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Photo of the Day

May 14

©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Today's Photo of the Day comes from . . . well, we want to see if any of you can guess. If you've really been around the world of sailing, you might know.

- latitude / rs


Dave Ullman Rules M24 Worlds

May 14 - Santa Cruz

Pegasus 505, with Dave Ullman (center) at the helm, on its way to its first Melges 24 world title.
©2007 Rich Roberts/www.underthesunphotos.com

Dave Ullman kept his lead going into the last day of racing at the Fullpower Melges 24 World Championship on Saturday to take the overall title. Not that it was an easy victory for the Southern California sailmaker and his crew of Shana Phelan, Andy Estcourt, Bill Hardesty and Brent Ruhne. On the last day of the five-day event, the wind hit upwards of 30 knots, swells approached 10 feet, and boats everywhere wiped out. Spinnakers blew to pieces. At least one sailor went overboard (and was immediately retrieved by another boat). Brian Porter's Full Throttle, which had been a contender for the world title going into the last day, capsized on the final downwind leg and finished under main and jib alone. (They came in second overall in the event.) Corinthian division winner Othmar Mueller von Blumencron's Gannet dismasted, but still managed to finish with half of his rig. Three or four other boats also dismasted but did not finish. In total, 19 of the 58 starters DNF'd and the race committee canceled Saturday's second race, which was to be the last of the regatta. As Ullman said back at the dock, "We weren't racing at the end, just surviving."

Monterey Bay was not kind to competitors on Saturday.
Photo Courtesy IMCA
©2007 Copyright Paul Todd/www.outsideimages.co.nz

Though a fixture at the top of the Melges 24 fleet for some time with Philippe Kahn's Pegasus Racing team and the bearer of several world titles in other classes, this was Ullman's first Worlds win in this class. Some might say it's long overdue. His last three titles were in the 470 back in 1977, '78 and '80 - "A long, long time ago," he admits.

We'll have a more thorough report of the Worlds in the June issue of Latitude 38. If you're aching for complete results, photos, and daily summaries in the meantime, go to www.melges24worlds2007.com.

- latitude / ss

Help Wanted Ad: West Marine VP Marketing

May 14 - Watsonville

West Marine is looking for a creative and innovative CRM savvy VP of Marketing/Chief Marketing Officer. This person will be a member of the Executive Committee of West Marine which is responsible for the strategy and execution of initiatives that drive long and short term growth. This person will work closely with our dynamic team of senior leaders to develop and implement marketing strategies aligning the company's brand, products, and multi-channel business with key segments of boating.

Significant boating and marketing experience is essential.

If you want to work in a fun and challenging environment and align your love of boating with your vocation, or know someone who fits the bill, please email Becky Stein or Nicole Freitas.

Catalina Fire Under Control

May 14 - Avalon

The intense wildfire that broke out on Catalina Island Thursday afternoon came uncomfortably close to reaching the resort town of Avalon before being brought under control. This weekend's fog and low temps helped contain the fire and push it back over the hills. Officials say the fire is still burning about seven square miles in the back country of the island but the threat to homes and businesses is minimal.

Bill Lilly, of the Long Beach-based Lagoon 470 Moonshine, reports that things are getting back to normal at Avalon. "Just a quick note to let you know that, from the harbor, you can hardly tell what was going on 24 hours ago," Lilly said. "You can see where it burned down fairly close on the southwest side of the city, but Hamilton and the hills east of town are untouched. The wind is out of the east at 6-8 kts so it's blowing the ash and smoke away, and it's sunny and warm."

Meanwhile, many businesses are open again, residents are returning home and everyone is looking forward to a great Memorial Day weekend.

- latitude / ld

Luis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals Started Today

May 14 - Valencia, Spain

The semi-final round of the Louis Vuitton Cup began today, and featured a predictable win by Emirates Team New Zealand - and a dramatic loss by the sole American Challenger in this America's Cup series, BMW/Oracle Racing.

To back up a bit, the second of two round robin series ended last week, with the top four boats - Emirates, BMW/Oracle, Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy) and Spain's Desafio Español - going on to the semi-finals, while the remaining seven challengers started packing for home. Emirates was the top-scoring boat in the round robins, which gave them the privilege of choosing their opponent in the semis. They naturally chose the lowest-point team, which was Desafio. That left BMW/Oracle paired with Luna Rossa, which has always been a strong team since they first came to the America's Cup competition in 1992.

"Luna Rossa will be tough," said BMW/Oracle skipper Chris Dickson last week at the conclusion of the round robins. He was right about that. In 8-18 knots of shifty wind, the two boats split up at the start with the Americans going right and the Italians going left. The left was the correct choice, and although Dickson got close enough to threaten the 'Red Moon' once or twice, the Italian boat eventually romped to a 2:19-minute win, a virtual eternity in AmCup racing.

The devils who wear Prada beat BMW/Oracle by a convincing margin in the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-final round today.
©2007 Gilles Martin-Raget

Over on the other course, Emirates won the start and never looked back, beating Desafio by 43 seconds.

The semi-finals are a best-of-nine series. So each of these match-ups will continue until one boat from each pairing wins five races. The two winners will then advance to the final round. The first boat to win five races there wins the Louis Vuitton Cup - and the right to face Alinghi in the best-of-nine America's Cup match races in late June.

- latitude / jr

Murphy's Law of Daysailing

May 14 - Sausalito

Daysailing is supposed to be a fun, carefree activity, but sometimes the gods - or perhaps Murphy's Law - conspire against you. We had just such a day recently.

It was a brilliant, sunny day. The afternoon breeze had piped up, as if on cue, and away we went out of Sausalito, headed for the Golden Gate under jib, main and mizzen. As we approached Hurricane Gulch we doused our big genny and were about to make a headsail change, when Murphy played a nasty trick on us. Suddenly, our anchor chain popped out of its jammer, the 35-lb plow jumped out of its cradle and went racing to the bottom as we screamed along at hull speed. To my amazement, the chain gypsy was freewheeling and I could do nothing to stop it - despite practically burning a hole through the sole of my shoe.

Who knew that the bottom is 140 feet deep off Hurricane Gulch? With our windlass non-functional, my son and I literally spent hours winching up the 300 feet of heavy chain using lines off our main mast winches. As the sun was sinking, I felt we just had to be getting near the end, when someone shouted, "It's up!" But it still seemed to weigh a ton. Turned out we'd snagged another anchor, its chain, and some sort of fishing net.

Photo Kanani Burleson
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

As we limped home in the dark, exhausted, I was reminded how we sometimes have to re-learn the hard way to check all the basics before heading out - like lashing down the anchors!

- latitude / at

Today's Photo of the Day

May 14 - Kor Shinab, Sudan

It was Sam Fleetwood of the Monterey Bay-based Gulfstar 50 Blue Banana who wanted to see if any readers recognized the Kor Shinab anchorage, which is on the Red Sea along the coast of Sudan. Fleetwood says it's located at 21º 21N, and is a three-mile long rivermouth anchorage. As you can see, it's obviously a popular anchorage with the boats headed between the Indian Ocean and the Med. Blue Banana is current in Port Ghalib, Egypt.

- latitude / rs

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