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Photos of the Day: Botox Barbie Lights Up Caribbean's Red Light District

January 3 - St. Barth, French West Indies

We've seen two things on the little Caribbean island in the last week that we never expected to see. The first was a couple of nights ago, when actress Catherine Zeta-Jones - who looks smashing - got up on the small stage at the La Plage Restaurant and sang 'No Woman, No Pride' with Jimmy Buffett. The second was on New Year's Eve afternoon, when Warren Stryker of St. Thomas - and before that, Sausalito - sailed into town, along with his 13-year-old son John-Phillip and buddy Kevan, and using his 25-year-old Hunter 54 Botox Barbie, bested some of the best yachts in the world to take corrected-time honors in the 31-boat St. Barth New Year's Eve Around-The-Island Race.

John-Phillip, Warren, and Kevan - who would have figured they'd do so well with a 25-year-old boat never known for racing prowess and dacron sails.

In order to achieve his victory, Stryker and his crew - which included Bill Lilly of Newport Beach-based Lagoon 47 Moonshine, Patty Cochran of Corona del Mar, and the Wanderer - had to beat a lot of boats whose masts are so tall they are required to show red lights to prevent airplanes from flying into them. Included among them were the 135-ft J Class Endeavour, the 136-ft J Class Ranger, the Dubois 162-ft Tiara (without a helicopter on her aft deck), the Alloy 160 Georgia, the Swan 112 Highland Breeze, as well as a lot of terrific small boats, such as the Swan 82 Opus V, the new 72-ft sloop Fearless, the 72-ft sloop Gitana, and the Dubois 72 Bellaxtrix (which was entered as "tender to Le Grand Bleu", because she's carried as deck cargo aboard Russian oil oligarch Roman Abramovich's 300-ft motoryacht).

The Swan 42 Carbon battles the slop off Coconut Island.

Little Noah Noah goes for air in the shallow waters near Le Toiny rock.

It was a fair race, with blustery tradewinds between 15 and 22 knots, sunshine and small squalls, and a course that featured a lot of beating into five-foot tradewind seas and slop, as well as a long downwind leg, followed by a flatwater beat.

Botox Barbie - named after the then 11-year-old John-Phillip saw a blonde cougar in a convertible at Hull Bay on St. Thomas - excelled to weather in the typical tradewind conditions that saw the really little boats, such as the Beneteau 21 Noah Noah, bouncing around like just another discarded champagne cork in Gustavia Harbor on New Year's Day morning. It was actually a terrific example of how a guy like Stryker, who really knows his boat and who really knows how to sail, can get the maximum potential out of a boat. Friends think he learned to sail upwind in the Caribbean trades after all but singlehanding his 41-ft full keel Bounty II Fifties Girl from Panama to St. Thomas in the '80s. "He might have lost his mind in that two-week, 1,800-mile slog across hell," says a friend, "but he seemed to have picked up a knack for efficient upwind and upcurrent sailing. It was either that or die."

After the leeward mark of Ile Forschue, it was a flat water upwind drag race between the J/42 Shazam! and Botox Barbie. Smelling fear from the Shazam skipper, Stryker waterlined the shorter boat.

The gorgeous 72-ft Fearless, which took honors in her class, was typical of many of the fine boats in the race/parade.

Indeed, it wasn't the first time Stryker has done well sailing upwind around St. Barth. Back in '91, he won 27 gallons of rosé after he and Fifties Girl beat the 56-ft Jubilee, winner of the Route du Rose transatlantic race, boat for boat from St. Thomas to St. Barth.

Despite Botox Barbie Stryker correcting out on the fleet, the name on modest Around-The-Island perpetual trophy will be Mischievious, as in Trey Fitzgibbon's Meritan 65, which turned in the best corrected-time of any monohull. Region Guadeloupe, an ORMA 60 trimaran which, if we're not mistaken, turned in a 24-hour run of 625 miles at the hands of Laurant Bourgnon during a previous incarnation, bested the old elapsed-time course record held by Hasso Plattner's 147-ft Visione. But by just one minute.

Region Guadeloupe, which you and nine friends can charter with skipper Claude Thelier for just $7,200/day, set a new course record of one hour, 31 minutes on the 22-mile course.

Although not an official starter because of insurance issues, the J Class Endeavour, the best looking of all J Class boats, looked like a billion dollars. Jim Clark, noted for owning the 156-ft Hyperion and the 295-ft Athena, is building a sistership at Royal Huisman.

A few hours after the end of the race, the captains and crews gathered on the Charles de Gaulle Quai once again to welcome the new year with plenty of champagne, fireworks and bon années. It didn't turn out to be quite as wild and crazy a New Year's fete as it seemed it was going to a few days before, but nobody was complaining. Our highlights were hanging around La Gamelle with owners Philou and Mimi, who are dear friends with just about everyone, no matter how small their billfold, and later strolling into Bête à Z'Ailes at about 2 a.m. to find Jimmy Buffett playing once again for an enthusiastic crowd of about 50. The singer of choice of most sailors in the world seemed to be both surprised and delighted to have made it to age 60.

Visiting from her home in Bali, this lovely woman didn't mind having a bit more of Ju-Ju's champagne.

