With reports this month from
Wanderlust on 12,000 miles in 10
months in the Atlantic and Med; from aboard Danza
on the life of a 13-year-old girl during a circumnavigation;
from Althea on cruising the Caribbean
and Venezuela; from Marta Jensen on the Loreto
Fest; from Sharika on cruising
the Western Med almost by mistake; plus the most Cruise
- Hunter 466
10 Months, 12,000 Ocean Miles
The new Hunter 466 model was presented to the public for the
first time at last February's Miami Boat Show. Wanderlust,
a sistership that was soon to become mine, had been launched
a few days before the show and was used to give first time sailors
an opportunity to sail as part of the 'Discover Sailing' program.
The program was such a tremendous success that it will be repeated
at the Miami Show this year.
After the show, Wanderlust was sailed back to St. Augustine
for further commissioning and outfitting before Hunter's delivery
captain, 'Boomer' Baumeister, and I took her on a sea trial across
the Gulf Stream. Further outfitting and adjustments were made
at Whitney's Marine, the Hunter dealer in Jacksonville, Florida.
Delays in getting the boat just right meant that I ended up having
to make the 4,000-mile trip across the Atlantic - via Bermuda,
the Azores, Portugal, and Gibraltar - singlehanded. My previous
singlehanded experience had been doing the Baja Bash following
the '00 Ha-Ha with my Hunter 340, also called Wanderlust.
Here's a breakdown of that crossing: Six days from Jacksonville
to Bermuda, where I slept for two days straight. Thirteen days
from Bermuda to Horta, Azores. After three days of sleeping and
eating, I moved a little bit east along the island chain to Puerto
del Gato, then took five days to sail to Lagos, Portugal, and
later to Gibraltar. During the crossing, I benefitted from Herb
Hilgenberg's weather forecasts and routing.
My ultimate goal was Ibiza, a Spanish island to the south of
Barcelona. I made the trip there with the doctor and lawyer who
had been my crew on the Ha-Ha. I then spent four months in the
Med with four to six people living aboard, filming a 12-episode
series for German television. In the process, we left seven western
Med islands in our wake: Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca, Malta, Sicily,
Sardinia and Corsica. We also cruised the Italian Riviera near
Portofino, France's Cote d' Azur, and Spain's Costa Bravo. This
travelling put another 3,000 miles on the boat's log.
At the end of summer, I began a 4,000-mile trip from Ibiza back
across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. I went by way of Gibraltar,
Morocco, the Canary Islands, the Cape Verdes, and ended up at
Antigua, the Caribbean jewel. While in the Canaries, I picked
up two crew, a 23-year-old Swede and a 25-year-old German, based
on their having posted 'berths wanted' notices at the marina
gate. The first 1,700 miles of our crossing was great, but then
the rotary motor failed on the autopilot, requiring us to handsteer
the last 1,000 miles. We arrived in Antigua in just under 18
days. Even with the autopilot problems, the westbound trip across
the Atlantic was easier than the eastbound trip.
At Hunter's request, Wanderlust was shown at the huge
Nicholson's Charterboat Show at historic English Harbor in Antigua
during early December. She was well received. Antigua Sailing
Week, in late April and early May, will be my next television
project for H-TV.
The February Miami Boat Show will herald the return of Wanderlust
to the United States after her 'Atlantic circle' and Western
Med cruise. In the 10 months and 12,000 miles, virtually nothing
went wrong with the boat or gear - other than normal wear and
chafe. The only exceptions were: reinforcement being needed on
the batten pockets for the main, an adjustment being necessary
on the watermaker's salinity meter, and having to replace the
autopilot's rotary motor. I'd like to salute Hunter for the 466,
and all the gear manufacturers for their equipment. There were:
Doyle Sails for the fully battened main, jib, genoa, and genniker;
ProFurl for furling systems for the main, jib, genoa, and gennaker;
RayMarine for the radar, GPS, autopilot, and other instruments;
Interphase for the forward looking sonar. Nobeltec for the navigation
and world vector charts; Lewmar for winches, hatches, and ports;
Harken for blocks and the traveller; Northern Lights for the
6KW 110-volt generator; Trojan for the 800 amp/hours of batteries;
Spectra for the watermaker; Flex-O-Fold for the 20-inch, 3-blade
folding prop; Wavestopper & Canvas by Boatswains Locker;
Icom for the SSB and Pactor III modem; Mercury for the 9.9 hp
outboard; and Valiant for the dinghy.
I welcome visitors to come aboard Wanderlust during the
Miami Boat Show to see for themselves how my Hunter 466 and her
equipment handled the trip.
Mike - May we be among the first to
tip our hat to you for such an ambitious year of sailing - so
much of it singlehanded, and so much of it while you were working.
Danza - 60-ft Steel Ketch
Sarah Nutt (13)
Young Circumnavigator's Day
I sleepily poked my head out of the companionway and smelled
the smoky air from one of the village fires as it wafted across
the calm, clear water. Glancing at the sun rising above the horizon,
I headed back down to start school and another day in paradise.
That's right, another day in paradise!
My family and I are circumnavigating aboard Danza, our
60-foot steel ketch - which happens to be a sistership to the
original British Steel that Chay Blyth singlehanded around the
world in 1971. We left our home in Edgecomb, Maine, on March
25, 2000. As you might assume, my brothers David, 15, Jasper,
12, my sister Charlotte, 7, and I, 13, have a very different
lifestyle from most kids in the world. We get up and do schoolwork
everyday just like other kids, but we work at the salon table,
on our parent's bunk, or in the cockpit looking out at turquoise
water and stunning islands with long sand beaches.
School takes up most of the morning. We eat breakfast whenever
we can - between subjects, during subjects, anytime. Breakfast
is a get-it-yourself affair in the main salon, so the galley/salon
area can get pretty crowded with six people trying to make food,
eat, and study at the same time. We don't take weekends off from
school, because we take random days for special events - such
as climbing live volcanoes, participating in unusual village
happenings, and sometimes, if the wind is perfect, kiteboarding.
Sophie, our French friend, often comes over from her boat to
help David and I with our French vocabulary and accents. At this
stage, I find math to be easy and can do two or three lessons
a day. Science consists of reading and experiments. History,
which I read and discuss with Dad, takes an hour every other
day. In a typical day, I'll have to write for between 20 minutes
and one hour. Naturally, there are the ever-dreaded tests for
all subjects. I don't have assigned reading, but we all read
at least two hours every day. On rainy days, I'll read three
or four books, as sometimes there's just nothing else to do.
Although our schoolday is shorter than back home, it's less fun
because our parents are the teachers. Yes, we have fights with
our teachers. "This math is totally irrelevant!" one
of us kids might say - even though we know algebra is important.
Our parents respond with things like, "Well, just get it
over with then!" Or, "And you still haven't cleaned
your cabin or done the lunch dishes!" Having to go to school
onboard - and without classmates or real teachers - is definitely
the hardest part of our trip.
We hung out on the boat today until noon, at which time there
wasn't enough wind for kiteboarding, so we went wakeboarding.
David and I used the VHF to call our friends Eric and Nicole,
a young couple on Rainbow Voyager, to invite them along.
