November, 2004

With reports this month from Moonshadow, which has finally moved on to Australia; from War Baby, Ted Turner's old boat on a transatlantic passage; from Misty on a second season in British Columbia and Alaska; from Icon on a visit to Midway Islands; from Janika on a short trip in the North Sea; from Ricka II on the painless way back to the Pacific Northwest from New Australia; and Cruise Notes.

Moonshadow - Deerfoot 62
George Backhus
Moving On From New Zealand

After several years of basing out of New Zealand, I started on the rest of my circumnavigation by entering the Auckland to Noumea Race in early June. We covered the 988-mile course to New Caledonia at an average speed of eight knots, which gave us second in the Cruising Division. Upon arrival, our 'godfamily' hopped aboard with customs forms, fresh baked baguettes, pate, brie, fruits, and some local beer. We later had an excellent BBQ dinner on the deck, surrounded by high-rise apartments, overlooking the marina. Located halfway between Fiji and Australia, New Caledonia is sometimes called 'France's best-kept secret'.

In late June, my sailing mates Ellen McArthur - not to be confused with Brit racing ace Ellen MacArthur - and Neil Spencer flew up from Auckland to join me for the 800-mile trip across the Coral Sea to Brisbane, Australia. I was taking a nap on the first day when I heard the others yelling. I popped up on deck to the sound of the fishing reel unwinding at a fast pace. After a while, we managed to land a 4.5-ft mahi that weighed in at 50 pounds. By that evening, the sailing conditions turned excellent, and on the second day we were near the Tropic of Capricorn and the weather was getting noticeably warmer. From then on, we didn't need any more than T-shirts and shorts at night.

After a couple of days of sweet sailing, we found ourselves having to motor in the middle of a big fat high. Fortunately, Moonshadow has a big engine and lots of dinosaur juice, so we covered another 200 miles in 24 hours. As we motored, our biggest excitement was when a Gulfstream biz jet passed us at deck level a few boat-lengths off our port bow. Speaking in a thick French accent, the pilot asked if all was well and where we were headed.

One of the unique pleasures of ocean passaging are the ever-changing skies. On our last morning at sea, I got to watch a full moon set during a gorgeous sunrise! A short time later, we saw Moreton Island, which meant that we'd soon be at mainland Australia - and thankfully be able to turn the darn engine off! When we reached the Australian coast, it was a beautifully warm midwinter Saturday, the temperature was in the high '70s, the skies were clear, and the seas were flat. The Aussies were out in force, sailing, fishing, boating, and playing on the huge expanse of Moreton Island's white sand beach.

We zigged and zagged our way through the shallow, sandy stretches of Moreton Bay, making our way 25 miles to Scarborough, our port of entry. With the tide at nearly full ebb, the last stretch into the marina had a pretty high 'pucker' factor, as we only had inches under the keel. Although we kicked up a lot of silt, we managed to make it to the quarantine dock without touching the bottom. The silence was blessed when we finally shut the diesel down.

Within several minutes, two polite and efficient custom and immigration officials came aboard. We filled out all the various papers and answered all their many questions. Quarantine showed up two hours later, which gave us an opportunity to clean the boat up a bit and have a post-voyage bevvie. We were able to keep most of our food except the fresh veggies, eggs, and seeds. We were then granted pratique, and just after sunset moved to a berth.

Although we got a berth in a nice marina, we ended up next to the local fishing boats, which smelled pretty ripe and attracted flocks of birds looking for leftovers. Within two days, the combination of fallout from the burning canefields, dust from the adjacent boatyard, and the birds using my boat's deck for target practice combined to make Moonshadow look like something from the opening scene of Captain Ron. So we decided to head 40 miles north to the beach resort town of Mooloolaba, touted by many cruisers as being the best place on the Sunshine Coast. I'll have more to report later.

- george 10/4/04

War Baby - S&S 62
Leif Vasstrom
Atlantic Crossing
(Northern California)

It was my privilege to be able to sail a modern classic yacht, the S&S-designed 62-ft War Baby, most of the way across the Atlantic this summer. Built of aluminum by Palmer-Johnson for racing on Lake Michigan 30 years ago, she was originally named Dora after the first owner's wife. However, the sloop became most famous as Tenacious when she was campaigned by the flamboyant Ted Turner. She is best known for having won the tragic Fastnet Race of '79, in which 15 lives were lost. "What storm?" Turner is alleged to have replied to inquisitive reporters upon reaching shore. The S&S design was later bought by her current owner, Warren Brown of Bermuda, who had finished the tragic Fastnet Race aboard American Eagle, an open cockpit 12 Meter!

During his 20 years of ownership, Brown has sailed War Baby 200,000 miles, from as close as you can get to the North Pole to as close as you can get to the South Pole. In so doing, he has won more cruising awards from the New York YC and the Cruising Club of America than one can count. And last summer, War Baby was the big winner in the Grimaldi Cup and the Prada Cup, two of the biggest races for classic yachts in Europe.

Eoin O'Sullivan, War Baby's skipper, asked me to help deliver her from France to Bermuda via Spain, Gibraltar, and the Azores. The goal was to reach Bermuda in time to meet the arriving Newport to Bermuda Race fleet, then continue on to Newport, Rhode Island, to participate in the 75th year jubilee of Sparkman & Stephens. "Quite a vacation," I thought to myself. Unfortunately, because of various delays I wasn't able to join the boat until Gib on May 25.

War Baby's crew for the 3,000 or so mile crossing consisted of the skipper, Irishman Eoin O'Sullivan; Americans Marvin Reynolds of Boston and Lisa Massoon of Annapolis, both of whom were interested in learning more about offshore sailing; English couple John and Alison Bowker; French Laser sailor Pierre-Marie Quincy; and Canadian Jill Baty, a friend of Warren Brown's who often resides in the Bay Area and who has crossed the Atlantic many times. Will Noonan, grandson of the first owner, came along as far as the Azores to make a movie about the boat.

Having spent my formative years sailing dinghies all over Europe, I moved to the Bay Area in '78 and started crewing on Etchells. More recently, I've crewed on Swans. Having spent 20 years chasing fortunes in downtown San Francisco, I figured an Atlantic crossing would bring me right back where I belonged - and I think it did the trick.

Sailing the Atlantic aboard War Baby is serious business, as she displaces 36 tons, has an 86-ft mast, and is equipped with running backs, coffee grinders, and hydraulics. She's legendary for her ability to sail upwind, and tracks like an arrow, even in big seas. But if you screw up just one adjustment, she slows down a disproportionate amount.

