Latitude home Latitude 38

'Lectronic Index

Previous 'Lectronic

'Lectronic Latitude  

Photos of the Day: A Polynesian Welcome to SoPac Cruisers

July 9 - Moorea, Tahiti

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Closing in on the Moorea finish line, the one-off Farr 30-meter sloop Dharma, from Brazil, is the definition of grace under sail.
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

For some 'Pacific Puddle Jumpers', the 3,000-mile crossing from the Americas to French Polynesia was both mentally and physically exhausting. But that made their arrival in this tropical paradise all the more blissful.

We can't think of another yacht rally or race where finishers are greeted like this.
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

Not only is the topography in the Marquesas, Tuamotus and Tahitian Islands stunningly beautiful, the local people are genuinely warm and friendly as well. Even the Tahitian government is apparently happy to see the annual arrival of the cruising fleet, as evidenced by a special event held last weekend in their honor: The Tahiti Tourisme Cup.

Canoe Races
On Moorea, the big fun was teaming up with locals in a series of hard-fought canoe races.
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

With the simple goals of exposing newly arrived cruisers to Polynesian cultural traditions and welcoming them to the islands, the Cup included an opening cocktail party at Marina Taina, near Papeete, a 10 nm sailing rally to Moorea, canoe races with mixed teams of cruisers and local paddlers, a Polynesian luncheon, a traditional dance show and prizes for all. With moderate breezes blowing under sunny skies, it was, needless to say, a splendid day for all who participated.

At the awards ceremony, the rule is that winners have to dance.
All photos Latitude / Andy
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

This second annual event was organized in close cooperation with Latitude 38, and it served as a defacto finale to 2007 Pacific Puddle Jump. Look for our complete report in the August edition of Latitude 38.

- latitude / at


The Pyewacket/Disney TransPac Controversy

July 11 - Long Beach

As we told you on Monday, there's a minor uproar over Roy Disney's entry of the highly-modified Pyewacket in this year's TransPac, and that he, perhaps the biggest supporter of TransPac ever, has been the subject of some unflattering press and snide comments. Has it been deserved? We're going to let you decide.

First, the Pyewacket perspective, as paraphrased from Stan Honey, the renowned navigator and longtime member of the Pyewacket crew. Honey explained to us that, to keep things honest, US Sailing rather than the TransPac YC decides whether or not boats fall within the limits of the rating rule for the race. High-rollers trying to optimize their boats for the downwind race have up to 30 chances to fall within those limits. After about nine attempts, Pyewacket discovered something bizarre - that after a boat got over 90 feet, it suddenly got a much better rating for being longer, having more sail area, and being more stable. In other words, it was just the opposite of how it should be. Rather than keep this information to themselves, the Pyewacket team informed US Sailing. US Sailing replied that the Pyewacket team had it wrong, that there was nothing wrong with their rating rule. So Pyewacket had naval architect Juan Kouyoumdjian, who was doing their optimization, send all the info to US Sailing so they could see the error of their ways. Despite Juan K's best efforts, US Sailing continued to insist that they were right.

Having twice tried to alert US Sailing of the gross error, Disney finally decided that he had no choice but to optimize Pyewacket, which he was chartering from the School of Sailing and Seamanship at Orange Coast College. Honey says Disney's rationale was simple - if he didn't do it, someone else would. That someone would most likely have been Hasso Plattner, the German software mogul who, among his fleet of many boats, owns Morning Glory a MaxZ86 sistership to Pyewacket. You may recall that Morning Glory edged out Pyewacket for the first-to-finish Barn Door trophy in the 2005 TransPac. Plattner is a tough competitor who has a reputation for being somewhat mercurial. To wit, he's been known to pull out of events when things weren't going his way.

The modifications Disney approved to the boat he was chartering were commensurate with his longtime commitment to the TransPac. They included cutting off the front 30 feet of the boat and replacing it, having a 140-ft mast built on a rush basis, replacing the forward rudder with twin daggerboards further aft, building 8-ft wide 'wings' on each side of the cockpit to make stacking the sails more effective, and more. We have no idea how much it all cost, but wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't $2 million. And why not? He's provided well for his family, he's in his mid-70s, and the project seems to have revitalized him.

