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The Importance of Being Earnest on Watch

May 9 - North Atlantic

Reid Stowe, who left New Jersey on April 21 aboard his 70-ft schooner Anne on a planned 1,000-day non-stop 'voyage to nowhere', ran into trouble - in the form of a Maersk container ship - just 15 days after setting out. "Around 1:30 a.m. on May 6, we had a collision with a freighter," Stowe reported on his blog. "I was on watch in the pilothouse looking for lights of ships every 15 minutes to a half hour. I heard a loud bang and some scraping. When I opened the hatch, I saw the stern of a freighter passing by."

Reid Stowe works at repairing Anne's damaged bowsprit after grazing a container ship in the middle of the night.
©2007 www.1000days.net

Neither Stowe nor his crew, Soanya Ahmad, were injured, but Anne's bowsprit, pulpit and roller furler unit were damaged. The pulpit had to be cut away but Stowe is hopeful he can repair the sprit, currently pointing skyward at an awkward 45º angle, and jury rig some kind of forestay. The couple are focusing on making Anne more seaworthy before deciding on the future of their trip.

- latitude / ld


French and Italians lead Melges 24s

May 9 - Santa Cruz

Brian Porter of Illinois is tied for third after the first day.
©2007 Rich Roberts

Southern Californians Bruce Ayers and Dave Ullman each won a race on the opening day of the Fullpower Melges 24 Worlds in Santa Cruz Tuesday. However, posting a solitary bullet after leading the fleet around the course - as Ayers did in race one and Ullman did in race two - was not enough to finish day one at the top of the scoring table. With a second and fourth, France's François Brenac, skippering Benjamin Cohen's boat, is tied for first with defending champion Nicola Celon of Italy, who posted a fourth and second driving for Amadori Ezio. Ayres finished seventh in the second race, while Ullman had a 21st to offset his bullet. Mill Valley's Don Jesberg is tied for tenth.

Ayres and his totally Corinthian (amateur) crew of Jon Pinckney, David Shelton and Don Smith momentarily stole the thunder of the high-profile performers in the fleet of 58 boats. A Corinthian team has never won a Melges 24 Worlds, and there are 24 competing here. But, of course, there are still four days and eight races remaining for the stallions to find their strides. Wednesday's forecast is for dense fog in the morning becoming patchy fog later in the day, with west winds in the 10 to 15-knot range and two to three foot seas. Two races are scheduled, starting at 12:30 p.m.

See www.melges24.com for more.

- rich roberts

Advertisement: Meet Paul Cayard at West Marine

May 9 - Alameda

Join West Marine Friday afternoon, May 11, 4:30-6:30, at Alameda's newest sailing super source! Meet Paul Cayard, seven-time world champion and skipper of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Learn what it's like to be on the world's fastest monohull during this exclusive event featuring the five-time America's Cup veteran. See footage of Black Pearl in action, followed by an informal Q&A sesson. 730 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda, (510) 521-4865.

Big Dogs at the Louis Vuitton Cup

May 9 - Valencia, Spain

Round Robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Cup the challenger elimination series for the 32nd America's Cup - ended this morning with a much-anticipated match-up between the two biggest big dogs, the high-point BMW/Oracle Racing and
Emirates Team New Zealand. The Kiwis prevailed, putting them atop the leaderboard for the first time in the Round Robin part of the LVC with 38 points to BMW's 37. Points aside for a moment, after 20 races - each team faces each other team twice in the Round Robins - with two points per win BMW and Emirates are tied, at 17 wins apiece. (The final points scores reflect an extra bonus point, that Emirates carried over from the series of pre-LVC acts, prior to the Round Robins.) Off the tops of our heads, we can't remember a Louis Vuitton Series which did not have a clear leader at the end of RR2. New Zealand's Black Magic in 1995 and Alinghi in 2003 both dominated the proceedings by this point in their campaigns. What it means for America's Cup fans is some pretty
exciting racing coming up.

The top two teams matched up today.
©2007 Gilles Martin-Raget

So the four top boats heading into the Semi-Final Round, in order of RR2 ranking are: Emirates Team New Zealand, BMW Oracle Racing, Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy), and Desafio Español (Spain). As noted Monday, Desafio, Sweden's Victory
Challenge and Italy's Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia were all in the fighting for the coveted fourth spot. Desafio lost an important race to Victory Challenge on Monday, but all three syndicates faced the big dogs in the final two races, and all three lost. Desafio ended up holding onto fourth with 29 points to Victory's 26 (Mascalzone had 20). Again, interestingly, the three points this team carried over from the Acts made all the difference between victory and a tie-breaker.

The semi-final round begins May 14. For all the action, rankings and quotes, log onto www.americascup.com.

- latitude / jr

Can You Hear Me Now?

May 9 - Off Cedros Island, Baja California

We got a phone call yesterday afternoon from Donna Andre, who is skippering Profligate, Latitude's catamaran, on a delivery from Puerto Vallarta to San Diego. She was off the east coast of Cedros, about halfway up the coast of Baja, in the middle of nowhere. Nonetheless, her voice was so loud and clear that we said, "Man, that Iridium satphone is really working well." It turned out she wasn't using a satphone, but a cheeseball Cingular - 'the new AT&T' - cell phone. Brilliant! She's got the Mexico Plan, in which most calls are 59 cents a minute. We've been told that cell phone coverage in remote areas is often better in Mexico than the United States because Mexico allows the cell companies to use very powerful antennas.

We got another call from Capt. Andre this morning. She was about 150 miles south of San Diego, but the cell phone didn't work there. So we talked on the Iridium satphone, the audio quality of which was poor, and which cost considerably more. The moral of the story? Always try your cell phone first.

As for Profligate's delivery north, it was stalled in Cabo for a number of days, but has been good ever since. Capt. Andre says that normally the worst conditions are just north of Cedros, but this time it wasn't bad.

- latitude / rs

News Briefs

Three Don't-Miss Talks Coming Up

May 9 - San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area sailors have the chance to listen to three dyamic speakers in as many days. Systems guru Nigel Calder will be speaking on GPS and Electronic Charting tomorrow at Corinthian YC in Tiburon at 7 p.m. The talk will be preceeded by a buffet dinner at 6. The presentation costs $10 and the dinner is an additional $12.50. For reservations, call CYC at (415) 435-4771.

On Friday, local-boy-made-good Paul Cayard will be at the Alameda West Marine from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Call (510) 521-4865.

To round out this talk trifecta, Kame Richards, owner of Pineapple Sails and local sailing god, will present his extremely popular "How the Tides Work for You" seminar on Saturday at noon at Sausalito's Bay Model. This $15 seminar sells out quickly so call (408) 263-7877 to find out if any seats are available.

2007's First Named Storm

May 9 - Miami, FL

The year's first named storm, Subtropical Storm Andrea, has formed off Florida more than three weeks before hurricane season - predicted to be a busy one - officially begins on June 1. Officials don't believe Andrea will be much of a threat but storm watches have been issued in Georgia and Florida.

The Internet is Full

May 9 - Mill Valley

Al Gore reports that the Internet was officially 'full' today so we had no space to post our report on Sunday's downwind leg of the Great Vallejo Race. We promise to run it on Friday.

- latitude / ld

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