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November 28, 2007

Ellison Wins A-Cup Court Challenge

Chalk up a point for Larry Ellison. The New York State Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Golden Gate YC’s challenge for the 33rd America’s Cup is, in fact, valid – that is, GGYC, rather than the Spanish CNEV, will be the Challenger of Record. In case you’re wondering, the Dispute was abitrated in NY, rather than Geneva or elsewhere, as mandated by the original Deed of Gift.

As reported earlier this month, when negotiations over the proposed rules for the next running of the A-Cup fell apart between defender Société Nautique de Genève (SNG)/Alinghi and GGYC’s BMW Oracle, that latter filed suit in New York. If SNG does not appeal the decision, the next question will be whether the competition will take place aboard monohulls – the AC90 monohull rule is GGYC’s preference – or aboard 90-foot catamarans which might take the event to a whole new level of public interest. Stay tuned. . .

While SNG head Ernesto Bertarelli’s boast that, "It is not possible that we will lose. We have the best lawyers," now seems painfully ironic, he obviously underestimated Ellison’s winning ways in the courtroom. As we recall, a boat broker sued him for commision on his first big powerboat and lost. And we’re told a woman he was dating sued him for, among other things, not following through on his promise to buy her General Electric! Yeah, she lost too. And now this.

Joyon Ahead of MacArthur’s Record Pace

Oh Lord, he is so small, but his ship and his speed are so great!

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Although Frenchman Francis Joyon only started on November 27, he and his 100-ft trimaran IDEC, thanks to back-to-back 500+ mile days, have put themselves 313 miles ahead of Dame Ellen MacArthur’s singlehanded around-the-world record pace. During his best 24 hours, Joyon averaged 24.2 knots. If he can keep up the pace – there is the little problem of the doldrums – Joyon would pass the Barcelona World Race (doublehanded around the world) fleet, which is sailed in the latest and greatest Open 60 monohulls, later this week.

That fleet started from Barcelona 16 days before Joyon left Brest on the Atlantic coast of France. Speaking of the Barcelona World race, the only American, Jonathan McKee of Seattle, who is sailing with Spaniard Fuillermo Altadill aboard Estrella Damm, is 469 miles off the pace, seventh of nine boats. The two leaders, who have now hit the tradewinds in the Atlantic and have thus started to pull away from the pack, are PRB, with Vincent Riou (FRA)/Sébastien Josse (FRA), and Paprec-Virbac 2, with Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA)/Damian Foxall (IRE), who are 34 miles back. There are still more than 21,000 miles to go, so anything can happen.

Blue Heron and the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

"Man overboard!" "Man overboard again!" Despite light winds since the November 25th start, the 235 boats in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers fleet have already reported two crewmembers have gone overboard. Both were recovered, which is a good thing, because it’s a nearly 2,700-mile swim from the Canary Islands to the finish at St. Lucia in the West Indies.

The light winds in the early going of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers has meant it’s been easy to land mahi mahi – as well as crewmembers who have gone overboard.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While the Volvo 60 AAG Big One put up a 297-mile day, most of the fleet, including James Eaton on the Bevedere-based Hallberg-Rassy 43 Blue Heron, the only West Coast entry, has had a case of the slows. The wind has been coming from the right direction, there just hasn’t been much of it. Here’s to hoping they get a better breeze soon, or it’s going to be a very long race.

Stanford Beats Cal, in Sailing, That Is

Although the breeze was light, competition was intense at yesterday’s Big Sail.

© Chris Ray

Although Cal Berkeley’s Golden Bears may be favored over the Stanford Cardinal in the so-called ‘Big Game’ this Saturday, both Stanford’s varsity and alumni sailors triumphed over Cal in yesterday’s J/105 match racing in the Central Bay.

“Smile!” On-the-water rivals strike a pose at the StFYC awards ceremony.

© Chris Ray

With light winds blowing out of the north, each school’s varsity team faced off in three buoy races (Cal: 0,1,0; Stanford: 1,0,1), while their Young Alums and Masters did battle in one heat each, with Stanford alums winning both.

These days, many sports commentators question the contemporary significance of the Big Game, as one side or the other almost always dominates and the result is rarely pivotal in the run-up to league championships. But none of that diminishes the enthusiasm for the Big Sail among those students and alums with a passion for sailing. For them, this little-publicized contest is a high point of the winter season, and we’d bet it will endure for many years to come.

Ouch! Just when they were probably thinking about getting out the docklines and fenders.
The 40-year-old ‘eco-cruise ship’ Explorer sank after hitting an iceberg in Antarctica. Chilean Air Force
©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC That’s what the brochures said, and that’s what the 100 passengers aboard the 250-ft ‘eco-cruise ship’ Explorer got.