Before long, they arrived in their dinghy and we spent a happy
hour wiping out while attempting new tricks. While we were having
fun wakeboarding, Mom was ashore with her friend Patricia from
Tania, Jasper and Charlotte were in the bosons' chairs
hanging from spinnaker halyards and swinging across the water,
and Dad was watching us from the cockpit - and probably taking
pictures with his digital camera. After we finished wakeboarding,
we returned to Danza for hot showers, socializing, and
eating crackers and cheese. Cold cheese and hot showers - how
At 4 p.m., it was time to head up to the village for a feast
that the locals were putting together for us. We watched them
preparing the kava by pounding it, adding water, and then straining
it through an old T-shirt. While the village women prepared the
laplap and other food, Jasper and I headed over to watch Australians
Xan, 14, from Velella, and Peter, 14, from First Light,
shooting at trees with their slingshots. Later, David showed
me a beautiful woodcarving - the nicest that I've seen so far.
Dad was over with the other grown-ups taking photographs, like
After a few hours of socializing, we were called to wash up and
sit around the beautiful feast that had been prepared. After
eating, we shot the slingshots a bit more - although it was hard
in the dark. After thanking the chief for the feast, we headed
back to Xan's boat to play a loud, physical, and cheating game
of Monopoly. At around 11:15 p.m., we decided that our game was
just going in circles, so we headed back to Danza. After
hauling the dinghy out of the water, we plopped ourselves in
our bunks and slept soundly. It was just a typical day for us
kids in our circumnavigation.
My parents are taking us on this circumnavigation because they
want to raise their family in an alternative lifestyle from that
of Maine. My dad had been the owner of David Nutt, Boatbuilder,
Inc., and had been building boats for 28 years in the Boothbay
area. Judy Sandick, my mom, had been an internist and emergency
room physician at Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta, Maine.
I was 11-years-old when we left, and loved my home, school, friends,
and everything. I was a 'normal' kid and very happy to be where
I was, but my parents wanted to be out here - and my brothers
were keen as well. Charlotte was too young to have a preference.
I still don't want to be out here, but I try to make the best
I realize that most of the time we are doing something amazing,
but it still doesn't stop me from missing my friends and the
life back home. We are getting to see different cultures and
different lifestyles, which is teaching us that you don't have
to have much or the very latest in gadgets and equipment to have
fun. We also get to meet fascinating people, both other yachties
and locals. A few weeks ago, for instance, we met an islander
from a little village without roads or vehicles who had nonetheless
become a successful boxer in Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand.
We met another guy who had become a very good soccer player,
which allowed him to travel to loads of different places. Both
of them came from a village where schooling stops at the fourth
The villages we're visiting now aren't like the little towns
back in Maine. In many places here, the people live in palm-thatched
huts and own just one pair of shorts and one T-shirt - and that
one with holes in it. They cook over fires on the dirt floor
in the middle of the huts, so there is always a lot of smoke.
They grow their own vegetables in little gardens, and raise cows
for milk and pigs for meat. They don't have things such as ovens,
running water, computers, televisions, proper toilets or showers.
Despite having just about the minimum to sustain life, they are
always smiling and waving, and welcoming us to their village.
They love to make feasts for visitors, and like to trade beautiful
carvings for T-shirts and school supplies. The fact that they
are so happy with so little makes us wonder about how much material
stuff we really need.
I guess my life sounds like a dream come true to a lot of kids.
It is pretty nice, but we do have to go to sea. That means that
we all feel miserable and throw up for the first few days. While
sailling offshore, we don't have a set watch during the daylight
hours, we just set the timer for 12 minutes. Whoever is closest
to the companionway gets up to look around for ships and other
hazards, then resets the timer. At night, David, Mum, Dad, and
I all have regular watches. David goes from 7:30 p.m., which
is after dinner, until 11 p.m. He likes long watches. I stand
from around 11 p.m. until 2 a.m. Mum goes after me till around
5 a.m., then Dad takes over until somebody else wakes up - which
is usually about 8 a.m. Even when he's not on watch, Dad is always
up at night to check the bilge, sail trim, and all the things
that dads and captains check.
For those of you living a normal life back in the States, this
is going to sound weird, but the most exciting thing that happens
all day, the thing we spend our whole day planning, is when we're
going to drink the one Coke we're allowed per day. It's pretty
funny how important it is to us, but it is. David is the only
one who does schooling on passages, the rest of us just read
- but we read a ton. We also watch movies, sleep, and every once
in a while we eat. Dad is the only one who normally likes food
on passages. As soon as he sees us starting to feel sick, he
prepares us big bowls of potatoes, soup, or something with just
a little flavor. He's all cheery when he does this, and has a
big smile on his face when he hands us our bowls. What we really
want to do right then and there is chuck the bowls overboard.
But we manage to survive our passages, and spend most of our
time at anchor enjoying life - such as it is on our way around
- sara 11/15/02
Althea - S&S 35
Mark & Laurie Matthews
Laurie and I originally left San Francisco in 1997 aboard Radiance,
a 26-foot Westerly Centaur sloop that we'd picked up in deplorable
condition at a lien sale. After fixing her up, we spent two years
cruising Central America, Panama, and up the Western Caribbean
before crash-landing in Charleston, South Carolina. We worked
in Charleston for two years, sold our little boat, and then went
down to Florida to buy Althea, a 1964 Chris Craft 35. Although
primarily known for building powerboats, Chris Craft did build
a range of sailboats. The interesting thing about Althea
is that she was also sailed to the East Coast from Sausalito.
In fact, she'd been owned by friends of ours who had her berthed
two docks away at Clipper Yacht Harbor in Sausalito!
Fortunately, we haven't had too much drama on the high seas since
leaving Florida with our new-to-us boat. After stopping in the
Bahamas, we had a relatively uneventful - other than one night
of lightning and about 35 knots of wind - eight-day sail to Culebra,
Puerto Rico. We then continued east to the British Virgins to
meet family and friends. After that, we sailed down island to
St. Maarten, St. Barts, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Marti-nique, St.
Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and Grenada. Knowing
that a new language and culture is only a couple of hours sail
away - as is the case in the Eastern Caribbean - spoils you for
the long stretches ahead.
Naturally, there are way too many stories to tell from our down
island trip, such as dolphins playing in the bow wave, phosphorescent
wakes, 40,000 ants climbing up the shorepower cord, and rats
scurrying in the boatyard to our cat Luna's delight. We most
remember the French islands for the way we inhaled the delicious
croissants and chocolate, and for our mangling of their language.
While at Dominica, we took the hike of a lifetime - a 14-mile
up and down march through dense tropical forest and lots of mud.
Ultimately, we hiked down into a volcano crater to see the largest
boiling lake in the world. My feet still hurt thinking about
While in Grenada, friends and family visited again. There was
an unfortunate incident at a hotel room ashore, however, as someone
broke in and took laptops, cell phones, cameras, cash, a pineapple,
and peanuts. A police officer came to take a report. Since he
was barefoot, wearing a T-shirt and sweat pants, and carried
his loaded pistol in his front pocket, we're not holding our
breath that the stuff will be recovered. It's a good thing that
we mailed our insurance premium in on time. Despite the theft,
it had been great to see everyone. After our friends left, there
was a steel drum band competition - sometimes with as many as
70 musicians in one band - and lots of other Carnival activities.
