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- ANCHORING IN SAN DIEGO BAY
Based on what we read on Downwind Marine's website, we asked Chris Frost about an application for anchoring privileges in San Diego Bay prior to the Ha-Ha. He responded by saying, "The Harbor Police don't take reservations - but it might be helpful if you send them a letter and reinforce my telling them that a lot of boats are coming down in October and room has to be made."
Do you suppose that this response from Frost means that the San Diego Harbor Police don't remember that there is a cruiser 'migration' through San Diego every October? We would write a letter, but it seems to us that the voice of Latitude 38, or at least the Grand Poobah, would carry more weight with the Harbor Police. Frost's reply to our inquiry implies that the folks down in San Diego are not taking the Ha-Ha seriously - and if we are to believe Latitude, it's going to be the biggest yet. And we always believe what we read in Latitude.
I'm sure I'm not the only one to tell you that Almar Marina on Cabrillo Isle, where the Ha-Ha kick-off party is to be held on October 24th, is not taking reservations at this time, but is rather putting folks on the 'waiting list', and on about October 1 will notify folks about availability. Furthermore, the largest berths they have are 40 feet long. This is no problem for us, as we're planning to anchor out again anyway - as we did in '97 - because it's not as complicated.
Please note, we're not whining, just passing information along.
Michaelanne, Whidby 42
Anne - The sustained boom in the U.S. economy means that almost all the marinas in the San Diego area - as well as Cabo Isle Marina in Cabo San Lucas - are already operating at near capacity. This is a major change from just a few years ago when almost all Ha-Ha entries could be accommodated in slips or raft-ups. What this means is that most Ha-Ha people will get some early anchoring practice - and save some money on berths. It also means that some folks may not want to come all the way down to San Diego - but rather stay at Marina del Rey, Catalina, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Oceanside or Mission Bay - until right before the 24th.
We just spoke to Chief Hall, who only three weeks ago replaced our friend Chief Hight as the head of the San Diego Harbor Police. When we told him that the Ha-Ha fleet is returning, Chief - 'Call me Dave' - Hall laughed and said he remembered the Ha-Ha. He said he was aware that open berths are almost non-existent, but that there are a number of anchorages open to transients, and that in addition, he'll open up a special events anchorage just for the Ha-Ha fleet.
The first anchorage he recommends is A-9, which is located near the tip of Harbor Island adjacent to the floating paddle wheel restaurant Rueben E. Lee. This is near the Coast Guard station. The average depth is about 15 feet with good holding in a sand bottom. This anchorage is convenient to Ha-Ha headquarters at Cabrillo Isle Marina, to the airport, and to downtown San Diego. 'Dave' also recommends the Glorietta Bay Golf Course Anchorage. After going under the Coronado Bridge, turn right along the shoreline. Go past the 5 mph buoy and a 'no anchoring buoy', and Ha-Ha entrants may anchor anywhere along the shoreline all the way down to where the channel turns to enter Glorietta Bay. The average depth is 15 feet and there is good holding in a sand bottom. For this anchorage you'll need a permit saying you're part of the Ha-Ha fleet. You can pick one up at Cabrillo Isle Marina, at the Ha-Ha Kick-Off Party at the Encinal YC in Alameda on October 5, and probably at Downwind Marine in San Diego. If you anchor in the wrong place, don't worry, the Harbor Police say they'll be understanding of first-time visitors who get confused. For further anchoring information, contact the San Diego Harbor Police on Channel 16 or pick up one of the San Diego Bay packets at the Ha-Ha Kick-Off Party in Alameda.
The "biggest Ha-Ha ever"? We're not sure we said that, and in any event hope it's not the case. There were 172 paid entries in '97, and that's was more than enough. As we go to press, we've received over 90 paid entries, and the Poobah reports there are 130 more people who paid $10 to get an entry pack that have yet to be heard from - an unusually high number. "We might get a lot of last-minute entries before the September 10 deadline." By the way, the Poobah happened to see your letter - and told us that you're getting a three-second/mile improvement on your handicap for "not whining."
- THE BAY IS A SPECIAL PLACE
It's Sunday morning here in Panama, and my wife and I are having breakfast overlooking Panama City. The August Latitudes just arrived, and I was reading choice bits aloud as we ate. We enjoyed the Fastnet redoux and then I started reading Fabulous Fourth about Independence Day on the Bay. By the time I finished, tears were rolling down my cheeks - and they continue to blur the screen as I type. San Francisco Bay is a very special place, and you brought it all back. Thank you.
Dave - You're very kind, thank you. We're just lucky we have such a terrific subject to write about. No disrespect, but we can't imagine being able to write a similar piece about sailing off Marina del Rey.
- THERE COULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER REMEDY
I'm writing this letter in regards to the trophy the Disneys donated to the TransPac. It's a thing of beauty. On the flip side, if I owned Medicine Man, I would be pissed off. I can't be the only one to remember that they were the first to break Merlin's record. Even though they held it for a short time, they did own the record, and should have a spot on the trophy.
I really like the Disneys, having worked with them in the past, but I think that they should have included Medicine Man.
Andre - We were there to take the accompanying photo of Bob Lane's Medicine Man crossing the Diamond Head finish line to break Merlin's record, and we consider ourselves to be a friend of Lane's. Here's how we see it:
Medicine Man broke Merlin's 20-year-old elapsed time record, no doubt about it. In fact, in the terrific poster that the Disneys apparently bankrolled to publicize the '99 TransPac, that's exactly what the caption under the Medicine Man photo says. But then, before the '97 TransPac was over, Disney's Pyewacket broke Medicine Man's record. Since Medicine Man didn't own the record through the end of the TransPac, it makes sense to us that her name not be included on the trophy - especially since there had never before been two elapsed time winners in the same year. We do, however, see how a good argument could be made for the opposite view.
As for the Disneys, we think they are noteworthy for being magnanimous in victory. It's been a tradition for the upcoming TransPac poster to feature either the elapsed time winner or the overall winner from the previous race. But when the Disneys financed the '99 TransPac poster, for the first time it included not one, but five big winners: Pyewacket, first to finish and elasped time record holder; Ralphie, overall winner; Salispuedes, overall winner in the cruising class; Explorer, first multihull, and, as mentioned previously, Medicine Man, the first boat to break Merlin's 20-year-old record. To us, it seemed to represent a conscious effort to recognize that there are many winners in each TransPac.
- TALL SHIP SEMESTER FOR GIRLS
Six months ago, I gathered with the 12 nervous young women who would complete a two-month voyage aboard the schooner Californian as part of the Tall Ship Semester for Girls. Eighteen ports of call and well over 3,000 miles later, they returned to their families and to the world of showers and ice cream. But there is a difference: now they were sailors.
One young woman spoke of her accomplishments: "Being junior mate was the first time I actually took a role of leader seriously. Usually in school I would just lay back and let someone else take charge. Now I actually care about being involved." Another explained, "I broke through barriers of uncertainty, unwillingness, and apprehension. The trip gave me an awesome opportunity to transform into someone new - and that's what I needed."
Now many of these young women, who had never been sailing before, are volunteering and working on Hyde Street Pier, the Hawaiian Chieftain, the Californian, and Alma. The Tall Ship Semester owes its success in great part to the community of sailors here in the Bay Area, as individuals, local businesses and other organizations provided the scholarship assistance needed to send this new generation of sailors to sea. Many thanks to all of you - and to the Bay Area Watchkeepers Association, the Master Mariners Benevolent Association, Matson Navigation Company, the National Maritime Museum Association, the Richardson Bay YC, the Sausalito Tall Ships Society, and Starbuck Canvas for helping make this vision a reality.
Principal, Tall Ship Semester for Girls
- LOST CONTACT WITH LARRY
Seven years ago, my partner and I crewed for Larry Harrel of California on a trip down the coast of Mexico aboard his boat X'T'SEA. We ran into some huge seas, got into a heap of trouble, and eventually had to be rescued by the Mexican Navy and a shrimp trawler. It's a long story, but the short of it is that Larry was very, very kind to us on our travels and we shared some fab times together. In fact, we had a better trip than we could ever have had on the drug of the same name.
Unfortunately, we've since lost contact with him. On our way back to Oz, we stopped off in Indonesia for a couple of months of surfing. While there, the bag with our very special address book was stolen. As we had been travelling for 12 months, Larry didn't have an address for us, and we no longer had his.
We've since tried many avenues to contact Larry, all of which have failed. But I recently served some very cool American sailors here in my store, and they suggested that your magazine would be a good way of possibly finding our long lost friend.
We're sure that Larry thinks we are total arseholes for having never contacted him after the unbelieveable time he showed us, but we'd still like to reach him. He was a mad keen sailor when we were with him, so it's likely that either he or his friends read Latitude. If so, please have him contact us at email@example.com.
Aaron and Anne-Marie Polovineo
Emerald Beach, New South Wales, Australia
- DRY ROT IN MY BOAT
Attention boat maintenance experts! I'm trying to obtain some Tim-Bor professional wood preservative - manufactured by U.S. Borax Co. - to attack some dry rot in my sailboat. This is the least toxic of any such product I've seen, but it is only distributed to pest control companies. WoodenBoat magazine has had a few positive articles about using borax to control fungus and rot, and listed this product. It is also being used in the preservation of the Wapama. I have obtained literature from the company, but since I'm not the Orkin Man, I can't purchase the product.
