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ROCKING THE BOAT
The Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals are over, and unfortunately, America True will not be advancing further. We'll have to wait a little while longer before bringing the America's Cup home. But I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who gave us something stronger than the America's Cup.
We owe a lot to you because you believed in our cause enough to commit your hard-earned resources to our campaign. I am extremely disappointed that we are not going to win that coveted trophy. But your help is greater than the prize we were vying for because it affects more than the players, it has affected the whole sport of sailing and beyond.
As an America True supporter, you helped to break down barriers that stood for nearly 150 years in the world's oldest professional sport. We established the first truly coed America's Cup sailing team and an outreach program that to date has benefited hundreds of at-risk kids. The significance of our Challenge will last far longer than an America's Cup victory, and you are part of this triumph.
Not only did our campaign make a difference to people around the world, we proved highly competitive on the race course in New Zealand. Very few gave us a chance to move beyond the Round Robin series. Yet we finished that series with more wins than any other U.S. team and in third place overall.
As a new Challenger with limited resources, we showed the sailing world that it can be done. A fast boat and a dedicated professional team certainly helped. But these successes would not have been possible without you, our supporters. On behalf of everyone at America True, I would like to thank you for your belief, your trust, and your generosity. I hope you will be on board when America True sets sail in the future to continue Rocking the Boat.
Dawn Mounting an America's Cup campaign is above all a monumental exercise in management, with countless pitfalls and chances to shoot oneself in the foot. That you, as a first time entrant, were able to avoid those pitfalls and opportunities to self-destruct is remarkable. And it's not as if you didn't have plenty of skeptics. Indeed, based on the America True team's performance in the ID-48s and a year ago in New Zealand in your old IACC boat, we suspect that at times you must have harbored your own doubts. That you not only hung in during the dark moments, but excelled right through Round Robin #3 is a tribute to you and your entire team. We salute you.
We would be remiss, however, if we didn't mention one criticism: That up until Dee Smith joined the boat, all of the so-called 'skill positions' helmsman, tactician, navigator, and bow man were held by Kiwis. And that one or two other Kiwis were part of the normal 16-person crew. As we followed the last two rounds in the Caribbean, some of the sailors down there took to calling it Not-America True, and ribbing us that the United States, let alone Northern California, didn't have enough competent crew to race the boat. Although we know it's common for sailors to 'switch nationalities' for the America's Cup, having so many Kiwis aboard made it seem as though the Star 'n Stripes and San Francisco YC burgee were nothing but flags of convenience, and made it more difficult to identify with the boat. Yours was a brilliant first effort, to be sure, and we hope you make another run at the Cup preferably with a boat crewed by women and men from Northern California.
In that local vein, we'd also like to salute Phil Kaiko of Novato for designing such an outstanding boat; Jim Betts Enterprises of Truckee for building a terrific boat that unlike some didn't break; and Omohundro Spars of Minden, Nevada, for building a mast that unlike some didn't come tumbling down. And finally a tip of the cap to Liz Baylis of San Rafael who, we are told, did a fantastic job of helping to manage the shoreside operations.
I just wanted to contribute some borderline-pertinent phenomenon that we can all continue to count on as we enter this latest episode of our juicy little paean:
The wind is a difficult lover . . .
And all sailors are fools!
Jesse You're that rare poet who makes less sense in prose than verse. By the way, dear reader, by publishing Goodman's work we have fulfilled our poetry quotient for the current millennium.
NINE MONTHS AND NO MONEY
I just got the December issue down here in the City of Sails (Auckland) with my monthly mail pack from 'home'. I had a good laugh when I read about the excellent experience Rick and Christie Gorsline of Nanook had getting their boat insurance claim paid. Having dealt with some of the very same people, I thought it was about time to write about my somewhat opposite experiences.
I must first say that I'm a firm believer in cruising insurance, and will carry it in hopes of never using it again. I always get a chuckle from the old salts who say "good ground tackle is the best form of insurance." I think they have their heads in their butts with respect to issues such as theft, fire, extreme weather, gear failure, uninsured boaters not to mention good ol' operator error. If you can't afford to lose it and replace it, then I think you should insure it.
As some readers may recall, my Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow struck a reef while sailing through the Tuamotus in April of 1998. I served a one-year sentence in boat repair hell for a navigational error, but am pleased to report that Moonshadow is as good, if not better, than new. In fact, we had a wonderful 4,000-mile circumnavigation of the South Pacific last season.
What I'm laughing about is the experience I have had with my California broker and La Reunion Insurance. To cut a long and ugly story short, repairs to Moonshadow were completed on May 28, 1999, at which time I submitted the final billing to the insurance company. As of this writing nearly eight months later I still have not received payment nor any commitment to a date of payment. Since that time, I have made countless phone calls and emails to the claims adjuster pressing for payment, but to no avail. And boy, would I have loved to have had that money we're talking well in excess of $100,000 invested in the NASDAQ during the last year! I'm sure the underwriter has done quite well with it, thank you.
When I contacted my (now former) broker in California to enlist his support, I was told, "There is nothing I can do." Furthermore, after the accident, the underwriter attempted to increase my annual premium by more than 300%! The best alternative my broker could come up with was a policy with only a 50% increase in the premium. Needless to say, I have taken my business elsewhere. The good news is that I am now insured with a very highly-rated Australian underwriter through a New Zealand broker. The coverage is better than what I had before, less restrictive, and the cost is lower than my pre-accident coverage!
I have run to the end of my usually endless patience with regard to the claim, and have referred the matter to an attorney. I'll keep Latitude readers posted on the results.
Moonshadow, Deerfoot 62
Sausalito / Auckland
George Our only question would be about the new policy and whether you're comparing 'apples to apples'. Specifically, does it include coverage for the United States, where juries award millions of dollars in damages when people spill hot coffee on themselves or have M&Ms dropped down their blouses?
STRANGER FOR CREW
When I cruised back in the '80s, I met a Canadian sailor with a story. I've intended to share this story with Latitude readers for many years, so here it is along with a bit of philosophy for the millennium.
It seems the Canadian had been singlehanding down the coast headed for Mexico, and put in at Eureka. While there he picked up a stranger for a crew. Further down the coast, the crew had been standing his watch in a fresh breeze and rolling sea, and was now being relieved by the owner, who had just turned on the light in the main cabin.
"What is this broken jar of strawberry jam doing on the cabin sole?" asked the owner.
"The cabinet door came open as the boat rolled, and the jam jar fell out and broke," answered the crew.
"But why is the jam still on the floor?" exclaimed the owner. "Why haven't you cleaned it up!?"
"It's not my boat," the crew answered.
Ever since the Canadian related this tale to my wife and me, whenever someone comes aboard and is careless with our boat or acts similarly, we look knowingly at one another and say, "Strawberry jam!"
Ronn A fine little tale. But where's the philosophy for the millennium?
SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND
While reading the December issue of your inimitable magazine, I came across a letter regarding San Clemente Island. It brought back fond memories of many days I spent diving in the often crystal clear really waters around it.
The southeast end of San Clemente is particularly renowned for the clarity of the water and the beauty of the underwater topography. There is a submarine canyon that runs up the eastern side, and less than a mile from the beach it's more than 1,000 feet deep. And there are places where the island rises almost straight out of the water to an elevation of 2,000 feet.
Below the surface there are numerous drop-offs and pinnacles, and some of the latter are wrapped in nets because unwary mackerel seiners 'caught' them rather than a school of fish. The strong currents along the rocky bottom prevents murky water and the accumulation of sediment on the plants and rocks. 'Blue water' diving is the norm at San Clemente, and 100-foot plus visibility is not uncommon. Periodically, there are days of crystal clear visibility when it's rather like looking through a bottle of vodka.
We used to go hiking up the ridge that runs along the eastern side of San Clemente. If you anchor in the neat little cove at the tip of the island, you'll find a sand bottom with good holding and easy access to the ridgeline. Most of the eastern side of the island is so steep that you'd have to be a mountain climber to even attempt to scale it. One nice thing about the eastern side is that it hasn't been bombarded as much as other parts of the island.
Pyramid Cove, the island's main anchorage, is not a good place to hike nor really is any place on the island. After all, the U.S. Navy has been shelling, strafing and bombing San Clemente ever since they got control of it, and there is lots of unexploded ordinance. In fact, friends of mine who went shorebreaking at Pyramid Cove told me they saw unexploded shells rolling around in the sand!
It really would be wonderful if Latitude's suggestion could come true and a Mediterranean type village could be established on part of San Clemente. It's a gorgeous and temperate part of the world, with lots of fresh air except when the Santa Anas are blowing. It's also nice and quiet except when the Navy is bombing it.
Robert Thanks for the helpful information. We're planning on bringing Profligate up from Mexico in early April, after which we intend to spend some time poking around out at San Clemente Island. It sounds like fun and there must be at least one decent surf spot.
By the way, did you hear that Hillary Rodham Clinton has come out against the Navy continuing to use Isla Vieques for bombing practice? In that case, she'll be a sure thing for our 'San Clemente for Civilians' campaign.
KARL RAGGIO NEVER LET US DOWN
No doubt you could easily devote an issue to stories about former Marina Vallarta harbormaster Karl Raggio and all that he's done for cruisers. Here's one of ours.
Bonnie and I first sailed south aboard our Island Packet 35 Piece of Cake in the second Baja Ha-Ha, and enjoyed five months in Mexico before having to work our way back to San Diego in April of '96. We enjoyed that adventure so much that we did the Ha-Ha IV, after which we found ourselves in Marina Vallarta with a sick engine. We left our boat there over the summer and returned in December of '98.
A month after our return, we bid adios to Karl and took the boat out to the Bay for a shakedown and then to La Cruz for a night on the hook before heading further south. While on the hook, we discovered a dead house battery bank, and therefore decided to return to Marina Vallarta for replacement batteries. When we called Marina Vallarta the next morning to explain our circumstances and to plead for a berth in the overcrowded marina, the conversation went as follows:
Me: "Marina Vallarta, this is Piece of Cake."