Our arrival here in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, was something
of a controlled crash-landing in the marina, as the transmission
cable parted, leaving us in forward gear. We managed to snake
our way into a slip without causing a lot of damage. Unfortunately,
you pretty much have to check into a marina here for safety reasons,
as there have been a number of boardings and Venezuela is on
the verge of chaos. 'Boarding', by the way, is a Caribbean euphemism
for anything from someone prying open a hatch on an unoccupied
boat to hitting you over the head with a coffee can full of rocks
while you sleep. We've met people who have endured both, but
we've been cautious and lucky so far.
We're not sure, but we think we're bound for California. Right
now, however, our boat is hauled out at Puerto La Cruz. We're
having the hull painted in the hope that she'll look good enough
to be able to sneak into yacht clubs as we continue on. In the
meantime, we're enjoying 28-cent/gallon diesel in a country where
leaded gas is still available. Huge sedans not seen in the United
States since the '70s - the Conquistador, the LTD, the Marquis,
the Malibu, and the Caprice Classic - rule the local roads. The
taxi drivers who operate many of these 'land yachts' often croon
along with similarly ancient pop hits from the likes of Laura
Branigan, Chicago, and Huey Lewis. Crooning is the wrong word,
as the non English-speaking drivers mangle the songs in a language
all their own.
The rules of the road in Venezuela can be summed up in the phrase
"El ley is mi ley" - or 'my law is the law'. This philosophy
permits driving the wrong way down one-way streets, ignoring
red lights, and passing from the right, left, or center lanes.
None of this bothers the police.
Four lanes of traffic converging on an intersection without a
single working light becomes a vehicular scrum, where the driver
with the loudest horn, quickest reflexes, and wildest hand gestures
emerges first. Hand gestures are important in Venezuela. If the
driver in front of you hangs an arm out the window and shakes
it wildly, he's warning you to be on guard because he's about
to attempt a free-form driving maneuver. Facial gestures can
be equally important. If you get lost and ask for directions,
pursed lips to the left means that you should turn left; pursed
lips to the right means you should turn right; and a straight
ahead kissing motion means you should continue the way you're
What makes driving more complicated in Venezuela is that the
roads aren't exactly clear. For example, at most intersections
some chamos - Venezuelan for 'dude' - will be selling beer along
with the guys hawking newspapers. In addition, all along the
roads there are people flogging pirated DVDs, blood pressure
equipment, shoes - whatever might have fallen off the delivery
truck that day.
Oil is king in Venezuela. Long pipelines snake out of towns to
large tankers that will carry full loads to the United States.
Venezuela is the third largest oil exporter to the United States
and the fifth largest in the world. Big oil flares dot the horizon,
and for somewhere in the neighborhood of $33,000 a day, you too
can rent an oil rig. Only the state run oil company can drill
for oil, however.
The haves and have-nots of Venezuela are usually divided by whether
or not they work in the oil industry. The country is run by President
Hugo Chavez, who is a bit of a nut case, and who is back in power
after a weird coup attempt failed in April of last year. Chavez
can be seen on television making policy statements while holding
a pair of pliers and making World Wrestling Federation-style
gestures about what he's going to do to his opponents. Despite
the extreme poverty in much of the country, Chavez has big plans
for a . . . space program! Right now he's got more problems on
earth, where there are major pro-democracy rallies being held
all over the country. It's impossible to tell where things will
go from here.
The sailing has been good for the last year, although getting
down here to the Caribbean, and now Venezuela, meant bucking
the trades most of the time. Now that we'll probably start heading
west again, we should have the wind from aft. We are hoping the
boatyard will be finished with painting our boat in two or three
weeks, but meantime we are spending our nights ashore in a sixth
floor apartment with a 360-degree view of the city, sea, mountains
- and occasionally parrots that fly by. The apartment is being
loaned to us by our adopted Venezuelan family, and we're thankful
for it, as it's 96° outside in the boatyard.
Once our boat gets back in the water, we'll sail to some of the
Venezuela's offshore islands before continuing on to Curaçao,
Bonaire, Aruba, and then the San Blas Islands of Panama.
- mark & laurie
Marta Jensen - Reunion
Puerto Escondido, Baja
(Sea of Cortez)
In the 'better late than never' category, Marta Jensen reports
that some 150 boats attended May's Loreto Fest 2002 at Puerto
Escondido. While there were ham radio tests, fun and games, and
endless socializing, the highlight of the event - and the reason
it was founded - was for cruisers to do a clean-up of the harbor.
Seventy-five folks signed up as official participants and filled
bags full of refuse. Having cleaned the harbor up for a number
of years in a row now, it's not as easy as it used to be to find
big stuff. The Loreto Fest is sponsored by the Hidden Harbor
YC, and will be held on May 2-5 this year, giving everyone time
to make it up following Sea of Cortez Sailing Week, which will
be held in the second week of April.
If we could humbly make a suggestion to the cruisers in the Sea
of Cortez, it would be that they or one of the yacht clubs or
other sailing organizations in the area get serious about doing
beach clean-ups at all the anchorages in the Sea of Cortez. Environmental
organizations are finally starting to get a little traction -
and money - in the Sea of Cortez, and they represent the entire
spectrum of philosophies from moderate to extreme. Indeed, there
are some environmental groups that are dedicated to making all
of the islands in the Sea of Cortez off-limits to all visitors,
cruisers included. We think that the best way to prevent this
is by cruisers proactively and publicly demonstrating a committment
to bettering the environment in the Sea - by having an annual
clean-up of all - or almost all - anchorages in the Sea. It's
not as if there are that many or that there aren't enough cruisers
to do the job easily. And the risks of not doing something are
too great. There is still time for cruisers to be seen as stakeholders
in the solution to the Sea of Cortez's problems rather than part
of the problem itself, but that time is slipping away.
Anybody interested in preserving this great and unique cruising
area? It's possible that Profligate could be available
for this project during the first week in April, the week before
the start of Sea of Cortez Sailing Week.
- latitude 38 12/15/02
Sharika - Contest 38
Terry & Shari Owen
Cruising The Med
Some people spend 10 years planning a cruise. Then there's Terry
and Shari Owen, formerly of Los Altos but currently of Belmont
and the South of France. The couple, who have sailed the Bay
for 30 years with the same Coyote Point-based Ericson 27 Tango
II, came to cruising entirely by accident. That they ended
up cruising in the Med - and plan to do so for at least three
more summers - was even more happenstance.
Terry explains that the couple's fall into cruising began innocently
enough when he accompanied fellow Coyote Point YC member Larry
Tauscher on a boat hunt to the East Coast. Tauscher had spent
two years cruising from San Francisco to the Carolinas, where
he sold his original boat, and was back east looking for a larger
replacement. "While helping Tauscher look for a new boat,
I stumbled across a Wauquiez 38 that I really liked, and in the
process caught the cruising bug," says Terry.
He didn't have to work hard to convince his wife Shari to go
along with the idea, so he started searching up and down the
coast and even back east. Oddly enough, although they were searching
for a cruising boat, they didn't have any place in particular
they wanted to cruise. They were just going to start wherever
they found the boat.
After inspecting a Swedish-made Hallberg-Rassy in Berkeley, they
fell in love with the Northern European style of cruising boat.