It takes teamwork not to screw up a tack when it's blowing 35 knots at 3 a.m. on War Baby. Because she can be dangerous in such conditions, one of the fundamental things I learned on the trip - and plan to apply when I sail my Beneteau 51 Solar Planet in the Ha-Ha this year - is that you have to doublecheck everything when you come up on deck, especially at night. If you don't, the less-experienced crewmembers can easily make mistakes that can result in injuries or damage to the boat. Of course, even experienced sailors can make mistakes. Skipper O'Sullivan applied a firm hand early on to set the tone of what was expected of everyone.

We had some of the heaviest seas - to 12 feet on top of long swells - on the first leg from Gibraltar to the Azores. With four reefs in the main and showing just a tiny jib, we still did eight knots while pointing very high into as much as 35 knots of wind. While 'sleeping' during those first couple of days, we spent more time in mid-air than on our bunks. After a while, we didn't even notice it when we were slammed back down on our bunks. We saw lots of dolphins along the way - and even tied a plank above the bow to better view them. And one day we had several whales swim beside us for a time.

Just under 1,200 miles out of Gibraltar, we made landfall at Ponta Delgada, San Miguel, a modern city that is the largest in the Azores. Because the sails needed repair, we got time to do some touring. The Azores are beautiful - almost manicured - and the people are friendly. The food and wine were inexpensive, even with the prices in euros. For the first several days we were rafted alongside a one-time small ferry that had been converted into a whale-watching boat by a Portuguese fisherman who had previously lived in Stonington, Connecticut. When he moved back home to the Azores, the European Union paid him $700,000 to sink his boat! Why? Because of the same problem they have in New England - too many boats and not enough fish. With the proceeds, he was able to buy a whale-watching boat - and still have lots of money left in his pocket. All in all, Ponta Delgada was a wonderful place to stop one-third of the way across the Atlantic.

We started to leave for Bermuda on June 6, but didn't get far. Halfway through the harbor and moving against a 15-knot breeze, we lost power from the engine. So there we were, doing four knots with a 36-ton boat and headed toward a brand new Swan 70! We got all the fenders out to make as soft a landing as possible. Fortunately, the harbormaster, having heard the commotion, managed to get a line to our stern before there was impact. The problem turned out to be air leaking into one of the fuel filters.

Once at sea, we consulted with the Atlantic's best weatherman, Herb Hilgenberg, who has helped countless sailors with weather forecasts over the years. He deserves to be knighted. We also had excellent email capability using SailMail over the SSB, and voice communication over the Iridium satphone as needed. The weather we were looking for - and had decent reason to expect - was a good southwesterly. But no matter how hard we prayed, talked to Herb, or went looking for it, we didn't get it. As it turned out, our passage to Bermuda would be almost entirely upwind.

There was a period of no wind for four days, during which time we motored - and took a break to swim in the blue water of the Atlantic. And my god was it spectacularly blue! We also had a few run ins with squalls, one of which ripped our main, which was double reefed, in two. We also had wonderful sailing for a week - until Herb told us to sail on a course that would take us 300 miles south to avoid a storm with 40-knot winds. As we headed away from the gale, we had to play cat and mouse with two fronts. I swear, in one of them the water went straight up, not down.

The next morning we saw something very disturbing - several dolphins slowly drowning because they'd become entangled in a drift net. We thought about trying to help them, but we were under power and the risk of getting the net caught around our prop and rudder was just too great. It was very unfortunate that the dolphins had gotten trapped and that we weren't able to save them.

The weather was erratic. Two days later the wind disappeared completely. The next day the wind returned - and we sailed into a downpour such as I thought only existed in the movies! There was no point in wearing foul weather gear, as the drops were as big as the grapes in Napa and went straight through the material. At least it was good for freshwater showers and to get some water in the tanks.

Three days out of Bermuda, Herb promised us that if we got south we could ride a nice curve of wind right into Bermuda. And that's what we got, 15 knots for three days of enjoyable sailing.

After the more than 2,000-mile passage, we were late in meeting the Newport to Bermuda fleet, but we were in time to make the parties. We moored stern-to at the dock of the Royal Bermuda YC and began drinking Dark & Stormies, the signature drink of Bermuda. It was the first time War Baby had been back to her home country in 10 years.

War Baby continued on to Newport on July 1 without me because I had to get back to San Francisco so I could fly back to Scandinavia for one more sail in the Gulf of Finland before the end of summer. After that, I had to finish getting my boat ready for the Ha-Ha.

Warren Brown, by the way, is a big supporter of the 112-ft Bermudan sail training schooner that is being built in Rockport, Maine, for the youth of Bermuda. Check her out at

- leif 10/05/04

Misty - Aries 32
Bob & Jane Van Blaricom
British Columbia & Alaska Cruising

Latitude readers may recall that I sailed Misty to the north end of Vancouver Island in the spring of 2003 on a cold and sometimes stormy trip with a genial - and geriatric - crew of three. In mid-June of that year, my wife Jane and our good friend Carl Siepel, who would be along for the first month, started north from Port Hardy, B.C. with the general plan of sailing as far north as the Ketchikan area on a three-month cruise.

The weather was unseasonably good when we departed to cross Queen Charlotte Strait. Northbound cruisers, especially those with motoryachts, often spend a lot of time fretting about this passage, but for sailors it is frequently the only lively sail on a trip to Alaska. We stopped at a snug anchorage in the Walker Islands about halfway across, and later at misnamed Fury Cove opposite the south end of Calvert Island. From the north end of Calvert Island, we exited Pruth Harbor, which nearly bisects the large island, crossed Hakai Passage, and entered the southeastern portion of Queens Sound. For years a friend in Seattle had been telling me about the joys of Queens Sound, which is between Calvert Island and Bella Bella but to seaward of the normal 'Inside Passage'. We explored only a few channels and anchorages in this fascinating and seldom-visited area, but vowed to do further cruising in the area on our return trip.

Continuing up the B.C. Channel, we visited many delightful anchorages and made a brief stop at the 'first nation' (aka Indian) villages of Bella Bella and Klemtu. Contrary to the comments of some cruisers, we found the folks at both these places to be friendly and helpful - although somewhat reticent. At Klemtu, an elder proudly showed us their handsome new long house, and another local generously gave us a replacement for our dead battery.

