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DreamKeeper Completes Her Lap

May 18, 2011 – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Pacific Crossing
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Did Gar take sun sights all the way around the world? Ahh, probably not. But on light-air days during the Pacific crossing it was sure fun to practice. Photo Courtesy DreamKeeper
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Sausalito sailors Gar Duke and Nicole Friend of the Pacific Seacraft 40 DreamKeeper had cause for celebration last week, as they crossed their outbound track in Banderas Bay, thus completing a four-year circumnavigation. "We don't have that hanging over our heads anymore!" says Gar. They will soon start the long trek north to their old home at Sausalito's Pelican Harbor, but don't expect them before mid-summer.

When the couple headed west from Puerto Vallarta in the spring of '07 on the 3,000-mile passage to French Polynesia, then both in their early 30s, they were some of the youngest Pacific Puddle Jumpers we'd ever reported on. Before they set sail, we interviewed them in Mexico and Nicole explained, "We believe in living life now and making the big adventures happen while we still have our health, drive and wonder.”

DreamKeeper PV
Showing the Puddle Jump colors proudly, Gar and Nicole struck a pose at our '07 send-off party at the Vallarta YC. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

After completing the crossing they wrote, "We appreciated being on the ocean, witness to the power and beauty of the mighty Pacific and her changing faces. . .  Like many people, we had ups and downs throughout the passage. Some days we were in love with sailing and the thought of being out there for weeks. Other days we dreaded getting up for our morning watch, having had a sleepless, uncomfortable, sweaty night. Our emotions ranged from being elated and inspired to being melancholy and exhausted. Looking back on it now, we would both do it again.”

We wouldn't be surprised if similar emotions were repeated again and again during their four-year cruise. Gar and Nicole's '10 feature article on Pirate Alley gave us first-hand insights into the prickly process of bringing a boat through the Gulf of Aden these days (See the June, 2010 edition of Latitude 38.) We look forward to hearing about more of their adventures — and sharing them with you, of course.

Aden arrival
Having run the gauntlet through the Gulf of Aden, Gar and Nicole were greatly relieved to arrive unscathed in this Aden anchorage. Photo Courtesy DreamKeeper
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / at

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New items in Our Chandlery

Classy Deadline the 15th


Bridge Height Finder

May 18, 2011 – Waterways Everywhere

In May 2's 'Lectronic Latitude, reader Ron Taillon wondered if a device existed that would give a sailor approaching a bridge "a quick reading from the deck so you can have confidence in trusting the chart's readings." We left it to you, our readers, to answer Ron's question and boy did you. We were flooded with responses overwhelmingly recommending one device that can easily be bought at hardware stores or online.


Lift bridges can be particularly worrisome because you don't know how high the bridge tender has raised it. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"The obvious answer is a laser range finder," wrote physicist Jim Vickers. "You can range the top of your mast, then the bridge, and verify that the bridge is farther away than the top of your mast. They start at about $100 and are mostly used, by civilians at least, for measuring the distance to the pin on a golf green."


The Nikon ProStaff 550 runs $175 on Amazon. © 2017 Nikon

But our readers came through with other options for Ron:

  • Beau Vrolyk — "There is a very effective low-tech solution called a bosun's chair. You haul someone, preferably lightweight, to the masthead and they have a look. Works great, doesn't break down, doesn't cost much."
  • Mike Stevens — "Mount a camera on your mast head (if you have a Raymarine CP this is simple to display at the helm). Or find a piece of driftwood — a fork or L-shaped six-ft piece is best — go aloft and lash it to the masthead in such a way as to extend forward and up like a bug’s feeler. It'll hit before the mast."
  • G. McBride — "To measure the hieght of the bottom of the bridge above the water, measure the angle with your sextant from a known distance from your intended position under the bridge, correct for your eye height above the water and solve the right triangle with the known length of the base and the sextant angle. Common knowledge before GPS."
  • Doug Schenk — "If you’re sailing one-design, the test for the bridge height is the guy that goes before you!"

All jokes aside, approaching a bridge you're unsure about can be a blood pressure-raising experience, but now you have all the options of doing so without gritting your teeth and popping a Toprol.

- latitude / ld

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Ad: Catalina Island's Two Harbors

May 18, 2011 – Catalina Island


Catalina Island's Two Harbors
Opening Day Weekend ~ June 10-12, 2011

© 2017 Two Harbors

Two Harbors, Catalina Island, is a truly unique island destination. With just the right mix of dining, activities and amenities, this rustic resort village is a true boater’s paradise.

Call (877) 778-8606 or visit www.visitcatalinaisland.com/twoHarbors/index.php.

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Artemis is Challenger of Record

May 18, 2011 – Cuplandia

Swedish Billionaire Torbjorn Tornqvist's Artemis Racing has taken over the reins as the new Challenger of Record for the 34th America's Cup. Yesterday's announcement followed on the heels of last week's withdrawal of Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino team and its hailing yacht club, the Club Nautico di Roma. Artemis Racing, whose team CEO is none other than the Bay Area's Paul Cayard, will be sailing under the burgee of the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, known in its native tongue as Kungliga Svenska Segel Sällskapet.

“We welcome KSSS and their team Artemis Racing into this role,” said AC34 Regatta Director Iain Murray. “We also thank CNR and their team Mascalzone Latino for their efforts in the important start-up phase of the 34th America’s Cup. While we are disappointed to lose a great Italian contender in Mascalzone Latino and CNR, we are confident in the leadership we anticipate from the KSSS and Artemis Racing.”

Artemis Racing was the second challenger to enter and, according to a statement released by the America's Cup Race Management, "under America's Cup rules, automatically succeeds as Challenger of Record."

While we're not sure which rules they were referring to, it's unlikely that a potential rogue challenger could successfully employ the Cup's Deed of Gift to hijack the proceedings. Among other things, KSSS is a legitimate yacht club that predates the Cup itself and counts 6,000 members. And while "Kungliga Svenska Segel Sällskapet" is certainly more of a mouthful than "Club Nautico di Roma," by the time this over, we may even be able to pronounce it.

- latitude / rg

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