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Pacific Puddle Jump Dates Set

December 5, 2012 – West Coast of the Americas

Opunohu arrival
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

As Tahitian drummers pound out an ancient cadence, a Puddle Jumper arrives at Moorea's Opunohu Bay during the annual Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2014 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC

It's no easy trick to get all the elements of your life to line up in such a way that you can sneak off and go cruising for a few years. Doing so is not only a matter of owning a decent boat and having a few bucks in the bank, but also being at least temporarily free of family and business obligations.

It usually takes both determination and luck to turn cruising dreams into reality. And some of the luckiest sailors we meet are those who find themselves ready and able to sail from the West Coast of the Americas to French Polynesia — a 3,000-mile crossing we call the Pacific Puddle Jump.

As regular readers know, we honor these adventurous sailors annually with a series of articles in Latitude 38, and host both send-off and arrival events. Plans for all that are ready to announce, so we'll hereby declare the 2013 Pacific Puddle Jump season officially open. Free online registration begins today at the PPJ website.

Savannah
Sailors from all over the world do the Puddle Jump. Even families with small kids such as the Hawaii-based McKasles. They crossed in 2011 aboard their Owen Easton 40 cat Savannah.
Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2014 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC

First, we should explain that although we call the PPJ a rally, we use the term loosely. Unlike the Baja Ha-Ha or ARC rallies, members of the PPJ begin their crossings anytime between February and May from a variety of places along the West Coast of the Americas. There are no committee boats or mandatory roll calls, but many boats keep in touch along the way via informal radio nets, sharing weather and status info.

For the last few years, one of the additional benefits of signing up has been being eligible to take advantage of a Tahitian yacht agency's offer of clearance in and out, duty-free fuel and bond exemptions for a very reasonable price. (Without this deal each arriving sailor must post a repatriation bond in cash, equal to the cost of an air ticket to your home.)

Dates have been set for our two annual Pacific Puddle Jump Send-off Parties:

March 1 — Vallarta YC, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico; 3-6 p.m. (at the Paradise Village Resort & Marina)

March 9 — Balboa YC, Balboa, Panama; 12-4 p.m. (western side of the Canal)

Both the Vallarta YC and the Marina Riviera Nayarit host free seminars to help Pacific-bound cruisers prepare. For listings see these links: Vallarta YC (see also their site's "On the Water" section); Marina Riviera Nayarit.

Working with several Tahitian partners, Latitude 38 also co-hosts the annual Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous. This three-day event is dedicated to celebrating the fleet's arrival, while introducing its members to various elements of Polynesian culture. This year's dates will be June 28-30, 2013, beginning at Papeete and ending at Moorea.

canoe race
The highlight of the annual Rendezvous is always the round-robin series of outrigger canoe races, where cruisers paddle with locals.
Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2014 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC

During the spring we'll publish mini-profiles of all crews who attend our send-off shindigs, in addition to a report on the Rendezvous and a complete crossing recap during the summer months. We'll also post updates here in the coming months. For more on this annual cruiser migration see the website

- latitude / andy

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See us at Strictly Sail Pacific


USCG Crewman Killed at Channel Islands

December 5, 2012 – Channel Islands, Southern California


Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III was killed Sunday by suspected smugglers off the Channel Islands.
© 2014 USCG / Lt. Stewart Sibert

US Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, 34, was killed near the Channel Islands on Sunday when a panga driven by suspected smugglers rammed the inflatable that Horne and another crewmember were in, said the Coast Guard. The USCG cutter Halibut had been alerted by a C130 aircraft to the presence of a panga in the vicinity. Since the islands are known to be a popular drug and human smuggling drop-off point, Halibut moved to intercept.

Horne and a crewmate boarded a CG inflatable to give chase but, according to the Coast Guard, as they approached, the panga turned and rammed them at full speed, throwing both crewmen into the water. Another CG boat intercepted the panga and arrested the two suspects aboard. There was no comment on whether drugs were found.

Horne suffered a traumatic head injury and was pronounced dead when he was brought ashore. "Our fallen shipmate stood the watch on the front lines protecting our nation, and we are all indebted to him for his service and sacrifice," said Admiral Robert J. Papp, Coast Guard Commandant.

- latitude / ladonna

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Ad: Sail with Sunsail

December 5, 2012 – Sausalito


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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

December 5, 2012 – San Francisco Bay Area

Sapphire and Kilo
The Carl Schumacher-designed Synergy 1000s Sapphire and Kilo sailed in the PHRF 2 division of GGYC's Seaweed Soup Regatta on Saturday.
© 2014 / www.norcalsailing.com

Crews bringing boats over to San Francisco's Golden Gate YC from Marin and the East Bay arrived soggy from the morning rain on Saturday, but the showers stopped in time for the second installment of the Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta. With the wind velocity ranging from around 12 to 18 knots, playing the shifty, storm-driven puffs kept the sailors on their toes. To see who's leading in the seven divisions, go to www.ggyc.com.

"We were lucky — 10-15 knots of breeze out of the southwest with nice flat water," said Gordon Smith of Vallejo YC, "but the forecast scared half the boats away." The weather predictions for VYC's Tiny Robbins Midwinter #2 on Saturday called for "howling winds gusting to 50, torrential downpours — up to 7 inches in 24 hours," explained Smith. "Despite the horrific forecasts, the weather decided to cooperate." As one skipper told him, “You just never know with the midwinters.” For more info, see www.vyc.org.