At this point, we made a jog to the west via Meyers Passage, a circuitous and shallow shortcut to the outer channels leading north. By this time the weather had settled into a prolonged rainy spell, but with the aid of our little blue tarp and our diesel cabin heater, we managed to enjoy our poking about in this endlessly interesting area. In Dunn Passage, an extraordinarily intricate nest of wee islets, Carl almost completely lost his way while rowing about on a rainy afternoon.

At Prince Rupert, we stopped at the Prince Rupert Yacht and Rowing Club for our first major pit-stop - groceries, water, ice, fuel, showers, and so forth - in nearly three weeks. Before crossing the loathed and feared Sixon Entrance, the only bit of exposed water on the trip north of Queen Charlotte Strait, we found such a delightful anchorage at Dunira Island that we stayed awhile to enjoy the solitude and scenery. Then it was on to Ketchikan - and the shock of seeing numerous huge cruise ships and hoards of tourists. It was here that Carl left us to return home, leaving Jane and me to explore Prince of Wales Island for the next month.

Prince of Wales Island is very large, with a circumference of about 300 miles. Because it is off the usual Alaskan cruise itinerary, it's seldom visited by cruising boats. In our month there, we saw only one sailboat, three motoryachts, plus a few fishing boats. It is a splendid cruising area with no end of scenic coves and anchorages, and a handful of quaint settlements. Except for our first foray into Kasaan Bay in rainy conditions, the weather had turned fine and remained that way for the rest of our Alaskan cruise.

Jane was convinced that we would never make it all the way around Prince of Wales Island in a month, so we hustled along up Clarence Strait to the top of the island, where we found the funky but delightful little floating village of Point Baker. For insight into this place, read Joe Upton's book Alaska Blues.

With time now in hand for more or less leisurely cruising, we started down the west side of the island, including a two-day trip down El Capitan Passage, a scenic and sometimes exciting waterway through a portion of the island, including a section called Dry Pass. Guess what that means? Highlights on the west side of Prince of Wales Island: a climb up 385 steps to tour a large limestone cave; a stop at the nice little town of Craig; meeting Mr. Marsden, a master totem carver, and his grandson at the Indian village of Hydaburg; having a whale surface about three feet off the bow of Misty; seeing three bears on the beach at Breezy Bay on Dall Island; and finding the perfect anchorage in the Barrier Island group. The south and east sides of the island also provided plenty of wonderful places to explore, and all too soon it was time to get back to Ketchikan and for Jane to fly home.

Our daughter Anne arrived after Jane left, and we wrapped up our 2003 Alaska season with a two-week cruise to Anan Bay to see the bears gorge themselves on salmon before hibernating. This was followed by a delightful circuit of Misty Fjords National Park (Behm Canal), with its spectacular Yosemite-like scenery. Finally, at the end of August, we took Misty to the little boatyard about six miles north of Ketchikan to be hauled out and put on the hard for the winter. She was propped up with oil drums - the Alaskan version of a jack-stand - and covered with a polytarp cover that I'd made at home. We left her without heaters or dehumidifiers, but with as much ventilation as we could, and hoped for the best.

This summer's Alaskan cruising began with my arrival in Ketchikan in the first week of June to get Misty back in the water. Jane was to arrive a couple of days later and, like the previous year, Carl Seipel was to join us for a month between Ketchikan and Port Hardy, B.C. Misty had survived the winter quite well, with only a small amount of mildew down below. The only damage appeared to be from ice lifting the varnish on the railcaps. The varnish itself was fine, it just wasn't attached to the wood anymore! Another job was to replace the gearbox with a new one I had sent up to the boatyard. By the time Jane and Carl arrived, we only needed to put groceries aboard and get underway.

We started off the 2004 season with another one-week cruise though Misty Fjords Park in weather that had suddenly turned fine. This area is a pleasure to see in any conditions, but in sunny conditions it was a wonder to behold. There are waterfalls everywhere, and 2,000-ft granite cliffs soared high above our boat. A few days later we checked into Canada at Prince Rupert, and were ready to return to the other channels of the northern British Columbia coast. While we were exploring the large sound in the center of Porcher Island, it began to rain and, like the previous year, pretty much continued to be rainy until we reached the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

It didn't rain all the time, of course, and we really enjoyed returning to some of the anchorages that we'd visited on the way north last year, as well as finding some new ones. We considered sailing out to Queen Charlotte Island, but were discouraged by the new bureaucracy now that it has become a park. There are requirements for reservations, daily visitor fees, boat fees, orientation lectures, and so forth. So we decided to save our time for a detailed cruise in Queens Sound, which we entered from the north via a skinny waterway named Rait Narrows. We found ourselves in solitude amongst a veritable maze of islands - not all of which are perfectly charted. We anchored at Potts Island at high tide, and the next morning, to our dismay, we saw a huge uncharted rock just a few feet behind our rudder! Piloting in this area was both challenging and very interesting, something that Jane particularly enjoyed while cruising these waters. Of special interest was Goose Island, the relatively large and uninhabited island that forms the outer barrier of Queens Sound. After a little more than a week, we made a short but rough offshore passage to Calvert Island, and returned to the 'Inside Passage' and Queen Charlotte Sound.

Carl left us at Port Hardy, and Jane and I proceeded down the inside of Vancouver Island in weather which remained mostly sunny for the rest of the trip. Starting with a delightful sail back across Queen Charlotte Strait to Blunden Harbor, we cruised among the channels between the lofty mountains in Broughton Sound, then on down to join the crowds of boats in Desolation Sound. Jane flew home from Sidney - she doesn't do oceans anymore - and I was joined by my down-the-coast crew Bob Vespa and Jack Hetherington, a pair of gray-haired salts from Marin.

We decided to make a bit of a cruise of the trip back, and it was a good thing, since the wind fixed in the south for the first 10 days. It didn't blow real hard, but it was enough to raise a nasty chop and get the current setting to the north. After Sidney, we made stops at Sooke, Neah Bay, La Push, Ilwaco - just inside the Columbia River - Newport, Brookings, and Crescent City. At last the wind got back into the northwest where it belongs, which allowed us to have a good nonstop sail to Drake's Bay and home. In all, it was two grand seasons in the Pacific Northwest.

