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WeČre thinking about joining the Baja Ha-Ha this year, and would appreciate it very much if you could provide us with some information about how we might sign up. WeČd be particularly interested to know the likely departure date and location, and the trip itinerary.

Windriver, our 1999 Catalina 42 Mk-II has been modified for offshore cruising. WeČre wondering whether the Baja Ha-HaČs start date and duration would allow us to participate prior to our planned departure for the Marquesas islands in early April.

Tony Williams and Mitsuyo Morikawa
San Jose

Tony & Mitsuyo ÷ Before the Ha-Ha staff went into hibernation, the Grand Poobah informed us that the Ha-Ha VII will depart San Diego on October 31. Leg two will leave Turtle Bay on November 5; leg three will depart Bahia Santa Maria on the 8th; and the awards party will be held in Cabo on the 11th. By the way, Mr. Full Moon has promised to make a special appearance near the end of the event. Entry forms will be available on May 1 ÷ maybe even on the Internet.

Given these dates, you can do the Ha-Ha, enjoy cruising Mexico for months, and still be on schedule for crossing the Pacific. In fact, we hope to see you at our 2001 Pacific Puddle Jump Party at PV's Paradise Marina sometime early in March.


IČm interested in trailerable multihulls between 27 and 35 feet for coastal cruising. Are you aware of any thoughtful, analytical comparisons of such boats? IČve seen the literature on Corsair, Contour, and Dragonfly trimarans and the Aqualon Cat. IČve also had an opportunity to sail a Corsair briefly.

Although there is plenty of promotional literature available from these and other producers, IČve yet to find an unbiased comparison of this type of boat. IČm particularly interested in comparative information ÷ no fluff, please ÷ on interior volume, actual time required for set-up or take down, sailing characteristics, performance ÷ in the water and on the road ÷ construction detail, and safety considerations.

Paul Paddock

Paul ÷ The reason most boat reviews and comparisons seem like fluff is because they are. After all, how can you honestly review a boat without sailing her in a wide variety of wind and sea conditions? Since neither publications nor boat manufacturers have the time nor money for that kind of thing, it's just not going to happen.

To our thinking, the best boat reviews are done by England's Yachting World magazine. They are particularly good at providing factual information and comparisons with similar boats. The weak point of their reviews is the usual ÷ not having sailed on them enough to comment meaningfully on how they perform. Yachting World rarely reviews American-built boats, and to our knowledge has never reviewed medium-sized performance multihulls such as the ones you're interested in.

We'd like to be able to tell you that you'll be able to see all the models you're interested in at Sail Expo in Oakland on April 26-30 ÷ but we can't. Dragonfly is so busy meeting demand for their East Coast customers that they no longer even try to sell their boats on the West Coast. Aqualon Cats are apparently no longer being marketed in the United States. Canadian-built Contour hasn't confirmed they'll be at Expo, as they're having trouble finding a spare boat to put in the show. On the other hand, the new Reynolds 28 trimaran will be on display, as will three models of Corsairs.

The nice thing about the Corsairs is that hundreds of them have been sold on the West Coast and been put to the test in just about every imaginable condition. The fact that they're known entities on this coast is good both for you as a potential buyer trying to get detailed information about them, and for sellers, who aren't hobbled by having to try to market a boat few people are familiar with.


We cruised the East Coast of the United States last summer and thought it was a terrific cruising ground ÷ if it weren't for the tropical storms and hurricanes! The reason for this letter is to comment on the hospitality that we've been shown. In many Letters and Changes, correspondents speak of the great friendliness of the people of foreign lands. Well, we've met some very friendly Americans here in the United States ÷ albeit 2,000 miles from our homeport.

In particular, when we were hauling our propane and/or fuel tanks to filling stations, we were offered rides by passing motorists. This happened in Georgetown, South Carolina; twice in Oriental, North Carolina; and twice in Annapolis, Maryland. Of course, it might be that pulling a loaded dolly is a good way to hitchhike. The folks who gave us those rides were interesting, too.

We have other examples, too. In Elizabeth City, North Carolina, cruisers are given two free nights at the town dock. And in the afternoon, Fred Waring comes by and gives each female crew a rose! If there are five or more boats at the docks, he and his rose buddies host a wine and cheese party at 5:00 p.m.! There are other friendly Elizabeth City locals, too. For instance, Walter, the proprietor of the restaurant near the dock, came to our table just to welcome us. One of the patrons gave the women handmade place mats and a decorated sand dollar. As for the Southern gentlemen, they still believe women are special.

Ian Bates, the Harbormaster in Hampton, Virginia, was also very helpful. We anchored out and paid no fees, but he and his staff allowed us to use their phone both for calls and to check our email. We also were invited to use their dock to take on water. Hampton has a great jazz concert series at a nearby park, and the city trolley takes you to the supermarkets and West Marine store. We visited that West Marine store to buy a propane refrigerator, but it turned out that it had been discontinued from their catalog. So West Marine employee Jeff Hunt not only located one at an RV supply house, he offered to help us pick it up on his day off!

For $75/month, the Gangplank Marina in Washington, D.C. allows anchor-outs to use their dinghy dock, laundry, showers, mail and package pickup ÷ and gives tons of good advice. Greg Smith and all of the other workers are extremely friendly and helpful. For instance, when hurricane Floyd threatened, they sent a young man out to each anchored boat offering the free use of a marina slip until the hurricane passed! And when we needed to go to West Marine, Greg offered to drop us off on his way home. I've paid $100/night for hotel rooms in this town without anywhere near the friendliness.

And here's a great case of customer service. Prior to the start of this cruise, we'd been using a small holding tank. While it made us legal, it also meant we wouldn't be leaving a truly 'clean wake'. So we purchased a Marine Sanitation Device (MSD) from Raritan. The device worked fine for a while, then failed. Inspection showed that a crack had developed allowing the contents to spray directly onto the circuit board. We hadn't smelled it right away because the stuff had been treated. Anyway, I patched the leak with an inner tube ÷ always carry one onboard ÷ Marintex, and a hose clamp.

When we later contacted the service desk at Raritan, the guy immediately understood the problem. Even though our unit was out of warranty, he sent a fix-it kit and a new circuit board. There was no charge for the items, no freight to pay, and no paperwork! He also told me how to 'jump' the board to be able to manually operate the device. Of course, it took me three weeks to get up the courage ÷ or whatever it's called ÷ to take on what was truly a 'shitty' job of replacing the board. But now all is well.