Roy Disney
Disney is one of the nicest guys in the sport.
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

Nineteen days into the very extensive and expensive modifications, US Sailing called the TPYC and said something along the lines of, "Oops, we've made a mistake. There is a problem in our rule for boats over 90 feet." Thus ends the Pyewacket perspective.

TPYC Commodore Al Garnier, who told us that he personally wished that the modified Pyewacket would not be allowed to race, says everything that Honey said above was true - but that there is more to the story. He told us that prior to the '05 TransPac, the club encouraged Randall Pittman to modify his 90-ft canting keel Dubois design, Genuine Risk, to rate down with the MaxZ86 versions of Pyewacket and Morning Glory. Pittman told them he wasn't going to go to all the trouble and expense for just one race. But before long, somebody discovered that it could actually be done easily and without much of a performance penalty. All they had to do was limit how much the keel canted, leave the unneeded big headsails at home, and do a few other minor things. So Genuine Risk did race. Garnier contends that as a result of that, the Pyewacket folks realized there was a loophole in the rating rule for boats over 90 feet and, even though Disney publicly announced his retirement from ocean racing after the '05 race, kept knowledge of the loophole to themselves.

It needs to be pointed out that Disney and Garnier, both wonderful people, nonetheless have very different goals. Disney's is to spare no effort or expense in trying to set a Pyewacket legacy in the TransPac. Garnier's job as commodore is to foster the best TransPac possible, which means having a bunch of boats going for the Barn Door Trophy.

In response to the news that US Sailing had screwed up and that Disney had gone ahead with the big bucks modifications, two things happened. Plattner, deciding that either he didn't have the time or didn't want to modify Morning Glory for just one race, pulled out. And in March, the TPYC board voted to allow 30-meter - 98-ft boats - to enter. There are a number of 30-meter racing boats around the world, and several of them - Garnier named Ludde Ingvall's Diabetes (ex-Nicorette) and Alfa Romeo as two whose owners were ready to drop everything and do the race - even cut their masts in half to get their boats to Long Beach for the start. There was just one problem - 30-meter boats all use powered winches, and TransPac rules forbid the use of powered winches.

A TPYC board meeting was called to, very late in the game, decide whether to amend the rules to allow powered winches on 30-meter entries. It was an awkward situation to say the least, as it was going to be an open ballot of the 21 board members present, with Pyewacket team members Roy Disney, Leslie DeMeuse, Robbie Haines and Stan Honey all being members of the board. How pleasant could it have been to have to vote against Disney, who in lean times had kept the TransPac on life-support, and has long been one of the nicest guys in racing, looking on? Some felt that the proper thing would have been for the Pyewacket team members to have abstained from the vote and left the room. Indeed, Stan Honey felt he couldn't vote because there was too much self-interest.

According to Rich Roberts, the highly respected sailing journalist and publicist for the TransPac, it would have been a close vote no matter if the Pyewacket group had left the room or not. In any event, the power winch amendment was turned down. Ingvall, described as a true gentleman, had flown all the way up from Australia to talk with the board, but said he understood. He said that no matter which way the board voted, they were going to be subject to a lot of criticism.

The result is that Pyewacket will be sailing for a record all but unopposed. The only way she won't finish first and set a grand new record is if she sinks or is dismasted. She's so fast that she'll crush the old monohull record even if there isn't much wind.

Those are the facts as best we understand them, and you can evaluate them as you wish.

In our opinion, however, there is blame to go around. For example, it never would have come to this if the TPYC, when they decided to allow 30-meter boats after the '05 race, had realized that all 30-meter boats use power winches. To his credit, Commodore Garnier volunteered that he and the TPYC board had been a little "asleep" on this issue. Nor would it have come to this if US Sailing, despite being told twice by the Pyewacket team that their rating rule was like Swiss cheese at the top, had not been brain dead. Some feel the TransPac's reputation has been compromised by the fact that the entire Pyewacket team did not leave the room when the board voted on allowing powered winches for the big boats, and therefore that the TransPac is in Disney's hip pocket. On the other hand, can you blame Disney's team, who twice tried to alert the proper authorities about the rating rule problem and were already making a multi-million dollar commitment to conform to the published rule?

