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November 7, 2012

USA 17 to Fly Again

Some of the flotsam from USA 17 has been repurposed into a “flying” machine.

© Oracle Team USA / Guilain Grenier

Chronicle staff writer Will Kane reported yesterday that Oracle Team USA is making metaphorical lemonade out of the shattered remains of their 72-ft America’s Cup contender USA 17, which pitchpoled last month during training, destroying its $2 million wing sail. The team’s Shannon Falcone came up with the hare-brained scheme after watching a video about the Red Bull Flugtag coming up this Saturday. Flugtag is a ridiculous — and we mean that in the best possible way — event in which nerds and wannabes attempt to fly in human-powered ‘planes’ over McCovey Cove. The contraption that makes it the farthest wins. Fortunately for spectators, most are designed to fail in the most spectacular ways possible.

Which is exactly what Spirit of 17 will do. “We’re gonna pitchpole right off the [30-ft] platform,” Falcone told Kane. "So everybody will have a replay of what happened when the big boat crashed." Team captain Jimmy Spithill said if he wasn’t a judge for the free event, he’d be right alongside Falcone to take the dive.

Shannon Falcone (right) and Jimmy Spithill confer on the Spirit of 17’s rig.

© 2012 Lea Suzuki /The Chronicle

The effort came after the entry deadline so the team will not be competing for the top prize, but 33 other teams will be launching themselves into McCovey Cove on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. (viewing starts at 11 a.m.). First place winners receive a day of sky diving while those who take second get to sail with Oracle Team USA. Guess which prize we’d be competing for!

Practice Makes Near Perfect

On the same weekend for 19 of the last 20 years, the Poobah has ventured into a San Diego Costco to provision Profligate, the Ha-Ha mothership. And each year members of the crew would take a stab at guessing the final total. The Poobah doesn’t want to brag, but this year he guessed $1,740, which you can see is a mere $5 from the total. Not bad. But you get better with practice.

Vonnie and her coworker did the best job of any Costco team of packing up nearly $1,800 worth of food.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

What really wasn’t bad was Vonnie, a 20-year Costco vet, and her sidekick, a two-year vet, whose name we didn’t catch, who boxed all our goodies far better than any Costco team before. And that’s saying something. Boy, did their packing make our life easier.

Our provisioning cost of $1,745.75 for 12 people for two weeks is much lower than in previous years. We used to take most of the crew into Costco, and everybody went ‘off list’, throwing countless extras onto the carts. As a result, the totals used to be  $2,200-2,400 — and our having leftover food that lasted for months. Indeed, some lasted until we got back to California at the end of the season.

What nobody — ourselves included — seems to be able to accept is that there’s plenty of food in Mexico.

The Mystery of Beautiful Sunrises

Jack and Linda Buday captured this beautiful sunrise on October 20 from their Marina Village-based Hunter 40 Mind Designs. The Bay has never been a stranger to gorgeous skies at sunrise and sunset, but it seems to us that, lately, sunrises in particular have been especially photo-worthy. We’d love to hear from some meteorological experts as to why they (the sunrises, not the experts) have been so stunning for the last couple of weeks.

"The Northern California Offshore Racing Council Safety Committee has posted a draft of the minimum equipment requirements for offshore races, and we’re seeking public comment," writes OYRA President and Safety Committee member Andy Newell.
Despite stacking the deck with dozens more women than men, somehow the hombres won the tug-of-war this year.