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Louis Vuitton Cup: Third Time's an Upset

May 16 - Valencia

Italian stallions - Luna Rossa beat BMW Oracle again to go up 2-1 in the LVC semi-finals.
© 2007 Gilles Martin-Raget

The plot thickens in Valencia. This morning, in the third race of the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-finals, both top teams - Emirates Team New Zealand and BMW/ Oracle Racing - were defeated. With scores of 2-1 now on each scoreboard, any thoughts of 'walkover' victories are gone and interest is notching up.

The semi-final round, you may recall, is a best-of-nine series - the first boat to win five races wins the right to advance to the final round. In the matchup between the Italian Luna Rossa team and American BMW Oracle, it was once again a duel of the 'down under' skippers as Kiwi Chris Dickson and Australian James Spithill fought for the start. The American boat once again showed superior speed on the downwind runs, but Luna Rossa covered their lead well and went on to a 31-second victory. Score: Luna Rossa, 2 wins; BMW Oracle, 1.

It's not easy being green, but Desafio pulled it off, beating top-ranked Emirates Team New Zealand this morning.
© 2007 Chris Cameron/ETNZ

Perhaps the biggest upset of the entire LVC series so far occurred in the other match-up as Spain's Desafio Español tripped up Emirates Team New Zealand for the first time in 10 meetings between the two teams. The Spanish 'home team' seems to get a bit stronger every day, and an overnight measurement change made them as fast - or perhaps a tad faster - upwind than the Kiwis. As well, skipper Karol Jablonski even threw a penalty on the Emirates Team before the start! The two boats were less than 10 seconds apart on the first upwind leg, but the 'Spanish Armada' eventually stretched out on the second go-around and were never threatened again, going on to win by (after the Kiwis unwound their penalty) by a 1 minute 14 seconds. Score: Emirates, 2 wins; Desafio, 1.

Tomorrow is a layday. Racing will resume on Friday. For more information than you ever dreamed possible, log onto www.americascup.com.

- latitude / jr


We Don't Mind Swallows, but Sea Lions Are Another Matter

May 16 - Newport Bay

Some animal migrations in Southern California are much welcomed - for example, when the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano on March 19, after their five-month, 6,000-mile winter vacation to Goya, Argentina. Other animal migrations in Southern California are not welcome at all. For example, the return of 25 or so sea lions to Lower Newport Bay in May every year. The problem with these mostly male pinnipeds is that they haul themselves out on low freeboard vessels, and claim them as their territory, barking day and night, disturbing the waterfront residents and preventing many of them from getting any sleep. In addition, most sea lions aren't toilet trained, so the boats they inhabit soon become disgustingly filthy.

Even worse, on some occasions so many sea lions have hauled themselves out on the same boats or docks that they've overloaded them to the point of sinking, creating considerable environmental incidents. In fact, the Newport City Council passed a law that all boats are required to use "the latest methodology to prevent sea lions from boarding boats." Although pinnipeds aren't on the endangered species list, they are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, so there are great limitations on what you can do to prevent them from coming on your boat or dock. You can't, for example, even try to shoo them away with a broom. Among the city's recommendations are such things as motion-detecting scarecrows, which spray water on the sea lions. Oddly enough, sea lions hate getting squirted. The parts for such scarecrows run about $600. Unfortunately, they aren't always effective, such as after a sea lion has rolled over them.

These pesky pinnipeds completely ignored the recommended orange snow fencing one boatowner hung.
Photo Latitude/Richard
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

It's also recommended that boatowners put netting or orange 'snow fencing' around their boats. A lot of owners have done this, although it's not the nicest look for a very expensive yacht. And it doesn't always work. For example, yesterday we took a photo of the Columbia 24 MK I Kim, on a mooring in Newport Bay. Her cockpit was being occupied - as it had been the day before - by two sea lions in the 300-400 pound category who obviously weren't planning on leaving anytime soon. As instructed, the owner of the boat had put netting and snow fencing around the his entire boat. This wasn't enough to stop the sea lions, who blasted right through the netting, even crushing the stanchions and lifelines in the process.

