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September 12, 2008

Usual Suspects Top BBS Leaderboard

Stephen Pugh’s Taboo pulverizes a ‘mogul’ during yesterday’s second race. The twitchy Melges 32s proved a handful for some of the teams when the breeze topped-out in the low-20s.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Bay didn’t disappoint for the opening day of the St. Francis YC’s Rolex Big Boat Series, and neither did the names who’ve been dominant on it. With breeze that started light and built to the low 20s yesterday over the series’ first two races for each of the six one design and four handicap divisions, it was back to business as usual for the Bay after last year’s unusually balmy flood tide series.

The four IRC divisions were joined by the Melges 32s on the southern edge of the Circle for race one, while the J/105s, J/120s, 1D35s, Express 37s and Beneteau 36.7s had their opening rodeo on the Cityfront course. For race two, the two groupings swapped courses before all the classes converged on the Cityfront to finish in front of the club with kites up, hugging the shore to escape the light ebb.

John Kilroy (foreground) and the braintrust on the TP 52 Samba Pa Ti keep an eye on the clock and an eye on the finish line after finishing race #2, which they would later find they’d won. The IRC optimized Botin & Carkeek design lies in second in IRC A behind Chip Megeath’s Criminal Mischief.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Stone Cup and Pacific Cup division-winning Criminal Mischief was back to its customarily productive malfeasance. Chip Megeath’s Tiburon-based R/P 45 got off to a solid start in the nine-boat IRC A division with a 1-2 and carries a two-point lead over John Kilroy’s TP 52 Samba Pa Ti, which won the second race.

Pt. Richmond’s Brad Copper put IRC B on notice that he intends to reprise his division win at August’s Aldo Alessio Regatta and West Coast IRC Championship after sailing his Tripp 43 TNT to a 1-2 yesterday. TNT carries a two-point lead over Michael Diepenbrock’s Swan 45 Rancho Deluxe in the nine-boat division where the two boats rank as the second and third slowest-rated boats.

Prior to last year, John Siegel’s Wylie 42 Scorpio had dominated her division in the previous four Big Boat Series, and yesterday Siegel sailed the boat to a 2-1 to make a push to reclaim that top spot. Scorpio now carries a one-point lead in IRC C over the boat that unseated her last year, Dave Kirby’s J/122 TKO. Scorpio and TKO are the two slowest-rated boats in the eight-boat division.

Mike Garl’s Beneteau 40.7 White Dove leads the pack in IRC D during opening-day action at the Rolex Big Boat Series.

© Erik Simonson

White Dove, Mike Garl’s Peninsula-based Beneteau 40.7 and reigning West Coast IRC Champion, leads Gerry Sheridan’s Elan 40 Tupelo Honey in an extremely tight 13-boat IRC D. White Dove, Scorpio, TNT and Tupelo Honey will all be pushing hard this weekend as not only are their division trophies on the line, the inaugural Northern California IRC series is up for grabs between these four.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
“I said, ‘Keep the BOAT under the kite,’ not the other way around!!” Don Jesberg’s Melges 32 Viva wipin’ out and running over her kite during yesterday’s breezy second race.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In the Melges 32s, Midwest scow and Melges 24 ace John Porter and his chartered Full Throttle lead after the first two races on a countback with Pieter Taselaar’s Bliksem — tied with four points apiece.

Masakazu Toyama’s Japanese Ebb Tide crew chartered Andy Costello’s 1D35 Double Trouble and made the most of the day, finishing with a 4-1 to take the top spot on the leaderboard in that class after a countback with Gary Boell’s Richmond-based Diabalita.

Coming as little surprise, the Bay Area’s Steve Madeira and his omnipresent green-hulled Mr. Magoo lead the eight-boat J/120 division over two other Bay Area boats frequently found on the leaderboard, Barry Lewis’ Chance and Don Payan’s Dayenu.

Short Skirt crosses Jabberwocky at the finish of the J/105s’ second race.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

With a 1-3, Chris Perkins and Dave Wilson’s Good Timin’ sits in first in the Bay Area-dominated 31-boat J/105 fleet, followed closely by Scott Sellers, Rolf Kaiser and Eric Ryan’s Donkey Jack in a transposition of the boats’ finishing order at August’s J/105 North Americans.

Mistral, Ed Durbin’s Richmond YC-based all-conquering Beneteau 36.7 is tied with fellow club member Stuart Scott’s Bufflehead in the first-ever six-boat Beneteau 36.7 division.

San Francisco’s Bartz Schneider sailed Expeditious into the lead in the 10-boat Express 37 division over Mark Dowdy’s Eclipse. Schneider’s team sailed to a 1-2 for a three-point lead in the second largest of the one-design divisions.

