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IF YOU CAN SAIL THE BAY

You recently editorialized that it is a myth that all of us who grew up sailing the Bay believe: If you can sail the Bay, you can sail anywhere. Care to elaborate? I've sailed to Hawaii and crossed the Atlantic five times, yet it still gets my adrenaline pumping to be off Alcatraz at 3:00 p.m. on any given summer afternoon.

Bill Grummel

Discovery Bay Yacht Harbor

Bill Our editorial opinion was predicated on the belief that it's not the wind but rather the seas that are most likely to endanger boats and the lives of mariners. We stand by that opinion, for no matter how many afternoons you battle 25 knots of wind off Alcatraz, it's not going to fully prepare you for 25 knots of wind and 15-foot breaking seas. Especially at night, after you've been seasick for three days, and the nearest shelter is 1,000 miles away.

So to clarify our position, we'll say, "If you can sail San Francisco Bay, you can easily handle the protected waters of the world. But if you can sail the Gulf of the Farallones with confidence, you can sail just about anywhere in the world."

WHO IS A MINIMALIST?

My favorite articles in Latitude are those about frugal cruising. So with the arrival of your July issue, the first story I read was One Storm, Two Muggings and A Circumnavigation.

Creative cruisers usually have good ideas and maybe more fun, so I was pretty much in heaven reading Ed Hart's article. That is, until I got to the part where you quote Hart as saying, "I was getting by on $600 to $800 a month."

Six hundred to $800 a month!?

Hart is a "minimalist" who says "money isn't the answer," and that he's able to "live inexpensively." How can Don Cutty be his mentor when Hart lives on $8,000 to $9,000 a year which he says is sailing frugally? I wonder what Don Cutty would have to say about those monthly expenses?

If Hart would break down his costs, I'd love to see where a man of "few vices" spends that kind of money. Say it ain't so.

Shawn Tuttle

Los Angeles

Shawn We realize that while spending an average of $23 a day to feed and clothe oneself, to outfit and maintain one's boat, and for port fees and other expenses associated with making a circumnavigation may seem grossly extravagant to some, it doesn't to others. Count us and most experienced cruisers as 'others'. By the way, Hart said he did tend to be profligate when it came to food. All in all, we found his story inspiring.

BE IN POSITION AND READY TO GO

In the last issue which was excellent a fellow named Carl Lenox wanted to know about finding crew positions in Greece, and wondered if the Internet might help. Forget about the Internet, Carl, as no one is going to take the time to jump through all of those hoops to find someone.

After college, I decided to see if I could get a job on a sailboat. I worked on boats in Greece, Scotland, the Caribbean, and the South of France. If you're not on drugs, look presentable, and act in a professional manner, it will take you about two hours to get a job on a sailboat. This assumes you have no experience at all. If you know anything, you can find a position in an hour. If you're a good-looking woman who can cook, it won't take any more than 15 minutes.

When I went around, I'd see bulletin boards full of ridiculous resumes from people from all different parts of the world. They were worthless, because professional skippers who do charter work or deliveries need someone right now! They start to look for crew about six hours before they shove off.

During Antigua Sailing Week, there was a skipper looking for crew to help deliver an 80-foot schooner from the Caribbean to Turkey. Every 15 minutes or so he would stand on top of the bar and shout, "I am leaving at midnight. I need crew. I'm offering an airline ticket back to the U.S." As the night wore on, he started adding money to the airline ticket home. First it was $100, then $200. Finally, at about 0100, he offered $1,000 plus a ticket home and found two takers. They spoke together in the bar for about five minutes, walked out to their boat and 20 minutes later cast off the lines and indeed sailed non-stop to Turkey.

My advice to anyone looking to crew is to be in position and ready to go. Non-smokers who are clean-cut will get the best jobs and the fastest. I don¹t know if Carl expects to be paid or not, but at least on a charter boat the tips were $100 per week, and most delivery skippers pay something.

Experience means nothing, as a chimp can be taught to sail. Once you get in position, just start walking around to the docks in the port and you'll have a passage in a few hours.

Peter Larson

Newport Beach

Peter We took one glance at your letter and said, "Here's a guy who has been there and knows exactly what he's talking about!" While you may exaggerate but just slightly about how long it takes to get a berth, the priorities you list are spot on: 1) Be where crew is needed, 2) Look presentable, 3) Behave professionally.

Where is crew needed? In late summer the migration starts to the Caribbean, so any of the big ports in Turkey and Greece, as well as the Italian and French Riveras, are good. The biggest yachting center in the Med is Palma, Mallorca, so that should be near the top of the list. For those who can't break free until November, Las Palmas in the Canary Islands is a cinch place to catch a ride across the Atlantic. Early fall is also the time to be snooping about in Newport, Annapolis, Beaufort, Charleston, and Florida for U.S. boats headed to the Caribbean.

If you're looking to crew for the Caribbean charter season, don't miss the early December charterboat show in Antigua. If you catch a position and behave like a professional for an entire Caribbean season, you might well find yourself being offered a boat at the end of the season. The Caribbean season ends with Antigua Sailing Week in early May at which time countless boats are looking for crew to Europe, the Northeast, and the South Pacific. If you can't get on there, you're not breathing.

The best place to get a ride to the South Pacific? Probably Panama. You'll also be sure to find a berth if you hang around the quay in Tahiti, as just about everybody changes boats and crew after the long trip across the Pond.

As Peter mentioned, just walking the docks and asking around is the way to start working any port. After that, frequent the yachtie bars of which there are always more than a few in any big yachting center and become known for your sobriety.

CREW FOR THE HA-HA

I'm interested in crewing in the Baja Ha-Ha. Is there any place I can look to see if boats need crew?

Lynn Christensen

Northern California

Lynn No, there isn't but we have three suggestions: 1) Look in the Classy Classifieds or take out an ad yourself. 2) Come to the Ha-Ha Kick-Off Party and reunion, to be held on October 5 at 1800 at the Encinal YC in Alameda. 3) Read Peter Larson's letter above for tips on getting rides. Good luck!

LONE WOMAN TO TURTLE BAY

My girlfriend and I are hoping to do the Ha-Ha this year aboard a friend's boat but due to scheduling conflicts, she won't be able to make the first leg to Turtle Bay. Nonetheless, she'd like to catch the fleet at Turtle Bay.

Is there a safe and reliable way for a lone woman to get from Northern California to Turtle Bay? What's the nearest airport to fly into? What kind of transportation would she be able to get from the airport to Turtle Bay?

We'll both be flying home from Cabo San Lucas at the end of the Ha-Ha. What airline is the best way to get back to San Jose? Will a rush of others for the same plane require us to get our tickets soon?

P.S. We had the time of our lives out sailing with the Tall Ships! Let's hope that we can all do it again soon!

David Cahak

Fremont

David Meeting the Ha-Ha fleet in Turtle Bay is a great idea because one can do the last two legs, which are the shortest, enjoy all the festivities in Cabo and still miss just one week of work. And it has been done. Unfortunately, there's no reliable way to do it, and it is not safe for a lone woman.

Turtle Bay is about 360 miles south of San Diego or about halfway to Cabo San Lucas. It has an airport but no regular plane service not since the DC-3 they used to ship lobster crashed just outside of town about six years ago. It's probably still possible to charter a plane from Ensenada to Turtle Bay, but we're not sure of the cost and would be more than a little concerned about safety issues.

There are also guys in the U.S. with small planes who fly surfers to remote beaches in Mexico. In fact, we met one during the first Ha-Ha at Bahia Santa Maria. The previous week he'd made a bad beach landing, bent the plane's prop, and had to leave it there. If your girlfriend were able to charter a plane to Turtle Bay and split the cost with four or six others, it might be reasonable. But after the Kennedy crash, we don't know how many others would be up for it.