Since there aren't many of those in the States, Terry logged
on to the Internet and began looking for boats in Europe. Before
long, he'd come up with a list of four candidates, one each in
France and England, and two in Spain.
Two summers ago, the Owens flew to Palma de Mallorca, Spain,
to look at a Hallberg-Rassy, then continued on to Port Grimaud,
which is located in the same little bay as St. Tropez, France.
A broker showed them a Ted Hood-designed Wauquiez 38, but they
didn't care for the layout. They did, however, spot a center-cockpit
Contest 38 - a top pedigree boat built in Holland - they liked.
The boat wasn't in the best of shape - in fact, not long before
her mast had fallen over at the dock! When the Owens saw the
boat, she'd just been fitted with a replacement mast and new
Other than some old systems, the biggest problem with the boat
is that she wasn't for sale. However, the owner was in his 90s.
And the other berthers at upscale Port Grimaud didn't look kindly
on somebody who allowed their boat to go to the point that her
mast fell over at the dock, damaging several other boats. To
make a long story short, the Owens made an offer, there was a
counter offer, and in the end a bid of $89,000 was accepted.
This was about $30,000 below market for similar Contests, but
the money saved went to upgrading some of the systems. Having
owned the boat for nearly 18 months, the Owens couldn't be more
The Owens think that boats might be just a little less expensive
in Europe - assuming they are about 10 years old. "When
Europeans buy boats in Europe, they have to pay 18% VAT (value
added tax), so if they sell a boat in three to five years, they
expect to recoup it. For an American who doesn't have to pay
VAT, it would be cheaper to buy the same boat brand new rather
than add 18% to the price of a recent used model. So when it
comes to recent model European boats, it's mostly Europeans buying
The most difficult thing about buying a boat in Europe turned
out to be the U.S. Coast Guard. Since their new boat had been
registered in Germany, the Owens needed to get her reflagged
in the U.S. After starting with phone calls, Terry was able to
download all the necessary forms on the Internet. The problem
was that the Coast Guard demanded to see the original German
documentation which was hard to get. When they did get it, they
couldn't read it because - duh! - it was in German. Ultimately,
Terry went to a library and used a German dictionary to translate
it the best he could - and the Coast Guard accepted it! There
was only one other small hitch, caused by the fact that the German
seller's name means 'seller' in German. When all was said and
done, it took about a month to complete the reflagging. By the
way, the couple said the buying and reflagging process was made
easier by the fact they'd read letters in Latitude by
couples who had previously done it.
After the deal closed and the boat was rechristened Sharika,
the couple spent two months on a mini cruise that only took them
as far as Cannes and Nice - just 75 miles to the east of Port
Grimaud. But they enjoyed themselves. After they secured the
boat for the winter in Port Grimaud, they couldn't wait to return.
For folks planning on cruising in the Western Med, the Owens
say there are two 'bibles'. The first are the Imray Coast
Pilots, which are in English. Four were required to cover
the Western Med. In addition, they highly recommend the French
pilot, Livre de Bord. Although the latter is written in
French and includes minute details, Terry says that it was easy
As good as the 'bibles' are, much of their best information came
by word of mouth, starting with veteran cruisers who belonged
to the Port Grimaud YC. "We weren't members of the club,"
say the Owens, "but they included us in all their activities,
included their Friday night meetings." About 30% of the
members were French, while 70% were from other European countries.
The Owens were the only Americans. Nonetheless, many of the Europeans
spoke English, and all of them were very friendly. "They
bent over backwards to help us, and are such wonderful people.
It was from them that we got lots of great information about
what kind of itinerary to have, where to anchor, what marinas
to stop at, and so forth."
When the Owens resumed cruising in June of last year, their only
specific goal was to include a stop at Barcelona, Spain. Based
on the prevailing wind directions - such as they are in the Med
- and recommendations of their new European cruising friends,
they decided on a clockwise trip that took them to Villefranche,
France; Menton, where the French and Italian Rivieras meet; Corsica;
Sardinia; the Balearic Islands; Barcelona, Spain; and back to
Port Grimaud. It would be approximately 1,200 miles to cover
in five months. The Owens almost immediately fell behind schedule
because they loved each stop so much they cold barely tear themselves
If you were going to cruise the Med, one of your major concerns
would be whether or not you'd be able to find space in a marina
when the weather turned sour. The Owens aren't sure if the marinas
were less full because of a post 9/11 drop off in tourism, but
finding space in a marina turned out never to be a problem. Not
even during August in Mallorca, which is the busiest month in
the busiest place.
The Owens elected to stay in marinas about 60% of the time, and
anchor out the other 40%. During the high season - which started
in June and ended at the end of September - they found prices
to be low for boats 12 meters or less, moderate for boats 15
meters or less, and expensive for boats over 15 meters. They
typically paid about $1 U.S. per foot per night. In a few places,
such as Alcudia, Mallorca, berthing ran as much as $45/night.
On the other hand, during the low season the berth fees plummeted.
For example, they got a spectacular berth right along the promenade
at Cannes for just $13.50 a night!
Berthing turned out to be their biggest single expense, but need
not have been. In most places, there were also anchorages nearby.
The exceptions were on the windward sides of Corsica and Sardinia,
where they almost had to stay in a marina or run the risk of
finding themselves anchored on a windy lee shore.
After starting from Port Grimaud, the couple worked their way
east to Villefranche, a beautiful little bay between Nice and
Monaco that used to be home to the U.S. Sixth fleet. "Villefranche
was fantastic!" they say. "One time we spent 10 days
there, and another time we spent five days." They spent
all their time on the hook - along with hundreds of other boats,
from dinghies to the world's largest megayachts. From the nearby
little station at Beaulieu sur Mer, it was a quick train ride
When the Owens got to Italy, they were tickled by how well visitors
were treated by the marina staffs. "Usually someone in a
little boat would come out to meet us before we even got inside
the marina, and then would guide us to our slip. By the time
we were pulling in, they'd have already gotten out of their little
boat and were taking our docklines!" Marinas in Italy tend
to offer higher levels of service than in other countries.
The Owens came across other cultural differences. In the beginning,
for example, both Terry and Shari were a little startled to see
that adult women thought absolutely nothing of getting completely
undressed to take a shower on the marina docks. So going topless
didn't even raise an eyebrow. "After a while you just get
used to it," says Terry, "and even Shari began to follow
some of the European customs."
"If a woman wore a one-piece suit, she was almost stared
at because she seemed overdressed," laughs Shari. "But
there was a similar standard for men. If a guy wore a regular
swimming suit, he looked frumpy. Men have to wear little Speedos."
Smoking was another cultural surprise. "We couldn't believe
how many people still smoked, and that they smoked everywhere."
On the nicer side, the couple enjoyed seeing entire families
going for evening strolls together, often walking hand in hand.
"Even the teenagers joined them."
The Owens had no problems with port officials. "They were
fantastic," says Terry. "Very professional, and there
weren't any big fees. The only minor hassle we had was at one
place in Sardinia, where the port official made me check in with
the Coast Guard. When I finally found the Coast Guard office,
the officer on duty gave me a look that said, "Why are you
here bothering me?" Since Terry had showed up, they guy
was forced to fill out some forms.
