October 17, 2016

Change of the Watch at Latitude 38

A classic shot of Latitude 38 founder Richard Spindler. He was ‘just a kid’ when he published the first issue in March 1977.

latitude/Archives
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Richard Spindler (aka the Wanderer, aka the Grand Poobah, aka the Grand PooBob), who founded Latitude 38 and has been the publisher since 1976, is pleased to announce that the magazine has been sold. "I made this move," said Spindler, "because I sincerely believe it’s in the best interest of Latitude readers, advertisers, employees, and the sailing industry. I’m very excited about it.

"The best part about the sale is that the buyer is John Arndt, who has been the Advertising Manager for most of his 30 years at Latitude. So the magazine is staying in the ‘family’. No other buyer was sought. John, who is also the founder of Summer Sailstice, believes in sailing as much as I do, which was the important thing, and has long been a leader in the sailing industry.

"The second best thing about the sale," says Spindler, "is that I’ll still be doing Letters, Changes in Latitudes, at least three ‘Lectronic Latitudes a week, and a number of Sightings articles. So most of the ‘voice’ and the attitude of the magazine will continue. The cool thing is that I get to keep doing what I love — writing, as well as photography and layouts — while I no longer have to do what I’ve never cared for, which is business."

Latitude 38 will retain the excellent staff that has served the customers and readers for all these years. "Although I’ve been writing for 40 years," says Spindler, "words truly can’t express what a pleasure it has been to work with these people, who always did their jobs without needing my supervision.

"I’d also like to recognize Kathleen McCarthy, who was with me from issue number one, and who was so instrumental in getting the magazine off the ground. We were two kids with little publishing experience or money in 1976, and thanks to nonstop work and ridiculously lucky timing, we made it work. Kathleen and I later married, had two kids, and divorced. I’m happy to say that today we’re better friends than ever, and have frequent great get-togethers with our kids.

"I’d like to thank everyone who has helped make Latitude 38 a success for all these decades: the dedicated readers, the terrific advertisers, and everyone else who has ever worked for Latitude.

“While I have sold Latitude, I will continue to own and operate the Baja Ha-Ha as an independent company, now in its 23rd year, and the SoCal Ta-Ta. Both events will continue to work with Latitude.

“The bottom line is that, while I have sold Latitude, you won’t be getting rid of me anytime soon.

"Lastly, I’m certainly not swallowing the anchor. I have 3.5 boats between California, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe, and will spend all my time living aboard them with Doña de Mallorca, doing all I can to cover sailing to the best of my ability for Latitude 38, and to foster ever more much-needed mischief around the world."

Three Sailors Rescued from Boat Fire

At some point during the fire, Laetitia’s rig collapsed.

© 2016 Petty Officer 2nd Class Philip Gilbert / USCG

The USCG, along with several local agencies, rescued three sailors after their 44-ft sailboat caught fire Friday, near Rancho Palos Verdes, a city in Los Angeles County west of Long Beach.

The Coast Guard received a mayday call via VHF radio channel 16 from the Swan 44 Laetitia, reporting that the vessel’s engine had caught fire and begun to spread. The three sailors aboard were directed to put on life jackets and move to the bow of the boat to keep away from the fire.

Crews from Harbor Patrol and Lifeguard boats fight the fire.

© Petty Officer 3rd Class Gina Miele / USCG

The Coast Guard immediately launched a 45-ft response boat from Station Los Angeles-Long Beach and the cutter Blacktip, an 87-ft patrol boat, homeported in Channel Islands Harbor, to assist in the rescue. A Los Angeles City Fire Department boat crew, a Los Angeles County Lifeguard boat crew, four Baywatch vessels and an LAFD helicopter crew also assisted in the rescue.

A sad end to a fine vessel. Fortunately, the crew aboard were rescued in time.

© Petty officer 2nd Class Philip Gilbert / USCG

At 3:30 on Friday afternoon, one of the sailors jumped into the water and was quickly and safely picked up by the L.A. County Lifeguards. The Coast Guard small-boat crew safely transferred the other two individuals to Blacktip. One of the mariners had burned hands; the other two were reported to be in good condition. All three were taken to Marina del Rey.