Can anyone help me get around this Catch 22? Unfortunately, the agencies involved never anticipated its marine use. I can be reached at Steve@star-design.com or P.O. Box 2331, Redwood City, CA 94064.
Update: I just found the loophole in the law I needed to get Tim-Bor! This and other similar products turn out to be available to groups that preserve historic homes - and my 1942 Bluenose schooner restoration project should qualify. If anyone else is interested, contact Preservation Resource Group at www.prg.com. By the way, I obtained the information through the WoodenBoat magazine online buiding and repair forum.
- DON'T BUG ME!
Come December, my wife and I will be realizing an old dream as we depart for Mexico and begin cruising to who knows where. We've always sought out advice from those who have gone before us, but right now we seem to have found a subject where there is little agreement: How big are no-see-ums? I've never seen one. Few others seem to have seen them either - although many have suffered mightily from their bites.
The question on size is important, because we want to be sure the screens on our opening ports and hatches will keep the beasties outside. Some people say that our existing standard fly-screen material will be just fine. They say that not only does it keep out flies and mosquitoes, but also the no-see-ums. These people claim that no-see-ums aren't called what they are because they are small, but rather they fly silently.
At the other end of the opinion spectrum are people who say that we need to use netting that is similar in mesh to pantyhose. These folks say the fine netting is needed because no-see-ums are extremely small and impossible to see. I'm positive that such screening material will keep the no-see-ums out, but it would also keep out most of any breeze that might be blowing? And why suffer from overkill?
So we need to know what is the minimum size mesh that will do the job? Hopefully you guys or one of your readers has factual information.
I personally wonder if those mysterious no-see-um bites may be due to more than one type of pest, with all bites of unknown origin being blamed on the unfortunate no-see-ums. Does anyone really know? In any event, thanks for producing a rag that is so interesting to read. I'm glad that you're able to laugh at yourselves as readily as you sometimes laugh at your readers.
Jim and Pam McEntyre
Aurora, Morgan 382
Jim & Pam - Thanks for the kind words - and the great question. We're certainly eager to hear what others have to say about no-see-ums, because in more than 20 years of sailing in most of the popular cruising areas of the world - including many times to Mexico - we've never once used screens. In fact, we had screens for our Freya 39 and Big O - but eventually threw them away because we never needed them.
This is not to say we haven't been bothered by no-see-ums, because we have. The worst places we can remember were some of the islands in the Sea of Cortez, San Blas, which might well be the no-see-um capital of the universe, Moorea, Elba, and parts of Turkey. But we were always only bothered when ashore because we made a point of anchoring our boat further offshore than the no-see-ums hop or fly. This isn't possible, of course, in the southeastern United States, where no-see-ums are rumored to be far worse than even at San Blas and screens are considered mandatory.
By the way, we use the term 'no-see-ums' in the most generic sense to include everything from the virtually invisible little guys in Moorea to the 'little bits of pepper' at San Blas. One thing we can say for sure: If you anchor close enough to shore, there are many places where a mesh designed to keep flies and mosquitos out will certainly not do the job against 'no-see-ums'.
But please, can we get some opinions and advice from others who've had more trouble than we?
- ONE OF THE FIRST RULES
As a Red & White fleet captain who is on the Bay five or six days a week, I can remember that when I learned basic boating 40 years ago in the Pacific Northwest and on the East Coast, one of the first rules to get under your belt was 'Don't be underway with your fenders over the side.' If you did, you were quickly marked as a real novice.
Nonetheless, I believe that two-thirds of the private vessels I see on the Bay have fenders trailing. Maybe they are trying to advertise that they are beginners and to keep clear of them. Besides flaunting an ages old tradition, trailing fenders spoil the lines of many a beautiful boat. Besides, do you ever see fenders over the side while professionally operated vessels - the military, government, corporate or non-profit agency - are underway?
Geoff - Fenders over the side on two-thirds of the private boats you see on the Bay? We think that's stretching the truth beyond the breaking point.
In any event, you have to understand that the so-called 'Marina del Rey racing stripes' are only sometimes the sign of a beginner or forgetful skipper. They might also be a non-functional anti-fashion statement along the lines of cargo pants and bra straps on shoes.
- CENTRAL AMERICA
While going through my information on Central America, I found a Latitude article from June of '98 by Jack and Linda Martin of Teresa J. Can you tell me how to get in touch with them, as we're headed that way?
Tony - Sorry, the Martins are on the move so we don't have an address. But check out this month's Changes for even more recent and detailed information on the 'Forgotten Middle'.
- GREAT CALM IN A TIME OF STRESS
Every now and then we get the chance to be captain for a day. Well, today I'm the skipper of the Good Samaritan, and I'm asking all of you to help make it a successful voyage.
How would you feel if you were a captain, went out for a sail on someone else's boat, but came back to find out you had no home? I know that I'd be confused and devastated - and lacking in a sense of humor.
Well, this is exactly what happened in mid-July to our sailing instructor, mentor and friend, J.T. Meade of the Modern Sailing Academy in Sausalito. Despite coming home to discover that his Beneteau 38 had burned in her slip, destroying everything, he was not devastated and did not lose his sense of humor.
Just as those who lose their vessels at sea, J.T., his wife Sue, and son Dylan, could really use some help. It would be great if you'd join me by sending a check to J.T. Meade Fund, Metro Commerce Bank, Attn: Chrissy/Sabrina, 1248, 5th Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901.
Don and Madeline Swartz
- 'BLACK BAG' OPERATIVES OF THE OAKLAND POLICE
I want to report several disturbing incidents that occurred during a recent weekend at the Union Basin Marina, which is administered by the Port of Oakland.
1) A Port of Oakland security guard attempted to trespass onto a boat belonging to a member of our group, Marinas 4 The People. Fortunately, our member spotted him from the parking lot and yelled at him to get off his boat. The guard then proceeded up the dock, placed himself in front of that member's car, and informed him he was under citizen's arrest. The member was detained by the security guard for approximately 20 minutes, during which time the guard refused to state any charges. The member informed him that he would walk away if the charges were not stated. At that point, the security guard grabbed him.
When the police arrived, they listened to the guard's story and - to their credit - immediately ordered the member released. The guard claimed 'harassment' because the member had yelled an expletive at him when demanding he get off the boat. I don't need to point out the extreme liability involved in this case.
2) In addition, several of our members have alleged some rather stunning abuses by the Port. They claim that the Port has been circulating rumors that one of our members has been carrying a gun about the marina, that this member is "crazy", and that he and his cat have been depositing feces around the marina and in the water. All of these rumors are, of course, patently false. Once again, I don't believe that I need point out how libelous this irresponsible evidence of de facto harassment is to the Port, and, in light of what I heard today, the City of Oakland.
3) Today, another member told me that under the 'Strong Mayor Act', the Port of Oakland is accountable to the City Mayor. Is this true? If so, why is this idiocy allowed to continue unchecked?
This episode is headed directly towards a violent encounter, and that violence will have been instigated by the agents of the Port of Oakland. For some time last night, said member's car was 'keyed', marring the paint. In addition, urine has been spilled onto the side of his boat. And today, a German resident took him to task for being Jewish. Quite a day, wouldn't you say? And all this because this member chose to peacefully organize to protect his rights and those of his fellow tenants at the Union Basin Marina.
Other disturbing reports of past incidents are emerging. One member recounts that he was attacked by 'black bag' operatives of the Oakland Police Department, and that he was '5150'd' for defending himself and reporting his attackers - who were ignored by the responding officers, even though they were standing near his boat when the police arrived.
We believe these reports. It is disgusting, utterly disgusting, that the exact same tactics utilized by the Soviet KGB are being utilized by Port of Oakland authorities here in Oakland. What an egregious outrage. How dare they! We demand that these attacks be ceased at once, and that the responsible parties be held accountable. And if you don't do it, we shall.
James Howard O'Leary
Acting Interim Spokesperson, General Counsel
Marinas 4 The People
James - Take it from someone who lived through the '60s, before you can get 'the people' to support you, they have to understand your cause. Let's start with the basics: When did the 'Marinas 4 The People' organization start, why did it start, who are the leaders, how many members are there, and what are the organizations goals and principles? All that stuff is conspicuous by its absence in your letter.
Now to some details: If the security guard was breaking into somebody's boat, why doesn't the boatowner file charges against him or a lawsuit against his employer? If you are the organization's 'General Counsel', how come you don't know the difference between libel and slander? Does your member in question have a cat? If so, how do you know the cat hasn't shit on the dock and/or peed on the member's boat? After all, many cats have been known to engage in such activities. We're not saying we believe you or don't believe you, it's just that you don't offer anything to support your barrage of accusations. Threatening to sue in every other paragraph over piddling issues doesn't do much for your cause either.
And what is the episode that might lead to "a violent encounter"? Why would it have to be violent? Has anybody else seen these "black bag operatives"? Why are they called that?