Some cruisers claim that the Med is notorious for not having
any wind. "There's plenty of wind," disagrees Terry.
"In fact, we sailed about 50% of the time. But it usually
blows less than seven knots or more than 20 knots. The other
thing is that there are huge windshifts, particularly on the
passages of more than 200 miles. An abrupt windshift of 180°
is not unusual."
"One thing that took us by surprise," says Shari, "were
that the waves were so steep and close together. You'd have to
get 20 miles away from land for the swells to spread out even
"Another reason we rarely sailed close to the shore - much
of which was quite beautiful - is that there was a countless
number of fishing nets," says Terry. "In anything less
than 100 meters, there were so many nets it was unbelievable.
We even saw them in water as deep as 140 meters!"
When dining or buying groceries, the Owens found that prices
were quite reasonable. Spain was the least expensive, Italy was
second, and France was the most expensive. "Even France
wasn't bad, as you could get a five-course gourmet meal in a
French restaurant for $30 each," says Shari. "I'm talking
about a two-hour, truly gourmet meal."
Shopping for groceries was also fun, and the food less expensive
than in the States. "In France and Italy, they have all
these little butcher and veggie shops with great stuff. And many
places had farmers' markets. So we never ate any frozen foods.
In addition, you could buy lots of entrees or meals that were
ready to eat. Several times we bought freshly cooked pork roasts
for $7 to take back to the boat. Combined with wonderful fresh
vegetables, this would be a meal for three nights. There were
lots of other reasonably priced prepared foods almost everywhere,
so we rarely had to cook on the boat. It was fantastic. Despite
all the wonderful food, we both lost weight!"
When it came time to get more money to buy food, the Owens did
all their banking online. "It worked great," they say,
"as Internet cafes were everywhere. The rates ranged in
prices from $2/hour, which was very low, to $10/hour, which was
After the French and Italian Rivieras, the couple sailed down
to Corsica, which they were pleasantly pleased to fall in love
with. In fact, they spent an entire month there. In particular,
they both took a real liking to Calvi, which has an old town,
a new town, and a moderate amount of tourism. "While anchored
off Calvi, we were surprised to find that little boats came out
to do things such as collect garbage and sell croissants. It
was here that we realized that Europeans aren't so hectic, and
seem to savor life more than most Americans. On the other side
of the coin, it also means you can only get one thing done a
day. A couple of times we tried getting two things done in a
day," Terry laughs, "but it just wasn't possible."
One of Terry's favorite stops was Alghero, Sardinia. "It
wasn't that big, but it had an old walled city and a more modern
part. It was just neat. Plus the food was fantastic, as I had
the best steak I've ever eaten in Europe."
"The beef isn't very good in Europe," Shari explains,
"but at Alghero it was very good. While there, we ended
up next to an Italian family that we'd been berthed next to at
the previous marina, so we became friends. They had named their
boat Miami, of all things. Having become friends, they
then showed us what a real Italian dinner is like. The couple
had to work to speak English, but their daughter - like most
young Europeans - was pretty fluent in English."
Shari's favorite stop was Barcelona, where they spent another
entire month. "I love the diversity of that city, from the
people to the food to the architecture. Everything about that
city is wonderful. I loved the wide boulevards and the provisions
for cyclists. Lots of people ride bikes, and so did we. We carried
two folding bikes on the boat, and they got a lot of use over
While both Terry and Shari loved almost every place they visited,
they were a little down on Alcudia, Mallorca. "It was too
crowded, too touristy, and too expensive - it reminded us of
If Terry, who is in his early 60s, and Shari, who is in her 50s,
have any regrets, it's that they didn't start cruising earlier.
"We're a little late, but we can't wait to get back to our
boat this summer. We plan to spend five months a year in the
Med for the next three or four years. We want to go back and
do Spain, we want to do the Eastern Med, and I'm from Hungary,
so we want to spend a summer up in the Adriatic where my friends
and family can visit. Our only problem is that we love every
place we go.
Terry said that the couple benefited greatly from Letters
and Changes written by cruisers who had previously cruised
Europe, and now he'd also like to help. So if anyone has any
specific questions on cruising in the Western Med, .
"This wasn't a lifetime dream of ours, but we're delighted
with our boat, which can be easily handled by two but can accommodate
four. And with cruising in the Western Med, we'd recommend it
- latitude 38 12/10/02
We were pleased to get the news from Jimmie Zinn aboard the San
Francisco-based Morgan 38 Dry Martini that the Second
Annual Zihua Fest is a definite 'go' for January 29-February
2 at beautiful Zihuatanejo Bay. "As with last year's event,
the main purpose of all the fun is to raise money to benefit
the Netzahualcoyotl Indian School," says Zinn. "Last
year we raised $4,000 U.S., and with dollar-for-dollar matching
funds from Gloria and Richard Bellack of the Bellack Foundation,
we're shooting for a total of $10,000 this year. All donations
through the foundation are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
A second goal of this year's event is to further the already
good relations between the local community and the rapidly growing
Zihua Fest will start with a no-host kick-off party at Rick's
Bar on January 29, at which times shirts, burgees, and the final
schedule of activities will be available. On January 30, there
will be a 'no stress' Pursuit Race, with prizes for the fastest
and slowest boats. Later in the afternoon, there will be a dinghy
raft-up and appetizer potluck around and aboard Profligate.
Last year this party drew over 125 cruisers. On February 2, there
will be a charity sail aboard Profligate for those fun-loving
folks willing to cough up some extra pesos to directly benefit
the Indian school. If a couple of more cats - such as Wavy
and/or Little Wing - participate, there will be a
charity race. The fun event will be followed by beach volleyball,
a blindfolded dinghy race, a cop-a-feel game (you figure it out),
and other fun. The final event, on February 2, will be a Sail
Parade, with the fleet dressing ship for a parade to Ixtapa and
back, followed by a beach BBQ and party at Las Gatas Beach.
Who is organizing the Zihua Fest? Christopher and Dawn of the
Kodiak-based Ingrid 38 Alaskan Sun; Michael and Catharine
of the Vancouver-based Contessa 38 Breila; Chris and Becky
of the San Francisco-based Pacific Seacraft 40 Bonne Idee;
Ed and Daisy aboard the Marathon, Florida-based CSY 40 Siesta;
and the previously mentioned Jimmie and Jane of the San Francisco-based
Morgan 38 Dry Martini. All but the folks on Alaskan
Sun are second year cruisers.
Although the Zihua Fest is still in its embryonic stages, we
at Latitude are big supporters. Yes, it's quite a ways
south to Zihua from Mexico's Gold Coast, but just about every
cruiser who has made the trip will tell you that it's worth it.
For one thing, the locals and cruisers just seem to be happier
and more carefree in Zihua than anywhere else. So we encourage
cruisers to sail south to help raise funds for a terrific cause.
If anybody who can't make it down still wants to contribute,
they can make their checks out to the Bellack Foundation, note
that it's for the Netzahualcoyotl Indian School, and send them
to us at Latitude.
