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The Quest for La Sirena

March 14, 2011 – Mazatlan, Mexico

La Sirena nameplate
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Next time you're in San Blas, stop in to Billy Bob's and pay your respects to the last remnants of a grand old San Francisco 'lady'. © 2018 Suzanne Statler

After many years of hearing about his customers' adventures south of the border, Sausalito marine diesel mechanic Tom List is finally getting a taste of the cruising life. For the last few months, he and his wife, Suzanne Statler, have been cruising the Mexican coast aboard their newly acquired steel sloop Begone.

As they headed toward Banderas Bay recently, Tom was excited about the prospect of running across his old friend from the Master Mariners, Glenn Burch. "He'd heard that Glenn was in La Cruz," explains Suzanne. "Tom had raced Polaris against Glenn’s schooner La Sirena in San Francisco Bay for many years."

"What a surprise when Tom walked into Philo’s and there was Glenn at the bar," Suzanne recalls. And Tom happened to be wearing a Master Mariners' T-shirt at the time with a photo of La Sirena on it.

After years of hearing about other sailors' adventures, Suzanne and Tom are now having a few of their own. Photo Courtesy Begone
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The way we understand it, Glenn had taken La Sirena south and cruised successfully for a while, but while he was in the hospital for medical issues the boat took on water. The water was pumped out and the boat was stabilized, but unbeknowst to Glenn, worms apparently entered the hull and remained inside doing their evil deeds to the hull. 

By the time the problem was discovered, repairs were beyond what Glenn could manage, so he sold her. Tom and Suzanne were determined to track her down, nevertheless. Suzanne explains, "Our first night in the San Blas Marina, we met a man with his dog who revealed the end of La Sirena's story. He said the new owner, Lee, had tried with great commitment to revive the old boat — but alas, she was too far gone. And while most of her went to the wooden boat museum in the sky, Lee donated her transom, rudder and other pieces to a local 'museum' bar named Billy Bob’s."

"We walked in the front door and there — prominently displayed — was the stern of La Sirena, transformed into a nice table." When Billy Bob himself arrived, Tom and Suzanne gave him an in-depth history of the historic schooner and appropriately, "the tequilla started to flow and a great time was shared by all!" By all accounts, Billy Bob's is a worthwhile stopover when visiting San Blas, if for no other reason that to pay homage to the La Sirena memorabilia — and to say hi to Fluffy, the 78-year-old crocodile in the back courtyard!

Awww. . . isn't Fluffy cute! © 2018 Suzanne Statler

- latitude / at

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Tsunami -- Stay or Leave

March 14, 2011 – Pacific Ocean

Given the chaos of 'tsunami Friday', it's a little unclear to us what kind of instructions port and other officials gave to boatowners. In many cases it was reported that ports were closed, but that might have happened once the effects of the tsunamis began to be felt.

We do know the the three port captains in Banderas Bay — at La Cruz, Nuevo Vallarta, and Puerto Vallarta — announced that the ports were closed. As far as we're concerned, this was akin to vets advising owners of domestic pets to put their animals in cars with the windows rolled up during a heat wave. Being in port is the last place you want to be during a tsunami.

According to John Thompson, crew aboard Bruce and Pascale Powell's Tiburon-based Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45 Calou, some docks in La Cruz Marina on Banderas Bay seem to have been the only casualties there. © 2018 John Thompson

As Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Kurt Fredrickson in Honolulu reported, the Coast Guard worked with local port authorities and harbormasters to get the word to all mariners to get their boats to sea. "People listened to what we told them," said Frederickson.

Well, not all of them. Suzie Grubler of Maui reports that "there was no loss of life but there was major carnage in the Maui harbors." It's also been reported that 200 boats were damaged in Honolulu's Keehi Lagoon.

Max Rosenberg took this shot of a whirlpool forming in Santa Barbara Harbor during Friday's tsunami. © 2018 Max Rosenberg / Santa Barbara Aviation

And here on the mainland, 18 boats were sunk in Santa Cruz and 11 in Crescent City, with hundreds more damaged. It's unclear to us what advice, if any, port captains and harbormasters gave boatowners in those two ports.

