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The Revived Sea of Cortez Sailing Week

April 7, 2008 – La Paz and the Sea of Cortez

Caleta Partida
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Spectacularly beautiful Caleta Partida, about 20 miles north of La Paz, was the finish line for two races and the center of most Sailing Week activity. © 2018 Glenn Twitchell

Twenty-five years after founding the Sea of Cortez Sailing Week, which flourished for about seven years before going into a long decline and eventually dying, Latitude revived the event starting on April Fool's Day. Folks who participated will, we're certain, assure you they had a helluva a great time.

Isis and Legato
Enjoying the boisterous conditions with a spectacular backdrop during the Isla San Francisco to Caleta Partida Race were Brendan Busch and Baba's SC52 Isis and the late Jim Forquer's Cantana 52 Legato. The latter boat was, of course, sailed conservatively. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Sunset Cruise
Almost all the participants in the revised Sea of Cortez Sailing Week were aboard for the sunset cruise on Profligate. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There were two main differences between the original and the revised versions. The first is that the revised Sailing Week was, by intent, much smaller. Not wanting another fleet of 175 boats at Caleta Partida, we deliberately downplayed the event, targeting it toward folks who really love to sail. The result was 34 sailors on 12 boats that included everything from a Corsair 31 to a Santa Cruz 52. It was like Cheers, where after a couple of days everybody knew each other's names. Thanks to such a small group, Profligate was able to accommodate the entire crowd for potlucks, sundowner parties, and even a sunset cruise.

Isis and Eupsychia
Isis and David Addleman's Monterey-based Cal 36 Eupsychia battle it out in the typically light breezes of the Sea. None of the boats in the fleet could finish the race to Isla San Francisco. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The second difference is that there were four relatively long races: from La Paz to Caleta Partida, to Isla San Francisco, back to Caleta Partida, and back to La Paz. As can be expected in the Sea, there were periods of light winds. Other times, however, the sailing was excellent. The run from Isla San Francisco back to Partida, for example, was in as much as 22 knots of wind, with several boats topping out at 16 knots or close to it. And although yesterday's sail back to La Paz started with several hours of light air, the breeze came up for the last eight miles. It was warm and dry, the sky was all blue, the sea was all blue, and on Profligate we were sailing in the low to mid teens in conditions as sweet as we could ever recall.

When not racing, volleyball was one of the favorite fleet activities. As the tide came in and the court was covered in up to 18 inches of water, the bellyflops became more frequent. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Somebody has to be the disciplinarian. When the going got tough, Wayne of Capricorn Cat donned his Mexican wrestling hood and put Ayla Millet, who will celebrate her 16th birthday at this fall's Ha-Ha awards party, in a headlock. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There was also a memorial flavor to the event, as many of the group had come to know and love the late Jim Forquer of the Newport Beach-based Catana 52 Legato. Forquer's estate allowed Kevin Millet and family, the delivery crew, to attend Sailing Week with the boat on their way back to California in recogniton of his love of sailing. Tributes were left on peaks at both Caleta Partida and Isla San Francisco, overlooking the waters that Jim had loved to cruise.

During a break at Isla San Francisco, several members of the fleet tried to get this foiled 'water bike' to work. When even Heather of Eupsychia couldn't do it, everyone gave up. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We're currently consulting with Patsy Verhoeven of the La Paz-based Gulfstar 50 Talion, who did so much to help the event, on how to proceed with it in future years. We'll keep you posted.

Most of the members of the fleet got up at 7 a.m. to climb a peak at Isla San Francisco to say their last goodbyes to Jim Forquer. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The revised Sea of Cortez Sailing Week ended in fine style aboard Profligate, with Jim Foy driving at 13 knots, and Doña and Gilly, half the crew, enjoying the sun and speed. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / rs

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Zihua Pier Project Cancelled

April 7, 2008 – Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Twice a day local fishermen can be seen launching their boats off Zihua's downtown beach. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In some parts of Mexico, rampant development seems to be unstoppable these days. However, in answer to widespread public protest, the government's Secretary of Communications and Transportation recently announced the cancellation of plans to construct an enormous cruise ship pier through the heart of Zihua Bay.