All of the above goes to prove that the East Coast of the U.S. is a cruiser-friendly area in the First World. We wish to extend our thanks to all the wonderful people that we've met ÷ and hope some of them get to read this.

We're specifically not addressing the following to the position of executive editor, or Wanderer, or Grand Poobah, but to the individual who takes on those roles. We compliment you on the help you provided to the anonymous author of Shattered Dreams ÷ The Lure of Booze and Drugs in the February issue. Sandy and I have been through similar experiences, and know how much the victims need a sympathetic ear. Everyone knows that you are a great editor and publisher, but we also see now that you can be a great guy ÷ for a catamaraner, that is.

Jack and Sandy Mooney
Sausalito / Hudson, Florida

Jack & Sandy ÷ We're glad you brought this up, because we think Anonymous went a little overboard in her praise. She said that we and Tim Scharff of Cabo Isle Marina were "extremely kind and understanding ÷ and their advice that night literally saved me and my husband much pain and untold grief." The two of us just did what anyone would have done: be sympathetic and offer a little encouragement. But when Anonymous wrote, "Thanks in part to the wisdom of the Grand Poobah . . ." we felt so uncomfortable we thought we might break out in a rash. We flatter ourselves by thinking we sometimes have an interesting opinion or are occasionally a catalyst for groups of sailors to have fun ÷ but 'wisdom' isn't an adjective that fits us.


I'm trying to find out how to get the soy diesel or raps diesel that used to be available at Gas House Cove in San Francisco. Unfortunately, they closed their doors to this good stuff and I really miss it. It not only took the ugly diesel smell out of my boat's exhaust, but helps eliminate 80% of toxins when properly mixed with diesel oil.

It was Latitude that made me aware of the stuff in the first place, now I need to know where I can buy it again.

Hartwig Hoefer
Foster City

Hartwig ÷ Soy Gold Marine is available at Ballena Isle Marina in Alameda. As of last year, it was also available at Channel Islands, Marina del Rey, Newport, Dana Point, San Diego, and Elliott Bay, Washington. For a complete list, check out www.soygold.com.

Cyto Culture in Point Richmond also sells soy diesel, but they're not on the waterfront and not really set up to sell small quantities. Nonetheless, they can be reached at (510) 233-0102.


I'm in the market for a new 32-35 foot cruising sailboat, and am considering a Beneteau as one option. My wife would like to cruise the French canals, so I'm thinking about taking delivery in Europe and then shipping the boat home to California.

People do this with cars quite often, but what about sailboats? What tax, price, legal, commissioning, technical and practical issues should I consider? What should I expect my local dealer to do, and what will I have to ÷ or want to ÷ do myself vis-a-vis the factory? Should I buy from a French dealer instead of a California dealer? Do you know of anyone who has done this with a Beneteau?

Art Levine

Art ÷ Americans buy new boats in France all the time. Based on the folks we've talked to, it's better to buy from a dealer here, because the price is going to be the same, and the local dealer is going to be handling your warranty issues.

In order to prevent being slapped with European VAT, make sure the factory knows that the boat is being built for export. In addition, take care of the U.S. documentation so it's an American boat from the day she's launched. When the boat gets back to the United States, 1.5% duty ÷ the lowest of any country in the world ÷ will be due. If you keep the boat outside of California for three months, you won't owe sales or use tax.

The legal and commissioning issues are minor ÷ at least when compared to the practical considerations. Most of the folks we know who have bought new boats in Europe always used them for a time over there before bringing them back. We don't think it would make sense to buy a boat in Europe if, for example, you were just going to use her over there for a month. You'd be spending most of your time commissioning, decommissioning, and working the bugs out of the boat. To us it would be most practical to buy a new boat in Europe if you had the time, money and interest to do much or all of the following:

1) Take delivery of the boat in spring so you can do the French canals while they still have plenty of water and aren't too crowded. Figure on one to two months. 2) Once you're done with the Canals, cruise the French and Italian Rivieras from St. Tropez to Capri, and perhaps down to Sardinia. Do this until early October ÷ perhaps flying home to the States in August when the Med is insane with crowds. 3) Sail or have the boat delivered to Trinidad or somewhere in the Southern Caribbean, arriving in December. 4) Take three or four months ÷ or whatever free time you have ÷ to sail the boat downwind to Florida via all the great islands of the Eastern Caribbean and Cuba. 5) Truck the boat from Florida back to California in the spring. While most people may not want to, or be able to, spend a year like this, the more you can do, the more sensible it would be to take delivery in France.

Two more factors you should consider before any new boat purchase: 1) New boats are very rarely delivered on time, and are often a month or even three late. So if you want to cruise the French canals in April, we'd insist that the boat be scheduled for a February delivery. 2) New boats invariably have bugs, so be prepared for some frustrations.

By the way, there are some great web sites for enjoying boats on the French Canals.


I would also like to hear about and from other African American sailors. In my 10 years of sailing, IČve only meet two other black sailors. I have, however, met a few more black power-boaters.

Paul Mixon has a web site, www.honeyletstravel.com, that hosts a black sailors summit. Also there is a book by Martha Putney from Greenwood Press that tells the story of black sailors, whalers, and sea merchants up to the time of the Civil War. We blacks have a long history of sailing, and I think if there were more exposure for African Americans, there would be more sailors. Can Latitude come up with any open houses?

Finally, I'd like to say thanks to Peter Szasz, a boss of mine from the early '70s and a fine 505 sailor, for giving me my first look at a sailboat and the desire to sail. Unfortunately, I was a powerboater and didn't start sailing for almost 20 years.

Carl Martin
Catalina 27
Marina Village, Alameda

Carl ÷ It seems to us that Latitude's Crew List Party ÷ 6-9 p.m. on April 6 at the Corinthian YC ÷ would be a suitable 'open house'.


It's with interest that I read Larry and Barbara Gilbert's November article, Major Repairs in Mexico and Beyond. Having had a rather long term experience with Raiatea Carenage Services, I think I have some worthwhile information to pass on ÷ and probably should have written sooner.

My Dreadnaught 32 cutter Eskimo was in storage at Raiatea from May of '97 through March of '98, partially due to being heavily damaged in cyclone Alan in April of '98. Sometime during my absence, my boat was broken into and looted. Major items taken were the SSB, GPS, binoculars, TV/VCR, movies, tools, and a host of small items ÷ some of which I'm just now discovering are missing.