Crescent City was hit hard by the tsunami. © 2018 The Oregonian

Down in Banderas Bay, a trickle of boatowners willing to defy the 'stay in port' orders of the port captains — and a supposed fine of $4,000 to $5,000 U.S. — became a flood of outgoing boats. We're told that well over 100 boats sought the safety of the deep waters of Banderas Bay. So many boats left the marinas that the port captains responded by saying the 'stay in port' orders only applied to commercial vessels.

If a tsunami were approaching and a misguided authority of some sort instructed you to keep your boat in port, what would you do? Keep your boat in port and risk having it be damaged or destroyed, or defy authority and head out to sea? Email your responses to Richard.

- latitude / rs

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Ad: Seminars at KKMI Pt. Richmond

March 14, 2011 – Pt. Richmond

Seminar Saturdays at KKMI Pt. Richmond’s Boathouse
  • Electrical — March 19 — Hosted by Ron Romaine, this is an in-depth electrical seminar covering design, installation and maintenance of your electrical system.
  • Diesel Engine Maintenance — March 26 — In this seminar, the nautical ‘Click & Clack’ project manager Mike Haley and top mechanic, Bill Peacock, will take you through the ins and outs of your diesel engine.
  • Rigging — April 2 — Learn from KKMI Chandlery Manager Ralf Morgan about standing rigging, rig maintenance and basic rig tuning.
  • Boatyard 101 — April 9 — In this seminar, Project Manager Bob Hennessey will guide you on how to be your own project manager and learn how to get the most out of your money spent at the yard.

To reserve your seminar seat or for more information, email or call Mary at KKMI Pt. Richmond at (510) 235-5564, or visit our website.

*Not a KKMI Hosted Seminar, fee paid directly to instructor.

© 2018 KKMI /

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Weekend racing Wrap-up

March 14, 2011 – The Bay

Big Daddy
The Big Daddy Regatta brought out good numbers for three buoy races on Saturday and a pursuit race on Sunday. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

Between the Richmond YC's Big Daddy, and the St. Francis YC's Spring Dinghy regattas, the weekend brought out plenty of sailors. Eighty-six boats in seven one design and five PHRF divisions showed up for the sunny 9.5- to 12.5-knot buoy racing portion of the Big Daddy on Saturday, while 87 made it out for Sunday's pursuit race. The latter was split between monohulls and multihulls with Bill Erkelens Sr.'s Modified D Class cat Adrenaline taking the top honors among the seven multis, and Gordie Nash's Modernized Santana 27 Arcadia topping the 80 monos just a day after, taking PHRF G with a 1-1-3.

Open 5.70
The Open 5.70s brought out nine boats to take the honors as the biggest one design at the Big Daddy. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

EXPRESS 27 — Dianne, Steve Katzman
J/105 — Wonder, Tom Kennelly
ULTIMATE 20 — Layla, Tom Burden
WABBIT — Bad Hare Day, Erik Menzel
OPEN 5.70 — The Maker, Tom Baffico
EXPRESS 37 — Golden Moon, Kame Richards
OLSON 25 — Sweet Ness, Nesrin Basoz
PHRF B — BustinLoose, Sydney 38, Jeff Pulford
PHRF D — Desdemona, J/120, John Wimer
PHRF E — Sweet Okole, Farr 36, Dean Treadway
PHRF F — Flexiflyer, Soverel 33, Mitchell Wells
PHRF G — Arcadia, Modernized Santana 27, Gordie Nash

Sweet Okole
PHRF E winner Sweet Okole applies some cover to Aaron Kennedy's Ay Caliente!. © 2018 Steve Holloway/ Rune Media

Golden Moon Bullet
Kame Richards' division-winning Golden Moon tries to hold off Michael Maloney's Bullet. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

The Spring Dinghy Regatta brought out 63 boats spread out over eight classes. The Lasers brought out the biggest numbers, with a 18 boats, not far behind, the Radials brought out 10. The Wetas pulled eight boats to round out the "biggest fleets" podium.

The Wetas were the third largest class at the Spring Dinghy Regatta. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

29ER — Green Machine, Patrick Tara/Max Fraser
505 — 505, Tim Murphy/Garth Copenhaver
FINN — Finn, Vladimir Butenko
LASER 4.7 — A Salt Weapon, Joe Carter
LASER RADIAL — Radial, Domenic Bove
LASER — Laser, Steve Bourdow
WETA — Weta 4.4, Dave Berntsen
CLUB 420 — Club 420, Drake Jensen/Erica Quinn

- latitude / rg

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