If you're serious about standing up for marina tenants' rights, at least you should have gone to the trouble of figuring out the relationship between the City of Oakland and the Port of Oakland. The Port of Oakland is an independently chartered agency of the City of Oakland with independent budget control. The Port is governed by a seven-member Board of Port Commissioners, who are nominated by the mayor and confirmed by the City. Furthermore, when Jerry Brown was elected Mayor of Oakland, the voters mandated a change which transferred most of the power from the City Manager (not the 'City Mayor'), who wasn't directly accountable to the electorate, to the Mayor.
No matter if you're trying to make friends or influence people, you have to express yourself clearly and know your facts.
- COMPARING THEM TO THE KGB IS RIDICULOUS
I got on the mailing list of James O'Leary's Marinas 4 The People - and I told them I want to be taken off it. Their embellished accusations are going to get everyone in the marina evicted. O'Leary seems like a very selfish person just trying to get attention for himself. If I wanted to hear that kind of drama and hearsay, I'd watch Jerry Springer. Nothing O'Leary has written can be backed up with proof. Has he ever heard of slander - which some people mistake for freedom of speech? I think O'Leary has crossed over the line, and that it's a crime.
Based on my observations of the security guards, they've never even remotely been out of line. In addition, they've always been friendly and polite. O'Leary's comparing them to the KGB is a ridiculous canard!
A peaceful, concerned and honest Marina Tenant
Union Basin Marina
- A CLEAN AND DECENT MARINA
I'm looking to purchase a used cruising boat in the near future and will want to liveaboard. Since I'll be doing a lot of work on the boat, I'll surely have to haul her out. My ideal location would be South San Francisco all the way to Redwood City - including Half Moon Bay.
Can you tell me what the minimum facilities of things like bathrooms and boatyards are to meet my liveaboard needs? What other services or facilities would be good to have? What is a reasonable monthly cost for a slip, how long should I have to wait for a liveaboard slip, and are there other fees I should be aware of, such as an initial purchase fee for the slip? Finally, without naming any names, can you help guide me to the marina that would be best for me?
Any wisdom you demi-deities can provide would be most appreciated.
Eric - Please cut out the "demi-deity" stuff. If we know any more than the typical sailor, it's only because we've spent 22 years covering sailing while most everyone else has been laboring at other endeavors.
The first thing you have to understand is that all marinas are unique. As it would only take an afternoon, you owe it to yourself to visit all the marinas between South San Francisco and Redwood City, see what facilities they offer, and decide which ones you like. Some folks like marinas that have stores, restaurants, and a sense of community; others don't give a hoot about that stuff. Everybody, however, wants good bathroom facilities. Not many marinas have boatyards on the premises; the fact that they don't is just a minor inconvenience.
You know how they say the three most important factors in real estate are "location, location and location"? It's pretty much the same with marinas. If you primarily want to sail the Central Bay, it's not going to do you much good to have your boat in Redwood City or Half Moon Bay. But if you're going to be spending most of your time fixing up a boat and living aboard, you may want to factor 101 gridlock into your berthing equation. After all, what good is a boat if you can't get to it?
Wanting to liveaboard throws a wild card into your plans. It's illegal in some marinas, and some harbormasters try their best to prevent it. At other marinas where it's illegal, the prohibition is not enforced and scores liveaboard. When it comes to finding a legal liveaboard slip, you just have to ask around. In some popular marinas with formal waiting lists, it may take five or 10 years for an opening to become available. In places without waiting lists, you might get right in if you have a nice boat or strike the harbormaster as being a person who won't cause trouble.
You also need to realize that not many new marinas are being built, and the most popular marinas are near or at capacity. Boaters are increasingly facing the situation where it's not a matter of chosing where they want to keep their boat, but where a marina has a slip available.
When signing up for most marinas, you pay first and last month's rent, plus a security deposit. Bay Area marina rates run anywhere from about $3/foot/month to $13/foot/month. The average is probably about $6/foot/month. Generally speaking, the closer you are to the Central Bay, the more you pay. Similarly, the more crowded a marina is, the less likely they're going to want additional liveaboards.
So here's what you need to do: Visit all the marinas in the area that's acceptable to you. Check out all the facilities, talk to the harbormaster, talk to the tenants. Find out the policy, stated and real, with regard to liveaboards. When you find the place you want, see if they have an opening. If they don't, try to get on a waiting list while seeing if there's an opening at your second choice. Good luck - and keep the faith because it's not quite as bad as it seems.
- MANUAL FOR A 27-YEAR-OLD SAILBOAT
I telephoned yesterday afternoon to ask a question. A member of your staff said the only way to get the info was to send an email. So here it is: Can you tell me how or where to get manuals for the following two items: First, a 1995 Yamaha, 9.9 horsepower, 4-stroke outboard motor. Secondly, the manual for a 1972 Columbia sailboat.
Mick - As much as we'd enjoy sitting around and answering telephone inquiries all day, we've got a magazine that takes up most of our time, so yes, your only chance is email.
You can order the Yamaha outboard manual from your local Yamaha outboard dealer or on the net at yamaha.usa.com/.
Retired surveyor Jack McKinley of San Lorenzo once told us he had the manual for every boat Columbia ever built. We're here to tell you - and everyone else who writes in asking where they can find manuals for boats built 30 years ago - that they were rarely worth the paper they were written on. Furthermore, on a boat as old as yours, many things have likely been changed or modified, so the manual might just lead you astray.
Here's a great idea: Let's check out a review of a Columbia 26 at www.sailnet.com/boatcheck/directory.cfm. Okay, a guy who identifies himself as a marine surveyor and a lifelong sailor calls the Columbia 26 "one of Bill Tripp's finest designs" and "one of the best all around sailng vessels afloat. Going downwind with spinnaker flying, she's fast, and when a gale blows, she's safe and dry with a storm main and storm trysail!"
No wonder SailNet is careful to say that the reviews are not endorsed by them and they accept no liability for them. The Columbia 26 might be a perfectly adequate boat, but we can't imagine even the most blue-skying used boat salesperson - let alone a marine surveyor - claiming it to be "one of the best all around vessels afloat." So let the SailNet review reader beware!
- RESOURCE FOR THE RIGHT TYPE OF BOAT
I recently read a letter where a sailor was requesting a source to find out about just what is the right type of boat to use for cruising, its strength and weaknesses, and so forth. I suggest they try http://www.sailnet.com/boatcheck/directory.cfm.
This is a directory that lists just about every boat ever made, and the comments are by owners who use and know their boats. It includes design and construction issues, possible modifications and such. It's very enlightning.
Dwayne - Thanks for the tip. Latitude's Managing Editor, looking for more information on his 1978 Pearson 28, reports he found a wealth of information at this site - including line drawings, specs, and opinions. Some of the supposedly factual information was contradictory, but overall it answered many of his questions.
We also checked out owner reviews for three random but popular designs: Cal 40s, Olson 30s, and Privilege Catamarans. There were three entries on Cal 40s, none of which provided much information - besides the fact that two of the owners had owned their boats for 20 years and wouldn't sell them for anything. The Olson 30 'review' was just a few words and basically non-informative. There were no reviews on Privilege catamarans.
As such, the site still seems to be pretty much of a hit or miss proposition. It's reported that 1,410 designs are 'reviewed' by 3,067 boatowners. While it might not be completely 'there' yet, it's a concept with tremendous potential. One thing that wasn't mentioned: with a click of a button you can email whoever wrote the review - a very valuable resource.
- ANCHORING LIGHT CRUISING BOATS
It's been my experience that most of the anchor manufacturers recommend anchor sizes based on fairly heavy boats with lots of windage. Most cruisers - especially those in Mexico - sail boats that pretty much meet this description. But coming up with the best combination of ground tackle for a light - but not quite ultra-light - cruiser requires that you stray slightly from the norm. My wife and I spent a few months last season cruising a light boat between Seattle and Barra de Navidad, and think we got the ground tackle situation at least partly figured out. Hopefully this will be helpful for anyone preparing a light boat for cruising in Mexico.
We own the Luffe 48 fractional sloop Wave Runner, which is 48 feet long and weighs about 22,000 pounds when loaded - with a bit more cruising junk than we'd take next time. Our primary anchor was a 45-pound Delta, which we usually deployed with 60 feet of 5/16-inch chain followed by 250 feet of 1/2-inch double-braid anchor line. We also carried a 22-pound Danforth, a 13-pound Danforth, three 20-foot sections of 3/8-inch chain (which could be combined in various ways) and two additional triple-braid rodes.
Our boat has a small bow roller, a stern fairlead for rode, but no windlass. The primary gear lived in a bracket near the mast step while under way. All the other stuff was either stored in a lazzarette or near the keel in bags when not in use.
We found that the 45-pound Delta was so easy to set, and so secure once set, that we never used much else. True, it's quite a workout pulling the anchor back aboard without a windlass, but what the heck. The Delta worked so well, as a matter of fact, that we wondered if a 35-pound Delta would have been sufficient most of the time.
Although we pulled the rode up all the way to the thimble daily to check for chafe, we never saw any evidence that the rode had touched anything abrasive. As a result, I think 60-feet of chain is usually all right for Mexico. In any event, our primary anchoring gear was great.
Our secondary gear was less good. The 3/8-inch chain was a nuisance to deal with by hand - and even short lengths of it are very heavy. Next time, I would want another 60 feet and another 30 feet of 5/16-inch for the secondary anchors. These could also be combined with each other and/or the additional 60-foot length if necessary.
