With reports this month from
Knot Yet on the Over The Top Rally
in Oz; from Neosal on being rescued
from destruction by fellow cruisers; from Nai'a
on needing a new mast in Acapulco and ending up with a Swan in
Ft. Lauderdale; from Ricka on a
good passage from New Zealand to Fiji; from Aeolus
XC on the success of the Barillias Relief Project; from circumnavigators
on Southpaw on their new gaff-rigged
schooner; from Konig II on sailing
toward South America; from Acadia
on eight years of cruising and new boat plans; from Ariadne
II on Tobago; and Cruise Notes.
- Gulf 32 Pilothouse
Over The Top In Oz
(San Francisco Bay)
Knot Yet and I arrived in Darwin, Australia, on July 6,
almost two months after leaving Townsville. The trip was nearly
1,600 nautical miles, and was mostly done in daysails. The exceptions
were crossing the Gulf of Carpenteria - which took 2.5 days -
and two overnight passages during the Gove YC's 10th Over-The-Top
The 420-mile, 12-day, Over-The-Top Rally, which started on June
24 at Gove and ended in Darwin, was quite fun. It included many
social events, lots of beach BBQs, visits to aboriginal settlements,
and general socializing enroute. The final party in Darwin was
the best, with awards for all participants and lots of camaraderie
with the folks we'd been sailing in company with for three weeks.
Of the 32 boats entered in this always sold-out event, an amazing
15 of them were from the United States, while 11 were from Australia,
three from the United Kingdom, two from New Zealand, and one
each from Canada and Germany. Four of the U.S. boats were from
the Bay Area: Annapurna, a Hans Christian 48 with Buddy
and Ruth Ellison of Sausalito; Total Devotion, a Beneteau
50 with Tim Modders and Cindy Wilkes of San Francisco; Klondike,
a First 456 with Don and Katie Radcliffe of Santa Cruz; and Knot
Yet, my Gulf 32 Pilothouse sloop with Pete Badrokadokra of
Fiji as crew.
During the week preceding departure, the Gove YC organized things
such as a welcome BBQ, a tour of the world's largest bauxite
mine, and a farewell champagne breakfast. The rally itself consisted
of seven legs, five of which were daysails of 25 to 50 miles,
and two overnight passages of 140 and 156 miles. The 140-miler
was done under a brilliant full moon highlighted by an eclipse!
Among the most exciting moments of the rally was going through
the 'Hole in the Wall', which is a very narrow passage between
two islands that has very strong tidal currents. During the final
passage to Darwin, we were rewarded with tidal currents of nearly
During the course of the rally, we spent two nights at South
Goulbourn Island, where entertainment took place at the local
aborginial settlement. We also spent three nights at Port Essington,
where the final enroute party was held. This was a 'P' party,
for which everyone was required to dress up in a costume representing
something starting with the letter 'P'. As a result, their were
pirates, priests, pregnants, port and starboard, party animals,
popcorns, and pussycats. There was also a bit of rain, but it
only dampened costumes, not spirits.
Presentation Night was held at the Dinah Beach Sailing Club in
Darwin, with awards of some kind for just about everybody. A
group of folks from Iowa - of all places - won the saga award
for using all the boat names in part of a tale about the event.
I won the 'fuel gauge' award for running out of fuel - an incredibly
stupid thing to do when you've got a 70-gallon tank.
I believe that the Over-The-Top is a very worthwhile event, something
all the rest of the Bay Area skippers agreed with. If anyone
is cruising this way in the future and wants to get 'over the
top' in order to continue on to Indonesia and Singapore, this
is the perfect event. See www.goveyacht.org.au
P.S. Thanks again for taking me along as crew on Profligate
in the Banderas Bay Regatta.
- john keen
Neosal - Cascade 42
Well, shit really does happen! When it happens to you, make sure
you have lots of people around - such as the cruisers in Banderas
Bay. Without their help, my 1965 Cascade 42 Neosal would
still be on the beach in front of the Mayan Palace - and probably
being sold as a time-share beach condo. I owe such a huge debt
of gratitude to everyone who helped pull my boat off the surf
that I don't know if it can ever be repaid.
Some of the incident was reported in last month's Latitude,
but I'd like to tell the story from my perspective. It began
on what had been a stellar day in a week of having sailed to
different anchorages and having caught lots of fish in gorgeous
Banderas Bay. In fact, the only reason Rachel Unger and I were
returning to the marina was to refill our water tanks before
taking off for more of the same the next day. We were actually
headed straight into the channel at Nuevo Vallarta when we decided
- big mistake - to make one last pass south of the channel to
parallel the beach and drop the sails. When we tacked around
with the jib up, we immediately noticed shoaling about a half
mile ahead, so we headed out toward deeper water. What we didn't
realize is that the shoal not only extends more than a mile out,
but that it also curves to the south and east. We were in the
bight of the shoal, so when I turned out to sea, I inadvertently
headed toward the outer edge of the shoal. When we first hit,
we hit hard. I instantly started the engine and attempted to
head out. But we hit hard again and again. Neosal would
not motor forward or reverse because we were on top of the shoal.
Each swell picked us up and dropped us closer to shore.
I went forward and dropped the 45-pound CQR while Rachel closed
all the ports and hatches. Then I returned to the cockpit to
radio a Mayday on channel 16. Simultaneously, the radar dome
came crashing down from the wooden mizzen mast. I got an immediate
response from the U.S. Coast Guard, which has a boat stationed
in Puerto Vallarta. Their assistance consisted of wanting to
know if we had our lifejackets on.
As luck would have it, Leslie and her family on Wild Blue
in Paradise Village Marina happened to be monitoring channel
16, and immediately started looking through the marina for a
boat powerful enough to pull our boat off the beach. They were
able to enlist the efforts of the captain and crew of the fishing
boat 2 Knots. We also got a call from Mike Danielson of
North Sails and Kevin MacDonald of MacDonald Yachts in San Diego
- who just happened to be sailing by on Magic Carpet.
Mike had us switch to Channel 19 as the rescue effort was being
mounted from Paradise Village Marina. By this time, we and Neosal
were on the beach.
In the process of being washed ashore, we had dragged the 45-pound
CQR with us. Fortunately, Kevin MacDonald was no less than amazing!
First, he dinghied through the huge surf and came aboard. He
then took our big CQR over his shoulder and walked out through
the surf - dragging the chain behind him - and passed it to Paradise
Village Marina Harbormaster Dick Markie, who was maneuvering
a 25-foot panga in the rough surf! Then they reset the anchor.
Had it not been for the reset anchor keeping Neosal's
bow to the breaking waves, she would have been lost.
Jim Ketler and Picante stood offshore, coordinating boats
and radio traffic. Meanwhile, many lines were gathered and tied
together. Then MacDonald swam the line a half mile or so out
to 2 Knots. The motoryacht began to pull on Neosal
while locals on the beach pulled on her halyards to heel her
over. Unfortunately, because the shoal extends so far out and
because there were so many knots in the 1,000-foot line, the
line repeatedly broke. It wasn't easy, and as time passed Neosal
was left ever higher on the beach.
