The death toll from the tsunami that wreaked havoc on Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga last Tuesday seems to be holding at 183 — 142 in Samoa, 32 in American Samoa, and 9 in Tonga. One of the victims — and the only reported cruiser casualty — was Dan Olszewski, 69, of the Florida-based Freedom 39 Mainly.
Dan and his wife Joan were in Pago Pago on American Samoa after 20-some years of cruising. When the tsunami sirens sounded, a number of cruisers decided to ride out the surges aboard their boats. As Dan was untying Mainly‘s docklines, the first surge swept him off his feet and he was gone. Joan controlled the boat through the following surges but was unable to find Dan. His body was found later that day.
The couple’s sons flew into Pago Pago a few days ago, and the family decided that the best course of action is to sell Mainly. Joan has listed the boat here, and we want to do all we can to help her. Mainly is a 1984 Freedom 39 schooner and Joan’s only asking $45,000. "Dan and I have owned Mainly since 1989," she notes on the listing. "I lost my beloved Captain in the tsunami that hit Samoa on September 29, 2009. I am looking for a quick sale so I can go home. The price is ‘as is’. The damage done during the tsunami was cosmetic. She is seaworthy, although the foresail is torn but easily repaired with materials I purchased from Sail Rite."
Our thoughts are with Joan and her sons.
Registration for the 17th Annual Northern California Women’s Sailing Seminar, which will be held at Island YC in Alameda this Saturday and Sunday, is still open. "This is the only event in Northern California that is exclusively women teaching women the sport of sailing," said event organizer Dawn Chesney. "What’s great about this seminar is that, on Saturday, the students build their own curriculum by choosing classroom and on-the-water courses that meet their experience level. On Sunday we offer the choice of a Santana 22 one-design race on the Estuary or a cruise on the Bay to enjoy the Fleet Week activities."
If you’ve been trying to get your lady sailing, this is a terrific way for her to learn in a stress-free environment. In fact, yelling is strictly prohibited! And for just $155, it’s a screaming deal — included are breakfast and lunch both days, a visor, goodie bags and a raffle ticket. "Our sponsors have been very generous," reports Chesney. "One sailing school has donated a package worth $700!"
Go to IYC’s site for program information and registration forms.
In stark contrast to last week’s tragic events in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, 12 boatloads of cruisers were all smiles in Fiji on September 26, as they took part in the first annual Likuri Island Cruise Wreck Race/Fun Day. Yeah, the title is quite a mouthful, but by all accounts participants had a great time.
Likuri Island, better known as Robinson Crusoe Island, lies just off the south coast of Fiji’s principle island of Viti Levu. Run by three Australians, this low-priced resort caters to ‘backpackers’ and always welcomes cruisers to anchor out front. In addition to its prime location, one thing the island has going for it, according to John and Renee Prentice of the San Diego-based Serendipity 43 Scarlett O’Hara, is "the best dance show, not only in Fiji, but in the entire Pacific! The dancers all have ‘day jobs’ at the resort but, come show-time, they are totally awesome!"
In addition to celebrating the cruising life, cruisers participated in a dinghy parade, an island survivor contest (whatever that is), a rum hunt and a sailboat race. With a reaching course and 15 knots on the beam, says John, "it was a perfect day for the cats." But this is one of those races where winning was obviously of little importance. Prizes were awarded by drawing notes from a hat!
Next year’s Cruise Wreck weekend will probably be slated for two weeks after the long-established Musket Cove Regatta. John advises, "Any Puddle Jumpers headed to Fiji should really put Robinson Crusoe on their must-do list."
Saving the Bay premieres on KQED Channel 9 tomorrow night from 8-10 p.m., with Part Two running October 15. This series of four one-hour episodes focuses on the geological, cultural and developmental history of San Francisco Bay and the larger Northern California watershed from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Farallon Islands. For more on the series, go to www.savingthebay.org.