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February 6, 2013 – The Waters of the World

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Ahh. . . it's a. . . Think you know? Send us an email. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

What is this? Send your best guess here.

- latitude / richard

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Zihua Fest Now in Full Swing

February 6, 2013 – Zihuatanejo, Mexico

The Mexican coastal fishing town of Zihuatanejo is normally thought of by cruising sailors as a pretty sleepy place — especially when compared to busy tourism centers like Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. But this week, it's anything but sleepy, as the streets are abuzz with excitement over the annual Zihua Sailfest.

Zihua Sailfest is a great chance to hang out with friends - new and old - and to make a difference in some young scholars' lives. © 2018 Pamela Bendall

"The hundreds of hours of planning and preparation have come together, and now the fun begins with the Grand Kick-off party at the Barracuda Lounge," said Sailfest volunteer Pamela Bendall yesterday, "with the live auction starting at 7 p.m. Already the town is a sea of 2013 Sailfest T-shirts and hats and you can just feel the energy everywhere."

Today there's a low-key pursuit race, followed tomorrow by a sail parade through Zihua harbor and along the beachfront of neighboring Ixtapa.

Everyone loves a parade! © 2018 Pamela Bendall

Although Sailfest includes both shoreside and on-the-water activities that result in lighthearted fun, it also has a higher purpose: providing educational assistance to disadvantaged children in the area. Most if not all Sailfest activities have a fundraising component to them. And those funds go to build and equip rural schools, and even help to fund teachers' salaries. Why the need for non-governmental support? Many indigenous kids are caught in a classic 'Catch 22': They speak non-Spanish indigenous dialects, but in Mexico you have to speak Spanish to attend school — which begs the question: How are these poor kids supposed to learn the national tongue if there are no schools who will teach them? Today, thanks to wide support of Sailfest from sailors, expats-in-residence and local business people, hundreds of young scholars have been put on a path to mainstream education. 

The indigenous kids of the Zihua are the real winners of Sailfest. © 2018 Lynn Bradbrook

To learn more about Sailfest see the event's website. Tax deductible donations to this worthy cause can be made through the Por Los Ninos Foundation.

- latitude / andy

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Ad: NorthStar Marine Insurance

February 6, 2013 – Walnut Creek

NorthStar Marine Insurance

© 2018 NorthStar Insurance /

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Vintage Bay Woodie Sinks in South Pacific

February 6, 2013 – Noumea, South Pacific

Sad news reached us from the South Pacific late last week: The vintage Farallone Clipper Echo had to be abandoned in open water between Fiji and New Caledonia after she hit an unknown object on January 26. Owner Rob Lehman, who was singlehanding south to Australia at the time, initially thought he might be able to sail 300 miles to reach shelter at New Caledonia before Echo foundered, but had no such luck. He was eventually rescued from his liferaft by local SAR (Search and Rescue) assets.

The pretty varnished-hulled sloop as seen in Fiji shortly before her fateful voyage to Australia. © 2018 Rob Lehman

As he explained in detail in a recent blog post, "There was now ankle-deep saltwater inside the cabin as I rushed around to diagnose the problem. Soon I found that an interior support stay had broken. Echo, as with most old wooden boats, tended to leak at her seams when she was beating upwind. To help remedy this problem she had strengthening stays that ran from the base of the mast up to the chainplates. Her port side stay was broken, and I needed to fix it before I sank in the middle of the night. Over the next four hours (from 3-7 a.m.) I switched back and forth between pumping and mending the stay before I had it cinched up tight. Echo was barely leaking anymore, and I went to sleep with the cabin sole dry and the bilge pump barely running."

But it was only a temporary fix. Eventually the traditional cotton and oakum caulking began to loosen, and Echo took on more and more water. Plus the pump needed constant tending due to becoming clogged by bits of cotton and debris. The solo sailor's satphone was useless, having fallen onto the flooded cabin floor, and the tillerpilot failed also, causing Lehman to rig an old-school sheet-to-tiller steering system. Finally, after two nights of struggling with almost no sleep, he accepted that he was fighting a lost cause. Lehman, who bought the boat a year ago in Alameda from longtime owner Jack Coulter, activated his EPIRB on January 29.