At this point, the Mexican Navy arrived on the scene with the
Cabo Corrientes, sent 2 Knots away, and took over. They
attempted to attach a much stronger line - carried ashore by
Mexican Marines. But with the tide having gone out, it wasn't
long enough. The navy ship - with only 18 inches beneath her
keel - couldn't come in any closer. Rescue efforts were halted
for the night, with the navy promising to return at dawn.
With my boat on the beach and her future uncertain, you can imagine
it was a pretty long night on the beach for me. Rachel and Bob
Jones of Drumbeat kept me company, and the Mexican Navy
boat patrolled just offshore. To be honest, I thought it was
all over for Neosal. When dawn revealed my boat was even
higher on the beach, the situation looked yet more hopeless.
Nonetheless, we put a line around the keel and set an anchor
off the beam to keep the boat from tossing from side to side
when the tide came in. Come daylight we watched in disbelief
as the Cabo Corrientes left the scene, not answering our calls
over the radio.
But the other cruisers weren't about to give up, and shortly
after daybreak the VHF was alive with cruisers coordinating a
rescue attempt. Kyle of Desperado Marine sent 500 feet of new
line, Dick Markie contributed another 1,000 feet, and others
contributed another 300 feet - so we had nearly 2,000 feet of
one-inch line attached to Neosal ready to pull her off
when the tide came in. There was just one problem: we no longer
had a boat to pull on the other end of the line. Fellow cruisers
scoured the docks of all the marinas looking for a boat powerful
enough to pull us off, but there were no takers. As high tide
came and passed with no help, we were about to give up hope .
. . when over the horizon came four Mexican parasail boats!
Like caballeros of the sea, these guys tied their four boats
together with a bridle, and started pulling. This time the line
held together, and Neosal began to inch off the beach.
After 26 hours, my Cascade had dug herself a pretty deep hole
in the sand, but with the throng of cruisers pulling the boat
over with the main halyard, the parasail boats were able to start
moving her back to sea. It was unbelievable but true! At this
point, El Galleon, with brothers Richard and Terry O'Rourke
- the latter heads up the Banderas Bay Regatta - stepped in and
took over the line. They were a godsend. They pulled Neosal
back into deep water, and then towed us all the way to the Opequimar
Boatyard - where Kyle was waiting with a bucket full of icy-cold
Considering the beating taken by my 37-year-old ketch, the damage
wasn't as bad as it could have been. It helped that she'd gone
up on sand and not some secluded reef. The boat's rudder was
basically gone, the skeg was bent, and thanks to 30 local boys
swinging on the halyard in the surf, we lost the mizzen mast
completely. And there's lots of cosmetic damage. Thankfully no
one was seriously injured, although there were bangs and bruises,
rope-burned hands, and sunburned hides from waiting all day on
the beach for a towboat. For me, the waiting was the worst.
It's now two weeks later, Neosal is back in the water
with a beautiful new rudder, a new bottom job, a new mizzen salvaged
from a sunken ketch - and a much-depleted cruising fund! We did
have to spend five different days with the courteous port captains
of both Jalisco and Nayarit, writing up numerous
reports and explaining the incident - in Spanish. Thanks are
due Lorenza Arias and Carlos Morales for generously donating
their time to do the translating for me. This - after the beaching
and salvage - was like your worst DMV nightmare.
I had no idea the shoal was there. I thought the river entrance
and the marina entrance were the same. They are not. That shoal
extends out over one mile - and in the summer rainy season it
can reach out as much as two miles. Other skippers - even longtime
locals who know the shoal is there - have been caught on it.
It's just south of the Nuevo Vallarta entrance, it's unmarked,
and it's dangerous. Be careful!
The list of people who have helped is almost endless. Nick and
Carol Rau of Puerto Vallarta Yachts deserve a special thank you
for their tireless efforts, along with Bob of Drumbeat,
Jim and Jan Ketler of Picante, Dick Markie of Paradise
Village Marina, and all the cruising community in Puerto Vallarta.
Thank you! We do have one question, though. Who was the one grabbing
every extra-heavy tourist from the Mayan Palace, stuffing them
into lifejackets, and setting them on the lee rail for ballast?
I think someone was telling them it was a free sailboat ride.
And what a ride it was!
- alex 6/30/01
Alex - It's a wicked reef in the sense
that doesn't seem as though it should be there, and that there
are no markers to warn of it. When travelling from Nuevo Vallarta
to Puerto Vallarta, one has to be very careful to go around the
reef - which in any event moves around because it's created by
runoff from the river.
Nai'a - Swan 53
Bob & Kristin Beltrano
Having just finished the May Latitude while in Trinidad,
Kristin and I joined our friends Vaughn and Sharon Hampton of
the Alameda-based Reality (Ha-Ha Class of '98) at The
Bight, a restaurant/bar at Peakes Marina and Boatyard in Chaguaramas
Bay. A lone cruiser joined us and said, "Hi, I'm David Clark.
Have you heard of me?" Needless to say, I was stunned, as
I'd just read in Latitude that he was trying to be the
oldest man to ever do a circumnavigation.
So, yes, David is in Trinidad, having just arrived three days
ago after sailing up from South Africa. I'm supplying him with
past Latitudes that had his story within. He says his
current plan is to finish his book here in Trinidad while waiting
out hurricane season, then continue to Ft. Lauderdale for his
planned November arrival. While in Trinidad, he was able to get
a 'sponsored' slip at Power Boats Ltd. Marina/Boatyard from Donald
Stollmeyer, the 'father' of marine facilities in Trinidad.
David appears to be in great shape and spirits, and reports that
he had a fine crossing. His boat is in fine shape also, and he
says she's an even better boat than the one he started with -
and which sank when he first departed South Africa for the Caribbean.
Unfortunately, he still hasn't found a replacement for his dog
Mickey, who was lost during rescue attempts.
As for us, we did the '99 Ha-Ha with Nai'a, our Hans Christian
43, and travelled Mexico all last season, getting as far south
as Acapulco. It was there that we discovered we had to haul our
boat and get the mast replaced! Delayed six weeks in Acapulco,
we lost our weather window and insurance coverage for getting
to Panama by summer. To make a long story short, we came up to
Sail Expo in Oakland last April in search of solutions and perhaps
another boat. We were sitting on a new Swan 56 when we started
moaning about our problems, and Patrick Adams of KKMI overheard
us. Three weeks later, we owned a fairly new Swan 53 in Miami!
Damn that Patrick!
The Hans Christian was delivered to and sold in L.A. We then
transferred all our stuff to the new Nai'a in Ft. Lauderdale,
and began to "cruise-herfy" her. We ended up leaving
Ft. Lauderdale in January of this year to cruise the Caribbean
while commuting back and forth to work. We discovered that cruising
in the Caribbean is a whole different story when compared to
cruising in Mexico. Some of our Caribbean highlights included
the British Virgins for six weeks, Antigua for Sailing Week,
the Pitons in St. Lucia, and The Saintes and the ice cream they
sell there. As for our new-to-us boat, once you sail a Swan you
can never go back.
