December 10, 2012

Latitude is on Santa’s Nice List

It’s possible we had reason to believe we’d be put on Santa’s ‘Naughty List’ this year but, to our collective relief, he turned a blind eye after having such a festive time on this year’s Baja Ha-Ha. Seems Santa likes to get a little R&R in the sun before his busy season kicks in, and the Ha-Ha provided the perfect opportunity to blow off a little steam, or so says the poster on the right. The poster on the left adds, "Your magazine keeps me warm on those long, cold nights at the North Pole!" (Who knew Santa likes to hang out on the west shore of Lake Tahoe?)

So it appears that, unless we screw up in a big way, we’re getting everything on our Christmas list. What about you? If you’ve been naughtier than usual, you can always buy yourself a gift — and Latitude swag makes great gifts! Be sure to order by this Thursday, December 13, for delivery in time for the big day. 

Ho ho ho!

Splash and Blast on Profligate?

Are you a new cruiser to Banderas Bay? If so, join us aboard Profligate — or another boat — tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. at the Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz for a seven-mile sail over to Paradise Marina in Nuevo Vallarta, the official starting point of the Riviera Nayarit Sailors’ Splash.

The first actual event of the Splash will be a brunch — free! — at the Vallarta YC, located in the heart of Paradise Village Resort & Marina. It’ll be a great opportunity to check out the marina, resort and yacht club. If you’re like us, you’ll bring a swimsuit because you’ll want to sample all four pools.

Arjan Bok’s cat Rot Kat, which he built on the San Francisco waterfront, will be back for his third Banderas Bay Blast. Note the mellow sailing conditions.

latitude/Richard
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

At 2 p.m. folks will board Profligate and other boats for the sail over to Marina Riviera Nayarit, which will be putting on a second Splash program from 5-9 p.m. Thanks to the Nayarit Department of Tourism, there will be free beer, tequila, appetizers and other goodies. Once they’ve had a few beers, the crew of Profligate will be issuing a swimming pool volleyball challenge to the crews of all other boats. These game are fast because the first team to score seven points wins.

New cruisers to Banderas Bay will be issued high-tech sailing shirts by the Department of Tourism, so you can all become billboards for this fabulous stretch of the Pacific Coast of Mexico. You can even wear these while you dance to the sounds of two bands — but not at once — at the Sky Bar overlooking Banderas Bay. But don’t overdo it on the Splash because the Banderas Bay Blast takes place on the following three days (December 12-14).

It’s very warm weather sailing sailing along the Nayarit Riviera, so watersports  water balloon catching and swimming pool volleyball  are big parts of the Blast.

latitude/Richard
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

To clear up some confusion and misconceptions, the Blast is all about sailing with friends, not competing with them. It’s free, and all you need to do to enter is tell us your boat name and type, your name, and your hailing port some time before the three-day event is over. You don’t need no stinkin’ badges, and you don’t need no stinkin’ handicap rating.

The first ‘race’ is from and back to La Cruz, which will be followed by a beer bust, a water balloon toss, swimming pool volleyball, and music and dancing at Philo’s Studio a short walk away. The second day is the eight-mile-or-so race from La Cruz to Punta de Mita, which will be followed by the annual re-opening of the prestigious Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club. If there are any waves, we’ll have a surf contest, too. Yes, there will be live music and hazing of new lifetime ($1) members. The last day of the Blast is also the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity. Donate $20 — or more — and do the 12-mile spinnaker run from Punta Mita to Paradise Marina with us on Profligate. All proceeds go to buy school supplies for local schools.

The Sky Bar at the Riviera Nayarit Marina. There would be dancing under the stars again this year, but they covered it with a huge white tent.

latitude/Richard
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Any other good reasons to do the Blast? How about a free berth Wednesday night at Marina Riviera Nayarit, and a free berth Friday night at Paradise Village Marina?
For additional details, listen to VHF Channel 22.

You don’t have to have a cat to do the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity, the third ‘race’ of the Blast, but it helps, because you can carry more people who have made donations.

latitude/Richard
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

A Most Dramatic Boarding

The folks over at Moto Journal certainly have a good sense of humor. One of their journalists, identified only as Lolo, was captured on video taking a tumble over the edge of a wharf in St. Martin en Ré, France, after clipping a post with his saddlebag. The rider took a hard fall 10-15 feet into the cockpit of a sailboat — appropriately named Jangle — while his Yamaha smashed to the concrete beside it. Presumably the biker — if not the bike — emerged relatively unscathed as the magazine featured the video on their website.

Someone really needs to teach Lolo the etiquette of boarding other people’s boats.

The Vendée Tango

The top five leaders in this year’s running of the Vendée Globe have been dancing back and forth, in and out of the lead position since the fleet passed the tip of South Africa. Currently, Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) has only an 8.5-mile lead over the young pup of the fleet, François Gabart (MACIF). "Maybe I’ll see Armel soon; it will depend on the visibility," Gabart noted. "I can see him on my AIS, though. I can even tell you his speed and heading!"

His wish could come true shortly if he’s able to maintain his current record-breaking speeds of 22 knots. This morning, the 29-year-old broke the solo sailing record by hitting 545.3 miles in 24 hours, breaking competitor Jean-Pierre Dick’s 502.9-mile record set just 10 days ago.

In other racer-related news, Marc Guillemot — who retired from the race just a few hours after the start when the keel on Safran fell off — has been fined by the Southampton Magistrates Court for sailing the wrong direction in the busy traffic lanes off the Kent coast on June 6. Guillemot was attempting to break his own record for the fastest sail around the UK and Ireland and refused to comply with Dover Coastguard orders to alter course. As a result, several merchant ships reported altering course to avoid a collision with Safran

Marc Guillemot was fined just over $15,000 for sailing the wrong direction in traffic separation schemes in the UK this summer.

© 2012 Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / Vendée Globe

"The Strait of Dover Traffic Separation Scheme is one of the busiest in the world," said Kaimes Beasley of the Dover Coastguard. "Mr. Guillemot was reckless in his navigation during the hours of darkness not only in the Dover Strait TSS, but also in the Sunk Traffic Separation Scheme. He put his crew and other vessels at significant risk in order to try to beat his previous record."

Guillemot was fined for two incidents, which totaled 28 miles traveled in the wrong direction in two separation schemes. For the June 6 infraction, he was fined £13,000 ($21,000) which was reduced to £8,700 ($14,000) for his guilty plea. The June 7 violation tacked on another £666 ($1,100) to his tab. One has to wonder if his sponsors — and his bank account — felt the stunt was worth it.

The Santa Barbara Independent has published a fascinating piece on smuggling between Mexico and California that also offered more details in the death of USCG Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III on Sunday.