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January 23, 2008

Lone Fox Wins St. Martin Classic

With a reefed main and mizzen, Lone Fox displays her winning form between St. Martin and Anguilla.

St. Martin Classic Regatta
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Lone Fox, the classic Robert Clark 65-ft ketch built for Colonel Whitbread nearly a half century ago, but now owned by Ira Epstein of Bolinas, won overall honors in last weekend’s St. Martin Classic Regatta in the Netherland Antilles. While the event isn’t as highly regarded as the Antigua Classic Regatta that’s held in early April, and where Lone Fox took second in class last year, you still can’t do any better than first.

An ebullient Randy West, left, shares the joy of victory with a pleased Ira Epstein, right.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Ira, who is based out of St. Barth and is one of nicest guys you’d ever want to meet in the Caribbean, purchased the boat a little over a year ago, and has been doing day and term charters, plus classic regattas, ever since. After decades of commuting from Bolinas to the Financial District in San Francisco in time for stock exchange hours in New York, Epstein is now "living my dream."

A later chapter in that dream is entering Lone Fox in the classic yacht regattas in the Med, something he can’t quite spring for entirely on his own. As such, if you’d be interested in chartering the boat for one of the classic regattas in France or Italy, you know who to call.

Gitana 13 Crosses Equator

This morning, at 7:24 GMT — less than a week after leaving New York —  the 110-ft catamaran Gitana 13 crossed the Equator. That’s about 3,200 miles in 6.5 days, an average of just under 500 miles a day. In case you haven’t heard yet, G-13 and her 10-man crew are trying to break the sailing record from New York to San Francisco.

But the ebullient mood aboard the big French cat this morning was not for the Equator, but rather for their quick traverse of the Doldrums north (and by now, hopefully south) of it. As every ocean racer knows, the trick here is to find the narrow ‘off ramp’ from the northern-hemisphere trades to the southern-hemisphere trades where you keep wind — and keep moving. Pick the wrong lane and you might be becalmed for days.

As with every other facet of this program, Gitana’s weather routers are excellent. They got her through the northern portion with barely a hiccup. Although slowed from 25 knots to just 8-12, she traversed the area and crossed the Equator in fine style. “But the real exit is 1 degree (60 miles) south,” wrote crewman Nicolas Raynaud in the latest update. He also indicated it was “still a perfect tradewind sky” which also boded well for a quick escape.

Of course, that latest report was posted almost 12 hours before this was written. By the time you read this, they should have popped out the other side and be well into the southern trades, once again blasting along at 25 knots or better past the hip of South America and on-schedule to arrive under the Golden Gate on or about February 20.

For more, including video updates from on board, log onto

Racing Underway at KWRW

The sailing at Key West Race Week finally got underway yesterday after high winds forced organizers to cancel Monday’s scheduled races. After three races in the highly competitive 46-boat Melges 24 class, Tiburon’s Peter Lane on Brick House is in 9th place. "Key West has turned into an international event," Lane told Latitude. "I think there’s like five or six past Melges 24 world champions here." Current world champion Dave Ullman of Newport Beach is in third, 10 points out of first.

San Francisco’s Tom Coates and his all-conquering Masquerade crew are gunning for a fourth Key West win in the 34-boat J/105 class. Tactician Chris Perkins helped Coates post two bullets and a third to give them a three point lead. "We liked our starts and had the boat going fairly fast, but the competition is fierce once again and we’ll have our work cut out for us to maintain that lead,” Coates said.

John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti is lying in second in IRC 1, four points behind Dan Meyers’ Numbers. The top Bay Area performer in the 27-strong Melges 32 class is Sausalito’s Steven Pugh and Taboo in ninth place. Former Key West Mumm 30 class winner Deneen Demourkas and Groovederci of Santa Barbara has a four point lead in that class. The ‘Latin Rascal’ Vincenzo Onorato defending world champion in the Farr 40 class, sits atop the leaderboard with his Mascalzone Latino crew. Farr 40 Worlds’ bridesmaid Ernesto Bertarelli and his Alinghi squad are in 13th.