We travelled 'down island' to arrive in Trinidad for hurricane
season. Originally we planned to have extensive work done here,
such as replace the teak decks. But after much investigation
- another long story - we opted not to have the work done here.
So we'll store the boat here in Trinidad and have the decks done
'off season' in Grenada, then travel up the Eastern Caribbean
again next season. It's ditto for Reality.
The crews of Reality and Nai'a will be back in
the Bay for the summer. . . leeching off family and friends.
We're going to have our off-season reunion at Avatars in Sausalito.
- bob & kristin 6/15/01
Bob & Kristin - You didn't ask us,
but if you're going to keep your boat in the tropics, you might
think about getting rid of the teak decks altogether. Many folks
find their boats are much cooler inside without them. In fact,
there will be a letter on just this subject in the next issue.
Ricka - Taswell 43
Mel & Rebecca Shapiro
Musket Cove, Fiji
Part One. Rebecca and I - who have been out cruising for four
years now - will finally be leaving New Zealand after a long
stay and setting out for Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. This
year's cruising season will end in November, at which time we'll
be in Australia.
We have made 'heaps' - a good Kiwi word - of friends here in
New Zealand and have enjoyed a wonderful in-depth experience
of the kind of life they live. But winter has come to this hemisphere,
the nights are cold, the leaves have fallen, and snow blankets
the southern mountains. So we are eagerly looking forward to
warm secluded anchorages, the sight of turquoise water, palm-lined
beaches, and beautiful naked Polynesian maidens frolicking on
the sand. As we're about to head off on this tough, 1,100-mile
passage, our motto is: 'Life is short, so have fun - or get religion.'
Part Two. Well, we made it, and are currently at Musket Cove,
Fiji - which is a remote, palm-covered island to the west of
the main island of Viti Levu. Molololailai is its proper name,
and it is privately owned by Aussie Dick Smith. He's created
a simple but deluxe thatched-roof beach hut-style resort that
appeals to newlyweds. You see long white sand beaches everywhere
you look, as well as turquoise waters and beautiful undersea
Musket Cove is great for us yachties, as Dick offers lifetime
memberships to the Musket Cove YC - which is recognized by other
yacht clubs worldwide - plus use of all his facilities for a
grand total of one Fijian dollar! That's about 45 cents U.S.
In addition, the yacht club will arrange to have virtually anything
you want or need delivered door to door for no service fee. The
tiny island has its own airstrip, which has three 10-minute flights
each day to Nadi, Fiji's big international airport. Musket Cove
is also served by a thrice daily powercat that makes the run
in 45 minutes.
One of the charming features of Musket Cove is that there is
no evidence of government or bureaucracy, no cars or trucks,
and just a few golf carts, bicycles, and electric scooters. There
is, however, Internet access, five telephones, and a cell tower.
We use a worldwide Voda Phone, which features free incoming calls
and no billing. Out in the anchorage are perhaps a dozen cruising
boats, mostly in the 40 to 45 foot range, with hailing ports
from all over the globe.
Our passage up from New Zealand took eight days, and was for
the most part uneventful - at least as one could wish for the
sometimes dangerous passage. We started with two days of motorsailing,
then the wind built to as much as 40 knots and the seas to as
much as 12 feet - with another two feet of chop. It was all out
of the southeast and we were headed north, so we got to run with
it. Although we traveled alone, we were in HF radio contact with
several other boats also headed to the South Pacific. Two of
these boats suffered knockdowns, but all came through intact.
As the days wore on, the wind and seas abated. On the eighth
day we motorsailed through the barrier reef and into Fijian waters.
Our greatest 'disaster' occurred the first day out when the head
broke - after we'd used it, of course! Fortunately, we have two
heads. We also ripped our new mainsail, wrapped a halyard around
our furling headsail, and nearly lost our radar/antenna tower.
But all were fixed without drama, so it was a very good trip.
- mel and rebecca 6/15/01
Aeolus XC - N/A
Malcolm & Jacqueline Holt
Barillas Marina Club
(Bahia Jiquilisco, El Salvador)
The original goal of the Barillas Relief Project has been surpassed!
In January, following the earthquake that devastated the rural
areas of El Salvador, Malcolm and Jackie Holt of Aeolus XC,
and Don and Vickey Mayrand of T Tauri Wind, made a decision
to assist the 51 residents of a village known as Hacienda Lourdes,
3,200 feet up Volcán El Tigre, Usulután, El Salvador.
Five months later, it feels as though it was an act of fate that
drew us to this humble community and the wonderful people who
Our first intention was to rehouse the villagers, most of who
earn their living as seasonal workers on the surrounding coffee
plantation. We intended to repair four houses that could be saved,
and to reconstruct five houses that we demolished due to their
irreparable condition. The scope of the project increased as
we discovered three more additional homeless families living
Following negotiations with the landowners, we were successful
in securing a new parcel of land about one kilometer away, which
is now registered in the names of the 12 families. The new community
is called El Milagro (The Miracle) de Jaquelin. Many wonderful
things happened to make this relief effort possible. The most
important of these was the generosity of cruisers' friends, family,
former colleagues - more than 70 - and the Canadian government.
Without the more than $28,000 U.S. that these individuals and
institutions provided, the project could have never been completed.
Also significant was the nearly $4,000 U.S. that the Barillas
cruisers raised themselves through five auctions - talk about
treasures of the bilge! Perhaps equally important was the spontaneous
generosity of the crewmembers from more than 100 boats - from
every continent - who worked on or contributed to the project.
Also critical: Señor Juan Wright, the owner of Barillas
Marina Club, who made a work van - complete with a driver/translator
- available for every work day for the duration of the project.
We jokingly told Juan at the outset of the project that we may
well return his Toyota van in the bucket of a front-end loader,
as all the travel on the extremely rough mountain roads was going
to take its toll. The truth was not far removed from fiction,
as the vehicle is just about spent. We count our blessings that
it held together until we finished our work.
Yes, this was a 'happening'. Just as Woodstock could not be replicated,
we believe that this was a once in a lifetime experience - and
that we were the fortunate ones who were able to participate.
Virtually everyone involved with the effort came away with a
sense of pride, love, and accomplishment from each day's work.
The bonding that occurred between the international cruising
community with the children, women and men from the village was
profound. Many cruisers - even grown men - parted company with
tears of joy and sadness when their time came to continue sailing.
The trust and caring that developed between the foreign visitors
and the locals became as close as family relationships, and we're
sure that many of those who participated will retrace their steps
back to the new village in years to come.
Some additional facts that underscore the generosity that made
this all possible:
- Fifteen organizations such as yacht clubs and cruising associations,
church groups, schools and offices provided financial support.