Charles Weghorn’s Farr 52 Zamazaan flirts with the breakwater for the benefit of the spectators at the St. Francis YC.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One thing all these division leaders know — not to mention the boats that are coming for them — is that there’s still a long way to go. We wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these divisions get shaken up over the weekend and we’ll be there to see it. You can follow the action by visiting the St. Francis YC‘s website and heading down to Crissy Field for some awesome spectating.

Marina Seca Stops Trucking Boats to U.S.

"We have sold our truck and have gone out of the business of trucking boats from Mexico back to the States," Kiki Grossman, Manager of Marina Seca, San Carlos, told us in a telephone interview yesterday.

Up until now, Marina Seca was the only real ‘truck your boat back from Mexico’ game in town. For an average of about $2,300, they would haul boats to 50 feet out, remove their mast, truck the boat and mast to Tucson, and transfer it to the truck and trailer of an American carrier. They’ve been shipping about 80 boats a year home to California, almost all of them in the spring.

So what went wrong? "Getting across the border became a real pain," explains Kiki. "U.S. Customs suddenly started to require much more of our driver, and was basically looking for ways to make it hard on us. For example, they started to demand proof that duty had been paid on foreign built boats, something they don’t do if boats are sailed back. In several cases, boatowners had to pay duty a second time. And with just one truck and one driver, and all the deliveries during three months a year, it no longer made business sense to offer that service. As a result, we sold our truck. We did keep the trailer, however, and there is a possibility we’ll be able to offer the service again using a third party trucking company. But for now, we are no longer trucking boats."

Ha-Ha XV Entry Deadline Extended

Compared to most offshore sailing events, the annual Baja Ha-Ha rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas is loosely administered by design. In keeping with that philosophy, the Rally Committee has extended the published deadline, September 10, until early next week.

"Sure, what the heck — the more the merrier" said one Committee member. Be aware, however, that if you wait too long to sign up you will miss the chance to have your bio and photo published in Latitude 38 and in the event program, and your boat’s name will not be listed on the event T-shirt. With a current total of 179 entries, this year’s event may well be the biggest and best ever. So if you’ve been procrastinating, we suggest you bite the bullet and commit! Signing up is easier than ever, via our online registration page. See you in San Diego!

Here are the latest victims . . . er, participants:

170) Mahalo, Cal 40, Holly Scott, Long Beach
171) Crystal Blue Persuasion, SR-55/SX, Gary Burgin, Charleston, OR
172) Catch Wind, Catalina 30, Jeff Grant, San Pedro
173) Delphinia, Morgan 34, Robert Lieb, Long Beach
174) Amani, Fountaine Pajot 56, Chris Connors, Vallejo
175) Medusa, Santa Cruz 52, Kelly Benedicks, Sausalito
176) Odessa Mama, Whitby 42, Stan May, Portland
177) Julia Morgan, Morgan Out Island 41, Thomas Christensen, Long Beach
178) PanaSea, Catalina 380, Dean Laurin, Emery Cove YH
179) Lea Scotia, Taswell 43, Trevor & Karissa MacLachlan, Seattle

Falcon in Honolulu, Heading for the Bay

The mighty Maltese Falcon moored next to the Aloha Tower during a stop in Honolulu on her way to San Francisco.

© 2008 Laurie Kilantang

"I read with interest your story last month about Tom Perkins’ 289-ft Maltese Falcon coming to San Francisco, and hoped to see her on a trip there at the end of the month," writes Mark Hazlett of Honolulu. "So I was startled this morning when I looked out my office window and saw Maltese Falcon motoring into Honolulu Harbor! Laurie Kilantang, my secretary, who is also a part-time photographer, took the accompanying photo. Compare the height of the Aloha Tower, which until the mid-’60s was the tallest structure in downtown Honolulu, with the height of Falcon‘s mast."

Tom Perkins sent us an email with the latest plans for Falcon:

"We just arrived in Honolulu after a fast passage from Papeete. Unfortunately, we had to motor for a couple of days through the doldrums, so I gave up the plan to break the clipper record. Still, we had a good sail. Falcon will set sail on Sunday or Monday for San Francisco. She’ll probably anchor in Drake’s Bay to clean up after the passage before coming into the Bay. She’ll then sail under the Golden Gate at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 27."

So mark you calendars, as it’s going to be a tremendous sight. The pedestrian path on the east side of the Golden Gate Bridge would make an excellent viewing point.

Perkins adds that Falcon will be sailing the Bay in support of the Leukemia Cup on October 4 or 5.

Huge waves generated by Hurricane Ike slam into the coast at Baracoa. Fortunately, much of the town is located on a bluff.
Australian officials report that up to 21 planes are searching the coast off Queensland, Australia, for the Morgan Out-Island 41 Blessed Be.
BMW Oracle Racing will be changing latitudes at the end of the month, moving its monster trimaran to San Diego to continue the work-up of this impressive beast.