Photos of the Day
May 14 - Aruba
Today's Photos of the Day are of Carla, who while in Antigua signed on as crew of Mike Harker's Manhattan Beach based Hunter 466 Wanderlust. Harker, you may remember, got into sailing big time three years ago when he did the Ha-Ha, then singlehanded the Baja Bash back home. A little more than a year ago, he bought the Hunter 466 and singlehanded her across the Atlantic, sailed around the Med, then back across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. That was like 12,000 miles in 10 months, which is a lot. He then sailed the boat to Miami to be in the boat show, then right back to Antigua for Sailing Week - which is where we believe he met Carla. The two are now in Aruba, headed toward Panama and probably Manhattan Beach.
Carla, Mike and Wanderlust
We don't know what kind of relationship Carla and Mike have, but we have an idea. From Harker's point of view, at the very least having Carla along is much better than singlehanding. As for Carla, she's getting the opportunity to have a sailing adventure with a guy who has lots of proven ocean experience - and who as a professional photographer is probably making her feel more beautiful than ever. We say good on both of them.
Photos Mike Harker
Were the Boundaries Pushed Too Far?
May 14 - Cape Town, South Africa
On October 8 of last year, 61-year-old insurance man Frank Guernsey departed his homeport of Redondo Beach aboard his 22-ft Pearson Electra MF intending to sail 10,000 miles singlehanded to Cape Horn and then across the Southern Ocean to Cape Town, South Africa. According to a front page story in last Saturday's L.A. Times, he refused to take along a long distance radio, a liferaft, or even the EPIRB his wife had bought for him. He's not been heard from since leaving Catalina, and is now more than a month overdue.
If you think taking a Pearson Electra around the Horn and across the Southern Ocean is a suicide mission, we agree with you. But Guernsey was not without somewhat similar experience. He'd previously sailed around the Horn in a Pearson Gladiator, which is only 24 feet, and had previously sailed to Japan, Hawaii and Tahiti. During his 128-day passage on the Gladiator, he lost 30 pounds, gashed his head, and broke three ribs when he fell from the rigging onto a stanchion. Compared to an Electra, a Gladiator is a big boat with a much larger cabin.
Mary Guernsey, Frank's wife, is trying to get the U.S. Coast Guard or the South African Coast Guard to search for him. The Coasties are sympathetic, but where along the 10,000-mile route are they supposed to start looking?
We hate to say it, but if we had to speculate, it would be that Guernsey never even made it to Cape Horn. The way we figure it, he would have almost certainly crossed paths with Hurricane Kenna off the Mexican coast - Kenna being the worst Mexican hurricane in 50 years, packing winds of 145 knots.
Not so Good Vibrations
May 14 - Santa Catalina Island
In Monday's 'Lectronic Latitude we ran a photo of a boat with a portable generator hanging from her boom - and asked what was up with that.
Among the answers we got:
John Farnsworth - "I'm surprised the Wanderer would allow such trifling concerns as the occasional bludgeoning in a seaway to blind him to the obvious benefits of a boom-suspended generator, specifically: 1) Weight of the generator eliminates the need for a boom vang; 2) Increased generator visibility discourages other sailors from anchoring too close; 3) Boom suspension augments air-cooling system and allows operator to start generator's gas engine without needing to run a blower; 4) End-boom mounting preserves precious cargo space on deck and in lazarettes, an especially important consideration on boats carrying multiple outboards on the pushpit; 5) Vibrations discourage sparrows and finches from nesting within boom; 6) Gyroscopic inertia of the generator flywheel works to prevent accidental jibes while underway; 7) Generator serves as counterweight to increase heeling after accidental groundings. I suspect that the only reason you don't see more of this sort of installation is that local PHRF committees have been a bit parsimonious with generator/boom allowances in situations where the generator is not permanently affixed to the boom."
