January 12, 2015

Cyber Seafloor Tour of the Bay

Ever wonder why the incoming current runs faster in some parts of the Bay than others, or why you have such a hard time anchoring close to Alcatraz? Check out the video below for a fascinating look at the San Francisco Bay seafloor.  

US Geological Survey
©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We often take a cynical view of how government agencies spend taxpayer dollars, but rarely, if ever, do we take issue with the efforts of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) or USGS (US Geological Survey). In fact, without the work of these agencies, the navigational info available to American mariners would be drastically reduced.

The video below is a very cool byproduct of survey work done by both agencies in collaboration with the California State University Monterey Bay. It’s a virtual flyover of San Francisco Bay — without the water — that reveals detailed contours of the seafloor, including actual rock pinnacles, sand waves and the influences of human activities. As you’ll see, the bird’s eye view takes you on a tour from the South Bay north to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, then southwest through Raccoon Strait, around the Central Bay, out the Golden Gate and back in again. 

Beyond the gee-whiz factor, you can glean some useful insights into why currents would flow faster in some places than others, as well as the best spots to anchor — and not to anchor — during Fleet Week or while doing an inside-the-Bay overnight. Our hats are off to Peter Dartnell of the USGS, who produced the four-minute video in 2009.

Video courtesy US Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center


Wander Bird, Star of the Screen

In 1936, Warwick ‘Commodore’ Tompkins sailed from Gloucester, MA, to San Francisco via Cape Horn aboard his family’s 85-ft 1896 Elbe River pilot schooner, Wander Bird. He was 4 years old at the time. Now 82, the Mill Valley-based Commodore, who has often graced the pages of Latitude 38 and ‘Lectronic Latitude, is cruising his Wylie 38+ Flash Girl in New Zealand. But he took time out from his travels to narrate a film about the remarkable adventure of Wander Bird.

Young Commodore was born to sail — literally, as he was born aboard Wander Bird.

Wander Bird
©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The captain of Wander Bird, Commodore’s father, Warwick Tompkins, Sr., filmed the voyage with the intention of showing the footage in theaters. That dream was never realized. However, 78 years later, filmmaker Oleg Harencar collaborated with Commodore to edit the original footage into a new film, which will debut this Wednesday at St. Francis Yacht Club’s Yachting Luncheon. Harencar will be on hand to answer questions.

Members of all yacht clubs are invited. The luncheon begins at 11:45, with the presentation beginning at 12:30. Expect to spend about $25, not including drinks. Click here for more info and to register, or call the club at (415) 563-6363.


Sold My Boat!

"Hello. Please cancel: 30-ft Catalina. The ad has been very successful and I no longer need the boat listed. Your Classy Classifieds are great!"

"Dear Lat 38: SOLD! Thanks!"

"Aloha! We are happy to say we need to cancel our ad for our 35-ft sailing catamaran. She is sold!"

"Please cancel the Classy Classified Ad for a 35-ft Cal cruising ketch; we sold it!"

"Can you please cancel our ad for the Beneteau First 310? We have sold her!"

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you want a proven method to sell your boat, get your ad into the next issue of Latitude 38! A 40-word ad is just $40, and the deadline is always the 15th of the month at 5:00 p.m. See www.latitude38.com/classyads.html.

I Love Luci

Thanks to Luci, the sun lights up the night. We first saw these lights used at dock parties at Marina Riviera Nayarit.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Luci we’re referring to is an unusual 10-bulb LED solar-powered camp/boat light. What’s unusual is that the LEDs are inside a four-inch diameter cylindrical, inflatable, waterproof plastic housing.

When not in use, the lights are only about a half-inch tall. When inflated, they are about five inches tall, and thus cast a nice light on a dining table. Lucis also have ‘handles’ on the top and bottom, which means they can be hung. A great way to hang them is by using Gear Ties, which are reusable rubber twist ties that come 12 to a pack, ranging in length from three to 24 inches.

After we’d left the Luci lights in the sun all day, ours remained illuminated all night in Profligate’s cockpit. We had them on the low setting. There are also settings for high and blinking. The two we had in blinking mode didn’t make it through the night, although we’re not sure they’d gotten a full charge during the day.

The Luci lights are inflatable and have ‘handles’ on the top and bottom. 

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We got the Luci lights from Amazon for about $15 each. Ours are white, but they come in different colors. We got the Gear Ties at Home Depot. They were cheap.

We know there are all kinds of innovations in LED lighting. Do you know of any great LED products for boats that we should know about? Shoot us an email.

After capsizing in heavy seas last Saturday, the 75-ft ketch Hawaii Aloha lies grounded in the Kona surf with her cabin destroyed and her rig completely gone.
The uncrowded Tenacatita Bay on Mexico’s Gold Coast. © Karen Vaccaro For the last two years we at Latitude 38 had hoped to start a Tenacatita-Barra Sailing Festival, similar to the Banderas Bay Blast and Zihua Sail Fest.
If you’re planning a trip to visit cruising or chartering friends in far-flung places, we know how you can earn their undying admiration (at least until you break the head): Take down a bundle or two of the most recent Latitude 38s!