What are things like early this season in Z-town? Zinn reports
that although it was only the middle of December, some 25 cruising
boats were already in the anchorage and many more were expected
before Christmas. Rick's Bar, 'cruiser central', has opened for
the season and is providing advice and assistance of every kind
- as well as killer margaritas and snacks. The very informal
Zihuatanejo YC - no dues, no meetings, no officers, and no blazers
- is also open and serving up great food and drinks from its
beautiful perch overlooking Zihua Bay. Both Rick's and the Yacht
Club will be heavily involved in facilitating this year's Sail
Fest. There is still no real dinghy dock in Zihuatanejo, but
beach landings beside the public muelle are usually uneventful.
The landing is located right in front of the local Navy base,
so there is a guard to watch over the dinghies. When dinghying
ashore this year, folks have to dodge the unfortunate Mariner
35 ketch that went ashore in late September - and is still there.
The Port Captain's office has installed a new service window,
greatly speeding up the clearing process over last year. An Immigration
check-in is also required, but it's fast and efficient. The only
delay in the clearing process is the line at the bank, which
isn't too bad except on Mondays and Fridays. Want to be really
cool in Zihuatanejo? Use 'Zihua' ('zee-wha') for the nickname.
The locals take a lot of pride in their town, and don't care
for 'Z-town' or 'Z-wat'."
Informative report, Jimmie. Anyone care to make a similar one
for Mazatlan, Tenacatita Bay, Bahia Navidad, La Paz, or elsewhere
in Mexico? Thousands of readers are interested in updates from
these places, too.
"As you can see from the accompanying photograph, we - five
singlehanders and one couple on a trawler with lots of fish and
ice - got together at Isla Gamez, Panama," reports Steve
Cherry of the San Diego-based Formosa 41 Witch of Endor.
"Greg White and Meg Jackson of Wet Bar, a 48-foot
Offshore Sedan out of Tempe, Arizona, entertained Don Thomas
of the Peterson 44 Tamure from Balboa Island; me on Witch
of Endor; Schelmi Gier of the Alden 34 Irena from
Flensburg, Germany; David Mills of the Pearson 424 Takeitez
from Brisbane; and Bob Willmann of the Islander 37 Viva
from San Diego."
Thanks for the report and photo, Steve. We've got a real soft
spot for all the singlehanding guys out there, and enjoy the
chance to give them some recognition. We know that most of them
are too shy to write about themselves.
"Except for two containers of equipment that were stolen
or misplaced prior to shipping from the Bay Area, my first class
Puesto del Sol Resort & Marina project for five miles north
of the commercial port of Corinto, Nicaragua, is going great,"
reports Roberto Membreno of the San Diego based Peterson 46 Puesto
del Sol. "We've got over 250 locals working on the project
for us, and thanks to international aid, are building a school
for their children. We already have navigation aids in place,
hazards marked, and the clubhouse halfway done - and are continuing
at full speed. We don't have fuel yet, but that's coming soon,
so all southbound cruisers should stop by and check us out. A
lot of Americans may not know it, but the Nicaraguan government
and people are now pro-capitalist. They want investment and development,
as they see it creating jobs and educational opportunities for
their children. As for myself, I was retired - but am now having
the time of my life working with all the people on this project."
"In December of last year you ran an item about Les MacNeill
and Marcia Stromsmoe of Rio Nimpkish, who were making
their way from the South Pacific back to their homeport of Victoria,
B.C.," writes James MacNeill. "If you recall, they
were visciously beaten while ashore at Papua New Guinea. To update
the story, they were medically evacuated to Australia, and later
Canada. Marcia estimates that she's at 90% of her previous abilities.
Les is physically fine, but has a serious brain injury that caused
him to lose his short term memory and ability to do abstract
thinking. Fortunately, he can remember everything up to the attack.
He also retains his sense of humor and spirit, saying he won't
let that "#!&% at #!" ruin his life. Earlier in
the year, Marcia returned to Rabual with three friends to sail
Rio Nimpkish back to Canada. To compound the previous
troubles, she discovered that the boat had been broken into twice
while in the care of the local yacht club! A lot of stuff was
lost, the most serious besides their photos being their address
book. Given all that has happened, the couple has begun to wonder
if they are atoning for something bad they did in a previous
life. In any event, they'd like to let cruising friends they'd
met in and across the Pacific know they can be contacted ;
at 583 Toronto Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 1P1; or at (250) 381-2176.
They would love to hear from you. After Marcia and the two friends
sailed Rio Nimkish back to Victoria, the boat was sold,
which was quite sad. As is the case with many cruisers, the couple
hadn't been insured for their losses."
Frankly, we at Latitude don't buy the previous lives and
atonement business. The unpleasant truth some of us would prefer
not to face is that there are some genuinely bad and violent
people in this world. By the way, if Les and Marcia ever happen
to find themselves in San Francisco between May and early October,
when Profligate is likely to be in town, we'd enjoy taking
them for a sail on the Bay.
"Six months ago we arrived at Bahia del Sol, which is in
Bahia Jaletepec, El Salvador," report Murray and Colette
on Tarazed - type of boat and hailing port not specified.
"We intended to stay for a week, but it's been six months.
Getting into Bahia del Sol can be interesting, as you must wait
for high water and a guide to take you over the bar. If the tide
is low when you arrive, no problem, you just have to anchor in
30 feet until it comes up. During a period of big surf earlier
this year, several boats had to wait offshore for three days.
Again, no problem, as the El Salvadoran Navy supplied guards
for each boat and the hotel provided free rooms for the sailors!
All the necessary officials are permanently stationed here at
Bahia del Sol during the busy season, so paperwork is handled
in an expedient manner - while you enjoy a cerveza in the hotel
restaurant! Fees are $10/person for 90 days, with no charge for
the boat. Once here, you can anchor in the estuary in front of
the hotel or pay $5/night for a buoy. We left Tarazed at anchor
for two months while we travelled back to the States, and the
Salvadoran Navy kept a watch. Others have done the same with
no problem. Bahia del Sol is below the hurricane belt and not
as wet as Costa Rica during the rainy season.
"Bahia del Sol has and does everything to meet the needs
of cruisers, including having two swimming pools, a laundry,
internet access, a fuel dock, a 30% discount on food and drinks,
Wednesday 'cruiser nights', and much more. They are, however,
going to start charging a minimum of $5/day in cruiser services
- meaning beverages and food - to discourage freeloaders. A couple
of delicious but inexpensive meals a week would easily cover
the minimum. Even though we're going to continue south this year,
we've bought property on one of the islands. The estuary is beautiful,
and dinghy trips through the mangroves to the nearby pueblos
are interesting, and the wonderful locals are eager to greet
and help cruisers. Trips into the capital of San Salvador are
90 minutes by chicken bus - which all we cruisers have come to
love. Inland trips to beautiful Guatemala and Honduras are both
inexpensive and wonderful."
Garth Wilcox and Wendy Hinman of the Seattle-based Wylie 30 Velella
have returned to New Zealand after a summer of cruising in Fiji,
Vanuatu, and other South Pacific islands. We'll have a big Changes
from them next month.
"We bought our boat in New York in 1994 and have been cruising
slowly around the world ever since," report Don and Katie
Radcliffe of the Santa Cruz-based Beneteau First 456 Klondike,
which is currently in Thailand. "Our course has taken us
down through the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, and across
the South Pacific to Australia. After spending four years on
the east coast of Australia and among the neighboring island
groups, we left the Pacific in 2001 and came up through Indonesia
to Southeast Asia. Once we finish our major refit in Phuket,
our destination is uncertain, as we've found that the best cruising
plans are no plans at all.