To keep up with what’s going on, head on over to the website at

World ARC Starts Today

Thirty-five monohulls and six multihulls are departing St. Lucia today on the 15-month World ARC cruise around the world. This is the fifth around-the-world event for the World Cruising Club, which has also had 3,000 of their boats cross the Atlantic in the ARCs (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) since 1984.

Jim Candela of the Sarasota-based Outremer 55 Candela checks his rigging before today’s start of the World ARC around-the-world rally.

World ARC
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The ARC World entries are from 13 countries, with the United Kingdom and Germany leading the way with five yachts and 15 sailors each. There are three U.S. entries, the same number as from Italy and Canada, for god’s sake. Six of the entered yachts were built by Beneteau, while four were built by Amel and Oyster.

To get a better idea of what kind of boats people are sailing around the world, check out the following entry list:

Akoya, Baltic 58, ITA
Andante of Mersey, Island Packet 485, GBR
Annemare, Hallberg Rassy 53, GER
Asolare, Amel 54, GBR
Baccalieu III, Oyster 56, CAN
Basia, Privilege 445, CAN
BlueFlyer, Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49, IRL
Branec IV, 50-ft trimaran, FRA
Calli Due, Regina of Vindo 43, ITA
Candela, Outremer 55, USA
Chantelle, Beneteau First 42S7, GBR
Cleone, Contest 40, GBR
Far Out, Southern Wind 72, DEN
Faraway, Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49, POR
Grand Filou, Shipman Seaway 63, GER
Graptolite, Bavaria 44, GBR
Gray Lady, Dixon 72, RUS
Harmonie, Amel Super Maramu, USA
Ideal, Fountaine Pajot Bahia 46, GBR
Into the Blue, Oyster 56, GBR
Jus’Do It 3, Beneteau First 47.7, GBR
Kasuje, Hallberg Rassy 53, GBR
Kealoha 8, Oyster 72, GBR
La Boheme, Amel Super Maramu 2000, AUS
Lady Kay, Lagoon 380, GBR
Maamalni, Avatar 52, USA
Northern Sky, Beneteau Oceanis 393 , CAN
Nutella, Wauquiez 43PS, ESP
Onelife, Amel Super Maramu 2000, ITA
Pelikan, Laurent Giles 42, AUS
Quasar V of Lleyn, Moody 54, GBR
Southern Princess, Beneteau 57, AUS
Storyteller, Beneteau 57, AUS
Strega, Beneteau First 47.7, GER
Talulah Ruby II, Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49DS, GBR
TillyMint, Oyster 82, GBR
Viva, Hallberg Rassy 42F, GER
Whitbread, 72-ft Ketch, GBR
Williwaw II, Fountaine Pajot Belize 43, FRA
Windflower III, Bavaria 46, GER
Wizard, Simonis 56, ZAF

Francis Joyon arrives in Brest, flares lit. © Liot-Vapillon/DPPI Idec Just 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds after starting from Brest, France, Francis Joyon finished his record attempt in the wee hours of Sunday morning, then took a well-earned victory nap before greeting the 2,000-strong crowd of well-wishers that gathered to welcome him home.
Gitana 13 is heading our way. Gitana 13
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC As this ‘Lectronic Latitude was posted, the 110-ft catamaran Gitana 13 was blasting southeast down the Atlantic, five days into a nonstop record attempt at the 14,000-mile Route de l’Or: the ‘route of gold’ from New York to San Francisco.
Doug Thorne, who sails his Celestial 48 Tamara Leann out of Alameda, brought to our attention that Bay Area mogul Tom Perkins was interviewed on KQED’s Forum radio show on January 9.
With all the talk about global warming, cruisers in Mexico are wondering why it’s been so cold — since about the 10th of December — compared to other seasons.
Although SailFest’s focus is on fundraising and shoreside fun, fleet members also test their racing prowess.