The only time we used the Danforths was in mud or when we had two anchors out in tight spots. Even the 13-pounder with only 20 ft of 3/8" chain will easily hold Wave Runner in 35+ knots if set properly. Though we never needed the extra length, I would also recommend rodes that are at least 300 feet long.
We wondered just how things would go without a windlass. It was fine, as it turned out. On the two occasions where the anchor got stuck, once at Isla San Benito and once at the Tres Marietas, we just led the rode to a sheet winch. We had planned to use a chain hook and a line to a winch if we ever had to grind the anchor and chain all the way up for any reason.
Another useful set of devices were a pair of walkie talkies for the driver and the person handling the anchor on the bow. If the microphones (e.g. VOX), or the entire walkie talkie, are in a plastic bag then you get to hear your partner rather than just what the wind sounds like on the other end of the boat! The new little FM walkie talkies that all the radio manufacturers are making turn out to be handy all over the place anyway.
Here's another tip for cruising fin-keelers. Wave Runner likes to sail at anchor just about as well as she likes to surf down swells. If we tied the helm such that the rudder was perpendicular to the keel, sailing at anchor is eliminated, though the boat does pivot back and forth a little-which can lead to the barbie blowing out, and means that you must not dally when you visit the stern pulpit in the middle of the night. I worried that in a storm, such an arrangement might lead to some destructive loads on the rudder, so one night I tried turning on the autopilot at anchor and having it steer the boat into the wind. That also works great, though we were never in conditions that tempted us to actually try it for real. Obviously none of this is all that profound, or derived from particularly challenging conditions, but it is one combination that works in Mexico for a light boat.
Finally Back in Alameda
- CHARTER CATS
One of your July letters included a request for information about cruising catamarans that can be bareboated in the Bay Area. I have two available, a PDQ 32 and a Seawind 1000. I can be reached for more information at 408-391-8192 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concerto in Sea
- DOIN' ACID
In the July issue, Vernon Jacob wrote about a wood cleaning product containing phosphoric acid that accidentally ran down the side of his hull and left a bleached streak. The same thing happened to us - a three-way boat partnership that has lasted 22 years - during a haulout in '79. After some serious headscratching and making a lot of unhappy faces, we cleaned the rest of the hull with the same stuff. Wow, what a difference it made! As a result, we've been doing the same thing - on purpose - ever since. Our current boat, which we purchased in '85, seems to be no worse for the wear.
Here's our process. First we start with a good scrubbing. Then we're careful to apply only a very light coat of phosphoric acid to the sides of the hull above the waterline only. The results show in about a minute or so. After rinsing and drying the areas, we rub in a light coat of Penetrol, being careful to wipe off the excess. We let it dry, then polish. Finally, we apply two coats of wax. This leaves the boat looking new for a couple of years.
I'm no scientist, but I don't think of it as being a bleaching process because the colors have always come back as original. My personal feeling is that the acid eats at micro-sized stuff in the porous surface of the gelcoat. I've only used the process on gelcoated boats that are 10 to 30 years old, but so far I've had success with blue, red, and green hulls.
Phosphoric acid comes in many forms and is in many marine products. We only use the clear, uncolored liquid form that is found at automotive paint supply stores.
Envoy, Santana 35
- DOUG VANN
On Friday night, August 6, the sailing community around the world - and particularly in Honolulu - lost a fine sailor and a great friend. Captain Douglas C. Vann, skipper and owner of the Farr 44 Tiare, suffered heart failure and died despite the best efforts of his crew and the EMTs on shore to administer CPR.
It looked to be yet another perfect Friday night race out of the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor in Waikiki. We had spent the afternoon with Doug, working on winches and installing a new stanchion to replace one that had failed. The trades were up and the boat was ready to go. As we prepared for our start at 5:36 p.m., there was no indication of the difficulties that lay ahead.
Just after rounding the outer buoy, we hoisted the spinnaker and headed for HH. Doug's wife Sherry was driving while he was coordinating the foredeck to make sure everything went smoothly. A minute or two later, his internal defibrillator went off several times in rapid succession. He went below to lay down on the bunk and Melinda, one of our crewmembers, went with him. He hollered up that he was alright and we should keep racing.
We carried on for a minute or so, since this wasn't the first time he had been shocked while on the boat. Then we decided it didn't make any sense to keep sailing further away from the dock. We doused the spinnaker, turned around, and headed for home.
Shortly after that I went down below to join them. While we were making our way back in, Doug told me it didn't make sense to give up the race since there wasn't anything more we could do, and that he just needed some time to recover. After another minute or so he stopped breathing.
I was quite shocked when his eyes became fixed and he didn't respond. I watched him make the transition from this reality to the next. It didn't seem real. We called 911 on the cell and asked for an ambulance to meet us. At 6:01 pm we started CPR. The EMTs met us at the dock and took him to the emergency room. The code 500 team did all they could, but were not able to get his heart to beat normally again.
Doug's web page, http://www.redboat.com, shows only a small portion of the sailing related things he was involved with. Outside of sailing, he did many other things. From his work as a scientist to his meditation as a Buddhist, he was a very well rounded man. I am proud to say he was my friend.
This is what I know: Doug died while doing what he loved. He was with his friends and he passed very quickly without suffering. The last week of his life was as good as a person could hope for. He had spent the week with his son Michael, who was visiting with his partner Kim from Santa Cruz. On Tuesday, we had taken a group of friends out for a sunset sail that was one of the best we could remember. He and Sherry had a wonderful time that morning at home before he left to work on the boat. We should all be so fortunate to leave this world in that way.
He lived life to its fullest. He touched many peoples lives. He taught me many things. He will be missed. Aloha.
Readers - We first met Doug Vann when we both had Bounty IIs about 25 years ago, and he'd been more than a great friend to Latitude ever since. In addition to being one of the few local sailors who actually cruised the Hawaiian Islands, Doug also did tremendous work for the Pacific Cup and TransPac websites, and ran a great personal web page full of information for sailors. We, too, will miss him.
- SPARKS FLYINGS
I was a crewmember aboard Alaska Eagle, the communications vessel for this year's TransPac. As such, I had the opportunity to watch Grant Baldwin, the TransPac coordinator, faithfully maintain communications around the clock with the TransPac fleet as well as conduct the fleet roll call each morning. Your coverage of the '99 TransPac made for great reading, however, I think that you at least could have mentioned Alaska Eagle, her skipper Richard Crowe, and especially Grant Baldwin.
For me, the TransPac was an exciting and memorable experience.
G. H. Lodder
TransPac crewmember, Alaska Eagle
G.H. - With all due respect, in each TransPac there are probably 50 'behind-the-scenes-unsung-heroes' who deserve recognition - but never get it. For one thing, we only have space to write about the race itself, not race management, too. Secondly, the proper time for such 'heroes' to take a bow is at the awards ceremony in front of those they have served.
But here's a dirty little secret from the Ha-Ha's Grand Poobah, who not only skippered the mother ship in the last Ha-Ha, but also did the daily roll call for over 100 boats: "As Richard Crowe will tell you, skippering a boat such as the Alaska Eagle is a heck of a lot of work and responsibility - but great fun, too. And as Grant Baldwin will tell you, doing communications and roll call can drive you nuts - but it's also a hoot! When you're working hard and playing hard, you're living life to the fullest."
In any event, a public thanks to all of the unsung heroes without whom the TransPac couldn't happen.
- MEXICAN AIR SERVICE TO TURTLE BAY
Although the following information is two years old, it might be of interest to anyone trying to get to Turtle Bay to join the Baja Ha-Ha Rally for the last two legs to Cabo San Lucas.
There is - or at least was - a little Mexican air service that flies to Turtle Bay, Cedros Island, and a couple of other small towns in northern Baja. It's called something like Aviacsa and I think it is based out of Ensenada. They have flights several days a week, but I don't remember which days. You won't be able to find this outfit through a travel agency or even Vagabundos del Mar, but the Mexican Embassy in San Diego has their name and number. It's my understanding that there's a 'ticket office' for the air service in someone's house in Turtle Bay.
In addition, there is a van that leaves Turtle Bay almost every day - well, every night - at 0200 to make the connection at the little coffee shop in the town of Vizcaino with the Cabo to Tijuana northbound bus. The same van returns, naturally enough, to Turtle Bay. I'm not sure of the schedule, but I don't think it's a quick turn around. When I was in Turtle Bay and inquired about the van, I was told that it wouldn't run for another three days. Then I was told there was another van that night operated by another family.
- SPAM TASTES LIKE CAPTAIN COOK
I thought we had pretty well done the Spam story, but I note it came up again last month, so I decided to put in my two cents worth. The original question some months ago was why is Spam held in such high regard in Hawaii and throughout the South Pacific.
I lived with Hawaiians for four years in the Pacific on some small islands and then for eight years in Hawaii. In addition to the idea that Spam tastes much like Captain Cook, Spam is regarded as a status symbol to this day. Canned meat was once something only available on ships and affordable to the rich. Refrigeration and ice were hard to come by, so when someone showed up with meat in a can, it was an occasion. Then along came Spam, which was both meat in a can and affordable. Instant status!