"But while the rest of you were greeting winter on the Bay
in late November and early December," the Radcliffe's continue,
"we joined 77 competitors from all over the world for the
King's Cup in Thailand, the premiere regatta in Asia. All kinds
of boats participated, some of which had been shipped from as
far away as England. The Racing Class had 13 boats, ranging from
a Mumm 30 to the Tom Wylie-designed and Schooner Creek built
77-ft Jelik. In the Premier Cruising Class, the stripped-out
X-482 Hocux Pocux won a tiebreaker with Australian
Maid, a race boat pretending to be a cruiser. The best-looking
boat in the class was the grand old 72-ft Stormvogel of
TransPac and Dead Calm movie fame. A pair of actress Nichole
Kidman's knickers are said to be framed in the salon. There were
three IRC cruiser-racer classes, and Douglas Ludden's Kylie
from the St. Francis YC was in one of them. The IRC 3 Class had
19 boats, about half of them Sunsail charter boats. Although
they had chutes, they were slow in the light stuff because of
fixed props. Nonetheless, each day Sunsail gave out nice half-model
trophies to the top placing charter boat. In an effort to attract
more of the transient cruising boats, the Ocean Rover class did
not require a rating certificate and featured a reduced entry
fee. Since we couldn't find anyone else to race with, we entered
Klondike at the last minute - and cleaned up on the other
two cruising boats."
"In addition to the racing," the Radcliffe's report,
"the regatta included six all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink
parties at local resorts. The first two at Phi Phi had a hot
Thai reggae band, traditional dancing, and the Thai food was
better than at Phuket. Unfortunately, early December is a bit
too soon for the northeasterly monsoon winds that mark the prime
sailing season in Thailand, so the first three days of racing
were very light. Even though the regatta was moved to Phi Phi
Island - where all the really beautiful Swedish girls spend their
winters - there still wasn't much wind until the last two races.
As such, party fatigue set in early. One of the highlights of
the event was a candlelight ceremony for the King's Birthday
on December 5. All in all, it was like an upscale MEXORC - with
all the other Thailand attractions included."
"Chaguaramas Bay in Trinidad was invaded by an oil slick
yesterday," reports John Anderton of the Alameda-based Sanderling.
"The slick has moved into the inner harbor, the anchorages,
and the many small marinas. There are two possible sources of
the oil - a ship in the Caribbean, or one of the many oil platforms
in the Gulf of Paria. Some suspect the latter, because the oil
workers in nearby Venezuela are on strike. The only sure thing
is that it's a mess. I'm anchored in a small cove to the east
of Chaguaramas next to the Trinidad & Tobago Sailing Association.
So far the slick hasn't made it around the corner and into this
little bay, but I'm not confident my boat will be spared."
Steve and Gabby McCrosky, of the Big Bear-based Cheoy Lee 35
Karibu, report that Neil and Debra McQueen, of the Santa
Cruz-based Vanguard 33 Tranquilo, who are friends from
the 2000 Ha-Ha, have travelled through the Panama Canal and up
to Boca del Toros on the Caribbean side. "Awesome!"
is the word the couple used to describe it. Neil, a dedicated
surfer, reports there are tons of waves and the diving is terrific.
As for the McCroskys, who are now snowboarding two hours each
morning near their new home, come March they'll be heading back
to their boat in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. "Tell everyone
that it's possible to leave their boat on the hard at Puntarenas
for an extended time, but it's not without some headaches, as
we've had to deal with a lot of under-the-table paperwork."
Once they get back to Karibu, they'll spend six weeks
sailing her through the Canal and to the Boca del Toros.
"We had a great two-week, 700-mile trip from La Paz to Zihua
in November with Adam, Sueann, Jennifer, and Frank as crew,"
reports Don Engle of the Lafayette-based Hunter 450 Circe
II. "Other than too little wind, having to dodge tropical
storms, and getting water in the fuel lines, all went well. I
had previously planned to take Circe II through the Canal
in April, keep her south of the hurricane belt during the summer,
and then sail her throughout the Caribbean next winter. These
plans have been supplanted by the progress of the 70-ft Kelsall
catamaran that Tom and I are having built in New Zealand. She
will be ready to start sea trials in October, which means we'll
be able to leave New Zealand for Tonga in April of 2004. So instead
of sailing Circe II to the Caribbean next winter, I will
be getting the new cat ready to cross the Pacific. Circe II
will now stay in Zihua until the end of January, then start working
north. In May or June, we'll truck her back to the Bay Area from
Speaking of big cats, Sam and Caren Edwards, with youngsters
Rachael and Dana aboard the Portola Valley based Marquesas 56
Rhapsody, have spent much of the last season cruising
Papua New Guinea around Tufi and Kavieng. They were scheduled
to return home for a couple of weeks over the holidays.
Further along this vein, Mark and David Bernhard of the East
Bay 'rallied' their new Catana 58 catamaran Aurora across
the Atlantic last month as part of the 217-boat Atlantic Rally
for Cruisers (ARC). It was quite rough in the beginning, but
the last week or so was idyllic. We were hoping to have a detailed
report for this issue, but maybe next month.
Not another Catana 58! Bob Wilson reports that he joined the
delivery crew for the Norfolk, Virginia, to Walker's Cay, Bahamas,
delivery trip aboard his son-in-law and daughter's almost new
Catana 58 cat Blue Moon. With the wind on the nose, they
had to motor most of the time, doing eight knots using just one
engine at a time. "Twice we had mild gales with winds to
35-40 knots, which the cat managed well despite the lumpy seas
of nine to 12 feet from all directions. Despite the conditions,
a glass wine decanter sitting atop a galley cupboard didn't move
from where it had been placed back in April! During the worst
of the weather, we put in second precautionary reefs at night
- something that was done entirely from the cockpit under the
hardtop. My only complaint was that the captain and sailing master
for the trip, both Norwegian monohull sailors, kept Blue Moon
head-to-wind under power during both gales. That may be accepted
monohull practice, but we did take occasional bridgedeck slams
in the upper middle, with more frequent thumps on the steps inside
each hull. The cat seemed to say, "O.K. guys, I can do this,
but do I really have to?"
This is the last cat report, we promise. "It's December
17, the sky is clear, the wind is blowing from the ENE at 15
knots, and we're doing 8-10 knots under the big spinnaker while
sailing from Hawaii to the Marshall Islands," reports Blair
Grinols of the Vallejo-based 46-ft cat Capricorn Cat.
"While Jack was out front on the trampoline trying to give
himself a haircut a minute ago, he almost got a pressure washing
as Capricorn Cat surfed down a wave, sending spray all
over. I eventually had to help him with his haircut. Since I
don't know how to cut hair, he ended up with a buzz cut. We left
Kauai this morning on the roughly 2,000-mile passage to Majuro,
and things are going well. Despite all my ocean sailing, I usually
get queasy the first day at sea, but not this time. I made some
chocolate brownies last night, and mmmm, were they good! There
is one big problem - there wasn't enough room in the freezer
for ice cream. Man, am I going to go through withdrawals for
the next few days. We - me, Jack, and Dave - fished all afternoon
and caught a one-pound tuna. We didn't even have to stop the
boat to get him aboard. Anyway, fish tacos tomorrow."
