January 26, 2011

Make Time for MOB Training

Shana Bagley made friends with a real dummy during MOB training on Pegasus.

Pegasus
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Walnut Creeks’s Shana Bagley, who sailed several legs in the 2009-10 Clipper ‘Round the World Race aboard California, shared the following photos of crew overboard training aboard the 51-ft John Alden ketch Pegasus. Though Pegasus’ primary objective is to introduce disadvantaged youth to the joys of sailing, she also takes out private charter clients as a way to subsidize their non-profit program.

Pegasus Project volunteers must go through rigorous training to make sailing safe — and fun — for the kids that come aboard.

© 2011 Shana Bagley

"What a beautiful winter sailing day," she wrote. "Pegasus had a crew training day filled with safety procedures and MOB drills. We all had a great time and the day went by far too quickly — until we had to swab the decks, that is. Sure beats last year, when Team Cork had holed on a reef in the Java Sea and Team California and Team Finland had to rescue the crew from liferafts!"

Crew overboard training is an essential part of any boat’s safety regimen, so if you haven’t bothered to hold sessions, now is the time. Winter’s mild winds make it easier to get the hang of using your MOB gear, so the next time you’re out, chuck a cushion overboard and practice, practice, practice. You’ll be happy you did if you ever find yourself in a real life-and-death situation.

You don’t have to have a life-size dummy to practice crew overboard training — a floating cushion, a fender, even a hat blown off your head is a great excuse to practice your skills.

© 2011 Shana Bagley

Do you have some good MOB or MOB-training stories? If so, email them to LaDonna, along with any photos you may have.

Buffett Falls Off Stage

After singing the lines, "It’s been a lovely cruise, I’m sorry it’s ended," at a concert at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, Australia, last night, Jimmy Buffett, the muse to many a sailor, made an unintentional face plant off the stage. The 64-year-old was reportedly knocked unconscious for five to 10 minutes and, having suffered a gash in his head, was rushed to the hospital. A note on his website says the singer is doing well and will be released from the hospital tomorrow.

The doctors are giving Jimmy the big thumbs up for a full recovery from his fall off a stage.

© Tully Mars

We’ve always been a fan of Jimmy’s because he’s come up with some fine tunes, had a playful attitude toward life, and never took himself that seriously. We hope he’s fine and quickly recovers from any injuries he might have suffered.

AC Dates Announced, Fiasco Meeting Tonight

USA, winner of the 33rd America’s Cup, is on her way to the Bay.

© 2011 Gilles Martin-Raget

America’s Cup Race Management has announced the dates of both the Louis Vuitton Cup and 34th America’s Cup. The former will start July 13, 2013, and run until September 1, while the latter will start September 7 and run until September 22. That announcement came on the heels of another, that the AC 33-winning USA is on her way to the Bay. Unfortunately, it seems she will primarily be a museum piece.

“The handful of us privileged to sail on USA 17 would love to sail her again in an instant," said ORACLE Racing skipper James Spithill. "I dare say all those who never had this chance would like to as well. But the stark reality is that every aspect of the boat, every component, was built right to the limit so that for every hour’s sailing, USA 17 required 20 hours of painstaking and rigorous maintenance. For the time being the team’s focus will be on the America’s Cup ahead.”

The Singlehanded Sailing society’s Three Bridge Fiasco is now the largest race on the West Coast, maybe even the country! A stunning 346 boats have already entered, and if you’re holding out, you gotta’ do it by tonight’s skipper’s meeting.

latitude/LaDonna
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Singlehanded Sailing Society’s Three Bridge Fiasco is closer at hand, and tonight’s skippers’ meeting at Oakland YC at 7:30 marks the end of the entry period for Saturday’s Bay classic. You can register online beforehand though, and join the 346 boats who’ve already done so! One topic that will be coming up at the skippers’ meeting is the fact that there is some kind of swimming race between McCovey Cove and Aquatic Park on Saturday morning that might impact the race course. We’ve been told that the Coast Guard may have a representative at the meeting tonight to provide additional details. The National Weather Service is calling for 5-10 knots of breeze and patchy fog. The more wind the better, as there’s a six-ft swing from a 7:22 a.m. (at the Gate) high tide to a 2:34 p.m. low that should get plenty of extra juice from all the runoff.