Karl: "C-24". Click.
In other words, Karl was able to anticipate and understand problems cruisers have, and was quick to help. During our four years in Mexico, Karl never let us down. No matter how crowded the marina was or how busy he was, he somehow always found room for us and others to squeeze in somewhere. Furthermore, he always managed to be at the dock to help us tie up, and to cheerfully and pleasantly answer all our questions no matter how much of a pain in the butt we'd been that day.
Another of Karl's fine qualities is that he treated the owner of a 25-footer the same as he treated the owner or captain of 100-footers. When Marina Vallarta decided to let Karl go on his 61st birthday, a huge part of the marina's personality went with him. Bonnie and I are both saddened to hear that Karl is no longer working as the Harbormaster, but we hope to see him around and share a cold Pacifico or two.
P.S. We've heard that the Marina Vallarta bathrooms have been redone. If you've ever spent any time in one, you know how much it was needed. Nonetheless, Bonnie says she'd much rather have Karl and the dismal old bathrooms than remodeled bathrooms and no Karl. And that's quite a concession from her.
Brian and Bonnie Hogan
Piece of Cake, Island Packet 35
Brian & Bonnie Your sentiments are shared by many. As reported in the last issue, Karl and Linda have no plans to leave the Puerto Vallarta area. Furthermore, we continue to believe it won't be long before some other sharp marine business hires Karl, because he both took care of business and cared about his 'children' in the marina.
THE CANAL IS OPEN
A friend of mine said he read something in Latitude 38 that said the Panamanians were not going to allow the passage of small boats through the Canal after 1/1/2000. This concerns me because we are about to depart North Carolina aboard a 53-ft sailboat headed for the Panama Canal and California. Is the information in the article still true? We're waiting here for some kind of answer.
Gary There has never been anything in Latitude to suggest that the Panama Canal will ever be closed to transits by small vessels. Indeed, the passage of small vessels is guaranteed in the agreement for whatever that's worth that turned control of the Canal over from the United States to Panama.
What we have reported is that the Panama Canal is no longer as important as it once was for trade and military purposes. Therefore, in the very unlikely event that the Canal gets shut down or breaks down, it won't have a catastrophic effect on either world commerce or our ability to wage war.
We've also reported that it's a waste of precious resources specifically fresh water and Canal capacity to use the Canal for small boats to get from one side of Panama to the other. For a relatively small investment, most boats under 50 feet could either be lifted 85 feet at one end of the Canal, bypass the locks, motor across Panama, and then be lowered 85 feet at the other end of the Canal. By eliminating the need for the locks, it would save enormous amounts of fresh water and increase Canal capacity for normal shipping.
By the way, if the Canal were to ever shut down there would also be a possible option in Nicaragua. Back in 1849, when those afflicted with 'gold fever' wanted to get from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States as quickly as possible, the quickest way wasn't via the Horn but by way of Nicaragua. These people would take a ship to San Juan del Norte on the east coast of Nicaragua, where Señor Cornelius Vanderbilt welcomed them to his Accessory Transit Company. The passengers were loaded aboard a steamboat that took them up the Rio San Juan River a waterway sufficiently navigable that the Brits and Spanish used to have naval battles on it to Lake Nicaragua. The 10th largest freshwater lake in the world, the 'sweet sea' is about 80 miles by 30 miles, and is home to the only fresh water sharks in the world as well as 400 islands. After the 49ers had been taken across the lake, they were dropped off at Rivas and put on stagecoaches for the 12-mile trip to San Juan del Sur. From San Juan del Sur, they took ships north to San Francisco.
In other words, except for the 12 miles between San Juan del Sur and Rivas, a boat could motor from the Pacific side of Nicaragua to the Caribbean side. Who will be the first to try it?
WANT AND NEED SAILMAIL
I just read the December Latitude while at anchor on the mogote side of La Paz. I'm sending this letter to you via Ham email instead of my SailMail account because the latter is getting too crowded.
There are two problems with my email state of affairs: 1) I'm going to the South Pacific this year, and with a voice only Ham license, will only be able to broadcast 12 miles offshore until the 'Ham cops' shut me down because they think someone should have to learn century-old Morse Code to send packet mail. 2) I will need and want my SailMail account to be as functional as possible.
As such, I suggest you accept Howard Gordon's idea about using his 160 acres of land for another SailMail station, as well as his other help. And combine it with Craig Bella's offer to be gratis CEO-lawyer in residence, as well as all the help of your readership that, like me, needs SailMail, to get PinOak off SailMail's back.
As a starter, tomorrow I'll be mailing a check for $15 to you. For lack of a better name at this time, it's made out to Latitude 38 and is to be used as start-up money for a group to solve the problem or have a couple of beers while you think of some sort of solution.
P.S. Thanks for Latitude, it rocks con mucho gusto!
S.V. Zeeotter, Tayana 37
Bob We've got a couple of doses of good news for you. First, the F.C.C. ruled against PinOak's challenges to SailMail. As a result, SailMail is now operating their second station on the East Coast, and as soon as Stan Honey gets back from his latest stint as navigator aboard Steve Fossett's 105-foot catamaran Playstation, we expect he'll be taking us up on our offer to co-fund a second station in Southern California to handle all the traffic from Mexico and the South Pacific.
Second, there's also good news for Ham radio operators who are terrible at Code. See this month's Sightings.
WE DIDN'T MARRY TO CHANGE EACH OTHER
Even though I consider myself somewhat of a 'bench warming' sailor's wife, I enjoy your magazine very much. I particularly enjoyed the January letter asking how couples work it out when he loves to cruise and she doesn't. As I see it, the question is not just applicable to cruising, but to any 'couple activity' that one likes and the other doesn't.
My dear husband of 29 years has had a lifelong love affair with boats, and is currently on his third sailboat. He desperately wanted me to be involved, starting with his first sailboat. I did sail with him some on the Bay, but I found that I got very stressed out by winds over 15 knots and developed a genuine fear of waves bigger than me. Nonetheless, I have always and forever supported his desire to pursue his racing and cruising interests. This support extends to shopping with him for rigging and hardware, helping him clean up or paint, buying books, checking out sailing programs of all kinds, and encouraging his friendships with others who more actively participate in racing and cruising. I've also attended sailing and racing events to be there for him and to cheer him on if need be. And from time to time, I will do a daysail with him within the Bay.
In other words, I've tuned in to whatever I can do to keep his love of sailing alive and well and to make a personal contribution as a loving 'mate'. After all, we didn't marry one another to change each other. I know he is disappointed that I haven't shared more of an interest in the cruising aspect with him, but I know he appreciates my support and encouragement. He continues to enjoy and be an active participant in racing and we enjoy the whole ambiance of sailing events throughout the Bay Area together.
Currently, I am finally realizing a dream of my own: completing my undergraduate degree that I interrupted years ago so that I could go to work and we could marry while he finished his degree. It's been an inspirational journey for me, which he has supported. And that's what it's all about loving and supporting your mate, not necessarily the doing of something with them.
Married and 'coupled' life is a series of trade-offs and compromises. It seems to me that if you truly love and respect the person you're with, you'll absolutely encourage whatever healthy interests they have and find ways to be a supportive and loving 'participant'.
The Captain's 'land-loving' wife
Peggie We think that pretty much explains why you've been married for 29 years and we've been divorced twice. Good on you.
CANNIBALS WITH ETIQUETTE
Having spent a long and unforgiving winter with our boat on the hard in Port Townsend, Washington, we ran across plenty of 'holier than thous' such as Janet Welch who complained about what she alleges are the Latitude photo editor's "suckling instincts" in her January "Tsk, Tsk" letter.
Shut out from the deep interplay of minds, the adept gossips of Port Townsend motivated by self-righteousness and jealousy employ their ample forks and knives to skillfully cut and pick at one another, like cannibals with etiquette. Now that Janet has taken the time to remind us of the effect an isolated town and inbred community can exercise in preserving small-mindedness, we hope she will return to cataloging the improprieties of her neighbors and leave open-minded individuals elsewhere the freedom to enjoy the sun's warmth topless, bottomless, whatever.
Inga and Tim Blair
Temptress, Sparkman & Stevens 47' yawl
Inga & Tim You two have a much more wicked wit than the Wanderer. How would you like to replace him in responding to Letters?
We appreciate your defense. Although we're not familiar with the residents of Port Townsend, we're going to assume that Janet is probably a wonderful person who, for whatever reason, is a little more modest than most of our readers. We're not going to criticize her for feeling the way she does as long as she doesn't criticize us for having a more lighthearted, fun-loving, breeze-between-the-legs outlook on life.
SCANTILY CLAD WOMEN AS CREW OR FUTURE MATES
I'm sure that it was coincidence and not providence that your reply to two letters in the January issue seems to suggest that scantily-clad women "who are part of sailing and sailing events" may manage to escape, later in life, being left at the hearth "to play with their grandkids during the more arduous passages." Given, by then, their unmatched sailing skills and ocean experience, one can only hope that they will participate fully in sailing life with their mate or find a new one who does and live the dream.
The only real problem I see with all this is the way that the scantily-clad female sailors are treated by male sailors at these sailing events which I have participated in for over 40 years. Men don't seem to treat scantily-clad women as crew or future mates let alone grandmothers and mothers of their children.
This may account for Ms. Welch's observation about cleavage over character and my own skepticism that you may have inadvertently hit upon a reason to feature scantily-clad women in a sailing magazine as a way to promote the active and full involvement of girls and women in the sport throughout their life. And, yes, I'm quite sure you are an exception, and that is why you keep publishing scantily-clad women in your sailing magazine.
Ruth Ann Barrett
Ruth Ann Our first response was that later in life many not all wives prefer to spend their time at home with kids and grandkids rather than making arduous ocean passages. Our second response was that you can't judge a women's character by her cleavage anymore than you can judge a person by the color of their skin. To try to draw a conclusion from these two independent premises both of which are correct is absurd because they have nothing to do with each other.