- bob 10/02/04

Icon - Perry 65
Jimmy & Robin Roser
Midway Islands

Midway Islands, a fabulous sailing destination for boats based in Hawaii, has a number of attractions and an interesting history. It's hard to believe, but the Islands weren't even discovered until 1859. The laying of the TransPacific telephone cable brought the first residents in 1903, and for a dozen years starting in 1935 it was a refueling stop for transPacific flights. The U.S. defeat of the Japanese carrier fleet in the Battle of Midway in 1942 was a major turning point in World War II, and the islands served as a naval station until 1993. Today, it's a national wildlife refuge, and is home to the largest breeding colony of Laysan albatross in the world.

After provisioning in Kauai and visiting several atolls in the northern Hawaiian archipelago, five of us sailed to Midway. Although you can't buy provisions at Midway, you can dine there economically. For $32/day, you can get three delicious meals a day prepared by the Thai cooks who work for the Chugatz operation.

On the other hand, there's a $300 fee to anchor in Midway's safe harbor. This seemed extravagant - although we were elated to have a safe anchorage after having had to have been on high alert for a month while at other atolls. Oddly enough, the amenities and services on Midway are free: internet cafe, gyms and game rooms, bowling, a theater, and an incredible white sand beach that contrasts with a swimming pool-blue colored lagoon full of big fish. The Department of Fish & Wildlife management people on the islands were extremely hospitable to us, and invited us on fishing and snorkeling excursions.

However, the Homeland Security regulations - which are unenthusiastically administered by the Fish & Wildlife folks - need to be taken seriously. Apparently the government is worried that terrorists are going to blow up the runway at Midway. In any event, part of one's preparation for visiting Midway should be to make sure that the last port you visited belongs to the U.S. There was a rare visit by a cruise ship, which anchored outside the atoll, during our stay. The tourists only came ashore for five hours, yet Homeland Security flew in some staff to marshal the visit. They also took the opportunity to train Fish & Wildlife on how to clear visiting yachts through customs. We aboard Icon had to endure the results of this training.

Getting fuel at Midway can also be an expensive proposition. Because the fueling area is in a sea turtle nursery, boats needing fuel have to pay $500 to have an antipollution boom deployed. The cost seemed a little high, especially since Icon's tanks were nearly full, as we'd sailed the tradewinds most of the way to Midway. We were allowed to fill a few jerry jugs at the fuel farm - as long as we promised to refill our tanks outside the atoll. The fueling operation is run by Chugatz, not Fish & Wildlife. The only fuel available is JP5 jet fuel, and they sell it for $2.75/gallon.

While we found the Fish & Wildlife folks to be extremely accommodating, they report that they've had more than a few visits from rich and whiny yachties who were a real pain in the butt.

As an ocean sailor, I was spiritually touched by Midway, home of the albatross. I would love to return in the winter when the albatross breed. By the way, you don't have to have a yacht to visit Midway, as the Fish & Wildlife Department has a volunteer work program that involves things like habitat restoration. They will even fly you to Midway from Honolulu. You can research this more by .

- robin 10/4/04

Robin - We're not so certain that the animosity between the Fish & Wildlife folks and yachties at Midway can be blamed entirely on yachties. Indeed, based on a number of reports that we've gotten from yachties in the past several months, there is evidence to suggest that the real source of the problems have been the Fish & Wildlife managers and/or their policies. And if you've been around a little, you know that some of the worst power drunk dictatorial jerks are bureaucrats who have been given control over a remote location.

Idiotic Homeland Security issues aside, we'd like to hear one good reason why cruising boats - of which only a small number pass Midway each year - should not be warmly welcomed at Midway and allowed to anchor for free. Furthermore, we think the $500 fee for an antipollution boom is a bunch of nonsense.
Profligate and about 150 other cruising boats spent last winter anchored in what amounted to a turtle nursery in the Caribbean, and despite all the boats and extremely heavy dinghy traffic, the turtles were thriving as never before.

But it's Fish & Wildlife's attitude that we dislike the most. As we wrote the Fish & Wildlife manager, we'd love nothing better than to come across him and his broken-down car on a remote road in the middle of the desert. Sure, we'd be happy to give him a ride and a cool drink - for $500!

Janika - Nauticat 33 Motorsailer
Michael And Daniel Pollard
Four Days In The Netherlands

On August of this year, my 16-year-old son Daniel and I enjoyed a short sailing vacation in Germany. It all happened because our family hosted Julian Heick, an exchange student from Germany, for the 2003-'04 school year. We chose Julian in part because he and his family are active sailors. Our family currently has two trailer sailboats - a Lido 14 and a Vagabond. Julian turned out to be a good match, and was a wonderful addition to our family.

After Julian returned home, my son and I visited the Heick family, and for several days joined them for a short trip on the North Sea. We travelled along the northeast corner of the Netherlands aboard their family's Nauticat motorsailer Janika. There were four of us: Julian and his father Jurgen, and Daniel and myself.

We started by taking the train from the Heick home in Oldenburg to Norddeich, on the North Sea, where Janika was moored. After boarding, we motored on an outgoing tide for three hours to the island of Borkum, just east of the border between Germany and the Netherlands. We had dinner ashore on the yacht club patio, where we all drank beer and enjoyed excellent seafood. The legal drinking age is 16 in the Netherlands, so it was strange to watch my son indulge in a previously forbidden activity. But the night was warm, the beer was good, and Daniel handled it fine. The clean and convenient showers were one euro for five minutes - about the same as at Catalina - and very welcome. We spent the night onboard at Borkum.

Early the next morning we rode the ebb for the three-hour run to Schiermon-nikoog, one of the most popular West Frisian Islands in the Netherlands. We had all sails flying - until one hour into the trip when we bottomed out. It's very shallow in that area. With the Janika's 86-hp Ford-Lehman diesel, it didn't take long to power off the bar. We motored the rest of the way.

After carefully following the channel - marked by tree branches stuck in the sandy bottom - we made our way to the island, where Jurgen skillfully guided the heavy boat to a side-tie. He was directed to raft-up by a German-speaking Dutch harbormaster on a bicycle. The inside boat was a big new motor cruiser, but we never saw anybody aboard. Even though we were far north of the latitude of Seattle, it was a hot and sticky day, so lots of people went swimming. The showers at the funky shoreside facility weren't very good, and reminded me of an old circus wagon. But the cold water showers were free, and we made frequent use of them.

Schiermonnikoog is a lovely national park with beautiful beaches. There was a welcome rainstorm at 6 p.m., just as we about to walk to town for dinner. The closed-up boat became like a steambath as we waited for the rain to subside. Many other boatowners just put on bathing suits and went outside to wash down the topsides. Armed with umbrellas, we finally started to walk to town, stopping for a beer whenever the rain came down too hard.

