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Gannet to Begin the Big Stretch

June 29, 2016 – Darwin, Australia

Gannet bow
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Gannet's bow slices through the water.

© 2018 Steve Earley

"I'm about to sail from Darwin for South Africa," writes solo adventurer Webb Chiles. 

Tomorrow, which will be July 1 in Australia but June 30 in the US, Webb Chiles plans to continue his sixth circumnavigation, sailing from Darwin, Australia, bound for South Africa on Gannet, his ultralight Moore 24. It's a flush-deck Moore, not one of those roomier cabintop SC models. This is a passage of 100° of longitude, from 131°E to 31°E, and about 6,000 miles. For any Moore 24, that is quite a stretch.

View from Gannet

Gannet sailing inside the Great Barrier Reef a few weeks ago with the new North G2 set.

© 2018 Webb Chiles

"Even in winter Darwin is hot," says Chiles. "100° is also often the temperature in Gannet’s 'Great Cabin'," which measures 7-ft wide, 39-in tall, and 47-in long.

In 2010, Chiles found the Moore, all of which were built in Santa Cruz, at Lake Huron. Gannet is hull #40.

Chiles is carrying 30 gallons of water rather than his usual 20, plus provisions for more than 60 days, though he expects that if all goes well the passage will take 40-50 days. He says he "will eat and drink Gannet back into trim."


Gannet's master bedroom is packed up and ready to go.

© 2018 Webb Chiles

You can follow Chiles's big stretch at and read his excellent journal at

- latitude / chris

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Lat 38 Readers on Offshore Readiness

June 29, 2016 – The Left Coast

disabled boat

Rogues' Scholarship, as seen in 'Lectronic Latitude on June 10.

© 2018 US Coast Guard District 13

One of the reasons we report on offshore emergencies is that there are usually lessons we and our readers can learn from both tragedies and near-tragedies. Earlier this month, when we reported on the crew of Rogues' Scholarship having to be rescued by the Coast Guard after their big sloop became disabled by storm conditions, we invited readers to comment on preparedness for storm conditions and offshore emergencies. Below are some of their thoughts:

Check the weather forecast before you go, and don’t hesitate to wait if it looks sketchy. That’s an unforgiving coastline.  — Eric Rouzee

Low tech is best. We always carry a handheld VHF radio that can run on AA batteries in case all the other systems go down. — Captain Tom Money

In addition to a back-up handheld VHF with replaceable batteries, carry another device for long-range mayday or search and rescue help — an EPIRB or other. Also, a mask, snorkel and fins. — Jeffry Matzdorff

As a sailing instructor including offshore and near coastal, I think I have more pointers than you want to hear. An important one that even experienced sailors fail to do is to bend on the storm sails before departure so everyone can see the process when it's easy to move around and hear each other talk. Also try furling the storm jib so you know if it can be done or not. I have been on many boats with storm jibs that don’t reach the top of the head-stay and don't have a luff tape to the top. With these jibs the halyard becomes wrapped around the headstay when you try to furl them. In these cases I attach the pole topping lift to the halyard shackle and tension it after hoisting to prevent the top of the head furling bearing from rotating, allowing the sail to be furled. — Bryan Chavez

Practice MOB and then practice again. It's been 10 years since I lost my son. You don't need that kind of pain. — KD Brinkley

- latitude / andy

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Ad: Save the Waters You Love

June 29, 2016 – California

© 2018 Division of Boating and Waterways /

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July Racing Preview

June 29, 2016 – West Coast and Hawaii

Aerial of Miller Racing

How — and where — do they sleep when they're 'off-watch'? Just one of the many questions we hope to answer in the August issue of Latitude 38.

© 2018 Nick Reid

A finisher will no doubt complete the Race to Alaska in very early July. So far, the Bay Area team on Randy Miller's Marstrom 32 cat is ripping up the race course like the MAD Dogs they are. We'll have an update in 'Lectronic on Friday and/or next week.

Meanwhile, we're looking forward to the start of this year's trio of races to Hawaii. The 23 solo sailors in the Singlehanded TransPac will depart the West Coast first, with a July 2 start off Corinthian YC in Tiburon. They'll cross a finish line just outside of Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai. Read our profiles of the racers in the June issue of Latitude 38.

Next will be an island-to-island passage: the Vic-Maui Race, in which 40 botdeparts from Victoria Harbour, BC, on July 7-11.

The Pacific Cup will jump off the mainland on July 11-15, bound for Kaneohe Bay on the east shore of Oahu. To support the racers' prep, Richmond YC will host a 'Pacific Cup Village' from July 2 until the starts, with big parties and events beginning on July 5. A Pac Cup Preview is included in the July issue of Latitude 38, coming out on Friday, July 1.

Max Klink's Knierim 65 Caro (foreground) and the Aussie R/P 52 Scarlet Runner at the start of the Latitude 38 Division in the 2014 Pacific Cup. The Aussies won overall, won the Latitude 38 Performance award and won First Place ORR.

Photo Latitude / Ross
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Within San Francisco Bay, the YRA is offering up another party weekend, revolving around July 9's Westpoint Regatta. The weekend will kick off with a pre-race party on Friday night. Treasure Island will run the start of a downwind sail with the flood current to Redwood City, where Sequoia YC will host the Island Time Party in the "tropics" of San Francisco Bay. SeqYC will also host a breakfast on Sunday morning.

Bob Comstock, chair of the High Sierra Regatta, writes, "The lake is completely full, the marks are laid and the regatta team is ready to host one of the premier regattas on the West Coast. We now have five races. China Peak Mountain Resort is hosting a fantastic party with a buffet dinner, dancing, videos of the day's racing and a couple of bars to support thirsty sailors. A shuttle from the registration tent departs every 30 minutes from 5 p.m. onward. For lodging please call China Peak (559) 233-1200 or Lakeshore Resort (559) 893-3193." The dates are July 9-10 for centerboarders and July 16-17 for keelboats. "There are 126 boats registered in all classes for this event. The forest  service limits the number of boats to 150. So there's 24 spots left," wrote Laser District 24 secretary Stephen Aguilar yesterday. See

More regattas of note in July:

On July 9, Sausalito YC will host PICYA's Lipton Cup, a collection of races between yacht clubs, and SFYC will run the Hart Nunes Regatta for Mercurys.

On July 16, Bay View Boat Club in San Francisco will host the 32nd Plastic Classic and Courcours d'Elegance. SFYC in Belvedere will run the Midnight Moonlight  Maritime Marathon to Carquinez Strait and back.

Berkeley YC will host the Santa Cruz 27 Nationals on July 22-24, and Santa Cruz YC will host the Santana 22 Nationals on July 29-31.

On July 29, the 81-miles King Harbor Race will depart from Santa Barbara. See

YRA's Second Half Opener closes out the month on July 30-31, with a race out to Point Bonita and down the Estuary to the finish, party and raft-up at Encinal YC.

We don't have room to list all the worthy events here, so please do check our Calendar for much more. The online Calendar page will be updated on Friday, and will also be found in the July 1 issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / chris

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