The folks we know who have met the fleet in Turtle Bay have taken a bus from Tijuana to the middle-of-nowhere junction of the TransPeninsular Highway and the dirt road to Turtle Bay located a ways south of Guerrero Negro. While initially scary, the buses and the TransPeninsular Highway are actually semi-safe. The buses run all the time, the fares are reasonable, and it takes about 12 hours from Tijuana to the junction. The problem is you're being dropped off at the junction, which is in the middle of nowhere. Further, there is no regular bus service to Turtle Bay, very little other traffic, and it's a three to four-hour ride over a nasty dirt road. A guy who did it last year reported the driver who picked him up drank about a case of beer along the way, and that his truck broke down a number of times. While he made it and had a terrific tale to tell, this is the part we wouldn't recommend for single women. If there were a group of guys and a woman, we'd consider it pretty safe.

There are quite a few cruisers who drive to southern Baja at the Ha-Ha time of year, so it might be possible to hook up with one of them through Downwind Marine or somebody, and pay them a big 'tip' for the sidetrip to Turtle Bay. Or, if enough people were interested and willing to pay, somebody might be willing to drive their own vehicle to Turtle Bay, leave it there while they did the Ha-Ha, then take the bus up from Cabo to pick it up for the trip home.

There is regular jet service to La Paz, but that's almost as far from Turtle Bay as San Diego. There is also jet service to Loreto, which is a spectacular six-hour drive from the turn-off to Turtle Bay, so that's out of the question, too. It seems to us the only good options are the bus with others, a car with others, or chartering a plane with others. If anyone has any better suggestions, we're all ears.

Alaska Air has a non-stop from Cabo to San Francisco that we like. We've never made advance reservations and haven't had a problem, but we'd check with them. It's also not that far and an interesting drive to La Paz and the airport up there.

UNVEILING? NO. CHRISTENING? NO. DEDICATION, YES.

I'm sorry you were disappointed with not seeing all of America True. But I'm quite surprised that you don't understand why it wasn't unveiled. Being the first 'out of the box' has its risks. With our completion of the yacht so early in the game, our designers aren't particularly interested in sharing a few million dollars of technological innovations with the competition while they'd still have time to incorporate them in boats under construction. That's why we billed the event as the dedication. Not an unveiling. Not a christening. The nearly 1,000 supporters attending our dedication seemed to understand why the boat was mostly covered and it clearly didn't dampen their enthusiasm!

America True has worked very hard at keeping our doors open to the Bay Area and making the Cup activity accessible to the public. The visitor count at Pier 17 is now in excess of 25,000 people. Our open tryouts attracted hundreds. Over 60 men and women had the chance for on-the-water tryouts with the A-True crew. Some of them are now on the team. Our True Youth program has introduced over 600 at-risk kids to sailing with on-the-water experiences they'll likely never forget. And during last year's Big Boat Series, we opened our doors to all participating sailors. We have a small display of modern America's Cup boatbuilding materials at Pier 17, which is open to the public seven days a week. We've asked for volunteer help and, fortunately, over 300 people have signed up just to be a part of this historic team. More are welcome.

America True's design team has decided to conduct our two-boat testing beginning this month in Auckland where the Cup will be sailed. Our boats are in Auckland now. We are the first challenger to arrive. Unfortunately, the narrow tidal currents in San Francisco Bay preclude two-boat testing here. As great as it would be to sail a new AC boat up and down the Bay, it would be very costly and purely for show. We believe all resources available should be dedicated to what will bring the Cup home by the fastest boat and the best crew.

Chuck Riley

Vice Chairman, America True

Chuck The hype has always been that San Francisco Bay is the greatest place in the world for viewing America's Cup action. When it was announced that there were two syndicates from the Bay Area that would be vying for the Cup, we think every sailor in the region drooled over the possibility of some kind of head-to-head challenger competition on the Bay. The same sort of thing the Giants and A's do to get local baseball fans jacked up before the start of the season.

It wouldn't take a P.T. Barnum to figure out how with two AC boats on the Bay, even old ones to put on some catchy dog-and-pony-shows here in the Bay. Celebrity skipper Terrilyn Jo versus celebrity skipper Dennis Richmond. The Chronicle versus the Examiner. The Richmond YC juniors versus the Stockton Sailing Club juniors. The possibilities for excitement, bonding, and fund-raising with those who should be your biggest supporters local sailors would have been endless. Sure it would have cost some bucks, but we think such 'shows' were conspicuous by their absence and that as a result, the local America's Cup buzz is at a disturbingly low volume.

Yes, we understand perfectly well why you couldn't pull down the knickers on the new boat. More than anything, our Sightings piece was an expression of frustration that the local America's Cup build-up was, in our estimation, a major disappointment. Bring the Cup back to the Bay, however, and we'll accept that it was all beside the point.

AT&T'S GLOBAL PLAN

I've got some answers for questions raised in recent Letters.

The best rates I've found for making telephone calls from Mexico to the U.S. are in AT&T¹s Global Plan. The cost is three dollars a month and the rate is a flat 29 cents/minute but you have to have the AT&T 800 number which nobody in Mexico seems to know, including the operators. The number is: 001 800 462 4240. This number should be cheaper even if you don¹t have the calling card global plan. Whatever you do, don't use the 'gringo' phones that say 'direct dial to U.S. operators'. They are everywhere, and such a rip-off that they ought to be illegal.

Regarding insurance, I bought vehicle insurance this year including coverage for towing a trailerable sailboat. The rates were all over the place. Several companies quoted $600 to $700, but I ended up buying from a California company for $178/year including comprehensive, collision, and towing. Vagabundos del Mar now has a new carrier with good rates, too.

Stugeron pills for mal de mer work very well for me and without side-effects. They're available in most Mexican port towns.

Question: In the May 1999 issue, Patrick Holland had a letter to the editor about his boat alarm systems and used the name Marine Security and Alarm Systems. I could find nothing under his name or company name in Everett, Washington. Could you put me in touch with him?

Jim Pease

Unknown

Jim If the AT&T Global number works as you say, it could save sailors in Mexico a small fortune. Many of the phone rates in Mexico are truly criminal.

We don't have a number for Marine Security and Alarm Systems. We don't mind running informative letters, but if they sound too much like an advertisement, we conveniently lose the address and phone number.

LOST LONG AGO

I was doing research on a 58-foot Alden schooner named White Cloud II when I learned she'd sunk near New Zealand. I'd like to pass on my regrets to the last owners, as my father and I owned her during the '70s. We enjoyed the boat so much and had a lot of pride in her as she'd taken us so many places. What fond memories we have. If anyone knows more about her, please contact me at bender43@hotmail.com.

Mike Bender

California

Mike The Mitchells of San Diego Paul and, we think, Sharon owned the boat for years and eventually took off for the South Pacific. After many adventures, they got into rough beam seas on the way to New Zealand, and the boat just opened up. She had been in much worse condition than they had realized, and they had no choice but to abandon her. The couple subsequently bought a 40-foot aluminum boat and at last word were enjoying cruising Australia, happier for having a less maintenance-intensive boat.

NON-BIASED INFORMATION

I really enjoy Latitude, and am hoping you can help me find something. I've been unable to find accurate and non-biased information on sailboats similar to what the Consumer Reports puts out on cars. Suppose, for example, I wanted to find out the pros and cons of an Island Packet 32. In other words, I want a magazine in which sailboats are critiqued and analyzed.

My problem arises from the fact that each yacht broker tells me that their sailboat is the best on the market. They can¹t all be right, so I want to find out the truth about new and semi-new sailboats.

Matt Harrin

Unknown

Matt What you're looking for doesn't exist for a variety of reasons.

1) When it comes to cars, there are a handful of companies building tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of nearly identical vehicles. It's just the opposite with boat manufacturers; there are hundreds of manufacturers, but hardly any of them build more than two or three of the same boat in a given year.

2) When it comes to cars, there are relatively few significant options. Little engine or big engine, hardtop or rag top. When it comes to cruising boats, there can be huge differences: two cabin interior versus three cabin interior, center cockpit versus aft cockpit, fixed three-bladed prop versus folding two-bladed prop, small engine versus large engine, tall rig versus short rig, sloop versus ketch, good sails versus cheap sails, lightly loaded versus overloaded. And even from one boat to the next there can be major changes in hull lay-ups and other structural basics. The bottom line is that somebody could work up an Ocean Flyer 36 that would sail like a pig, while another could be worked up to be a sweet sailing ocean cruiser.

