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Photos of the Day

February 21 - Mill Valley

Here's the drawer, and it's too small for a five-year-old.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Today's Photo of the Day will hopefully settle a minor disagreement. We recently wrote that Mill Valley's Warwick Tompkins, who is now sailing the oceans of the world for the seventh decade, was given the nickname 'Commodore' when he was an infant living aboard Wanderbird, an 1880s Elbe River pilot schooner that his parents sailed all over the world, including around Cape Horn. The story we'd heard was that after being given a tour of the boat, a visitor pulled out the top drawer of a chest of drawers, only to find the infant Warwick sleeping inside. "I've already met the captain," said the visitor, "so this must be the commodore." Presumably everybody laughed, so the nickname took.

Not so, said one of Commodore's friends, who remembers being told that Tompkins had somehow got the nickname when he was about five, long after he would have outgrown the drawer.

Since Commodore's house is right up the road, we went to the source for a definitive answer - and some humorous photos. It just so happens that Commodore still has the chest of drawers in question - it's the one in the photos. And even after we got his wife Nancy's bras and underwear out of the top drawer, it was clear that only a very small infant could have lived inside. So that, we think, settles that.

Because he enjoys a good laugh, Commodore, who turns 75 this weekend and hopes all his old friends will show up for his birthday party Saturday afternoon at the San Francisco YC, climbed up on the chest to see if he could, all these years later, still fit into the drawer. As you can see from the second photo, he could not.

Commodore's limber for 75, nonetheless, being limber won't be enough for him to fit in the drawer.
Photos Above Latitude/Richard
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Having delivered a catamaran from New Zealand to Japan, Commodore and Nancy didn't get in as much South Pacific cruising this year aboard their Wylie 38+ Flashgirl as they hoped. But he'll be returning to the boat in her hole at Vuda Point, Fiji, in a few months to get her ready to go again, and a short time later Nancy will join him. Then it's off cruising once more.

Nancy, as seen cruising around an island in the South Pacific.
Photo Courtesy Flashgirl
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

How did he like the cat he delivered? Apparently we're going to have an article in the next issue titled, Why Nobody Should Ever Own a Catamaran. We can't wait.

- latitude / rs


Corinthian Midwinters: The Audacity of Hope

February 21 - Tiburon

If you've been around as long as we have, you'll recall the hippy phrase, 'What if they gave a war and nobody came?' We were reminded of that thought this past weekend when the Corinthian YC gave a midwinter race and no wind came.

On Saturday, a building ebb had most boats battling Elephant Rock rather than each other. The rock won.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Well, not NO wind, but about as close as we've ever seen to it. On Sunday, of 165 boats in 18 divisions, only 43 toughed out the asthmatic conditions to finish. Seven whole divisions had no finishers. But that paled in comparison to Saturday, when only 12 boats finished. Three divisions couldn't even start.

Rabian heads for home while most of the rest of the Sunday fleet is stuck battling the 5+ knot ebb to round Harding Rock. Once again, the rock beat most of them.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Two of the lucky ones - Serena (foreground) and Yeofy - on a screaming reach to the finish on Sunday.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

The good news is, the weather was warm and beautiful, CYC's Saturday post-race festivities started about three hours early and - go figure - this final weekend of the CYC series may go down as one of its most memorable. Much of this had to do with the huge (and by then well lubricated) cheering section assembled at the club to watch Saturday's finishers straggle in led by the WylieCat 30 Silkye, with the last one - Mike Garl's Beneteau 40.7 White Dove - beating the 5 p.m. deadline by all of six seconds. The cheer echoed all the way to downtown Tiburon.

Here's something you don't see everyday: spectators at a sailboat race.
Photos Latitude/JR
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Despite the conditions, overall standings for the two-weekend, four-race series included several straight-bullet performances. A tip of the hat to Glenn Isaacson's Schumacher 40 Q, Steve Seal's Silkye, Chuck Eaton's Alerion 28 Eagle, and Ron Young's IOD Youngster.

Complete results can be found at www.cyc.org. And look for a more complete story of the 'breathless' event in the March Racing Sheet in Latitude 38.

- latitude / jr

The Search for Jim Gray Is Over

February 21 - San Francisco

The private search for missing singlehander Jim Gray and his C&C 40 Tenacious was called off last week after three weeks of intensive searching, first by the Coast Guard and then by Gray's many friends in the computer science industry. Untold numbers of volunteers scanned thousands of satellite images looking for the boat or its debris. No sign of Gray or Tenacious has been found.

The friends and family of Jim Gray are grateful for all the well wishes and help they've received, and still hold out hope that someday they'll get answers about what happened that lovely January day. In the meantime, they would like to ask everyone to keep an eye out for debris. Tenacious had a red hull with large silver stripes and a black mast. Gray was probably wearing a green sweatshirt and a red jacket when he disappeared. If you spot any wreckage, contact the Coast Guard at (415) 399-3547 with its location.

Tenacious during a cruise to Catalina Island. The C&C 40 and her owner disappeared on January 28 during a trip to the Farallon Islands.
Photo Courtesy the Gray Family
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

- latitude / ld

It's Another World in the Off Season

February 21 - Santa Catalina Island

"After reading your 'Lectronic comments about how unreal and artificial people and things have become in the urban world, at least compared to your time in the Caribbean, we decided to head to an island, too - Catalina," report Dennis and Sue Nespor of Southern California. "While there, we had some incredible weather, and there was almost nobody at the Isthmus. Here's what our boat looked like at Cherry Cove."

Photo Courtesy the Nespors
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Nice photo. The interesting thing about Catalina is that even during the busy summer months, it - except for Avalon and weekends - is a very real place with real people. That's why it's such a fabulous getaway for everyone - for kids camping, hikers hiking, and mariners sailing. It's hard to beat nature.

- latitude / rs

'Tides' at Max

February 21 - Sausalito

Bay Area sailing guru, and owner of Pineapple Sails, Kame Richards will be teaching a lucky few "How the Tides Work for You" at the Bay Model in Sausalito on Saturday afternoon. Celeste Mirassou, who is coordinating the presentation, asked us to let folks know the 1 p.m. auditorium presentation is sold out and there are only a few spots left for the 3 p.m. talk. Sadly, for anyone who didn't make a reservation for this wildly popular talk, they are required.

Luckily, Richards will be giving the same presentation on March 20 at 7 p.m., so, if you mistakenly thought you could just drop in, email or call (415) 331-6008 to sign up. The $15 fee (exact change, please) is a donation to the Bay Model.

- latitude / ld

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©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.