Since Hawaiians and other islanders were used to eating well, the secret was to make Spam taste good. One great way is as follows: Put some oil, garlic and chunks of onions in a frying pan. Stir them around and cook a little, then add some shoyu (soy sauce) and tabasco. Now add Spam, cut up in squares or strips. Stir again, cook some more, and then add some shredded cabbage, stir around again, put the lid on the pan for about a minute or two then serve with two scoops of steamed rice. Ono, onolicious! We used to wash it down with Primo, but that's long gone. However, I'm sure any beer will do.
Gene - It's common for adults to develop unnaturally strong desires for things they were denied in their youth - look at Hugh Hefner's life. But how do you explain young Hawaiians' taste for Spam? Or, for the love of god, Spam sushi!?
- LET'S NOT OMIT A WHOLE DECADE!
Here's a letter - as if you'll print it!
Your intelligence is artificial, or I should say your informant about the Latitude 38 bar in Sausalito was misinformed. Originally, it was called the Gateway or Gateway Inn, and then all through the '60s, dude, it was an extremely gay bar. I also found out the hard way that it was a major transfer station for sexually transmitted diseases.
But get a clue, it was not an airline pilot hangout. Not that there weren't some very respectable gay pilots. But dude, let's not omit a whole decade, as historical revisionism should be more subtle. A gay bar is a gay bar - and it was called Latitude 38.
Latitude 38 did go straight in the '70s - although I don't think it was all that straight then, either.
Dick, dude! - Surely you remember the 'generation gap' of the '60s? Well, that's the problem here, for back when you were drinking in the then-gay Latitude 38 bar, we and our source were still in high school experimenting with pot and girls - far too young to be allowed in bars. By the time we were old enough to drink, our source tells us that Latitude 38 was "about as straight as anything in Sausalito."
But dude, what difference does it make if it was a straight bar, a gay bar, a mulatto lesbian biker bar - or rebar?
- IMPORTANT RULING DEFINITION
In the May Changes there was an update on Ms. Pat Henry's activities and art sales in Mexico. It also mentioned that she completed a circumnavigation - and in fact was the first American woman to complete such a voyage singlehanded.
Ms. Henry is to be congratulated on her extended voyage - as are the many people who have voyaged around the world. However, hers should not be considered a singlehanded circumnavigation. As Peter Johnson - the well-known, recognized authority and chairman of the records Committee of the World Speed Sailing Record Council and advisor to the Guinness Book of Records has stated - "a voyage which travels through the Panama and Suez Canals simply cannot qualify for consideration" because additional crew are required aboard the vessels as line-handlers and pilots.
Ms. Henry's chosen route was through the Panama and Suez Canals which, without exception, require line-handlers and a pilot. Therefore, as memorable as her voyage is, it does not qualify for consideration as "the first American woman to complete a singlehanded circumnavigation".
Similarly, we all remember Tania Abei's circumnavigation. Although it was a remarkable achievement for any young sailor, she couldn't have been considered the first American woman to complete a solo circumnavigation as her route also included the Panama and Suez Canals with the attendant line-handlers and pilots aboard.
Sailors and recognized authorities through out the world have acknowledged and congratulate Ms. Karen Thorndike of Seattle, Washington, on her completion of the first voyage that does fulfill the rules of the governing bodies for the first American woman to complete a singlehanded circumnavigation.
The sailing and journalistic expertise and experience of Latitude 38, and other well-known publications, are appreciated for the clarity brought to this important ruling definition of the voyage of the first American woman to complete a singlehanded circumnavigation.
Kathie - While reasonable people may disagree with us, we happen to think that Peter Johnson's view that there is only one valid way to do a 'singlehanded circumnavigation' is unnecessarily exclusionary - and anal.
Just as there are more and less 'pure' ways to climb Mt. Everest - with or without assistance from sherpas and guides, with or without oxygen - we think there are different degrees in purity of circumnavigations.
At the bottom would be someone who, for example, made 90% of the trip by themselves, used their engine occasionally, and who went by way of the canals. If we're not mistaken, Tania Abei would fit into this category. We'd call this a 'book and lecture tour flogger's solo circumnavigation'.
A little higher up would be someone who made the whole voyage alone, used their engine occasionally, stopped as often as they wanted, and went by way of the canals. We think - but don't know for sure - that Pat Henry would fit into this category. We'd call it a 'cruiser's solo circumnavigation'.
Even higher on the scale would be someone who sailed all the way alone, never used the engine, never stopped, but did use the canals. Peter Johnson may disagree, but we'd call it a 'solo circumnavigation via the canals'.
Right near the top of the purity scale would be someone who sailed all the way by themselves, never used the engine, didn't use the canals, but stopped at least once. 'We'd call it a 'semi-pure solo circumnavigation'.
And at the very top would be someone who sailed all the way by themselves, never used the engine, never stopped, and didn't use the canals. We'd call this a 'pure singlehanded circumnavigation' - and be the first to acknowledge that it, like the 'semi-pure', are much more difficult circumnavigations to accomplish than those via the canals.
Not to detract from her accomplishment, but we're still not really sure what category Karen Thorndike belongs in. Her two-year circumnavigation via the capes included eight stops, and also included a six-month layover (including a trip back to the States for medical care) after being rescued at sea off the Falklands due to a combination of ill health and storm conditions.
- BLIGH & BEAGLE
I enjoyed the July Sightings titled A Worthy Endeavour. But could you check Sherman's 'way-back machine' and see if Capt. Bligh was aboard as an officer and/or if he was aboard the Beagle?
Also, was Captain Bligh's whaleboat trip a survival record, or does that belong to the captain and crew from Redjacket, which caught fire off the coast of South America?
Edward - The 'way back machine' reports that Capt. Bligh did not serve aboard the Beagle. Indeed, he'd passed from this veil of tears 14 years before Darwin and the Beagle visited the Galapagos in 1831.
Similarly, Bligh never served aboard Capt. Cook's Endeavour. At age 22, however, he was appointed Master aboard Cook's Resolution during the great explorer's final voyage of discovery. Indeed, it was Bligh who courageously battled the Hawaiians to reclaim Cook's body. This was nine years before the mutiny on the Bounty.
Bligh is an example of a man who has been grossly maligned by Hollywood. He first went to sea at age nine, and had a long and brilliant career as a navigator, in battle, and in command of research vessels. His shortcoming was his inability to understand those who didn't have total devotion to their duty. It's interesting to note that Bligh later found himself in the thick of a much bigger and bloodier uprising, the mutiny at the Nore in 1797. In that incident, he steadfastly stood by his crew, and later was praised by officers and crew alike.
We don't know what you mean by a 'survival record'? Are you talking time at sea or distance covered? In either case, Bligh's effort would not have come close. Frankly, we're not familiar with the survival of the Redjacket crew.
- TRUE YOUTH VENTURES
Peer educators from Mission Neighborhood Health Center and Bay Area Venture Scouts were treated to a day on the Bay with America True on August 17. Jay Gardner, owner of the 55-foot Adventure Cat, and Latitude 38, owner of the 63-foot Profligate, donated time and the use of their spacious catamarans for the occasion.
America True representative Nikki Glass began the day on Adventure Cat by giving the Scouts, aged 13-18, a brief description of the America's Cup and the America True challenge. Then the youngsters were divided up between the two boats for an afternoon of mock racing around the Bay. Each participant, as well as their chaperones, enjoyed time at the helm and received instruction regarding sail trim and navigation.
Both boats began by beating upwind toward the Golden Gate during the chilly San Francisco summer day. When they reached the bridge, the Scouts shouted with joy, then listened for their voices to echo off the bottom of the span. After sailing downwind to the Bay Bridge, the boats tacked back in the direction of Angel Island, and shortly thereafter Adventure Cat was greeted with five toots on the horn from an approaching container ship. After reaching across the Central Bay, everyone on the boats enjoyed the much warmer temperatures of the lee of Angel Island and Raccoon Strait, before returning to Pier 39.
America True would like to thank the owners of the two catamarans for hosting the successful True Youth event, and the crews and volunteers who made the day possible. Thanks, too, to the Mission Neighborhood Health Center and Bay Area Venture Scouts for participating.
America True, 'Rock the Boat'
Nika - On behalf of Adventure Cat and Profligate, you're very welcome. The chaperones did a great job and the kids were terrific. Just one thing: those five toots from the container ship to Adventure Cat weren't a 'greeting', but a get-the-hell-out-of-my-way warning. Not that the two boats ever got that close.
In early October, Profligate will be heading for San Diego and Mexico, but when she returns next spring, we'd like to be able to take some groups of young cancer patients out for sails on the Bay. If you're a health care professional who could point us in the right direction to make this a reality, contact Richard.
- STEEL AND WELDING ARE SO CHEAP
Every month, I get two copies of Latitude. One for my wife Deb and I, and one for an attorney in Florida who says he's going to buy a boat. I read everything, while my wife just looks at the pictures.
After paying $3,000 a month to live next to the beach and $350 a month in rent in the mountains of Klamath, I asked Deb if she wanted to trying living on a sailboat. As a programmer, I've worked from home for the better part of 20 years, and told my wife that if she liked the liveaboard lifestyle, we could dump the traffic jams and try cruising for the next 20 years. After all, I already have a job lined up playing piano on an island off the coast of France. Yahoo!