A couple of hours later, the rain had stopped and we were enjoying dinner on the large patio of a great hotel. Ironically, there were only three items on the menu. Although it was 8 p.m., it would still be light for another two hours because of the high latitude. There was plenty of time to take in the active beach town social scene, with lots of young people out on holiday.

The next day was my birthday, and Julian was nice enough to present me with a cake with candles. My gifts were a boat T-shirt and a scrapbook of the trip. We had the usual German breakfast: coffee, juice, bread rolls, cheese, and sliced meats.

At noon we departed for the canals, locks, and bridges of the Freisland part of the Netherlands, and for the beautiful town of Dokkum, which is about 30 miles from the mainland. We had to tie up and cast free many times in the canals and locks, with Julian and Daniel handling the fenders, and myself on the stern line. Sometimes the bridgetenders on the maze of waterways would take a break for an hour. We'd tie up and swim in the pleasantly cool water, which was slightly salty. Other times we'd have to side-tie to wait our turn to transit a sluice gate.

We saw hundreds of boats of every imaginable type during our trip. The skutje is a specialty of this area. These are 40 to 60-footers, with a wide beam, shallow draft, and lee boards rather than keels. These spritsail barges are beauties that are perfectly designed for the shallow tidal waters.

We reached Dokkum, which would be our last and most special place to moor, at 4 p.m. The town is interlaced with canals that are lined with shops appealing to mariners as well as land travellers. There were restaurants, hotels, galleries, and taverns in fine old buildings that served food and drink outside on the warm evenings. Teenagers traversed the canals on small inflatables powered by small outboards, and were having a ball. We moored on a pretty canal in town under a towering red windmill. The cement banks with in-ground posts made tying up a cinch. The nearby showers were only 50 cents for five minutes, and these even had hot water.

The last leg of our journey, to the less attractive town of Leeuwarden, featured eight bridges in four hours. The method for paying to have the bridges open was fun. The bridgetender dangles a wooden shoe from a line tied to a 10-ft pole. The trick is to: 1) Use binoculars to read the sign that tells you the cost; 2) Have the correct change; and 3) Dextrously place the coins in the shoe in the five seconds it dangles in front of you. It seems to work well. For a string of eight bridges, the charge was seven euros total - about $10.

We reached our destination at 4 p.m., where Jurgen would pay 40 euros a week to leave Janika in a protected slip in a large marina. After tracking down the harbormaster and securing the berth, we tidied up the boat and waited for Meike, Jurgen's wife, to pick us up for the two-hour ride back to Germany.

I'm telling you, a person could get real used to this kind of travel. What a great way to explore a country! The only problem was we didn't have enough time.

- michael 09/20/04

Ricka II - Taswell 43
Mel & Rebecca Shapiro
Strange Path Home From Oz
(Pacific Northwest)

Having sailed the wrong way - against the wind and seas - from Australia to the Pacific Northwest in the '70s, and having been cruising in the South Pacific for the last six years, this time we elected to ship rather than sail Ricka back home. So while in Australia, we contacted Dockwise Yacht Transport, and had a spot lined up to ship our boat to Florida in December of '02. But then the date was pushed back until February of '03, then March of '03 - and finally Dockwise cancelled altogether!

After that last emotional whipsaw, we decided to sail instead - but rather than against the prevailing wind and current, on around the world. We prepared Ricka for the trip over the top of Oz and down around the Cape of Good Hope. We did all the usual stuff to get ready for a long journey - hauled her out for bottom work, inspected all the systems from the truck at the top of the mast to the bonding system at the keel, and replenished our store of vital spares. We bought British Admiralty Charts, and C-Maps for our electronic chart plotter for the entire trip.

Having completed preparations by the summer of last year, we got an email from Dockwise. "Would you consider shipping Ricka back to Florida with us if we guaranteed a berth on a boat due in Brisbane in late summer?"

We thought about it, but remembered how they'd jerked us around the previous winter. But still, the idea appealed to us. It would be quicker and probably less expensive. And having been to Africa in the '80s, we had no burning desire to return. Plus, it would be a heck of a long haul back to the Pacific Northwest - Asia, Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Canal, Central America - and then all the way to the Canadian border. So we asked Dockwise for a guarantee. They sent us a letter "reassuring" us that they'd actually send a ship this time. It appeared that they had agreed to deliver a couple of newly-commissioned super yachts, so they had the motive. So we signed up, and when the time came, we motored Ricka onto the Dockwise ship without a hitch.

Rebecca and I flew home to the States, and five weeks later met up with Ricka in Fort Lauderdale. We sailed her off and into a nearby marina, where we waited 10 days for the arrival of our next Dockwise, which would take Ricka to the Pacific Northwest. Three weeks later, we once again met up with Ricka, this time in Vancouver, British Columbia. Talk about whipsawed, we went from one weather extreme, the tropics, to the next, snow on our boat.

Ricka came through both her trips as deck cargo without so much as a scratch, and there was no wear and tear on her or us. We highly recommend this kind of boat transport for those without the time or inclination to make an unwanted long sail. While not cheap, it was less expensive than hiring a crew to sail her back, and a whole lot faster way of getting her back without all the fuss of decommissioning - which would have required pulling the mast, having a cradle built, lifting her out, having her trucked to the piers and hoisted aboard a cargo ship, and then having that reversed at the other end.

So here we are in Deer Harbor. We're building a house here on Orcas Island, living aboard Ricka during construction. We're having a contractor deliver a closed 'shell' and will be finishing the house ourselves. Our plan is to work on the interior during the winter months, and cruise the Northwest during the summer months. But we still dream of the South Pacific, and muse about another cruise from Orcas back to Oz. This time though, we'd venture further down the coast to Chile, then back up to the Galapagos, over to the Gambiers, Tuamotos, Australs, and put her on the hard in Tahiti until the following season. All in all, we'd spend a lot more time in the South Pacific, as cruising just doesn't get any better than that!

- mel & rebecca 06/05/04

Readers - We like Mel and Rebecca's motto: "Life is short, so have fun - or get religion."

Cruise Notes:

You may have read in another boating publication that the proposed changes to the troublesome and expensive clearing procedures in Mexico have already taken effect. Specifically, it was written that if you clear into Mexico at Ensenada, you won't have to do any further clearing within Mexico. This was not true then, and as we go to press in late October, it's still not true. This has been confirmed by exasperated folks in Ensenada.