As for 'scantily-clad' women at regattas being dismissed as future crew or mates, that might have been true 40 years ago, but as a product of the '60s and as the owner of several boats that have been crewed by scores of scantily-clad to say the least women, we can assure you those attitudes have pretty much gone the way of full keel boats. Certainly, there's a time and a place for everything, and a woman who wears nothing but a flimsy bikini top and a G-string into the St. Francis YC bar after a race is going to be dismissed by most men as a person who doesn't have very good judgment. But it's entirely different in the tropics where the weather, the ambiance, and the attitudes give women a chance if they so desire to wear little bikinis or even go topless.
As for your last paragraph, we apologize, for we have no idea what point you're trying to make. If you're still trying to figure out why we occasionally run photos of women in brief outfits, we'll repeat: Because it's a part of the sailing scene, and because we like men since the beginning of time have a soft spot for the female form. It's a good thing, too, for if we didn't, the human race would have ceased to exist a long time ago.
SEXTANTS AND SILICONE
Mike Doyle wrote in asking where he could find a sextant horizon glass. I suggest Captain's Nautical Supplies in Seattle at (206) 283-7242. They are true professionals and have a complete on-site repair shop. Currently they are doing an overhaul on a World War II sextant of mine. I wouldn't trust the work to anyone else.
With regard to the 'silicone over strength' controversy over women's bare breasts, my bride and I agree with Latitude's position. I came to understand my personal feelings about public displays of women's breasts while on my honeymoon seven years ago in Greece. As my bride and I sat on the beach on our first day, we were confronted with the European custom of sunbathing in which women generally go topless. Deborah gave me a look that said, 'Why am I covered up?' Off came her top and on went a very satisfied grin.
In those few seconds I realized how natural it was, how Victorian the North American standards are, and just how beautiful the human form can be when not covered by someone else's idea of decency.
Norman H. Black
USE A LADATEL PHONE TO GET AT&T
In the January issue, a Latitude editor made a comment on a letter by saying, ". . . just try to find a public phone in Mexico that will connect you with an AT&T operator. Most of them won't."
That has not been my experience. Many public telephones in Mexico are labeled LADATEL, and if you use one of those and simply dial 001-800-462-4240, you will be connected to an automatic AT&T switch. After being asked to dial the number you wish, you'll then be prompted to enter your AT&T Calling Card number and PIN. That's it.
The charges will show up on your stateside AT&T bill. While not the "7 cents, anytime" rate, the charges are a lot less than made by those private rip-off credit card phones found in tourist areas.
Martin Thanks for the tip. We've seen a lot of the LADATEL phones, but for some reason we were under the apparently false impression that they, like most other phones in Mexico, made it hard or impossible to reach AT&T.
INSTANT HOLDING PLATES
Having read Don Scotten's January letter about his satisfaction with little 12-volt refrigeration systems, I'd like to share a trick I've been using with mine for the last 18 years. It's been an especially good trick when I've had my boat up the Delta where it gets really hot and on Lake Oroville where it has gotten to 115º which is really, really hot.
I have six amps of solar array which, like Scotten's, is more than adequate to run the refer during the day. However, I arrange a couple of 'Blue Ice' packs around the cooling coils and keep them chilled/frozen at all times. That means I can turn the refrigeration off at night when the solar panels aren't working, and let the 'instant holding plates' do their thing. It works great which means you don't have to run the engine.
No Mas, Catalina 30
Dave Cool advice.
One fine and sunny morning last summer, I was sailing my boat from Sausalito toward the Golden Gate. When I got over by the yellow outflow buoy off the sewage treatment plant, I came across something that raised a question: a beam that I estimated to be 16 inches by 16 inches and about 15 feet long floating in the current. I passed close by it, thankful that I'd been looking ahead.
I started thinking about the possible consequences of ramming such a thing, particularly in the dark. I wondered how long it had been drifting around in the Bay, how much longer it would do so, and how many boats might have come close to hitting it. Lastly, I wondered if there was anything I should have done about it. I thought about calling the Coasties, but wondered if I should bother them. I wasn't sure they'd be interested in it, and even if they were, if they'd be able to find it. I wondered if I should have called the Corps Of Engineers' clean-up barge over by the Wapama. Even if I wanted to call them, I didn't know their number.
I know it's everyone's job to look where the hell they're going, but marine traffic on the Bay is pretty heavy. I had a hard time imagining how big a boat would have to be to not be damaged by the floating monster. Anyway, the whole thing has been bothering me ever since. Is there a protocol that covers something like this?
Tom Thumb, Fisksatra 25
John When you have or see a problem on the water from sinkings, to hazards, to fires, to heart attacks it's almost always best to call the Coast Guard first. Give them the facts of the situation and let them evaluate it and decide on what, if any, action should be taken. The Coasties monitor Channel 16, of course, and would immediately have you switch to another working channel.
As several rivers flow into the Bay, it's not uncommon for logs and other large flotsam to be seen floating around. While such logs certainly wouldn't be a problem to large ships, they indeed are a hazard to navigation for smaller vessels. If hit at speed, such flotsam could hole a boat or disable the propulsion and/or steering systems. Since it's the Coast Guard's job to keep the waters clear of hazards to navigation, you certainly would not have "bothered" them by giving them a call.
By the way, the "yellow buoy" you refer to has nothing to do with the sewage treatment plant which is actually marked by its foul odor. The buoy is 'Yellow Bluff', one of the more important Yacht Racing Association marks on the Bay. It used to be notorious for drifting away, but has been holding its ground in recent years.
THWARTING TINY HORRORS
Jejenes which is what 'no-see-ums' are called in Mexico sometimes wade through a slathering of 100% DEET repellant to feast on gringo flesh. To thwart the tiny horrors, you can add a few drops of Pennyroyal oil to each limb as you're wiping on the DEET.
Pennyroyal oil is just that, an herb extract of the pennyroyal plant. It's available in many herb and natural foods stores in the United States and Canada. The herb is effective repellant for ticks, fleas, and horseflies.
THE PEDRO MIGUEL BOAT CLUB NEEDS YOU
Here we are, the privileged few, witnessing the show of our lifetime from the porch of the little Pedro Miguel Boat Club which clings for dear life on an edge of the monumental Panama Canal. Luxor of Egypt, the Hoover Dam, the Great Aswan Dam, the Great Wall of China whatever giant project of the human race one can imagine, none compares to the Panama Canal. That's not just our opinion, as the American Society of Civil Engineers selected it as the most important and impressive project ever constructed by man.
All day and all night the spectacular show of great ships of the world entering and being lifted in the Pedro Lock can be viewed from the humble little club. The giant grain ships, cargo carriers, oil tankers, military ships everything you can imagine barely squeeze through the 110-foot wide locks. Tiny human figures in white hard hats peer down at us from the mighty ships. What are they thinking about us?
Fifty-thousand horsepower tugs race back and forth to position these mighty ships as they prepare to transit the Pedro Lock the third on their way to the Caribbean/Atlantic side. They sometimes stir up great waves that send the boats at the boat club marina rocking back and forth on their many docklines. And the big ships will sometimes send up breakers into the lake, as they thunder to move forward into the lock.
But here's the magic of the Pedro Miguel: look the other way from the ships and locks, and you'll see green jungle, birds and crocs all coexisting with this marvel of human construction. Despite the 40 or so ships that pass each way each day, much of the time there is nothing but peace and quiet.
We urge all cruisers to take advantage of the unique Pedro Miguel Boat Club. But do it soon, for nobody knows what will happen to this funky but completely comfortable little marina with its congenial community kitchen and family room where cruisers gather for meals, conversation and things like Christmas dinner.
Klaus, the marina manager, recently told me that the many rumors and stories about the supposed closing of the Pedro Miguel have hurt business. With just a few boats in the marina, they are barely able to pay their bills. Contrary to the many rumors, the club presently has no plans to close. Prior to turning over the Canal to Panama, the Panama Canal Commission had come up with four different 'closing dates'. But each came and went without the club having to shut down. Now it's up to the new Panamanian administration of the Canal to decide the fate of the Pedro Miguel Boat Club. But as yet there have been no scheduled hearings nor any other notices from the Panamanian government. As such, it could be a long time before the government even gets around to considering the club's status.
So the Pedro Miguel management is eager to have boats and cruisers come and enjoy their wonderful facilities which include something we have never seen in any marina: free Internet access with unlimited use! There is so much to the place including being a witness to the nearby locks and all the activity that takes place there.
And the price is right. We're being charged about $10 a day for our 38-footer, and that includes unlimited power, water, and an actual dock you can walk down to step onto your boat. The marina needs to get the word out so it can survive financially, so please let everybody know.
Bill and Soon Gloege
Gaia, Morgan 38
Pedro Miguel, Panama Canal
Bill & Soon The Pedro Miguel Boat Club is a terrific and unique place for cruisers. Furthermore, it's the best and safest place to store a boat between Acapulco and Cartagena, Colombia. The one thing you forgot to mention is that it has great workshops and plenty of space to carry out just about any size or type of boat project. Panama is a great place to undertake such projects, because unlike the rest of Central America and South America, they have just about everything one could need in Panama City, and what they don't have can be brought in duty free from anywhere in the world. Then, too, Panama is home to seven indigenous peoples some who have rarely seen white people magnificent plant and animal life, incredible jungles, and some of the nicest folks in the world. The Pedro Miguel and Panama are both underrated by folks who don't know them.
BEAN BAGS FOR BOATS
A reader wrote in asking about bean bags for boats. Well, we spent more money on the preparation for our cruise in the '98 Baja Ha-Ha than Ferdinand and Isabella did to ready Columbus for his journey to the New World. We don't know about Columbus, but the most favored pieces of gear we acquired were the two bean bags we purchased at the Sail Expo Boat Show in Oakland in April of '98.