As a result of a few years racing on SC 50s, a few more doing beer cans around Santa Barbara, and living with Deb on a Columbia 26 - it can be done comfortably - things have worked out so well that I'm currently building a 46-foot catamaran. Out of steel. Why? Steel is so cheap. She should come in at about 11 tons which is, ugh, heavy, but at least the chines will be round and the hulls spacious. I'm praying she performs well in eight to 12 knots, and hits 20 knots in 30 knots of breeze - but we shall see.
I worked out the hull shape with Mark and Kelly, who have some hydrodynamic tank testing experience, and did the math for the plate cuts with Abe, a physicist who designed boilers for the nuclear industry. The models - 50 in all - seemed to glide and plane well.
Unlike typical steel hull construction - where the keel and frames are laid first and the plate is mounted to them - we're using a 'pattern' technique. In this method, the plates are laid out to make a flat sheet 23 feet by 50 feet, and then a pattern is lofted on it. It's then rolled up into a 'burrito' - which produces compound curves in three directions. Even though the lines came out better than expected, Deb still won't allow me to call her - the boat - Dos Burritos.
To make sail handling easier on my 110-lb wife, and to reduce the chance of a stay, mast or sail failure at sea - I worked with a guy from NASA to create fixed metal wings. The problem with such wings is that the high pressure flat side needs to be reversed from port to starboard - or vice versa - when you tack. When dealing with 1,000+ pounds of metal overhead, that's no easy feat. I thought about flipping the wing over a central axis - like a propeller - but figured that would be a little too exciting. I finally came up with a two-piece self-tacking design that simply rotates on a vertical axis in place.
The weight aloft for a wing was still a bit scary, so I looked at other rigs - including the 'crab claw' that was featured and advertised in Latitude. It sounds good. Once I got the rig's owner on the line, he told me that windward performance is excellent and - like Max Ebb a few months ago - recommended reading C.A. Marchja's Sail Performance to learn about the benefits.
My question to Latitude readers is this: Has anyone bought a crab claw rig, and if so, how does the windward performance compare with Bermuda and other rigs? As a multihull owner-to-be, I'm really concerned about being able to point. To be on the safe side, I've begun collecting a half dozen mains, jibs and gennies - I've got three kevlar sails so far - just in case I end up going to a sloop, cutter or ketch rig. A geologist on our docks, who has also done a bit of aerodynamic study, explained that in light airs it's hard to beat a thin, high aspect wing - such as on sloops and cutters. After all, look at the rigs on hang gliders.
The debate for me rages on, as I'll sadly miss the Millennium Ha-Ha while I continue to weld our cat during the wet, weeping summer months out here at Pillar Point.
Craig and Debra Mead
Pillar Point Harbor, El Granada
Craig and Debra - We always admire the cojones of people who try to reinvent - or dramatically improve - the 'wheel'. We can't remember the last time we heard of somebody building a steel sailing catamaran. There are, of course, two problems: 1) Steel is heavy and weight is devastating to multihull performance, and 2) Unlike most multihulls, steel ones can sink.
We have heard of aluminum catamarans. The new 140-ft sailing cat France II, which was drawn by van Peteghem and Prevost - who drew most of the Lagoons and many other production cats - is of aluminum. Like steel cats, those of aluminum can sink, too. Two years ago, Aehi, a Waikiki beach cat, hit a whale shark near the Diamond Head buoy while carrying 20 passengers. Her owner tells Latitude that she went down in three minutes. Fortunately the water was warm and all the passengers were quickly rescued by other cats and the Coast Guard. The outfit's replacement cat was built of theoretically unsinkable foam and epoxy. Of course, a steel cat might have sliced through the whale shark like a piece of salami, but it's something to consider.
An if we may, a word on multihull boat speed. Having sailed Profligate for 18 months now - and five times in the last seven days - we think we've learned a few basics about cats and speed.
Basic #1 - Many multihull proponents continue to make outrageously false and misleading claims about boatspeed. For instance, in a recent issue of one sailing magazine, a reviewer of a popular 32-foot cruising cat - and not a particularly light one at that - assured readers that the boat had hit 12 knots while sailing downwind in just 15 knots of breeze. What rubbish! Our advice is to maintain a healthy skepticism of multihull speed claims until you experience them yourself.
Basic #2 - There are speed limits that most sailors don't want to exceed in a recreational boat, monohull or multihull. We recently were sailing with Hans Korfin, who as skipper of the 55-foot Adventure Cat has probably sailed the Bay more in the last five years than any other individual. Despite his incredible number of hours - and hundreds of times of sailing in excess of 15 knots - Hans had this to say: "Fifteen knots is as fast as I ever need to go." What he means is that the stress and loads on the boat, rig, sails, and skipper are greater than they're worth for more than just a short time. We've also had Profligate sailing at more than 15 knots in the Bay a few times and know exactly what Hans means. Ten knots is really sweet, 12 knots is even better, but after a few minutes at 15 knots, it's time to think about easing off the throttle. The point of all this, Craig and Debra? If your cat ever does hit 20 knots, you might not be pleased.
- HELP AROUND THE BOAT
With as much great information in your monthly publication, perhaps you could steer me in the direction to a great resource. My home, an Islander Freeport 41 ketch, is out of the water undergoing some expensive repairs at a local yard. My work schedule precludes me from doing several 'fix-it' type jobs, and my billfold precludes me from allowing the yard to do such odd tasks. That leads to my question: Do you know where I may find an ambitious and trustworthy person happy to work on my vessel performing 'non-rocket science' type repairs under my direction? I have visions of a college student or crewmember looking for a little extra cash.
In addition, I need to replace the mattress on my ketch. As a liveaboard, I need something more than a thick piece of foam - something like a custom-made foam and spring mattress combination. Are you aware of any suppliers?
Norman H. Black
Norman - Yours is a common problem, as in this booming economy it's hard to find any "ambitious and trustworthy" people who aren't fully employed. We suggest you ask around, take out a Classy Classified - or sail to Mexico. Caution: there's no substitute for experience when it comes to boat work, as even the seemingly simplest jobs can be blown.
As for your foam and spring mattress combo, are you sure you can fit an appropriate sized one down the companionway of a Freeport 41? If so, dial (800) 404-4114 and ask the friendly folks at Community Mattress Company for a free estimate. They make custom-sized innersprings and latex rubber mattresses designed specifically for the marine environment - which means they fold to be brought aboard and have coated springs to prevent rust. In the end, however, you might want to spend some time looking into different kinds of foam and foam combinations. There's some pretty good stuff out there.
- IN MEMORY OF PETER NEWELL, 1905-1999
If we're lucky, at least once in our lifetime we'll befriend an individual as full of life as Peter Newell. Those of us that came to love 'Pete' gathered on July 16 at his 'home' - Lake Merritt - to honor him with a Friday night sail and BBQ - an El Toro Fleet No. 4 summer institution Newell had conceived for the Lake Merritt Sailing Club. Pete would have been 95 on July 16, had he not passed on in April of this year.
I came to know Pete in '67 at the El Toro North American Championships at Green Lake, Washington. I was an awkward teenager at the time, and this was the biggest event in the El Toro one-design - a class Pete had been pivotal in developing in 1940. He encouraged me to become a skilled sailor - a common experience to anyone who knew him. Newell won the championship that year, and in so doing inspired me to ask my father to purchase an El Toro so I could emulate my new friend. Simply put, Pete was a wizard and took on numerous apprentices in the manner of the Pied Piper.
Pete was worldy wise and enjoyed life. He lived through World War I, the Roaring '20s, Prohibition, the Depression and World War II - and shared many stories about these times with me. Although Pete was thankful for "modern conveniences" and understood "life in the fast lane", above all he valued people, integrity and nature.
His friends will remember him for his ability to attract, create and build a community - as he did with the El Toro class and Lake Merritt Sailing Club - among others. We'll also remember Pete for his charm, wit and openness to people of all walks of life.
Patricia L. Nelson
- STUGERON CAN BE FOUND ACROSS THE BORDER
To answer the question of one of your readers, Stugeron - the anti-seasickness medicine not available in the United States - can be found in Mexico. We purchased Stugeron at farmacias in Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallara and Tijuana.
The drug has worked very well for us - even after feeling seasick - and with no side-effects. We've given tablets to several fellow cruisers to try, and all have found it more helpful than anything else they'd ever tried. A box of 60 tablets of 75 mg cost $19 in Tijuana in March of this year. The recommended dose is 30 mg half an hour before departure, and then take 15 mg every eight hours.
Those visiting San Diego might find it easy and enjoyable to take the Red Trolley to the border, walk across, and within one block go to any of the many farmacias in the area to buy Stugeron. Then continue walking to Revolution, the main tourist street, turn left, and within the first block poke around in the new Gigante supermarket. While there, pick up some packets of Knorr's dehydrated frijoles refitos and negros to try. They're tasty and only take up a little space. In the second block, visit La Especial, which has been our favorite Mexican restaurant for 36 years! It has a nice dining room at the bottom of the stairs to an arcade or a taco stand at the top. Have a cold Bohemia for us!