3) There is no best boat but rather lots of boats designed for different purposes. The Melges 24 and the Swan 57 are both excellent boats, but the Melges is going to be dreadful for luxury cruising with a family while the Swan isn't going to surf.

4) The best boat reviews and comparisons we've seen are in Yachting World, a sailing magazine out of London. They've got plenty of factual information, but since much of it is supplied by the manufacturers, who is to know how accurate it is? Judging from the price comparisons, not very much.

The biggest shortcoming is that most boat reviews are based on taking a boat out for a single afternoon, which isn't going to reveal much unless there were zephyrs in the morning and a full gale with breaking seas in the afternoon. If you think a three-hour sail off the calm waters of Newport Beach is going to tell you much about the structural integrity and performance of a boat you're planning to load down and sail across the Atlantic, somebody has a Clipper Marine 32 they'd like to show you.

5) Never underestimate honest differences in opinion. A few months ago, 'Commodore' Tompkins, with a lifetime of offshore sailing experience, proclaimed that the Cascade 29 was the worst boat he ever sailed in his life. Yet last month we ran the story of Ed Hart, who not only had a grand time circumnavigating in a Cascade 29, but who along with his humble boat survived being rammed by a 600-foot bulk carrier.

So how do you find the perfect boat for you? We're going to need a few lifetimes to figure that one out.

ABOUT THE GREATEST DAY OF SAILING EVER

Thanks for the great July issue as it has helped restore harmony in the ol' household again.

During the spring and summer, I hadn't had much success in getting my bride of 33 years to enjoy sailing the Bay as much as me. My wife doesn¹t enjoy cold, parts-in-the-water sailing and said it had been too cold and windy for her to have fun. I didn't know whether to believe her or not, but the evidence you presented in Sightings proved that it's been one of the coldest and windiest springs and early summers in history. That got my wife off the hook. I guess I should have believed her, but I needed to hear it from another source.

But above all, thanks for the July issue reminder of good times to be had in the Delta. It saved my hide and restored peace in my house. You see, Scott, a sailing buddy and official 'old fart' team member from the '94 Catalina 22 Nationals, and I sailed my Dolphin 26 from Richmond to Bruno¹s Island on Saturday, July 10. What a great day of sailing we had! It had started getting warm just past the Brothers at the entrance to San Pablo Bay, and we made the Carquinez Bridge in just three hours. Thanks to the wind and tide being with us the entire way, we had the boat in her new berth in a little over nine hours. When we'd done the Ditch Run a few years ago, it was almost nightfall before we'd gotten so far. And the Vallejo Race has been enough to keep me from going north of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge without the promise of a good party at the other end.

So let me say it again, it was about the greatest day of sailing ever! We had approximately 50 miles of either reaching or sailing wing-on-wing, spent lots of time at hull speed, were warmed by the sun, and enjoyed great sandwiches and cold beer. And I had a wife who was happy that 'I did it all for her!' Now she's even reading Latitude's section about the Delta. Now I'm trying to convince her to do the Ha-Ha!

Latitude is great and timely.

Pat McIntosh

Mis Dial, Dolphin 26

Sacramento

Pat We're only too happy to help maintain domestic bliss by reminding everyone that variety of the sailing kind, of course is the spice of life.

THE STICKY MUCK

Perhaps someone can explain the sticky mess of muck that came up with my anchor and chain in Richardson Bay this past July 5th. What perplexes me is that over the past couple of months I have anchored within a hundred yards of the same spot on four occasions, and pulled up relatively clean ground tackle each time. Did I just hit a mud hole on this occasion, or is something else going on because of the spring run-off or some other seasonal phenomenon? Richardson Bay is a really great place to anchor and stop for awhile, but if it means an hour of cleaning up the goo in the chain locker, I'm afraid I'll have to pass. Any ideas?

On the topic of outboard motors being stolen in Mexico, I'd just like to say that outboards are an abomination second only behind two-cycle dirt bikes. We should all thank the thieves for providing cruisers with an incentive for abandoning the accursed devices in favor of a good set of oars.

Jimmie Zinn

Dry Martini, Morgan 38

Richmond

Jimmie There are many possible explanations for certain parts of Richardson Bay being particularly gooey but we have no idea which of them might be right. As for suggestions, why not use a hose and a special anchor chain brush to clean your chain before it gets into the locker and makes a mess.

There's much to recommend rowing and we personally enjoy it, but in our opinion there's no substitute for an outboard-powered dinghy that planes particularly in Mexico where such a combo opens up whole new worlds and can even add an element of safety. It's true that the old two-cycles pollute more than they should, but the newer fuel-injected two-strokes are a tremendous improvement and the four-strokes are much better still.

One thing that doesn't get mentioned enough is outboard etiquette. The way we see it, all outboard-powered craft ought to be operated at low speeds and low volumes when within 250 feet of anchored boats or shore. In addition, operators of outboard-powered craft ought to be highly sensitive to the local tranquility after 2000 and before 0800. The last thing most folks want to hear is a dinghy full of drunken jerks roaring through the anchorage at 0400 waking everyone up while they try to find their boat.

WHERE TO SMACK WITH THE HAMMER

Aboard the 1967 Rudy Choy-designed catamaran Glass Slipper II here in Lahaina, Maui, we have an Apelco AP-15 autopilot that is acting up. In fact, we've been unable to get the bloody thing to work for as long as we've had the boat which is nine years now. If anyone has a contact for a schematic or any ideas on where to smack it with a hammer, we'd greatly appreciate a heads up.

Geez, the thing is only 32 years old.

Xamanek Researches

xamanek@juno.com

Xamanek

Xam Man What a matta, coconut fall on head? Heat sap initiative? Who would be more likely to have a schematic or know where to bang the hammer than Apelco, the people who made the autopilot back when LBJ was President. Call them at (800) 539-5539.

By the way, we stopped by Lahaina just last month and were shocked at the frenzied activity in the little harbor. That place is busier with departing and arriving sailing charter boats than San Francisco's TransBay Terminal is with buses at rush hour.

ENJOY MY STONE HORSE EVERY CHANCE I GET

In the June issue, Ric Deiglmeier inquired about Stone Horse sailboats. They're great little boats. I have a '76 Stone Horse that I keep in Sierra Point Marina and would be happy to take him out for a sail if he'll contact me at either rasputin@sfo.com or (650) 373-4110 during the day. I also have lots of information on the boat that I'd be happy to share. By the way, the original design was by Sam Crocker in the '30s; Edey and Duff converted it to fiberglass.

After help from KKMI on a mast repair and Golden Gate Diesel scrounging up parts for my archaic diesel, I¹ve been enjoying my Stone Horse every chance I get.

Michael Rosenbaum

Northern California

WE WEREN'T MENTIONED

Recently in Latitude a skipper discussed travelling south along the Oregon coast and bypassing the bad entrance at Gold Beach to continue on to Crescent City in California as the next stop. What wasn't mentioned is that the port of Brookings/ Harbor is about halfway between the two.

Brookings is home to about 9,000 people, and has a harbor with 600 slips in two basins. One basin is for pleasure craft, the other is a mixture of commercial and pleasure craft. The towns of Brookings and Harbor are separated by the Chetco River a great salmon and steelhead area.

The Harbor Master's office says the channel is dredged to 14 feet if you follow the range markers. As we're tucked back into the coast, we have pretty good protection from the prevailing winds.

Upon entering the harbor, take a right at the Coast Guard dock and you'll see our new 600-ft long transit dock. Fees are $15 to $20 a night depending on the size boat. We also have a yard that can haul up to 30 tons. It's $184 in and out although somewhat more for a larger boat. You can do your own work and also clean the bottom with their high pressure hose for $1/foot. There is a chandlery, and if they don't have what you want, they can order it. The fuel pier has diesel at $1/gallon and gas for $1.55/gallon.

That's not all, as we have a new 500-foot boardwalk with a great shopping complex. There are eight restaurants in the marina proper, and it's less than half a mile to two shopping centers. We have assorted medical facilities along with several E.M.T. ambulances, and there's a good hospital 30 miles away.