What is true, as we previously reported, is that President Fox has said that he will get rid of the annoying clearing procedures within Mexico. We're told such legislation has been passed and signed into law. But Mexico is a different kind of place, so just because a law is on the books doesn't mean it's in effect yet. Knowledgeable folks in Mexico, such as Dick Markie, Harbormaster at Paradise Village, do expect the clearing procedures to change, he just doesn't know when. But when the rules do change, Markie doesn't believe it will make any difference if you checked in at Ensenada or not. "I don't believe there will be two classes of cruising boats," he said. Typical of the way things change erratically in Mexico, most port captains can now accept credit cards for the approximately $20 U.S. clearing fee, meaning you'd no longer have to go to a bank and then return to the port captain. But again, both of these stops should be eliminated when the new legislation actually takes effect. Keep reading 'Lectronic to learn when that great moment in cruising Mexico comes about.

With the cruising season having begun in Mexico, here's a quick review of some of the major upcoming events:

Thanksgiving in Mexico, November 25. Although the Cruisers' Thanksgiving got started and perhaps remains the biggest in Mazatlan, the holiday is celebrated just about anywhere there are big groups of cruisers, from La Paz, to Banderas Bay, to Tenacatita Bay.

Christmas in Mexico, December 25. This is celebrated in all the same places as Thanksgiving, but with the addition of Zihuatanejo, as by the end of December a bunch of cruisers have worked their way that far south.

The Fourth Annual Zihua SailFest, February 2-5, will have all kinds of great activities in what is perhaps the cruisers' favorite town in Mexico. And it's all for a terrific cause, the Netzahualcoyotl School for indigenous children, most of whom are orphans. One of the main goals is to teach them Spanish so they'll be able to get jobs later in life. See for more on this free event.

The Fifth Annual Pacific Puddle Jump Party, February 28th. Latitude and Paradise Marina in Nuevo Vallarta host this seminar/party, which is actually largely organized by the Puddle Jumpers themselves. The idea is for everyone to get to know each other, organize a radio net, and learn from the experiences of those who've already made the crossing. Latitude's Andy Turpin, as always, will be there to do interviews and take photos of everyone going across. This event is free.

The Spinnaker Cup For Charity, absent for one year, will reappear on March 12th, in a bigger and better form, with a new name something like The Pirate's Spinnaker Cup For Charity. The fleet will meet at Punta de Mita, Banderas Bay for lunch and fun and games, with everyone in pirate and wench attire. Aarrgh! then, at 3 p.m., the boats will set their chutes for what is usually one of the sweetest 12-mile spinnaker runs on the planet back to Paradise Marina. Lupe Dipp, a major supporter of this event from the beginning, hopes to be there with her new - but not-yet-purchased - catamaran. Go Lupe! This event is free for all skippers, but all passengers are expected to chip in $10 to $20. All proceeds go to a school for challenged children in the area. It's another great cause.

The Banderas Bay Regatta - which for our money has the best cruiser regatta sailing conditions and facilites in the world - will be held March 13-16 out of Paradise Marina. There is no entry fee for boats. Even if you're not a racer, this is one event you shouldn't miss, as for many it's the last big get-together of the cruising season. Plus the facilities and conditions couldn't be better. So pull out your cleanest dressy clothes and have a great time with all your cruising friends. We'll see you there!

Loreto Fest. For the last 10 years, the Hidden Port YC has held this major boat and land cruiser social function in the Sea of Cortez on the first weekend in May. However, the event is currently threatened by Fonatur coming in and assessing astronomical fees for using mooring buoys and even anchoring in Puerto Escondido. We'll keep you posted on the future of this event.

"I just chanced upon
Latitude's First-Timers Guide To Mexico," writes Jim Phelps, who grew up near Puget Sound but now lives near Mexico City. "It was a great read, and your treatment of Mexico and the Mexican people was as entertaining as it was accurate. Yes, they are wonderful people, so it's a real shame the majority of Americans never get to know them. I'm aware that it's not politically correct to say this, but it's a fact that the vast number of Mexican immigrants in the United States are not a fair representation of the real Mexican people. I'll just leave it at that. I've been living in Mexico for just under a year - seven months in Mexico City - and now my Mexico City-born wife and I live between two very small village-like towns near Tepotzotlan. Anyway, thank you for your very insightful, informative, and entertaining writing on cruising in Mexico. I'd love to get another boat!"

Maybe it's where we live, but we personally haven't had anything but good experiences with Mexican immigrants. The ones we've known have been friendly, extremely hard workers, and really care about their families.

"The electricity in the air here in Neiafu, Tonga, is palpable, with nearly the entire Puddle Jump fleet now in port for a kick-off bash prior to making the sometimes arduous 1,150-mile passage to New Zealand," reports Rick von Stein of the San Luis Obispo and now Green Cove Spring, Florida-based Royal Passport 47 Emerald. "Latitude set the pace by defining what a great fiesta should be like way back at the Puddle Jump Party at Paradise Marina in Nuevo Vallarta last spring. We all thank you for what you did for us back then. But this one is a war party, intended to jack up our collective courage for the possibly tough trip ahead. So listen for the sound of drums from over the horizon. We've going to have a tongue-in-cheek 'awards ceremony' structured along the lines of the Academy Awards, recognizing the numerous #$%&^-ups that have visited nearly every vessel in the fleet sometime in the last six months. We're sure that the luscious Flocerfida Benincasa of the Las Vegas-based Columbia 34 Flocerfida will slide into a slinky black dress for the occasion, and Fred of Mary C might have a tux lined up. You get the idea. We'll send a report."

Thanks for the nice words. All of you be safe - and have a good time.

"On a recent sail to Kauai and back, I and my crew, Pat and Sue Richter, had the good fortune to meet Richard Waltjen, Harbormaster at Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor since 1993," writes Don Scotten of the San Diego-based Good. "We had more than a cursory meeting with Richard because we needed help finding a way to fix the rudder shaft on the auxiliary rudder/trim tab self-steering, which had snapped in two some 1,000 miles from Kauai. The self-steering system had been driving the boat wing-on-wing in fresh tradewind conditions for two days prior to the failure. When it broke, we had to hand steer - and we soon learned we didn't have the skill or concentration to hand-steer in the wing-on-wing sail configuration. After dropping one sail, it was much easier to not get backwinded. Anyway, the gracious and unassuming Waltjen was helpful beyond all reasonable expectations. He hauled our broken parts to the Nawiliwili welding shop in his truck, where Darrell the welder and I discussed how to fix the broken shaft. Ultimately, Jeanne, the owner/manager, ordered a hardened 316 stainless steel shaft from off-island and had it delivered to their shop. Darrell inserted the new shaft into the old, broken one, ingeniously 'splicing' them together. It's now much stronger than before. Naturally, Waltjen drove the repaired unit back to the marina. He'd also found a temporary slip for us while the repairs were being done. Thank you, Richard!"