Seen here during the 2004 Jessica Cup, Echo was distinctive within the Farallon Clipper fleet, due to her lovingly varnished hull. Photo Latitude / Rob Moore
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Echo was one of only 19 Farallon Clippers built by Stephens Brothers Boat Builders in Stockton between the 1930s and early '60s. Several still race actively on the Bay. This bright-hulled 38-footer was launched in 1955, according to de facto fleet historian Bill Belmont (owner of the FC Credit).

As those who sailed aboard Echo during her half century on the Bay now mourn her loss, we're reminded of an item that every South Pacific cruiser should keep in his/her nav station: A (nearly-)comprehensive list of Pacific Basin SAR contacts. You'll find it on our Pacific Puddle Jump website.

- latitude / andy

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

February 6, 2013 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

"As most sailors know, all that begins well doesn’t necessarily end well and this certainly proved true at the penultimate Tiny Robbins midwinter on Saturday," writes Gordon Smith of Vallejo YC. "It started well… wind from the southwest at 5-10 knots, a slight ebb soon to be a flood. But as the current turned and increased in velocity — the wind didn’t." Only 25% of the starters finished.

A Wicked start to GGYC's midwinter race on Saturday. © 2018 /

Meanwhile, downstream at Golden Gate YC, they had better luck. After waiting an hour for a serviceable west wind to breeze in through the Gate, the patient race committee sent the faster divisions off on a triple sausage course; the slower divisions only had to go around twice. Next month's final race, on March 2, will determine the winner of the Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Perpetual Trophy.

The lovely classic yacht Dorade races in PHRF 3 in the GGYC midwinters. © 2018 /

Cats and skiff start
A slow-motion start to an RYC race out on Southampton Shoals. © 2018 Richmond YC

Richmond YC's Small Boat Midwinters have proven so popular they’ve had to expand into Saturdays. A smallish Opti fleet were in Keller Cove, while the Opti green fleet sailed off Parents' Point closer to the club. A-Cats, Hobie Cats and a shockingly pink Aussie 18 sailed outside the breakwater. The race committee reports "speeds so low the herring spawned on the blades and hulls." A long list of remaining classes sailed on Sunday.

Two Optis
Blistering competition in the RYC Optimist fleet. © 2018 Richmond YC

Sunday's race at Sausalito YC was blessed with, "terrific weather but no wind and the pressure of getting back in time for the Super Bowl," according to their race committee. After a postponement, the RC was eventually able to send everyone off to Blackaller, "for a real race and a nice sail in winds from the SSW averaging 7-13 knots." They were even able to squeeze in awards between the national anthem and the kick-off.

Dustin Durant of Long Beach YC and crew have won the ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final in Bridgetown, Bardados, following a three-day match racing clinic sailed in J/24s. Durant has thus qualified for the 2013 ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final in Denmark this August. See

Tomorrow evening, February 7, the Sausalito Club Nautique's Winter Seminar Series will feature 'Adventures in the Pac Cup' by Tony English and Simon Bell, who raced the Antrim 27 E.T. in the 2012 Pacific Cup. Cost is $10 for CN members or $15 for non-members. For info, call (510) 865-4700 or see

Jean Le Cam does his happy dance after beating Mike Golding across the finish line. © 2018 Olivier Blanchett / DPPI

In the Les Sables d'Olonne, Jean Le Cam sailed SynerCiel across the finish line today just hours ahead of his British nemesis Mike Golding (Gamesa), with whom he'd fought fiercely for fifth place. Le Cam is the first of the 'over 50s' to finish the race, and Golding, who finished just minutes before this was uploaded, was the next. "This Vendée Globe was very difficult, especially toward the end," Le Cam said at a press conference. "Yesterday I was close to tears, with terrible weather, and today it all got better, and there were so many people to greet me. That made this race a true victory for me; a victory you, the public, gave me. When it comes to that, there’s no need for ranking, it’s my victory and it’s yours. I thank you for that.”

- latitude / chris

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