The break-in was discovered by Carenage personnel, and I was informed of it upon my return in August '98. I donČt know exactly when the theft occurred. In fact, I don't think the boatyard knew about it either, until I called from Papeete to say IČd be in that day, and they opened the boat to air her out. When I arrived, the forward hatch was still broken and not secured, and I donČt think the Carenage personnel would have left the boat in that condition.

The police investigated and an insurance claim was filed ÷ all this per Dominique GocheČs direction. He is the Manager of Raiatea Carenage Services. To this day there has been no satisfaction to my claim. On another occasion ÷ while I was sleeping aboard the boat on the hard ÷ someone boarded the boat and stole a pair of binoculars, a backpack, and about $300 worth of Central Pacific Francs. This was reported to Dominique, who said heČd call the police. The police never came, and I sincerely doubt anything was ever filed in regards to insurance.

Like the Gilberts, the insurance coverage as advertised by Raiatea Carenage Services was a major factor in my choosing their yard. Unfortunately, when it came time to use the insurance, it didn't work so well. I investigated what legal recourse I might have, but unless you're in it for the long haul, there are major obstacles to overcome.

My experience observing claims being settled on boats that were damaged in cyclone Alan is that the French insurance companies are efficient and honest. I know of no one ÷ U.S. or otherwise ÷ who had any problem with their local policies. So either Raiatea Carenage picked an insurer that wasn't so good, or they don't have a policy.

In short, if this insurance coverage is an important part of your decision in selecting a storage facility, I suggest you investigate in greater depth ÷ as I wish I had done. This should include seeing and reviewing the policy ÷ you can find a translator ÷ and even so far as contacting the company to make sure the policy is in force. Otherwise I would suggest purchasing a local policy to provide the coverage. Such policies are not overly expensive, and from what I observed, reliable.

Theft is not a major problem in French Polynesia, but it is far from uncommon. This is a classic situation of 'buyer beware' ÷ which in any event should be a sailor's watchword no matter where they go.

I have forwarded a copy of this letter to Dominique at Raiatea Carenage Services, as it's only fair that he has a chance to respond. ItČs not my intent to use Latitude as a bully pulpit, but rather to inform people of the facts.

Richard N. Mason
Eskimo, Dreadnaught 32
Vuda Marina, Lautoka, Fiji


Hooray to Kent Romanoff and his family for staying the course and realizing their dreams of cruising to Alaska! His November Sightings titled DonČt Drink the Water should be required reading for all folks planning to cruise ÷ no matter whether kids or involved or not. Every single thought he expressed hit home with us.

Last year ÷ after living aboard in the rainy, cold Pacific Northwest for 11 years ÷ my wife and I put our jobs on hold for 14 months and sailed U.S., Mexican and Canadian waters with our two sons, who are now 16 and 14. Naturally there were a few rough spots, but overall it was an absolutely fabulous experience. The best part of it was having the opportunity to enjoy our family being together.

During our cruise we experienced every aspect Romanoff wrote about, and weČre amazed at how he captured all the elements of such an adventure so accurately. We also experienced the self-doubts and concerns expressed by friends and family, and we agonized about the kids, wondering if they would be permanently damaged by the disruption to their lives. They werenČt. It appears snorkeling in warm water, body surfing, meeting terrific people, and seeing incredible wildlife and scenery were the kinds of disruptions they could tolerate. Even the home schooling worked out well.

For now, weČre back in our old slip in rainy Olympia, dreaming about the next great adventure and hoping our kids will be along for that one too. I know you folks at Latitude hate poetry, but Kent will probably appreciate the line from ShakespeareČs Measure for Measure weČve kept hanging over the nav station for years:

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt."

Matt Herinckx
Lucky Dragon, Bowman 49


When you described some of the 'cruiser friendly' features of Hawaii, you mentioned the Hawaii YC ÷ but left out the Waikiki YC, where we have been completing repairs to Southern Cross.

There aren't many transient slips at the Waikiki YC, but if you can get one, the prices are reasonable and the people are great. Lorraine and I, for instance, have been invited out every Friday to sail in the Beer Can Races, were taken along on the Christmas Parade of Lights in Honolulu Harbor, and given rides to different parts of Honolulu when tracking down parts. We've also enjoyed the club and the friendship of her members during the weekly potlucks, during Halloween, and for the big New Years Eve bash. In all our years of cruising, we've never felt more welcome or been better treated than at the Waikiki YC.

We needed a place for Southern Cross after she got dismasted. The folks at the state-owned marina had a side-tie for us for awhile, but told us that "the rules" don't allow for compassion. Fortunately, the aloha spirit is alive and well at both the Hawaii and Waikiki YCs.

Oops! I just noticed that the letter I sent to you about Garhauer Marine was dated completely wrong. As it actually is current, I hope you'll publish it:

"On our way from Tabueran Atoll ÷ formerly Fanning Island ÷ to Hawaii, one of the stainless steel running-back blocks broke because of crevice corrosion during a 35-knot squall. As a result, our mast cracked 10 feet from the top. Incredibly, the topmast stayed up ÷ although it was wobbling like crazy at the fracture. We quickly jury-rigged another running-backstay and were able to continue sailing. Six days later we were hit by another squall, at which point the topmast tumbled off to leeward, swinging around wildly, supported by only the triatic stay and a burgee halyard. The rest of the voyage is a story in itself, but we safely made it 600 miles to Honolulu.

After our expensive disaster in Polynesia ÷ see Latitude 38, May 1999 ÷ we had no idea how we were going to finance the repair of our mast. The block that broke had "Guaranteed thru 2000" stamped into its cheek, so when we got back to Honolulu, I called Bill Felgenhauer, owner of Garhauer, and explained our dilemma. Rather than waffling, Bill simply said, "We'll take care of it." And they did. A representative of their insurance company came down, and before long we were given somewhere around $12,000 to have our mast and roller furling fixed. In addition, every block on the boat was checked, and the heads replaced where necessary. Without GarhauerČs guarantee ÷ and especially Bill FelgenhauerČs commitment to stand behind it ÷ we might have had to give up cruising. We'll never be able to thank him and his crew enough.

