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Photos of the Day: Fontenoy Finishes Westabout Circumnavigation Under Jury Rig

March 19 - Reunion Island, Indian Ocean

Maud Fontenoy completed her westabout circumnavigation under jury rig last Wednesday.
©2007 Richard Bouhet/AFP

Last week, after five months alone at sea, Maud Fontenoy, the 29-year-old French wisp of a sailor who was dismasted last month just 2,000 miles from completing a westabout solo circumnavigation, crossed her outbound track at Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Fontenoy was met last Wednesday by a small fleet to escort her into port. The next morning, the resilient and resourceful mariner stepped ashore for the first time since October and was greeted by thousands of supporters.

"These last five months have had numerous hellish moments, but I don't regret a thing," Fontenoy said moments after finishing her journey. "I've reached the conclusion that I have now come to my limit. It's not a question of strength, but of determination."

Fontenoy was just ten days from her destination on February 10 when the carbon fiber mast on her 85-ft sloop L'Oréal Paris snapped in benign conditions. She spent three days affecting repairs and constructing a jury rig out of the boat's 220-lb boom - a set up which saw her home safely, if a bit more slowly.

After dismasting, Fontenoy spent three back-breaking days maneuvering L'Oréal Paris' boom in place. The jury rig was strong enough to take her the remaining 2,000 miles.
©2007 Richard Bouhet/AFP

"This trip has opened me up toward others," Fontenoy replied when asked about her future. "I think it will very probably be the last one I do by myself. I want to devote myself to others. But now I am really longing to have a shower and dress up like a girl."

- latitude / ld


Rites of Spring Regatta

March 19 - Alameda

Keteau and Tainted Love in the washing machine off Angel Island's Point Blunt
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Oakland Yacht Club's 19th annual Rites of Spring Regatta, for single and doublehanders, lived up to its name on Saturday as an event-high 76 boats 'earned' the new season on Saturday with stiff breeze, choppy water and a big ebb. In another hallmark of spring sailing, the ROS racers sailed out of fog into brilliant sun, returning to the fog to finish. With 15-25 knot winds over the course, all 10 fleets were given 10-12-mile courses, starting and finishing near the Berkeley Pier.

The Nonsuch 30 Jolin lets it all hang out.
Photos Latitude/JR
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

There was lots to talk about post-race at OYC. Like the tiller coming off one boat sailing past Angel Island, which caused a roundup and blown spinnaker. The experienced skipper and crew soon had things back under control. Then there was the boat where, during the process of removing a spinnaker wrap, the boat took a roll and the foredeck guy found himself hanging onto the pole 6 feet away from the boat. Fortunately, a roll the opposite way deposited him back on barco-firma. But none of that held a candle to the story told by Ben Haket and Bernard Slabeck on the Mull 22 Straitjacket. They were sailing downwind under spinnaker when the headstay came off. It didn't break - apparently the pin on the clevis just came out. Slabeck went forward, fixed the problem . . . and then fell overboard! He immediately started grabbing for handholds as the boat slipped by, thankfully latching onto a fitting near the stern where Haket was able to help him back aboard.

Division winners were:
Max Spin A - Lilith, WylieCat 39, Tim/Karin Knowles
Max Spin B - Lotta'tude, WylieCat 30, Jonathan/Tim Bloom
Min Spin - Green Onions, Moore 24, John Tuma/Saul Schumsky
Max Non Spin - Q, Schumacher 40, Glenn Isaacson/Todd Hedin
Min Non Spin - Arabella, Alerion Express 28, Harry Allen/Henry Culp
Catalina 34 - Crew's Nest, David Irvine/Bob Brainard
Santana 22 - Maguro, Pete Trachy/Tom Partredge
Multihull - Three Sigma, F-27, Chris Harvey/Phil Jenkins
Spin - Emerald, Yankee 30, Peter Jones
Non Spin - Deva, J/100, Steve Ripple
Complete results: www.oaklandyachtclub.com

Tune back in on Wednesday, when we'll have coverage of St. Francis YC's Spring One Design Regatta.

- latitude / jr

Looking Good

March 19 - San Francisco Bay

Photo Latitude/JR
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

100 years of design development crossed paths over the weekend. With the westerly back, it's a great time to go sailing again.

- latitude / jr

The Latest on the Icom M-802 SSB Blues

March 19 - Airwaves all over the World

Icom has announced a solution to the Icom 802 clipping problems. But not everyone is convinced yet that the solution will work. And one well-known SSB expert says that contrary to what Icom says, all 802s need some kind of fix.
If you have an Icom 802 marine SSB and are having clipping problems, you're not alone. We had them during the Baja Ha-Ha on the mothership Profligate, folks out cruising from Trinidad to Tahiti to Mexico have reported similar problems, and radio guru Gordon West reports that boats in both the recent Puerto Vallarta and Cabo races have had them, too. Indeed, some are wondering if the 802s will be allowed in this summer's TransPac.

The problem is based in the fact that radio antennas on sailboats are far from ideal, as demonstrated by their generally relatively high SWRs - or standing wave ratios. A high SWR is indicative of power not being able to be used for transmitting, because of mismatched impedances, rattling around and even backwashing toward the radio transmitter. Because of the high voltages associated with excessively high SWRs, they can damage a radio, too, so that has to be protected against.

In the case of Icom 710s, which have never had clipping problems, Icom prevented transmitters in high SWR situations from damaging the radio by simply cutting back on power, from 150 watts to 20 watts, for all voice transmissions. That was fine - except that a loss of power meant a loss of range. Wanting to improve the 802s, apparently Icom set the radio to just cut back during vocal peaks. They say this allows full power to be kept on all the time - a claim that's disputed by some. Unfortunately, this resulted in clipping during vocal peaks, and means transmissions can't be understood. A tech rep from Icom told us they were perhaps overly aggressive in attacking the problem with the 802, and they have a free solution, which requires sending the unit to Washington.

- latitude / rs

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