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Sad Indicator of Tough Times

March 21, 2012 – Santa Cruz

Crystal Blue Persuasion
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Tough times lead to hard choices, such as anchoring your boat out when you know it's not safe. Luckily, Crystal Blue Persuasion made a relatively soft landing. © 2018 Cap't Ted

It is a sad illustration of the tough times we're in that the sleek Marple 50 cat Crystal Blue Persuasion washed up on Santa Cruz' Seabright Beach on Friday. According to scuttlebutt within the Santa Cruz sailing community, it wasn't that owner Gary Burgin didn't understand the risks of leaving her anchored out in Monterey Bay all winter, but that he simply couldn't afford to keep her in a proper berth. A lifelong sailor, Burgin did his first TransPac at age 12 and has logged thousands of sea miles aboard this cat.

Burgin 09
After a few months of cruising, Gary Burgin was the picture of fitness. Sadly, though, his Mexico charter plans didn't pan out. Photo Courtesy Crystal Blue Persuasion
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Apparently she'd broken free from a Capitola mooring months earlier also. This time, some local sailors reportedly found her floating free, unattended. She was eventually towed into the yacht harbor by Pacific Salvage and Towing, where she now lies awaiting repairs. A cursory inspection is said to have revealed only damage to her rudders. 

through the canal
A photographer snapped this shot of the sleek custom-built cat heading back through the Canal in the fall of '09. © 2018 Ruben Alfu

When Burgin did the 2008 Baja Ha-Ha rally, we learned, as he put it, "Building this boat has been my father's lifelong dream." After the rally, he pursued his plan to run her as a charter boat in the Yucatan, on Mexico's Caribbean coast. But a variety of daunting problems quashed that effort, and Burgin eventually slogged home to Santa Cruz. We were heartened to learn that the damage to this well-built vessel was not too serious, and we sincerely hope Burgin can find her a safe berth soon.

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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See the current magazine here.


March 21, 2012 – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Participants agree that MEXORC should be much more popular than it is. © 2018 Strange Bird Photography / MEXORC

Today's Scuttlebutt has a terrific report on the equally terrific MEXORC: "Skipper-owner Wayne Zittel from J/World Hula Girl said it perfectly. 'Seriously. I don't get it. For the life of me, I can't fathom why this isn't the most popular regatta in the world. I absolutely love MEXORC!' Every sailor who was at this year's regatta will say the same statement, it was an amazing week of racing with races being decided by only seconds after hours of racing, and it was very competitive, fun and exciting.' Read the full report at the link above.

- latitude / ladonna

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Ad: Doublehanded Farallones

March 21, 2012 – Gulf of the Farallones

Round the Rockpile
BAMA's Doublehanded Farallones Race is a simply challenging race course with only one mark to round. The deadline to enter is March 28!
© 2018 BAMA /

It's time to make plans and prepare your crew and boat for BAMA's 33rd Doublehanded Farallones Race on Saturday, March 31. Register today to avoid a late fee. The skippers' meeting on March 28 at Oakland YC will feature guest speakers John Craig, PRO of the 34th America's Cup, and Lt. Commander Desarae Janszen, USCG Waterways Management Division Chief for Coast Guard Sector San Francisco.

Favorable weather is forecast. See for complete information, or email or call (650) 394-6343. Also check out BAMA's GPS track Race Replay page.

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Pirate Women's History Month

March 21, 2012 – All Over the World

Johnny Depp may have made pirates seem downright hip with his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow, but real-life pirates are no joke, as evidenced by the horrors perpetrated by the current throng of Somali pirates terrorizing the Gulf of Aden. Back in the heyday of piracy, colorful characters such as Blackbeard, Jean Lafitte and Henry Morgan were both revered and reviled for their acts, but the occupation wasn't the sole domain of man. Women all over the globe got in on the looting action, and since March is Women's History Month, we thought we'd share some details on a few of the world's most famous female pirates.

Real piratesses were less likely to dress like this back in the Golden Age of Piracy. © 2018 Jack Sparrow

Perhaps the best-known was Anne Bonney (1702-1782), who sailed in the Caribbean with her lover John 'Calico Jack' Rackham and fellow female pirate Mary Read aboard their stolen sloop Revenge. The ship was captured in Jamaica, but only after the two women, along with only one male crewmember, fought fiercely to hold off the troops. The women were granted stays of execution after they "pled their bellies" (each was pregnant), but when 'Calico Jack' was being led to the gallows, Anne was less than sympathetic. "Sorry to see you there," she was reported to have told him, "but if you had fought like a man, you need not have been hang'd like a dog."

This is how Mary Read and Anne Bonney 'dressed to kill'. © 2018 Calico Jack

The so-called "Queen of the Pirates" was Gráinne Ní Mháille/Grace O'Malley (1530-1603) who commanded a fleet of 20 ships up and down Ireland's coastline, attacking any English merchant ship she could find. In England, Charlotte de Berry (c 1650s) supposedly dressed like a man to join her husband in the Royal Navy. A horrifying tale of murder, rape, shipwreck, cannibalism and suicide followed, leading scholars to suspect her story was a mere fiction.

Lady pirates weren't just found in the Caribbean and British Isles. A fifth century legend of Swedish piratess Awilda details her refusal to marry her father's choice by commandeering a ship with a group of female friends. She was elected captain by the crew of another pirate ship and was later captured by the Prince of Denmark, who, of course, married the saucy lass. In Newfoundland, Maria Lindsay (1700-1760) plied the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence with her husband Eric Cobham, and became known for giving no quarter (killing everyone they captured). According to lore, the couple practiced their trade for 20 years before settling down in France. And finally, the story of Ching Shih (1775-1844) comes from China, where the brilliant Cantonese pirate left prostitution to terrorize the China Sea with a fleet of 1,800 ships and more than 80,000 pirates. She was so powerful that the Chinese emperor offered her amnesty, which she accepted. She took her loot, opened a gambling house and lived happily for another 34 years.

Ching Shih inherited her husband's pirate fleet after he died, making her the most powerful female pirate in history...and one seriously bad-ass chick. © 2018 Webb Logg

- latitude / ladonna

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