IČd like to mention a few other extraordinary companies. Our nine-year-old Powersurvivor 35 died in Tabueran ÷ where there is no drinking water except what you can catch from the intermittent rains. We emailed the company, and several days later a new membrane and manifold arrived in Honolulu. Our pal Ron Dubois of the Honolulu-based Foxy Too passed the membrane and manifold along to Paul on Moonlight Gambler, who a short time later delivered them to us in Tabueran. It's was a good thing, too, as we'd gotten tired of drinking from coconuts.

After almost five years of cruising Mexico and the Pacific, we are often asked what our favorite piece of cruising gear is on Southern Cross. At sea it is our Monitor steering vane. At anchor, it's our magnificent Lighthouse anchor windlass, which has worked thousands of times.

Lastly, I'd like to share some thoughts on "the boatyard in paradise", Raiatea Carenage, that was mentioned in a November article. I lived in my boat in Raiatea Carenage for seven months, and for someone to describe it as a "thoroughly modern operation" is akin to calling AbaroaČs Shipyard in La Paz thoroughly modern. We lived in French Polynesia for two years, and excluding Papeete, much of it is Third World. It's part of French Polynesia's allure, of course. But people used to having things delivered by overnight express and other types of quick service would be in for a surprise.

In Mexico, mañana means 'not today'. In Tahitian, I don't think they even have a word for tomorrow. Everything happens on 'island time', so 'soon' can mean next week or next month. Patience is a necessity. Of course, the slower pace of life is the reason many of us sail to Polynesia. Yes, you can order duty-free parts, but it takes time and is expensive. With DominiqueČs help, it took three weeks and about $300 in customs charges to get our duty-free parts from Papeete to the Carenage.

I would certainly haul Southern Cross at Raiatea Carenage again, but next time IČd bring my own 220V to 110V transformer. Teri is an excellent welder in bronze and stainless; Dominique a superb LPU painter, and Simon is unequivocally the best Travel-Lift operator on the planet. We were permitted full access to the shop in the yard. The grinders, drill press and so forth were ancient, but they worked and we were most appreciative. In fact, without the Carenage and the help of Dominique and his hardworking crew, we probably wouldn't have a boat now. Lorraine and I are forever grateful ÷ and, in fact, there's a good chance we'll be back down in French Polynesia in a couple of months.

Robby Coleman
Southern Cross, Angleman Ketch
San Diego


In your Jan 2000 issue, a reader was looking for a source of bean bag 'chairs' for his boat. He can try the Bean Bag Outlet in San Marcos at (760) 471-7840. They make custom bags and ship them anywhere.

Mike Hawkins


I have no problem with exposed skin ÷ I grew up in South America, lived in Europe, and am a regular at clothes-optional hot springs ÷ plus IČm all for celebrating youth and beauty. After all, it is lovely to look at, as are the Venus de Milo and MichelangeloČs David.

My only problem is with the concept of it being 'part of the sailing scene', because it creates an expectation that results in some discrimination in some male sailors' heads. Sort of a negative advertising toward women who are past looking good in a bikini and yet are actively looking to crew. I don't think Latitude actively espouses such bias, especially not lately, probably because even editors age. Your interview with Karen Thorndike was a welcome case in point. But such photos do tilt the scale.

Even if I don't sometimes agree with Latitude's editorial responses and/or content, I defend your right to do as you please. It's your magazine, and it's the best around. Dissenters can read elsewhere.

Mabelle Lernoud

Mabelle ÷ You might enjoy the following: Recently a cruiser sent us a copy of lengthy correspondence between him and his wife and the French manufacturer of an inflatable dinghy the couple were having some trouble with. All the complaints seemed to be getting ironed out to everyone's satisfaction but one: The woman claimed that her bathing suits were getting caught and torn on some small fitting on the inflatable. The consumer relations guy for the inflatable company had a typically Gallic solution: "Stop wearing bathing suits!"

Anyway, thanks for your support. We Latitude editors can't help but age, but we do our best not to mature.


Do you have any information on electric auxiliaries for sailboats? IČve heard they exist, but not much else.

Bill Mapel


I need to purchase a motor for my 22-ft sailboat, but don't like the environmental impact of gas outboards. Are there any viable alternatives ÷ such as electric outboards ÷ suitable for my boat?

Mark Welther

Bill & Mark ÷ The way we see it, you have three options for powering your 22-foot sailboat: First, a gas outboard, which is superior in all regards but one ÷ it pollutes the most. Second, using sweeps, which in addition to being the most 'green', least expensive, and best for your health, is part of a tradition that goes back thousands of years. Unfortunately, sometimes the 'human engine' isn't up to the task at hand or would prefer to take it easy.

The third option would be an electric outboard such as the ones made by Minnkota. Although designed primarily for trolling with bass boats or to power pontoon boats on small lakes where gas engines aren't allowed, they can be used for sailboats. Unfortunately, by the time you get done buying the electric outboard and batteries, it's both a relatively heavy and expensive proposition. Whether it remains a viable option depends on several factors: How fast and far you need to go. How light your boat is and how easily she slips through the water. How sensitive your boat is to extra weight. One expert in the field estimated that you might be able to do three knots for three hours ÷ but your little boat would be pretty heavily loaded down. Only you could decide whether something like that would be "viable" for you.

By the way, we'd love to hear from anyone who has had firsthand experience with electric outboards driving sailboats.


Electric junk?! Years ago, my girlfriend ÷ now wife ÷ and I lived aboard a really cool Chinese junk that had been built at Ho Sang Shipyard in Hong Kong. We sailed her all over the Bay and really absorbed her energy. Nothing sails like a junk ÷ at least when you're on a beam reach or sailing with the wind.

Situations changed, and we sold the boat to a guy who pays me to "give her what she needs." The big project now is to replace the stinkin', worn out diesel with an electric motor. Being a proponent of clean, quiet alternative sources of energy, I think itČs a great idea. A battery bank will replace the old fuel tank, and golf cart or solar fed surplus hospital batteries will supply the juice. A Lemco or old forklift motor with controls and linkage may work. I'm looking into black box technology for the converter and controller. The stuff is not cheap, but I'm still gathering data. Are there any electroheads out there familiar with conversions?

