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Sea Boa Struck by Whale, Sinks

March 23, 2016 – San Carlos, Mexico


(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

After a whale holed his boat, singlehander Allan Tweten was rescued quickly by Mexican Navy SAR resources. In recent years, the addition of fast response vessels such as this one has greatly improved theoretical response times in many parts of Mexico.

© 2017 Mexican Navy

At roughly 5 a.m. last Friday, Canadian singlehander Allan Tweten, 56, was in the cockpit of his Chinook 37 Sea Boa observing the first hints of a new day dawning over the Sea of Cortez when he was thrown forward by a violent blow to Sea Boa's underbody. He was motorsailing north at the time, roughly 27 miles southwest of Guaymas. A quick look over the side confirmed that his Stan Huntingford-designed sloop had been struck by a whale. 

Although Sea Boa was equipped with four electric pumps — one with a 2-inch exit — they were incapable of keeping up with the inflow of water from what his brother described in an online post as a "very large tear in the hull." The solo sailor was reportedly very well prepared for offshore emergencies, and the boat was fully insured. As Sea Boa slowly sank lower, Tweten launched his inflatable dinghy, and put his liferaft into it along with his ditch bag, his EPIRB, satphone and other essentials. He stepped aboard the dinghy, shortly before the boat slipped below the surface.

Another cruising boat was nearby, but despite his firing off seven flares and making continuous calls on his VHF, Tweten could not raise its crew. Only then did he set off his EPIRB, followed by satphone calls to his sons in Canada, who confirmed to the Canadian Coast Guard that the EPIRB's signal was announcing a bona fide emergency. As an illustration of the singlehander's instinctive tendency toward self-sufficiency, Tweten actually started rowing for shore, just in case his mayday signal went unanswered. An hour and a half later, though, a Mexican Navy SAR unit arrived — having traveled at 50mph to reach the scene — and whisked Tweten off to Guaymas. He is now traveling to his home on Vancouver Island, BC.

The incident has stimulated lively discussions on cruiser forums regarding the abundance of whales in the Sea of Cortez during the winter months, and strategies for avoiding collisions with them, especially at night. Friends of Tweten note that he kept Sea Boa in immaculate condition, and speculate that his boat was probably better prepared for emergencies than most boats cruising Mexican waters. For Tweten, two 'lessons learned' that he hopes other sailors will take to heart are to be sure your EPIRB contact info is kept up to date, and be sure your flares have not expired. Not all of his 'good' flares fired, and none of his expired ones worked at all. The rescued sailor also wants to publicly thank the Mexican Navy (ENSAR) for their rapid response and impressive professionalism.

- latitude / andy

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New items in Our Chandlery

Classy Deadline the 15th


The Mast, the Poor Man's Drone

March 23, 2016 – Panama Canal


The catamaran Beach House and two monohulls transit the Pedro Miguel Locks in Panama. 

Photo Courtesy Scott Stolnitz
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Scott Stolnitz of the Marina del Rey-based Switch 51 Beach House wanted an aerial shot when locking through the Pedro Miguel Locks of the Panama Canal. Not having a drone — yet — he went up the mast to get the accompanying photo.

The boats with Beach House are, at left, Kristiane from Australia, and at right, Free Wheel from Gibraltar/Sweden.

Stolnitz would be close to completing his circumnavigation now, were it not for the fact that he’s sailing across the Pacific again to Australia. 

- latitude / richard

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Ad: Ronstan Marine

March 23, 2016 – Planet Earth


Please click here for rebate information.