The heck with the American Heart Association and the American
Cancer Society! Grinols, who at age 70 is incredibly energetic
and fit, and who for the last seven years has been one of the
most active offshore cruisers in the Pacific, has an unusual
diet. His staples aren't the recommended fruits and vegetables,
but brownies and ice cream. Medically it's all wrong, but it's
sure been working for him.
Tom and Kathy Knueppel of the San Francisco-based Island Packet
40 Tai Tam II report they have been cruising from Boca
del Toro, Panama, to the San Blas Islands, to Cartagena, Columbia.
Although leaving their boat at Boca del Toro during a long visit
back to the States was fine, they now think that Cartagena might
be an even better place to do it. If nothing else, you can't
beat the deals on meals: "In Cartagena it's $10 U.S. for
a four-course meal with all the wine you can drink." We'll
have a Changes on the San Blas Islands and Cartagena from
the Knueppels in the February issue.
"After watching the weather charts for several days while
in the Chesapeake Bay, on November 23 I decided it was the right
time to set sail for St. John in the U.S. Virgins," reports
Marc Hachey of the Auburn-based Peterson 44 Sea Angel.
Having singlehanded for so long, it was unusual that Hachey had
Stu Wallace along as crew. "Stu hadn't done any bluewater
sailing prior to the trip, and was looking for experience. He
got a trip he'll not soon forget, as we arrived at Francis Bay,
St. John, 11.5 days later. Although we got slammed by squalls
a couple of times while south of Bermuda, it was a fantastic
trip with some great sailing. The boats that were just one day
behind us and therefore further north, however, ended up in the
middle of the storms and had 40 to 50 knots winds.
"Thanks for a wonderful Baja Ha-Ha," writes Mike Chambreau,
who did the event aboard Nels Torgerson's Morgan Out-Island 41
Bronco. "But perhaps next year you can remind folks
not to run their deck level running lights and masthead tricolors
at the same time. It's pretty exciting to see five white-over-white
and a red-over-red lights at night." Good point. But if
we forget, point it out to the Grand Poobah so he can make an
announcement during roll call.
"Awhile back you gave me some good information about transiting
the Panama Canal," writes Christian Leube of the Islander
28 Summertime. "Now the boat and I are in Genoa,
Italy, and I need to sail her to Sicily to start a job. What
can you tell me about the winter weather for the sail from Genoa
Sorry, but our expertise on winter sailing in the Med is limited
to urging you to be very careful, as it can be very cold and
rough. It should be doable, however, as long as you harbor hop
down the west coast of Italy during periods of fair weather.
"From 1999 to 2001, my family as well as my sister and her
daughter - a total of four adults and four children - lived aboard
my 47-ft Vagabond ketch as we travelled from San Carlos, Mexico,
through the Panama Canal, and into the Caribbean, with stops
in South America," reports Mrs. Ashley M. Dixon, captain
of Echelon. "We're getting ready to return to the
Sea of Cortez in the spring."
We're sorry, Ashley, but we didn't publish your Christmas poem
because we don't publish any poems - let alone long ones. However,
we'd certainly be interested in hearing more about your two-families-on-one-boat
"I read two articles on octangenarian Harry Heckel's intended
trip from Japan to Washington aboard his Tahiti sloop Idle
Queen," writes Gregg Johnson. "I then read that
after being slowed and becalmed for long periods of time, he
was stopped 750 miles south of the Aluetians. He then diverted
toward San Francisco, then 'rediverted to Hawaii'. What's the
rest of the story?"
Sorry, Gregg, but we don't know the rest of the story. As we
mentioned earlier in this month's Cruise Notes, singlehanders
don't much care for publicity. But maybe some of our readers
know where Harry ended up.
Health problems kept Carl Mischka from doing his second Ha-Ha
last November aboard the Newport Beach-based Oyster 48 Ti
Amo, but he says things are looking up. "I've been able
to visit Avalon to check out some new boat systems, and plan
on heading south to Mexico in early January. I hope to see everyone
at the Banderas Bay Regatta and elsewhere!
"Adagio, the Morrelli & Melvin 52 catamaran that
my wife and I had built in New Zealand, is now at Sanctuary Cove
Resort on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia," reports
Steve Darden, formerly of Tiburon. "Happiness is a broadband
connection on the boat, which is why it's fortunate that I was
able to talk the IT Manager into allowing us to connect our wireless
LAN to their corporate network. We have just done an update to
our website, covering the cruising we did from last June to November
from Tasmania up to the Great Barrier Reef. There are also lots
of new photos in the 2002 section called 'Tasmania - Sailing
Around Hobart'. In an attempt to convey what some of these beautiful
places are like, there are nine new panoramas. By the time Dorothy
returns from her trip back to the States, we'll be making for
Tasmania again and Southern summer cruising. Our current plan
is to sail to New Zealand in April, Tahiti the following April,
and Patagona that November."
The Adagio website - www.adagiomarine.com
- is excellent.
"We had a light air motorsail through Mexico," reports
Keith MacKenzie of the Vancouver-based Crowther 46 catamaran
What's Up Doc? "Unfortunately, we hit a large log
at night, shearing off one of my carbon fiber rudders. We continued
on another 1,000 miles with just the other rudder, and didn't
have any problems. On the first 100 miles across the Gulf of
Tehuantepec, we had 20 to 25 knots of wind, but then it settled
down. We made a fuel stop in Guatemala, and were amazed at the
amount of firepower the locals were packing! It was too much
for this Canadian, so we left the same day. We had Papagayo winds
occasionally up to 35 knots on our way to Costa Rica, and it
seemed as though every time it got light and we shook a reef
out, it started blowing again. We're now in Puntarenas, where
checking in was free - although a local service offered to do
it for $150 U.S.! Actually, the best place to check in is at
Caldera, as they have the Port Captain and Customs together,
and Immigration nearby. The Costa Rica YC here in Puntarenas
is excellent, but there's not much water at low tide. Carlos,
the manager, speaks perfect English and helps at the drop of
a hat. The yacht club has a security guard sweep through the
moorings every half hour, 24 hours a day. There's also a nice
swimming pool, and hotel rooms for as little as $45/night - if
you need air-conditioned sleep. I think prices are lower here
than in Mexico. The Ha-Ha was great fun and I hope to be able
to do it again soon, but tomorrow we're off for the Panama Canal."
He's a busy man. Jimmy Cornell founded the Atlantic Rally for
Cruisers (ARC), the grandaddy of all cruising rallies, 17 years
ago. He sold that enterprise, with some regrets, a few years
ago, but manages to keep plenty busy. In addition to running
a new cruising website, noonsite.com,
he's never stopped sailing. "Earlier this year I sailed
from Europe to Ecuador, where I left my boat in a marina. I'll
go back to the boat in February, at which time I plan to sail
to the Galapagos, French Polynesia, and the rest of the South
Pacific on my way to New Zealand by November." In the last
25 years, Cornell has sailed 150,000 ocean miles in a succession
It's another new year, so please make 2003 your best - and safest
- cruising year ever. And don't forget to write!