- There was a significant grant from the Canadian International
- Forty-five boats traveling to Barillas - mainly southbound
from Mexico - brought clothing, school supplies, tarpaulins,
medical supplies, building equipment and tools, blankets, food
and personal items.
- A program has now been set up so that year-end leftover school
supplies from Vancouver/Victoria, B.C., may be delivered by southbound
- The Director of the U.S. Peace Corps in El Salvador provided
his son as a resident worker/translator. Walker Wise lived in
the village and became one of the locals for a four-month period.
The project still has momentum.
Funds continue to arrive, probably due to word of mouth and the
information contained in our web page. Jackie and I have now
decided that we 'have done our bit', and we intend to continue
our journey to Ecuador and Chile in October or November. There
are, however, people associated with the project who have said
that they will stay to complete more homes and assist in the
construction of infrastructure projects - water is the most precious
natural resource - if funds continue to flow. The need for the
simplest things in so much of this poor country is so great that
any donation - even a few dollars - will make a tremendous difference
to the quality of life for many people.
We have assisted in the preparation of another grant application
from the Canadian government so that a water catchment system
may be completed for El Milagro and other nearby communities.
The scope of this work is almost endless, it seems, but the dividends
for participating - either directly or by donation - seem to
outweigh the investment many times over. Incidentally, all of
the funds we raised were spent directly on the project. We have
learned of some of the percentages charged by international relief
organizations for their services, and pride ourselves on having
fueled our volunteer efforts on love from the heart!
The result of our work is that 66 people now live in safe houses
- they have been tested in several (unreported) earthquakes that
have continued to shake the country. In addition to building
skills, we have taught the village people to construct a series
of reinforced concrete retaining walls. They are continuing to
work on this part of the project right now. Furthermore, some
of the young people from the village have learned new construction
skills - welding, steel fabrication, reinforced concrete work
and roofing - and are now employable beyond the scope of our
If anyone is able to make a contribution to the ongoing project,
the details are as follows: Send donations to: The Bank of Nova
Scotia, One Liberty Plaza, New York, NY 10006, USA Transit Number
for the Bank of Ahorromet Scotiabank: 07142-32 ABA 026002532
(Put these numbers on the back of your check). Make your check
payable to: "Account Number 2-07-21576-1: Donald Arthur
Mayrand". Supporters wishing to receive a receipt for IRS
tax purposes should do as follows: Make your check payable to:
St. Jude's Episcopal Church, and add a note to tell the church
that your donation is "For the Barillas Relief Project".
Mail your check to: 20920 McClellan Road at Stelling, Cupertino,
CA 95015-2967. Remember to send your name and address to which
your IRS receipt should be mailed. For accountability purposes,
with the date and the amount of your donation.
A 'thank you' to everyone who provided support to the project!
- malcolm & jacqueline
Southpaw - Brewer Gaff Schooner
The Balding Family
Second Time Around
(Rogue River, Oregon)
We've only come across a couple of Latitudes in the last
couple of years, so it was a surprise to find the April issue
at a book swap - especially when we found our names included
in the Rounder's Roundup feature on circumnavigators. Seeing
old friends' names on the list also brought back a lot of memories.
For the record, our low-budget circumnavigation - you did an
article on it in '97 - meandered from '84 to '93, and was fairly
typical: Mexico, Milk Run to New Zealand, return to South Pacific
and have baby, Australia, Indian Ocean to Red Sea to Med, French
Canals to England and Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco,
Madeira, Canaries, Senegal, Grenada, Colombia, San Blas, Costa
Rica, Mexico, and U.S. Our boat then, Heart of Gold, was
28.5 feet long. She was only that long because Gary lengthened
her hull while the boat was in his mother's pasture in Oregon.
Most of our navigation was done with a sextant. We did buy a
SatNav - remember those? - for the Red Sea, but it packed up
well before we arrived back in the States. The boat's old Atomic
4 died before the end of the trip, too. We replaced it with a
9 hp diesel in Australia. We didn't do much motoring anyway,
just in flat calms and harbors.
We purchased the hull of our new boat - a Ted Brewer design in
steel - in '95 and optimistically thought we'd be cruising again
in 18 months. Maybe . . . if we'd been in a dry climate and stuck
to our original 'French minimalist' - milk crates, bean bags
and curtains - interior. As it was, it took us four years to
more or less finish fitting her out. We moved aboard the last
year so we could ready Heart of Gold for sale.
When we took off in Southpaw, we had only sailed the boat
once, and that was two years before at her launching - just to
see if she could sail. Still, we figured a 51-foot L.O.A. gaff
schooner can't be very different from a 28.5 marconi sloop, right?
Neither of us had any experience with gaff rigs or schooners,
and there wasn't anyone around whose brain we could pick, so
we've been having a lot of fun figuring it all out. The offset
propeller makes life interesting, too, and we've found that it's
wonderful for harvesting kelp. By the way, since our prop is
offset to port, our dog Murph always shook with his left paw,
and Gary and I are left-handed, we named our new boat Southpaw.
This time we've taken a slightly different route. From Z-town
we sailed to Fanning, mostly under square rig, driven by our
Radcliffe-brand windvane, which works independently of the worm-gear
steering and is the stoutest commercial vane we've ever seen.
Winds were light, so the 3,600 mile passage took 29 days. Our
friends with a 50-footer took 42 days. From Fanning we sailed
to Pago Pago, America Samoa - where the water is much cleaner
than it was in the '80s - to Apia, where Gary worked for two
months plumbing a new government building.
When we left Samoa, we brought along a young Kiwi plumber for
the trip to Asau, Niautoputapu, and Vava'u, Tonga. It was the
first time we'd ever sailed with an extra body on our boat. Andy
had sailed as a kid, but was unprepared for the 45-knots we ran
into from Tiautoputapu to Vava'u, and the hard beat - it took
four days to cover 150 miles - we had. "This is a f--king
shithouse, mate," was his constant groan. But he was a great
guy - and superb teenage disciplinarian. Any time our daughter
Sara got saucy, he'd toss her overboard. At anchor, that is.
We sailed to Suva so Sara could see her birthplace and to see
if she could get a Fijian passport. Unfortunately, the rules
have now changed, and you now have to have a Fijian parent to
get a passport. Suva's a little shabbier than before, and the
town dump across the bay can make life in the anchorage unpleasant.
Still, it doesn't affect the yacht club bar. And Suva is still
a great town. Oddly enough, it has the cheapest place we know
of to get a liferaft certified - and you're encouraged to watch
the inspection and repacking.
Weatherwise, our trip to New Zealand was much better than our
first one, as we only had one low deep enough to generate 45
knots of wind. It was in this stuff that we paid the price for
not shaking our boat down before we left, as we had several breakages:
A weld failed on the rudderstock, a running backstay fitting
broke, the staysail boom broke, and the head gasket blew on the
engine. So our trip to New Zealand was slow - 14 days, and we
had lots of light headwinds that didn't help. But the windvane
handled the steering, and Southpaw is so comfortable at sea that
we weren't concerned about the length of the passage. Not that
we weren't pleased to see Opua!
