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Photo of the Day: A Maxi with Wings

June 15 - Costa Mesa

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Pyewacket - now a maxi with wings.
© 2007 Steve Lee / Westerly Marine

Next month's TransPacific Yacht Race is getting a lot of hype these days, and for good reason. Entries for the 44th edition of the race closed last week with 76 boats signed up - the second highest number in the event's history! There's a little bit of everything on the scratch sheet, from several boats fresh out of the yard and making their ocean racing debut, to a fleet of 20-year-old sleds back in full offshore race mode, and even a few venerable Cal 40s coming into their fourth decade. The racers themselves include plenty of veterans and some rookies, ranging in age from senior citizens to teenagers barely legal to drive a car (see the June 1 'Lectronic for more on the latter) and everything in between.

And then there's Roy Disney's Pyewacket, the subject of today's photo of the day. Much was made of Disney's retirement from ocean racing after the 2005 TransPac, when Pyewacket missed out on the Barn Door trophy for the fastest elapsed time by two and a half hours to rival MaxZ86 Morning Glory. Disney donated his boat to Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship following the race, but last year the 77-year-old sailor decided he had some unfinished business. So he chartered it back from OCC, discovered a few loopholes in the race rules and sent Pyewacket to the boatyard for extensive modifications. The new Pyewacket - on the record as a Reichel/Pugh 90 - sports a new hull forward of the mast, eight feet of additional length and rear deck wings. The result looks somewhat like New Zealander Michael Fay's 90-ft KZ-1that challenged Dennis Conner for the America's Cup in 1988. It's not pretty, but it should fly!

Look for a more comprehensive race preview in the July issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / ss


"The App is in the Mail!"

June 15 - Mill Valley

Judging by the number of application requests that have been pouring in to Baja Ha-Ha world headquarters this month, there are hundreds of sailors who are planning to spend next winter in the sunny latitudes of Mexico. Hmmm. We can't imagine why.

"Uh, oh! It's Ha-Ha time again!" Mill Valley postman Joe Quintero takes the annual Ha-Ha mailing in stride.
Photo Annie Bates-Winship
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

To find out how you, too, can enter the 14th running of this San Diego-to-Cabo San Lucas cruisers rally, see www.baja-haha.com. And note that the official entry deadline is September 10.

Following a costume kickoff party, October 28, at Cabrillo Isle Marina, the fleet will cross the starting line at 11 a.m., October 29, and should arrive at Cabo November 8.

Latitude 38 eBooks Available Worldwide in PDF Format

June 15 - Cyberspace

No matter where you find yourself, you can still get lost in the pages of Latitude 38!

You can now view the complete magazine online in PDF format with one small annual fee of $18. To subscribe, go to www.latitude38.com/ebooks.html and follow the easy instructions. We think you're going to love it!

What Can We Do?

June 15 - Clear Lake

We've received tremendous response to Wednesday's 'Lectronic report on the boating accident last year that resulted in the death of Lynn Thornton. People are outraged at the investigation and the fact that the Lake County D.A. hasn't indicted Deputy Perdock, the number two man in the Lake County Sheriff's Department and the man who was driving the motorboat between 40 and 55 mph when it struck Thornton aboard the O'Day 27 Beats Working II. Readers want to know what they can do and who they can write to. In order for such a campaign to be effective, it has to be accurately targeted and concentrated. At this point, we simply ask that you stand by until we can find out who best to send your objections.

Meanwhile, Dinius Bismarck, who didn't own the boat and just happened to be at the helm when it was rammed by the speeding powerboat, remains the only one to be charged. It's insane. "Bismarck is a good friend of ours and truly a good human, but this has devastated him and put his life on hold for the last year," wrote some friends. "Nothing can bring Thornton back, but making Bismarck hold all the cards is indeed a great injustice." You can say that again.