Some boatowners say that the only real solution is open season on pinnepeds in Newport Bay, although PETA has yet to sign off on the concept. What more, if anything, do you think should be done to control our flippered friends? (Email Richard.)

- latitude / rs

Advertisement: It's May Madness - 25% Off Caribbean Charters

May 16 - Caribbean Sea

Get a hot deal this month with 25% off Footloose sailing vacations in the British Virgin Islands or The Grenadines. Sail between now and July 14, 2007, and book by May 25, 2007. Choose from the Footloose 433 and 463 monohulls or the spacious 4700 catamaran and get ready to enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

© 2007 Footloose Charters

Call (888) 952-6013 or visit www.footloosecharters.com for more details and
other specials.

A Sailmaker's Dream

May 16 - San Francisco

Wipeouts were all-too common this weekend.
© 2007 Chris Ray

If Saturday's wind was any indication, summer is here at last. Sailors all over the Bay were treated to big winds, big current and big waves this weekend - a pleasing sight after months of lackluster conditions on the Bay. Photographer Chris Ray was out watching the St. Francis YC's MayFest for J/105s and sent in the following report:

"With winds touching 30 knots at times and an ebb tide of more than 3 knots, it was a sailmaker's dream. While the winners of Saturday's three races have all been at the front of the fleet in their turn, there was an awful lot of sailcloth in the water, and seemingly no one was immune. Even former Rolex Big Boat Series winner Donkey Jack managed to shred not one but both kites and had to do the last two downwind legs of the third race wing-on-wing. Aquavit won the first race but lost a shiv in the third race, dropping their jib in the process. The third race winner, Brick House, shredded one of their kites as well. Lots of carnage to go around as the photos attest."

Cuchulainn goes trawling during a spinnaker douse. See www.printroom.com/pro/crayivp for more of Chris's photos.
© 2007 Chris Ray

No single boat dominated the event, and even overall winner Tom Kennelly and crew on Wonder claimed victory with a mixed bag of finishes. Full results from both days of racing are at www.stfyc.com.

- latitude / ss

A Swiss-Style Equatorial Toast

May 16 - French Polynesia

As this year's fleet of Pacific Puddle Jumpers reach French Polynesian cybercafes, photos and anecdotes are trickling in for our annual PPJ Recap article. Among them is this shot of former Bay Area sailor Uwe Dobers and his crewman, Max Genauzeau, enjoying a celebratory mouthful of Underberg as they crossed the Equator. For the unintiated, this unique Swiss aperitif, while containing 44% alcohol, is also said to contain extracts of aromatic herbs from 43 countries which aid digestion and relaxation - while its quantity of B1 vitamin is sufficient to break down its own alcohol!

Although we can't imagine that it quenched their thirsts, Max (left) and Uwe enjoyed a aromatic toast as they entered the South Pacific en route to Fatu Hiva.
Photo Courtesy Magnum
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Sailing aboard the Peterson 44 Magnum, Uwe and Max made the 3,100-mile passage from Manzanillo to Fatu Hiva (Marquesas) in 21 days. The skipper's wife, Anne Crowley, and four-year-old daughter, Cara, opted out of the crossing, but have recently rejoined the boat. In their pre-Cara days, Uwe and Anne cruised extensively through the Western Pacific in a 52-ft gaff-rigged yawl.

- latitude / at

Women's Sailing Seminar this Weekend

May 16 - Tiburon

Corinthian YC will be hosting Session 1 of their annual Women's Sailing Seminar this Saturday and Sunday. The Corinthian Women have put together two days of seminars, demos, 'fashion shows', on-the-water instruction and much more to help women of all ages master basic skills in a mellow environment - in other words, no yelling.

This weekend's Session 1 will cover basic sailing fundamentals while Session 2, to be held June 9, will cover more intermediate skills. For more info and to register, head on over to CYC's site at www.cyc.org/tcw.

- latitude / ld

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