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Photos of the Day: Morning Light

January 12 - Honolulu, HI

The team's TP52 race boat, Morning Light, under full sail off Honolulu

Some great photos came out of Hawaii this week, where the Morning Light crew is preparing to be the youngest team to compete in the Transpacific Yacht Race. The 13 young adults (the crew's average age at the start of the race will be 21) have been training in the gym and on the water aboard the Transpac 52 they'll sail in this year's race. Teachers at the head of the class have included West Marine's Chuck Hawley talking about safety-at-sea procedures, Stan Honey on navigation, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy offshore sailing coach Ralf Steitz.

- latitude / ss

Chris Branning welcomes teammates aboard after abandoning the TP52 during a life-raft drill.

Once the crew maneuvered the raft away from the boat, a Coast Guard helicopter dropped in a rescue swimmer who proceeded to explain what would have happened in the event of a real emergency. "It was very cool," said crew member Charlie Enright, "but I hope it's the last time we do it."
Photos Courtesy Morning Light Team Photo Pool

Singlehander Barnes Deluged by International Media

January 12 - Newport Beach

The recent rescue of solo circumnavigator Ken Barnes near Cape Horn triggered an international media frenzy which is painfully ironic on several levels.

First, Barnes, being a pretty humble guy, sought virtually no publicity prior to setting out in late October. His attempt was simply a personal challenge, with no further agenda. He consented to be interviewed for our September, 2006, Sightings piece, only because he is a fan of the magazine. Although Barnes, 47, has spent his entire life around the water, he openly acknowledged that he had relatively little offshore experience, and therefore did not want to invite criticism from every armchair pontificator in the sailing world by seeking advance publicity. Now, ironically, he has become an accidental celebrity - even Oprah and Leno are seeking interviews - not for completing his around-the-world attempt, but for becoming stranded in the Southern Ocean aboard his dismasted 44-ft ketch Privateer - a fact that has probably inspired Monday-morning quarterbacking from every blowhard on the planet.

Perhaps even more ironic is the safe assumption that if he had successfully completed his lap around the globe, the feat would barely have been a blip on the radar of mainstream media outlets. He would have been the first American to solo nonstop from the West Coast. But Canadian Tony Gooch completed a similar trip several years ago from Vancouver, so even in the yachting press Barnes' trip probably wouldn't have been front page news.

We were very pleased, however, that shortly after returning home to Newport Beach, Barnes snuck away from an onslaught of TV, radio and newspaper reporters who'd been shadowing him to call and give us the full story of his storm saga and rescue. "The last thing I wanted to do," he recalled, "was activate that EPIRB." Look for our report in the February edition of Latitude 38.

- latitude / aet

Sailing Calendar Now Available as an e-Book

January 12 - Mill Valley

We're thrilled to announce that the recently distributed 2007 Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Master Schedule has just come out in e-Book format. Better yet, it's free for everyone, everywhere to enjoy!

Every local sailor needs this publication.
And every sailor's laptop needs the e-Book version.
Graphic Latitude/John A.& Chris

For more info on our e-Books and to access the Calendar, click here.

Jud Smith and Paige Railey Have Been Crowned US Sailing's 2006 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year.

January 12 - Portsmouth, RI

Jud Smith

Paige Railey

Photos Courtesy US Sailing

Paige Railey, who was also named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year in 2006, has been short-listed for this award every year since 2002. A native of Clearwater, FL, and a St. Francis YC member, the honor is a testament to not only her early rise to the top of the sport but also her remarkable staying power over the years in the Laser Radial. Not yet 20, she rewrites the history books upon becoming the youngest woman ever to receive the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award - breaking the 12-year record held by Danielle Brennan, who was also 19 when she received the award (in 1994).

"This was a great year for me," said Railey, "and I'm extremely excited and happy to win this award. It is a huge honor to be chosen by the sailing community and to be included in such elite company."

Her victories this year included hard-fought wins at Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, France, and the ISAF World Sailing Games in Neusiedl, Austria. Railey said sub-par finishes in two major events led her to place more emphasis on her personal well-being prior to the Good Luck Beijing-2006 Qingdao International Regatta, the first test event in China at the venue of the 2008 Olympic Regatta. She focused on going into the regatta relaxed, a strategy that paid off as she amassed a substantial lead that secured her the gold medal before the final race of the series - a victory that she feels was her most important of the year. Winning a gold medal in Beijing next year is Railey's ultimate goal.

First-time nominee Jud Smith, of Marblehead, MA, was recognized for his victory at the Audi Etchells World Championship in Australia in November. The five-time North American champion had previously been a four-time runner up at the Worlds. "This award is a by-product of a year that came together well," said Smith, a sailmaker who celebrates his 50th birthday later this month. "It's awesome. I'm astonished and surprised, absolutely excited. I always thought the only way I would win a Rolex was racing at an event. It never entered my mind that I would win one through this award."

His domination of the Etchells class in 2006 included victories at the Lands' End Annapolis NOOD Regatta, Florida State Championship and Acura Miami Race Week. He also helmed a Rhodes 19 to National and East Coast championships and crewed on the class winners at the Rolex Big Boat Series (on the Sydney 38 Copernicus), the Lands' End Chicago NOOD Regatta and the Verve Cup (both on the Farr 40 Inferno).

Smith and Railey were part of a shortlist of nominees determined by the membership of US Sailing. The final selection was made by a panel of noted sailing journalists. For additional information on the awards, including accomplishments of the nominees on the shortlist for 2006, go to www.ussailing.org/awards/rolex.

- us sailing

LORAN: Do or Die

January 12 - Alexandria, VA

Championing the cause of the LORAN-C system seems to us a bit like campaigning for the return of 8-track tapes. But there is (apparently) still a contingent of sailors out there who prefer this land-based navigation system over GPS.

There have been many threats over the years to shut down LORAN-C (LOng Range Navigation System), which is currently operated by the Coast Guard, and another looms for later this year. The Coast Guard is currently seeking public comment on the issue.

At question is whether the system should be decommissioned, maintained as is, or upgraded to an 'enhanced' LORAN system (eLORAN), which could be used either as a back-up to the GPS system, or a complimentary system to GPS.

So if you have strong feelings about LORAN-C, here's your chance to voice them. For information on how to submit comments, go to www.navcen.uscg.gov/eLORAN/E6-22421.pdf, or call the U.S. Coast Guard Info line at (800) 368-5647. The public comment period closes on February 7.

- latitude / jr

Three Bridge Fiasco

January 12 - San Francisco

If the recent fine weather has you itching to hit the water again, the Singlehanded Sailing Society's Three Bridge Fiasco may be just what the doctor ordered. As we said in the January issue of Latitude 38, the fun fiasco for single- and doublehanded boats is one of our favorite races on the Bay. Apparently, plenty of local sailors agree. Last year's tour of the Golden Gate, Richmond-San Rafael, and Bay Bridges (in any order) attracted a whopping 248 entries. This year, the SSS's Jeff Berman says they're shooting for a record-breaking 300 entries on the starting line January 27.

A few important dates are coming up quickly. The entry form and $45 race fee (for non-SSS members; full SSS membership is $135) are due to the SSS by this Monday, January 15. The skippers meeting will be at Oakland YC on Wednesday, January 17, at 7:30 p.m. Sailing instructions and entry form are available for download from the SSS Web site: www.sfbaysss.org.

- latitude / ss

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