"We have absolutely loved Rapa Nui," report Bruce Balan and Alene Rice of the California-based Cross 46 Migration. "It’s an amazing island and the people have been terrific." So terrific, it seems, that the fabled Easter Island is becoming a hot stopover for cruisers. "There are seven boats in the anchorage at Hanga Roa! A local sailor who’s lived here for years doesn’t remember ever seeing so many boats anchored at once.
"The anchoring can be difficult but it’s really not worse than many other places. It’s deep — 50-70 feet — and you have to watch out for rocks and coral heads. Being in the heart of the Variables, the wind is definitely variable but the forecasting is excellent these days and we haven’t been surprised. The gribs have been dead-on.
"One surprise here is how fantastic the diving is. The water is crystal clear — often 100-ft visibility. We dove on the north side of the island yesterday and it was like swimming through a miniature Bryce Canyon of coral.
"We also spent five days in the spectacular anchorage of Hotuiti on the east side of the island when strong westerlies made Hanga Roa untenable. It took Alene an hour of snorkeling to find us some sand to anchor in but was worth it. Volcanic cliffs to starboard, waves breaking over a lava point to port, the crater which holds the quarry where the moai were carved to the west, and right off our bow a line of 15 huge standing moai. Incredible!
"We are glad we came but now, with the crowds, it’s time to move on." Their next stop? "We’ll try to stop at Pitcairn on the way to the Gambiers."
In recent weeks the theft of shore power cords at several Sausalito marinas has angered many local boaters, some of whom assume the culprits are from the adjacent anchor-out community. "I guess it’s the new tweaker recycling program," said one with a laugh, refering to the alleged widespread use of methamphetamine by some anchor-outs.
But the scavenging of copper and other valuable metals is no laughing matter — and the problem stretches far beyond Marin County. With copper currently bringing $3.50/lb at recycling facilities, scavenging efforts have recently gone to extremes throughout the country.
Monday, the theft of brass valves at a Richmond manufacturing plant apparently resulted in the spillage of 3,300 gallons of the toxic chemical toluene into San Pablo Bay, requiring a massive clean-up effort and yet-undetermined environmental damage. A remarkably similar case occurred last week in Rhode Island when the removal of similar valves caused a huge land-based spill of now-banned, highly toxic PCBs.
We’re not sure what can be done to quell the lust for copper and other precious metals — within the marine community or elsewhere — but we welcome your ideas, as well as reports of power cord thefts and related metal objects. Email Andy.
If you’re curious, like we were, about Laser Performance’s new-to-the-States 20-ft sportboat, the Laser SB3, you’ve got a chance this week to put one through its paces. Yesterday afternoon we did just that and were pleasantly surprised.
We found the boat’s reputation as being fairly forgiving for a wider range of ages and athletic levels — hiking is prohibited by class rules — to be spot on. What we weren’t expecting is how quick and lively it is. We popped the kite just outside the Gate and it didn’t take long before we were romping along at speeds in the high teens in about 20-knots of breeze. The boat accelerated easily and was responsive to both helm input and sail trim, both of which required enough attention to be fun but not so much as to be onerous. We also never got any nasty surprises — there was always sufficient warning to keep the boat under the kite.
We have to admit that before we sailed the boat, we were a bit skeptical. We wondered about it having an aluminum instead of carbon fiber rig, and that in pictures the boat just looked a little, well . . . ‘agricultural’ for its all-inclusive $39,500 price tag. When we saw the whole package together — sails, trailer with conformal bunks, tapered rig, wireless Tack Tick compass system with a thru-hull speed and depth transducer which is powered by an integral solar panel, and details like the upside-down vang or "gnav" which frees up the cockpit — it starts to make more sense. It’s a pretty well-sorted boat.
When we first started hearing about the four-year-old design and the 100-boat fleets it was getting for Cowes Week in the UK, we wondered if the design would ever make it westward across the pond. With the 2007 merger of Vanguard Boats and Performance Sailcraft Europe to form Laser Performance, that abruptly became a reality. The boat’s westward expansion has taken awhile — in fact we suspect the demo boat may have been towed here behind a covered wagon — but Laser Performance now has a few examples on the West Coast. There’s one here on the Bay through the week, so if you want to give it a go, Laser Performance’s Ned Jones and Zack Maxam will be taking people out on the Cityfront today and Friday, and tomorrow they’ll be at Treasure Island Sailing Center. Give it a whirl! You might be pleasantly surprised and it’s a great reason to leave work early!
"Loreto Fest was fantastic!" reports Cornelia Gould of the Half Moon Bay-based Valiant 42 A Cappella. Celebrating its 12th year, the May 1-4 event drew roughly 250 sailors and locals, with 115 cruising boats staged in the harbor.
According to Cornelia and her husband Ed, who sailed south with the 2007 Baja Ha-Ha, "The highlights were the music, the heavily contested sports and game events, the Saturday evening Toga Party, and most of all, the camaraderie."
In addition to predicatable cruiser activities such as potlucks, jam sessions, a swap meet and a chili cook-off, many fleet members took part in a Bay Clean-Up (organized by Dave of AirOps), with the goal of bringing the bay back to its "original pristine condition."
Our hats are off to Committee Chair Connie Sunlover and her crew at the Hidden Port YC who organized most of Fest’s activities — many of which raised funds to support the education of local children. Look for a more complete report in the June Latitude 38. (By the way, we’d love to receive additional photos.)