We knew we would be spending long hours in the cockpit, as we're a sailing team of two, and had already sailed up and down the coast of California several times and logged many months in the Caribbean. As expected the bean bags seemed to 'remove the edges' of any place we wanted to sit. We even piled them on top of each other to create a 'perch' from which the view was terrific and infinite seating possibilities sublime.
The sewn-in label on our bean bags gives the following information: The Bag Lady, 892 William Street, #3696 Carson City, Nevada 89701. Unfortunately, there was no phone number listed when I called information. Maybe she'll make an appearance at the next Sail Expo?
William C. Claypool
Recovery!, Nordic 44
South Beach Harbor
MALE AND FEMALE CHICKENS
In response to Robert Petersen's theory which appeared several months ago that women on boats should only be cooks, I offer some personal observations. While I am a woman, have only been a boatowner and co-captain for five years, and only have 5,000 bluewater miles under my belt, I've seen far more male chickens on boats than female chickens. For example:
There was the "ex-Navy man" we took on as 'experienced' crew from California to Mexico who became frightened when out of sight of land. After his repeated requests to sail close to the coast were denied, he stood his watch and then promptly retired to his bunk. From then on he refused to speak to anyone, as though he were a petulant four-year-old! Once off the boat, however, he returned to his charming self.
Then there was the male crew member a highly paid professional, by the way who agreed to assist with a Baja trip. But during the trip he decided "it was torture" for him to do his share of the work. He later had a temper tantrum regarding certain of his unmentionable personal hygiene habits.
Finally, there was the "ex-Coast Guard man" who jumped ship in La Paz even before the boat left the dock because it was too windy when it came time to depart for Mazatlan. It wasn't even blowing as hard as a normal day on the Bay.
My short list does not address the issue of 'potential chickens': all those brave male sailors who would just love to crew but claim their girlfriends/wives 'won't let them'.
The only difference between male and female chicken-sailors is that male-chickens are harder to spot due to their macho appearance and boastful self-confidence.
Jane M. Pitts
Shore Loser, Valiant 40
THE SAILING PSYCHE
I am working on a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology, and am doing a dissertation on sailing as a transformational experience. As such, I'm looking for sailors, men as well as women, racers and cruisers, global and local, who are interested in sharing their life changing experiences.
The research questionnaire is presently available on the Internet at http://sfsailing.com/rosie/sail.html. It asks many questions that will reveal how people have changed in regards to mind, body, spirit, life and death issues, as well as career changes. It takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete the questionnaire, which is totally confidential. A summary of the results will be available at the same website from May 1 to June 1.
I'm a bluewater sailor and have been teaching sailing at OCSC in Berkeley for the past three years while attending school. It has all been life changing. For more information, check out the web site or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHERE AND WHEN
A few months back, you answered a letter saying what locations to hang out at what time of the year in order to have a good chance of becoming crew on a boat. I've searched my humble abode high and low, but cannot find that issue. Bummer! How can I get a reprint?
P.S. Keep up the great service to our country, world peace, and the appropriate level of harassment aimed at the BCDC. Even though I could get my Latitude free at West Marine, I'm a loyal subscriber.
Loyal Subscriber If you don't know when the article ran, we can't give you a reprint. Fortunately, the information you're looking for is pretty basic:
If you're looking to go to the South Pacific, the best place to be is between Mazatlan and Z-town between late February and mid-April. In fact, each year Latitude sponsors the Pacific Puddlejump Kick-Off Party at Paradise Village Marina (outside PV), and this year's date is March 4th. Two other good places to be in order to catch rides to the Pacific are either Cartagena, Colombia, or Panama in March to April. From June on, Papeete and Musket Cove, Fiji, are excellent places to hang out while trying to hook up with boats headed the rest of the way across the Pacific to New Zealand.
If you want to get on a big boat heading for the East Coast or the Med, the one and only place to be is Antigua from about the middle of April until just after Antigua Sailing Week ends on May 6th. If you can't get a ride from there, you're in a world of sailing hurt. If you get there a little earlier, you might be able to hook on with one of the big boats that is planning to do this year's Storm Trysail Club race from Havana to Baltimore.
Suppose you get the urge to roam the Pacific in May. In that case, make your way down to Auckland, as the South Pacific hurricane season will be over and all the boats that were in Auckland for the America's Cup will be headed back to the South Pacific or over to Australia for the Olympics.
Can't break free until late summer and like the Med? Palma de Mallorca is the yachting headquarters for boats in the Med headed for the Canaries and the Caribbean. Boats start gathering in the Canaries about the first of November and usually leave within the next month or so.
For those looking to cruise or Ha-Ha to Mexico, Latitude hosts the Mexico Kick-Off and Ha-Ha Preview and Reunion early each October at the Encinal YC in Alameda. But we suggest you get started right away by signing up for the Latitude Crew List and attending the Crew List Party at the Corinthian YC on April 6. In addition to getting a chance to meet potential skippers looking for crew, we'll be shooting flares with the Coast Guard, inflating liferafts, sending messages via SailMail, and giving out passes for summer rides on Profligate.
By the way, if you're just into getting some ocean experience as opposed to pleasure cruising, there are two more good opportunities. Puerto Vallarta in early March after the end of MEXORC, as all the racing boats need crew for the nasty trip back north. And, at Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, in the end of July, where even more race boats need to be delivered back to the mainland after the West Marine Pacific Cup.
SAN DIEGO HARBOR POLICE
My wife and I have been reading Latitude long enough to have followed the 'panties protest' in San Diego six years ago. For those who don't remember, it all started just before the first Baja Ha-Ha when, with what seemed like unnecessary haste, the San Diego Harbor Police towed one of the entries out of the La Playa Anchorage, and one of the officers felt the need to go through the lady's underwear drawer. In response, Latitude organized a protest by getting as many people as possible to send a pair of ladies panties to the San Diego Visitors and Convention Bureau. Thanks to Chief Hight, relations between the mariners in San Diego and the Harbor Police which had never been good seemed to improve.
Anyway, before the beginning of last year's Baja Ha-Ha, my wife and I spent most of October at anchor in San Diego. First we were at the A-9 anchorage off Laurel Street, and later in Glorietta Bay. This was our first visit to San Diego by boat and we enjoyed our stay. Nonetheless, several local boaters told us that they felt the Harbor Police were still very much disliked for having a 'Gestapo attitude'. The Harbor Police were always courteous and pleasant in their relations with us, however.
There was one experience with the Harbor Police that left us with a bad taste in our mouths. One morning we think it was October 16 in the A-9 anchorage, a Harbor Police vessel showed up, apparently counting boats and taking names. About 30 minutes later, two Vessel Assist boats arrived. In short order, one of the anchored boats was towed away. That wasn't a surprise, as the Harbor Police have the authority to tow boats that don't have a permit for the anchorage. Shortly thereafter the second boat was towed, and this time I was on deck to watch something strange.
After the Vessel Assist vessel took the anchored boat in side tie, the operator proceeded to throw all of the chain including that in the locker overboard! When he reached the tether at the bitter end, he cut it with a knife. I was so stunned that I didn't react until after he was gone. The dummy had thrown 100 to 200 feet of chain to the bottom of an anchorage and left it there!
Eventually, I called the Harbor Police. Officer Martinez told me that they have nothing to do with the way Vessel Assist takes their tows. The officer was totally unconcerned about the safety issues and said he didn't consider the anchor and chain left on the bottom as pollution. I wonder if an empty can of refried beans tossed in San Diego Bay would have gotten their attention? Officer Martinez told me that if the Vessel Assist guy had thrown the chain overboard, it was probably because it was the safest thing to do. No way! It would have been much safer to pull the chain and anchor onto the boat and stay in one place while doing it, rather than to drift aimlessly around the anchorage while dragging chain out of the locker.
I called Vessel Assist at their 800 number. At the time everyone in authority was at a meeting. A fellow who identified himself as 'Bill' assured me that the action that I observed was not policy. He further said that he would report the incident and get back to me. But nobody ever did. Since I needed to stay in San Diego until the start of the Ha-Ha, and since several people expressed concern that the Harbor Police would make my life miserable if I continued to push the issue, I stopped. But for us, we can't help but be suspicious of the Harbor Police's attitude.
Frankly, we are still pissed off that the San Diego Harbor Police showed so little concern over the event. If they had seen me throw an empty can of beans overboard in their Bay, I'm sure I would have paid dearly, but it was perfectly all right for Vessel Assist to drop several hundred pounds of galvanized steel to the bottom. What do you think?
Please withhold my name since I will probably go through San Diego when we come back into the country.
Anonymous What do we think? If what you say is true, we think it stinks and is therefore worthy of a little Latitude investigation. As such, does anybody know whose boat was towed from A-8 on October 16? And would any San Diego divers like to join Latitude in a hunt for 150 feet of anchor chain that was dumped on the bottom of A-8? We'll be coming through in early April, so you can email us.
As for mariner relations with the San Diego Harbor Police, it seems to us that they are better than they were before 1994, but have nonetheless been backsliding a bit. Chief Dave Hall, who recently replaced Chief Hight, was great about making sure there was plenty of space for the Ha-Ha boats, and we thank him for that. But we're going to have a little chat with him about the attitudes of some officers. Most of the men and women we've had contact with have been nice and courteous, but a few of them responded to a pleasant 'hello' with surliness and a big stink eye. We don't see any reason for it.
NEW ZEALAND STORM ARTICLE
This is a quick note of thanks for your brilliant web site. I was drawn to it by last year's article on the storms faced by cruisers sailing from the South Pacific to New Zealand. It's difficult for me to find words to convey how impressed I was with that article. It was an impossibly difficult subject to write on, and the courage which was shown in describing such a fascinating and devastating tragedy was outstanding. Thank you.
By the way, I purchased a 23-ft trailer sailer at the beginning of this year, which we keep moored. It has brought a new dimension to the lives of my family and me. Next dry season I plan to venture out of Darwin Harbour.
