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Photo of the Day

April 20 - Newport Harbor

Photo Mark Templin
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Today's Photo of the Day of the day was taken yesterday by Mark Templin, and demonstrates that although the entrance to Newport Harbor is benign almost all of the time, yesterday would not have been a good day for the Orange Coast College Shields - or any other boats - to use the entrance buoy as a rounding mark. And we can only imagine what the surge must have been like at the transient docks. On the other hand, it was a great day for surfers - until the wind later whipped up to 30 knots.

- latitude / rs


Strictly Sail Pacific Continues Through Sunday

April 20 - Oakland

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

This year's biggest-on-the-West Coast sailboat show is a terrific one, with lots of great boats and gear on display, and terrific seminars and other activities. For example, at 2:30 this afternoon, the President of the Pacific Ocean, Merl Petersen of the schooner Viveka, will be on hand to sign the certificates authenticating that attendees at Latitude 38's Circumnavigators' Party have all sailed around the world. What a great group of folks will be aboard the Lynx for that event!

Is this your year to do the Baja Ha-Ha? If so, you might want to attend today's Ha-Ha seminar and slide show, conducted by the Grand Poobah, which starts at 5:45 p.m. It's always a good time, so don't miss it.

- latitude / rs

Advertisement: Charter a 'West Coast Cat' in the Caribbean

April 20 - British Virgin Islands

Three of the four Leopard 45 catamarans in our fleet are owned by Northern Californians. These cats were designed and built specifically for four couple - or big family - charters in the BVIs, as they have four cabins with heads/showers en suite and the most spacious salons and cockpits in their class. Prices range from just $540/week/person in the low season to $820/week/person in the high season. Come find out what your sailing neighbors already know - that sailing a cat in the Caribbean with your friends and family is a blast. We also have a large fleet of monohulls. Having been in business since 1974, we like to think we can answer all your charter questions. So please call us at (888) 615-4006, visit our Web site at www.sailinthebvi.com, or email us.

America's Cup Challenger Series Finally Underway

April 20 - Valencia, Spain

The Louis Vuitton Cup - the challenger elimination series for America's Cup 32 - was mercifully released from four days of light-air postponements, and racing finally got underway today off Valencia. In this Round Robin part of the 'official' lead-up to the Cup, each challenger races each other challenger once. The high-points boats go on to Round Robin 2 later this month, followed by the semi-final and final rounds in May and June. The ultimate winner of the LVC earns the right to face the Swiss Alinghi Challenge in the actual America's Cup races in late June/early July.

First match race of the day and of the Louis Vuitton Cup: BMW Oracle Racing (USA 98) vs. United Internet Team Germany (GER 89)
©2007 Gilles Martin-Raget

In the Round Robins, there are two races (they call them 'flights' for some reason) per day. At this writing, the first flight saw predictable wins for the top-rated American BMW/Oracle and Italian Luna Rossa teams over United Internet Germany and Team China, respectively. BMW/Oracle also beat Team China - also predictably - in their second race. The only real upset in the first day's races was a defeat of points leader Emirates Team New Zealand by the Italian Mascalzone Latino team in the first race. But it's way too early to infer anything from, well, anything yet.

There were provisions in the LVC for rescheduling postponed races, but with the long delay, officials basically 'rebooted' the whole thing and started from scratch. Round Robin 1 will continue for a week until all flights are completed.

Eleven teams from nine countries are competing for sailing's oldest trophy this time. To follow the racing, log onto the official AC site, www.americascup.com.

- latitude / jr

Abandoned Yacht Found off Australia

April 20 - Australia

Shades of the Marie Celeste - on Wednesday, a 39-ft catamaran called Kaz II was found adrift 80 miles off Australia's Queensland coast with the sails up, engine running, computers on, food on the table . . . and no one aboard. Three friends, aged 56, 63 and 69, had set sail last Sunday from Airlie Beach on the East Coast for an eight-week 'trip of a lifetime' over the hump to Perth, on the West Coast.

The catamaran Kaz II was found adrift, engine running, off Australia with no one aboard.
Photo Cameron Laird
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Lifejackets, EPIRB, personal effects and the boat's inflatable dinghy were all still aboard. Depending on which report you read, the boat's liferaft might have been missing. There were also conflicting reports about the wind and sea conditions at the time of Kaz II's departure. They varied from "ideal 20-knot sailing conditions" to "30 knots with rising waves - I wouldn't have gone out."

A massive air and sea search is still underway, and the boat's GPS is being analyzed for clues to hopefully backtrack and help locate the trio.

- latitude / jr

Surviving a Twice-Flipped Cruising Cat

April 20 - Off the West Coast of Florida

It's rare for a cruising cat to flip, but even rarer for one to be flipped twice. But that's what happened to Paradox, a cat most recently owned by Tom and Stanna Galbraith of Durango, Colorado, which started life in '96 as an F/P Tobago 35. We're not sure how the cat came to be upside down in Belize's Rio Hondo in '01, but it's our understanding - from some fascinating video on the couple's Web site - that using a small tug, they managed to right the cat. Having been upside down long enough for there to be growth several inches long throughout the interior and deck of the boat, it was one disgusting mess. Nonetheless, the Galbraiths obviously saw possibilities, and after what had to be endless months of dreadful work, they ended up with a cat, stretched to 38 feet, that looked damn good. And based on other photos on their Web site, they had a ball cruising the western Caribbean.

Paradox looking sweet after being flipped right side up and being restored.

On April 11, however, the couple were sailing from Key West to Tampa when a squall suddenly increased the windspeed from 11 knots to 48 knots. The cat flipped immediately. Either just before or just after, 60-year-old Tom grabbed his wife, and knowing that the cat wouldn't sink, pulled her into the hull where they had tools and wetsuits. While it had to be creepy inside the overturned hull, they knew the cat wasn't going to sink and that there was plenty of oxygen. Having heard only one ping from their EPIRB, Tom realized that the signal wasn't getting out. So the next day he drilled a hole in the bottom of the hull - which was now above their heads - and stuck the EPIRB antenna out. The EPIRB immediately started pinging away. Coast Guard Miami got the signal and launched a search plane at 5 p.m., and found the overturned cat an hour later some 171 miles southwest of Tampa. A rescue helicopter arrived on the scene at 8:30 p.m. and hoisted the couple aboard. Neither Tom nor Stanna had suffered injuries and both declined treatment. On the other hand, they apparently don't have any interest in restoring the cat a second time.

Tom Galbraith hanging out on Paradox in Honduras.
Photos Courtesy Paradox

A word to the wise: All other things being equal, as cats increase in length, they become much, much more stable.

Long Beach-Based Aquarelle Rolled Three Times off New Zealand

April 20 - Nelson, New Zealand

Baja Ha-Ha vets Ken and Diane Kay of the MT-42 cutter Aquarelle, along with their crew Graeme, were knocked down three times on Friday the 13th as they were attempting to make a passage from Nelson, New Zealand, to Australia. They'd departed with a reasonably good forecast, but almost immediately the wind came up and continued to build - to 58 knots accompanied by 30-ft seas. Both the Kays became violently seasick, and their crew Graeme was temporarily knocked overboard during the last knockdown. While their boat was badly battered and the sole was covered in a mixture of saltwater, vomit, food and other debris, all but the electric systems - mast, steering and engine - continued to function through the long storm.

As they limped back to Nelson in the darkness, their charts lost or destroyed, Kiwi officials refused to give them navigation assistance back into the harbor. But as soon as they secured their lines, Customs was right on the spot.

The Kays have flown back to California to consider their options following what had been a very traumatic experience. We'll have more on this in the May issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / rs

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