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Boatyard Surprises in the Tropics

March 5, 2014 – St. Maarten, Netherland Antilles

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

La Gamelle spent the summer at the St. Martin Shipyard. She's the boat in the back of the photo, not the front. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

When you leave a boat unattended in the tropics — as the Wanderer has left the Olson 30 La Gamelle at the St. Maarten Shipyard — you never know what to expect when you return.

We did expect a bilge full of water, because it rains like crazy in the summer in the Caribbean, and there isn't any way to keep an Olson completely watertight.

We did expect a lot of grit on the boat, because hey, the Olson was kept in a boatyard, and boatyards in the Caribbean often aren't the cleanest places in the world.

The rodents didn't care for Stoli, Mt. Gay or Absolut, but they did seem to like mayo, lime juice, honey, and the plastic containers that those items came in. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

What we didn't expect was to find that rats — or mice — had climbed aboard and decided to feast. Based on the debris, we have some clues about their dietary preferences. For example, they don't drink, based on the fact that they ignored the Mt. Gay, Stoli and Absolut. However, they demonstrated a strange appetite for candle wax, tampons, boogie board foam, Avon Skin So Soft, and plastic honey bottles. After half a roll of toilet paper, they decided it didn't suit their appetites. But their sampling did leave the inside of the boat looking like a confetti convention.

 Rats/mice are well known for feasting on boat wiring. We're not sure if they supped on any wiring in La Gamelle, nor do we care. La Gamelle is an electronics-free boat by choice.

- latitude / richard

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

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See the current magazine here.

Panama Jumpers Soon to Head West

March 5, 2014 – Balboa YC, Panama

There will be no shortage of crew aboard the Hughes 58 cat Li'l Explorers. Mom and Dad (in dark blue) will have these five youngsters along, plus a baby. But wait 'til you hear what they had to go through before they could begin their cruising dreams. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There's probably no place on earth that sees a greater convergence of international cruising yachts than the Panama Canal — especially between February and May. That's when the annual migration of South Pacific-bound adventurers funnels into it from all over the world. 

So, naturally, this is the perfect time to stage our annual Panama Puddle Jump Send-Off Party at the Balboa YC. Located just beyond the famous Bridge of the Americas on the Pacific side of 'The Ditch,' the club is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Originally from Turkey, Aglim and Rian of the Island Spirit 36 Island Fling are on their second lap around the world. They published this book as a result of their first trip, and will now revisit some favorite places, reporting along the way for a Turkish yachting magazine. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Our fiesta on Saturday (March 1) drew roughly 140 sailors from at least a dozen countries, aboard 43 boats — a Pacific Puddle Jump party record. Members of the club magnanimously picked up the tab for both free drinks and snacks for all, we put on a three-part multimedia presentation about the crossing and cruising in French Polynesia, and singer/guitarist Frank Nitte — Latitude's 'man in Panama' — entertained the crowd while we conducted mini-interviews of each crew. 

As the Silverstein family of the Antares 44 Field Trip demonstrates, every crew who attended the fiesta went away with an official Pacific Puddle Jump burgee - and made a lot of new friends. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

With 43 boatloads to interview, our Q&A sessions had to be super-short, which was a shame, as each crew seemed to have fascinating tales to tell: There were Aussies, Brits, Canadians, Spaniards, South Africans, Belgians, New Zealanders, you name it — even Russia was well represented. You'll soon meet them all in an upcoming edition of the magazine. In the meantime, we're headed to Puerto Vallarta this week to meet the Mexico-based contingent of Pacific Puddle Jumpers at our annual Mexico PPJ Send-Off Party at the Vallarta YC in the Paradise Village Resort (Friday, March 7, 3-6 p.m.).

The last crew we met was David and Gita Bushby - he's Scottish and she's Danish - of Aros Mear. They say they're definitely going to do the Puddle Jump, but they also want to see the Chilean fjords, so may do a lap around South America first. It doesn't seem to faze them that David is already 80. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / andy

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Ad: What Is ClickDiver?

March 5, 2014 – West Coast

What is ClickDiver all about?

© 2018 ClickDiver /

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Alex Thompson's Mast Walk

March 5, 2014 – Spain

World-class solo racer, Alex Thompson is well known in racing circles for singlehanding the Hugo Boss-sponsored Open 60 around the world. Last year Alex wowed sailors worldwide by performing a keel walk — climbing onto Hugo Boss' exposed keel bulb while she was sailing and then jumping off in dramatic fashion, all the while wearing a smart black Hugo Boss suit.

Keel Walk
Alex performs his keel walk in 2013. © 2018 Alex Thompson Racing

This time around, Alex, once again dressed in his finest Hugo Boss threads, stands at the base of his steeply heeled boat's mast and jauntily scampers to its pinnacle some 30 meters in the distance. Once at the top the fast-moving boat, he stands for a few moments before launching himself into the ocean off the Spanish coast. You can watch the remarkable video here. We'd probably shy away from trying this ourselves, but it sure looks amazing. 

Mast walk
Alex's latest stunt, running up Hugo Boss' mast, freestyle. © 2018 Alex Thompson Racing


- latitude / ross

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

March 5, 2014 – San Francisco Bay

The big news in last weekend's racing happened on the Cityfront during the final Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta at Golden Gate YC. Two boats, Bill Moore's Shenanigans and Scott Easom's Eight Ball were tied for first place after five races in separate divisions. All else being equal, the tiebreaker came down to who had beaten more boats in the series — thus giving Scott the win. This was even more remarkable since Scott had protested the race committee over an OCS call in race three, which he then won.

Eight Ball
Michael Rohde, Matt Siddens, and Scott Easom, with the Manuel Fagundes Trophy. © 2018 Leslie Richter /

Beyond all the drama, the light-air conditions made getting around the course relatively easy for the larger boats, but a sure challenge for those in Folkboats, Knarrs or Catalina 34s. A building ebb sent many without larger sails fearing they'd be swept out the Gate. Quite a few chose to head back to port rather than face the inevitable.

Congratulations Scott!

Click here for complete results.


- latitude / ross

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