"We haven't sent a report to Latitude since we headed through the Panama Canal back in 2001," report Ed and Norma Hasselmann of the motorvessel Heather K. "We hope you remember us from letters we sent while cruising with all the sailboats after leaving San Diego in 1999. Once through the Canal, we had a great time cruising to the East Coast via Isla San Andres, Roatan, Isla Mujeres, Key West, across Lake Okeechobee, up the IntraCoastal Waterway, and past Maine and into Canada. We then went back down to New Bern, North Carolina, where we left Heather K. at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina - which was a great and reasonably-priced place to leave the boat in 2002-'03. Several other cruisers from Mexico were there with us. In 2003, we went up the Hudson River, through the Erie Canal, across Lake Ontario, and through the Rideaux Canal to Ottawa. We next visited Montreal, went down the St. Lawrence, up the Richelieu River, through Lake Champlain, and back down the Hudson. We did 94 locks on that trip! We have gunkholed many of the other East Coast Cruising grounds in the past two years, and have gone through New York City's Hell's Gate four times.

"Our top five cruising places so far," the Hasselmanns continue, "have been British Columbia; from Baja, California to Zihuatanejo in Mexico; the Pacific and Caribbean sides of Panama; the Chesapeake Bay; and the Rideaux Canal. We haven't done the Trent-Severn, but we've been told it's even better than the Rideaux. We would have included Maine, with all its rivers, bays, and inlets - except all the damn crab pots made it a real pain in the ass. The IntraCoastal Waterway is the pits, with all the shoaling and wakes from large sportfishers being driven to the next tournament site for their absentee owners by smart-ass crew. While at the West Marine Trawler Fest in Solomons, Maryland, we heard Eileen Quinn singing and playing her guitar. Her CD, which can be ordered from, would make a great Christmas present. By the way, West Marine does not carry Latitude here in Solomons, but we've occasionally found issues at some of the stores where ex-West Coast cruisers help out behind the counter. Would you believe the store in New Bern, North Carolina, always had copies for sale? They were quickly gobbled up, of course."

Of course, we remember you folks! We hope you don't wait another four years to write again.

"You may remember me as the Washington state bureaucrat who joined you for the cruise to Cuba eight years ago aboard Big O," writes Susanne Ames of Washington. "That trip was a great experience, one that convinced me that I needed to do more cruising. My then-sweetie David and I got married, sold our boats, and last February bought Cheshire, a 31-year-old British catamaran. This summer David re-commissioned her, and is presently sailing her to Portugal or Spain, from where we'll head south and west next winter for a 2+ year cruise. Yahoo! Preparing for the trip from several thousand miles away has been a big learning experience, but if you're looking for a catamaran - especially one for less than six figures - you have to make compromises. We will have to get rid of 99% of what we own - which will be good, but difficult, since both David and I are packrats. Can you provide us with advice as to how to connect with the '05 Puddle Jumpers? We'll begin our passage from Panama, so we won't be able to connect in person with those starting from Mexico, but we'd like to be in touch by email."

Of course we remember you, too. And we agree that Cuba trip was a real experience. Keep following 'Lectronic Latitude, and we'll let you know how to be part of the '05 Puddle Jump group.

"In a recent 'Lectronic, you suggested anchoring on top of 'the big reef' at Two Harbors, Catalina, to save money on mooring charges," writes Gary Friesen of the Marina del Rey-based Mystere 6.0 Whisk. "By your description, you must be referring to the reef that lies one quarter mile southwest of Bird Rock, and is marked on its east end by a white-lighted tower, and on its west end by a green-lighted buoy. I find this advice to be dangerous. On March 23, 2001, I sailed my 20-ft cat across the reef, having been 'whisked' over from Marina del Rey on a three-hour crossing. My beach cat draws 28 inches with the centerboards and rudders down, and just six inches when they are up. Both my port centerboard and port rudder were forced up as I crossed that reef, and I heard the sound of rock striking my glass boat! The repairs were done with a little epoxy and glass, but I would hate to learn the fate of a much larger and heavier boat that did the same thing after following your suggestion."

We suppose we should have been more explicit and included the proviso that mariners should only anchor on the part of the reef that has enough water for their boat's draft. It's true that a small part of the reef is actually exposed during low water, and there are a couple of other spots where it gets down to about six feet. You have to watch for those spots, of course. But the advantage of the rest of the reef is that you can anchor in 10 to 30 feet of water, as opposed to 110 feet closer to the mooring field. Few boats that go to Catalina are properly equipped to anchor in such deep water, so when the wind blows out there, it's a real drag fest. Another reason to anchor in an adequately deep part of the reef is that it's located amid a kelp forest, and the diving is lovely. In fact, the last time we anchored on the reef, it was among several dive and fish boats. But it's true, you have to be careful there - just as you have to be careful everywhere.

This month's shortest and sweetest cruising report came from Kurt and Katie Braun, who did the 2002 Ha-Ha aboard their then Alameda-based Deerfoot 74 Interlude. "After crossing the Pacific, we arrived safely in New Zealand on November 8, 2003. We bought a house in the Bay of Islands. We bought a mooring for Interlude. We did refit work on Interlude, including new sails, in Auckland until April of 2004. We flew home to Alameda to do maintenance on our Alameda home and to host a reunion party. We then flew to Alaska for a couple of weeks in August. Tonight we fly back to our home and boat in New Zealand, where it's almost summer. We plan to spend the next several southern hemisphere winters cruising in the South Pacific."

Sounds like a pretty good life to us!