By the way, we attended Latitude's big Pacific Puddle Jump party in Puerto Vallarta in '97 and are currently sailing in Fiji - after pit storage at Vuda Point Marina. This was a fine place for us to leave our boat when we flew to New Zealand for a 10-week camping trip that covered 5,000 miles. It's a spectacular country and as has been said many times before, Kiwis are the friendliest people in the world.
We're delighted to be retired and living our dream of cruising in the South Pacific. We've owned our modest but well-built Golden Hind 31 for 20 years now - and are having the adventure of our lives.
Gordon and Miriam Zittel
San Diego / Fiji
Gordon & Miriam - Great letter, thanks for all the information. We assume that nobody would take Stugeron before consulting their physician. By the way, we're sure that Jerry & Jan Tankersley of Henderson, Nevada, will be glad to learn that your Golden Hind has been such a good boat for you. They have one called Sunchaser II they've entered in this year's Ha-Ha.
- SOLEY FOR KETTENBURG OWNERS
Discovering that there is virtually nothing to be found on the Internet regarding Kettenburg boats, a small group of Bay Area owners took the initiative to create a website devoted solely to Kettenburgs. The site coordinates are http://www.ketten-burgboats.com.
- ADDITIONAL INSURED
A Mr. Newton asked why marinas are asking for additional 'beneficiary' status on their tenants' insurance policies. Latitude's response was on the right track - but failed to point out that defense costs and indemnity are provided to the marina by the tenant's policy under these conditions. It's not unusual to see similar requirements attached to leases of real property for the same reasons.
By the way, the proper term is 'additional insured', not 'beneficiary' - which relates to life insurance.
Here are two primary reasons for this requirement:
1) As an additional insured, the marina is entitled to notification of mid-term cancellation of the policy - and possibly non-renewal, depending upon the local insurance laws - by the insurance company. This makes it easier to keep track of the coverage of the tenants - provided accurate records are maintained by the marina to make sure they receive proof of their additional insured status for each policy and renewal. Usually that proof is in the form of a certificate of insurance or an actual endorsement issued by the agent or the company specifying that the marina is indeed an additional insured. Generally there is no cost to the policy holder for this.
2) The second reason is that should the fire or collision occur - as outlined in Latitude's response - the policy of the tenant will defend and pay a judgment on behalf of the additional insured - the marina - should it be named in a suit arising out of a claim for which the tenant is responsible. This protects the insurer of the marina from at least defense costs if the marina is named without actually being negligent. It also protects the aggregate liability limits of the marina's policy.
David Pitts, CPCU
David - We're enlightened. Thank you.
- ANCHORS - AND WHAT TO DO WITH THEM
After a lifetime of sailing and lots of cruising, too, I'd like to share some thoughts on anchors and anchoring.
It's my belief that any of the popular anchors will work most of the time - if they are big enough. 'Big enough' means as large as your boat, your budget, and your anchor windlass can handle. I use a 75-lb CQR with 360 feet of 3/8-inch chain as the main anchor on my Cheoy Lee 50.
My main anchor only failed me once, in Papeete Harbor. A local sailor loaned me a 45-lb Danforth that held perfectly. That really pissed me off, because just before leaving California I'd given my 45-lb Danforth away - because it was so hard to stow and because I'd never needed it.
I also carry a 60-lb CQR with 30 feet of chain and 300 feet of line. In reserve, I have a folding stern anchor and an additional 300 feet of line. Next time I'll also carry a large Fortress anchor - which can be dismantled for easy stowing.
Often times more important than the type of anchor you use is how it's ultimately attached. The bitter end of the tackle should not be fastened to the boat with a rusty shackle under several hundred pounds of chain, but rather to a stout part of the boat well above the chain. If your boat's hawse holes are large enough to pass a small shackle - as they are on my boat - a short length of chain should be attached that will allow you to release the bitter end while you are on deck.
In addition, a catenary weight should be used in conditions that cause an anchor chain to snap and jerk. The weight serves as a spring that gets stronger as the chain gets straighter, and thereby softens the ride at anchor. Catenary weights are hard to find, but easy to make: Melt about 20 pounds of lead - tire balance weights, old bullets, and such - and pour it into an attractive mold. I used a small stainless steel bowl. Insert a loop of stainless rod, an eye bolt, or a piece of strap with a hole in it to attach a chain hook. Shape the insert so it will not pull out. A small handle on top of the hook makes it easier to handle. When anchoring, let most of the scope out, let the weight hang from the chain, then let out another 10 to 15 feet of scope.
My next suggestion is a little more unusual - but it really adds to my sense of security. A frequent cause of anchoring accidents is the shackle breaking or working loose. So I attach a two-foot piece of chain alongside the main chain, and shackle it to the anchor ring and back into the main chain. It requires a slightly smaller shackle to go in the inside link. This also gives a little extra weight where it is most needed.
My last piece of anchor gear, while I seldom use it, is needed in crowded anchorages such as La Paz where the current shifts. It's an orange net float about the size of a football with adjustable - between 20 and 40 feet - length of polypro line. Using that as an anchor buoy helps me and others keep track of where my anchor is. I have also used it a couple of times when I thought there was a possibility that I might have to slip my anchor if the wind changed.
By the way, it's very important that all anchor lines and chains be marked in such a way that you can immediately tell how much scope you've put out and when you're nearing the bitter end. In dicey situations, you need definite answers to these questions. Visual marks are the easiest to put on and maintain, but physical marks that can be felt in the dark are sometimes worth all of the trouble it takes to maintain them. The physical marks can be tie-wraps, different numbers of knots tied in cordage, different numbers of cords, different materials - anything that works.
Bud Thompson writes a regular series of very interesting 'old timer' articles in the Hawaii YC newsletter. I especially enjoyed his recent letter about Northill anchors - since I have been using folding Northill stainless versions for a stern anchor for the last 30 years.
Everything Thompson said about the Northill was true, but I have two things to add. With its large flukes and light weight, your boat must be nearly stopped when you cast it, or the Northill will tend to sail around before it hits the bottom. Also, stainless does not always mean stainless. After being buried in the mud of the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor at the Hawaii YC for a month, the buried flukes on my anchor came up a lovely cross between orange and brown! It looked like it had been electroplated or anodized. It still has traces of the stain.
I'd also like to describe another unusual anchor I've carried for the last 36 years. Perhaps some of your older readers can provide some more history on it, but the 45-pounder is a beautiful design of solid bronze that had been beautifully cast and precision machined. The shape is that of a refined version of the Fisherman in that the flukes are palm shaped and the stocks are at right angles to the flukes. Each pair of flukes and stocks pivot on a 3/4-inch .75" pin and are held either open or folded by a second pin. The machine work for the folding mechanism is precise with absolutely no slack nor any problems in placing or removing the pins.
I believe the anchor was made during World War II for use on a wood - and therefore non-magnetic - minesweeper. If the entire ship was built to the same standards, it must have cost as much as a battleship. I carried the anchor as a spare for many years. I did use it once or twice, but worried so much about losing it that I quit bullshitting myself that I might use it more. So I took it off the boat to protect it like the piece of art that it is. I would appreciate hearing more about it if someone out there is familiar with this type of anchor.
Ernie - We're surprised that you didn't make a comment about properly backing down and making sure an anchor is set. Until an anchor is properly set, it's nothing but a relatively light dead weight on the bottom.
- PETERSON 44s
We own Totem, hull number 13 of the Kelly-Peterson 44s. We noted the inquiry from Allen Hogan, who owns the sistership Sojourner, about how to contact Doug Peterson and/or Jack Kelly. We don't know how to contact them either, but we do know that most of the 44s were rigged in San Diego - and could refer Allen to the riggers and sailmakers who are familiar with the boat. Of course, since we've owned Totem for six years and sailed her to La Paz from San Diego 18 months ago, we know a bit about the design, too. Depending upon the questions Allen has, we may be able to help and he can contact us at KarNan@aol.com.
By the way, there used to be a pretty active Kelly-Peterson 44 owners club, but in recent years the energy has waned. If there are other owners out there who want to try to get it up and going again, we would be happy to act as the clearing house for determining the feasibility. Just contact us at our email address.
Karl and Nancy Rubinstein
Karl & Nancy - A couple of months ago, the former head of the Peterson 44 Association told us he was going to do a major article on the boat. We're still waiting. Until then, your email address may be the best place for owners to look for answers to questions.
- HAND-STARTING THE DIESEL
In response to the reader who wrote in asking about hand-starting a 30-hp diesel, I suggest that it's something one would only attempt in dire circumstances. The hand start is an option that is mounted by a chain and gear to the crankshaft. It sounds as though it was not installed on the inquirerer's engine. I had a similar question about hand starting our Yanmar 3QM30F - which is pretty much the same beastie but was built 20 years ago - and made some inquiries on a couple of email lists. The general consensus was that any engine bigger than 13-hp - based on the responses I got - couldn't be started by anyone smaller or weaker than an NFL lineman. And even he might not be successful.
Several people did say that it might be possible to start the engine by decoupling the compression lever on two of the three cyclinders, then crank as though your life depended on it to start the one cylinder. It would, of course, sound horrible if you get one cylinder going, but it might be enough to start cylinders #2 and #3. You would then want to immediately get out of the situation you're in and to a mehcanic who could fix the problem.
