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Birthday Boys

February 26 - Mill Valley

You coulda used this thing in a lighthouse when all the candles were finally lit.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Two well-known Northern California sailors had birthdays over the weekend. Commodore Tompkins turned 75 on Saturday. He and wife Nancy flew all the way back from their Wylie 39 Flashgirl, in Tahiti, to celebrate with friends. Only when it came time to blow out all those candles did he learn that - what are the odds? - Skip Allan had the same birthday. "Although I do believe he is considerably younger," noted Commodore. So they collaborated on blowing the candles out.

Birthday boys Skip Allan and Commodore Tompkins
Photos Latitude/JR
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Best wishes to both for many more years of sailing fun.

- latitude / jr


Scout Spirit Dismasted in PV Race

February 26 - Long Beach

Magnitude 80 overtook Scout Spirit soon after Friday's racing division start.
©2007 Rick Roberts/UnderTheSunPhotos.com

Scout Spirit, David Janes' Reichel/Pugh 77, was dismasted Friday afternoon, just over three hours after the start of the 19th Annual Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta Race. Scout Spirit had just screamed past Santa Catalina in 20-kt winds and rough seas when the backstay parted, sending most of the mast tumbling down. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the crew managed to save the new main, though the rig had to be cut away. "It was a little hairy for a while in rough seas," recounted Janes. "But everybody did their job and nobody got hurt. That's the most important thing."

The crew of Scout Spirit spent Saturday afternoon cleaning up the boat after losing their mast Friday. Chris Branning from Roy E. Disney's Morning Light team is standing near the stern on the right. 
©2007 Rick Roberts/UnderTheSunPhotos.com

Ironically, Scout Spirit is now berthed in the empty slip of their rival, Magnitude 80, which is well on her way to crushing the old course record of 4 days, 23 hours, 14 seconds set by the MacGregor 65 Joss in 1985. The Andrews 80 owned by Doug Baker has been seeing an average of 14.5 knots, and has until Wednesday at 1300 PST to sail the remaining 500 miles to beat the record. Of course, nothing is certain, but it seems likely Magnitude will prevail. To see updates and position reports, go to www.pv07.com.

- latitude / ld

Weekend Racing in Squalls and Sprinkles

February 26 - Alameda and Berkeley

On Saturday, nineteen women skippers in three divisions competed in Island YC's Sadie Hawkins Regatta on the Estuary - the first event in the new, completely informal and unofficial Women's Racing Circuit. For results, see www.iyc.org/raceinfo.htm.

The Sadie Hawkins skippers gather for a photo opp.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

The Sadie Hawkins is a full-crew event; the next event on the list, Oakland YC's Rites of Spring, is a singlehanded/doublehanded Bay race, to be held on March 17. See http://mundialnetworks.com/oycrace for sign-up info. If you'd like to be scored as part of a women-only division, include a note to that effect on your entry form. For a complete list of events on the 'circuit', see page 30 of the 2007 Sailing Calendar.

Sunday featured Berkeley YC's Midwinter Champion of Champions face-off of first, second, and third place boats on a windward-leeward double-sausage course. A lot of the champs opted to sit this one out, some due in part to the choppy seas and gusty winds, which topped out around 27 knots. You wouldn't think it was a good day for small boats, but the Champion of Champions was Ben Landon's Thompson T650 Lighting.

Hiking out on Lighting under dark and threatening skies
Photos Alan Smithee
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

For full results of the Saturday and Sunday series and the Champion of Champions, see www.berkeleyyc.org/racing/midwinters/index.html.

- latitude / cw

Sail a Small Boat on Saturday

February 26 - Pt. Richmond

Gather up your wetsuit or waterproof sailing gear, a PFD if you've got one, a towel, and a change of clothes and head on over to Richmond YC on Saturday, March 3, for the opportunity to try out a bunch of different dinghies and small boats (the long list ranges from El Toros to a Santana 22). This fun event is open to everyone - sailors and non-sailors, young and old. Free rides will be available on a first come, first served basis, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For details, see www.richmondyc.org/events/sailaboatday/default.asp.

- latitude / cw

Poster for Missing Sailor

February 23 - San Francisco Bay Area

Dr. Jim Gray and his C&C 40 Tenacious have vanished without a trace, and his friends have asked us to run this flyer on 'Lectronic:


To download a print-quality PDF of this flyer you can post on a bulletin board, click here.

For the full story - at least as far as anyone knows it - of Gray's mysterious disappearance, see Sightings in the March issue of Latitude 38, which will hit the streets on Thursday, March 1.

- latitude / cw

Skipper Lost after Cruising Cat Flips near Bermuda

February 26 - Bermuda

Veteran delivery skipper Steve Hobley of Devon, England, was lost last Monday when the 39-ft cat he was skippering flipped 200 miles northeast of Bermuda in severe weather conditions. Hobley and his two crew, Olof Templeman of the
U.K. and Kevin Klinges, 33, of Montana, were originally slated to sail from the Atlantic Coast of France to Fort Lauderdale via Madeira. But once into the voyage, they were directed to head to Annapolis instead of Lauderdale, a change in plan that required them to sail a more northerly, and therefore usually more storm-prone course.

According to Klinges' comments to the press, the crew were alerted that they would be hit by 30 to 40-knot winds for about six hours - which wouldn't be fun, but would be manageable. The storm turned out to be much worse than expected, with 10 hours of 30 to 40 knot wind followed by winds gusting to 65 knots and, even worse, 30-ft seas. At one point in the afternoon they were hit by a wave described as being "easily 45 feet," which broke over the back of the cat. Surprisingly, the cat and her crew survived that blow, but three hours later the boat was flipped.

An hour after setting off the EPIRB, it blinked, indicating their call for help was being responded to. For the next eight hours, the trio clung to the flipped cat, incredibly hanging on despite icy water, huge seas and seasickness. But as the rescue helicopter arrived, Hobley, who had been having the hardest time, became delirious and the crew could no longer save him.

In early December a Voyage 440 was found flipped on a beach off the coast of Oregon with no sign of her three crew. She was also the victim of extreme wind and sea conditions.

- latitude / rs & ld

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©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.