Richmond YC took notice of the forecast and canceled racing for almost all their groups of small boats on both days of the weekend. The only fleets that did sail, on Saturday, were the Opti kids! The Green Fleet and the Champs Fleet both got in six races. All but four of the 15 Greenies showed up to race, and all 14 entries in the Champs Fleet sailed in all the races. You can find results at www.richmondyc.org.

Dave Borton of Sausalito YC saw this forecast on the Internet at 7:30 on Sunday morning: "Gale warning in effect until noon PST today. SW winds 20 to 30 knots with occasional gusts to 45 knots. Winds decreasing to 15-25 knots by afternoon. Rain." SYC's race committee wondered whether or not a race would be possible, and a number of racers stayed home. "However, the rains stopped, the clouds parted, the sun came out and the weather was spectacular," said Borton. "Foulies disappeared and the winds moderated to 12 and then to 5 knots from the northwest clocking to the north late in the race." See results at www.sausalitoyachtclub.org.

Sausalito YC race
Ragtime, SheLovesIt, Sunsail 1007, and Ohana just after the start of SYC's Spinnaker Division A on Sunday. What rain? What gale?
© 2014 Dave Borton / Sausalito YC

Nominations are open through December 10 for US Sailing's One-Design Awards and the John H. Gardiner, Jr. Trophy. Categories are Service, Leadership, Club, Regatta, and Creativity. To nominate worthy candidates, go to http://racing.ussailing.org/One-Design/One-Design_Awards.htm.

- latitude / chris

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Sailors' Splash & Banderas Bay Blast

December 5, 2012 – Banderas Bay, Mexico


Beautiful Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta is the first venue for the Riviera Nayarit Sailors' Splash.
© 2014 Riviera Nayarit

The Riviera Nayarit part of Banderas Bay — one of the great tropical sailing and nautical playgrounds of the world — has two great events next week for sailors. 

The first, on Tuesday, is the inaugural Riviera Nayarit Sailors' Splash, which is the big welcome to the Riviera Nayarit for all members of the Ha-Ha and other cruisers. The Splash is being put on by a combination of Riviera Nayarit Tourism, Paradise Village Marina, the Vallarta YC, Marina Riviera Nayarit, and other Riviera Nayarit businesses. 

The fun will start at 11 a.m. with a full brunch at the Vallarta YC adjacent to the Paradise Village Marina. You can get there by foot, car, bus. Or if you show up at the Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz by 9:30 a.m., you can probably get a ride over on a catamaran such as Profligate or Younger Girl, in which case the fun will start 90 minutes earlier than for the others. After brunching, checking out the YC pool, and checking out Paradise Village Marina, folks will hop on the 70-ft cat Humu Humu, or one of the other cats, for the trip over to the Marina Riviera Nayarit. You won't need a sleeping bag because it's only about seven miles, and you won't need long pants or a coat because it's going to be warm.


Punta de Mita is the destination for the second leg of the Blast and home to the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club.
© 2014 Riviera Nayarit

The Marina Riviera Nayarit/La Cruz portion of the festivities will start — listen in on Channel 22 for the exact time — about 5 p.m. The Riviera Nayarit folks will be handing out free sunshirts — not cheesy T-shirts — to the first 200 attendees. In addition, they plan on serving a pile of appetizers at the marina's Sky Bar that overlooks the Riviera Nayarit and Banderas Bay. Of course there will be live music and dancing under the starry sky. 

If you think the Splash will be great — and it will be! — it will be followed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday by the Banderas Bay Blast, three days of 'nothing serious', Baja Ha-Ha style racing for cruisers, only in the ideal flat-water sailing conditions of Banderas Bay. The first race will start and finish at La Cruz. The second will be an upwind sail to eight-mile-distant Punta de Mita, followed that evening by the annual opening of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club. Lifetime membership in the club is available for $1 — assuming that you qualify. In order to qualify, you must: 1) Sail to Punta de Mita, and 2) accept the initiation paddle. The latter will be administered by the lovely Isabella of St. Barth and more recently Sayulita, who is the new Commodore of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club. The athletic Isabella is a heavy hitter, so those who want additional whacks will have to donate $5 per whack to the club's fundraiser.


While these gals probably won't be at the Splash -- they seem to like sportsfishermen -- there will be beer and tequila tasting at the Marina Riviera Nayarit.
Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2014 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC

The final day of the Blast is also the 12-mile Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity, from Punta de Mita to Paradise Village Marina. Donate $20 and you'll get to ride on one of the cats. You should dress in costume because . . . well, because it's festive and it's fun. Any costume will do. One hundred percent of the money collected — and nobody takes out any expenses — will go to several great causes on the Riviera Nayarit.

Speaking of money, there is no entry fee for either the Splash or the Blast. In fact, you get a free night of berthing at the Marina Riviera Nayarit (Wednesday night) and at Paradise Village Marina (Friday night). How can you lose?


An overview of the Riviera Nayarit. The final race of the Blast, which is also the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity, is from Punta de Mita to Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta.
© 2014 Riviera Nayarit

If you're in California or on your boat in the Sea of Cortez, you're probably asking yourself if these two events are going to be enough fun that you should travel to the Riviera Nayarit to participate. Absolutely!


The State of Nayarit welcomes the 2012-2013 season's cruisers to Banderas Bay. The Party starts at Vallarta YC then travels to La Cruz for the evening event. Several boats from Paradise are making the trip, come join the fun! This leads into the Banderas Bay Blast December 12-14. Click the logo or the link below to sign up.
© 2014 VYC / tinyurl.com/bxwaoqm

- latitude / richard

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