Clive Thanks for the kind words. We hope to be sailing in and writing about Australia within a few years.
KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE BOATS THEY SELL
I used to think that used car salesmen and real estate brokers were the lowest form of life, but after spending six months looking for a cruising sailboat in the 40 to 50 foot range, I can now say that yacht brokers are even less professional and have little or no business sense. After dealing with about 10 different brokers who don't send you information they promise, are late for appointments to view boats, and generally know nothing about the yachts they sell, I found the worst of the worse right here in San Francisco Bay.
Even though I live in Napa, I'm often in Europe for one to two weeks each month. A very nice broker who has an advertisement in Latitude located a Camper Nicholson that was for sale in the South of France. We made arrangements so that after I was done with business in Germany, I could fly down and see the boat on the weekend en route back to San Francisco. As it turned out, my meeting finished two days early. So I called the owner myself, and advised him I would be inspecting his boat which he was living on in the harbor at Monte Carlo two days ahead of schedule. The owner agreed, and I flew down according to the new schedule. The boat was in poor shape, however, so I didn't make an offer and flew home to Napa. When I got home, the broker had left three messages to call him.
Now, for the point of my letter. When I returned his call, he yelled and swore at me, and repeatedly asked me how I could have been so rude as to show up two days early to see the boat. He told me that the owner didn't have enough time to get the boat ready to view. So I suppose he expected me to sit around in a hotel in Berlin for two days so the original appointment could be kept? Since getting scolded for not keeping my set appointment, I am now looking for broker #11 to help me find a boat prior to this summer. But I've never met so many flakes in my quest to spend approximately $200,000 on a sailboat.
P.S. Great magazine. I saw a copy in a restaurant in Nice after viewing this boat. Keep up the great work.
Colin We're sure that, just like car sales, you can find the full spectrum of sales people in your search for the right boat. However, selling boats has never been a big, profitable business, and brokers need to be conscious of using time effectively. Any broker who senses there may be ten other brokers on the same 'goose chase' may decide to focus on loyal customers. That's no excuse to be treated rudely, but business is good and brokers have limited time and resources.
Here's our take on the other side of the story. Some 25 years ago, we attempted to sell boats for a couple of years and found it to be the worst job we could possibly imagine. The problem, very specifically, is that 95% of the people who presented themselves as potential clients were nothing of the sort. They loved to talk endlessly about boats, they wanted to go all over Northern California looking at boats, and they were hurt when we wouldn't take them out sailing every weekend. Yet when the perfect boat was found, there was always some incredible excuse ³My wife decided we should buy a dining room table², ³I'm moving to Iowa², ³My dad won't give me the money after all² as to why they weren't going to buy the boat after all. Not even Tony the Tiger had seen so many flakes.
So what's the solution in your case? Interview brokers to find one that meets your professional standards and who has experience in buying and selling boats internationally and then stick with them. Secondly, realize that it's in your best interest to 'sell' yourself to the broker. Explain exactly what you're looking for and why, when you intend to buy, and above all, that you have the means and resolve to actually go through with a purchase. In any event, we'd get shopping right now to prevent being left with slim pickings.
If anyone is still looking for a place to have their Micrologic GPS put back in working order, they may send them to Frederick Goertz, Ltd, 780 Spruce Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8T 5A5. Their phone is 250-386-8375. Ask for Bonnie, as she was very helpful. It cost $60 to have ours updated, plus Parcel Post shipping of about $7.50 each way.
COMBINING BUSINESS AND PLEASURE
I am a professional woodworker millman with almost 20 years in the trades. I must be going through the mid-life crisis, because I have an interest in mixing business and pleasure. I was hoping that you might be able to direct me to some manufacturing companies preferably in Northern California or northward that still commercially build boats, preferably sailboats. I thought there might be someone in the San Francisco or Santa Cruz areas. If you or anyone on your staff can help, please contact me at email@example.com.
Scott We're not exactly sure what a 'millman' does, but if you're good with wood, we'd start by calling all the local boatyards. We'd be shocked if you didn't get some offers. In addition, you might find the next letter interesting.
AN APPRECIATION FOR WOODEN BOATS
Last September I attended the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend which is not only an excellent event, but is also an easy place for sailors of fiberglass boats to find themselves converting to traditional craft. Having been active in building and racing sailboards and International 14s, I've become accustomed to the itch of carbon and the fumes of epoxy resin, yet deep in my heart I've always had a deep appreciation for the way of the wooden craft. Little did I know that while at the festival I was to be introduced to an opportunity that exceeded my greatest expectations.
While observing the wooden boat races on Saturday, I saw the 65-foot schooner Barlovento, under full sail, pass the second place boat, a smaller but very graceful-looking ketch. When I returned to the docks on the second day of the festival, I found myself eyeballing that same little ketch. I was taken with her traditional design, outstanding wooden construction, and her graceful suggestion of speed. But I wasn't the first, as she's the 33-ft ketch Araminta, one of L. Francis Herreshoff's more popular designs.
While poking my head belowdecks, Stan Bishoprick and Will Pollard of Legendary Yachts, the owners of Araminta, invited me to crew for them on the Sunday race. I immediately accepted, and before long we were off to the races. About 35 ketches, sloops, and schooners showed up for the event. Once the gun went off, Rage Steve Rander's notoriously fast cold-molded 70-foot sled with about 50 people aboard took the lead and as expected did a horizon job on the rest of the fleet. But we on Araminta didn't do badly, reaching the weather mark second overall. While Barlovento was able to waterline us on the reach, we passed her on the final beat to take second overall. The little ketch is obviously as fast as she looks.
After the race, Stan gave me the helm and we tooled around looking for some more wind so I could get a better feel for the boat. What a pleasure it was to sail her! Having noticed my enthusiasm for Araminta, Stan and Will asked me about wooden boat racing in San Francisco and expressed interest in campaigning Araminta on the Bay in 2000. They shared their ideas of building two new Aramintas, one for San Francisco and the other for the East Coast market.
Two weeks later I visited Legendary Yachts in Washougal, Washington, to learn more about their business and their plans for Araminta. I discovered that Stan Bishoprick is the quintessential fan of L. Francis Herreshoff, and is pursuing his lifelong dream of creating custom classic wooden yachts. To achieve his goal, Stan created Legendary Yachts in 1994 on the grounds adjacent to his successful lumber business. He then hired 25 craftsman and put them to work. On the day of my visit, Legendary was delivering Mistral, a new 64-foot wooden Herreshoff schooner, to her new owner in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Also at the shop was a new 58-foot Herreshoff ketch, Bounty, which Stan had built on spec. His place is a dream come true for any traditional yacht aficionado.
After lunch, Stan and I drove by his house located on the banks high above the Colombia River, then went down to the docks to look at Radiance, his personal yacht. She's a sistership to Ticonderoga, the legendary 72-foot Herreshoff ketch. Having now seen four of his yachts, I'd caught his enthusiasm and was sold on the idea of commissioning Araminta in the Bay. Before the afternoon was over, Stan and I had agreed that he would start construction on a new hull to be completed in time for the Sail Expo Boat Show in Alameda in April. This new Araminta will be strip planked in Douglas fir with laminated Honduras mahogany frames, she'll have an open and simple interior, and a carbon rig.
Stan, Will and I are excited about campaigning Araminta against other wooden boats on the Bay throughout the 2000 sailing season. I'll be managing Araminta for Legendary Yachts, and helping them find a proud local owner to take the helm. Until then, keep an eye out for Araminta on the Cityfront beating to weather with a big bone in her teeth.
TERRIBLE LANGUAGE PROBLEMS
After reading the Yachting And Such In Europe article in the September issue, I was interested in the author's mention of the abundance of Bertram 25s and 31s in Santa Margherita, Italy. Does anyone know of any charter outfits that deal in small powerboats? I'm talking about boats that would work for a family of four, not necessarily as a total living and sleeping vessel, but as a means of transportation and recreation. You know, about 25 feet, with a cooler, head, semi-comfortable sleeping for two adults, VHF, and that kind of thing. Most of our sleep and shower needs would be found onshore.
Such a boat would seem to be ideal for an assault on the primo places without having to cope with Med-ties and terrible language problems. You wouldn't have to worry about fickle winds, deep water, and you could boat-camp if you had to. In addition, what can you tell me about fuel prices?
Steve You sound confused. First off, which "primo places" do you plan to "assault"? After all, Santa Margherita, Italy, is about as far from Capri as San Francisco is from Santa Barbara so it's not as if you're going to be blasting back and forth from one hot spot to another in a 25-foot boat. Furthermore, the chances of you pulling into a primo place such as Portofino and getting a berth or mooring are slim.
Secondly, what do you mean "coping" with Med ties? You set the bow anchor and back up into your space just like everybody else. And what "terrible language problems" do you anticipate? If you smile and are polite, you'll be able to communicate. It almost sounds as though you want to have an 'American experience' in Italy which would be missing the entire point. "When in Rome . . ." and all that.
If you plan on chartering a Bertram 25 while you stay ashore on the Italian Riviera, we hope you have a fat wallet. It's possible to charter something like a Bertram 25, but you're talking some big bucks and that's before you fill the tanks with Italian gas, which is just a little bit less expensive than perfume.
CRUISERS SWORE BY STUGERON
When we were cruising in Mexico several years ago, we also heard about the wonders of Stugeron. Since cruisers swore by it, we immediately purchased several boxes.
Stugeron comes in several types and doses: Stugeron: (25 mg) in tablets of 50 per box. Stugeron Forte: (75 mg) in capsules of 20 and 60 per box. Stugeron Retard: (150 mg) in time-release capsules of 30 per box. Stugeron drops: (75 mg) in 20 ml drops, 25 drops per bottle. We were told by cruisers never to exceed 25 mg per dose and to cut the stronger dose tablet in half or plug the remainder of the capsule with peanut butter for later use.
