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Crossing the Bar to Get to the Party

March 19, 2012 – Bahia del Sol, El Salvador

bar crossing el salvador
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Crossing the bar at Bahia del Sol can be a bit daunting, but with the help of a Jet Ski-mounted guide, its relatively safe and painless. Photo Courtesy Cirque
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Three years ago when organizers first announced plans for an annual El Salvador Rally at the coastal resort Bahia del Sol, the concept left some cruisers scratching their heads. "You mean we can show up anytime between early March and the end of April and still join in the fun?" asked one befuddled sailor.

That's exactly right. Unlike more structured rallies like the Baja Ha-Ha, the ARC or the Caribbean 1500, this annual cruiser migration to El Salvador was set up to encourage boaters who might otherwise have passed by the area to spend some time in the Bay's protected waters, while becoming familiar with the attractions of the resort and the surrounding area. 

wine tasting contest
The wine tasting contest is one of Rally's many 'arduous' competitions. This cruiser was very pleased with her win. Photo Courtesy El Salvador Rally
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One reason many cruisers had previously steered clear of this area was because of its notorious bar crossing, which can be a bit hair-raising if attempted without local knowledge. But these days each boat is escorted across the bar by a local expert riding atop a Jet Ski. As a result, few boats hesitate to enter these days. And when they arrive during rally season they have the option of taking part in as many rally-related activities as they wish. The list includes: surfing seminars, dugout canoe races, Central America touring seminars, handline fishing contest, in-pool happy hour, blind dinghy racing, a trip to an exotic reptile farm and much more. We hope to cover the Closing Celebration April 29, and bring you a complete report on the fun afterwards.

- latitude / andy

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New items in Our Chandlery

Classy Deadline the 15th


Cal Boating Still Vulnerable

March 19, 2012 – Sacramento

The Department of Boating and Waterways — a.k.a. Cal Boating — is still on Governor Brown's list of agencies to kill, so if you want to keep the Delta as weed-free as possible, or you use boat launches, or you ever use pump-out stations, or you like that a government agency has your back, or . . . the list goes on . . . then be sure your representatives know how you feel. Budget subcommittee meetings in Sacramento are scheduled for this Wednesday, March 21 (2:30 p.m., Capitol Room 2040), as well as March 28 (9:00 a.m., Capitol Room 447), and if you can't attend the meetings personally we're encouraging you to contact the subcommittee members to urge them to vote no on Brown's proposal to eliminate DBW.


Which of the 74 DBW-funded Bay Area pump-out stations do you use most frequently? © 2017 DBW / http://www.dbw.ca.gov/Environmental/pump24/index.html

The latest update from the Recreational Boaters of California notes that the proposal "may be removed from the state budget process and pursued instead as a formal government reorganization plan." If that happens, the proposal won't be heard or voted on, but since it's still on the schedule, it's a good idea to let your voice be heard. See RBOC's Call to Arms for each committee members contact info.

- latitude / ladonna

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Made You Look

March 19, 2012 – Latitude 38 World Headquarters


'Lectronic Latitude ads have the power to reach 5,000 people — a day! Advertisers tell us that their web traffic increases dramatically when they place ads in 'Lectronic. Get your customers' attention with one today. Contact your ad rep at (415) 383-8200: John Arndt, ext. 108, or Mike Zwiebach, ext. 107.

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

March 19, 2012 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

Can O'Whoopass
Paul Sutchek douses the jib on Richard von Ehrenkrook's Cal 20 Can O' Whoopass after setting the kite just shy of the Golden Gate Bridge (aka the Latitude 38 helicopter). Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Given the light breeze on San Francisco Bay on Saturday morning, the racers in the OYRA Lightship were grateful for the building ebb which carried them out to the ocean. With wind from the north at the start, many were able to carry spinnakers both ways. Then the wind filled in with plenty of force, making for a fast race back to the start-finish line in front of St. Francis YC. The first boat back was Andy Costello and Peter Krueger's J/125 Double Trouble, which finished at 13:33:10. The first boat on corrected time was the mighty Cal 20 Can O' Whoopass. For complete results, see www.yra.org/OYRA.

"After an ominous week and forbidding forecast, Saurday dawned, the clouds parted, the seas calmed, and Corinthian YC's first annual Rob Moore Memorial Race was set to start," said John Arndt of Latitude 38 and the Ranger 33 Summer Sailstice. "Skippers picked up yellow roses from the race deck to drop at the weather mark, then headed out to search for breeze." They didn't find much.

Seaya in the Rob Moore Regatta
The crew of Mark Thompson's Catalina 380 Seaya cast their roses on the ebbtide during the Rob Moore Regatta. © 2017 Leslie Richter / www.rockskipper.com

However, while awaiting the start time for the reverse handicap Angel Island loop, a whale was spotted in Belvedere Cove, where the start line was set up off the CYC deck. "The whale, combined with little breeze and a building ebb, created challenging starting conditions," explained John. "You didn’t want to miss a single spouting of the whale, at least 50 feet long by some estimates, but also didn’t want to be over early at the start. The whale’s presence was taken as a visit from our departed friend, and with that spirit the racers drifted across the line aiming for the quickest ebb to the temporary mark at Yellow Bluff. Getting to Yellow Bluff was easy, dropping roses was hard, and the building ebb and fading breeze forced all the entries to drop out after dropping the roses. Though unfinished, like so many races and so many stories, it was a fitting tribute for the first Rob Moore Memorial Race."

Whale in Belvedere Cove
Humans weren't the only creatures keeping on eye on Tiburon's grey whale. © 2017 Leslie Richter / www.rockskipper.com

Alchemy at MEXORC
Per Peterson's Andrews 68 Alchemy from Oceanside YC followed up the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta with a week at MEXORC. © 2017 / www.norcalsailing.com

A week of racing on sunny Banderas Bay wrapped up on Saturday for the 32 boats in MEXORC. "Saturday set up to be a terrific day of sailing on the Gold Cup Course," said Bruce Cooper of Ullman Sails Newport Beach, reporting from the Andrews 68 Alchemy, "with a little more wind than everyone expected and a well-set race course with a true upwind-triangle-upwind layout." The week featured a combination of windward-leeward two-race days and three long distance races. Saturday's shorter (10 nm) Gold Cup allowed plenty of time for the gala dinner and awards ceremony, where Alchemy emerged as the overall winner of Regatta Copa Mexico. "You should plan on racing at the next regatta," said Bruce. "It's a fun week of racing in beautiful Mexico!" For more about the race, see www.mexorc.com, and for more photos see Strange Bird's gallery on Flickr.

By comparison, the Volvo Ocean Race, which restarted on Sunday, has had a wretched couple of days in strong headwinds and pounding waves on their way to the Southern Ocean. Abu Dhabi, which was already in last place on the leader board, had to return to Auckland after tearing out the internal supporting bulkhead for their J4 headsail a few hours into the leg. Some quick work from their shore crew got them back on course, but then they had to shelter for several hours from winds as high as 60 knots before resuming racing. “To set off when we are already a day behind the fleet and put ourselves out of the race would be foolish, yet to heave to and wait is the most frustrating thing on earth,” skipper Ian Walker said. You can follow this grueling around-the-world race from the comfort of your armchair at www.volvooceanrace.com.

At the wheel of Puma.
This is what the last couple of days have looked like aboard the American boat, Puma. © 2017 Amory Ross / PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

- latitude / chris

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