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Change Is in the Air

September 26, 2012 – California

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Looking for whales in sunny Cat Harbor on Monday afternoon. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Late Monday afternoon we took a hike from Two Harbors out to some benches overlooking the far end of Cat Harbor, Catalina. We went for the exercise and to see if we could spot the whale that had been paying visits to the harbor in recent days. He's believed to be a gray whale of about 30 feet. Because of his behavior — bumping into boats, swimming around and maybe even under the dinghy dock, and surfacing next to folks in dinghies — some say he's a teen. Teen whales apparently exhibit such behavior. But we couldn't see the whale, and if you look closely at the photo, we doubt that you can see him either.

The dance floor on the patio, which less then two days before had been packed with wildly animated dancers. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The other thing you don't see in the photo is fog. Boy, has this ever been a great summer for sun along the coast of Southern California. We had tons of it in San Diego, almost as much in Santa Barbara, and every morning for the last 10 days was fog-free at Two Harbors. We came down to San Diego yesterday in bright sunshine. When we arrived just after dark, there were wisps of fog, but as of 9 a.m. this morning, it had all burned off. Being from San Francisco, we don't want to say anything against the fog — other than if we never see any again in our life, it will be fine with us.

The base of the pier at Two Harbors? Where the folks from the moored-out sail and power boats? Where are the Boy Scouts being herded on and off the ferries? Where are the lovers giving parting smooches? Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It's about a 40-minute hike from Two Harbors to the benches at Cat Harbor and back. Prior to Monday, it had sort of been a highway of hikers. On Monday we passed only one other person. And when we got to the base of the pier and the patio area of the restaurant, it was like a cheap sci-fi movie. These two areas, where there had been lots of people for the previous three months, were devoid of human life. Weird. True, there were a few people inside the restaurant watching the Packers get jobbed by the Seahawks, but to not see anyone outside or at the nearby picnic tables was weird.

The hiking in Bahia Santa Maria is spectacular. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

All it really means, of course, is that the changing of seasons is in full swing. People are thinking of school, football, fall fashions, and god knows what else. The irony is that it's almost October, and except for the shorter days, it's one of the best months for cruising Catalina and the other Channel Islands. So if you're coming down for the Ha-Ha — we've already met a bunch of you folks — make sure you take some time to smell the Channel Islands. Speaking of the Ha-Ha, the start is just over a month away, so it won't be long before hundreds of us cruisers will be hiking along the shores of Turtle Bay and in the high hills in back of Bahia Santa Maria. We can't wait! 

- latitude / richard

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Quake Rattles La Paz

September 26, 2012 – La Paz, BCS

Happy hour for cruisers in Baja California Sur was disrupted last night by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, which was followed by four sizable aftershocks. The quake, centered offshore in the Sea of Cortez about 45 miles north of La Paz, hit around 4:45 p.m. yesterday, then four aftershocks of less than 4.8 kept residents' nerves frayed. Officials say damage was minimal and no injuries have been reported.

"We were enjoying sundowners on a friend's sailboat while docked at Marina Palmira," Ha-Ha vets Julie and Bill Martinelli of the San Francisco-based Catalina 470 Voyager wrote last night. "We felt some seriously good earthquake shaking for several seconds, which was surprising since we never felt any when we were aboard in a Bay Area marina. This also happened during the middle of a rare rain shower! Luckily, no drinks were spilled, the boats got a free wash, and all is well. Ha-Ha'ers, come on down!"

A well-designed cockpit table will help prevent any tragic drink spillages during large earthquakes. Photo Courtesy Kishti
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / ladonna

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Ad: Attention, Ha-Ha and Mexico Skippers

September 26, 2012 – Alameda

Busy with last minute preparations for heading south? How is your light air sail inventory? Every season we see too many of you motor instead of sail. Do you know you can have this problem solved before the rally starts? Our friends at Island Planet Sails have special Baja Ha-Ha pricing, and, quite frankly, we can't think of a better loft for cruisers. They have done Ha-Ha's and a Pacific Puddle Jump and know what works. Click here for more details…

Spinnaker sailing in Moorea
Bruce Powell's Jeanneau 47 Calou in Moorea flying an Island Planet Sails spinnaker.
© 2018 /

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Racing Round-Up

September 26, 2012 – Three Coasts

White spinnakers
Those non-conformist Farr 40 owners fly their colors on Lake Michigan for their world championship, with the similarly gaudy Chicago skyline looming in the background. © 2018 Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

A pair of professionals sailors from San Diego had a good week in different regattas on different boats in different parts of the country. Bill Hardesty called tactics on Helmut Jahn’s Flash Gordon 6 in the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds at Chicago YC on September 17-20. (Hardesty, you may recall, also served as tactician aboard Michael Shlens' Blade Runner, which won the Express 37 division of this month's Rolex Big Boat Series.)