Some people have told us the best thing that could happen is for Pyewacket to be dismasted. Personally, we're against wishing ill on anyone. We think the best of the current situation would be for Pyewacket to establish a brilliant new course record, bringing more glory for the TransPac, and then for both the TransPac board and US Sailing to be more vigilant in their duties. And finally, that the TPYC Board get together with the Bermuda Race and the Sydney to Hobart folks to establish a consistent rule for 30-meter boats.

- latitude / rs

Albin Vega Lealea Overdue

July 11 - North Pacific Ocean

Lealea sistership
Lealea has a blue transom and looks similar to this sistership.
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

The Coast Guard are asking for help in locating Charles Rose and Laura Wong-Rose aboard the Albin Vega 27 Lealea. The Roses sailed out of Honolulu on June 2, bound for the VEGAtarian Rendezvous in Puget Sound the last weekend of June. They were then planning to cruise down the coast and join the Baja Ha-Ha to kick off their several-year cruise to the South Pacific and, eventually, the East Coast. If you have any information on the Roses or Lealea, contact the Coast Guard in Alameda at (510) 437-3701.

- latitude / ld

Liz and Her Mom Make It!

July 11 - Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

On July 7 we got the following message from young Liz Clark of the Santa Barbara-based Cal 40 Swell, who sailed to French Polynesia from the Galapagos with her mother as crew. "We're here, it's incredibly beautiful, and we're unbelieveably happy. We covered a total of 3,170 miles in 22 days for an average of 6 knots. But we did it!!!"

Liz Clark
Having been at sea for so long, Liz is dying to get back to doing some lip smacking like she did in Panama.
Photo Mackenzie Clark
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

TransPac Update

July 11 - Pacific Ocean

Just as predicted, it’s been slow going for the first three classes that started the TransPac on Monday. Most boats have gone south, although X-Dream, the Bay Area-based X-119 that Steen Moller is doublehanding with Robert MacDonald in Division 6, has opted for a more northerly track. Either way, it’s not pretty out there. Traveler, a Penna 47 in the Aloha B class, had a double whammy on the first day. One of their crew badly lacerated his finger and was taken to the hospital for stitches right after the official start. The boat re-started with the complete crew six hours later, but in the first 24-hour report yesterday, recorded an average 24-hour speed of just 1.5 knots. Early this morning, it appeared that many boats had found a bit more breeze, with most showing boat speeds in the 4-6 knot range. Unfortunately, there’s not much hope that things will be any better for the next four classes departing Long Beach on Thursday. We hope they’re packing plenty of patience among their provisions.

- latitude / ss

Baja Ha-Ha Honcho Puts Limit on Number of Entrants

July 11 - Ha-Ha Headquarters

"We've never put a limit on the number of boats that would be allowed to enter the Baja Ha-Ha," reports Ha-Ha Honcho Lauren Spindler, "but I've had to change that. Last year we had 184 paid entries and 164 boats actually cross the starting line. Unless I did something, it looked as though this year's numbers might go quite a bit higher. I base this on the fact that at this time last year 187 people had sent in for entry packs, while 193 have requested them this year. That's not a big difference, but as you can see below, 53 boats have already paid up this year as opposed to just 41 at this time last year. That's more than a 20% increase. Sure, it's possible that we've just had a surge in paid entries, but I'm not taking any chances, and am therefore limiting the number of entries to 200.

"My dad, the volunteer Grand Poobah, has been fighting me on this, saying that everybody who wants to do the Ha-Ha should be allowed to. But just between us, my dad can get a little carried away sometimes and has a lot of trouble saying 'no' to anyone. Fortunately, I'm the one who calls the shots in the Ha-Ha while he's just the volunteer Grand Poobah. So I'm going to be the bad girl by limiting the number of entries to 200. Please, send for your packets right away, and return them as soon as possible. Thanks."