And what about natural gas? IČve seen numerous clean burning natural gas buses around Sonoma county. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Jim Kennedy
Bat Wing
Glen Ellen

Jim ÷ Solomon Technologies of Benedict, Maryland, claims to have "true drop-in replacements for 8 to 40 h.p. diesels" ÷ with even bigger electric engines to come this summer. What's different about their patented technology is that when you sail fast enough to turn the prop, the 'engine' regenerates the power. Of course, you pay for it in drag. Other interesting features include that the motor can be submerged to 20 feet without harm, that it has a 20-year design life, and that it requires virtually no maintenance.

The technology is said to only be cost effective over a lengthy period of time when replacing diesels of 12 hp or greater. Solomon Technology electric engines are currently being used on several boats on the East Coast and aboard an Islander 30 and Cal 36 based out of Marina del Rey. The manufacturer tells us that the owner of the Cal cruised his boat to Cabo and back and loved the propulsion system. Max Ebb was said to be looking into the subject, so he may have more on electric engines for sailboats in the next issue.


In the December issue, Latitude reviewed my book No Shoes Allowed, which included many of my exploits aboard the Ring Andersen. Thank you for the kind words. The Ring Andersen was written up again in the January issue, as she was part of the Charterboat Show in Antigua. It was nice to read about her again, but I'd like to clear up one point.

Contrary to what was stated in the article, Ring was not built to be a freighter and later converted for use as a pleasure yacht. In fact, the boat was built to be Ring AndersenČs private yacht. That she's different from Baltic Traders is apparent from her rounded counter stern as opposed to a transom. This rounded stern is typical of the much smaller fishing vessels, but is not seen among larger Baltic traders. Ring is also finer in the bow sections and had a considerable amount of decorative detailing ÷ especially in way of the bulwarks stanchions. Since the builder, Ring Andersen, had no expertise in designing yacht interiors, he commissioned Danish Naval Architect Slaabe Larsen for that job.

Unfortunately, when the yacht was nearing completion in 1948, Andersen had a heart attack and died soon thereafter. The surviving family members named the yacht Ring Andersen in memory of her owner and patriarch of the shipyard. At this time she had not yet been fitted with an interior. For a short time the vessel was laid up in the yard, and was then put to work in the cargo trade hauling salt to and from Africa. No doubt this is where people get the mistaken notion that she was built to be a freighter.

After a number of years in the salt trade, the boat was again layed up. In the '60s, she was purchased by Dennis Love of Toronto, who commissioned the yard to finish her interior as originally detailed in the drawings of Slaabe Larson. She was then brought to Grenada in the West Indies, where he had a dock built for her in the lagoon in St. George's Harbor. Love then built additional facilities to cater to the maintenance of Ring Andersen ÷ and from this evolved Grenada Yacht Services, with complete haulout and repair facilities. GYS became one of the most popular marinas in the West Indies until bad management let her fall into disrepair in the late '70s. I bought the Ring Andersen in '71, and owned her until 1980 at which time the yacht was taken to Newport, Rhode Island. She was recently sold again, and her new owners have apparently reintroduced her to the West Indian charter trade.

I am pleased to note from your article that once again Ring Andersen stands out from all others by showing off her beautiful lines, multiple layers of varnish, and gleaming paint. The accompanying photograph is of her under sail off the coast of Grenada during the onboard wedding ceremony between yours truly and a very special lady ÷ but you have to read No Shoes Allowed for the details.

Jan de Groot
The Netherlands


Last November, three of my friends and I were fishing for marlin about 10 miles offshore of Buena Vista ÷ which is about halfway between Cabo and La Paz in the Sea of Cortez. We'd come out of Palmas de Cortez, a very nice resort, aboard a 28-foot cruiser with two fishing guides. Early that afternoon, when it was blowing about 20 knots with four foot seas, we hooked into a marlin or sailfish while in the company of two other fishing boats. Just prior to this I had noticed a sailboat about a mile away approaching from the south. As we fought the fish, I kept an eye on the sailboat because he was coming directly at us ÷ close-hauled and on port tack.

When the large sloop got within about 100 yards, I started yelling ÷ and suggested to our captain that it would be a good idea to get out of the way. But our captain just ignored me and the sailboat, and continued to try to land the fish ÷ which we ended up losing anyway. By this time, I thought for sure that we'd be rammed. But just in the nick of time the big sloop fell off slightly, began blasting his horn, and maneuvered his way through the three fishing boats. As he passed within about 30 feet, he seemed to indicate that he thought he had the right of way. He later got on his horn again in order to work through another group of fishing boats to the north of us.

This sailor had plenty of time to get out of our way by falling off slightly. Either he didn't want to give up his point of sail and right of way, or he wasn't paying attention until it was too late. Either way, he could have caused a bad accident ÷ and he sure didn't help Mexican-American relations.

Doug Pattison
Palo Cedro

Doug ÷ If we're sailing toward a bunch of boats that are fishing, it seems only natural to either head up or fall off a little to avoid them. As long as it's done a half mile or so in advance, it involves almost no effort at all.

However, as we've noted many times before it's the responsibility of every small boat skipper ÷ although this doesn't appear in the Rules of the Road ÷ to assume that the skippers of all other vessels in the vicinity are either drunk or asleep. Always be ready to toot your horn, always be ready to avoid a collision.


We recently purchased our dream boat, and once we spend the compulsory 90 days outside of California, we'll bring the boat back to the Bay Area. After one year on the Bay, the boat will return ÷ and stay ÷ in Mexico.

Our question is this: Which Bay Area counties will remove a boat from their personal property tax rolls once you leave California, and which will not. It seems that other cruisers would benefit from having this information also. We have read Latitude for years but have never seen this issue comprehensively addressed.

P.S. We bought our new-to-us 40-footer from your Classy Classifieds.

Bay Area

Anonymous ÷ It's hard to believe, but various county tax assessors interpret the personal property tax law in many different ways. If you take your boat out of the country for more than six months a year, some assessors say you still owe personal property tax, others say you don't owe anything. If you take the boat out of the country for years, most assessors waive the tax ÷ but a few won't.

On several occasions we've tried to pin the assessors down on the basis of which they make their 'owe' or 'don't owe' decision. But they have been very elusive, insisting the evaluation is made on a case by case basis. As such, we suggest you explain your situation to your county tax assessor and ask him/her to make a ruling in writing.

If you're going to leave the boat in Mexico permanently and can't find a California tax assessor who will treat you right, you might consider establishing a legal 'home port' in Oregon where they don't have personal property tax.