I hope this will help some travelers. I'm sure anyone who stops here will enjoy our little port.

Bill Taylor

Brookings/Harbor, OR

Bill Thanks for that report, it sounds like a great place to stop. Brookings is the home of Sam Vahey, who did the first two Singlehanded TransPacs with his Ranger 37 Odysseus. He still has the boat we just saw Odysseus hauled out in Honolulu but keeps her on the island of Lanai.

A LOUD ONE AND A QUIET ONE

Toll the bell for a good guy. Phil Carter, sailor and friend of the Bay, died on June 11. He was 55 and had struggled with prostate cancer for three years. Although he never said it out loud, I know this is the place he wanted to be remembered.

I spent more than eight years sailing with Phil out of Sausalito, and over those years we developed a theory that in every two- man boat there's a loud one and a quiet one. Phil was definitely the latter. When the wind kicked up to 20 knots and the boat was deep in the groove, I would shout for more, yelling affectionate epithets at the freshening Gate. Phil always shook his head as if taking pity on a foolish and demented soul. We balanced each other, however, and over time knew the other's moves, always calmly talking through tight situations.

Phil was a champion schoolboy sailor in Port Arthur, Texas, and once went out in a near hurricane and flew across the bay with not a thread of sail up. One of his best friends growing up was Janis Joplin. According to Phil, he was the only guy he knew ever to turn her down for a roll in the hay. The reason? He believed in foreplay; she didn't.

I think most sailing people understand the good feeling of being out there with someone you can trust, listen to, learn from and simply be silent with. Phil was that guy for me. In his last days in Seattle with his daughter's family, one of his great pleasures was getting Latitude 38 a breath of fresh air from the Bay. And every time we talked on the phone, he made me describe the wind conditions, the tides, the sky. He was there sailing, right to the end. Toll the bell for a good guy.

Roy Beauchamp

Mill Valley

BOAT REGISTRATION BY NON-CITIZENS

Your response to Peter E. Howard on the subject of 'Foreign Boats in United States' was accurate with respect to your comments on cruising licenses. However, your suggestion that he simply buy and register a boat in this country may not be something he can do. Certainly with respect to United States documentation, U.S. citizenship is a strict requirement.

I quote from http//www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/vdoc/faq.htm, "The basic requirements for documentation are to demonstrate ownership of the vessel, U.S. citizenship, and eligibility for the endorsement sought." I discovered this recently to my own chagrin when, as resident aliens with green cards, my wife Ann and I attempted to purchase a U.S.-registered vessel which the bank required to be documented.

The requirements are equally onerous for corporate ownership. I quote again from the U.S. Coast Guard web page: "Citizenship is established by completion of form CG-1258. In addition to individuals, corporations, partnerships, and other entities capable of holding legal title may be deemed citizens for documentation purposes. Corporations must be registered in a state or the U.S; the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors must be U.S. citizens, and no more than a minority of the number of directors necessary to constitute a quorum may be non-citizens. In addition, at least 75% of the stock must be vested in U.S. citizens for a coastwise endorsement, and more than 50% of the voting stock must be vested in U.S. citizens for a fisheries endorsement."

So far as I have been able to determine, the only way around this is to purchase the vessel for cash, complete the transaction offshore, remove the U.S. registration, register it foreign, and get a cruising license. Whether registration with a particular state as opposed to federal documentation is less rigorous than this, I have not yet determined. In any event, one would want to be mindful of any state taxation issues which might arise from state registration and act to minimize them.

I would be interested if others in a similar situation have found a way to deal with these challenges.

P.S. I love the magazine and have been reading it religiously it is almost a religion isn¹t it? since 1980, and it just keeps getting better.

Garry Peerless

San Mateo

Garry Thanks for the kind words and sharing your obviously greater knowledge on the inability of non-citizens to document boats.

Federal documentation is very different and more complicated than state registration, however, and we're sure you'd have no trouble with the latter assuming you paid cash for the boat or found a bank that didn't require documentation for a loan. As for sales/use taxes and personal property taxes, it makes absolutely no difference if your boat is documented with the feds or registered with the state all the same rules apply.

THE PURPOSE OF HAVING INSURANCE

I read Richard Cross' December letter in which he complained that it took more than six months for his insurance company to pay for his replacement mast.

In the April issue, I read a response from Donald Spink, president of Bluewater Insurance. What really struck home was Spink's statement: "Insurance companies don't repair boats."

I'm a cruising sailor, a commodore in Seven Seas Cruising Association, and had been insured with the A.W. Lawrence Company where Spink had been an agent until they went into receivership. Spink subsequently started his own independent agency.

Should I have been in Cross' position dismasted in New Caledonia I would have expected my agent to have contracted an insurance agent or surveyor in Noumea which is not a remote Pacific Island and arranged for repairs.

I believe Cross paid something like $40,000 out of his own pocket before he was reimbursed for even part of it. Had I been in Cross' position, I wouldn't have been able to come up with the money.

It's always been my expectation that the reason for having insurance is to get things fixed when there is a problem. I think Spink should be concerned with whether a cruiser has that amount of money hidden away in his bilge to pay these kinds of bills rather than pounding on his chest.

P.S. We are sending this e-mail via ham radio, Kantronics, and Airmail software. Great stuff!

Jay Millman

Que Sera, Hans Christian 38

Marina del Rey, Australia, New Caledonia

Jay We're not taking sides in this issue, but will point out that we know of two cases in the last year where it took more than six months for boats dismasted in San Francisco Bay to get their rigs replaced. With the boat business as good as it is, everything takes time and often what seems like a very long time. It's not like the automobile industry where you can drive down to Kragen and buy replacement parts off the shelf. Furthermore, in comparision to San Francisco, Noumea is indeed remote.

A friend of ours had a major insurance claim in the South Pacific last year, and the insurance company offered to pay him off right away or wait until all the bills came in. He thinks he made the smart choice by waiting, knowing that delays, unforeseen problems and the out-of-the-way location can add tens of thousands to what otherwise seemed like it was going to be the entire replacement cost.

The bottom line is this: Go way out of your way to avoid claims, because even with the best insurance, they're going to cost you dearly, in lost time and money.

INJURED OFFSHORE

Our experience cruising to Mexico last December may be helpful to those headed south this year. We left San Diego early in the month and, because the Santa Anas started blowing, had a rough ride down the coast. We encountered winds of 50 knots and more.

Ten days into our trip, while in big seas, the boom swung across the boat and caught Pete's elbow, severely injuring his arm. Pete was no longer capable of handling sails or anchoring, and Suzy wasn't capable of bringing the boat into the nearest shelter at Turtle Bay, so we had to stay at sea.

As each day passed, the weather improved and Pete regained more use of his arm. We did manage to stop at Santa Maria Bay for one night of rest and quiet, but with Pete disabled, the anchoring drill wasn't a pretty sight.

Five days after the incident, we arrived in Cabo. The folks at the marina immediately called Dr. Alejandro Avalos, an English-speaking trauma physician who personally transported us to his clinic. His examination and x-ray showed both a fracture and dislocation of Pete's elbow. He applied a temporary cast to reduce the discomfort.

We were elated that we'd overcome adversity to reach Cabo, but we still had another challenge to face. With only limited medical facilities in Cabo, we needed to get to Mazatlan and more sophisticated medical care. So after resting for two days, we took off. We had acceptable weather for the crossing and completed the trip in 46 hours.

Mazatlan has a cruisers net on VHF 68 at 0830 six days a week and a number of cruisers monitor the channel most of the time. If any cruiser needs help, they only have to 'come up'. We weren't aware of the net, unfortunately, as it would have made our arrival a little easier.

A retiree from the UCLA Medical Center, Suzy was able to activate her former ties while at sea via email. We use the Wavetalk phone system. UCLA's international department came up with a physician referral at The Sharp Hospital in Mazatlan. The hospital is comparable to a community facility stateside. Many of the staff speak English and communication is not a problem.

