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Photos of the Day: Singlehanded Farallones

April 23 - San Francisco

The fleet heads out into Big Blue
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Rain was the theme of the 30th annual Singlehanded Farallones Race on Saturday. The rain began soon after the 8:30 a.m. starts and continued pretty much until the last boat finished shortly after 9 p.m. An all-time-high 64 starters and 62 finishers competed in the windy reach out to the Rockpile and reach back in light to moderate southerly winds. As always, a podium finish took a backseat to the huge sense of accomplishment from both veterans and first-timers in this Bay Area rite of passage for solo sailors.

Hot Ice
in a 'group hug' on the way home
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Provisional winners of the six classes included: Multihull - Puppeteer, Corsair F24, Tom Davis; Division 2 - Jam Session, J/105, Adam Spiegel; Division 3 - Green Buffalo, Cal 40, Jim Quanci; Division 4 - Tchoupitoulas, Santana 22, Stephen Buckingham; Non-Spinnaker - Even Keel, Catalina 320, William Meloy; Sportboat - Mirage, Black Soo, Ben Mewes.

Jim Quanci's Green Buffalo on the way to a division win
Photos Latitude/JR
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Complete results can be found at the sponsoring Singlehanded Sailing Society's Web page: www.sfbaysss.org.

- latitude / jr


America's Cup . . . Or Maybe Not

April 20 - Valencia, Spain

The America's Cup challenger series is two for seven and counting. That's only two days (one and half, really) of racing out of the last seven planned ones. In fact, according to the original plan, Round Robin 1 of the Louis Vuitton Cup off Valencia was supposed to be over yesterday. Imagine the Indy 500 with no gasoline available; the Kentucky Derby where no horses showed up. A lot of good people put a lot of energy into making the America's Cup more relevant and visible over the last four years, and you can't help but feel for them in the way this one is starting out.

Emirates Team New Zealand looking pretty as she practices in light air. Unfortunately, breezes too balmy for racing have plagued the Cup courses for more than a week.
©2007 Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand

Now it's catch as catch can as the teams wait out the interminable light airs that have hamstrung sailing's Main Event. Last Friday - so far the only day with enough wind to get off two scheduled races - Round Robin 1 was 'rebooted' to start again. Then there was only enough breeze for one race on Saturday. And then - nada. Now the plan is basically 'keep trying' until the format has been completed - then immediately start Round Robin 2. At the end of the Round Robins, each boat will have raced each other boat twice and the four top-scoring boats start the semi-finals May 15.

Assuming, of course, that there is any wind by then.

For what it's worth, after the three completed races, BMW/Oracle and Luna Rossa top the leaderboard with three wins apiece.

- latitude / jr

Circumnavigators' Get-Together

April 23 - Oakland

Latitude 38's second Circumnavigators' Get-Together took place aboard the tallship Lynx at the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show on Friday, April 20. About two dozen folks showed up, some from as far away as Southern California. Because of scheduling conflicts the loose meet-and-greet format was more abbreviated than we would have liked. But we were still thrilled to press the flesh and snap a few photos of these amazing people, all of whom have sailed around the world starting from the West Coast - some, like Don Sandstrom and his family, more than once.

A wave swept over the quarterdeck of the tallship Lynx as West Coast circumnavigators gathered at last week's boat show.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of Circumnavigators Certificates, each signed by President of the Pacific Ocean Merl Petersen, whose own eight-year circumnavigation took place aboard his lovely schooner Viveka.

President of the Pacific Ocean Merl Petersen, now 85, made the event official by signing each Circumnavigator's Certificate.
Photos Latitude/JR
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

- latitude / jr

Blue Banana Heading for the Med

April 23 - Sudan

Bill and Sam - she's the attractive one - Fleetwood report they are making their way up the Red Sea to the Med aboard their Monterey-based Gulfstar 50 Blue Banana. They had strong winds and big seas at the southern end, but it wasn't bad because they were from aft. But now they are having to make their way north against the northerlies, which means that even after making some headway, they often have to retreat to shelter because it's too rough.

©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

The first photo shows the couple atop Siguriya, the rock fortress that used to be the capital of Sri Lanka, which used to be known as Ceylon. Those of you who remember your Ceylonic history will recall the famous fortress was built for King Kasyapa, and had a swimming pool at the top. Old Kasyapa must have been in pretty good shape, because it's 1,200 steps to the top.

Photos Courtesy Blue Banana
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

The second photo shows the couple, looking all the world like backpackers trekking around Europe when, in fact, they are at a bus station waiting for a bus to Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. It's a long way from Paris.

Longtime Latitude readers will remember that Bill and Sam met at a Latitude 38 Crew List Party, did the '97 Baja Ha-Ha, and have been sailing around the world ever since.

- latitude / rs

New Women's Series Starts Sunday

April 23 - San Francisco Bay

RegattaPRO has cooked up a brand-new summer series of races just for women skippers and crews on a variety of courses around the Bay, with each race followed by a social gathering at a nearby yacht club. The first installment of the five-race series will be held this coming Sunday, April 29. Go to www.regattapro.com/regattas.html for a Notice of Race and entry form, or contact Jeff Zarwell, (888) 313-8338, for more info.

- latitude / cw

Uhuru Abandoned off Baja

April 23 - Baja California

Uhuru, the Vanguard 32 Mike 'Lonely Guy' Miller cruised in Baja for five years before selling it, was abandoned off the Baja coast on April 18. The weather was fairly rough, with 30-kt winds and 12-ft seas, last Wednesday night, when Craig Johnson and Carrol Hayes were sailing Uhuru about 80 miles offshore and 50 miles or so northwest of Cedros Island. Hayes stepped below and when she came back up, Johnson was no longer in the cockpit. She quickly scanned the boat but he was gone. Assuming the worst, Hayes immediately deployed the boat's liferaft, hoping Johnson would be able to find it, then called a Mayday. She also reported to the Coast Guard that Uhuru had lost steering and was taking on water.

Coincidentally, the Alameda-based Coast Guard cutter Sherman was within 10 miles of Uhuru when the call came through, and were on scene in about 20 minutes. They pulled Hayes from Uhuru around 10 p.m. and, about ten minutes later, the Sherman's helo spotted the liferaft nearly 15 miles away. Johnson had managed to pull himself aboard and was quickly recovered. Neither Hayes nor Johnson were hurt, save for a few bumps and bruises, but, unfortunately, the seas were too dangerous for the Sherman to tow Uhuru and she was left adrift.

Incidentally, the Sherman arrived in Alameda yesterday, after dropping the couple off in San Diego, to offload more than 20 tons of cocaine seized by the crew during three separate busts near Central America in the last few months.

- latitude / ld

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