Great News on Temporary Import Permits

If you are taking your boat to Mexico, it’s illegal for you to sail into Mexican waters until you’ve gone online and gotten a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for your boat. They are inexpensive, good for 10 years, and you can come into and leave Mexico as many times as you want using the same TIP. Such a bargain.

Similarly, if you bought a boat that had a TIP, which the previous owner had not canceled, you were potentially in deep trouble because a new TIP cannot be issued for a boat that already has one. Supposedly, you can’t get the old TIP canceled without presenting the old TIP itself, or pieces of it, and the previous owner’s exit zarpe from Mexico.

But based on the experience of Rich and Margaret Ciolino of the Santa Barbara-based Island Packet 35 Ecco Bella, Mexican authorities aren’t being as rigid about TIP regulations as we’ve often been warned that they would be. The Ciolinos bought their boat in Mexico in 2011, not realizing that she had a TIP. They brought her up to California, and just before the start of last year’s Baja Ha-Ha, they applied for a TIP, as required by law. The computer system refused their request because, as they learned for the first time, the boat had an uncanceled TIP.

According to what Latitude has been told by numerous officials, and as outlined in Mexico’s semi-official guide to mariners heading south, no foreign boat can enter Mexican waters without a TIP. But someone, we’re not sure who, advised the Ciolinos to simply try to get it cleared up at their first port of entry in Mexico. So when after the couple arrived at Cabo, they got in touch with ship’s agent Victor Barreda, an old friend of Latitude’s and the Ha-Ha, who checks in a large number of Ha-Ha boats each year.

Barreda explained to them that he could get the boat’s old TIP canceled. As mentioned above, normally this requires turning in bits and pieces of the old TIP sticker, plus the last exit zarpe. It’s unclear to us if they had either of these. It took about a week, but Victor got the old TIP canceled. He even delivered it to Ecco Bella, which by that time had moved along to Puerto Los Cabos.

The Ciolinos didn’t have any problem with officials in Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo because they didn’t have a current TIP. They simply told officials they were going to get one when they got to La Paz. This was fine with the officials. (It’s not possible to get a TIP in Cabo, because you get TIPs from a Banjercito bank, and there is no Banjercito in Cabo.)

The Ciolinos decided to change their plans, and went to Mazatlan instead of La Paz. Officials in Mazatlan had no problem with their status either, and they got a shiny new TIP in Mazatlan.

What’s more, the Ciolinos met another couple with a boat that had an uncanceled TIP. This couple, doing all the work by themselves, managed get the old TIP canceled, and receive a new one, in Ensenada. Again, it’s not clear to us if they had both the old TIP and the exit zarpe.

This is the kind of inconsistency that drives us crazy when we try to give advice to cruisers headed to Mexico for the first time. So the best we can describe the situation is that it’s like this: Technically, you can’t sail into Mexican waters without a TIP, and you can’t get a new TIP without getting the old one canceled. But several cruisers report they have had no trouble doing it.

So it’s sort of like checking with Customs and Border Protection when coming back into the States. You’re supposed to stop at the Police Dock in San Diego, call the C&BP, and wait for them to show up. But some boatowners blow off that requirement, and nobody seems to care.

But remember, officials in Mexico change, as does their interpretation and enforcement of laws. So we strongly encourage you to get a TIP before taking your boat to Mexico if possible. It’s easy and cheap. And before you buy a boat that might have been in Mexico, make sure that her TIP has been canceled. If you decide to ignore this, and deal with it later, you may not have a problem. But you never know. 

Merlin in the sling, ready to be splashed. The banner on the side reads, "Fast is fun." © 2016 Transpac 2017 Like Latitude 38 itself, Bill Lee’s 68-ft Merlin is pushing 40 years old.
Windyty’s graphical representation of this morning’s storm on the Northwest coast. © Windyty If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, you’re no doubt getting pounded by the first of three powerful storms sweeping across the Pacific.
On Saturday, October 22, Women Who Sail is having a reunion meeting at the pool at La Cruz Inn that will include all the original speakers from the very first meet-up there in February 2014.