely Victorian house - which will, of course, be decorated for the holidays - that served as officers' quarters during the Civil War. The whole family will enjoy watching demonstrations of Victorian ornament making, and kids can even join in some of the crafting. The event, open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, is free; the tram ride from Ayala Cove is $3. For more info, check out www.angelisland.org.
- latitude / ld