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Photo of the Day: OCR Update

January 26 - Miami, FL

The 49er fleet gets off the start line in Tuesday's light-wind racing.

The weather on Biscayne Bay continues to challenge sailors at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta. Earlier in the week, lack of wind postponed racing for some and canceled it altogether for others. By Thursday, too much wind had forced some sailors into survival mode. A cold front passed through, bringing with it breeze in the mid-20s, rain and chilly temps -  for Miami. But the crowd of more than 800 Olympic hopefuls who've come from the four corners of the world to compete against the best of the best remain focused on the business at hand.

Ynglings at the start under dark clouds on Wednesday. The rain had yet to come. Note the skipper's race attire on FRA 7.

Ellen Hoke of Grand Prix Sailing Academy is in Miami this week and is more impressed with the quality of the competitors than the unseasonable temperatures. She filed this report: "Wednesday morning during the postponement, Star sailors were sitting around under cover at the Coral Reef YC while it poured. It was like a Who's Who of sailing for me - two-time Star world champion Freddie Loof of Sweden was leaning up against a pillar, John Dane chatting it up on one side of the patio while Australian Colin Beashel sat peacefully waiting out the rain. Earlier that morning I saw Olympic medalist Mark Reynolds helping fellow San Diegan Vince Brun carry around sails. I'm like a kid in a candy store here!

"The overall quality of all the sailors is impressive," she continues. "The gear being worn is from every major event - Volvo Ocean Races, America's Cups, and, of course, previous Olympics. I casually looked at one pair of very sculpted calves only to see Olympic rings tattooed on the back. (A friend of mine that had completed an Iron Man triathlon has a similar tattoo.) I have no idea who that was, but obviously there are many former Olympians here."

Here are the results for NorCal teams:

49er (47 boats, 11 races completed):
4. Morgan Larson/Pete Spaulding
36. John Heineken/Matt Noble
46. John Gilmour/Pat Stahkle

Star (67 boats, 7 races):
37. Peter Vessella (with a second in the silver fleet's race 7 earlier today).

Laser Radial (69 boats, 9 races):
44. Claire Dennis
46. Katie Maxim

Laser (114 boats, 9 races):
97. Caleb Everett

Women's 470 (18 boats, 11 races):
15. Molly Carapiet/Molly O'Bryan

A look of determination - or is it pain? - rounding the mark.
Photos Ellen Hoke

Racing ends today for all but the top 10 boats in each class. Following the new format set forth for the 2008 Olympic regatta, the top 10 boats at the end of today will go on to the medal race tomorrow. For complete results of today's racing and tomorrow's medal race, go to www.rolexmiamiocr.org.

- latitude / ss


Joe Kenney Injured in Attack

January 26 - San Luis Obispo

We were shocked to learn that Joe Kenney was in critical condition at this writing in a hospital in San Luis Obispo. This follows an apparently random attack outside a San Luis Obispo pub on January 15 when Joe was assaulted from behind, knocked unconscious and fell to the ground, striking his head.

We met Joe during the 2004 Baja Ha-Ha when he was cruising south with buddy Brad Wilcox on the Ranger 37 Johnny Rook. Although not officially part of the Ha-Ha fleet, the pair sailed with us for awhile and Joe became the life of the party at get-togethers on the beach.

While he enjoyed going 6 knots on his cruise south that year, Joe, 36, makes his living going a bit faster. He is a professional free-style rider on the PWC circuit.

Joe's injury is serious. In the days following the incident, he started to recognize people, but couldn't quite access their names. He then took a turn for the worse and had to undergo emergency surgery to remove a clot in his brain. He has been in a coma since then, condition unchanged. According to reports, doctors expect to try to bring him out of the coma in the next few days.

The outpouring of support for Joe has been worldwide and overwhelming. (You can view or join one of the forums at http://www.pwctoday.com/printthread.php?t=98638). To aid Joe with the medical care and treatment he is currently receiving and will require in the future, his family and friends have set up an Injury Assistance Fund. Donations can be made to:

Washington Mutual Bank
c/o Joe Kenney Injury Assistance Fund
1235 Chorro
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Routing#: 322271627 Account#: 3142466007

There is also a current eBay auction wherein all proceeds go to Joe's medical bills. Log onto eBay and type 'Joe Kenney' into the search engine. For more information about Joe Kenney please visit www.joekenney.com.