I have never taken Stugeron because the conditions never warranted it. I tend to use Marezine, an over-the-counter seasick remedy, for mild queasiness. It has few, if any, of the side-effects or drowsiness that seem to be associated with Drama-mine. I have also found Sea Bands to be wonderful for non-boating guests who tend to get queasy at the dock or at anchor. I make a big production of putting the bands on their arms in the proper position and they instantly feel much better. It's a miracle and 100% effective but it doesn't seem to work anywhere else.
I definitely agree with Latitude's suggestion about getting a doctor's approval before taking Stugeron, as it's a powerful drug. Unfortunately, there probably aren't many doctors in the United States willing to prescribe a drug that hasn't been certified by the FDA.
Currently in Great Bridge, Virginia
I read your response to the letter on the subject of monohulls versus catamarans the letter in which there was a reference to the 'Queen's Birthday Storm' of '94. I was the Commanding Office of the HMNZS Monowai at the time. I wanted you to know that your commentary had a couple of minor errors, but was basically correct.
I wonder if you have read the excellent analysis of the storm and the yachts that survived by Kim Taylor?
Larry We're flattered that the article was mostly accurate, as it was difficult to get first-hand information and we had to do some 'reading between the lines'.
We did use Kim Taylor's 1994 Pacific Storm Survey as a source of factual information, but with all due respect, we weren't impressed with his analysis. In fact, we thought he drew several wild and reckless conclusions for which he had no evidence.
Although the incident may have happened more than five years ago, we'd like to salute you and the rest of the crew of Monowai for your heroic efforts. What the bunch of you did was magnificent!
TREASURE ISLAND MARINA
I've berthed my boat at Treasure Island for about four years and offer the following information as nothing more than an honest update. Since I don't want to become a subject of conversation around the docks, I ask that you allow me to remain anonymous.
In the last year there have been many changes at Treasure Island and most of them for the good.
The City of San Francisco, for example, awarded a marina management contract to Almar, which operates five other marinas along the West Coast from Ballena Bay to Cabo San Lucas. Almar has begun to stabilize the old docks in preparation for a completely new and larger marina in a couple of years.
There is now a small cafe although the hours are sporadic in the building that used to be home to the Treasure Island YC. The cafe is run by the same foundation that runs Delancy Street Restaurant in San Francisco. For those who are not familiar with the Delancy Street Foundation, it tries to help non-violent criminals turn their lives around by providing career training in various fields.
While access to the old Navy base is restricted during the week, non-residents are allowed in on weekends and they have a flea market every Sunday. In addition, the first civilian occupants of the island moved in to what will soon be over 700 units of moderate and low income housing including some units earmarked to help homeless folks get a jumpstart.
In years past, the Treasure Island Marina in concert with Treasure Island YC operated in a very casual manner and allowed anchored boats to land their dinghies at the marina for short visits at no charge. In addition, the first night was always free at the Treasure Island docks for any boat with a yacht club or boat club affiliation. Ironically, the departure of the Navy part of the world's largest non-profit organization: the United States military has made Treasure Island a bit less accessible to boats. Because the marina must now contend with typical profit/loss/liability concerns, they no longer permit free dinghy landing. And as expected at any other marina, docking fees are charged from the first night on.
One thing I've noticed is that anchor-out liveaboards have begun to appear at Clipper Cove just across from the marina. Technically, Clipper Cove is a restricted anchorage. In prior years, a boat anchored for more than 10 days or so could expect a visit from the Navy Military Police. Given the excellent anchorage, good access into San Francisco via bus, and lack of regulation enforcement, anchor-outs will likely become just as much a fact of life in Clipper Cove as they have in Richardson Bay.
As if the current projects aren't enough, the proposed changes to the east span of the Bay Bridge should be the next major issue. Regrettably, unless there is another major earthquake-related catastrophe, politics will likely slow down this project for the foreseeable future.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN CRUISES OR CIRCUMNAVIGATIONS
I enjoy Latitude intensely and make a point of picking up a copy each month and I'm wondering if you know of any extended cruises or circumnavigations by sailors of African-American descent that started or ended in Northern California?
I've lived in the Bay Area for four years now and have been sailing for most of the last three. I live on a fairly well-equipped Islander Freeport 41 in the South Bay, and after reading about some of the annual events, am strongly considering a serious offshore cruise for the summer of 2001. The idea of a round trip to Hawaii keeps popping into my mind. I had a difficult passage from San Diego to San Francisco during the summer of '98, but learned a lot from it and subsequent sailing, and want to make at least one serious cruise.
Finally, have you had any feedback on what owners of Freeport 41s think of them as an offshore cruising boat? I should be able to get my boat ready for an offshore trip within the time line I've set, but any feedback on the boat would be great.
South San Francisco
Mike The first African-American we know who completed a circumnavigation is Bill Pinkney, who did it with his Valiant 47 about eight years ago. But he started and ended his historic voyage on the East Coast. The accompanying photo is of Neal Petersen, a black South African who completed the recent Around Alone singlehanded round-the-world race with his homebuilt No Barriers.
The most ambitious Northern California based African-American sailing adventure we can recall is when Berkeley school administrator Bill Collins competed in Singlehanded Sailing Society founder George Siegler's Freya 39 in the inaugural Single-handed TransPac. It was a controversial move, because until just two days before the start of the race, Siegler had promised the boat to then 18-year-old Amy Boyer. Because of a celestial navigation miscalculation, Collins sailed past Kauai, and was missing long enough for most competitors to fear he'd been lost at sea. But he finally showed up. Collins, who'd done quite a bit of cruising before in his own boat, eventually ended up in the U.S. Virgin Islands where he became a talented sail-boarder and built a Texas Deep-Pit BBQ empire. As good as Collins' sail-boarding skills were, the stuff that came out of his waterfront BBQ carts was even better!
Other African-Americans have started cruises or done local offshore races, but it's been so long that the names no longer come to mind. The simple truth, however, is that there haven't been and aren't now a lot of African-American owned sailboats in the Bay Area or anywhere else in the States. Economics is one of the main reasons, as boats aren't cheap and it's no secret that the average African-Americans typically have far less disposable income than other racial groups. It's somewhat ironic, then, that about the first 20 times we sailed San Francisco Bay on a big boat this was back in about 1970 it was aboard Wendell Henry's Islander 36 Smithie Too. Henry, who kept his boat in back of his home at Paradise Cay, was an African-American and a real character.
A couple of years later, we bumped into another African-American sailor. This poor fellow had a trimaran end-tied at the Berkeley Marina on an afternoon that we were too lazy to raise the main on our Bounty II when trying to sail out of the marina. Our attempt to tack under headsail alone was a wretched failure, of course, and our bow ended up removing a couple of the trimaran's stanchions.
The only other African-American boatowner whose name jumps immediately to mind is Bob Nance, the Sacramento dentist who won the '98 Pacifc Cup overall with his Newport 30 Mk II Water Pik. Nance will be back to defend his title this summer in his new boat, the SC 50 White Caps. If any other African-Americans want to write in and say, "Hey, I'm out here and I've got a boat, too!", the welcome mat is out.
As for your dream of cruising your Freeport 41 to Hawaii, we have several good reasons to discourage it. Although it's true that a Freeport 41 had a starring role in a short-lived detective series based in the Hawaiian Islands, the Freeport's strength is liveaboard comfort rather than stellar offshore sailing ability such as is needed on the way to and around Hawaii.
West Coast sailors have three relatively close cruising options: 1) Mexico, 2) Hawaii, and 3) The Pacific Northwest. Mexico is the most popular choice for a host of reasons: It's close, you can anchor every night, the wind and seas are generally benign, there are numerous great anchorages, it's cheap, and it's not such a long way home. Indeed, a number of Freeport 41s have done the Ha-Ha and are currently enjoying cruising in Mexico.
While Hawaii seems like a great place to cruise, it really isn't. It's a long way to the Islands, it's rough, there are no rest stops along the way, it's cold and overcast until the last day or two, the anchorages and marinas are shockingly scarce, and it's an even longer trip back to the mainland. In others words, it's a whole lot of time, effort and money for a week or two on the hook at Hanalei Bay which tends to be wet and gray anyway.
If you don't mind a little rain, cold and gray, the Pacific Northwest is probably an even better option than Hawaii. Although you'd almost certainly want to truck your boat to Washington and perhaps back the Freeport's so-so sailing capabilities wouldn't be much of a liability in the light and fluky winds. On the other hand, the view area provided by the Freeport's spacious raised salon would be perfect for the fantastic scenery.
The bottom line is that if you cruise your Freeport to Mexico or the Pacific Northwest, you'll be using the boat for what she was designed and built to do. If you cruise her in boisterous Hawaii, you'll be asking her to excel at something she wasn't really designed for.
In a January letter, Harlan E. Van Wye made the claim that GPS differential technology will permit airplanes to land at SFO without having the need for the separation zones that are currently required by federal aviation regulations. And as a result, new runways won't have to be built on new landfill in San Francisco Bay.
Though I work for a major international airline based in Minneapolis, I am lucky enough to be able to live here in the Bay Area. My wife and I own a Catalina 36 Mark II that we sail on the Bay every chance we get. But I just love it when someone espouses the great things that technology will supposedly allow us to do without asking the opinion of those of us who would actually have to use that technology. As a B-747-400 type rated pilot, I think I have a better perspective than Van Wye on whether GPS differential technology would safely allow airplanes to land at SFO without the normal separation zones.
First of all, old radio wave technology already allows for approaches if the aircraft and the crews are equipped, trained, and current in its use down to 100 feet of altitude and 1,200 feet of visibility. These are called 'Cat II' approaches, and I can tell you that they are very precise and accurate. But in the end, it's the humans 'up front' who have to fly the planes in such conditions, and in the case of the 'wide-body' planes, these humans have usually been flying up to 10.5 hours across the Pacific already.