After making contact with Dr. Enrique Garcia, an orthopedic surgeon, Pete underwent surgery on his arm on December 22. He arrived at 0800 the first day and was out by 2100 the second day. Thank goodness our boat was in a great location, the El Cid Hotel and Marina, for Pete's recuperation. The facility has four pools, hot tubs, reliable and safe water, electricity and cable TV.

The cost of this American-style treatment was not insignificant, however. Our initial cash outlay was over $6,000 although we may be able to get reimbursement from our stateside insurance and boat medical insurance. So far, however, working with our U.S. insurance company has been one challenge after another. We have to translate every document and do all the exchange rates, as they don't seem to understand foreign claims. We also had to explain why Pete didn't seek treatment within 24 hours.

Pete could have flown back to the States for treatment, but with all the travel and living expenses, and our $2,500 deductible, it would have been more expensive. Had we purchased a PPO type of Mexican health insurance which we now have 100% of the cost would have been covered in the annual $800 premium for two.

Once Pete's cast came off, he went into physical therapy big time, as he needs to have 180º elbow extension for hoisting sails and anchoring. Fortunately, Mazatlan is a wonderful and very inexpensive city. One of our best finds was an open- air cafe where dinner traditional entrees of chicken, goat or pork was $11, for four people!

Pete and Suzy Rummel

Tayana 47, Magic Dragon

Pacific Palisades

Pete & Suzy You don't mention it, but we hope you alerted others either nearby cruisers or the Coast Guard of your post-accident status so they could monitor your progress. Tragedies at sea are usually the result of a cumulation of things that go wrong, and having the only person who can effectively run the boat out of commission is a big start to serious trouble. Had we been in your situation, we would have leaned on the cruising community for help in getting the boat anchored in Bahia Santa Maria, to Cabo, and certainly across the Sea of Cortez in the middle of winter.

Readers Are you one of the many couples headed south on the Baja Ha-Ha? Situations such as the one detailed above should encourage you to take an extra hand or two. After all, the first passage is often the most accident prone.

MARINER 31

In the April issue, a Houston reader requested some information about Mariner 31s. They are indeed pretty boats I almost bought one several years ago, before buying our current boat, a modified H-28. Both the Mariner 31 and the modified H-28 were built at the same yard, Far East Yachts in Yokosuka, Japan.

As far as I know, Far East Yachts was in business between 1960 and about '76. The yard began by building the modified Herreshoff and Garden-designed Mariners of wood. In the late '60s, they ventured into heavy layup fiberglass, producing the Mariners 31, 32 and 36. Although the 31-foot model is associated with William Garden, the designer of record is Clare Oberley. According to a reprint of a Far East brochure I have, the American address for Far East was a post office box in North Hollywood, California. However, according to a Rhode Island H-28 Association website, Far East Yachts were imported by Fellows & Stewart of Long Beach. In any event, the skill of the Japanese builders is evident in the longevity of the boats they produced many Far East yachts are still proudly sailed by skippers around the world.

According to some surveyors I¹ve talked to and my own experience the common weak points of the H-28s and the Mariners were the plywood decking and deck-to-cabin joints. Delamination and rot have plagued the decks of many of these vessels although the hulls have remained blister and rot free. Happily, the decks can be renewed with marine-grade plywood and modern fiberglass and epoxy resins.

We¹d like to learn more about the Far East Yacht builders, so if any Latitude readers out there have further information to share, we'd love to get it at DGood@Jps.net.

By the way, we found our Far East H-28 in the October '91 Classy Classifieds. We've been proud owners ever since.

Dan Goodman and Donna McConnell

Aguilucho

Sausalito

I WOULD NEVER LET MY 10-YEAR-OLD

I was the guy that rescued a dozen 10-year-olds in kayaks off Sausalito's 'hurricane gulch' on June 22. The rescue would have never needed to take place had the individuals in charge not attempted to go out with a nasty northwesterly wind blowing.

It seems very risky to me to leave Sausalito in a kayak with the wind blowing 30 to 40 mph from behind with three to four foot waves especially if those in the kayaks are 10-year-olds with no experience. In my opinion, the guides could hardly handle their own boats in those conditions.

My main concern is that this trip was conducted by a large kayaking company, one that frequents the waters of San Francisco and Tomales Bay, that leads moonlight and Golden Gate paddles, and so forth. For what I saw when I had to rescue these kids was unbelievable. I would never let my own 10-year-old son go with this group despite the fact that my son has been raised on the ocean. Adult supervision with ocean knowledge is imperative.

So I'd ask all kayakers and kayak tour companies to please be responsible and safe, and always check the conditions before leaving. It would also be a good idea for these kayak companies to get handheld VHF radios so they can call for help when necessary. Flares wouldn¹t hurt, either.

Although the kids were only about a mile from the Sausalito shore, nobody else knew they were in trouble. If we hadn¹t been out checking my boat after some minor repairs, those 10-year-olds might have met a much different fate.

Clyde Fletcher

Northern California

Clyde We referred your letter to Steve Hayward of Sea Trek Ocean Kayaks, who had the following response:

"Clyde Fletcher and his crew were real heros on June 22nd. On behalf of the children involved, their families, and Sea Trek Ocean Kayaking Center, I offer you our utmost gratitude for your aid at a time when we most assuredly needed it. Unfortunately, yet admittedly, we made a gross error in judgement on June 22 in attempting to return to Schoonmaker Pt. with a group of youths aged 9-12 who were part of a week-long instructional program. Although they were a strong group for their age, the wind was building quickly as they left the Chart House beach after a hearty lunch. The instructors' intentions were to hug the shoreline to avoid the fetch from the westerly wind. But a brief stop to adjust a rudder setting was all it took to blow the group far enough offshore until they were into the full force of the wind which had risen twofold from the time the group set off. At this time, Mark Garrett, our lead guide, knew he had a potentially dangerous situation on his hands, and he quickly responded.

"Over the years, we have developed many techniques, procedures, and support systems that have enabled us to get ourselves out of unforseen predicaments but this was not the day or type of situation to look inward for help. As Mark put it, "I flagged down the first blessed boat I saw." I would not at this point want to take anything away from Clyde Fletcher's efforts, in that he may have already seen the kayaks and realized the severity of the situation, as he had already diverted his course in our favor. Mark then called me on a cell phone which we carry on all such trips, despite the fact that we usually have to toss them after a good dousing and relayed the situation to me. I assured him that our first support boat was already on its way as per our standing procedure whenever the wind reaches 15 to 20 knots for more than 30 minutes and that I would be leaving immediately also in the second skiff.

"When I arrived on the scene, Fletcher and his crew had already performed the tremendous feat of boarding all the kids onto his boat. Our first skiff then started transporting the kids from Fletcher's boat to a larger Coast Guard vessel that was standing by but couldn't come alongside because of the fetch. After spending no small amount of time cleaning up the leftover boats and gear, and transporting it all to the closest shore for our retrieval later, we gave our thanks and good-byes as best one could given the conditions and quickly made our way back to our location to tend to the children and inform the parents. Fortunately, the children were fine a little shaken in a few cases but surprisingly excited about the whole ordeal.

"In 18 years of instructing and guiding kayakers in the Bay and open coast, as well as in Baja and Alaska, Sea Trek has literally had a perfect safety record with regard to serious incidents. Thousands of people have experienced both the serenity and the challenges of the Pacific with us with little more than the odd dislocated shoulder, seasickness, blisters, or the requisite fatigue. Our instructors and guides are required to have at the minimum current Wilderness First Aid and CPR certificates. We carry cell phones and VHF radios on all trips with even the slightest exposure. PFDs are mandatory at all times and wetsuits are the norm. Two support boats are continually on the water any time the wind is up or the current strong. All this, of course, might not have made a difference unless Fletcher had been there on the 22nd with his boat. We are indebted to you. If you'd like to discuss it further, I can be reached at Sea Trek Ocean Kayaking Center at (415) 488-1000."

BENETEAU OWNERS

I am the volunteer webmaster for a new, free, non-commercial Beneteau Owners web site that has been set up by a group of Beneteau owners to promote the sharing of information about Beneteau sailboats. As such, I want all Beneteau owners and other interested parties to know that it can be found at http://www.beneteau-owners.com.