Wishful Thinking, '78 Mariner Centaur 34
Alameda - Where I'm Living Aboard and Loving It!
Ken - A few years ago we had a long series of letters about this subject. It had all started after a singlehander had gotten rolled in the mid-Pacific, was badly injured, and couldn't get his diesel started.
- A COMPASS WORKOUT
I had a couple of hours to spare at West Marine the other day while manning a Coast Guard Auxiliary information table, so I wandered over to the compass binoculars and sighted out the window. Wow! Between the five or six pairs, there was a 15º difference. So I asked for a 'hockey puck' compass from the case. It turned out that the cheapest pair of compass binoculars read closest to the 'hockey puck'.
Now, there are several considerations here, and none of them are settled by my brief experience. But before anyone spends a few hundred dollars on a pair of compass binoculars, I suggest they give them a bit of a workout.
- TILTING COMPASS
There are a couple of things from an earlier Latitude that I'd like to comment on.
Dave and Amy Sherman mentioned having a tilting compass card problem in the Southern Hemisphere. I had that same problem in the '80s when we cruised the South Pacific - and it's a shock to encounter a problem you haven't heard of before. We not only had a tilting card problem, but we had one of the Danforth Constellation compasses that had a 'pointer' that was bent 90º, so when we headed on more northerly courses, the pointer would rub on the card and totally prevent it from rotating.
Since I had an identical spare compass aboard, I reversed the electrical contacts on the second compass so it could be put in the binnacle backwards - i.e. with the bent pin in the foreground rather in the background. So we ended up having a 'northbound compass' and a 'southbound compass'. It worked, too, even though the cards tilted severely. We felt the tilting didn't cause any major problems - we used celestial in those days before GPS.
I understand that a service center can weight these cards to compensate for the tilt. But I personally wouldn't go into the southern hemisphere with a bent-pin type of compass because it simply won't work on certain headings. By the way, this phenomenon is referred to in Bowditch.
My other comment is to mention that if one has heavy weather problems when coming up the California coast and trying to round Point Sur, mariners do not have to retreat all the way to San Simeon to anchor. There is good anchorage available just under Pt. Sur at Pfeiffer Cove. Mariners should have a detailed chart of the area, but as I recall, we followed the 10 fathom line north until it turned west, then anchored. We actually went in at night without a radar, GPS, or sounder.
Ronn - Thanks for the info.
Commodore Tompkins tells us he sought refuge in the Pfeiffer Cove anchorage while delivering a Swan 57 up the coast this spring. It was blowing 30 and gusting to 40, and he was avoiding the current by motorsailing north within 250 feet of the rocky shore. Commodore cautions that he would only do this with a heavy boat so that if the engine quit he could tack offshore to safety.
After looking at the little anchorage - "considerably smaller than Ayala Cove" - Commodore and his crew decided to continue on. About two minutes later, the diesel did quit! After reaching back and forth to give them time to get the anchor ready, they sailed into the cove and dropped the hook between a thick bed of seaweed and a lone fishing boat. It was still blowing 25 knots inside the cove, but there was no sea. They slept well.
- WE HAVE TETHERS
You may be interested in a tether system that I think is safer on some - mainly smaller - boats.
We have tethers that have one carabiner on the harness attached to two lines. One line is about six feet long and the other three feet long - each terminating in a carabiner. In the cockpit we have a large ring secured to the bridge deck at the front of the cockpit. The jacklines go from the main cleat on the foredeck to stanchions that are about level with the front of the cockpit.
When coming on deck, we lean over and secure the long tether to the ring. When in the cockpit, we change this by attaching the short tether to the ring, and then move the long tether to one of the jacklines as well. If one has to go forward, the short tether is released and the longer one is operative.
The advantages to this system are as follows: If you want to change the longer tether to the jackline on the other side, this can be done with the short one still in place. When you are at the mast, you can wrap the short line round the mast or hook it onto the spinnaker bale so that you have both hands free to work with. And if you lose your footing, you wont' go far. When in the cockpit, the short tether prevents you from being swept overboard by the unexpected beam sea.
If you do go overboard from the foredeck, the tether is checked at the stanchion and you're still alongside the back end of the boat so you can get back on or be helped back on more easily. If you just lose your footing on the foredeck and have a big wet slide to the transom, you are still in the boat when you are checked by the tether.
We have, so far, not had to put either of these to the test.
Scorpio - We're glad that you and others are putting considerable thought into tethers.
- DECK MONKEY MAN
The letter from Frank Gonzalez regarding the use of a Prusik hitch for the safety harness - in order to shorten it up - raises an important point. Being a rather large man, I have always felt that, should I go overboard, I would not like to be at the business end of such an arrangement, as it would be as though at the 'cracking' end of a whip.
Consequently, I have two tethers on my harness. The normal six-foot one and a shorter three-foot one. When making my way about the deck, I always remain clipped on, clipping on ahead of me before undoing the one behind me. Kind of like a deck monkey man. As time and conditions allow, it is always better if one of the secure clips is to a hard point. When I arrive at my working position, I then secure the short tether, and clip the longer one as backup. Both tethers, of course, have clips on both ends so I can release myself in an emergency.
If I recall correctly, a man overboard situation at the start of the Pacific Cup race some years back involved a crewmember being catapulted up through the companionway and into the ocean in rough seas, just as he was attempting to get on deck and clip on. It's a credit to that vessel and her crew that he was retrieved successfully. After all, a safe voyage is a fun voyage.
- WHALES AND CARS
In an earlier issue, there was an item about the large number of gray whales that had died in the waters off Baja this year. No specific reason has been given for the deaths, but they are probably not all related. As an official of the Mexican fisheries department said, "Whales do die." As with all other living things, it does happens. With the large number of gray whales around now, it's not surprising to see more whales turning up dead. In the February 8 issue of the New Yorker, there was an article called The Cancer Cluster Myth describing the fallacious statistics used to 'prove' the myth. These kinds of misapplied statistics might also be being used to describe the recent deaths of the whales.
The second thing that got my interest was Latitude's answer to the letter about proposed landfill at SFO by Dexter Bailing. Latitude's response included a comment about 100 million miles being driven every day in the Bay Area. I wonder if you realize how large - and impossible - such a number of miles is?
The metropolitan Bay Area - from Petaluma to Santa Cruz - has about seven million people. Much of the driving done by the people in this area cannot affect the Bay because of the distance from the Bay and the prevailing westerly winds. Furthermore, of the seven million people, probably half of them either don't drive or don't have cars. Of the 3.5 million left, they would have to drive an average of nearly 30 miles a day each.
Where did you get the 100 million miles anyway? It sounds like a nice round number you made up for effect rather than being based on reality.
La Paz, Mexico
Ellis - Gray whales have also been turning up dead in higher numbers along the California coast. The scientific explanation has pretty much been: 'The greater the number of whales, the greater the number that will die of natural causes.'
You're correct that 100 million miles a day of driving in the Bay Area is a number that we rounded off - as according to the Metropolitan Transit Commission, the true number is more like 127 million miles. Depending on which agency you talk to, the number of commuter miles alone is anywhere between 45 and 97 commuter miles. RIDES - which arranges car pooling - estimates that the average commuter drives - as you guessed - about 30 miles a day.
Think that a large part of the driving done between Petaluma and Santa Cruz is too far from the Bay to affect it? In a San Francisco Chronicle front page story titled 'Our Poisoned Bay', author Glen Martin quotes Stanley 'Jeep' Rice, senior toxicologist with the Marine Fisheries Service, as follows: "San Francisco Bay is a catch basin for a huge area, from Redding in the north on the Sacramento River to Fresno in the south on the San Joaquin River. Then you have this incredibly urbanized area immediately around the Bay and Delta. Every time you have rain, you get a huge pulse of petrochemicals into the system."
The thesis of the article is that muni sewer systems and industrial waste no longer pour freely into the Bay, and that the Bay's current problems are primarily caused by "millions of tiny, diffuse sources of pollution" such as oil and gas spilled onto streets, pesticides from farm fields and backyard lawns, polychrorinated biphenyls and dioxin buried in the soil at thousands of sites, and so forth, all of which flow downhill with winter rains to end up mostly in the Bay and/or Pacific Ocean.
- PAYING, PAYING, AND PAYING
A longtime reader of Latitude, I recently learned that the City of Richmond has taken the launch ramp and parking area hostage! A newly-posted sign announced: "Coming soon - The launch ramp and parking lot will be accessible only by paying a user fee. This fee will be good for a 24-hour period. More information to follow."
Didn't we pay for these facilities with our boat tax money? If this keeps up, access to the Bay waters will be nonexistent with out paying, paying and paying. I think that any future loans from the Department of Boating and Waterways to build facilities should include the clause: "to require full access of the boating community to all facilities."
From now on, I refuse to launch at Richmond - and suggest that all others do the same. If anyone else feels the same, contact Richmond Harbormaster Sharon Woods at (510) 236-2828 and the City Council and Mayor Mary Corbin at (510) 620-6503. Readers may also want to try ci.richmond.ca.us/citygov.htm. The Internet may work faster than snail mail.
Rich 'The Red Baron' Paulsen
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© 1999 Latitude 38