May 19, 2008

Photo of the Day: Foggy Memories

Scorching temperatures around the Bay Area mid-week were replaced this weekend by our normal summer weather pattern: brisk winds and fog. While the sailing was great, visibility was almost non-existent in some places. We’ve heard of at least three collisions possibly caused by it (see the next story) — did you have any close calls out on the water this weekend? If so, email LaDonna about it.

Stone Cup

Perennial rivals Donkey Jack (foreground) and Good Timin go mano-a-mano in the J/105 class.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Action was hot, heavy, occasionally harrowing — and at times really foggy — for StFYC’s annual Frank Stone Invitational series held over the weekend. Breeze in the 20-knot range and a good dose of ebb chop both days really rinsed the winter spiderwebs out of the 47 boats in one IRC and four one design classes. The series featured two races per day with no throwouts.

Criminal Mischief (#2245) at the first IRC start on Saturday.

© 2008 Peter Lyons

When the spray had cleared, Chip Megeath’s R/P 45 Criminal Mischief had taken the 12-boat IRC class on a tiebreaker with John Siegel’s veteran Wylie 43 Scorpio. Tom Thayer’s Howl pummeled the Sydney 38 class with three firsts and a fourth, while Gary Fanger’s Sweet Sensation looked pretty sensational with a three-point victory over the second 1D35 in that five-boat class. In the J-classes, the usual suspects topped the leaderboard, with Steve Madeira and his Mr. Magoo crew winning the J/120s by a point, and partners Dave Wilson and Chris Perkins pulling off a 10-point win of the J/105s with Good Timin’ — without winning a single race!

Copernicus leads Howl in this photo, but the dark-hulled Howl prevailed to win the Sydney 38 division.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There were some fender benders out there, with Sy Kleinman’s veteran Schumacher 54 Swiftsure apparently getting the worst of it, coming together with Criminal Mischief on Saturday, and then getting T-boned by a J/24 on Sunday. There was another collision off Alcatraz on Saturday involving a boat in the 30-ft range but, at ‘Lectronic Latitude presstime, we had yet to track down details of any of these incidents, nor whether any of them were related to the thick fog that rolled in after lunch on both days. Look for that information in the June Racing Sheet.

For complete results, log onto

Fear Not, It’s One of Ours

We wouldn’t want to give away any military secrets, but we thought we ought to warn Central American cruisers that a mega yacht is ‘patroling’ those waters under command of the U.S. military.

The vessel La Danseuse encountered it at the mouth of the Panama Bay maneuvering in stealth mode:

"We encountered a huge unidentified motor vessel with no lights on. Luckily, we saw it on our radar and tracked it for about 30 minutes. As it was getting closer to us, he shone a bright light at us and we responded by doing the same. We hailed him on the radio and he identified himself as an American Warship! He asked three questions: How many people on board, their nationalities and what type of propulsion. 

"We did mention to them that we did not think it was a very good idea to be out in
these well-traveled waters without lights but they did not respond to that. Believe me, it was pretty scary!"

Artemis Leaders Reach Ice Gate

LoÏck Peyron’s Gitana 80 has been steadily chewing into race leader PRB‘s margin, halving a 24-mile lead in the past twelve hours in lighter wind. The weekend’s 36-hour blackout saw previous race leader Sébastien Josse aboard BT squirt ahead into a dominant position, then have to retire with a damaged mainsail track and batten cars. That followed last week’s retirement of previous leader Michel Desjoyeaux’s Foncia, which hit an unidentified object, mashing the starboard daggerboard and possibly damaging its casing. Now the lead pack is down to Vincent Riou’s PRB, Gitana 80, Armel le Cleach’s Brit Air and Yann Elies’ Generali. This pack is very close to passing the Ice Gate set by race organizers to minimize the boats’ exposure to an unusually heavy concentration of ice southeast of Newfoundland. In an abnormal year weather-wise, temperatures around the gate are no different. "It’s warm, it will be the warmest ice gate I’ve ever seen," Peyron said.

With higher temperatures in the North Atlantic, Yann Elies aboard Generali can wear Crocs, as he approaches an ice gate.

© Yann Elies

In the Class 40s, leader Giovanni Soldini continues to put on a clinic. Assiduously defending the rhumbline from the start, Soldini continues to lead, having sailed far less distance than the bulk of the fleet, some of which is as far as 150 miles south of the shortest route to the ice gate ahead. Strategically and tactically, Soldini seems to be sailing with the same set of principles he employed to great effect in winning November’s doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre — he’s sailing the shortest possible distance while consolidating on the boats behind at every good opportunity. Stay abreast of all the latest updaets at

Isthmus Cove at Two Harbors, Catalina Island. latitude/Richard
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC Memorial Day marks the start of the summer season at Catalina.
Lake Tahoe residents Greg Dorland and his wife Debbie Macrorie have gone over to the ‘dark side’ by purchasing the Catana 50 Legato that belonged to the late Jim Forquer of Newport Beach.
If Google Earth blew your socks off, don’t ‘aim’ your feet at any loved ones when you check out Worldwide Telescope.
In February, Dave Pryde and Jan Eckmann of the Washington-based Slocum 43 Baraka were thrilled to win the big raffle prize at Latitude‘s Pacific Puddle Jump kick-off party in Zihuatanejo.