We finished repairs to our boat the day before the annual tall
ships race, which was a blast. It was the first time we've sailed
with other gaffers. We were hoping to see Michael Kris and Gilpie
- where were you? We've be staying in New Zealand a year or so,
so Sara is in school. Gary is plumbing - and for the first time
ever has a legal work permit. Apparently there's a shortage of
plumbers in New Zealand. I'm maintaining the garden in the beautiful
place overlooking Flat Island that we're housesitting for the
winter. Life is good.
- jessie 7/1/01
Konig - Passport 51
George & Anita Rishell
(Point Roberts, Washington)
After several years of preparing our boat, we finally left our
slip in Point Roberts, Washington, in August of '00 and headed
for San Francisco. Our boat wasn't finished, but we had to get
south to avoid winter storms. Our trip was uneventful - except
when we got into dense fog and heavy fishing boat traffic off
Coos Bay, and asked the Coast Guard to guide us in. They did
- after which they inspected our boat and cited us for two violations:
1) Not having a bell with a large enough diameter, and 2) Not
having 'No' in front of the documentation number in our hull.
That's your tax dollars and our's hard at work!
After a couple of weeks visiting old friends in San Francisco,
we moved on to San Diego, where a friend let us use the slip
in front of his Coronado Cays home to finish our boat projects.
In March of this year we headed south to Mexico, and friends
John and Wanda Robertson of Vancouver made the passage with us.
We had a good trip with good company - and even managed to get
a slip when we pulled into Cabo! After a week in frantic Cabo,
we headed to Puerto Vallarta, where we spent a week with old
friends - many of whom were there for the Banderas Bay Regatta.
Our passage to Z-town was somewhat more exciting. After checking
the oil one afternoon, we hit the starter and heard a horrible
noise. The diagnosis was simple: the starter motor was trying
to separate from the engine. So we put our sails up in the light
air. By evening the wind had picked up - but so had the strange
noises from our Leisure Furl boom. The diagnosis was simple once
again: the boom had come loose at the gooseneck and slid back.
It only remained attached because of the roller and the sail.
During the installation, the boatworkers had failed to put Locktite
on the final screw that locks all the parts of the assembly together.
Due to the weight of the boom, we couldn't make repairs at sea.
We furled what we could of the main and sailed under genoa. There
was good wind and we were able to sail into Z-Bay and drop the
hook without any problem.
Fixing the boom wasn't hard. Then we were lucky enough to find
a good mechanic for the engine. He discovered that all three
of the studs holding the starter in place had failed. After a
couple of tries, we got it fixed properly. Interestingly, the
whole time we were there, nearby Marina Ixtapa was closed by
breaking waves. If your boat was inside, it was trapped.
Our next stop was a slip at the Acapulco YC, which is undergoing
major renovations. The club is very well run and a pleasure to
stay at. We decided that hurricane season was too close for comfort,
and that we'd make the passage to Panama in one hop. We had a
nice weather window through the Gulf of Tehuantepec, but a Papagayo
- plus 2.5 knots of adverse current - got us off Nicaragua. We
finally made it to the lee of Costa Rica's mountains, and from
there had pleasant sailing to the uninhabited Panamanian island
of Jicaron, which is west of Punta Mala. We decided to put in
to see an uninhabited jungle island. It was very beautiful with
monkeys and birds of all types, flowers, coconuts and even a
freshwater stream where fishermen come to refill. It was a very
When we got to the Canal, we took a mooring in front of the Balboa
YC. The ruins of the burned out clubhouse have been removed and
only the foundation remains. But they have a new office above
the ice machines, and lockers at the top of the ramp from the
floating pier, and have built an open-air bar/restaurant near
the pool at the top of the bluff. The club has apparently solved
its dispute with the government, and now has a long term agreement
that guarantees them the right to the moorings and the pier.
The bar/restaurant and pool area are leased month-to-month, but
it seems to be of little concern to them. The club staff are
Some of the most interesting news from Panama is that the old
railroad, which has been inoperable for years, is being completely
rebuilt. The work is being done by a U.S. company that also has
the contract to operate and maintain it. It is scheduled to reopen
in August of this year. By the way, do you know what they use
to keep the club's moorings in place? Used railroad car wheels.
Those who thrive on pizza and booze will find Panama to their
liking. Tambuffelli, a Panamanian chain that makes excellent
and reasonably-priced pizzas, has opened up nearby, and they
deliver to the club. And duty-free liquor can be purchased from
the Felipe Motta Co. in the Pattilla district of Panama City.
The sticker shock for booze is a pleasant one, as a 0.75 liter
bottle of Stolichnaya vodka sells for less than $4 U.S. The Pattilla
district is close to some of the more affluent areas of Panama
City, and has nice shops, stores and homes. The excellent Casa
de Came supermarket is in this same district.
After we complete some repairs and projects, we'll head south
to Colombia, where we'll make some stops. We'll later have the
boat hauled in Salinas, Ecuador, where we'll renew some old friendships.
Easter Island and Puerto Montt, Chile, will be our subsequent
destinations. Puerto Montt is at the northern end of the fjord
section of Chile, and we want to explore this area - which extends
as far south as Cape Horn - for as much as a year.
- george and anita 5/25/01
Acadia - 40 Pilothouse
Charles & Pat Broussard
Eight Years Later
We and Acadia started our big cruise with the '93 Ha-Ha group,
having previously made three-month cruises as far south as Z-town
in '88 and '89. The '93 Ha-Ha was a fun and friendly group, and
we continued to meet members at the various anchorages over the
years. There was always a party sailing in company with 'fleet
entertainer' Ray Jason. We recently heard from Al and Barbara
of Windscape. Just the two of them sailed to Europe and
are now in Barcelona - where we hope to visit them this summer.
During their travels, they'd met up with John and Sharon aboard
Dionysis. When we dropped the hook in St. Lucia, Dionysis
was right next to us - we hadn't crossed paths in four years!
The lasting friendships we made during our cruising are too numerous
To recap our trip, we left in '93 and visited Mexico and all
the Central American countries. From Panama we sailed to St.
Petersburg, Florida. The next season we sailed through the Bahamas,
the Dominican Republic and the entire Caribbean chain down to
Trinidad, then back to Florida. We spent at least six months
in each country, exploring all the backroads and really getting
to know the people. Taking Spanish classes in each country was
Chuck's way of keeping busy when Pat had to return home for family
reasons. In our eight years of cruising from San Francisco to
the East Coast, our favorite country was Guatamala. We spent
nine months on the Rio Dulce, which allowed us to travel inland
extensively. We found the city of Antigua to be a great place
for language school.
We have a couple of suggestions that others might find useful.