"Here's a quick summary of the Black Sea Yacht Rally, which I did with my San Francisco-based Nordhaven 46 'motor-sailer' Knot Yet II," writes John Keen. "In 65 days we covered 2,037 miles and visited 33 ports in six countries - Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria. Our fleet consisted of 37 boats flagged in 12 countries with participants from 16 countries. We had lots of receptions, various types of entertainment, dinners, and tours. We made visits to ancient sites, monasteries, churches, mountains and rivers - including the Danube. We had adverse currents, favorable currents, no wind, and too much wind - including two gales. We also had a thunderstorm with so much rain that it flattened the seas and reduced visibility to almost nothing. It was a wonderful experience, and I've almost recovered from it! The Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally that I did earlier in the year was 652 miles, and the trip from Ashkelon, Israel, to Istanbul, Turkey, was 960 miles, so we've traveled 3,649 miles this year - with a couple hundred to go before reaching Ayvalik, Turkey, where the boat will winter. This spot in the northern Aegean will be perfect for beginning next year's cruise, which should include Greece, Croatia and Italy. Right now we're traveling west in the Sea of Marmara, headed for the Dardanelles."

That also sounds like a pretty good life to us!

"Hello, from the land of the hurricanes!" write Ed and Daisy Marill of the Marathon, Florida-based CSY 44 Siesta, which is a vet of the 2002 Ha-Ha. "Fortunately, we in Marathon and the other Keys haven't been hit by a hurricane - although the season isn't over yet. Oddly enough, while many areas of Florida were devastated by hurricanes, we had a great summer down here in the Keys. And the 25th annual Fantasy Fest In Key West is just around the corner! By the way, the West Marine store here in Marathon receives a few welcome copies of Latitude, so we were able to stay in touch with the cruising scene in the Pacific."

"Here we wait at Bahia del Sol, El Salvador," report Chay, Katie, and son Jamie McWilliam of the Kelly-Peterson 46 Esprit. "Yes, we're ready to go, but there is still large surf at the boca or rivermouth. Once we get the word - it may be tomorrow - that the bar is safe, we're out of here. We raised the anchor a couple of days ago in preparation for leaving, thinking it might be really hard to break loose. It came up easily. We've had a couple of really big downpours - some with lightning, some without. Jamie's job is to pump out the dinghy after the rain. We're about to enter the 'summer,' or dry season, here in El Salvador, so the rain should be stopping soon. Jose, the taxi driver, spent two days with us this past week, driving us to San Salvador and to the outlying towns of the indigenous Pipil Indians. We provisioned and updated our website while in San Salvador, then played tourist. The drive to the Pipil towns was absolutely beautiful, and we visited a church that was built by the Spaniards 500 years ago! Amazing. Other than that, we have just been doing school, Spanish lessons, and boat chores. The toughest thing, of course, has just been trying to stay cool and dry."

In this month's Letters, we had several reports from Mazatlan about several boatowners being fined because their boats have been in Mexico a long time without a Temporary Import Permit. Here's the latest from Derek Holden, owner of the Privateer 35 Albatross, one of the boats involved:

"The quick story is that back in 2000 the port captain said that I only needed an Import Permit if I wanted to bring boat replacement parts into Mexico duty-free. After I'd bought Albatross, I went to the marina office to check, and was told she had all the correct papers for entering Mexico. Also in 2000, the marina office wrote a letter to the port captain stating that I could not get a copy of the permit. I was also told I didn't need one. So I fixed up the boat and sailed her to Mazatlan, not worrying about the permit at all. I have the boat at the Isla Marina in Mazatlan, where I was never asked for a permit - and was always told I didn't need one. But by then I was also worried about the amount of time that had passed from when I guessed I might have needed such a permit. The bottom line is that I've initially been fined $42,000 U.S. because of the number of laws I supposedly broke, and because they valued my boat at $60,000. How they came up with this value is unclear, because I showed them the bill of sale proving that I'd only paid $2,500 for the semi-abandoned boat. Before I bought her, she'd been temporarily impounded by Aduana.

"I've seen three lawyers," Holden continues, "and they all say the problem can't be fixed because of the manager at the marina - who had promised me that if I wired him $600 U.S., the problem would go away. Four months later, I was faxed an 18-page document that stated my fines. Now I owe $60,000 U.S., as they add their own interest. In addition, my boat has been confiscated. I went to see the people at the Tax Department, and they explained to me that the case was closed and nothing can be done. For Mexico to take boats away and charge interest of 7% a month for not having a piece of paperwork I could have gotten for free seems crazy. The Ericson 35 Beyond Therapy and the Catalina 38 Grapeshot are in the same situation."

We were unable to reach the Isla Marina manager for a response to Holden's allegations. Frankly, we don't know how anyone could have gone for so long without knowing that such permits are eventually required, but we're really sorry to hear what's happening, because the penalty really does seem to be out of line. We hope some solution appears.

"You may remember that last winter I was hoping to sail my R/C 47 cat Maxzcat from Marsh Harbour in the Abacos to St. Barth in the Eastern Caribbean to meet Profligate for the New Year's Eve Regatta," writes Glenn Kotara of Bend, Oregon. Unfortunately, things came up. I didn't realize how unfortunate it was until this hurricane season. I was the only guy on the last flight into Marsh Harbour before Hurricane Jeanne came and kicked our ass. If you were watching CNN, the Weather Channel, or CBS, you would have seen my cat up on the seawall - with a trawler that broke lose and creamed my boat. The trawler was up on the street in the parking lot of a restaurant. That's what storm surge can do. Most of the marinas, including the one for The Moorings, were destroyed and several boats sunk. The town was just cleaning up from Frances when Jeanne did a turnaround, with her eye passing right over us. The town suffered badly and most businesses were damaged or destroyed. I'm back home now, trying to get the brown spots out of my shorts."

We're very, very sorry to hear about your loss. We hope you were covered by insurance, and that the settlement is favorable. The good news on the hurricane front is that this is the first time in three years that cruisers in the Sea of Cortez haven't gotten at least a spanking. A much-weakened Hurricane Javier crossed over Baja in mid-September, but we didn't hear of any major damage.

"Some of us headed south wonder about the wisdom of installing a satellite radio as part of our onboard entertainment systems," writes Jay Hall of Orion. "What experiences have your readers had with the product? Just how far south of the border can the signals be received? Has XM or Sirius proven to be better?

Upon the recommendation of Ed and Daisy Marill of Siesta, we installed XM radio aboard Profligate a year ago. You get countless news, music, and sports channels, and it comes in clear as a bell. A couple of months ago, we listened to a Cal football game while on the way between Santa Cruz Island and Catalina. We couldn't have picked that up without satellite radio. The only downside for us was that it crapped out just south of Acapulco. And as we recall, it didn't work in the Caribbean either. But that all might change. If anyone else has a review of satellite radio, we've love to hear it.

Top / Subscriptions / Classifieds / Home

©2004 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.