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July 16, 2008

Pacific Cup Racers Into More Breeze

Dean Treadway’s venerable Farr 36 Sweet Okole leads the Pacific Cup fleet as it stands right now.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

After a slow first 24 hours, Monday’s starters — which included the two doublehanded divisons and Division A — in the 2008 Pacific Cup finally got into some breeze as they were joined on the course by Divisions B and C yesterday. A forecasted northwesterly breeze filled yesterday, but the damage appears to have been done to the earliest starters, as today’s position reports have all of them in the back of the fleet overall.

If the Division B start is any indication, they’ll be sailing an aggressive 2,070 miles to Kaneohe Bay.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

So far Joby Easton’s Cascade 36 Raindrop — which, in case you’re wondering, looks a hell of a lot nicer than it did when the picture on the Pacific Cup website was taken — is leading Doublehanded 1. In Doublehanded 2, Darrel Jensen’s Express 27 Alternate Reality is leading the way, with two of the Moore 24s chasing close behind. In Division A Steve Waterloo’s Cal 40 Shaman has squeaked into the lead in this tight group. In Divison B Chris Gibbs’ Wyliecat 39 Checkered Past is out in front and right behind the Divison C leader, Dean Treadway’s Farr 36 Sweet Okole, for the overall lead. Division D starts today, looking to take advantage of the freshening breeze and weather that, at least for the first half of the course, seems to be settling in and looking fast. Check out the Pacific Cup website at the link above for great tracker and racer’s blog updates.

Mark Rudiger – Friend in Need

He’s not the type of guy who would unduly worry people with bad news, but the fact is that the great Bay Area sailor Mark ‘Rudi’ Rudiger has been battling lymphoma for several years now. Rudiger, 53, was first diagnosed in 2004, but responded well to treatment and was soon back doing what he does best: navigating big boats across oceans and around the world. As late as last year, he guided Brack Duker’s SC70 Holua to a second in division in TransPac, and a first in division in the Vallarta Race.

Mark has navigated 14 TransPac races, sailed two Singlehanded TransPacs, navigated Paul Cayard’s Volvo 60 EF Language to victory in the ‘97-98 Volvo Ocean Race and co-skippered another V-60, Assa Abloy, to second place in the ‘01-02 edition of that crewed round-the-world race. His resume also includes five ‘barn door’ first-to-finish TransPacs, two Sydney-Hobart first-to-finish placings, and a first to finish in the inaugural Daimler-Chrysler Transatlantic race. He also has sailed regularly on various ocean racers, including Sayonara, Pegasus, Genuine Risk and Moneypenny.

With all that, he is one of the most genuine, generous and down-to-earth guys you will ever meet, and one of the best role models this sport has seen — ever. He is also a longtime friend of many of us here at Latitude 38.

Mark recently had a relapse and is back at Kaiser Hospital in Roseville. His wife Lori sent out the following statement: “We are at a critical point here in California and need your support. Mark is in the hospital but hanging tough. He strongly believes in the power of positive energy. This is the time for it to help him through the next few days. He can fight this but we can help. Thanks for your support and for your good thoughts.”

Many of Mark’s friends and fellow sailors have asked what more they can do. As the family is encountering many extraordinary expenses, a non-profit emergency fund has been set up by Jim Swartz, owner of Moneypenny. Donations are tax deductible and 100% of the funds will be used to pay certain expenses as directed by Mark. Donations can be made as follows: Christian Center of Park City, P.O. Box 683480, 1100 Iron Horse Drive, Park City, UT 84060 (attn: Emergency Assistance Fund, for benefit of Mark Rudiger).

We hope you will join us in sending your thoughts and prayers to Mark. Hang in there, buddy!

Coville Claims West-East Transatlantic Record

Thomas Coville enjoys a well-deserved celebratory drink after taking eight and a half hours off the singlehanded west-east transatlantic record.

© 2008 Francois Van Mallenghen / Sodeb’O

Thomas Coville sailed his 105-ft trimaran Sodeb’O past the Lizard 5 days, 19 hours, 29 minutes after leaving New York, taking eight and a half hours off the previous singlehanded west-east transatlantic record set by Francis Joyon in IDEC 1 in 2005. Coville was able to beat the record despite a high pressure system that slowed him considerably toward the end of the trip. Sleeping an estimated two hours in the first three days, he kept the pedal down the whole way across — barely taking a break during the final 48 hours to the finish.

