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Photos of the Day: Go-Go Grandmas!

May 18 - Rhode Island & Papeete

Every little nook gets filled with provisions when you circumnavigate on a 28-ft boat.
© 2007 Wolf Stranac

Though 45-year-old solo circumnavigator Donna Lange crossed her outbound track at Tortola on March 29, thereby completing the circuit, she wasn't home yet. Turned back on her final leg by a massive Atlantic storm, Lange took refuge in Bermuda and waited for the weather to turn. Finally, on May 16, Lange arrived in Bristol, RI, aboard her Southern Cross 28 Inspired Insanity, nearly a year and a half and 31,400 miles later. Congratulations, Donna!

Another inspiring grandmother is following in Lange's wake. Singlehander Jeanne Socrates on the Najad 36 Nereida has been solo since her beloved husband George passed away in 2003. She has since sailed Nereida from Alaska to the Bay and back again - last year she placed third in her division in the Singlehanded Transpac - and on to Mexico.

Jeanne Socrates left Z-town in March on a "fast" circumnavigation.
Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

On March 26, Socrates left Zihuatanejo on a planned "fast" circumnavigation. She made landfall in the Marquesas after a 24 day passage, and has now made her way to Papeete. Last we heard from Jeanne, she was having a great time - "I'm certainly not having a solitary life. My social calendar gets very full!" - and planning to leave for Moorea this week. If you'd like to follow her amazing journey, check out her Web site at www.svnereida.com.

- latitude / ld


Louis Vuitton Cup Report

May 18 - Valencia, Spain

America's sole entry in the America's Cup challenger series went down to defeat once again in the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-final round currently being sailed off Valencia. BMW Oracle Racing, helmed by Chris Dickson, put in a valiant effort, but once again chose the wrong (left) side, and the Italian Luna Rossa team crossed the finish line 23 seconds ahead. After four races, the Italians are now up 3-1. In the other matchup, Emirates Team New Zealand beat Spain's Desafio Español, putting the Kiwi team up 3-1 in that pairing. You will recall that the magic number is 5. The two teams to win 5 races advance to the final round.

This is Luna Rossa's third time at the America's Cup, and with a two-race lead on BMW Oracle, so far it's a charm.
© 2007 Gilles Martin-Raget

Long the style mavens of the America's Cup, it's little surprise to Cupophiles that the Luna Rossa crew sails as good as they look. The '07 Cup marks this team's third foray into the Cup wars (one more than BMW Oracle), and you will recall that the first time, in 2000, Luna Rossa beat Paul Cayard's AmericaOne syndicate to win the LVC finals, only to be defeated in the America's Cup best-of-nine by Team New Zealand.

Since the nationalism thing has gone out the window for just about everybody, they have also put together a very potent team, including an afterguard composed of skipper Francesco di Angelis, Brazil's Torben Grael, America's Charlie McKee and Australia's James Spithill on the helm. You could write a small book about the accomplishments of each of these guys, but Spithill's might be the most amazing. His first America's Cup was also in 2000 when he skippered and steered the entry Young Australia - at age 19. Ironically, it was also Spithill at the wheel when the Seattle-based OneWorld knocked Luna Rossa out of the 2003 semi-finals. As ever, the America's Cup overflows with intrigue.

Race five is tomorrow. You can view TV coverage of it on the Versus network between 8:30-11 a.m. (times subject to change), or log onto www.americascup.com for play by play.

- latitude / jr

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.

Curious Humpbacks Reluctant to Return to Sea

May 18 - Sacramento

The fact that today is Endangered Species Day has special significance in the San Francisco Bay area, as a multi-agency effort to save two wayward humback whales has captured widespread public and media attention. The mother (cow) and her nursing calf are currently idling in the Port of Sacramento ship channel, which has been temporarily closed to commercial traffic. Since arriving in the Bay Area, both animals have been wounded by ship propellers, although experts say the injuries are not life-threatening.

A mother humpback and her calf idle in the Sacramento River.
© 2007 Marine Mammal Center

It was more than 20 years ago when the last humpback, nicknamed Humphrey, ventured up the Sacramento. It took 26 days for marine mammal experts to coax him back downriver from Rio Vista and out to sea, broadcasting whale recordings underwater to lure him. The same method is being attempted today via a Coast Guard cutter.

The incident illustrates the fact that migrating whales of several types frequent our coastal waters at this time of year, and are not always easy to spot. "Very little of a gray whale is visible at the surface," Explains Mary Jane Schramm of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, "so boaters should watch for the 'spout' of a breathing whale, which looks like a puff of smoke about 10 feet high." The agency, managed by NOAA, urges boaters to keep a particularly sharp lookout for grays, which often travel very near the coast and frequently enter the Bay and other inshore waters.

- latitude / at

Could Be a Pretty Big Ha-Ha Fleet

May 18 - Mill Valley

It's early, of course, but Ha-Ha Honcho Lauren Spindler reports she has already received 72 requests for entry packs for late October's Baja Ha-Ha Cruisers Rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. This is running slightly ahead of last year when there turned out to be a record 182 paid entries. "I don't expect quite as many again this year," says Spindler, "but you never know. In any event, we're more interested in the quality of entries than the quantity."

Just for kicks, the accompanying graph shows how the Ha-Ha has grown in recent years.

© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

If you'd like to receive a Ha-Ha entry pack, send $20 to Baja Ha-Ha, 401-F Miller, PMB 140, Mill Valley, CA 94941. Please note that this is a new address. Requests sent to the old 21 Apollo address will be received eventually, but it'll take a while.

- latitude / rs

BAYS Annual Meeting

May 18 - Alameda

Bay Area Youth Sailing's annual meeting is tomorrow, and its members are opening the doors to anyone who shares their interest in promoting junior sailing and racing in Northern California. Learn how your local junior program can take part, support and benefit from membership in the volunteer organization. The meeting is scheduled for 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Encinal YC and coincides with the first BAYS regatta of the season. No need to RSVP, but more information and a list of current member yacht clubs can be found at www.bayarea-youthsailing.com.

- latitude / ss

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