March 5, 2014

Boatyard Surprises in the Tropics

La Gamelle spent the summer at the St. Martin Shipyard. She’s the boat in the back of the photo, not the front.

latitude/Richard
©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

When you leave a boat unattended in the tropics — as the Wanderer has left the Olson 30 La Gamelle at the St. Maarten Shipyard — you never know what to expect when you return.

We did expect a bilge full of water, because it rains like crazy in the summer in the Caribbean, and there isn’t any way to keep an Olson completely watertight.

We did expect a lot of grit on the boat, because hey, the Olson was kept in a boatyard, and boatyards in the Caribbean often aren’t the cleanest places in the world.

The rodents didn’t care for Stoli, Mt. Gay or Absolut, but they did seem to like mayo, lime juice, honey, and the plastic containers that those items came in.

latitude/Richard
©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

What we didn’t expect was to find that rats — or mice — had climbed aboard and decided to feast. Based on the debris, we have some clues about their dietary preferences. For example, they don’t drink, based on the fact that they ignored the Mt. Gay, Stoli and Absolut. However, they demonstrated a strange appetite for candle wax, tampons, boogie board foam, Avon Skin So Soft, and plastic honey bottles. After half a roll of toilet paper, they decided it didn’t suit their appetites. But their sampling did leave the inside of the boat looking like a confetti convention.

 Rats/mice are well known for feasting on boat wiring. We’re not sure if they supped on any wiring in La Gamelle, nor do we care. La Gamelle is an electronics-free boat by choice.

Panama Jumpers Soon to Head West

There will be no shortage of crew aboard the Hughes 58 cat Li’l Explorers. Mom and Dad (in dark blue) will have these five youngsters along, plus a baby. But wait ’til you hear what they had to go through before they could begin their cruising dreams.

latitude/Andy
©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There’s probably no place on earth that sees a greater convergence of international cruising yachts than the Panama Canal — especially between February and May. That’s when the annual migration of South Pacific-bound adventurers funnels into it from all over the world. 

So, naturally, this is the perfect time to stage our annual Panama Puddle Jump Send-Off Party at the Balboa YC. Located just beyond the famous Bridge of the Americas on the Pacific side of ‘The Ditch,’ the club is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Originally from Turkey, Aglim and Rian of the Island Spirit 36 Island Fling are on their second lap around the world. They published this book as a result of their first trip, and will now revisit some favorite places, reporting along the way for a Turkish yachting magazine.

latitude/Andy
©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Our fiesta on Saturday (March 1) drew roughly 140 sailors from at least a dozen countries, aboard 43 boats — a Pacific Puddle Jump party record. Members of the club magnanimously picked up the tab for both free drinks and snacks for all, we put on a three-part multimedia presentation about the crossing and cruising in French Polynesia, and singer/guitarist Frank Nitte — Latitude‘s ‘man in Panama’ — entertained the crowd while we conducted mini-interviews of each crew. 

As the Silverstein family of the Antares 44 Field Trip demonstrates, every crew who attended the fiesta went away with an official Pacific Puddle Jump burgee – and made a lot of new friends.

latitude/Andy
©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

With 43 boatloads to interview, our Q&A sessions had to be super-short, which was a shame, as each crew seemed to have fascinating tales to tell: There were Aussies, Brits, Canadians, Spaniards, South Africans, Belgians, New Zealanders, you name it — even Russia was well represented. You’ll soon meet them all in an upcoming edition of the magazine. In the meantime, we’re headed to Puerto Vallarta this week to meet the Mexico-based contingent of Pacific Puddle Jumpers at our annual Mexico PPJ Send-Off Party at the Vallarta YC in the Paradise Village Resort (Friday, March 7, 3-6 p.m.).

The last crew we met was David and Gita Bushby – he’s Scottish and she’s Danish – of Aros Mear. They say they’re definitely going to do the Puddle Jump, but they also want to see the Chilean fjords, so may do a lap around South America first. It doesn’t seem to faze them that David is already 80.

latitude/Andy
©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Alex Thompson’s Mast Walk

World-class solo racer, Alex Thompson is well known in racing circles for singlehanding the Hugo Boss-sponsored Open 60 around the world. Last year Alex wowed sailors worldwide by performing a keel walk — climbing onto Hugo Boss’ exposed keel bulb while she was sailing and then jumping off in dramatic fashion, all the while wearing a smart black Hugo Boss suit.

Alex performs his keel walk in 2013.

© Alex Thompson Racing

This time around, Alex, once again dressed in his finest Hugo Boss threads, stands at the base of his steeply heeled boat’s mast and jauntily scampers to its pinnacle some 30 meters in the distance. Once at the top the fast-moving boat, he stands for a few moments before launching himself into the ocean off the Spanish coast. You can watch the remarkable video here. We’d probably shy away from trying this ourselves, but it sure looks amazing. 

Alex’s latest stunt, running up Hugo Boss’ mast, freestyle.

© Alex Thompson Racing

 

You didn’t want to be transiting the Santa Cruz Harbor entrance this weekend.
So you’re in charge of Search & Rescue for the Coast Guard, and somebody calls and says "My friend who is sailing a 24-ft boat from Hawaii to San Francisco sent me a message that read, ‘I lost my life raft, in danger now.’" What the heck does that mean?
With the America’s Cup in an off year and the next AC World Series not having started yet, fans of stadium racing on big catamarans fortunately have another option; the Extreme Sailing Series.
"I was also in a meeting at the SAT (Mexican IRS) with their legal department, Banjercito (the military bank Temporary Import fees are paid to), Aduana (Customs),  and other agencies, with Maria Elena Carrillo, the attorney for our Mexican Marina Owner’s Association," reports Tere Grossman, president of the Mexican Marina Owner’s Association.