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Missing Mexico Cruiser

March 2, 2012 – La Ticla, Mexico

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Donn Pinkney hasn't been seen since leaving Manzanillo Bay on February 20. Finesse (not the boat in the photo) washed ashore a few days ago at La Ticla. Photo Courtesy Finesse
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Friends and family of Donn Pinkney are asking for help in the search for the 43-year-old sailor who left Manzanillo on February 20 aboard his Catalina 27 Finesse bound for Zihuatanejo. Finesse was reported to have washed ashore at La Ticla, 60 miles south of Manzanillo on February 29, and there's a possibility she was anchored off the popular surf spot earlier in the week. The boat has since been stripped, and there's been no sign of or word from Pinkney.

According to Bob Norquist, an Arizona-based Ham operator who's active on the Sonrisa net and who's been helping to get the word out about Pinkney's disappearance, Pinkney was last seen around 11 a.m. on February 20 as he sailed out of Manzanillo Bay. An experienced cruising couple were on their way in, having just sailed north from Zihua, when they passed Finesse. They reported she was under full sail, which surprised them as the wind was strengthening. They were even more dismayed when they realized the singlehander aboard was planning to leave the protection of the bay in deteriorating conditions.

Donn Pinkney. Photo Courtesy Finesse
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Pinkney's boat partner, Anthony Karakas, told Norquist that Pinkney always wore a harness at night when alone, but the couple who saw him leaving said he was not wearing one at that time. Karakas also said that Pinkney was planning to sail the 180 miles or so to Zihua nonstop. Since Finesse was quickly stripped by looters, it's not known if the dinghy that Karakas and Pinkney had placed on the bow of the boat before she set sail was stolen from the wreck or if Pinkney might be drifting at sea. All mariners in the area are asked to keep a sharp eye out.

- latitude / ladonna

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

March Latitude 38 Ready to Read

March 2, 2012 – Bay Area and Beyond

There's been plenty of opportunity for rainbows over the last few days, but no word on who found the pot of gold. One Southern California sailor did report finding some pot but he didn't mention if it was gold. Photo Latitude / Annie
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Yesterday our delivery trucks were scurrying all over the Bay Area delivering the March issue of Latitude 38. If you live outside the Area and have a good internet connection, you don't have to wait for snail mail to deliver your copy — you can read the entire issue, photos and all, right on your computer! You have two choices: read it online through Issuu, or download the PDF version to your hard drive. And if you have an iPad, you can now download the ePub version!

In this month's issue, you'll sail along with that crazy event called the Three Bridge Fiasco, circumnavigate with a young girl named Kara, discover just how affordable it is to cruise Southeast Asia, remember the passing of Peter Mikwitz, learn about the soon-to-be-built official tall ship of San Francisco and more than we can fit here.

- latitude / ladonna

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Ad: Intelligent Maintenance

March 2, 2012 – Planet Earth

Intelligent Maintenance

© 2018 Intelligent Maintenance /

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Weekend Sailing Preview

March 2, 2012 – California and Mexico

Sail a Small Boat Day
Among the many boats taking people out for rides at last year's Sail a Small Boat Day were two Lightnings, an Ultimate 20, a Tornado, and a Hobie Cat. © 2018 /

Richmond YC will host Sail a Small Boat Day, a fun — and free! — day of messing about in small boats tomorrow from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Everyone is invited, regardless of sailing experience, including kids (a parent must be present to sign a waiver). Bring a wetsuit or waterproof clothing and PFDs if you have them (there'll be some PFDs available to borrow). A change of clothes is a good idea, too. Among the classes of boats you'll have a chance to try out: 29er, 49er, Flying Dutchman, International 14, CFJ, Viper, K6, Sunfish, El Toro, DaySailer, Optimist, Weta trimaran, Laser, Etchells, Lightning, Thistle, Tornado, DeWitt Dinghy, Wylie Wabbit, Snipe, Hobie Cat, Coronodo 15, International Canoe, Mercury and Ultimate 20 — there's truly something for everyone. Then on Sunday, as many as 300 boats will be out racing in RYC's final Small Boat Midwinter of the season. See for more info on both events.

Golden Gate YC has one more midwinter race this weekend, after which they'll award the Seaweed Soup Perpetual Trophy. GGYC is calling Saturday's race "The Battle on the Bay," with Scott Easom's Farr 30 Eight Ball in PHRF 2 defending the trophy against challenger Brad Copper's Tripp 43 TNT in PHRF 1. See

Sausalito YC Midwinters
Waiting for wind. The "hurricane" in Sausalito's famed Hurricane Gulch has been on a break for most of Sausalito's midwinter races this season. © 2018 /

We really feel for Sausalito YC and hope that their final midwinter gets some wind. So far, they've had to abandon three out of four races. The Race Committee intends to get in two races this Sunday. See Oakland YC's Sunday Brunch Series on the Estuary also concludes this weekend. See

The San Francisco Bay weather forecast for this weekend calls for diminishing winds — 5-15 knots from the north on Saturday, and 5 knots clocking around to the west for Sunday. Hopefully, if the ebb sweeps Sausalito's racers out toward the Gate, the westerly will fill and push them back in.

Boat Fest features more than 100 new and used boats on display in the water, plus seminars, booths and entertainment. Marina Village in Alameda is hosting Boat Fest today from noon to 5:00 p.m., and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission and parking are free. Visit

"Let's go to Mexico," said the crews of 15 boats, six of whom started the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race yesterday, with eight more starting today. Unfortunately, Jim Partridge's LA-based Antrim 49 Rapid Transit hit a submerged object on their way down to San Diego early Thursday morning, doing enough damage to the boat to prevent them from racing; no one was hurt. The boats that started yesterday are enjoying a 19-20-knot northerly for a fast run down the coast. Go to for more info and to track the race. Most of the PV racers will stick around for MEXORC, March 10-17 (see

- latitude / chris

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Mexican Bale Fish

March 2, 2012 – Southern California Coast

"I went up to Dana Point from San Diego to help a friend who doesn't know how to sail bring the boat he bought in Dana Point down to San Diego," reports Kurt Roll of the Southwestern YC. "When we were about two miles off the coast of Del Mar, I spotted a package floating about 50 yards off our beam. Curious, we went over and hauled it aboard. I cut through 10 layers of super tight plastic wrapping to see what it was, and discovered it was high grade pot! A Mexican bale fish. The package weighed about 25 lbs.

"I took some photos of the bale, recorded our position and called the Coast Guard. I was eventually put in touch with the Border Patrol / Customs, who intercepted us off Pacific Beach and asked some questions. 'If you'd found a bale full of money, we wouldn't be here,' one of them joked. The owner of the boat and I both smiled and said, 'Yep.'

"I posted the photo on Facebook, and the next thing I knew I was interviewed by Channel 8 news and became the lead story just before the Oscar show. It was my five minutes of fame.

"As for Dietmar Petutschnig of the Las Vegas-based Lagoon 440 Carinthia, who did the '08 Ha-Ha, and with whom I've done a lot of sailing in the South Pacific, he's in Newport sitting for his captain's license test tomorrow. This year's cruising plan is to sail from New Zealand to Sydney, then up the Great Barrier Reef in time for the Sail Indonesia Rally.

"Happy sailing to all!"

We have two questions for our readers:

  1. How much is a bale of Mexican pot worth these days?
  2. What would you have done?
    a) Called the Coasties
    b) Kept it and tried to market it
    c) Smoked it all yourself

Email your answer to Richard.

- latitude / richard

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