In our experience, cruising six to nine months a year worked
out fine. In addition, keeping our home in the Bay Area also
proved to be wise. The appreciation in value was great, of course,
but having a small place to come home to makes for a happier
Acadia recently arrived back in the Bay Area by truck
from Florida. After many years and adventures, we are preparing
her for sale. She's a roomy and comfortable 40-footer with a
pilothouse, and has all the bells and whistles. Anyone interested
should see the Classy Classifieds for her in the July
issue. We have also sold our house in Los Altos and moved to
Carmel Valley. We're not done with boats, however, as we're having
a Dutch barge built in England to cruise the European waterway
- charles and pat broussard
Readers - When Charles and Pat refer
to the Baja Ha-Ha, we think they really mean the informal 'Some
Like It Hot Rally', as we didn't start the Ha-Ha until '94. The
'Some Like It Hot' was a start-and-finish-anytime event without
any real organization. Actually, it still exists in spirit, as
each member of the Ha-Ha also gets a Some Like It Hot T-shirt.
II - Cal 39
Roger Bohl & Angela Konig
The island of Tobago - part of the nation of Trinidad and Tobago
- is a lovely, hidden jewel in the southeastern Caribbean. About
21 miles long and seven miles wide, it has a population of only
47,000. Unlike many of the islands formerly controlled by the
British, it's relatively prosperous. As such, the majority of
locals live in modest comfort and are very friendly to tourists.
Most visitors fly in, a few arrive on cruise ships, and even
fewer arrive on 'yachts' - to use the British term for any boat
with a sail. While Trinidad - located not far to the south -
has oil and is relatively industrialized, Tobago earns most of
its money from relatively low-scale tourism.
Tobago has not promoted itself as relentlessly or successfully
as some other Caribbean islands, so it's not overrun with tourists
and the prices remain reasonable. Furthermore, as it lies to
the east - and therefore to windward - of the crescent-shaped
line of Eastern Caribbean islands, it is much less visited by
cruisers 'doing the islands'. While it takes the effort of upwind
and upcurrent sailing to get to Tobago, there are many rewards
- one of them being that no matter if your next stop is Grenada
to the north or Trinidad to the south - it will be off the wind.
Tobago is particularly attractive to nature lovers. For one thing,
it has - thanks to once being connected to South America - some
210 species of nesting birds, many of them very brightly colored
and unafraid of humans. It also has rain forests and clear, unpolluted
waters - except when there is a heavy outflow from South America's
Tobago's infrastructure - telephone, electricity, water, sewage,
and transportation - is good and Internet cafes abound. The one
at Crown Point is in a laundromat, and a church in Charlotteville
allows the use of one of their many computers in return for a
Scarborough, located on the southern coast, is the center of
the island's commercial activity. It has a large marketplace,
bus terminal and countless little shops. The tourist center is
about 10 miles to the west at Crown Point on the southwest corner
of the island - although there are guest facilities dotted around
the island's entire coast.
Most visiting yachts anchor at Store Bay, which is well-protected.
Skippers then take a 35-cent bus to Scarborough to check in.
It's possible to take a dinghy to the beach - be sure to lock
it to something - unless the surf is too daunting. If the surf
is too big, you can dinghy in behind the breakwater and beach
at the high-end Coco Reef Hotel. This will cost you $10/day -
unless you're willing to pop for the $50/person dinner. For what
it's worth, rooms at the Coco Reef start at $220/night during
the season. This is a bargain - believe it or not - compared
to similar hotels in the Caribbean.
Just north of Crown Point is Buccoo Reef, an ecologically protected
area with calm waters inside the large reef. Just offshore of
the reef - and thanks to the reef - is the island's best anchorage.
It does not, however, offer any protection from the wind. There
is a dinghy dock ashore. Buccoo Reef is one of the few beaches
that charges admission: $1/day. They have watersports operations,
beach chair rentals, toilet facilities and several food stands.
One of the favorite treats is 'Bake On Shark', which is lightly
fried shark in a freshly baked bun with a variety of condiments.
It's a favorite 'fast food' in Trinidad and Tobago, and it's
delicious. There are many beachgoers - local and tourists from
hotels without beaches - on weekends, but it's pretty empty during
the week. There are many other clean public beaches on Tobago,
almost all of them free and with decent toilet facilities.
The northwest of Tobago has many other attractive beaches protected
from the prevailing easterly trades. Unfortunately, these beaches
are open to the prevailing northeast swell, so it can be rolly.
Dinghy docks are available, but dinks need to be stern-anchored
because of the swell and three-foot tidal range.
At the end of the road in the northwest corner is Charlotteville,
located on Man 'O War Bay. It's a delightful but sleepy village
with several small restaurants. Sharon's, the best of them, was
allegedly torched by a jealous local. While Sharon's restaurant
is being rebuilt, she is serving complete dinners on the patio
of her nearby home for just $7 U.S. The dinner includes callaloo,
a wonderful local green that can be made into a puree or a soup.
You can also order shrimp, but it costs a little more. Tobago
fishermen are active, so you can buy what you want before the
lot gets shipped off to restaurants in the States. While we were
here, we saw fishermen - aided by tourists - pulling in a net
from the water's edge. It must have held a ton of small jacks,
which are used for bait or enjoyed fried or smoked.
Man O' War Bay is surrounded on three sides by high ridges, tempering
the trade winds and providing a scenic backdrop for the village.
From February into the dry season, some of the trees turn bright
orange, making the hills look like New Hampshire in the fall.
A little further on is Speyside, another fishing village that
offers the only well-protected bay on the southeast side of the
Diving is popular on Tobago, which some claim has the best in
the Caribbean. There are many excellent sites and much to see.
A one-tank dive is usually $35, while two-tank dives are $70.
The snorkeling is also wonderful and it's free. There's an excellent
road across the island, from which you can hike up to the rain
forest. Surprisingly, most of Tobago's visitors - be it by land
or boat - are from countries other than the United States. Of
the 13 boats anchored at Charlotteville, for example, ours was
the only U.S. flag vessel. Tobago is a jewel. Visit her before
everyone else discovers her.
- roger & angela 4/20/01
Readers - One of the best times to visit
Tobago is the middle of May during Agnostura Sailing Week. It's
simple and lighthearted, like Antigua Sailing Week was 25 years
ago. By the way, to say that Tobago used to be controlled by
the British is true, but incomplete. Control of Tobago changed
hands between 24 and 31 times - it depends on who is counting
- among the Dutch, French, British and even the Courlanders.
You know who the Courlanders were, don't you?
Steve Salmon and Tina Olton, formerly of Berkeley and now of
El Sobrante, have returned home after a seven year, nine month
circumnavigation aboard their second Valiant 40, Another Horizon.
The couple, who had done a warm-up cruise to the South Pacific
in 1990, covered 45,000 miles, visited 61 countries, and called
on 480 ports. They frequently enjoyed getting off the beaten
track, going up the Black Sea to Odessa, for example, and going
up the Adriatic to Slovenia. Both times they rarely saw another
cruising boat. In all this time, the worst weather they had at
sea was 40 to 45 knots. It should be noted that Steve worked
as the fleet weather forecaster almost everywhere they went,
and they sat out much worse weather in port. Tina says everywhere
they visited had something great about it, while Steve preferred
islands such as Tonga, Moorea and Palmyra in the South Pacific.