To get an idea of what it's like to make such a landing, do the following: Stay up all night drinking airplane coffee. Get in your car or truck and put on goggles that allow you to see no more than 1,200 feet. Then accelerate to about 170 mph and then make one attempt to fit your rapidly moving vehicle into a tunnel that is only slightly larger than your axles are wide. Of course, you don't get to look out your window until you're just 100 feet from the tunnel, at which time you have to decide if you can safely make it or will have to avoid it and try again or try something else. Oh yeah, and pretend you have 450 folks in the back seat counting on you. Currently, that's what it's like.
Now, do all of the above, but in a 'wing-tip to wing-tip' flight formation with another B-747 whose crew you don't know, whose ability you can't verify, and whose equipment may be faulty. And I won't even go into all of the variables of wind-shear, crosswind gusts, wing-tip vortices and equipment outages that always occur at the worst possible times. The above is what Van Wye is suggesting that I and other pilots do all to save mud from being disturbed during construction of runways necessary to provide the minimum safe separation zone of 4,000 feet, and to prevent a small loss of some Bay water.
My union's motto is "Schedule with Safety". I can't and won't fly into any airport that compromises safety and I don't think any other sane pilot would either. SFO already has a 'black mark' against it because the runways are so close together. Even in good weather it's spooky to fly down the localizer and see another plane cross over the extended centerline and into your airspace before he/she corrects back. It happens. And still people say that technology will solve the problem. No, it won't!
In Minneapolis, where the parallel runways are a little more than 3,200 feet apart, the FAA and the airlines have agreed to bend the separation rules to allow for more departure and arrivals in a given time frame. They've done this by jury-rigging a system called Instrument Landing System (ILS) Precision Runway Monitor (PRM) approaches. To do an ILS-PRM approach into Minneapolis' parallel runways, pilots need to accomplish the following: Notify the ATC if you cannot perform the ILS-PRM on initial approach so they can vector you out and fit you in later; tune two radios to two different frequencies and monitor both; turn off the Resolution Advisory function of your Terminal Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) so that it won't interfere with the human ATC controller's advisories. Now you are ready to begin.
If while flying toward the runways at night, in clouds, or during a snowstorm the ATC controller tells you on one of the two radios that another airplane is flying into your No Transgression Zone, you must immediately 'breakout' of your approach to avoid the blundering airplane. I quote the manual to explain how it's to be done: "All ATC directed 'breakouts' are to be hand flown. (Emphasis in the original). Pilots, when directed to break off an approach, must assume that an aircraft is blundering toward their course and a breakout must be initiated immediately. The breakout must be hand flown to assure it is accomplished in the shortest amount of time."
Van Wye may suggest a combination of technology and fancy air-work on short final be instituted at SFO to 'save the Bay'. Well, he should at least get the runways 3,200 feet apart like at Minneapolis. And if he's going to do that, why not just go for a reasonable safety margin and make it an even 4,000 feet as called for in current regulations. As a pilot, I'm opposed to compromising safety by changing regulations or obtaining waivers to existing regulations.
Van Wye suggests that "the only reason to build new runways is to provide employment to Airport Commission staffers and to allow some big construction firms to grow fatter at the public trough". In my opinion, the only reason to build new runways is to keep airplanes a safe distance apart in pea soup fog and to prevent safety margins being compromised that would lead to a major aircraft accident.
Andrew According to a recent survey, 67% of the residents of San Francisco favor new runways that extend into the Bay. The other 33% will be filing lawsuits to prevent it. Meanwhile, the Airport Commission is offering a $250,000 bounty for someone who can come up with a creative solution that would allow for a maximum amount of airline safety with a minimum of Bay fill. Before it's over, lots of lawyers will have gotten rich.
While we've got you on the line, what is it with Northwest Airlines anyway? As the flying public recalls, the airline virtually held hundreds of passengers hostage for nine hours just 150 yards short of the terminal at the near conclusion of a 24-hour flight from St. Martin to Detroit that seemed to feature every possible type of human incompetence and lack of concern. Then there was the Northwest pilot who decided that his crew bunk wasn't comfortable enough, so he terminated what was to have been a non-stop flight from Atlanta to Tokyo with something like five pilots in Portland. We're sure the 450 passengers as well as all their families and business associates were thrilled about what was widely perceived as having been a union hissy fit.
Then, last summer, when our American Airlines flight back from Paris to Chicago was diverted by bad weather to Minneapolis where American has a tiny presence and Northwest a huge one we were left stranded on a distant tarmac for four hours because Northwest kept changing their mind about whether they'd let American borrow a gate so the passengers could disembark. It not only inconvenienced the hell out of everyone on our plane who'd already flown for 10 hours but the passengers on the Tokyo plane, the London plane, the Zurich plane, and several others. As a result, we all got to enjoy an extra day in transit. If we didn't know better, we'd swear that Northwest employees take pleasure in making consumers' lives miserable. As such, you can imagine what airline is at the bottom of our list when we have to fly.
LANDING AT SFO
I must comment on Mr. Van Wye's January letter regarding new runways at San Francisco Airport. As an airline pilot who flies out of SFO weekly, I feel I have the expertise to address his statements.
First of all, his suggestion that a waiver of the regulations can be obtained to operate simultaneously at closer than standard runway separation is exactly the problem with the current thinking at the Federal Aviation Administration. Granting arbitrary waivers of rules that have kept us safe for years without doing in-depth studies of the potential decreases in safety margins is a pathetic way to increase airport capacity at the expense of the flying public. Van Wye then suggests that because planes can land simultaneously under visual conditions, they can do so under instrument conditions with the same level of safety. Allow me to use specific numbers and a sailing analogy to illustrate the lunacy of this statement.
Aircraft on the final approach segment are flying anywhere from 130-180 knots. At a 155 knot average, the plane is moving at 261 feet per second. During simultaneous visual approaches to SFO's runways which are separated by 750 feet a pilot has less than three seconds to see the plane next to him converging and take evasive action. This is not much of a safety margin, but it works.
In instrument conditions, the FAA minimum required runway separation for simultaneous operations is 4,300 feet. If one plane converges on another in this instance, an air traffic controller must first notice the convergence on radar the planes can't see each other and then direct the errant plane to return to course. If no corrective action is taken, the controller then instructs the other plane to break off its approach. Using the speeds above, there are 16 seconds to correct a course deviation in this instance (assuming one plane is off-course).
Van Wye is suggesting that these 16 seconds can safely be reduced to three. Assuming people are perfect and nothing ever goes wrong, he would be correct. As pilots, however, we plan our day on things going wrong and always have multiple contingencies in mind. The computer can land the plane perfectly almost every time, except for when you hit the wake turbulence of the 747 in front of you and the autopilots kick off line, or when the errant construction worker drives a big truck in front of the signal transmitter happens all the time or when the computer freezes for no apparent reason.
I'm sure that someone who feels perfectly comfortable sailing in a race less than 10 feet from another boat on a nice day would not feel as comfortable doing so in zero visibility no matter how many redundant differential GPS units were on board. Safety is about planning for and protecting against the unexpected. In any system where there are multiple variables, the unexpected is bound to occur.
Finally, Van Wye's statement that "the only reason to build new runways is to provide employment to Airport Commission staffers and to allow some big construction firms to grow fatter at the public trough" is certainly accurate but it's not the only reason. Besides, he forgot to mention all the credit Willie Brown will claim for doing what amounts to too little too late. It's not like San Francisco didn't know 20 years ago that the airport capacity problem was coming they just chose to ignore it. Everyone in Denver bitches about how much their new airport costs, but you don't find anyone bitching about delays anymore.
Geoff In Van Wye's defense, we suspect that he may have read several news stories as did we that seemed to suggest that the use of differential GPS would provide a perfectly viable solution to the lack of separation between runways at SFO. Your well-written letter as well as those from many other pilots seems to be a powerful argument to the contrary.
Our gut impression is that new runways will have to be built, and they will have to be built on or over parts of the Bay. This might not be the ideal solution, but we suspect it will be much better than any of the alternatives. Furthermore, while we'd prefer it if a very small portion of the Bay didn't have to be filled, we don't think it's going to be the end of the world not in a Bay Area where people drive well over 100 million miles every day.
BOAT CARDS AND 'CHOPS'
We've been cruising in Borneo the past few months, so just got around to reading the November Letters from your web site. In reply to the question from M. Giarratano and J. Engel regarding boat cards and/or stamps, we are ever so grateful for fellow cruisers who have cards with their full names, addresses, radio call signs, and email addresses. It's far easier to be given a card with all the information than to have to carry around pen and paper to write down all that information.
We also find that boat cards are very useful when dealing with locals, as one card gives them all the information they need to remember us by. Granted, with a boat named Watermelon, everybody remembers our boat, but not everybody remembers our names.
As far as boat stamps go, we have found ours to have been very useful. In the more bureaucratic places such as the French islands in the Caribbean an official-looking stamp has, on occasion, helped intimidate an official sufficiently that he did what he was supposed to do on the first go-around. In Singapore, the stamp or 'chop' means that expensive purchases are sold to us without the local Goods & Services Tax. Nothing else works. Our boat papers mean nothing to them, but our 'chop' is understood and accepted by all.
Peter and Jeanne Pockel
Watermelon, Sun Fizz 39
WHAT MODIFICATIONS WERE MADE
The July issue featured an interview with circumnavigator Ed Hart. He made reference to Don Cutty, a cruiser who several years ago sailed a Columbia Sabre basically a Columbia 5.5 with a small cabin from Southern California to Massachusetts and who sent some reports in to Latitude. I would be interested to know what modifications, if any, he made to the vessel, and any other information you might have about his trip. I would also be interested in contacting him if you know his whereabouts.
Jim If we remember correctly, Cutty's whole point was to not make any modifications. But we wouldn't make too much of his choice of boat. Chances are you could make the exact same voyage in any number of small, popular, and inexpensive production boats from the '60s. All you'd need are big cojones and a little luck.
