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Photo of the Day

December 18 - Lincoln City, OR

This Voyage 440 was found capsized in Lincoln City, Oregon, on Friday.
Photo Lori Tobias / The Oregonian

Today's photo of the day is of a South African-built Voyage 440 that was found capsized on a beach in Lincoln City, Oregon, on Friday. We closely followed the story all weekend - which has received surprisingly little attention from the media - and little more is known today than was on Friday.

What we do know is that the new owner hired a British yacht delivery company to deliver the boat from South Africa to Washington for the Seattle Boat Show in January. They stopped in San Francisco and left again on December 8. That was the last anyone heard from the crew - which included one Brit and two Americans - until the boat was spotted in Lincoln City just a day after a massive storm spanked the entire Pacific Northwest.

Inspection of the interior found few clues. The last log entry at 3 a.m. on December 11 had the boat 10 miles off Cape Blanco, and noted the crew had struck all sails and deployed two anchors. Unfortunately, the EPIRB was locked in a box. The only other clue found was a piece of line tied to the starboard saildrive (visible in the close-up below), which implies that at least one of the crew was alive after the boat capsized.

A search was launched immediately but was suspended Sunday when no sign of the men was found. In a bizarre twist, a body that washed ashore in Florence - 70 miles south of Lincoln City - on Saturday was determined not to have been one of the crew, as first suspected, because it appeared to have been in the water much longer than a week.

Not much else is known at this point, other than the fact that the area near Cape Blanco was pummeled by 80 knot winds last week and that it's unlikely we will ever know exactly what happened or why the boat didn't seek shelter in the face of severe weather forecasts. We will have a full report on this tragic incident in the January issue of Latitude 38 which will hit the stands December 29.

- latitude / ld


Breaker Breaker, Good Buddy

December 18 - Washington, DC

The FCC announced on Friday the much-anticipated elimination of the silly Morse Code requirement for all - you read that right, all - amateur ham radio licenses. The decision is heralded by most - including us - but the old-timer ham guys are grumbling about it. The best we can tell, they think it now means ham bands will go the way of CB radio.

Whether you viewed the antiquated code requirement as 'paying dues' or as 'hazing', the change certainly ushers in a new era for ham radio. Although an effective date wasn't mentioned in the announcement, FCC orders such as this typically go into effect within 30 days. So if you've been meaning to get your license - or just want to upgrade - but have dreaded learning code, just wait till the end of January and you'll be home free.

- latitude / ld

Why Wait until the First of the Year?

December 18 - Antigua

An aerial view of Antigua's English and Falmouth Harbors, one of the great yachting centers and racing venues in the world.

The sailing action is heating up earlier every season down in the Caribbean. For example, the Superyacht Cup was held last weekend in Antigua immediately following the Antigua Charterboat Show, and attracted seven entries. It's a far cry from the 75 mega yachts they anticipate for the 11th Annual Superyacht Cup in Palma next summer between the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup Finals, but this was the first year for the Antigua version.

Maltese Falcon in the foreground, Mirabella V in the background.

Among the best known participants were Tom Perkins' Belvedere-based 289-ft Maltese Falcon and Joe Vittoria's 247-ft Mirabella V. In the first of three races, both these boats were reported to have hit speeds in excess of 20 knots. Whoever does the best on the first day gets the lowest handicaps on the following days, so nobody take the results too seriously. But as it was, Maltese Falcon finished third overall behind American Don Smith's N/M 100-ft Patient Falcon and the 105-ft Kalikobass II.

- latitude / rs

The view from aboard Peter Harrison's 115-ft Farr-designed ketch Sojana.
Photos Courtesy Superyacht Cup

Classy Classifieds Deadline Is Today

December 18 - Mill Valley

Today's December 18 and you know what that means: Classified deadline for
the January issue is at 5 pm. With all the holiday hustle and bustle we
thought it might have slipped your mind. Winter is still a very good time to
sell your boat or get rid of that used gear that's cluttering up your life. With Winter Solstice at the end of this week, it's suddenly time to start getting ready for spring sailing.

Click here to submit your ad online or give Mary a call at (415) 383-8200 ext 104 and she'll set you up.

- latitude / mb

More African Immigrants Perish on Small Boat

December 18 - Dakar, Senegal

Desperate for freedom and economic opportunity not readily available in Africa, many residents of western Africa are willing to risk their lives in small boats in an attempt to reach the Canary Islands. Once in the Canaries, they can easily make their way to Spain and the rest of the European Union countries.

Some 22,000 would-be immigrants have already been caught this year, but no doubt many more have escaped detection.

It's an extremely dangerous trip, as the smugglers pack as many of the desperate people as possible into their often decrepit boats. Today it's being reported that 150 (!) people were aboard one small wooden boat that went down along the Senegalese coast. Only 24 people were rescued, which means approximately 125 humans on the small boat died horrible deaths.

- latitude / rs

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