Being 60 and playing into the wee hours for fun seemed to suit Jimmy B just fine.

You gotta love St. Barth. The following morning L'Essentie, one of the local 'newspapers', featured a bunch of photographs of celebrities who'd been on the island, as well as a two photographs of cars that had driven off the narrow roads at almost the same spot on New Year's Eve. The editorial comment on the wrecked cars? "A certain kind of symmetrical beauty, no?"

Read all about it, two cars drive off the road and there's a certain symmetrical beauty to it.

We're staying here in the islands a little longer to learn about the French approach to beauty, food and sex, and hoping that your new year will be as good.

All Photos Latitude/Richard

Mike Slade's New Maxi-Maxi Leopard Is Presented

January 3 - London, England

We can't remember how it happened, but somehow we were aboard Mike Slade's 92-ft R/P Leopard of London for the '05 St. Barth Around-The-Island Race. In the course of sailing fast enough to win the top trophy for the event, Aussie skipper Chris Sherlock, the James Brown of sailing for being the hardest working skipper in the business, told us that owner Mike Slade of London was about to have construction begin on a new 100-footer. Although we weren't permitted to release the most juicy details at the time, Sherlock told us that while he and Slade, one of the really nice guys in sailing, had been pleased with the R/P design and Green Marine build, just for the fun of it they were going to go with a 30 meter Farr design to be built by McConaghy of Australia. And not only that, she was going to have a drop keel instead of a canting keel, and was going to be completed in just one year.

Mike Slade and Chris Sherlock
Photo Latitude/Richard

Most of what Sherlock said has turned out to be true. Farr has indeed designed the maxi-maxi, his first in many years, and Leopard 3, as she is to be called, is being built at McConaghy. However, she won't be done until June, and the drop canting keel concept has been tossed in favor of the more common canting keel. In addition, she'll have twin daggerboards up forward - they cost $100,000 each - instead of the single canard foil such as on the R/P designs.

Have you seen the videos of the Volvo 70s power reaching? Then take a look at the accompanying graphic that shows just how much more powerful the new Leopard will be. The thinking is that 40 knots will not be out of the question.

Graphic Courtesy www.farrdesign.com

Once launched in June, Leopard will begin a world circuit. In the past, Slade and Sherlock have been very aggressive about chartering both Ocean Leopard, an Ocean 80 and Leopard of London, and will continue that tradition. So if you've always wanted to race a state-of-the-art racing boat in a top racing event, here's your chance. All you need is the charter fee.

For complete details on the new Leopard, see the excellent report on Daily Sail website.

By the way, long time Bay Area sailors may remember that Slade did the St. Francis Big Boat Series with his maxi Longobarda about 20 years ago. In fact, the big Farr design became so attractively stuck in the mud at the entrance to the San Francisco Marina that she ended up on the cover of Latitude.


Youngest Solo Trans-Atlantic Sailor

January 3 - Antigua

Michael Perham, 14, sailed into Antigua - and the record books - today to become the youngest person to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean. Perham sailed from Gibraltar on November 18 aboard his Tide 28 Cheeky Monkey and was closely trailed by his father, Peter, in another Tide 28. While Peter never physically assisted his son, the pair were always in contact via radio and even traded watch schedules for added safety.

Perham estimated the trip would take about four weeks, but equipment failure that forced stops in Lanzarote and the Cape Verde Islands, rough weather, damage to Peter's rudder and Michael's mid-Atlantic swim to clear his own rudder combined to lengthen the trip to seven weeks, still an impressive feat. To read more about this gutsy kid's adventures, check out his website at www.sailmike.com - you can even donate to the two charities he's been working with: RYA Sailability and Children in Need.

Michael Perham, 14, is the now youngest person to sail solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Photo Courtesy www.sailmike.com

- latitude / ld

SoCal Singlehander Dismasted Near Cape Horn

Jan 3 - Southern Ocean

The Long Beach-based ketch Privateer was dismasted late yesterday afternoon in stormy conditions on her approach to Cape Horn. Singlehander Ken Barnes is apparently unharmed, and currently awaiting rescue by the Chilean Navy and a Maltese freighter.

Singlehander Ken Barnes

As reported earlier here, and in Latitude 38, Barnes was attempting to become the first West Coast sailor to complete a lap around the planet nonstop. Although he admittedly had little offshore experience, Barnes, 47, had spent years in preparation for this attempt, and had made extensive modification to his steel cutter-rigged ketch - which, coincidentally, was built in Malta - to prepare her for the storm conditions.

Barnes' Route
Graphic Courtesy www.kensolo.com

Although details of the dismasting are as yet unclear, he was apparently quickly in touch with authorities via his satphone. At this posting, his position is reported to be 54.45S, 86.11W (roughly 250 miles off the Chilean coast). C-130 aircraft are attempting to locate the 50-ft Privateer and the 570-ft rescue freighter should reach his position by tomorrow afternoon, by which time wind and wave action is predicted to subside.

An ironic twist to this story is that American singlehander Donna Lange, who is two-thirds of the way through her own solo attempt (Rhode Island to Rhode Island), is currently within 150 miles of Barnes position. See www.kensolo.com and www.donnalange.com for updates on both sailors.


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