The site offers boat profiles, a reference library, tips for cruising and racing, discussions, and more. We have active users from every continent in the world except for Antarctica, so we consider ourselves global even though the machine that hosts everything is in New Jersey.

Mark Melvin

New Jersey

NO CAN DO

In Latitude's response to Al Liersch concerning sailing north past Point Sur, you mention that if he needed shelter he'd have to backtrack to San Simeon. There is, however, a reasonably good shelter from the prevailing northwesterlies at Pfeiffer, which is just eight miles south of Sur. Kelp flies often make life unpleasant, but it sure beats giving up all the miles made to weather to run all the way back to San Simeon. Some boats also anchor at Pt. Lopez below Pfeiffer but I haven't done it myself.

Your negative response to Nina Daley¹s suggestion that cruising sailors carry signal flags and letter codes is right on. Having spent many years on merchant ships, I can say that very few ship¹s officers would understand these signals. As for using two-letter codes, I can only remember using them once, and that was more than 30 years ago. I worked aboard a passenger ship that was in government service at the time, and we'd left Honolulu after dark for Guam. When we left, we were informed that we would be a 'passive participant' meaning a pretend target in naval maneuvers. When a destroyer flashed lamp signals at us, I went to the bridge because the mate on watch didn't know Morse Code. The destroyer was ordering us to extinguish all lights. That was hazardous with passengers on board, so the captain drafted a long-winded reply explaining why we couldn't comply. I abbreviated his response to "No can do."

The Navy came back with, "You are under orders to extinguish all lights now. Repeat, now!"

I gave them a two-letter response: "F.U." We had no further communication.

So I guess Daley is partly right about the usefulness of two-letter codes.

Louk Wijsen

Noordzee

San Francisco

BANISHED FROM THE FRIDAY HARBOR LIBRARY

For those of you who will be cruising the beautiful San Juan Islands this summer, I am disappointed to report that my offer to donate a Latitude subscription to the Friday Harbor Library was sternly refused. The Head Librarian told me she didn¹t think people would read it even though I pointed out the articles about the local Burman family who lost their boat and nearly their lives last November near New Zealand.

Apparently she deemed your rag not of interest to our local boating community and visitors. Sorry, I tried!

Sheila Fox

Deer Harbor, WA

Sheila Rejected again! That's what we get for not having a glossy cover. But thanks for trying.

THE BUS RIDE HOME

After reading Jim and Susie Barden's article about their bus trip from Mexico back to California, I felt compelled to comment.

My wife and I have ridden the bus from Mazatlan to Tijuana and back, as well as from Guaymas to Tijuana after having our boat shipped home. On the round trip from Mazatlan we rode the Elite bus, which was an express bus with reserved seats that reclined, had movies and videos, and a working restroom in the rear. As I recall, the one-way fare was about $55 U.S. per person. The bus we took from Guaymas was very similar, and cost about $35 per person.

Upon arrival at the main bus terminal in Tijuana, we went to the Greyhound ticket counter inside the terminal and purchased our $4 tickets to downtown San Diego. The Greyhound bus runs about every 90 minutes. Upon arrival at the border, everyone had to get off the bus and go through Immigration. After passing through the building, you walk across the street to the Greyhound terminal and board the bus for San Diego.

Riding the bus home from Mexico was not without its interesting moments such as being stopped a number of times by the Mexican Army to have the bus searched for drugs. Or making sure that you got your food order placed in a timely manner at the occasional stops. The trip from Mazatlan to the border was about 22 hours; from Guaymas it was about 15 hours.

We'll be heading south with the Baja Ha-Ha this fall aboard our new boat, Sunchaser III, a Golden Hinde 31.5. And come next spring, we'll ride the bus back to the States to do our taxes and renew our visas.

Jerry and Jan Tankersley

Sunchaser III

Henderson, NV

ANOTHER BUS STORY

Having crewed aboard a Tartan 41 from San Diego to Cabo, we decided to take the bus back up the Baja coast. Ours was a good experience.

We started by leaving the Tartan at what we thought was 0620. Once we got to the bus stop, we realized that there had been a time change on the way down the coast and that our watches were an hour behind! No wonder the sun seemed to rise so early on our last day! Anyway, we missed the 0700 bus but there was another one at 0730. Bus service is frequent in Mexico.

Our two-hour ride to La Paz cost about $4 each and was just fine. We arrived just in time to grab the last two seats $59 each on the air-conditioned bus to Tijuana. The buses in Mexico at least some of them do things a little differently than Greyhound. For example, they assign you seats as on an airplane. You also get to watch movies fairly recent U.S. action films with Spanish subtitles. In fact, watching four complete movies helped us pass the time. You also have to pay two pesos to use the restroom and for a small piece of toilet paper. The biggest difference is that the bus had two drivers, who switched at each stop. During the day, both drivers sat in the normal part of the bus. At night, however, the off-duty driver crawled into the forward luggage compartment equipped with a mattress and a window to get some sleep! Greyhound doesn't do that.

The bus ride north took us along the Sea of Cortez coast for about one-third of the way, and we were able to see many bays, islands, and anchorages from the highway. It was great! It was also lucky that we caught an early morning bus, as we passed the best scenery the southern part during daylight. It's best to make the trip in spring, however, when the desert is in full bloom.

During the entire trip about 22 hours from La Paz the bus made a total of 10 stops. No matter what time we arrived at a stop, a small kitchen was open to sell fairly inexpensive food. Three or four times during the trip we were stopped by Army patrols. A soldier would board the bus and say, "Buenos noches" to everyone. The Mexicans replied "Buenos noches" in unison just as if they were little kids back in grade school. It showed us that individual Mexicans don't mess with the military!

After arriving in Tijuana at about 0700 the next morning, we took a local bus to the 'border' stop. After crossing the border, we took the Red Trolley to just two blocks from where we'd left our car in San Diego.

The 24-hour bus ride to San Diego was an inexpensive and not-at-all bad way to get home from Cabo. It was made nicer by the fact that everyone was very polite and helped us out whenever we needed it. The only bad part was going from 80º November temperatures in Mexico to snow down to 3,000 feet in Southern California!

Pat and Renee Nolan

Northern California

THE OFFENDING LIFEJACKETS

This is a heads-up for anyone planning to travel to a sailing destination by air. We recently returned from a wonderful trip to Honduras, where we visited Alameda-based cruiser Shirley Larsen and her two weasel crew, Chubie and Duncan aboard her boat Chelsea B. We met up with Shirley on the west end of Roatan, and from there sailed around the Bay Islands, stopping occasionally to scuba dive and sample the local food and hospitality.

Because we had to change airplanes twice to get to Roatan, we decided to travel with carry-on bags only. After all, we only needed a couple of changes of shorts, some sailing gear, and our masks and fins. Going through the X-ray machine at SFO and again in Miami and San Pedro Sula, Honduras we were singled out and searched for illegal cargo. The offending items turned out to be the C02 cartridges in our inflatable lifejackets!

Each time we patiently negotiated with customer service agents, managers, safety officers and in Honduras, the pilot pointing out that every seat on the airplane has an inflatable lifejacket under it "in the unlikely event of a water landing." In San Francisco and Miami we were ultimately allowed to travel with our jackets despite the threat they represented to the integrity of the flight. In Honduras we had to check the bags into cargo which resulted in them visiting Belize without us. Needless to say, none of the airplanes blew up. On the return trip we checked our bags the entire way and had no problems.

The moral of this story is that air travel is less stressful if you check the luggage carrying your inflatable lifejacket even if those bags may visit destinations not on your itinerary. If you plan to carry-on this 'dangerous cargo', get permission in writing before you board the plane. Hopefully the airlines will soon educate their employees that C02 cartridges do not represent the same threat to airplanes as scuba tanks and oxygen cylinders.

Jamie Wasson and Elizabeth Charlton

Oakland

THE TERMINOLOGY OF DIFFERENT VESSELS

I have been following the comments regarding the situation at Pelican Yacht Harbor with great interest, as I have lived on my sailboat and now live on a 'floating home'. I can't help but notice that the terminology used regarding these various vessels paints everyone with the same brush. I would like to clarify a few points:

Floating Home: Usually in the form of a house on a wooden/fiberglass or cement hull having no means of propulsion. All are in floating home marinas and have full sewer connections resulting in zero discharge.