© 2017 Ronstan Marine, Inc. / www.andersenwinches.com

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

March 23, 2016 – California and Beyond

Santana 22s pre-start

Santana 22s were among the divisions affected by damage in the storm-swept Big Daddy buoy races on Saturday the 12th.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Bang! Crack! R-i-i-i-p! Pop! No, these aren't comic book sound effects. Rather they are noises heard during the last couple of weekends of racing on San Francisco Bay. On March 12-13, Mother Nature recorded the noisy soundtrack for Richmond YC's Big Daddy Regatta. You'll read and see more about that in the April issue of Latitude 38. Bam! Scr-a-a-a-pe! Pow! Crunch! were the sfx heard during the SSS Corinthian Race, along with vocalizations depicted as grawlixes in the comics (#$@&%*!) — all because a filling westerly piled up the 105-boat fleet at the second rounding mark, the Blossom Rock buoy south of Alcatraz, with subsequent rig hooking and hull contact. We'll have more photos in April's Racing Sheet.

Converging on Blossom Rock

It's in there somewhere — the leeward mark that is. We've marked it with a red circle to make it easier to spot. The red circle was invisible on the actual day of racing of course.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

More than 100 teams competed in 12 classes raced in San Diego's Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta, aka the NOOD, on March 11-13. Bruce Golison’s J/70 Midlife Crisis won its J/70 fleet and the regatta’s overall title, which earns Golison a trip to the BVI to compete in the NOOD Championship Regatta.

J/70s crossing tacks

The Coronado Bridge provides the backdrop as Bruce Golison (starboard tack) and Luis Barrios (port tack) vie for the top spot at the NOOD last weekend. Barrios' Zumbale finished third in the 23-boat division (the largest in the regatta); Jeff Janov's Minor Threat took second. 

© 2017 Paul Todd / www.outsideimages.com

Golison is relatively new to the J/70. He assembled a team that included his brother Jay, professional sailor Steve Hunt, and Dan Morris, an Olympic-class dinghy sailor. This was their first weekend in the boat together. After a slow start on Friday, they steadily improved. "I had never sailed a sportboat before," said Bruce Golison, who is more familiar with J/24s and Etchells, "so the adjustment from pole-back spinnaker sailing to reaching around was huge. It was actually a pretty tricky weekend." Working with a new team took some getting used to, the biggest challenge being communication during the starts. But once Golison and Hunt clicked, their starts were perfect. "Steve is the leader on the boat," said Golison. "My job is to just sail the boat as fast around the course as I can." The team's ultimate goal is the J/70 Worlds in San Francisco on September 24-October 1. 

On March 16-19 Morgan Larson of Santa Cruz opened the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series in Muscat, Oman, with an unprecedented victory over seven other teams. Sailing with Larson on Oman Air were Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth and Omani national Nasser Al Mashari. They won more than 50% of the races sailed, more than any other team in the history of the series. Sailed in GC32 foiling cats, the Extreme Series will next appear in Qingdao, China, on April 29-May 2.

The Oman Air crew

Morgan Larson (far right) returns to the series having raced in 2013 and 2014 for Alinghi alongside Ernesto Bertarelli. Double Olympic gold medalist Sarah Ayton, tactician for the 2015 victors, The Wave, Muscat, is now serving as coach for Oman Air.

© 2017 Extreme Sailing Series / www.extremesailingseries.com

- latitude / chris

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All About the Fastnet

March 23, 2016 – San Francisco, CA

This Friday, March 25, Sequoia Yacht Club in Redwood City will host Bay Area sailor Mike Reed for his presentation on the 2015 Rolex Fastnet. Reed, who has more than 20,000 ocean miles and is a veteran of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Pacific Cup and Chicago Mackinaw, will detail the challenges of sailing the Fastnet, which is considered to be one of the top three most difficult races in the world. Reed served as watch captain aboard the First 40 Bunyip.

Fastnet rock

Fastnet Rock, the rounding mark of the Rolex Fastnet Race, lies off the southern tip of Ireland. The 603-mile race starts in Cowes and finishes in Plymouth, both on the south coast of England.

© 2017 Mike Reed

A traditional Irish menu of shepherd's pie, along with chicken and salad, will be served for dinner starting at 6 p.m. Sequoia YC, just off Highway 101, welcomes guests to come by for an evening of hearty food and a good sea story.

- latitude / chris

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