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January 4, 2008

Thomas Coville Makes a Big Comeback

Thomas Coville, who had a rough start to his own assault on Ellen MacArthur’s solo circumnavigation record and who was thought by some to be out of the running, has made a tremendous comeback in the last few days aboard his 105-ft trimaran Sodebo. A high pressure system just off South Africa forced Coville to head farther south than is typically comfortable – but the tactic has paid off as he found strong northerlies to push him along at 24 knots for the last 24 hours. Unfortunately, he’s also had to dodge icebergs – not an easy task at those speeds. He’s now 600 miles ahead of where MacArthur was at this stage of her journey and just 345 miles behind Francis Joyon aboard IDEC.

Meanwhile, Joyon just had the worst day of his trip so far: a mere 139 miles made good. The high pressure system off the coast of Brazil that becalmed him yesterday is moving off and bringing fresh northwesterlies with it, leaving Joyon little choice but to tack in close to Brazil before tacking back out to find favorable winds.

“Oh My God, I’m Sinking!”

It’s never good when your ‘high water’ alarm sounds. And especially not good when it sounds while you’re singlehanding 500 miles south of Ascension Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. But that’s the situation Mike Harker of Southern California found himself in aboard Wanderlust 3, his Hunter Mariner 49, just before the end of the year. You’ll recall that Harker, who basically learned to sail during the ’00 Ha-Ha, is doing a mostly singlehanded, one-year circumnavigation. Anyway, we’ll let him tell the story:

"I hurried down the stairs to look in the bilge, and when I saw the water up to the floorboards, I shouted ‘Oh my God, I’m sinking!’ The first thing I did was shut off the engine, then I went around to close all the thru-hull seacocks. I went back to the manual bilge pump and started pumping out the sea water, but it was too slow. I then got out my hand pump and buckets, and pumped the bilge water into the buckets, then threw the water overboard. With most of the water overboard, I went around looking for leaks.

We’re guessing Mike Harker wasn’t smiling like this when his high water alarm went off aboard his Hunter Mariner 49 Wanderlust III.

© 2008 Mike Harker

"When I lifted the engine cover, there was dried salt all around the alternator area, and a water stream coming up into the alternator from somewhere under it. I took down the stairs and laid them in the forward cabin, then took off the engine cover to get to the alternator. After removing the alternator, I found the leak. A steady stream about the force of a kid peeing was coming up out of the salt water impeller pump. Not from the two hose connections on the pump, but from the curve of the pump’s metal casing itself.

"How was I to stop the leak? I got out the Yanmar book and found the page where it shows the impeller pump connection into the intercooler. I unscrewed the drain plug from the intercooler to drain all the water from above the pump. That stopped the water flowing from the leak. But how could I plug or fill the hole?"

Our Question of the Day is how would you have fixed the leak? Email us with your answer. Check out the February Latitude to learn how Harker tried to do it, and whether he was successful or his boat sunk.

Any Ladies Looking for Sailing & Romance?

Normally, we avoid matchmaking like the plague, but every 30 years or so we give it a try. This is one of those times.

In addition to sailing, Marc’s idea of fun include 10 to 15-mile hikes.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Marc Hachey, 54, of Auburn has been cruising his Peterson 44 Sea Angel for about six months a year for eight years now. He started on the West Coast, did Mexico and Central America, and more recently has been doing the Caribbean and the Northeast U.S. Some of the time he’s had crew, other times he’s made very difficult passages – eastward across the Caribbean, for example – singlehanded. So he knows what he’s doing on a boat.

We swam out to Sea Angel the other day and found it very lady friendly. In other words, it was very clean, and everything was in its place. Marc is no slobbo. Marc likes to sail ‘clean’, too, meaning his solar panels and wind generator provide him with all the juice he needs to run his refrig/freezer, radios, watermaker and so forth. He’s got a nice Carib dinghy, too, with a Yamaha 15 hp outboard. Both are typically in excellent condition.

We brought Marc along for the Around the Island Race aboard the 130-ft schooner Altair, and he acquitted himself well. He displayed all the social graces, and was an energetic and helpful crew. He would be welcomed back any time.

Marc is in terrific physical shape, as hiking is one of his other passions. In fact, he took off for the Windwards yesterday because those islands offer the highest peaks in the region. As such, he’s looking for a woman who shares his interest in physical activities and good health.

A retired contractor who built his own home in Auburn, Marc’s more than solvent, but prefers the simple, healthy, active life. He enjoys a beer or cocktail, but would never let drinking interfere with his healthy lifestyle.

That’s Marc as we know him, although naturally any of you ladies who might be interested would have to do your own vetting. And if you want another look at him, check out Changes in the current issue of Latitude. We naturally guarantee nothing, but if you want to contact him, email us and we’ll forward your note.

Christmas and New Year’s in Mexico

"Frosty and Patti of Angel Fish organized a Christmas potluck for about 75 of us cruisers at the Barra Country Club Golf Course, and then Bill Lloy and Moira Taft of Fancy Free put together a New Year’s Brunch," reports Charles Lane of the San Francisco-based Tayana 37 Shamari. "The Christmas event was in particular a huge success, as it raised some money for a local kid’s program."

We know there were lots of cruiser Christmas and New Year’s events in Mexico, and would love to get brief reports and photos of them. Whenever possible, try to get the full names, boat names, boat types and hailing ports of the organizers, as it makes for more informative and professional reports. When taking photos, make sure you get everyone in the group to put their heads together and smile. Trust us, it makes a world of difference.

The magic of St. Barth – one day you don’t know anybody, the next day you’re sailing to windward in 30 knots aboard a yacht like Altair, a spectacularly restored 130-ft gaff ketch designed and built by Fife in 1911.
With the recent court ruling establishing BMW Oracle as the Challenger of Record for the next America’s Cup, Oracle sent off 2007 with a promise of a Deed of Gift challenge for October, 2008.
With the last of the 79 entries having finished or dropped out of the 605-mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Roger Sturgeon’s new Farr STP65 Rosebud was declared the corrected time winner. 
Even though the weather has been warmer the last couple days, don’t forget we’re still in the grip of winter.
French sailing dynamo, Francis Joyon, just keeps cracking off the miles on his quest for the fastest singlehanded circumnavigation world record.