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Surviving the Storm

October 14, 2009 – Northern California

Dave's Diving
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

'Diver Dave' Gissendaner rescues a 30-footer whose anchor dragged off Strawberry Point. "The pounding waves helped us pull her off," he reports. © 2018 Tim Sell

As all of us in Northern California know, we got pounded by what was a combination of a very early winter storm and the remnants of a Japanese typhoon. The results were record one-day amounts of rain for October, winds to 67 knots, and seas outside the Gate to 14 feet.

Another casualty
Other casualties weren't so lucky. © 2018 Tim Sell

According to Dave Gissendaner, owner of Dave's Diving in Sausalito, at least four boats broke free of their moorings in Richardson Bay yesterday. "The county puts us on stand-by the day before a storm hits," said 'Diver Dave'. "We go out at the height of the storm and rescue what we can safely." Dave, with help from local diver Tim Sell, pulled one boat off the rocks at Strawberry Point, but were unable to free the other three boats. Dave reports that either his company will be hired to salvage the boats, or the county will destroy them.

Tragic end to a beautiful boat
This wooden Ingrid 38 is rumored to be the first ever built. Dave says it's unlikely that she'll escape the Corps of Engineers' bulldozer. © 2018 Tim Sell

We hope nobody was offshore headed to San Diego for the start of the October 26 Baja Ha-Ha. Fortunately, according to, the weather off the coast of California looks much better for the next week.

But we'd like to know if your boat sustained any damage in yesterday's fierce winds. Did anyone's roller furling headsails come loose? Did a dockline snap?  In other words, were there any October lessons learned for the upcoming winter storms? Email Richard with your stories.

- latitude / rs & ld

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Deliver School Supplies to Baja

October 14, 2009 – Turtle Bay

As Tropical Storm Patricia dwindles to a measly remnant low, the effects of last month's Hurricane Jimena are still being felt in many places along Baja. Cruisers Steve and Edie Hollan of the Yorba Linda-based Irwin 37 Andalucia have coordinated with officials in Turtle Bay to facilitate donations to local schools.

"A lot of southbound boats have asked for ways to donate needed items to the children's schools in Baja," the couple wrote on their blog. "We have friends who have a small business in Bahia Tortugas so we contacted them about giving back. They responded with lists compiled by the mayor's wife, Guillermina Jimenez."

The lists — found here — include standard school supplies easily and inexpensively bought at discount stores. Tuck them away until you reach Turtle Bay, where Mrs. Jimenez will have them picked up from your boat. The Hollans report that donations can also be left at the mayor's office, but be sure to write "DIF" on the package.

Local kids need school supplies
Who wouldn't want to help these gregarious Turtle Bay students? If you have a little extra space onboard, help them out by taking some school supplies on your way south. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"It will be a lot easier for those doing the Ha-Ha," say the Hollans. "During the beach party on Friday, October 30, just drop off your donation at the 'Donaciones para Las Escuelas de Bahia Tortugas' tent."

We'd like to point out that, while the Rally committee is too busy with the event to be directly involved in such charitable drives, we fully support them. If you have questions about this particular campaign, contact Steve and Edie through their website.

- latitude / ld

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Ad: Need a Haulout Before the Ha-Ha?

October 14, 2009 – San Diego

Time is running short, but we at Driscoll Boat Works are ready to help. We've been here for more than 50 years doing everything from building and repairing boats to being the base for America's Cup campaigns. We've got three Travelifts and an experienced crew to handle all your needs, and our yard is conveniently located on Shelter Island within easy walking distance of restaurants, West Marine and most other marine suppliers.

Driscoll Boat Works
I'm Chuck Driscoll and you can reach me at (619) 226-2500.
© 2018 Driscoll Boat Works /

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Weekend Racing Wrap-up

October 14, 2009 – The Bay

Belvedere Cup
The umps throw the green flag at the San Francisco YC's Belvedere Cup: match racing in J/105s. © 2018 Sergei Zavarin /

Mid-October might not be the meat of the Bay's racing calendar, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of action on the Bay. Seven J/105s showed up last weekend at San Francisco YC for a little match racing in the Belvedere Cup. Bruce Stone's Arbitrage and John Horsch's Rhymenocerous each counted 10 wins in the double round-robin format. Both beat each other once, with the latter taking the regatta by virtue of winning their second match.

For the shorthanders, the Singlehanded Sailing Society's Vallejo 1-2 drew 63 boats for Saturday's singlehanded run to Vallejo and Sunday's doublehanded return. Designed to encourage doublehanders to try singlehanding on Saturday, and the hard-core singlehanders to share the boat on Sunday, the event marks the end of the SSS's '09 season. SSS's Max Crittenden reports that Saturday favored the ultralights. Mark Howe's Farr 36 OD War Pony took elapsed-time honors, while Dylan Benjamin's Dogpatch 26 Moonshine corrected out for his first SSS win. Dave Hodges' Farr 38 Timber Wolf took the win with Scott Parker aboard, correcting out over the elapsed-time leaders — Jeff Dunnavant and Alicia Yballa on the Baltic 42 True North and Steve Hocking and Marika Edler on the Beneteau 45 Ohana. Dan Alvarez and his JS 9000 Jet Stream wrapped up the doublehanded season title, while Greg Nelsen's Azzura 310 Outsider had already run away with the singlehanded title. Did you get any good photos of the Vallejo 1-2? Send them here, and they may make it into the November issue of Latitude!

Remember, you can find all the these events and more in the 2009 Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Master Schedule. With its tide and current info, guide to signal flags, mark chartlets, club contacts and much, much more, it's a must-have for any racer's chart table. It comes in both a print edition — printed on heavy stock to last a season in your chart table — or as a download in either html or pdf formats for any updates, or in case your chart table has gone digital! Also make sure you check out our new feature — Sailor of the Month — which you'll find at the link above.

- latitude / rg

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Surfers & Cruisers Lend a Hand

October 14, 2009 – Ha'apai, Tonga

Currently cruising the South Pacific aboard Moonduster with his ladyfriend Neria, Alameda-based cruiser Wayne Meretsky reports from the Kingdom of Tonga: "The big deal at Ha'apai this week — and probably for the month and year, if you don't count the tsunami and the ferry sinking — is an influx of palangi (foreigners) here, who have arrived in a quest to clean the beaches of Tonga. The event has been organized by some surfers from New Zealand and there are perhaps 100 Kiwis and a few Aussies in town, plus a number of visiting cruisers. In addition to the out-of-towners, the local school children have been organized, propagandized and accessorized with garbage bags, and are expected to bring the turn-out to about 1,000.

Moonduster at Tahaa
Since leaving for the South Pacific two years ago, Wayne has seen plenty of spectacular sights. Here, Moonduster lies in Tahiti's Tahaa lagoon. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"It's interesting to me," says Wayne, "that the surf is on the east coast of Tonga, and that most mid-Pacific debris would be washed up on those shores — but they just aren't very accessible, so the clean-up will only address the west-facing beaches, and those for only half a day."

In any case, the clean-up effort starts tomorrow morning, followed by a big party in the afternoon to celebrate the newly cleaned beaches. Sounds to us like a worthwhile cross-cultural exchange that could easily be copied at other island groups. When asked to help out with a good cause, cruisers and other 'water people' are usually willing to lend a hand.

- latitude / at

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