Philippe Kahn Sailing Across the Great Blue Pacific Again

Philippe Kahn, founder of Borland, camera phone pioneer and guy who helped make that Fullpower MotionX-Poker iPhone game is making yet another run at the Pacific Cup, double handing from SF to Hawaii. I took these shots of them leaving the bay this Saturday on a Nikon D300 and you can see the progression from balmy Sausalito sun to foggy, rough, 30-knot bay sailing. And then into the open ocean.

The first two days were tough, and Philippe and Richard have some cuts and bruises to show for the squalls, so email communication has been less than last year when we interviewed him while mid race. Their boat, the Pegasus Open 50, is meant for rough weather, is fully carbon fibre, and has a hydraulic canting keel that adjusts to flatten the boat for more speed. It also has a ballast system that weights the fore and aft of the ship depending on if you're sailing to weather or downwind. This year, because of calmer conditions mid trip in 2007, they've added a larger mast with 20% more sail area for more power. So far, they're getting even less sleep than usual, but are ahead of even the 70 footers with 11 crew. Philippe's a math wiz so the navigation and weather charting come naturally to him. They sleep in between squalls, in 2 hour shifts, or with whatever time they can get. The most recent update says that a school of flying fish swarmed the boat, landing on deck, thinking the Open 50 was a predator. This is quite a different situation than the rich guys who pay for the sailing teams without doing much work.

I took these shots with my new favourite camera, the Nikon D300. In the real world, it costs twice as much as the Canon 40D, so its not the same class, but you have no problem identifying the differences. The colour is just so much better, it makes less noise, focuses more confidently and the menu system is much more straight forward. The 3-inch LCD helps but the 18-200 VR glass Nikon lent me is as good as they say it is. You can see how much spray there was, and near the end, my photos are terrible when I'm not focusing past the droplets and fuzzy when I am. I also shot the iPhone review photos with this beauty, at a few minutes after dawn.

The log is below with more details and updates, but check out last year's email interview for more context. [Pegasus]

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