House Boats: Known in some parts as 'Delta destroyer', some are converted boats and most have some means of propulsion. Most have no sewer connections, but do have holding tanks. Most release gray water.

Anchor Outs: Boats which are usually fully operational and have means of propulsion. Most have holding tanks, but release gray water. Quite often these are transients who stop in the area for a short time before continuing on their journey.

Illegal Anchor Outs: Most are not fully operational and many don't even have a propulsion system. They take the form of old boats, barges, or anything else that might float. Holding tanks are in the minority although I have seen at least one with a commercial outhouse and most release gray water.

Noting the distinctions between these various types of 'vessels' is important because of the presence of our governing bodies, specifically the BCDC (Bay Conservation and Development Commission) that is involved in these disputes. The legislation and decisions that follow their involvement affect everybody who lives and plays on the water.

I do not know Mr. Morgan, nor am I familiar with his vessel, but I suspect that he lives aboard a boat and not a floating home or houseboat.

Chuck Woods

Alameda

Chuck We're not sure that you've covered all the bases. For example, what do you call a liveaboard boat that's been in a marina for years but without a rig, operating engine or running lights? We'd call it a 'floating home' because that's all it could be used for but it doesn't fit your definition.

HOBIE 33

I was enjoying the letter from Bill Stange about possibly racing a Hobie 33 to Hawaii and Latitude's response when I noticed the editor made a couple of mistakes. Bill and Melinda Erkelens actually finished first in the '94 Pacific Cup, not the '96 race, with Moonshine, not Moonshadow, their Dogpatch 26, a 2,500-pound ultralight. The best we could do in '94 with our Valiant 40 Happy Trails was to finish second behind them in division.

Thinking ULDBs were the way to go, I purchased Lipstick, an Express 27, shortly thereafter. Learning to sail a planing sailboat has been a gas. After another second place finish last summer in the Pacific Cup aboard the Valiant 40 Grey Eagle, I decided to get serious about getting to Hawaii first. I'm not sure where the rumor started perhaps with the Erkelens but I succumbed last fall and purchased a Hobie 33. Unfortunately, the boat was more trashed than I thought, and it's turning into a major event getting the boat ready for the Singlehanded TransPac.

The Hobie 33s were only in production for a few years in the early '80s, so there are not a lot of them around. One of the few local ones, Lee Garami's My Rubber Ducky, has had quite a bit of success. Garami has taken honors in the Singlehanded Farallones, the Windjammer to Santa Cruz, and a blazing burst Lee says 25.2 knots on the Coastal Cup to Santa Barbara.

With only an eight-foot beam on 30.5 feet of waterline, the Hobie 33 is easily driven and therefore is a natural for downwind races. It's also nice that she fits on a trailer and can be shipped back in a container. Most of the Hobies that I've seen seem to keep the keel down with fairing at the hull joint. The stock rudders are very small and most boats seem to go to custom rudders to overcome problems with weather helm. I hope this helps answer some questions.

David Bennett

Space Cowboy, Hobie 33

David Thanks for catching the mistakes. After more than two decades and seemingly endless boats and races, you'd think we'd have learned to double-check our faulty memory.

TWICE AROUND THE HORN AND SUCH

This may be a first. Instead of wanting to ask for information on a newly-acquired boat about which nothing is known, I'm asking for information about a recently-deceased sailor. The sailor was Charley 'Pete' Petersen my husband who died unexpectedly this year at age 78. I'm the wife who knew him after his glory days of sailing on San Francisco Bay although we lived aboard for nine years while cruising our Tayana 37 Anna Maru in the waters of Washington, British Columbia and Alaska.

Pete did a lot of serious racing in his day, including twice around Cape Horn. Maybe some Latitude readers out there remember him and can fill me in on some tales of his life before I knew him.

And when I put something together on him, can I send it to the magazine? Maybe it would trigger memories in others. Pete and I loved, tore apart and shared Latitude for years.

Karen Petersen

Wife of former Deck Ape and Capt. Charley 'Pete' Petersen

TIMING OF CLASSIES ON THE INTERNET

Those of us who can't get a paper copy of Latitude and must use the Internet are at a big disadvantage when shopping in the Classy Classifieds. Viewing new listings over the Internet after they've already been available in print puts would-be Internet purchasers in a much 'picked over and already sold' marketplace. This is lopsided for the seller as well, who is deprived of a larger market and the natural competition derived for the item which he/she is selling.

It would seem that the release of your Internet publication could be timed to coincide with your paper copy release without too much technological creativity needed.

Sy Richman

Pacific Grove

Sy What do you mean you can't get a 'paper copy' of Latitude? See page 10 for subscription information. If you want to get the good Classy bargains, we suggest a first class subscription.

Our policy is not to put the Classy Classifieds online until five days after the print version comes out. Why? It's readers of the 'paper version' who pay the bills, so obviously they should get the first shot at the Classies. As for sellers wanting to get their best price, they can simply hold out for their full price until everybody has had a shot at their ad.

WHY 38?

Just curious, but why do you call your magazine Latitude 38, and does it have any particular significance?

Patrick

Santa Rosa

Patrick When we were starting the magazine, we tried to think of a title that didn't have a variation of 'sailing' in it as we desperately wanted to differentiate ourselves from all the other sailing magazines. One night a guy told us some crazy story that happened in a long defunct '60s pilots and stewardesses footsie bar in Sausalito called Latitude 38. "That's it!" we shouted, and there was no looking back.

The significance is that latitude 38 (north) is the parallel that runs through San Francisco Bay. Interestingly enough, the 38th parallel comes close to running through some other good sailing areas: Annapolis, the Azores, Gibraltar, Tunisia, Sicily, Athens and Izmir/Bodrum. We also liked the fact that the name lent itself to some good rhymes, such as 'Latitude 38, where the sailing is great.'

WHAT ABOUT THE DELTA ANCHOR?

I am responding to Norm Sundholm¹s letter about Danforth, CQR and Bruce anchors, and the editor's response. I was sorely disappointed to see no mention of the Delta anchor. As I do work for Simpson Lawrence, I may be a bit biased, but after years of trade shows and cruiser testimonials, I assure you, the Delta is worth mentioning.

The Delta was designed in 1989 when Gordon Lyle combined the best features of the Bruce and the CQR. The result is an anchor which will self-launch, self-set, self-right, has an extended balanced fluke area, a universal fixing eye, and a very strong balanced hold. The Delta is constructed of high-manganese steel, which provides maximum shear and tensile strength. The apex of the Delta has high stability balloting with extreme amounts of weight in the toe which contributes to correct seabed orientation and optimum penetration.

When the Delta first came out, it was popular with the trailerboat market. Then, the fanatical 'bluewater' ground tackle freaks took to them, so we started to make them in bigger sizes. Deltas can now be found from nine to 140 pounds, and in stainless as well as manganese steel. From all the test results we have seen in the past 10 years, the Delta has excellent working capabilities in all sea bed conditions.

Tom Fischbeck

Regional Sales Manager, Simpson Lawrence Inc.

Southern Pacific States

Tom It wasn't an intentional omission, we just haven't used a Delta yet.

SEAPLANES

According to rule 18: Responsibilities between vessels, subparagraph (e), "a seaplane on the water shall, in general, keep well clear of all vessels and avoid impeding their navigation. In circumstances, however, where risk of collision exists, she shall comply with the rules of this part." This basically means that unless the seaplane itself is restricted in the ability to maneuver or not under command, she is required by the rules to give way to all other vessels.

Speaking of which, after serving 24 years in the Coast Guard, including eight in San Francisco, I have personally witnessed an incredible amount of vessels both sail and power that should continuously be displaying the shapes or lights for 'Not Under Command'. This was especially true during my patrols of Opening Day and the Blue Angels air shows.

