Latitude 38 has been reporting on yacht chartering opportunities all over the world for as long as we can remember. But in the World of Chartering section of our September 1 issue regular reader Barbara McKenna reports on a charter niche we’d never heard of before. Last month she booked a berth for a week aboard the 45-ft cutter Agnes in order to experience the world-famous Brest Sail Fest as a participant rather than as a mere spectator. Measuring 45 feet on deck, but carrying a 20-foot bowsprit, Agnes is one of eight replicas of an 1841 gaff-rigged pilot cutter built by her captain, Luke Powell.
"The day after arriving," wrote Barbara, "I had a great time soaking in the sights and sounds of thousands of sailing vessels. I took onboard tours aboard the 183-ft Dutch Europa, a three-masted bark, and the 376-ft Russian four-masted bark Kruzenshtern, manned by young Russian cadets. Europa still sails around the world, and currently has a 52-day charter scheduled to Antarctica. Likewise, the Kruzenshtern has berths available for cruises around the Atlantic ….
"Looking around, we saw at least four other pilot cutters that our captain had built, sort of a gathering of the family. It was an ever-changing pageant to see the various maneuvers made while packing so many boats into such a tight harbor."
Perhaps the most exciting element of the week’s itinerary was sailing with the fleet through the rock pinnacles called the Tas de Pois (meaning Pile of Peas). "As we got closer to the Tas de Pois, the breeze picked up and the boats started to pack together. There were literally 1,500+ boats all converging at different speeds and different times to pass between the two large rocks, which are only about 170 feet apart."
If you’ve done a memorable charter lately that you’d like to share with readers, we’d love to hear about it. Ideally, charter reports should be 750-1,500 words. And don’t forget to send along a small selection of your favorite photos (in medium to high resolution). Please email your materials here. Thanks.
According to Mexico News Daily and other sources, the process of entering Mexico just got a whole lot easier, thanks to the establishment of a new website that allows would-be visitors to apply for and print out actual 180-day FMM (multiple entry visa) visas online. It remains to be seen, however, if this new site can be used by visiting boaters.
During the past few years we’ve reported often on new online infrastructure that allowed boaters to obtain Temporary Import Permits (TIPs) for their boats online, and for ‘nautical tourists’ to pay for, and print out, receipts for visas. But this new site may supersede that one, as it appears to be more streamlined. Boaters walked away from the older site with a computer-generated receipt for their entire crew, but then had to go through an additional process with government officials upon arrival in a Mexican port in order to get an actual multi-colored FMM in hand. On the new site, visitors can obtain an FMM, which is good for 180 days, up to 30 days in advance of travel. The fee is 332 pesos per visa (about $18 USD).
Before you sailors start dancing a jig, though, we should point out that the opening page of the site has choices for only land or air travelers. But hopefully that will change soon. In any case, it will make visa logistics much easier for friends and family who are flying in to join you.
Clearly, the new site’s development was primarily engineered to speed up border-crossing procedures at places like San Ysidro, which sees roughly 22,000 southbound border crossers every day. But we’ll check into the matter further and will let you know if it may be used by boaters also, without unforeseen complications. Stay tuned.