Wind Fills for Solo Racers

The tracks of their tears. For the first three days, the Solo TransPac racers were frustrated with light-to-no winds but the breeze has finally filled in.

© 2008 Google Earth

Looking a bit like a giant squid in the throes of death, the position tracker for the 2008 Singlehanded TransPac shows the meandering and (until yesterday) slow progress for this year’s fleet. As mentioned in Monday’s report, the fleet of 22 boats had moderate winds as they sailed under the Gate but then came to a screeching halt as they approached the Farallones. For three days, the racers bobbed around in circles while they waited impatiently for the wind to fill in. Late on Monday, several boats finally found the breeze, with the rest of the fleet getting it yesterday morning. As of this morning’s roll call, everyone was clipping right along, with some even able to fly their chutes.

From the very beginning, Dwight Odom had trouble charging the batteries on his Sausalito-based Saga 43 Na-Na. Odom did an about-face on Sunday and headed back to port to effect repairs. He restarted the race on Monday, only to have to turn around again by Tuesday as the problem was persisting. This time the race’s website said he was "retiring" from the race. But Odom was in a cheerful mood this morning in the marina parking lot. "They finally found the problem, so I’m heading out again," Odom reported. "We hope the third time’s a charm!"

Third time’s a charm. Dwight Odom had to return to the Bay twice because of electrical problems but still hopes to finish the race.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Na-Na isn’t the only boat with electrical trouble. Barbara Euser on the Bristol 34 Islander is also having a problem charging her batteries. "Apparently, just running the tricolor navigation lights will run the batteries down overnight," wrote Mark Deppe of the J/120 Alchera. "The fleet gave her a number of suggestions to try — hopefully one of them will work."

Follow the links to track the racers’ positions and to read their log entries.

Classic Fun at Wooden Boat Show

Acres of burnished wood and tarred lines greeted admirers of classic yachts at CYC on Sunday.

latitude/John A.
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The weather for the Master Mariner’s Annual Boat Show on Sunday at Corinthian YC couldn’t have been more ideal — warm and sunny with near perfect temperatures. On display were 53 classic yachts,  and those attending the fundraiser event were treated to several docks of beautiful woodies that included schooners, ketches, yawls, sloops, gaff rigs and Marconis. There were several class boats on hands as well, like Birds, Bears, Folkboats and Farallon Clippers, and lots of bright sparkling paint, gleaming varnish and shiny brass.

Jim Cullens has owned Gold Star – winner of Best of Show – for 48 years.

© 2008 John Skoriak

A panel of judges were on hand to inspect the boats, and to give awards for ‘Best of Show’ and for the ‘Best Sweat Equity’. But the attendees got to have their say as well, casting votes for their favorites for the ‘Peoples’ Choice’ award. According to our Master Mariner ‘expert sources’ — Terry Klaus from Brigadoon and Peter English from Chorus — the ‘Stone Cup’ for best of show acknowledged Jim Cullens’ schooner Gold Star, the ‘Sweat Equity’ award went to Tim Murison for his outstanding work on Bolero, and the ‘People’s Choice’ award was a tie shared by Dee Dee Lozier’s beautiful ketch Stroma of May, William Stuckley’s Bird Boat Polly and Tom and Barbrara McGowan’s ketch Simpatico.

Stroma of Mey shared the ‘People’s Choice’ award with Polly and Simpatico.

© John Skoriak

If you missed the show this year, put it on your calendar for next year as it’s a real must-see event. For the reasonable $10 donation to Master Mariner’s Benevolent Fund, it might be the best value around.

Always an eclectic fleet, this year’s Solo TransPac entries include (l to r) Jeff Lebesch’s Hammerhead 54 Hecla, John Hayward’s Valiant 40 Dream Chaser and Nick Ratto’s Hawkfarm Kali O Kalani.
Thomas Coville wrestles the gennaker aboard his 105-ft trimaran Sodeb’O. With less than 200 miles to go, a building high-pressure system is throwing a wrench in Coville’s attempt to break Francis Joyon’s singlehanded West-East Transatlantic record.