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December 5, 2007

Photos of the Day: Sea Level Launched

Jim Milski’s new self-built catamaran Sea Level tasted the water for the first time on December 3 at Mare Island.

© Jim Milski

It was a long time coming, but Coloradan Jim Milski’s dream catamaran touched water for the first time on December 3. A decade ago, Milski bought a Privilege catamaran in the Caribbean, but was disappointed in the cat’s sailing ability. After doing a delivery and a Banderas Bay Regatta aboard Profligate, during which time we counseled him against even dreaming of building his own cat, he disregarded our advice by buying a kit — and became the West Coast dealer — for Schionning catamarans.

Jim Milski’s new Schionning 48 floats perfectly on her lines.

© Jim Milski

About six months into construction, when there seemed to be no end to the project, Milski told us he should have listened to us. But now, with his beautiful new cat in the water and about to sail, we supposed he’s changed his mind. Anyway, expect a full report in the January Latitude.

Jim, at the helm, is surrounded by happy family and friends.

Sea Level
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Darla Jean Wrecks on Fanning Island

"On the morning of December 2, the 47-ft San Francisco-based motorsailer Darla Jean wrecked on the reef on the southeast side of Fanning Atoll in the Central Pacific," report Robby and Lorraine Coleman, who have been there for several months aboard their Honolulu-based Angelman ketch Southern Cross. "It’s our understanding that Jerry and Darla, the skipper and his wife, as well as their dog and macaw all survived."

"According to what we’ve heard, the boat left San Francisco on September 20th bound for Hawaii, but had various problems that left her unable to either sail or motor. As such, the Darla Jean simply drifted until she washed ashore here. The couple report not needing any help at this time."

If anybody knows any more about this couple or their boat, we’d love to fill in the blanks. Email Richard with any info.

Joyon 20% Ahead of MacArthur’s Pace

Francis Joyon and his 97-ft Irens/Cabaret trimaran have slowed somewhat in pursuit of a new solo around the world record, but are still on a pace that is — incredibly — about 20% faster than Ellen MacArhtur’s current record. Fantastic.

In a previous ‘Lectronic, we reported that Franck Cammas and his crew on the maxi tri Groupama III had hoped to leave on the same day as Joyon in their pursuit of the Jules Verne Trophy, which is for the fastest circumnavigation, solo or crewed. That was incorrect. Javier de Muns, "our man in Brittany," says that it was actually Thomas Coville and his 105-ft trimaran Sodebo who had hoped to leave the same day as Joyon, also in pursuit of MacArthur’s record.

How cool would it have been to watch Joyon and Colville match race around the world?

© 2007 Jacques Vapillon/ DPPI

Alas, Coville’s trimaran developed hydraulic problems and had to postpone their start. It’s a shame, because it would have been brilliant to see how the two new but different trimarans fared against each other. Although the 105-ft Sodebo is longer than the 97-ft IDEC, she’s also a ton heavier, at 12 tons versus 11 tons. Coville is currently in La Trinitie sur Mer, hoping to start with the next weather window.

de Muns spoke with some of the crew of Groupama III yesterday as they were loading her with food and diesel and making last minute preparations. At this point, it looks to be at least another six days before they move up to Brest in anticipation of a start.

Midwinter Racing Returns

Small Flying Patio Furniture and BreakThrough enjoyed Saturday’s mostly-clear, but cold, conditions.

© 2007 Peter Lyons

After the bleakest November in memory, midwinter racing got underway again this weekend with well-attended series in venues ranging from the South Bay all the way up to Vallejo. Main Bay fleets included those of Sausalito YC, Golden Gate YC and West Marine/RegattaPRO’s Keelboat series. Wind — wow, remember that? — was about 8-10 knots out of the northwest, making for a really pleasant day for the 125 or so boats racing in these three series. And as far as we know, nobody got a speck of oil on their boat.

Suppose Santa honed his sleigh-handling skills on a woodie?

© Peter Lyons

Results for the three main series can be found at (Golden Gate YC), (Sausalito YC), and (RegattaPRO). If you’re interested in low-key fun racing, there are still plenty of opportunities to take part through yacht clubs all over the Bay. Check out the ‘Midwinter Regatta’ section of our online Calendar for dates and contact information.

Sausalito YC racers had better winds on Sunday but greyer skies.

© 2007 Peter Lyons

Harker on Last Leg of Solo Circumnavigation

As Harker rounded Cape Point, South Africa, he returned to the Atlantic Ocean, from where he started his circumnavigation.

© Mike Harker

Mike Harker, whose Lake Arrowhead home burned in the recent Southern California wildfires, reports that he’s left the Indian Ocean and is back in the Atlantic with his Hunter Mariner 49 Wanderlust III, and therefore has just 6,500 miles to go in his very rapid and mostly-singlehanded circumnavigation. Harker was a novice sailor in ’00 when he did the Ha-Ha, but subsequently singlehanded across the Atlantic, cruised the Med and back across the Atlantic, then sailed to French Polynesia before returning to California.

Talk about ‘pucker factor’ – this monster is bigger than the storm that killed the crew of the northbound catamaran Cat Shot last December.
It wasn’t too many years ago that America’s Cup promoters were doing anything they could think of to make the contest for the Cup more appealing to the general public — that is, ready for prime time.
If actual racing, as opposed to America’s Cup lawyering, is your passion, you should direct your attention to the Atlantic Ocean right now.