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Locked in at St. Katherine's

February 10, 2012 – London, England

Pacific Star at St. Katherine's Dock
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Since arriving in Western Europe, Pacific Star has found berthage at a variety of idyllic locations, such as this waterfront berth at Honfleur, France, at the confluence of the tidal Seine and the English Channel on the Normandy coast. © 2018 Horst Wolff

If we were going to spend a winter aboard our boat in Europe, we'd look for an idyllic setting with a colorful history where well-traveled international cruisers gather. That's precisely what Horst Wolff and Julia Shovein have done. After hopscotching across the Med for Istanbul in recent months, they nestled into a cozy spot at St. Katherine's dock in central London.

When we last saw them aboard their San Francisco-based Island Packet 35 Pacific Star in 2008, they were about to head out to the South Pacific. We recall Horst telling us that, when they decided to go cruising, it was Julie who convinced him to think beyond merely cruising the Caribbean. At her suggestion they traveled the Pacific, up through the Gulf of Aden in '10, and on to the Med.

with Captain Fatty
If we're not mistaken, that's our old friend Cap'n Fatty Goodlander in the foreground, who interviewed Horst and Julie in Turkey. Photo Courtesy Pacific Star
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In contrast to plenty of mild-weather sailing, the couple saw Force 8 and 9 conditions while rounding the southern coast of Greece's Peloponnese, on their way from Crete to Ithaca. "We had been warned about taking this notoriously windy route as most sailors preferred to cut through the Peloponnese using the Corinth Canal," writes Horst. "We did not regret our decision as we marveled at the wildly rugged beauty of this little-travelled part of the Med. Along the way we anchored in beautiful, small sheltered bays among the myriad of Greek islands. We were constantly reminded of the stories of Odysseus and Jason and the Argonauts as ancient names on the charts were the same as in the old tales."

tower bridge
London's famous Tower Bridge and many other historic sites lie within walking distance of Pacific Spirit's winter refuge at St. Katherine's Dock. © 2018 Horst Wolff

Learn more about Horst and Julia's travels in an upcoming edition of Latitude 38 magazine — which is always free and downloadable from our website.

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Three Sailors Rescued off Hawaii

February 10, 2012 – Honolulu, Hawaii

James family - Mitch, mom Megan hugging West, and Brad - pose in front of Liahona shortly before their departure. Photo Courtesy Liahona
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Three Canadian sailors, including a nine-year-old boy, are safe in Honolulu after a harrowing rescue from their 38-ft sailboat Liahona, about 280 miles northeast of Hilo early Wednesday morning. Bradley James, along with brother Mitchell and son West, had left Puerto Vallarta on January 11 bound for Hawaii on their first ocean crossing. They report the weather was relatively uneventful until Sunday, and by Tuesday, it had deterioriated drastically — 13-ft seas and 35-knot winds — and caused unspecified damage to the forestay. Brad hauled Mitch up the mast to effect a repair, but Mitch was thrown into the water when the mast cracked. Brad was able to bring his brother aboard, but they feared he'd suffered a concussion in the fall. As the pair attempted a jury rig, the mast fell away completely. To top things off, the engine overheated.

Mitch, West and Brad aboard Horizon Reliance after their dramatic rescue. Photo Courtesy Horizon Reliance
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

On Tuesday afternoon, Brad called the Coast Guard for rescue. They, in turn, alerted the 893-ft container ship Horizon Reliance, which was about 150 miles northeast of Liahona. Six hours later, Reliance was approaching the stricken sailboat when a 30-ft wave smashed the small boat into the bow of the behemoth. The hull reportedly cracked, causing the boat to capsize and sink. All three aboard were thrown into the water — Mitch on one side of Reliance, Brad and West on the other. Mitch was quickly rescued, but it took another 90 minutes for the others to be brought aboard.

All three were none the worse for wear on their arrival in Honolulu yesterday.

- latitude / ladonna

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Ad: El Salvador Rally

February 10, 2012 – Bahia del Sol, El Salvador

© 2018 Bahia del Sol El Salvador Rally /

Expand your horizons! Join a completely different kind of rally where you travel at your own pace to enjoy a springtime rendezvous with other like-minded, adventuresome cruisers. The spectacular rally destination of Bahia del Sol, El Salvador, offers a relaxing atmosphere with a 'cruisers vacation' feel. This is a place where you can safely leave your boat for as long as you wish to enjoy all El Salvador has to offer. No entry fee – no whining! Third Annual Rally, March 10-April 29, 2012.

© 2018 Bahia del Sol El Salvador Rally /

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Weekend Racing Preview

February 10, 2012 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

J/105s at RegattaPRO
J/105s round the windward mark in last month's RegattaPRO Winter One Design races. © 2018 Jeff Zarwell /

Two San Francisco Bay midwinters will be ending this weekend: Berkeley YC's Saturday and Sunday series, and RegattaPRO's Saturday series. In BYC's series, the biggest lead is in Saturday's PHRF Division D, where Nicholas Ancel's Ranger 23 Crazy Horse is ahead by seven points. In the RegattaPRO Winter One Design series, the Melges 24 Personal Puff has the biggest lead, of six points. Always Friday leads the four-boat Antrim 27 division with five points.

The busy El Toro Juniors and Seniors will be heading over to Oakland's Lake Merritt on Saturday for the penultimate installment of the Robinson Memorial Midwinters. Sequoia YC and Tiburon YC's midwinters continue on Saturday, and on Sunday, Island YC's Island Days series continues with "hot Estuary midwinter action. Get in some light air racing," says their website, "unless it's storming!"

Down the coast, Half Moon Bay YC hosts the Londerville Cup for Cal 20s, Coronado 15s and Lasers on both days of the weekend. Santa Cruz YC's Winter Laser Regatta is scheduled for Sunday.

Keep track of all that's going on this month at and plan your entire sailing season at

- latitude / chris

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AC34 on S.F. Bay - Place Your Bets

February 10, 2012 – San Francisco

C.W. Nevius, who writes about the America's Cup from time to time for the San Francisco Chronicle, doesn't know shit about sailing. He proved that yesterday by writing some nonsense  about "tacking to leeward." We don't hold his sailing ignorance against him, as sailing can be as difficult for non-sailors to understand as cricket is to most of the world.

But Nevius did have a point in yesterday's report, which is that until the event authority — a.k.a. Larry Ellison — and San Francisco come to an agreement about leases of port land, there is no certainty there will even be an America's Cup on San Francisco Bay next year. That it's not a done deal was one of the main points we made in the 'America's Cup Insider's Guide' article in this month's Latitude.

Are the dreams of an America's Cup on San Francisco Bay about to fly away. © 2018 Gilles Martin-Raget /

Nevius, who says he's covered about a million Olympics, reports that such games of chicken aren't anything new between event organizers and local governments where the events are to be held. But he sounded a little concerned. As are we.

The other worriesome thing about the Cup is the speculation that only three teams — Oracle, the Paul Cayard-lead Team Artemis from Sweden, and Emirates Team New Zealand — will build the 72-ft cats that are to be used in the Finals. And that all the rest of the teams aren't going beyond the 45s. That would tend to lessen the gravitas of the event, wouldn't you agree?

So we're asking you, Latitude readers, to place two bets on the America's Cup right now. First, will there even be an America's Cup on San Francisco Bay late next summer? Second, if the event does happen, will it surprise to the upside or the downside? You can add comments, but because we expect to get lots of responses, please limit them to 100 words.

- latitude / richard

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