The man who hit Joe has reportedly turned himself in and claimed self-defense in the altercation. Friends of Joe who were with him at the time maintain that the attack was unprovoked.

Joe has done a tremendous amount to positively promote his sport, the cruising lifestyle, and to inspire everyone to get out and live their dreams. We join the long list of those wishing him a speedy recovery.

- latitude / jr

Even Beautiful Places Have Their Special Days

January 26 - St. Barth, French West Indies

And yesterday was a special afternoon on the hook in St. Barth. The trades had gone light, so the water was smooth - which is pretty unusual - and therefore clear to the bottom. But the best thing was the sky. The normal sky conditions in the Eastern Caribbean are partly cloudy, with the clouds being mostly tradewind puffballs. But there was an almost completely blue sky yesterday, which took on increasing amounts of blue and gold hues as the sun got closer to the horizon. It was lovely, with the colors even softer than usually found in sunsets that are some of the best in the world.

We were nearly the most leeward boat anchored under Fort Oscar in the Gustavia outer harbor and, therefore, had a nearly unobstructed view of the setting sun, the island of Saba about 28 miles in the distance, and the four or five boats that were sailing slowly in the light sunset conditions. We pulled out the iPod and punched in some soft Bach. Doña brought out a spinach salad that featured all kinds of tasty little treats, and we might have had a cocktail. It was about as relaxing and as far removed as could be from our normal life behind a keyboard back home - which was the point. When your chance comes to enjoy moments such as this, don't pass them up.

Of course, it's fun to have a little excitement each day, too. In these parts, meaning St. Barth and St. Martin, there are three regularly exciting things. The first, and often the best, is when the Air France 747 tries to land on the not particularly long runway at Julianna Airport in St. Martin. In the accompanying well-known photograph, the pilot came in so low that his landing gear took out a section of the cyclone fence that separates a regular island road from the runway.

Take-offs are great also, as it's almost as fun to stand behind the cyclone fence when the 747 pilot applies full thrust, knowing the plane can't even safely take off with a full load of fuel. Locals say that people used to bring their little dogs, throw them in the air, and let the jet blast blow them into the nearby ocean. We've never seen that, but we have seen hats and towels blown off the beach and into to drink. Another fun attraction is watching the big motoryachts try to make it inside Simpson Lagoon without scraping the sides of their hulls. The bridge only opens three times a day but, even when it is open, the 200+ foot motoryachts don't have a lot of margin on each side. Plus, there is often a current and strong winds to raise the blood pressure of the captains. The scratched up sides of the opening are a testament to the fact that not all captains are up to the task.

The third thrill in the area is watching the small planes trying to land at St. Barth's little airport - the one where the planes have to clear a ridge and then stop before ending up in the ocean. Watching the planes try to land and take off is never-ending entertainment, and is the number one tourist attraction. In this photo that we took yesterday, it looks for all the world as if the plane came in a little low and landed softly in the brush.

Photos Latitude/Richard

In fact, the plane is making a fairly normal landing, but will have to quickly dive to get down on the runway in time. The road in the photo is the main one of the island, and there used to be a sign that advised drivers of cars they had to give right of way to landing airplanes. This was probably put up after the famous incident in which a plane's landing gear bounced off the roof of a car. A bit of excitement during the day followed by some soothing excitement at sunset - it's what we prescribe for all of you.

- latitude / rs

Wanna Watch a Fiasco?

January 26 - San Francisco

Be at the Marina/St. Francis YC/Crissy Field shoreline tomorrow morning around 9:30-10:00 and you'll see 297 sailboats of various shapes and sizes going in different directions to different marks in a seemingly arbitrary manner at apparently random times. It's the Three Bridge Fiasco for single- and doublehanded sailors, and it's all explained in Wednesday's 'Lectronic and on organizer Singlehanded Sailing Society's Web site at www.sfbaysss.org (there actually is a method to the madness). Be sure to take a camera!

- latitude / cw

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