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February Latitude Hits the Streets

January 30, 2009 – Bay Area

Sweetheart Sailing
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Put a smile on your lady's face by taking her sailing for Valentine's Day. And don't forget to pick up the February issue of Latitude 38 before you go. Photo Latitude / Annie
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The February issue of Latitude 38 is hot off the press and being delivered around the Bay Area as this edition of 'Lectronic Latitude is uploading. Check out the report on the less-than-windy-but-still-a-barrel-of-fun Corinthian YC Midwinters; and the thrilling story of a South Pacific rescue; and the update on Balclutha's haulout; and what a harbormaster's day is really like (it's not what you'd expect). There's so much more packed into this issue that you'll just have to grab a copy for yourself. But you better hurry — we've heard reports that some outlets have been 'selling out'!

- latitude / ld

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Two Sailors Lost in Indian Ocean Capsize

January 30, 2009 – Off Madagascar

Quen & daughter
Quen Cultra, seen here with one of his daughters, started off on his second circumnavigation in September 2007. Photo Courtesy Queequeg II
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Leo Sherman, an educator from Illinois, appears to be the only survivor after a homebuilt 43-ft catamaran capsized 200 miles east of Madagascar early last week. The boat was apparently bound from Durban to Mauritius with three aboard. In addition to Sherman, they were owner Quen Cultra and Joe Strykowski. Cultra had built Queequeg II, a Hugo Myers design, in a barnyard on his family farm in Onarga, Illinois. He was apparently retracing the route of an adventure 40 years before. In the '60s, he had built a 35-ft cat in the same barn, sailed it down the Mississippi River and eventually around the world. He documented that voyage in a book called Queequeg’s Odyssey.

Cultra spent 12 years building the second Queequeg. He departed Miami in September of 2007. He apparently relied on a revolving crew of friends who flew in to accompany him on various legs of the trip.

Last Monday, Queequeg II ran into heavy weather. Sherman said a wave washed Cultra overboard, and as he was trying to swim back to the boat, a second, larger wave capsized the boat. After setting off the EPIRB, Sherman and Strykowski made their way inside the overturned boat and stayed there for a day and a half. But when it started settling lower in the water, they decided to swim out. Sherman went first, holding onto one end of a rope. When he surfaced, he gave the rope a tug and felt Strykowski tug back. The other man never appeared.

Sherman was found sometime Thursday, more than 48 hours after the capsize, clinging to the overturned cat. He reportedly suffered numerous cuts and bruises, but was not seriously injured. French Navy divers later checked inside the boat, but found no one else aboard.

- latitude / jr

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Jourdain Sheds Keel

January 30, 2009 – North Atlantic

Roland Jourdain off Rio
Roland Jourdain seen here celebrating sailing past the latitude of Rio de Janeiro. While things haven't (yet?) gone upside-down for him, the French skipper, now some 600 miles from the Azores, is making do without a keel. © 2018 Roland Jourdain / Veolia Environment

With less than 1,700 miles to reach Les Sables d'Olonne, Roland 'Bilou' Jourdain is nursing Veolia Environnement toward the finish since losing his keel bulb and at least some, if not all, of the steel fin Wednesday night.

“I can’t explain how I didn’t capsize," Jourdain said. "When I tried to look under the boat, I couldn’t see anything. Normally, I should have seen something, but I shan’t be diving in these conditions, as there is quite a swell. On the other hand, I do know that if I hoist more sail, the boat heels over so there is definitely a problem with the keel. In the coming hours, I’m going to have to keep a close watch on the situation depending on the sea and weather to see how I can safely continue. I’ll do my utmost to get back to Les Sables unless the sea state does not allow me or it is simply too risky. I just need a helping hand from destiny and some normal weather to complete the race."

Veolia Environment
Roland Jourdain is sailing Veolia Environnement now with what we presume is a little less heel. © 2018 Jean Marie Liot/ DPPI/ Vendee Globe

For now, he's proceeding under reduced sail with all of his water ballast tanks filled. The Azores lie some 600 miles ahead on his current course; Jourdain plans to assess the damage there before deciding whether or not to continue. The damage is believed to be related to Veolia's collision with a large marine mammal in the South Atlantic, although Jourdain did dive and inspect the keel after the incident and found no damage at the time. He's currently lying in second place with a roughly 250-mile lead over third place Armel Le Cléac'h on Brit Air. At the head of the fleet, Michel Desjoyeaux is cranking along, with Foncia having logged a 388-mile day with just a little under 500 miles to go. He's projected to finish Sunday; although there's some tricky sailing in front of him as he enters the Bay of Biscay, Desjoyeaux will likely be setting a new Vendée Globe record of around 85 days — a two-day improvement over Vincent Riou's 2004-05 mark, which was set on a 5% shorter course.

- latitude / rg

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Dinius Trial Postponed Till May

January 30, 2009 – Lake County

Lake County News is reporting that the trial of Bismarck Dinius, which was slated to begin this month, has been pushed back to May. The postponement was requested by Deputy District Attorney John Langan and was not opposed by Dinius's attorney Victor Haltom.

As you'll undoubtedly recall, Bismarck Dinius happened to be holding the tiller of a drifting sailboat on Clear Lake on the night of April 29, 2006, when Lake County Deputy Sheriff Russ Perdock slammed into it at a high rate of speed, killing Lynn Thornton. In what we see as a flagrant slap in the face to Lady Justice, Dinius was charged with manslaughter while Perdock was cleared of all wrongdoing. Haltom maintains that certain aspects of the initial investigation — done by Perdock's co-workers — may not have been handled correctly.

Dinius told us last month that two articles in Boat U.S.'s Seaworthy magazine have drawn national attention to his case, and consequently more donations to his legal defense fund, for which he was very grateful. "From this point on, everything is coming out of my pocket, so anything helps." To aid in his defense, send a check made out to Bismarck Dinius, writing "Bismarck Dinius Defense Fund" in the memo section, and mail it to Sierra Central Credit Union, Attn: Brian Foxworthy, Branch Manager, 306 N. Sunrise Ave., Roseville, CA 95661.

- latitude / ld

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Three Bridge Fiasco is a Whopper

January 30, 2009 – San Francisco Bay

Three Bridge Fiasco
The Fiasco is so-named for the willy-nilly racing instructions - and is great fun because of it. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

This weekend's Three Bridge Fiasco, sponsored by the Singlehanded Sailing Society, is one of the Bay's most popular races, consistently drawing hundreds of local sailors. This year's record-breaking 350 boats will begin crossing the start line off Golden Gate YC at 9:30 tomorrow morning, heading whichever way they feel like in an effort to round three marks near the Golden Gate, Bay and Richmond bridges.

Considering the forecast for 5 to 10 knots of breeze, and the fact that January isn't known for its predictable winds, those boats might be out there awhile. So if you're planning a daysail to take advantage of the fine weather (you are, aren't you?), you should be greeted by quite a spectacle.

- latitude / ld

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