Photo of the Day
May 13 - Tiburon
Today's Photo of the Day is of, from the left, Joe Vittoria, owner of the 247-ft Mirabella V, which is by far the largest sloop in the world, Ron Holland, designer of Mirabella, and Warwick 'Commodore' Tompkins, who is partly responsible for Holland becoming one of the top three naval architects in the world as opposed to a drummer for the Grateful Dead. Commodore is also responsible for the child-like levity of the photo. Joe and Ron had been gracious enough to travel all the way from the East Coast and Ireland respectively, just to give a presentation of Joe's new boat at the Corinthian YC.
Earlier in the day, we and some others had a chance to have lunch with Joe, Ron and Tom Perkins, whose nearly 300-ft Maltese Falcon is nearing completion in Istanbul. It was the first time that Vittoria and Perkins had met, and it was interesting to note the many ways in which they were similar: both grew up sailing as youngsters on Long Island Sound "when there was still wind on Long Island Sound," have engineering backgrounds, were very successful in a variety of businesses, have sailed all their lives, dislike powerboats, and love the challenge of building huge sailboats on which everything has to be custom made. But perhaps most important of all, despite having passed 70 years of age, they still have passion.
We'll have more on the two of them in the June issue of Latitude 38, but we'll give you two examples of the challenges they faced, and both have to do with the masts.
Stepping the nearly 300-ft mast on Mirabella required the largest crane in Europe, and could only be done when there was less than 13 knots of wind. Stepping the mast was an all-day project because everything was so big. The roller furling systems on the headstay and babystay, for example, weigh 3.5 tons and 3 tons respectively, so you don't hook those up in two minutes. About halfway through the stepping, Joe asked the crane operator what would happen if the wind started blowing more than 13 knots. "We'd have no choice but to drop the mast into the river." Getting a replacement would only take a couple of years.
As for Perkins, he needed three carbon fiber free-standing masts as tall as 192 feet. Since nobody makes anything like that, he had to do it himself. He started by buying 25 tons of carbon fiber thread in the Far East, which rated a 'thank you' note from the manufacturer. Then he had to overcome the problem of exporting material used in B-1 bombers to an Islamic country, because he was creating a mast-building facility, and training the workers, for the Perini Navi yard in Istanbul. It's been risk after risk, and challenge after challenge - which is what these guys love. By the way, Mirabella took seven years from concept to completion, and Maltese Falcon will have required about 4,000,000 man-hours before she's done later this year.
As for Ron Holland, whose sailing career has deep roots in the Bay Area, he announced that he's designing another giga sailing yacht for a Northern California client. She'll be a 190-ft ketch for Bill Joy, who apparently made a little money over at Sun Microsystems. The boat should be done in two or three years.
Graphic of the Day
May 13 - Portsmouth, UK
Today's Graphic of the Day is of the new Volvo Extreme 40 one design catamaran that was just introduced. The boat has been designed and built to race inshore - such as during the stops in the Volvo Around the World Race - and short offshore regattas. The cats are simple, light, easy to sail, and will fit in a 40-ft container for shipping. They will be able to hit speeds of 35 knots in places like San Francisco Bay, so they will be huge crowd pleasers. In addition, they will cost a mere fraction of traditional Volvo or America's Cup boats. It's expected that the class will draw many of the world's top sailors.
First Team Real Estate Invitational Regatta
May 13 - Newport Beach
Why is it that all the cool regattas fall on our monthly deadline this year? First PV and Cabo, now the First Team Real Estate Invitational Regatta, which will be held in Newport Beach on May 19-22. Because we're finishing up early this month (in order to get the magazine out on Friday, May 27, for the long weekend), we'll miss what promises to a great time - and certainly a great photo opp!
The new event, which is a benefit for the nearby Hoag Heart and Vascular Institute, will bring together some of the best big boats on the West Coast. Racing will occur Friday (one race), Saturday (two), and Sunday (two). The opening ceremony on Thursday will be held at Balboa YC, and the closing ceremony on Sunday will be at Newport Harbor YC. See www.firstteamregatta.com for more details.
Photos Courtesy Pyewacket
Presently, 17 boats are planning to participate:
More Great News - Clearing In and Out of La Paz Is a Snap!
May 13 - La Paz, BCS
We just got off the phone with Mary Shroyer of Marina de La Paz, who confirms that the port captain there is also onboard with the new super-simple clearing procedures. Specifically, the port captain merely has to be "informed" of a boat's arrival or departure. This can be done in several ways. Tenants at Marina de La Paz do it by noting their status in a log book, for free, at the marina. Anchor-outs pay about $5 to use the marina's log. (For what it's worth, Mary says no officials have ever looked at the log.) Other mariners have visited the port captain's office to do the informing, while others still have attempted it over the radio. "I'm not sure the port captain understood what they were saying," Mary laughs, "but that's how they did it."
Both Immigration and Customs are entirely out of the picture in La Paz. According to Mary, the new procedure is the second biggest thing to happen to cruising in Mexico in the entire history of cruising in Mexico. The first was the creation of the Temporary Import System. Prior to that - and we're only talking about 10 years ago - foreign boats had to leave Mexico every six months, and the owners of foreign boats couldn't leave the country without their boats. Yes, things have gotten way better in Mexico over the last 10 years.
Mary wants to emphasize that when cruisers arrive at their first port of entry in Mexico - for Ha-Ha folks it will be Cabo San Lucas - they will still have to check in with the Port Captain, Customs, and Immigration. "The paper you get from the port captain will be your proof that your boat is in the country legally, so consider it, and the Temporary Import Permit you'll get from Customs, as important as your passport."
Mary says that some of her tenants who have been in Mexico for a long time are so accustomed to having to do all the old paperwork, that they feel naked without a piece of paper proving that they checked in or out properly. So when they log in or out of Marina de La Paz, they are given a receipt.
With each additional bit of evidence that the bad old days of clearing in and out of Mexican ports is over, we have to pinch ourselves, because it's so great and so hard to believe it's actually happened. Viva cruising in Mexico!!!