Their best pure sailing was the normal 30 knots of wind from
aft while heading north on the flat waters inside Australia's
Great Barrier Reef. We'll have more on Steve and Tina's circumnavigation
in a future issue.
"Bonjour," write our friends Georges and Thily of the
custom built 46-foot catamaran Tkoko Tkoko. "We left
St. Barth on July 3, and are in Panama ready to transit the Canal.
We hope to be in Polynesia by the end of July." The Wanderer
got to know Georges, his Vietnamese wife Thily, and their two
sons, during a series of New Year's vacations at St. Barth in
the Eastern Caribbean. The couple operated a profitable day charter
business there with the 46-footer Georges had built in France.
A unique feature of the boat is that the entire back of the salon
slides down beneath the cockpit sole! At one time the couple
hoped to sell their boat and business in order to build a 60-foot
cat, but have decided to continue on with Tkoko Tkoko
- a light cat that can really fly! And no, we don't know what
the name means.
Capt. Norm Goldie of San Blas - about 80 miles north of Puerto
Vallarta - has good news to report from Mexico. First, the San
Blas Port Captain who had caused so much trouble by requiring
almost everyone to use a service to check in, has been removed.
"He had the shortest stay here of any port captain,"
Goldie reports. So once again the welcome mat is out at San Blas
and nearby Matenchen Bay, which cruisers had been avoiding because
of problems with the port captain. The other good news. "The
surf is awesome!" That comes as no surprise, as it's hurricane
"Fourteen months after our Morgan 45 Painkiller hit
something in the Caribbean and slipped beneath the waves,"
writes Ron Landmann, "Jane and I closed the deal on a Catalina
42 we found in Ft. Lauderdale. We have renamed the boat The
Usual Suspects. The 42 has a mast height of 61 feet,
which is good as the Intracoastal Waterway has bridges with 65-feet
We suppose having a boat sink from beneath you makes a big impression.
For the first passage with their new boat, the Landmann's carried
two rigid bottom inflatables, two 406 EPIRBs, four Type 1 offshore
lifejackets, three cell phones, two 1.5 gallon water jugs, a
flare gun kit, and a hand-held radio and hand-held GPS that were
with Ron when he boarded his liferaft on April 30, 2000.
Tony Clark, who for many years operated the modified Ocean 71
Second Life as one of the most active daycharter boats
on San Francisco Bay, reports he's leaving for the Caribbean
this month. He'll start by cruising the coast of California with
his kids. Then it's on to the Caribbean "until I run out
of money." The Bay won't seem the same without Second Life,
which was out sailing most summer nights under jib and mizzen.
"We were at anchor on the north side of Isla Coronado in
the Sea of Cortez," report Les and Diane of the San Francisco-based
Albin 42 Gemini, "when we were approached by a panga
with 'Parque Nacional/Bahia de Loreto' painted on the sides.
Aboard were four very polite people, one of whom was Benito Bermudez
Almada, Director of the park. He asked us to pay 53 pesos - about
$6 U.S. - for five days in the park. We told him that we were
on our way north and would be leaving, but finally paid the money.
Another boat in the anchorage had paid 53 pesos per person for
one day! Yet another paid 53 pesos per person for an undetermined
time. We brought the matter up on the net, and somebody said
that the fees are under review in Mexico City, and nobody needs
to pay them yet. Benito as much as said this was the case, but
still, in a low-key way, wanted the money. He writes your boat
name down on a sheet of paper and gives you a receipt with the
date written on it. We think he may be jumping the gun, but the
fees are in the works. On the very positive side, we and the
crews of Dreamweaver and Reason swam with whalesharks
that were longer than our boat! We also worked at a Turtle farm
in Bahia de Los Angeles to help different studies. The seafood
- turtles excluded - has been excellent."
"We just delivered a 44-ft boat from La Paz to San Diego
with the owner - only he got off at Turtle Bay when the transmission
broke," report Paul and Allison Petraitis of the Seattle-based
CT-41 PH Espresso. "Two weeks later we were at the
Customs Dock in San Diego, and he was waiting for us. I guess
he likes his boat again. We're now in L.A. for a two week infusion
of money and visits with the family. After that, we'll head back
down to the Sea of Cortez and serious heat to get our boat out
of Marina de Don Jose - which is a very nice marina alternative
in the La Paz area. At that point, we'll resume a summer of cruising,
hunting and gathering, and lots of good stories and cold cervezas
with our friends - who we already miss so much!"
"Things are great down here in the Sea of Cortez,"
reports Mike Miller of the Ventura-based Vanguard 32 Uhuru.
"Those of us in Conception Bay, however, did get hit with
40 knots from a mini-chubasco on July 3. Unfortunately, a couple
of us were in the exposed southern anchorage at Playa Santispac,
where the fetch from the length of the bay resulted in four to
five-foot waves. As a result, a 45-foot custom ketch that had
been built in Nova Scots in '73 went aground and took on lots
of water. Many folks came to the aid of the Aussie chap, who
two weeks before had just swapped pink slips even up for his
'79 motorhome. He hadn't even gotten a chance to read the Art
of Anchoring book that came floating out of the pilothouse. He
says he just wants to get the boat floating again so she can
be used as a locals party boat around the bay. Other than that,
I'm presently sweating my butt off here in Conception, where
it's hot, hot, hot! Of course, there's no waves for surfing,
but I have been catching a lot of different kinds of fish. In
a few weeks I'll be leaving my boat here to return to the States
for visits with friends and to reprovision. At the end of October,
I'll be doing the Ha-Ha again, but this time with Bob and Bonnie
aboard their Santa Cruz 52 Impulse."
"This is our fourth summer in the Med with our F/P 39 catamaran,"
write David Law and Bonnie Carleton of Icarus. "We
keep thinking we ought to move on, but each year we put it off.
David and I bought Ickie in the South of France in '97,
and decided to get out of the Silicon Valley madness in '98.
So we sold our house in Woodside and bought one in Santa Fe.
We now spend our winters in Santa Fe, where we ski all season.
Come summer, we rent the house out and spend our time on the
boat. It's true that the sailing is terrible in the Med, but
we love the depth of the history and culture. We also enjoy the
food and the people, and the diverse sailing community. During
the past four winters, we've left the boat in Gib, Palma de Mallorca
twice, and last year in Marmaris, Turkey. We recently did the
Eastern Med Cruising Rally, and will have a report for you next
month. Every time we return to the Med, we see more cats of every
flavor. There are lots of F/Ps, Lagoons, Nautitechs and Catanas.
We recently talked to a guy with a 60-ft one-off designed by
Lock Crowther. She was the most beautiful cat we've ever seen
- and he singlehands it!"
