August 29, 2016

A Most Unusual ‘Yacht’ Charter

 With all sails flying, Agnes really moves. The mid-1800s cutters that Agnes is modeled after were purpose-built to deliver pilots to and from commercial ships, and were among the fastest sailing craft of their era.

© 2016 Classic Sailing

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 ….

Needless to say, getting to know the neighbors was part of the fun for Barbara and her shipmates. Seen here are cutter replicas similar to Agnes. 

© 2016 Barbara McKenna

"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."

No, this is not a photoshopped image. The scene really looks like this when 2,000 boats try to sail through the famous ‘Pile of Peas’ (although this shot is from a previous year.)

© 2016 Brittany Tourism

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.

Get Your Mexico Visa Online

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).

We haven’t experimented with the new site yet, but it sounds as if it will make obtaining a visa much easier — at least for some travelers.

© INM

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. 

"Gannet looks as though she just came in from a daysail," says Webb Chiles of his trusty steed, a flush-deck Moore 24, pictured here docked in Durban Harbor.
The SoCal Ta-Ta sails in the spirit of Bob and ‘one love’.  latitude/Richard
©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC It’s not often you get to cruise in the spirit of Bob Marley, but you can do that in just over two weeks as part of the SoCal Ta-Ta from Santa Barbara to Catalina with stops at Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands Harbor and Paradise Cove.
Plug it in or throw it out? We’re looking for knowledge-based advice.  L
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC When Doña de Mallorca got to Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz a few weeks ago to bring Profligate north, she observed that the two 50-ft, 30-amp shorepower cords that were connected together were on the dock and out of the water.