After years of reading your fine publication, some wonderful times spent sailing on San Francisco Bay, some formative years sailing Lake Tahoe, and four years ago a delivery from Portland to Anacortes, I'm ready to go cruising. Since I have too many other responsibilities to own my own boat, I'm ready to be a swabby for someone else.

The reason I'm writing is to find out what a potential crewmember should bring to a foreign port ÷ other than a willingness to put one's life in the hands of others. On the three occasions I've gone offshore in other boats, two had float coats and harnesses, but the third had none of those. Indeed, the skipper hadn't even put batteries in the GPS! I have my own foul weather gear and warm weather clothes, but what else do I need to bring?

By the way, I'm a homesteader who has been living off the grid for 20 years up here in latitude 40, so I have lots of experience with alternative energies and conservation techniques, and possess a lot of knowhow and understanding with mechanical systems. Actually, I own a small sawmill and many pieces of mechanical equipment, and absolutely love to garden ÷ but oops, that doesn't mean diddly on a sailboat. By the way, I'll be 49 years old tomorrow, and because of my hands-on very active lifestyle ÷ most recently cutting and splitting firewood so my wife will let me go sailing for a bit ÷ I'm in excellent health. Of course, the garden will want my attention again in the spring, although that can be from mid-March to April, you never know.

I can't leave a phone number because we don't have one of those. Like all the boats at sea, we're looking for that satellite connection at a price we can afford. So if anyone wants to contact me, they can do it through the email address of a friend: otterock@hotmail.co. So come on, skippers, the days are short and cold up here and I want to go sailing soon. If you help me out, I promise I'll do the very best I can for you and your vessel.

Patrick Culver
13 Miles Out the South Fork of the Trinity River

Patrick ÷ If you're going to a foreign port ÷ say somewhere in Mexico or the Caribbean ÷ looking for a berth, we recommend you bring the following: foul weather gear, PFD, personal strobe, warm weather clothes, sleeping bag, knife/marlinspike, and camera. Lots of folks also like to bring along their own GPS, as they are cheap and often more amusing than video games. Of course, the most important thing you can bring is a pleasant disposition and a willingness to pitch in when there is work to be done.


It's come time to introduce my 7-year-old son to sailing and racing. I have one of Jim AntrimČs Wing Dinghys and was wondering if there is a group racing small boats on a handicap format. I live in Fairfield, so we can travel from the Bay to Clear Lake. Since Latitude is the authority on sailing and racing in Northern California, I know you'll be able to point me in the right direction. I checked out the SBRA, but they seem to only deal with one design racing.

Jim Langley

Jim ÷ The Richmond YC Small Boat Midwinters and the Lake Merritt SC Robinson Memorial Midwinters, both of which end in March, run Portsmouth divisions. Many of the larger Lake Circuit regattas offer a Portsmouth division, too ÷ mostly as an alternative for boats that don't field the minimum five or so starters. However, we suggest calling the various regatta chairmen (see Calendar) to confirm that Portsmouth will be offered before packing up your car.

Another approach would be to round up a posse of other Wing Dinghy owners and hit the Lake Circuit together. Surely there are several dozen other Wing 'nuts' in the Bay Area ÷ and racing one design is always more fun than handicap!


I found a wonderful website for Columbia Yachts, full of information, specs, stories, advice and photos. The users group has given me invaluable information and help in dealing with a few problems. And best of all there are no dues, as it's free ÷ just like Latitude.

Columbia Yachts started production around 1961, closed down in '78, and was picked up by Howard Hughes. Hughes Boat Works eventually went into receivership in '82, and the Columbia identification code was retired that same year. Most of these sailboats were built with a 'thicker the glass the better' philosophy.

It was in December of '97 that Eric White, the owner of a Columbia 24 and Columbia 40, 'laid the keel' of the Columbia Sailboat Association and has taken the time and energy to build a wonderful and useful web site. If you have fallen in love with a Columbia, like I have, or are considering purchasing one, or just want to check the site out, see www.columbia-yachts. com.

Jim Mountford
Chelsea Too, Columbia 24
Contender 1965 hull #212

Jim ÷ Thanks for that information. If the Howard Hughes owned Hughes Boats of Canada, it would be a surprise to us.


Thea and Paddy Bishop had a letter in the January issue regarding the meaning of Mouille, the name of their former boat. Assuming that the final 'e' is missing its accent, it's the French adjective for 'wet'. Hopefully it's not an accurate description of the boat itself.

Kirk Benson
Passport Sailing Club
Lake Lanier, Georgia

Kirk ÷ Georgia, eh? Did you know that Georgia is the namesake of the sailboat with the tallest mast in the world? She belongs to Atlanta property honcho John A. Williams. Her stick is two-feet taller than that of Jim Clark's Hyperion, the pride of yachts financed with Silicon Valley profits.


On December 19, Vincent Lauwers, a 32-year-old paraplegic from Melbourne, Australia, departed Port Philip Bay, Victoria, in an attempt to become the first disabled person to sail solo around the world, non-stop and unassisted. The purpose of the trip aboard Vision Quest is to raise funds worldwide for disabled and disadvantaged children through a charity called 'Parasail ÷ Caring for Kids'. More information can be obtained from VinnyČs web site at www.parasail.com.au.

Vinny has a computer, SatPhone, and four digital cameras aboard. These will allow him to download pictures and text to anywhere in the world. He is also available for interviews via the SatPhone.

Anyone interested can contact me at www.dream-pool@bigpond.com.

Bob Grieve
Melbourne, Australia


I'm responding to Elaine Harper, who in the January issue beefed about being charged for guest berthing at some yacht clubs. One thing to remember is that some yacht clubs don't own their own docks, and as such, visiting boats are berthing in a marina rather than a yacht club. And that marina probably doesn't offer reciprocal privileges. In such cases, the most important thing is to overlook things you can't do anything about and concentrate on making life full and fun.

Different yacht clubs have different missions and different means. Some are 'blue collar' and some are 'tuxedo'. A person who doesnČt want to be charged for berthing should only sail to those clubs that offer free berthing. There is no conspiracy here, just harbormasters who have to focus on getting every last red cent he/she can ÷ rather than the reason they took the jobs in the first place, to serve mariners.

