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Photos of the Day

July 9 - Hilo, HI

Today's Photo of the Day is a sad one. Taken by William Ing of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, it's of Tom Wilkinson's Bellingham-based Islander 32 Sound Decision being smashed on the rocks of the Big Island not far from the Hilo Bay Breakwater. If you read 'Lectronic a few days ago, you know that Tom fell asleep with a cup of tea in his hand at the end of a 21-day singlehanded passage up from Tahiti, and was woken shortly after midnight on June 26 by the sound of his boat going over a reef. Sound Decision was stove in where Tom kept his cruising stash, so he lost all his money. He's fortunately been able to land a construction job, but we're trying to get a firm address so people can contribute to helping him get back on his feet and buy a ticket to fly home to visit his kids in Washington. We'll keep you posted.

Tom Wilkinson
Photos William Ing/Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Singlehanders Report that the Truth Is "Out There"

July 9 - Hanalei Bay, HI

The first two finishers in the 2004 Singlehanded TransPac arrived in Hanalei Bay, Kauai, yesterday afternoon. Al Hughes' Open 60 Dog Bark was first in at 4:13 p.m. (Hawaii time) - for an elapsed time of 12 days and about 9 hours. He was followed not quite an hour later by Chuck Beazell on the Hunter 54 Joe, who currently occupies first on corrected time. It was Hughes' first solo Hawaii race and Beazell's third - and by far the latter's best. No records were broken, however, and the standing monohull record for this race of 10 days, 11 hours, set in 1996 by another Open 60, Wild Thing, was not threatened.

Photo Latitude/JR

Interrupting the regular programming in Solo TransPac coverage was the sound of champagne popping from the other end of the Hawaiian chain, where Bob Miller's 140-ft carbon schooner Mari-Cha IV obliterated the Pacific Cup record by more than a day, finishing in 5 days, 5 hours. The 'gee whiz' factor is that Mari-Cha started in San Francisco almost a full week after the Solo TransPac racers, and arrived a full day before their first finisher. The modern schooner's 23-man crew also outnumbered the entire solo fleet of 21 skippers. As if that weren't enough, Big Mike Howard told Scuttlebutt that Mari-Cha beat a Matson ship from San Francisco to Hawaii!

Yes, it's apples and oranges. You can't really compare a multimillion dollar boat with professional crew to a bunch of regular guys singlehanding their amateur boats. But you can't really ignore it, either. All of which is not to say that the Solo TransPac'ers are not serious or competitive. There is much written before and after this race about individual accomplishment and camaraderie. But the truth, well, nobody put the truth better than Jim Kellam on the Spencer 35 Haulback, which is still 500 miles out. The 2002 overall winner penned this entry in his log yesterday afternoon:

"Now the 'end game' starts. Sometime today, probably early this evening, the first two boats will finish. All throughout the fleet, calculators will be clicking and pencils being sharpened as everyone figures out what time they will have to finish to beat Joe's time. What has become an idle pastime for most of us will now become an all-consuming passion as more and more boats reach Hanalei Bay. Most everyone, when asked about why they want to do this race, comes up with some variation on the theme of 'just to do it' or 'I like sailing' or 'I want to see the green flash'. Let's face it, to do any of those things, you don't need to be in any sort of organized event. All you have to do is jump in your boat and sail over to Hawaii on your own. So despite what they say, as soon as these folks get out here they sail like maniacs. Everyone, deep in their souls, wants to win."

For updates, positions and log entries, go to www.sfbaysss.org.

Meanwhile, in the West Marine Pacific Cup . . .

July 9 - Kaneohe Bay, HI

. . . three boats in Division E, Martin Brauns' San Francisco-based SC52 Winnetou, Jim Gregory's San Francisco-based Schumacher 50 Morpheus, and Steve Williams' Santa Cruz-based SC52 Natazak, have been running 1-2-3 in both class and fleet since almost the day they started. They should finish starting tomorrow afternoon in a real close battle. For some reason the Pacific Cup is the only event that seemed unable to report how far behind the second and third place boats are, so it's unclear exactly how close the finish will be.

Another constant has been the excellent performance by Sylvia Seaberg and Synthia Petroka on the San Francisco-based Hawkfarm Eyrie, which continues to lead the doublehanded division. It's true the boat has a favorable rating, but they have consistently been outsailing much faster boats.

Today's report isn't out yet, so we're not sure exactly when Doug Baker's Andrews 80 Magnitude finished, but she was slated to have also broken Pyewacket's previous record for the course.

In a humorous note, we don't know if they're doing it because they're being nice or because they're having trouble, but West Marine's SC 40 ProMotion, crewed by a group of West Marine employees, is running dead last in 49th place.

Quebec to St. Malo Starts This Weekend

July 9 - Quebec, Canada

Over in the Atlantic, the crews of eleven 60-ft trimarans and one 60-ft catamaran are about to set off on the 20th anniversary run of the 3,000-mile crewed race from Quebec to St. Malo, France. Unlike the TransPac, these guys will almost surely be sailing at breakneck speeds. Four years ago, for instance, Yvon Bourgnon's Bayer En France covered a staggering 625 miles in just 24 hours, a pace that would have had him finishing the Pacific Cup in just over three days!

Baja Ha-Ha Paid Entries Nearing 50

July 9 - Tiburon

"Having already received 46 paid entries for late October's Baja Ha-Ha," reports Lauren Spindler, "we expect to have at least 50 by the weekend." We'll run the most current list in next week's 'Lectronic Latitude.

Fun on Profligate in Southern California

July 9 - SoCal

Looking to get experience on a big cruising cat? Want to get away from the chilly sailing conditions of Northern California? If so, you might be interested in a couple of 'shared expenses' sailing opportunities aboard Profligate.

The first will be August 5, 6 & 7 for the Santa Barbara to King Harbor (Redondo Beach) Race. We think it's the most fun race in Southern California, as there are tons of boats, and you sail across the Santa Barbara Channel, down around Anacapa Island, come back to the coast at Malibu, and then across Santa Monica Bay to Redondo Beach. It's about 86 miles, and the last couple of years we've finished around midnight. But what really makes it fun is you get to spend a day before at Santa Barbara, a great town and at her best time of year. And after the race, you're in Redondo Beach for more fun at the club, and for miles in either direction along the beach. It's a totally killer event that makes for a great long weekend.

They say you should never start a voyage on a Friday, let alone Friday the 13th, but we're going to do it anyway for our second 'shared expenses' opportunity. If you want an action-packed weekend that really gets you away - without having to go far - this is it. We'll leave Long Beach at noon, put up the screecher for the sail to Avalon where we'll mess around on the beach, under the bright lights, and spend the night. The next morning we motor a couple of hundred feet off the coast up to Two Harbors, the rugged and rustic little oasis toward the west end of the island. After an afternoon's sail, we'll do a beach BBQ and hit the dance floor under the stars. There are also great opportunities for hiking and other outdoor activities. Catalina is cool! The next day we hoist the chute and set sail for 35-mile distant Newport Beach, arriving about 6 p.m. Hot cat sailing fun in the Southern California sun.

Classy Classified Ad

July 9 - SF Bay Area

CATALINA 34, 1989. Great Condition. Cruise ready. Many items new like radar, sails, dinghy, 8hp o/b, wiring, liferaft, EPIRB, spin. and pole setup, bimini, canvas. Has AP, 3 anchors, CD, TV /VCR. Much more. $57,000 obo. Call (650) 969-5248.

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