This is good news indeed for cruising sailors, shore-based tourists and townspeople alike, as the pier would have eliminated much of the traditional fishing boat anchorage, while forever changing the peaceful nature of the town's waterfront.

For years cruise ship passengers have been shuttled ashore in launches to the existing muelle. The recently-abandoned pier would have dwarfed it, dominating the anchorage seen here. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Many visiting sailors regard Zihua as their favorite stop along the Mexican mainland, as it has retained its authentic Mexican flavor, and has not become dominated by American and Canadian tourists — roughly 60% of the town's visitors, in fact, come from other parts of Mexico. By contrast, neighboring Ixtapa is a resort town built exclusively for foreign tourists, but its bay is apparently unsuitable for pier construction.

- latitude / at

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Ad: The Happiest Haulout Ever

April 7, 2008 – Richmond

The happiest haulout ever.
© 2018 KKMI /

Getting ready for the spring sailing season has never been easier. KKMI is offering free haulouts through April and, as always, every KKMI bottom job comes with a Satisfaction Guarantee! Not only do you get the best value on the Bay, you’ll get your boat back on time and on budget! Make sure to ask us about our free shuttle service and check out the only Travelift that smiles back! 

Keefe Kaplan Maritime, Inc. ♦ (510) 235-KKMI (5564)

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Transpac Adopts New Rating Limits

April 7, 2008 – Los Angeles

Following last year's dustup over rating limits and oddities in the Offshore Racing Rule, the Transpacific YC announced it has bumped up the limit for next year's race to include boats up to 100 feet. By also removing the limitations on powered winches, they've opened the door for the world's super maxis like Wild Oats XI, Alfa Romeo and ICAP Leopard to join the party.

"We wanted to set a limit consistent with the major ocean races in the rest of the world, and 30.48 meters (100 feet) is where it's going," said entry chairman Bill Lee.

TPYC has also added a new multihull division provided there's a minimum of two entries. There's no maximum size or speed limit  for the multihulls, but they must be at least 45-ft long, so don't plan on bringing your Seacart 30 trimaran — which is probably capable of beating all but the 60-ft-and-larger crowd on elapsed time.

So have the new limits garnered any interest from the super maxi crowd? In a statement issued by TPYC, Alfa Romeo owner Neville Crichton is quoted as saying, "I am definitely interested in participating. Just a thought: if we were to do the Transpac with several boats, it would be good to possibly come back and do the Big Boat Series afterwards in San Francisco." As much as we're hoping that'd happen, in a recent issue of Seahorse Magazine, Crichton goes on record as saying he's tired of having to 'sail with the computer' required by the canting-keel on his 98-ft Alfa Romeo and thus has a new conventionally-ballasted, 67-ft Reichel/Pugh design underway.

While it remains to be seen if the Transpac will attract the sailing world's bling to the start in July 2009, we think it'd be fun to see Wild Oats XI, Alfa Romeo, and ICAP Leopard line up alongside Gitana XIII, Sodeb'O and Groupama 3.

- latitude / rg

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French Luxury Yacht Seized by Pirates

April 7, 2008 – Gulf of Aden

Le Ponant was stormed by about a dozen pirates off the coast of Somalia on Friday. Note the French Navy ship trailing the yacht in the distance. © 2018 Marine Nationale/Agence France-Presse

Le Ponant, a 288-ft French luxury yacht, was on its way back to the Med from the Seychelles on Friday when it was overtaken by pirates in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia. The yacht's 30 crewmembers — no passengers were aboard — are being held hostage while authorities negotiate with their captors. Meanwhile, French military forces are tracking the yacht and an elite team of French commandos are on their way to "reinforce" the negotiations team. We'll keep you updated on this situation in future editions of 'Lectronic Latitude.

- latitude / ld

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