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Socrates Makes Emergency Stop in Bay

November 5, 2012 – Sausalito

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Sausalito diver Tim Sell kindly set up a buoy retrieval system that Socrates couldn't miss in the dark. © 2018 Tim Sell /

It's unusual for someone who's attempting to set a nonstop solo circumnavigation record to make a pit stop along the way, but that's just what Jeanne Socrates did late last week. Socrates, who set off from Victoria, BC, on October 22 on her third attempt at a nonstop trip around, was off the Oregon coast just a few days after her departure when she noticed that her speed had gone from a solid six knots to three. She popped her head up to find that her liferaft had slid right out of its mount and into the sea, instantly inflating and acting as a very efficient drogue. She had little choice but to cut it free. 

After notifying the Coast Guard of the unmanned liferaft, she contacted the World Speed Sailing Record Council — the organization that will ratify her record — for advice. She had no interest in continuing such an arduous journey without a such an important piece of emergency equipment but she didn't want to abandon her attempt, especially so soon after the start. Thankfully the WSSRC agreed and gave her explicit instructions on how she could and could not effect the replacement of the raft. A boat could tie up to her and pass her the equipment but no tools could be offered and no one could come aboard. 

Sal Sanchez of Alameda's Sal's Inflatables hands over the liferaft mount. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Her contact at the WSSRC was clear: No one could board the boat but she could receive all the verbal advice that was necessary. © 2018 Tim Sell /

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, Socrates took advantage of a flood tide to take a buoy generously offered by Sausalito YC. Sausalito diver Tim Sell had set up a can't-miss retrieval system so she could not only spot it in the dark, but could easily pull it aboard. Then this writer, her husband, Sal Sanchez of Sal's Inflatables and Sell converged on Socrates' Najad 380 Nereida on Friday afternoon to hand off her new raft.

It was tricky, and involved lots of wacky engineering (plus a whole lot of breath holding), but Jeanne managed to get the raft secured. Phew! © 2018 Tim Sell /

It's difficult enough mounting a raft on a stern rail while at anchor but when a 69-year-old woman who weighs about as much as a wet Yorkie must do so completely unassisted, folks get creative. It wasn't easy and it wasn't quick but eventually Socrates — with lots of advice from the boys — was able to fit the raft into its mount and secure it. 

When we left her on Friday afternoon, she'd hoped to leave that night but light winds and ineffectual currents conspired to keep her in the Bay until this morning. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Socrates had hoped to take advantage of the ebb tide that night but light winds forced her to anchor just outside Richardson Bay for the weekend. Several Bay Area sailors dropped by to say hello, which cheered her immensely. "Two offered bottles of wine, which I couldn't accept, unfortunately, but the face-to-face chats were nice because they were the last I'll have before I get back," she said.

At last word, Socrates weighed anchor this morning. Once out the Gate, she'll turn left and chart a very long course for Victoria. Follow her trip at

- latitude / ladonna

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

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See the current magazine here.

Comment on Ocean Racing Requirements

November 5, 2012 – San Francisco

"The Northern California Offshore Racing Council Safety Committee has posted a draft of the minimum equipment requirements for offshore races, and we're seeking public comment," writes OYRA President and Safety Committee member Andy Newell. For those who were living under a rock this year, the NORCAL ORC was established after the tragic Full Crew Farallones Race in April when five out of eight crewmembers aboard the Sydney 38 Low Speed Chase perished when the boat went up on Southeast Farallon Island. The council has been tasked with developing and implementing standard race requirements for all offshore races that start from San Francisco Bay, and they would like to hear your feedback by November 16.

- latitude / ladonna

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Ad: NorthStar Marine Insurance

November 5, 2012 – Walnut Creek

NorthStar Marine Insurance

© 2018 NorthStar Insurance /

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Weekend Fun in Turtle Bay

November 5, 2012 – Turtle Bay, Baja California Sur

Despite stacking the deck with dozens more women than men, somehow the hombres won the tug-of-war this year. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

After a splendid beach party Friday on an uninhabited section of Turtle Bay, the fleet set sail at 8 a.m. Saturday on Leg Two, a 240-mile run to remote Bahia Santa Maria. Although winds were initially under 10 knots, there was enough pressure for most boats to fly their chutes throughout the morning, and by mid-afternoon the breeze built to as much as 15 knots, and didn't back off until nearly midnight. Skies cleared mid-morning, yielding brilliant sun-tanning weather.

Locals love mingling with the crazy Ha-Ha'ers. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Tamara Lee Ann crew gets a little goofy on the sands of Turtle Bay. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The arrival of the Ha-Ha fleet is by far the biggest event that touches the otherwise sleepy fishing village of Turtle Bay, so the locals are always thrilled to mix and mingle with fleet members — or just observe their antics in the restaurants, on the beach and on the baseball field. As always, an enormous potluck was organized during the party, and a number of the fleet's more fortunate fishermen brought in an abundance of tuna, dorado and wahoo to barbecue and share. Local entrepreneurs turned out to sell ice-cold beer and homemade tacos.

Local kids joined in an impromptu game of soccer. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

With water temps warmer than usual, the fishing on Leg One was exceptional. As a result, there was plenty of freshly grilled fish to share at the beach party. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

By the time you read this, many boats will have arrived at spectacularly unspoiled Bahia Santa Maria, where the fleet will lay over for two days before the Wednesday start of Leg Three — the 180-mile final leg to Cabo San Lucas.

With an abnormally large contingent of young sailors this year, beach volleyball action was at a higher level than usual. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Adding a new element to this year's fiesta, someone from the town provided a pi├▒ata for the youngest Ha-Ha'ers. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Monday at BSM is always dedicated to catching up on sleep, hiking to the top of the sheltering hillsides, and beach combing on the seemingly endless stretches of white sand that encircle the bay. 

- latitude / andy

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