- latitude / rs

Buzzing the Bay for the Ronstan Bay Challenge

June 15 - San Francisco

Sunday's conditions on the Bay were spectacular for kite and wind surfers racing off St. Francis YC.
© 2007 Erik Simonson/www.h2oshots.com

We mentioned a few of last weekend's races in Monday's 'Lectronic, but neglected to note that racing of a slightly more liquid persuasion also took place. Several folks set us straight, and board sailor Jim Kiriakis filed this report following the distance race of the Ronstan Bay Challenge:

"St. Francis YC hosted 38 kiteboards and Formula windsurfers for the Ronstan Bay Challenge. Saturday we organized the distance race, a course starting in front of the yacht club, upwind to Presidio Shoals, down to the Berkeley Pier, with an upwind finish between 'A' buoy and the race deck. In the Formula Division, StFYC member Seth Besse set a course record of 53 minutes, traveling more than 20 miles in less than an hour! Ever the pioneer, Chip Wasson was riding an experimental hydrofoil board, quite a sight riding along two feet above the water."

Bill Weir stands back, balances and holds on tight during Sunday's short course racing.
© 2007 Erik Simonson/www.h2oshots.com

On Sunday, the boardheads stayed a little closer to home for a few buoy races near Crissy Field. In the Formula division, Besse won each of the three races thereby proved his ability to adapt between long and short courses. Olympic hopeful Steve Bodner was right behind in the standings, with straight seconds. Chavez again led the way for kiters with bullets in both their races. Complete results at www.stfyc.org.

Aside from regular Thursday night kite races off Crissy Field this summer, next up on calendar is the inaugural US Kiting National Championships July 25-28, also hosted by StFYC. The format calls for three days of buoy racing followed by a day of jumps off a mega ramp. Our sources tell us this spectator event is not to be missed.

- latitude / ss

Whatever Happened to Liz Clark?

June 15 - The South Pacific

Liz, on one of her nicer waves in Panama.
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

Well, she spent a lot of time in Panama getting rid of inner ear problems, fixing up her boat, having adventures, and surfing waves such as the one above. But just yesterday the young woman from Santa Barbara set off from the Galapagos on the 2,884-mile passage to the Marquesas - with her mom as her only crew! This was her mom's idea. We'll have more on what Liz has been up to in the July issue and a full report on her crossing in the August issue, but here's her latest report:

Last minute provisioning before setting off across the Pacific.
Photos Courtesy Swell
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

"My mom and I finally left the Galapagos and are headed across the Pacific for the Marquesas! Our current position is S 2º 23', W 92º 9'. We are motoring through the doldrums and hoping to find the trade winds in the next 24 hours. The sun is blasting down on as glassy an ocean as a surfer could ever wish for, but without any reef or beach for many miles, we just keep rising up and down the watery masses of the 6-ft swells as they billow below the hull like a giant sheet. With the help of the south equatorial current, we're zipping along at seven knots. As the little sailor in me re-emerges, though, I am getting as excited to see wind ripples as I would be to see a set pouring over the horizon from the beach. I'm betting on a 23-day passage, my mom's sayin' 25."

- latitude / rs

What About Different Boats for the America's Cup?

June 15 - YouTube Land

The last Scuttlebutt recommended that readers check out a French sailing video at www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/media/07/0611 - so we did. It was really cool - and to our thinking was an extremely powerful argument for getting rid of those ridiculously slow and boring IACC designs. Check out the video and see if you don't agree that the America's Cup desperately needs more French style speed and thrills. After all, if it's blowing 15 knots, why the heck shouldn't America's Cup boats be sailing at over 30 knots?

- latitude / rs

Thar Be Pirates!

June 15 - Vallejo

Just in case you're not sick to death of pirate-mania, you'll have a chance to get your Jack Sparrow on this weekend at the first annual NorCal Pirate Festival on the Vallejo Waterfront. This family-oriented event will feature costume contests for all age groups, live 'maritime music', cannon battles and more. Check out www.norcalpiratefestival.com for details . . . matey.

- latitude / ld

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