Surfing the North Shore

What could be nicer than paddling in from your boat and into a nice Mexican wall such as this?

latitude/Nick
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

When surfers talk about riding waves on the North Shore, they are inevitably referring to the North Shore of Hawaii and all the famous world-class breaks there.

But when West Coast sailor-surfers talk about the North Shore, they are sometimes referring to the Pita Mita area of the North Shore of Banderas Bay, which is about 15 miles from Puerto Vallarta. While the waves may not be as big or as consistent as Hawaii’s North Shore, Mexico’s North Shore does have some advantages: 1) You can easily paddle to any of about 10 spots from your safely anchored boat; 2) You can get lots of waves to yourself; 3) No ‘stink eye’ from a Big Bruddah.

We’re not going to claim that Punta Mita and the North Shore get consistently great waves — and that’s probably a good thing, or it would surely end up as crowded and as youth-oriented as Sayulita. But check out the following photos from Monday of this week. And the swell is still running pretty strong.

The water along in the Western Pacific has been cold since last spring, so the water temp on the North Shore was reported to be anywhere between 68 and 72 degrees. Bloody freezing for mainland Mexico. However, thanks to light winds and 85-degree air temperature, not everyone wore wetsuits, and most who did wore little ones.

When a decent swell hits Mexico’s North Shore, all kinds of great breaks appear, seemingly out of nowhere. So while the most crowded spots had perhaps 20 people, you could pick a break and have every single wave to yourself. Lots of waves went to waste, even at the most crowded breaks.

If any other sailor-surfers have been catching some good waves, we’d like to hear from you and see some photos. And no, you don’t have to identify the spot. But for now, here’s a selection of shots we took during a two-hour period in the mile or so stretch from the panga marina at Punta Mita to The Point. Enjoy.

There’s a hot left and a hot right directly in front of the entrance to the panga marina at Punta Mita. Yes, at low tide the pangas have to come right through where this wave is breaking.

latitude/Nick
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
For geezer sailor-surfers, the Mexican Malibu, directly in front of the restaurants at Punta Mita and the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club, is a fun but pretty mellow wave. On days such as this, 45-second rides were not uncommon.

latitude/Nick
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
There are scores of great hot sections between the Mexican Malibu and the Point. This hot Mexican surfer had countless short but sizzling waves to himself.

latitude/Nick
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
The Point at Punta Mita. What surfer wouldn’t want to trade places with the guy on the nose of this board?

latitude/Nick
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Depending on the tide, rocks can be an issue. Some are as large as Volkswagens, and you get to decide whether to ride in front of them, in back of them — or land right on top of them.

latitude/Nick
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
While three people can often ride the same wave to glory at the Mexican Malibu, such things don’t last long at The Point. Can you see the whale tooting just to the right of the trimaran? Breaching whales are a common sight front the North Shore Breaks.

latitude/Nick
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Prefer a boogie board to a surfboard? No worries, as you can still get deep into the tube at Punta Mita.

latitude/Nick
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

PHOTO

PHOTO

PHOTO

The Philippine Coast Guard debriefs the crew, looking tanned and otherwise unscathed. © 2011 Philippine Coast Guard Every experienced sailor knows that sailing on a schedule is a risky prospect, especially when the voyage covers a long distance.
On Friday we brought you the bizarre story of the ‘naked ninja’ thief who painted his entire body black and boarded the Bear Valley-based Shock Wave 42 cat Green Flash, which was moored off Cartegena, Colombia.
Larry Ellison, whose 100-ft trimaran USA won the America’s Cup, and who is bringing the ‘Auld Mug’ to San Francisco, has a new 288-ft motoryacht.