Flash Gordon
The victorious Flash Gordon 6 crew celebrate their Farr 40 World title. © 2018 Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

Going into the final day of racing, Flash Gordon 6 had a 10-point margin. "Transfusion was clearly our competitor,” said Hardesty. “We were able to stay close to them in the first race. They took a little bit of risk and ended dropping back and getting a couple extra points, so that made things a little bit more comfortable for us. But the race committee kept talking about doing two more races, so we didn’t feel quite out of the woods yet. When the wind was so weird out there it just whittled away at the time and they could only get one more race in. It came down to us needing a top-12 finish. It was just a surreal feeling. It’s an amazing event to win.” John Demourkas' Groovederci from Santa Barbara finished the regatta fifth out of 20 entries. See

Three 12 Metres
Kip Curren's KZ-5 takes on Dennis Conner's KZ-7 during the 12 Metre North American Championships. © 2018 SallyAnne Santos

Over the following three days, September 21-23, Dennis Conner sailed KZ-7, aka Kiwi Magic, to a Grand Prix Division win at the 12 Metre North Americans hosted by NYYC on Rhode Island Sound. His crew included many of his old America's Cup team members, with the rest comprised of U.S. Merchant Marine Academy cadets (KZ-7 is currently owned by the USMMA Foundation).

On the dock with (from left to right) Tom Whidden, Ted Turner, Gary Jobson and Dennis Conner. © 2018 SallyAnne Santos

“The boats are all pretty evenly matched; whoever gets ahead is hard to pass,” said Conner. “We started in front, though, and we know how to stay there.” Taking overall victory in the event for the Pine Brothers Trophy was Dennis Williams of Florida on K 22, Victory ’83, sailing in the Modern Division. Columbia, US 16, sailed by Alain Hanover of Massachusetts, won the Traditional Division. See

Tyler Moore's Moore Trouble, #8913, leads a clump of fellow 5o5s during their North Americans last week. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

Closer to home, San Francisco YC hosted the 5o5 North Americans on the Berkeley Circle September 19-23. With 31 boats sailing in 11 races with two throw-outs over four days, Tyler Moore and Rob Woelfel eked out a two-point victory over Mike Martin and Jesse Falsone. Third place finishers Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn were similarly separated by two points over Mike Holt and Dave Shelton. See for complete results.

J/105 fleet the NOOD
The J/105 Blackhawk, #40, won the San Francisco NOOD Regatta over the weekend of September 22-23. © 2018 Jeff Zarwell

Three Marin County yacht clubs hosted the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta over the weekend for seven one design classes and one PHRF division. Jeff Zarwell reports that, "Notable performers were Ross Stein's Corsair 24 trimaran Origami, which sailed nothing but bullets, and Scooter Simmons' J/105 Blackhawk, which not only took first in its division, but was also the first recipient of the new perpetual trophy. Scooter and crew also qualified to be the Bay Area's entry into the NOOD/Sunsail finals in BVI. Not a bad bag of silver for Blackhawk." We'll have more of Jeff's report in the October issue Racing Sheet. Also check out

Nine teams, all from Southern California, competed at the Flying Tiger 10 North Americans, hosted by Coronado YC on South San Diego Bay September 21-23. Two boats, John Harrop's Justice and Eric Schlageter's Ruckus, outpaced the rest of the fleet, with Justice winning the final race to defeat Ruckus by just one point. See

- latitude / chris

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Boatrides and Barbecues

September 26, 2012 – Sausalito

Over the past several months, we've been reporting on the progress at the new Sausalito Community Boating Center at Cass Gidley Marina. A group of community members are working their tails off to raise the funds needed to turn the once-dilapidated facility into a safe and ADA-compliant community sailing center. They're closing in on the halfway mark, but that leaves about $75,000 that needs to be found by the end of the year. 

© 2018 Sausalito Community Boating Center /

To that end, 'Boatrides & Barbecue' fundraising events, featuring — as you might have guessed — free boat rides and BBQ, as well as live music by the Waterfront Pickers (including Latitude's Managing Editor 'Banjo Andy' Turpin) are held on the fourth Thursday of every month (except Thanksgiving). The next will be tomorrow, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on the beach in Dunphy Park. Although the entire event is free, donations are encouraged — they're tax-deductible! For more on the project, go to


- latitude / ladonna

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Ad: Sale Boat of the Day

September 26, 2012 – Santa Barbara, CA

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