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September 21, 2007

The Tale of Two MaxZ86s

The longer, stronger Pyewacket off Diamond Head.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Today’s Photo of the Day is of the modified MaxZ 86 Pyewacket, which was built for Roy Disney, as seen crossing the finish line at the end of July’s TransPac. Thanks to record light winds, it’s close to the fastest she got going during the entire 2,100 miles.

The boat had been built for Roy Disney several years ago and he raced her in the Pacific, both sides of the Atlantic, and the Caribbean, often against her sistership, Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory. Then he donated her to the Sailing School at Orange Coast College.

In its time, many of the world’s best sailors tore around the oceans of the world at high speeds in this original bow section.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Early this year, Disney had a change of heart, and not only decided to charter his old boat back, but to spend big bucks to maximize her in an attempt to set what might be called a ‘legacy’ course record. The modifications were extreme. Check out, for example, the original 30-ft bow of Pyewacket – now sitting on the grounds of Orange Coast College – which had been wacked off so it could be replaced with a longer one. Also at the Orange Coast grounds are various canards, keels, canting keel mechanisms and other detrius of big time racing efforts.

Pyewacket’s original bow – will it ever sail again?

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Unfortunately, the winds were extremely light in this year’s TransPac, and the impossible happened. Pyewacket didn’t break the record established by her sistership and rival, Morning Glory. And now Pyewacket is on the hard in San Diego, seriously for sale by Orange Coast College.

As for Morning Glory, Hasso Plattner, thanks to his SAP software fortune, had the means to match Disney’s extreme modications for the TransPac, but elected not to. He shipped his boat to the Med instead. The boat’s navigator, former Marin resident Mark Rudiger, reports that they won the World Maxi Championship in Sardinia last month. "The MaxZ 86 is still a great design," said Rudiger, "as in 20 knots of wind she’s almost as fast upwind as the best 100-footers, and off the wind, we were actually gaining on them. Those 100-footers are hard to sail well, so the 86 is still a great design." Rudiger will be at St. Tropez early next month for Morning Glory‘s next big regatta.

Canting keel mechanisms, bulbs, a mast, a canard, a fire hydrant – there’s a lot of detritus to any big boat program.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

So did Disney make a big mistake by modifying his old boat? Hindsight is 20-20. If the new Pyewacket had crushed the old TransPac record, nobody would even ask the question. Disney took a calculated risk, and it didn’t work out as well as it could have this time. No matter if you’re playing with 86-footers or 20-footers, that’s yacht racing.

Got Crew? Ha-Ha-ers Gather October 3

Just this morning Joseph McGinnis wrote to Latitude 38 asking how he might find a ride on this year’s Baja Ha-Ha cruisers rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. Our advice to Joseph and others is to first sign up on Lat 38‘s Mexico-Only Crew List. You can now register online and it’s free!

Second, we advised Joseph to show up at our Mexico-Only Crew List Party, October 3 (6-9 p.m.) at the Encinal YC in Alameda. (Click here for details.) It’s a fun-filled night where skippers-in-need and potential crew mingle and schmooze – and Ha-Ha crew commitments are often firmed up on the spot.

When Ha-Ha boats arrive in San Diego this year, they’ll get a warmer reception than ever before. Not only will the San Diego Harbor Police’s Mooring Office (619-686-6227) be keeping a list of all available slips in the area, but they’ll be giving official Ha-Ha entrants a Welcome-to-San-Diego packet with discounts and special offers from local businesses, plus permits for a special anchorage at Glorietta Bay. In addition to sponsoring the Ha-Ha Costume Kickoff Party, West Marine will be hosting a series of seminars at their Shelter Island store and will be offering free shuttle service to their store, the airport, consolates, etc. (Call 619-225-8844 to schedule a ride.)

Looking for Some Weekend Fun?

Didn’t get enough racing at Big Boat Series? Looking for something to do this weekend? There are numerous racing events going on this weekend, so here’s a little run-down:

  • Richmond YC: Lightning Class Pacific Coast Championships and Totally Dinghy – all centerboard boats are invited!
  • San Francisco YC: Nordic Folkboat Internationals at Olympic Circle
  • Coyote Point YC: Finn North American Championships in the lower South Bay
  • GGYC: Catalina 34 SF Cup along the Cityfront
  • Regatta Pro: J/24 & Express 27 Regatta.
  • Tiburon YC: Tornberg Regatta
  • Corinthian YC: Passport Regatta.

There are even more events, so if you’re looking for more, just check your trusty Latitude 38 YRA Calendar.

The Pacific Puddle Jump Diet Plan

When we first met Ray and Peggy Wilson in Puerto Vallarta last spring as they were preparing their Long Beach-based Transpac 49 Sol Searcher for the Pacific Puddle Jump, they looked pretty fit. But when we next saw them in Tahiti in July they looked as though they’d just walked off-camera after making an exercise video – we’re talking buffed and trim as high school gymnasts.

The Ray and Peggy slimmed down and firmed up on their Puddle Jump Diet Plan.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

They didn’t get that way by choice, however. After loosing their autopilot on the seventh day out from Mexico and their engine on the 10th day, they had to hand-steer 24/7 for 20 days, including three days stuck in the doldrums. Peggy reportedly lost 20 pounds and Ray’s already muscular build firmed up to prize-fighter status. So if you’re the type who’s tried all the latest diet fads with limited results, perhaps you should consider Ray and Peggy’s Pacific Puddle Jump Diet Plan. Results are pretty much guaranteed!

Call for Volunteer Bottoms

KKMI is working with Janssen Pharmaceutica to develop a greener bottom paint, and are inviting Bay Area boaters to help in the effort by volunteering their own bottoms for a one-year study. "The study involves testing Econea," explained Erica Kaplan, "which is believed to be an effective, non-metal, low environmental impact antifouling paint." Not only do participants get the warm-fuzzies for doing their part to help the environment, they also get the paint for free.

As with any kind of study, volunteers must meet certain criteria, and this one’s no exception:
1) Your boat must be in the area for the next year so it can be hauled every six months for inspection.
2) The paint currently only comes in black, so if you need red bottom paint to coordinate with your canvas, this study’s not for you.
3) You absolutely, positively, no matter what must NOT scrub your bottom during the testing period. Remember, they’re testing the effectiveness of this paint so scrubbing would skew the results.
4) Volunteers will pay for the first haul-out and application of the paint. The paint and follow-up haul-outs are free.

If you’re interested in volunteering your power or sailboat, contact Bob Hennessey at KKMI at (510) 307-7907 or by email.

Yes, it took 52 days from the Galapagos, but who cares? © Liz Clark Today’s Photo of the Day is of ‘Aron’, a young Hungarian man who has sailed his modest little 19-footer all the way from Europe.
Kati and the marines collect the turtle eggs at Punta Mita. © Karen Milleson "On September 3, a friend told me that he’d seen turtles on the beach to the east of the panga harbor at Punta Mita, Banderas Bay," writes young Kati Milleson, who lives in the El Faro condo project nearby.
This isn’t nearly the maximum resolution available on Google Earth, nonetheless, it’s ideal for orientation of Marina Cabo San Lucas Google Earth
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC Bill Finkelstein of the Valiant 50 Raptor Dance informed us that Google has just added a bunch of new countries and detail to their Maps/Earth feature, including more detailed images of Mexico.