Andy Johnson


A few months ago you ran the name and address of a Bay Area surveyor who had formerly worked for Columbia Yachts. According to the blurb, he had a more or less complete set of drawings for the various models. IČm trying to assemble as much information on my Columbia 57 as I can before everyone who knows something passes on.

IČve misplaced the issue in which this surveyorČs name appears. Could you find it for me?

Scott St. Clair
Angelique, Columbia 57
Long Beach

Scott ÷ The person you're inquiring about is marine surveyor Jack Mackinnon, the author of the following letter. You can reach him at (800) 501-8527.


Three things:

1) Owls arenČt that rare at sea. Back in 1956, I was stationed aboard the USCG cutter Taney at Ocean Station Nan halfway to Hawaii when a barn owl landed on our cutter. He was later taken to the Oakland Lakeside Park bird sanctuary. He was on display for about 10 years before he died of old age. I believe I still have a photograph of that, at the time, slightly angry owl.

2) Will you post Recurring Tales Of Sunken Yachts And Pirates on your web site? I would like to pass that along to the International Association of Marine Investigators (IAMI) mailing list.

3) Is it possible to get an electronic copy of Shattered Dreams ÷ The Lure of Booze and Drugs, so I can pass that along also?

Jack Mackinnon, AMS/SMS
(Senior Accredited Marine Surveyor)
San Lorenzo

Jack ÷ We'll post the two stories just for you.


IČm trying to find out where to get a list of safe harbors where a boat can be left ÷ to the satisfaction of insurance companies ÷ for periods of time. IČm particularly interested in Central America, Panama, and Bocas del Toro. Do you know where I could find this sort of information?

Maurine Pike

Maurine ÷ Try Captains Pat and John Rains' Cruising Ports: Florida to California via Panama. The 4th edition was just published. However, we can tell you right off, the pickings are relatively slim. If we were to rate the possibilities, the Pedro Miguel Boat Club in Panama would be at the top of the list ÷ although it's uncertain how much longer it will be around. The various marinas in Guatemala's Rio Ducle ÷ which is the Caribbean side ÷ would be a close second. Costa Rica's Banana Bay Marina in the Gulfo Dulce would be third ÷ but only because they charge $16/foot/month for a berth.

Lesser options ÷ which are 'lesser' for one of or more of the following reasons: no slips, funkier, less safe, few if any other cruising boats, less than stellar history ÷ might include: Panama: Marina Pedregal, Pedregal. The Panama YC in Cristobal. Costa Rica: On a mooring or on the hook off Puntarenas, Bahia Lum-inosa, or Fantasy Island. Marina Flamingo. Guatemala: Puerto Quetzel. Cartagena, Columbia: Club Nautico.

There are a number of other marinas, docks, harbors, and places to moor, but nothing likely to warm an underwriter's heart. The truth is, most cruisers don't leave their boats between Mexico and either Colombia or the Rio Dulce.


Colin needs a cleanzČn! I was greatly entertained by the letter from Colin Bates as to this poor man's unspeakable difficulties in finding a competent yacht broker. "Even though I live in Napa, IČm often in Europe for one or two weeks each month." Imagine the horror, alone in a foreign land, of having to find the proper grade of petrol for the Lear jet, the right caviar, and to top it off, dealing with incompetent, low-life, yacht brokers!

Perhaps Colin, our jet-setting little cry-baby, would be better served with a goodly dose of the Kaopectate of life called reality. He has spent six months looking for a sailboat? He has 200K to spend? Colin is ÷ well let us just be blunt ÷ spoiled goods. He is apparently of the opinion that all brokers, and everyone else, should be impressed by his financial juggernaut, and will immediately assume a prostrate, subservient position on the approach of his checkbook.

Ten brokers? Ten brokers! And not a one of these low rent little serfs could manage to make the grade finding a suitable vessel for a client of such discriminating standards and such vast resource?

"IČm now looking for broker #11 to help me find a boat prior to this summer." I donČt know who the other ten victims were, but unless Colin gets some of the toxins flushed out of his system, please stay in Napa. We wouldnČt appreciate the smell, and they can use the fertilizer up there.

I think Dave Barry said it best: "If you're nice to me, but rude to the waiter, you're not a nice person." It sounds to me as though Colin could use a little upgrade in one very important area: class.

Matthew Norwood
Aruba Island Yachts


In the February issue there was an article about Papagayo winds by Scot and Sonia Yates of the Cheoy Lee Offshore 40 Calypso from San Francisco. We have an extensive email network going with the owners of Offshore 40s and Rhodes Reliants, no matter where they are in the world. For example, we're in touch with the San Francisco-based Offshore 40 Mary T, which is in Venice in the midst of a long circumnavigation. We would sure like to include the Yates in our list, and wonder if you have their email address.

Pat Zajac
Offshore 40,
Richmond YC

Pat ÷ Sorry, but we don't have that email address.

If you're going to include Rhodes Reliants in your email list, you should also include the Sausalito-built Rhodes Bounty IIs, whose hulls were the prototypes for the Offshore 40s and the Reliants. Interestingly enough, we've seen the same baby blue hulled Bounty II in Banderas Bay for the last two years; first at Yelapa and last month at Punta Mita. The unique thing about this particular Bounty II is that she appears to be powered by an outboard hung from her transom!


Since you asked for 'philosophy for the millennium' in regards to the Stranger For Crew letter when none was provided, I thought that IČd take-up the responsibility. I suggest, 'People who accept strangers for crew often get ass in jam.'

Jon Arck
Tweety Bird, Catalina 34

Jon ÷ Your 'philosophy' won't mean anything to people who don't remember last month's Letters, but we like it.


A few months ago you mentioned that Steve Rigby was lost at sea during hurricane Lenny. The irony is that he'd been sailing a newly-purchased Mini-Transat 20-footer ÷ which is a extremely high-performance and high-risk boat ÷ when he got caught in Lenny. Rigby abandoned his Mini and climbed aboard a larger and presumably more seaworthy 40-footer ÷ only to be lost with the rest of the crew when that bigger boat went down.

P.S. Latitude is a great mag. I got hooked on it while living in California and have been a reader ever since. I pick mine up at West Marine here in Texas.


Koiner ÷ We weren't aware of that part of the tragic story. There's another interesting story we hadn't reported that was both tragic and miraculous. With the approach of Lenny, a Frenchman identified only as Hervé decided he'd better get the heck away from St. Martin with his boat Authentic Dream, size and type unknown, and seek shelter several hundred miles to the south at Guadeloupe. He was joined by a friend named Patrick. Conditions weren't too bad until Lenny took a sudden turn, exposing the two men and the boat to the full force of the wind and the 25-foot seas.