Baja Ha-Ha start
Last year's Ha-Ha saw 164 boats start off Point Loma.
Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

To get your entry packet for the 14th running of the cruiser's rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, which starts on October 29 and has stops at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria, please send $20 to Baja Ha-Ha, 401-F Miller, PMB 140, Mill Valley, 94941.

For the first 15 entries, see June 22's 'Lectronic. Here are entries #16- 53:

16) Harrier / Spencer 42 / Ted Brittsan / St. Helens, OR
17) Oasis / Mariner 48 / Richard Farmer / San Diego
18) Gypsea’s Palace / Irwin 38 CC / Steve Garvin / Redondo Beach
19) Pacific Wind / Sceptre 43 / Steve Dana / Friday Harbor
20) Gaia / J/109 / Robert Riggle / Seattle
21) Adios / Hunter Legend 45 / Lary S Hopkins / Concord
22) Pegasus / Formosa 51 / Bob Mathews / San Diego
23) Tranquilo / Catalina C400 / Lloyd Clauss / San Pedro
24) Jake / Hunter Legend 45 / Jake Howard / Seattle
25) Imagine / Fastwater 47 / Leon Tad Davis / Blaine, WA
26) Eager Dreamer / John Olsen / na / Blaine, WA
27) Talion / Gulfstar 50 / Patsy Verhoeven / Portland
28) Second Wind / LaFitte 44 / Jim Barbee / Alameda
29) Thélème / C&C Landfall 48 / Dennis Buschman / Brownsville, WA
30) Sabbatical / Ron Holland 43 / Michael Jones / Oxnard
31) Destiny / Catalina 42 / John Foy / Alameda
32) Liberty / Hunter 430 / Monty VanderMay / Newport, OR
33) Setting Sun / Pearson 323 / George Johnstone / San Rafael
34) Shenanigans / C&C 36 / Dave Fiorito / Berkeley
35) Cok Cabuk / Wauquiez Hood 38 Mk I / Gary Johnson / Charleston, OR
36) Wahoo / Bertram 35 / Marc Acosta / Dana Point
37) Boomerang / Corsair 31UC / Chuck VanderBoom / Lake Havasu City, AZ
38) Dreamseeker / Beneteau Oceanis 411 / Tom Lilienthal / Richmond
39) No Worries / Jeanneau 45.2 Sun / Odyssey / Mike Scheck / Alameda
40) Windward Bound / Columbia 43 / Jim Graham / Redondo Beach
41) Final Final / Catalina 42 Mk II / Marvin Zietzke / San Francisco
42) Indigo / Bristol 49 / Rob Ritchie / Victoria, BC
43) At Last / Skye 50 / Scott Neal / San Diego
44) Seabird / Swan 51 / Lou Freeman / San Diego
45) Charisma / Amel 53 / Alan Spence / Napa
46) Pegasus / Nordic 44 / W. Harry Blazer / Olympia, WA
47) Pura Vida / Catalina 400 / Dennis Cannon / Scottsdale, AZ
48) Krissy / Ericson 35 / Allen Cooper / San Francisco
49) Ketching Up / Morgan 452 / Noel DesMarteau / Astoria, OR
50) Infinnity / Catalina 36 Mk II / Craig Adams / Channel Islands Harbor
51) Off Piste / Cabo Rico 42 PH / Stephen Cavanagh / Steamboat Springs, CO
52) Solstice / Island Packet 485 / Bruce Bock, MD / Coronado
53) Whispers / Hans Christian 52 / David Hadley / Newberg, OR

Top | Index of Stories | Previous 'Lectronic Edition


'Lectronic Latitude | Download the Magazine | Crew List & Party
Calendar | Letters | Changes in Latitudes | Features
Classy Classifieds | Place a Classy Ad | Advertisers' Links | Display Advertising
Links | New Stuff | Subscriptions | Distribution | Contact Us | Home
  The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine.
© 2010 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc. All rights reserved.