WORKING THE LATITUDE WEB SITE
Here's a trick I use for finding stuff in Latitude Letters that are posted on the web site. I highlight and 'copy' the text from the site using 'control-C', and then paste 'control-V' to a blank Microsoft Word document. Then I use the 'find' function to locate what I'm looking for. It works nicely.
This, for example, is how I found the November issue letter that told where Micrologic GPS units could be sent in Florida for repairs.
Anyway, thanks for the great web site, it's a terrific resource.
BOAT IN THE 30 TO 35 FOOT RANGE
Having been a faithful Latitude reader since I first came to the Bay Area 20 years ago, I've come to respect your opinions and value your advice. I've never owned a boat except for a Hobie 16 but I've been sailing around on other people's boats and club charters. But I think I'm now ready to buy a used boat.
I'm looking for something in the 30 to 35-foot range that has a decent local one design racing fleet, with spinnaker, that can be shorthanded, but can double as a family cruiser for four-day to one-week coastal cruises to Santa Cruz or Monterey. But the number of choices to research is overwhelming. Any boats come to mind?
P.S. Thanks for two decades of reading about what I love best sailing.
Steve You'll be shocked to learn how few active one design classes there are in the 30 to 36 foot range. They include the Etchells, 11:Metre, Olson 30, none of which have the accommodations you need. Then there are the Islander 36s, Santana 35s, and Express 37s, all of which are barely hanging on to one design status, and the J/105s, which are growing like crazy.
The J/105 is the most expensive, highest performance and least-cruisy of the bunch. The Islander 36 offers the least performance, but has the most comfortable cruising interior. The Islander, along with the Santana 35, which doesn't have much of a cruising interior, would be the most affordable. The Express 37 offers fine performance, a decent cruising interior, and because the class is falling off, the prices have dropped down quite a bit.
But unless you're pretty set on doing lots of serious racing, we wouldn't restrict ourselves to one designs. After all, there are lots of popular brands such as Catalina, Hunter and others which have lots to offer also, and there are plenty of opportunities to race them all year long.
Because we're basically sensualists, we suggest you search for a boat as follows: 1) Keep your eye out for boats whose looks excite you. 2) Find out more about their sailing qualities and construction by seeking out owners walking the docks and cruising boatyards is the best way to do it and interrogating surveyors. 3) As long as you don't hear anything disastrously wrong about 'your girl', act on your emotions!
A word to the wise: Don't wait until spring to shop, as both new and used boats have been selling unlike ever before. If you see a good used boat, don't hesitate buy it!
LETTERS TO LATITUDE
We're starting out from San Diego on a Hallberg-Rassy 42 and heading as far south as the Galapagos Islands. We're wondering if there is a special format you'd like to use when we send letters describing our adventures. We have an Inmarsat 'Mini M' and a digital camera, but the bandwidth makes it very difficult to send photographs unless we can use a land line.
Dan We'd love to hear from you during your travels. Rather than 'attaching' a word processing file to your emails, we prefer that you simply type reports directly into the body of your email message, if possible. If you'd rather send an attachment for one reason or another, we'd prefer an MS Word document saved in Macintosh format. Digital photos are great, but only if they are shot at the high resolution setting. If your camera is sophisticated enough to allow you to set the resolution to a specific number, we prefer 300-400 d.p.i., which allows us to use your pictures larger than snapshot size. There's nothing more frustrating than receiving a spectacular digital photo, then realizing its resolution is too low to publish.
WHY AMERICA CAN'T WIN THE AMERICA'S CUP
We can't win because we're going to be 'foiled' by a better design again.
Why did the Kiwis beat us in '95 in the America's Cup and why will they beat us again this year? About six weeks after the Cup races in '95, there was only one shore crew guy left in the Kiwi compound. He kindly allowed my wife and I to view NZ-32, the boat that had just won the Cup, from a distance of about 15 feet. All the boat's rigging was gone, as were the wings from the keel. All that remained was the hull, keel, and bulb.
What I observed, before being chased away after about five minutes, was a perfectly round hole about 1.25 inches in diameter drilled through the aft end of the bulb where the wings had been. And, a machined flat airfoil shape on the bulb side, around the hole, with the hole in the 1/3 chord position. It was clear that this could only be for an axle to carry an airfoil section wing, so that it could be moved to change its angle of attack by rotating the through-bulb axle. The flats were to suppress turbulence at the foil root, where it joined the bulb.
The only way to increase boat speed for given sail drive is to reduce total drag, which can only be achieved by reduced wetted surface of the hull (friction drag) and effective displacement. But reduced true displacement means less structure mass for load-carrying, and reduced true wetted area means a smaller boat. Neither of these is a good idea, given the need for maximum sail area, less heeling moment, and the limits of the Froude equation for wave drag.
The talented Kiwi design team, headed by Laurie Davidson and Doug Peterson, with engineer/physicist Tom Schnacken-berg, had to know all of this. And to conclude that, voila, a solution was clear; provide some lift from the keel foils and thus reduce the effective displacement of the entire boat. This would lift it slightly above its static waterline when underway, and thus reduce wetted area and friction drag, as well as wave drag. The net result would be a faster boat and the whole thing could be controlled above deck by use of a moment arm through the keel to rotate the foil axle. Years later, a chance inspection of design details of the foils used confirmed this layout.
Based on these deductions, I wrote the equations for performance as determined by foil lift, and boat and wind speed, and applied them to the dimensions of the AC boat. A foil area of about 10 square feet was found able to give approximately 1,600 pounds of lift in typical race conditions and reduce total drag sufficiently to achieve a speed increase of about 1% over its unlifted condition. This would have resulted in a margin of victory of about two minutes per race over the San Diego course used in the '95 Cup. It turns out that was the typical margin Conner's boat was beaten by in the series. In other words, he'd lost to a better designed boat just as he had in the '83 Cup against Australia.
Now America is about to lose the Cup again, and again to a better designed boat. How and Why? Because Tom Schnacken-berg and Laurie Davidson are still there for New Zealand, and they've had 4+ years to improve and refine their lifting foil concept. On the other hand, none of our boats seem to have incorporated it. The only other contender that has a chance at the Cup is Prada, and this is because Doug Peterson who was part of the Kiwi design team for '95, heads the Prada design team together with German Frers. It is certain that he remembers the advantage of foil lift, and has incorporated it into the Prada boats.
The New Zealand design team has very bright and clever people who are not afraid of innovation, who have used it to win the Cup once, and who do not think that they already know everything there is to know about yacht design. As Peter Blake recently told the press, "There may be a better way. As soon as we think we have got it right, we are lost." But the Kiwis are not lost, and they are most likely to keep the Cup just because they are better designers with more open minds. It's not because they are better America's Cup sailors. Our design inferiority is unfortunate for U.S. hopes.
Update: It's late January and they've had the keel unveilings for the remaining contenders AmericaOne, Prada and NZ-60 for the America's Cup. Based on the photographs I've seen, I'm delighted! Schnackenberg and the Kiwis did exactly what I thought they would do, which is to move the foils forward to reduce the forward pitching moment when sailing downwind and thus preserve the angle of attack that won them the upwind legs. Now they will beat us both upwind and downwind!
A look at Prada's foils shows that they have stayed aft Peterson does not have Schnackenberg this time although they are probably still articulated. This, even though at a negative dihedral angle it serves no useful purpose for lift and, in fact, is aerodynamically the wrong thing to do from the point of view of reducing leeway. Thus, I would expect Prada to be not as good downwind as upwind unless the entire keel/foil system is too far forward for optimum lift upwind.
AmericaOne showed little aft-mounted foils, as in prior America's Cup boats. Based on poor television photos, these do not appear to articulate, but seem to be fixed. However, they exhibit an odd twist from root to tip, appearing to be fixed at zero angle of attack at the root with some slight positive angle of attack at the tip. This could give them some fixed non-adjustable lift at the tips, but this will not help tip vortex shedding. But, as Laurie Davidson was quoted, "The design looks very sweet!"
Of course, we all know that it's not just boat design that wins races, but the whole package, including organization, financing and crew work. However, the team with the best designed boat has an advantage and the smart Kiwis have come up with a better design again this year. Will we learn from this for next time? It's hard to say, for prima donna designers are very slow to change their ways when they already think they know all there is to know!
P.S. I'm an engineer and physicist engaged in development of new energy sources as Technical Director of Energy/Matter Conversion Corp (EMC2). In addition to guiding EMC2's AeroSea Division in the study of high-speed sailing craft, I race my Olson 40 Uproarious out of San Diego.
Robert W. Bussard
NEW YEARS DAY ON THE BAY
We loved the idea of watching the fireworks over the Golden Gate Bridge from our boat unfortunately the program was cancelled. As New Year's drew closer, my wife and son encouraged me to think about taking Harmony, our Freeport 41, out to watch the fireworks off the San Francisco waterfront. In the beginning, we were only going to have a small crew: My wife Virginia, my son and his girlfriend, and myself. Then my two daughters cancelled their camping trip and joined us with some other friends.
We gathered at the boat in Alameda at about 9:00 p.m. and sailed all the way out the Estuary, under the Bay Bridge, and to the San Francisco Embarcadero. With everything so congested at 11:45 p.m., we dropped sail and turned on the diesel. Once under power, we circled a huge cruise ship that was anchored off Treasure Island and saw another moored off Alcatraz. Everywhere you looked, from all the party barges to the city buildings, things were outlined in Christmas lights. The Bay Bridge looked like a string of lighted necklaces.
Lights near the Ferry Building Tower indicated the countdown, and at midnight fireworks were launched from three barges as we popped the corks on the champagne. The spectacular fireworks went on for half an hour. When it was finished, all the boats sounded their horns, creating a terrific noise! Then we motored back to the dock. All the skippers out that night seemed sober and wanting to bring the New Year in safely. We had a great time.
Robert Gleser (Cap'n Rob)
Harmony, Freeport 41
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