Philo Hayward of Northern California - who sailed the Cal 36
Cherokee Spirit in the last Ha-Ha - has opened Philo's
Restaurant, Bar and Music Studio in La Cruz, a popular winter
cruisers' hangout in Mexico's Banderas Bay. In addition to food,
drinks, music and dancing, Philo's establishment offers a free
community school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It starts in the
morning with Hatha Yoga, then different levels of Spanish, music
classes, and later English classes for the locals. The instructors
are volunteers and the classes are free. "I'm really looking
forward to the return of the fleet in November," said Philo.
"I am happy to inform you," writes Terrance O'Rourke
from Puerto Vallarta, "that we have a site for the Banderas
Bay Regatta: www.banderasbayregatta.com.
Keep in mind that next year's event will be a little early -
March 14-17 - to avoid a conflict with Easter." If anyone
is looking for a fun cruisers regatta in the absolute ideal setting,
bring your boat or your body to Paradise Village Marina for the
Banderas Bay event. Northern California sailors should be delighted
to learn that Alaska Airlines now offers direct service from
San Francisco to Puerto Vallarta - and Z-town, too. As next year's
Banderas Bay Regatta will be the 10th, it's supposed to be the
biggest and best ever.
To each their own. Earlier in Cruise Notes, Steve Salmon
said that Palmyra is one of the favorite stops in his eight years
or so of cruising. But Blair and Joan Grinols of the 45-ft Capricorn
Cat didn't particularly like the atoll. "The folks who
run the island for the Nature Conservancy - we knew them from
Mexico - are great, but there are limits on where visitors can
go, there aren't really any good beaches, and it's difficult
to get to decent snorkeling." The Grinols stop at Palmyra
wasn't made better by the fact that Blair could have lost his
leg to infection as the result of a cut caused by the coral.
Fortunately, he was able to fly back to Honolulu with the Nature
Conservancy plane to get medical treatment. He later used the
plane to deliver some boat parts, as they had rigging problems
on their way to Hawaii and had to return to Palmyra. After having
to fix more stuff in Honolulu, the couple sailed beneath the
Pacific High to make it home to Vallejo in 13 days. They'd lost
one sail drive to polypro line, then blew a spinnaker in San
Pablo Bay, just a few miles from home at the Napa Valley Marina.
Having covered 6,500 open ocean miles since April, Capricorn
Cat will go on the hard for the rest of the summer, then
return to Mexico and the Banderas Bay Regatta for at least her
fifth year in a row.
"We are two Bay Area sailors currently at anchor in Tonga,"
report skipper Tony Johnson and Terry Shrode of the Ericson 39
Maverick. "We left in March of this year for a planned
circumnavigation. By the way, the March issue of Latitude
is the last one we've seen - and we miss you guys! There are
actually fewer American's out here than we expected - although
we're a little ahead of the pack. We left wonderful little Niue
about 0200 last Monday morning, and after studying the weatherfax,
expected light wind and planned on 2.5 days - plus a very short
one for the international date line - to make the 225 miles.
Unfortunately, the wind soon built to 25 knots, so we went fast
and ended up having to stand-off for 12 hours - which was pretty
ugly. When we got into the harbor at Neiafu, Tonga, we found
quite a boating scene. We checked a weather warning posted at
the local yachtie hangout, which said it was blowing 25 knots
and the seas were rough. Now we know. I may have occasion to
expand on this at some other time, but for now let's just say
if you can't find us on bitwrangler website, dial up a weatherfax
of the South Pacific, and if there's a low between 10° and
20° south, we'll be under it!" Tony and Terry have an
interesting website with a couple of beautiful color photographs.
Check it out at www.ussmaverick.net.
"We want to be sure all Latitude readers are aware
of the new Bocas Yacht Club and Marina here in Bocas del Toro
on the Caribbean side of Panama," writes Bruno Collet, the
manager and co-owner. "Our world-class facility is still
under construction, but 85 slips are currently in place and we're
accepting yachts from 20 to 100 feet. We have 30 and 50-amp juice
as well as water to all the floating concrete slips, and the
bath house and laundry will be operational by the time this gets
to print. Bocas del Toro is located below the hurricane belt
at 09º20'12N, 82º14'50W. Our marina is accessible via
the only lighted, buoyed ship channel in the western Caribbean.
The region offers great cruising, is well-protected from the
open ocean, and the Bocas del Toro archipelago - known as the
'Galapagos of the Caribbean' - is considered by many to be the
best kept secret in the Caribbean basin. The friendly little
town of Bocas has an airport with three daily flights to Panama
City, restaurants, Internet cafes, and a lot more. Anyone looking
for information can call 507-616-6000, fax 507-757-9801, or ."
Roger Young of Ballerina, currently at latitude 38°
South at Tauranga, New Zealand, forwarded a report that Phillipe
Boutroux, a 33-year-old Frenchman, died in early July after the
boat he was delivering sank in very rough weather. Boutroux's
body was found some 100 miles southwest of Norfolk Island with
an EPIRB attached to his lifejacket. Although near the tropics,
the water is actually quite cold in July. Boutroux was delivering
the ketch Chemalion from Auckland to her new owner in
Noumea, New Caledonia, when she apparently sank quickly as the
result of some catastrophic failure.
"Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad, is a truly 'moving target',"
report Jack and Patricia Tyler of the St. Pete, Florida-based
Pearson 424 Whoosh. "Hundreds of yachties from all
over the world show up here to dodge the summer hurricane season
- as you folks at Latitude know. That plus the Trinis
and their colorful and diverse culture is what makes this place
special. But it seems clear to us that there are too few skills
being chased by too many yachties. Boat 'fix up' stories are
almost the coin of the realm down here. In addition, skilled
folks who make a shop's name tend to move around and/or start
their own businesses, so a yard that may have a top top reputation
one year - for example, Latitude's highly-touted Powerboats
Ltd. - may not look so great the next. For example, we've seen
tree stumps being used as bow supports on the hard. All of this
being said, Trinidad is both unique and special. Except for a
brief stateside visit to see our son get his Navy Wings, we're
looking forward to spending a good deal more time here. By the
way, when we shoved off from the East Coast over a year ago,
the only subscription we kept of any kind was to Latitude.
Each and very issue is an absolute treat, and we hope the whole
crew there realizes what a great job they do every month. Best
wishes from Whoosh!"
We don't recall touting any yard in particular in Trinidad because,
as you point out, a yard is only as good as their current group
of workers. However, we have and will continue to recommend Don
Stollmeyer, who owns Powerboats, Ltd. He was the one who started
the industry in Trinidad, and he's a guy whose word counts for
something with us. As for using tree stumps for bow supports,
when we hauled Big O there in the early '90s, that was
high tech. It was subsequent to our visit that Trinidad exploded
as a place to store boats and have work done during the hurricane
season. Some of the yards have become far more sophisticated
- and expensive.
Happy cruising! Don't forget to write!