January 28, 2009

Mexico on the Bay

Carole eyes the wares at one of the local tiendas on Mission in San Francisco.

© Pat McIntosh

"I’m sorry I wasn’t clear that Carole and I didn’t hear the SOS from Carpe Diem," Pat McIntosh wrote after we posted Wednesday’s update on the rescue off Cabo of the Lancer 44 Carpe Diem. "It was our friends John and Dorothy Kiesling on their Crescent City-based boat Begone. The Mexican cruising family is ever-expanding, and once you’re part of it, you still get ‘the scoop’ no matter where you are.

Espiritu took first place in the Lobster Trap Division of last year’s Sea of Cortez Sailing Week.

latitude/Richard
©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"As for us, we wish we were still down there sailing on our Hunter 430 Espiritu, but we’ve been back in San Francisco taking care of Grandma’s house since we cut last year’s Baja Ha-Ha short. Actually, it’s almost like being back in Mexico — we walk to the nearby tiendas almost every day and are just about the only gringos there. The prices are low, especially compared with the rest of the Bay Area, and the ‘locals’ are great. If it was 40° warmer, it could almost be Z-town!"

Raw food vegans need not apply.

© 2009 Pat McIntosh

Big Change Coming to Paradise Marina

Less than 10 years ago, Paradise Marina was a 13-slip marina for boats less than 40 feet in length. This is what it looks like today. The sailboat on the far right is 114 feet long.

© 2009 Dick Markie

The year 2009 is supposed to be the Year of Change, and Harbormaster Dick Markie at Paradise Marina in Nuevo Vallarta says they are experiencing it down there. The change is in the form of an increasing number of megayachts that have either called on or taken up residence in the 198-boat marina.

"Among the mega-motoryachts that have been here," Markie reports, "are the 157-ft Piano Bar, the 154-ft Mr. Terrible, the 208-ft Turmoil and the 168-ft Pegaso. Mr. Terrible is an unbelievably beautiful Delta-built yacht that won Yacht of the Year Honors in Venice, Italy, last year."

We’ve always thought that Mr. Terrible is one of the all-time great boat names, and the 154-footer is just the latest floating incarnation for the same owner. If we’re not mistaken, Mr. Terrible started with a chain of gas stations, including many in the Las Vegas area, but has since opened a Terrible Casino in Vegas as well as several others in places around the country. Just for kicks, we looked up visitor reviews for the Vegas casino. The consensus was that while inexpensive, the Terrible Casino, including the service and security, "lived up to its name." Ouch!

Markie reports that Paradise Marina has also welcomed several large sailboats. Among them is the 110-ft wood yacht Seljm, which was built by Sangermani in Turkey more than 20 years ago. In the last 13 years, Seljm has done three circumnavigations under her current captain, and is starting on a fourth. The other big sailboat to have called recently is Beagle V, a 114-footer designed by Dubois and built by Pendennis in England in ’01.

It will be interesting to see how the increasing number of megayachts will affect the culture at Paradise Marina, which in recent times has become home to a rising number of motoryachts in the 85-ft and above range. Because large yachts need lots of crew, and because yacht crews tend to be young and fun-loving, sometimes the arrival of megayachts livens up a place. Only time will tell.

Save on Ha-Ha Swag

The Baja Ha-Ha may be in hibernation till May, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without some kickin’ Ha-Ha gear. Whether you forgot to buy your crew souvenir T-shirts or just want to motivate yourself to make the start of this fall’s ‘Sweet 16’, now’s the time to pick up some great swag at deep discounts. Head on over to the "Clearance Bin" in our online Chandlery to check out what we have left from last year’s Ha-Ha — it won’t last long!

Standing Room Only Seminars

You’d never know we are in the middle of a severe recession by the attendance at the Seattle Boat Show, which runs through this Sunday. Hundreds of watersports enthusiasts were roaming the halls of the Qwest Field Event Center, gathering info and trolling for bargains — and there were plenty of those to be had.

We’re not sure what to make of the standing-room-only attendance at our Baja Ha-Ha and Pacific Puddle Jump seminars. Virtually every hand went up when we asked who was planning to do the Ha-Ha in the next couple of years. It could be that they’ve been planning and dreaming so long that they refuse to be deterred by financial woes. Or perhaps they’re all out of work anyway, so figure, "What the heck, might as well head to Mexico where the livin’ is cheap and easy." Either way, this and other indicators make it obvious to us that there’s no shortage of folks going cruising these days. Last year’s Ha-Ha was tied with the record number of entries (182), and this year’s event promises to be a whopper too. Online registration begins May 1.

Volvo Fleet Thinned

Ericsson 3 Bowman Martin Krite looking none too happy while standing by with the bilge pumps that saved the boat after cracks developed in the hull forward of the bulkhead in the photo.

© 2009 Gustav Morin / Ericsson 3

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 4 leader Telefónica Blue is only 180 miles from the finish in Qingdao. With only a 30-mile cushion over Ericsson 4 and Puma — currently in a neck-and-neck battle for second — skipper Bouwe Bekking is doing his best to stay between his competition and the mark. Both Telefónica Blue and Puma have benefitted from Ericsson 4‘s misfortune when the latter sailed into a series of fishing nets, breaking the first two but having to stop and back down to clear the third. In fourth, 300 miles behind, is Ian Walker’s Green Dragon, which is soldiering on despite having to stop and make structural repairs in the Philippines.

And how about everyone else? Well, they’re all moored up in Taiwan or the Philippines. Following the retirement of Telefónica Black, both Delta Lloyd and Ericsson 3 were forced to retire with major structural damage, suffered in what have been reported as heinous sea conditions. Delta Lloyd has suffered delamination while Ericsson 3 has suffered cracking in the hull forward of the watertight bulkhead — allowing water to enter before the crew was able to stop the leak. Both successfully made port in Taiwan and, while they’re officially listed as having "suspended racing," it’s unlikely they’ll be able to to restart, and also doubtful they’ll be able to make the start of Leg 5 — the monster 12,300-miler — from Qingdao, around Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro. For more, check out today’s edition of Mark Chisnell’s always informative Ten Zulu Report at the race’s website.

If you didn’t take your boat out this weekend due to the crappy weather forecast, these kids, sailing on Will Baylis’ Soverel 33 Good ‘n Plenty, are here to tell you that you missed some serious fun.
We’ve received a bit more information about a rescue at sea off Cabo a week ago.
In the January 9 edition of ‘Lectronic Latitude, we reported on the sad plight of Sherry Mae, a Clipper Marine 30 that washed ashore at Ocean Beach around New Year’s.
The Volvo fleet has been getting a lashing from near-constant breeze on the bow above 30 knots.