I love reading Latitude and appreciate the space you give for significant Coast Guard Search and Rescue cases. I don¹t even mind the occasional jabs you give the Coast Guard. Keep up the good work and for God sake, "Be careful out there!²

Russ Burress

BMC, United States Coast Guard, (ret)

San Francisco

FISHERMEN ALERT! ARE YOU MISSING YOUR ROD?

On July 18, I chartered Lagniappe from Club Nautique in Alameda to initiate Michael Weber, his daughter Michelle Grabau, Bob McKee, and his daughter Kristin McKee to the joys of sailing on our wonderful Bay. I had my son Sulaiman along to help trim the sheets. While Michael had the helm, I noticed something that looked like a piece of lumber floating just beneath the surface ahead of us. So I instructed Michael to steer a little to starboard while I kept my eye on it.

As we passed the object, I realized that it was not a waterlogged 2x4, but a fishing pole! Recognizing a perfect opportunity to simulate a man-overboard drill, I took the helm, had Bob keep his eyes on the prize, and dispatched Sulaiman below to get the boat hook. After a maneuver that would have done my sailing instructors proud, we came alongside the pole and nearly stopped on the first try.

As soon as we got the handle of the pole into the boat, the pole started shaking. There was fish at the end of the line! With some work, we reeled in a two-foot long bat ray. Since nobody had a license or ice box to take the trophy home, we decided to let the creature go. While I held the ray down, Bob and Michael tried to get the hook free. The two girls comforted the ray by petting it. Unable to free the hook, we cut the line near the hook and threw our new friend back into the water. I explained to my initiates that this kind of thing does not happen every time I go sailing.

If anyone can give the first half of this story and a description of the pole it's not a cheap one I'd be more than happy to return it. As I can barely afford sailing, taking up fishing just might break me.

Badru Hyatt

6146 Silberman Drive

San Jose, CA 95120

Badru You're a good and honest man. We salute you.

TIPS ON HAM AND MARINE SSB EMAIL

I read with great interest your April article on using ham and marine SSB to send and receive email. I've helped many cruisers solve their email problems and would like to share what I've found to be the most common issues that need addressing.

Unless you have been using ham or marine SSB for years, you may not understand why you can or cannot talk over great distances, and what good operating procedures are. If you don't have this experience, it's best to find someone who can help install your hardware and software, and make the first contacts with an email bulletin board service (BBS).

Before you take off cruising, get someone a relative or close friend to be your shoreside email redistribution contact. You send this person the generic 'this is where we are and what we are doing' emails, and he/she forwards them to all the people who want to follow your trip. You have, of course, provided your contact with a list of all their email addresses. Having such a contact solves two of the most common problems that clog the airwaves: 1) Duplicate or near duplicate messages, and 2) Unwanted or long messages, be they the original message being sent back, jokes, chain letters, and so forth.

Then you send additional messages to loved ones and best friends who you want to send personal messages to. These are the only ones who get your direct email address. All others have to relay their regards and wishes through your redistribution contact. As you become familiar with the pluses and minuses of the radio email system, you can add to your address book. This also allows you to instruct a smaller group about the do's and don¹ts of this type of email.

Most ham email BBSs limit messages to 5,000-10,000 characters. The one you're reading now is about 3,200. But it's best to say what you have to say in half a page or less. The problem is that the baud rate over ham and SSB is very slow 100-400 which is sort of like sailing in light and fluky winds. The typical home Internet connection over the phone is 28,000 to 56,000 bps, which is rocket fast by comparison. So the message that takes just a few seconds to send from your home computer can take tens of minutes to transmit from your boat.

Good radio citizenship is important, too. The ham email BBSs are free and operated by hobbyists. These folks enjoy helping others but they also have the right and responsibility to monitor messages sent through their system, so they can edit as they see fit. Basically, a BBS is a giant party line, and those who are not considerate of others are quickly identified.

Being considerate includes using a radio that has the ability to transmit on low power. Not only will the neighbors in your anchorage or harbor be happy that you don't disturb their radio contacts, but your own electronic equipment, such as autopilots and other electronics, will be better off for not being subjected to such powerful transmissions.

If sending email onboard using your ham or SSB radio sounds like something you want to avoid, but you still want to send email, there are alternatives. For example, you can get a satellite system which are very expensive, although dropping in price. Or you can lug your laptop to shore and hope you can hook up to AOL, or sign up with a free email provider such as Hotmail. Or, you can do all your emailing from an Internet cafe.

For more information look at http://home.earthlink.net/~winlink.

Rick Oliveira KF6IL

Tortuga

Somewhere in the Sea of Cortez

Rick For folks spending time in marinas in Mexico as opposed to anchorages, AOL seemed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. The service only costs $4 a month, and the combination of a laptop and the marina office's phone resulted in reliable and fast connections. Sending and receiving ten messages usually took no more than a minute or two.

BE CAREFUL WHEN DROPPING ACID

In the July issue, Vernon Jacobs of San Diego complained about how the wood acid he was using for his teak stained his boat's gelcoat.

I'm very familiar with the problem. Before I decided to varnish all the exterior wood on my Islander 41's exterior wood, I oiled it season after season. This meant using the acid to clean the wood prior to oiling. I recall very clearly that all the brands I used warned that the acid could damage the gelcoat.

The way I would combat the problem was as follows: 1) I never used the acid on a hot day where liquids would evaporate quickly, and 2) I used plenty of water on the areas I didn't want to get stained and never allowed them to dry.

But the damage seemed to already have been done. Now what? For heavy staining, I suggest using the acid again but diluted right on the gelcoat. But don't let it sit. Rinse it off as soon as possible, and completely. Then treat the gelcoat with a rubbing and wax compound. For areas where this isn't enough, you'll just have to paint.

Norman H. Black

Liveaboard for 12 years, Islander 41

Alameda

MORE EFFICIENT REFRIGERATOR EXCHANGERS

It's hard to live without the luxury of refrigeration when onboard. I¹ve been told that if there's not ice aboard, it's a boat; if there is ice aboard, it's a yacht.

Unfortunately, the electron suck our refrigeration system causes on our 'yacht' is incredible. Recently I was told there exists a more efficient exchanger utlilizing seawater instead of air, resulting in less electrical drain. Have you heard of this? Where can I find one?

John 'the guy with the iguana on his head' Hurd

Jacamar, Searunner 37 trimaran

John Have we heard of seawater exchangers to make refrigeration systems more efficient? They're as old as the hills. When Big O was built in 1971, for example, she was equipped with such an exchanger. We ripped it out, however, as it seemed to add unnecessary drag to the bottom.

We suggest you contact a refrigeration specialist. You can find some listed in this very magazine.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Thanks for printing the photo of Neuromancer in the May issue. Does Latitude still sell reprints of photos that appear? And since we were both wearing personal flotation devices with harnesses, no less do we get free T-shirts?

In response to your query, Neuromancer is the title character in a science fiction novel of the same name by William Gibson who has written several other novels and the screenplay for the movie Johnny Mnemonic. Neuromancer is an artificial intelligence, a self-aware computer program. The book is about Neuromancer¹s relations with another artificial intelligence as well as some humans.

The book Neuromancer is the seminal work of the cyberpunk science fiction genre. In fact, the term 'cyberspace' was coined in the book by Gibson. And here's a sample of his writing: "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." As there is lots of drugs and sex and violence in the book, I figured it was a great name for a geek's boat. After all, it's not like we could keep calling the boat Express after we brought her down from Tacoma. I briefly thought about naming her Thanks Larry for Oracle¹s CEO but she didn¹t cost nearly enough.

Neuromancer, the Olson 30, turns 20 years of age this month. With 15 siblings to play with during the Berkeley/MYCO Midwinters, and 25 or more expected for Nationals at this month's Whidby Island Race Week, she's entering adulthood with a lot of fast and fun company.

Dean S. Daniels

Olson 30, Neuromancer

Oracle RDBMS Development, San Francisco

Dean Thanks for that explanation. Yes, we sell reprints of photos that run in Latitude (assuming they were shot by us). Send $25 to us for an 8x10 photo (subsequent reprints of the same photo are $10). Sorry, but we no longer give out free T-shirts for sailors photographed wearing PFDs.


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