Chris McKesson - "Sure, I can explain
why someone would hang their generator from the boom: It significantly
reduces the vibration imparted from the generator to the boat,
reducing noise below decks. This might be especially important
if the boat's construction is such that it tends to 'boom'. The
Navy even did this on one of the noise observation vessels in
the Bahamas. Of course, in their case it was a big tens-of-kw
diesel genset, cranked up on dozens of bungee cords. The purpose
of the noise observation vessels is to be extremely silent so
that they can take acoustic measurements on U.S. subs, to help
tune the submarine's quieting features. To accomplish this goal
they have to be quieter than the sub, and that takes some special
effort - like hanging gensets from bungee cords.
Others mentioned a hanging generator would prevent gas fumes from collecting in the cockpit.
We know something about onboard gas generators. We started on Profligate with a nice unit from Yamaha. We didn't use it much, and after two years it gave up the ghost due to problems with the salt air environment. We next bought a cheapo Coleman unit from Home Depot at midnight before leaving for Mexico. That unit went south, functionally speaking, in less than a season. We got what we paid for. For the last two or three years, we've had a little Honda unit that has been incredible. It's super quiet, has very little vibration, is all set up for use with computers, and can be hooked up with other Hondas to increase the power. It costs about twice as much as the Coleman model, but we think it's four times as good.
Dodging the Weather Bullet
May 14 - Sausalito
The trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco at this time of year can be a nasty one, particularly from Conception to Monterey, where it seems the northwesterlies never cease and the seas are often wicked. But when Bruce and Doña de Mallorca left Redondo Beach Monday morning aboard Profligate on the boat's ninth trip up the coast, there was a ray of hope. The weather service was predicting "no more than 15 knots of wind" along the Central Coast for Tuesday. We all know how unreliable weather forecasts can be, but son of a gun if this one didn't prove accurate. Most of the time the wind was in the single digits, and even more important, the wave period was between 14 and 17 seconds, meaning the sea was smooth. They arrived in Sausalito at 0200, about 43 hours out of Redondo, including a fuel stop at Oxnard. The weather service has posted small craft warnings for the coast starting today, with the normal 15 to 30 knots and 9 to 12 foot seas predicted in the coming days. Close call.
Behaving Badly in Southern California . . .
May 14 - Avalon, Catalina
As many of you know, there's an area just off the casino at Avalon that is reserved for scuba divers, but is also a marine reserve. It's not only clearly marked as such, but roped off. While going by the area last Sunday, we couldn't help but notice this family being very naughty.
In the first photo, it's clear that while part of their boat may be out of the reserve, their hooks are clearly where they are not supposed to be. In the second photo, from a different angle, it's clear that they have also pushed the rope way inward, allowing their hooks to do their dirty work far inside the reserve, making it easier for them to catch a naive fish - or even a scuba diver's air hose. This is a perfect example of living up to the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law. We were pleased to see that a Harbor Patrolman came over a few minutes later and put an end to this shameful - and possibly dangerous - behavior.
A Total Eclipse of the Moon
May 14 - San Francisco Bay Area
Greg Retkowski of Scirocco writes to remind us of the total lunar eclipse (the moon being completely in the earth's shadow) tomorrow evening, May 15. "This is the first total lunar eclipse for North America in three years. For us in the Bay Area, the eclipse will already be in progress as the moon rises; it will be visible at 8:05 p.m. local time. The show will be even more dramatic for those on the East Coast, where they will be able to view the moon coming into and going out the shadow of the earth.
"Space.com covers all the important points for viewing the event: www.space.com/spacewatch/lunar_eclipse_news_030425.html."
May 14 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace
Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? The YOTREPS daily yacht tracking page has moved to www.bitwrangler.com/psn.
May 14 - Pacific Ocean
San Francisco Bay Weather
To see what the winds are like on the Bay and just outside the Gate right now, check out http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/wind.
The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay is at www.wrh.noaa.gov/Monterey.
California Coast Weather
Looking for current as well as recent wind and sea readings from 17 buoys and stations between Pt. Arena and the Mexican border? Here's the place - which has further links to weather buoys and stations all over the U.S.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/Southwest.shtml.
Pacific Winds and Pressure
The University of Hawaii Dept. of Meteorology page posts a daily map of the NE Pacific Ocean barometric pressure and winds.
Pacific Sea State