Eventually, the boat was broached by a large wave and took on lots of water down below. A companionway hatch normally would have kept much of the water out, but it had been damaged in hurricane Jose shortly before and hadn't yet been repaired. When another large wave poured down the hatch, the engine and bilge pumps soon failed. Before they even had time to put on lifejackets, Hervé and Patrick had Authentic Dream sink from under them. At the time this happened, they were quite close to the island of Statia.

Almost immediately, Patrick disappeared in the gigantic waves. A weak swimmer, he couldn't have lasted long. Hervé, however, was wearing a wetsuit, which kept him warm and buoyant. As the hours and storm raged on, he became very tired and thirsty. One thought keep energizing him: that his wife might become a widow. Although he eventually found a big piece of wood to cling to, it wasn't much longer before he lost all track of time and didn't know if he was dead or alive. Suddenly, he found himself in bigger waves ÷ and was then tossed up on a beach. He was found semi-conscious at Orient Beach, St. Martin, having drifted 35 miles in just 18 hours ÷ an average of nearly two knots. Physically, he has made a full recovery.


Bugger about America One! The boys gave it a good go, but in the end Prada had a slightly better overall program. I guess the additional millions gave them a bit of an edge. Anyway, now I'm a Team NZ fan!

New Zealand has done a brilliant job of hosting the Cup so far, and in that way deserves to hang onto it for another go. Prada did throw a rocking party last night in their compound after beating AmericaOne, and I'm guessing there were 100,000 people around the Cup Basin to greet the boats coming in from the final race of the Louis Vuitton Cup. There is no place in the world that I would rather be right now, and I canČt wait for the AmericaČs Cup to actually start. If I was having any more fun I would be scared.

Readers may remember that I said I was going to sue La Reunion Insurance for not having paid a cent on my very expensive claim nine months after all the work had been completed. They quickly wired $100,000 into my account after I referred the matter to an attorney, so it's good work so far. But I feel the underwriters are still jerking me around, as they still haven't given me a commitment as to the amount or date of the final settlement. Regrettably, I am filing suit ÷ which will be of little benefit to anyone, my attorney included, a friend who is working for a fraction of his normal fees. I'll keep everyone posted.

George Backhus
Moonshadow, Deerfoot 62
Auckland, NZ / Sausalito


IČm old enough to know better, but after having a few beers one night in the company of friends, the topic of conversation progressed ÷ or regressed ÷ to tankers, and how long it takes them to stop or slow down. I told everyone that I once read that a full tanker at full speed could take up to 50 miles to stop. As soon as the laughing stopped, I was called on to produce such a document ÷ which I could not because I believe I read it in one of last year's Latitudes.

I like to pass on the magazine to family or friends who have an interest in sailing, so IČm at a loss for proof. I do hope my memory serves me well, and that you would and could come to my rescue.

A Drunken Sailor In A Cold Port
Gunnison, Colorado

D.S. ÷ When we were a guest aboard the American President Lines container ship President Jackson from L.A. to San Francisco, we came away with three mind-boggling facts: 1) That the ship's single engine generated the same thrust as three 747s at takeoff. 2) That it had the capacity to carry the same number of containers as a 20-mile long train. And, 3) That it would take 50 miles to come to a stop from cruising speed.

Unfortunately, we apparently misunderstood how long it took the President Jackson to come to a complete stop, for Capt. Gary Schmidt corrected us by saying it only took five miles for it to stop. He also indicated another way to appreciate the size of the Jackson: If stood on end, she would be taller than any building in San Francisco.

A-8 OR A-9?

When I got the November issue of Latitude down here in sunny San Diego, the letter about the San Diego Harbor Police caught my attention. What I found most interesting were the two typos you made in your reply to the author.

The author was describing an incident regarding a Vessel Assist operator who dumped a boat's chain rode overboard before towing the boat away. He stated that the dumping occurred in the A-9 anchorage. You twice referred to the anchorage as A-8, and encouraged San Diego divers to join Latitude in hunting for the 150 feet of chain. You wonČt find it at A-8. Go to A-9, which is the anchorage located near the east end of Harbor Island. A-9 is designated for vessels in transit and is only open to out-of-area boats.

Regarding the San Diego Harbor Police, IČd like to tell you about an incident my wife, Glenda, and I had when we arrived here in November. We'd left San Francisco in September of '99 on the beginning of an open-ended cruise we have been planning for five years. We enjoyed a very leisurely trip down the coast, with many stops along the way. At every harbor we put into, we found the harbor police or harbor patrol to be extremely helpful, letting us tie up to their docks while making arrangements for anchoring out or staying at a yacht club.

When we arrived in San Diego and approached the Police Dock, we called the Harbor Police on VHF and asked to tie up. At the time, there were only two other boats tied to the long dock. We needed to make arrangements for more permanent berthing as we were planning to stay in San Diego until October 2000. But to our surprise, we were informed that we wouldn't be allowed to tie to their dock. The person I spoke to said that only their vessels could use their dock. Well, how were we supposed to get an anchoring permit if we needed one? How was I to find out about anchorages? At the time, we weren't familiar with the Harbor Police's policies regarding anchoring. Fortunately, I was able to raise Southwestern YC on VHF, and they found a berth for us.

Two days later, my wife and I walked over to Shelter Island and the Harbor Police office that is located at the very tip. The representative I talked with was very apologetic after I told him what had happened. He had no explanation as to why we were denied the use of their dock. He gave us all the necessary documents we would need, and suggested the best anchorages for us.

At the moment we're staying at the Harbor Island West Marina, finishing the preparations on our Columbia 10.7 Kiva before we head to Mexico. We may be joining the Baja Ha-Ha 2000, which would be the second Ha-Ha for both of us. We did the 1998 Ha-Ha with our friends the Scandlings on their Columbia 10.7 Sea Squirt. IČll never forget the fun we had. In fact, Sea Squirt won her division. At the awards party, the Grand Poobah asked, "Who would have thought that a Columbia 10.7 would ever win a race?" Well, if we join the next Ha-Ha, I plan to prove it was no fluke.

Wayne and Glenda Erwin
Kiva, Columbia 10.7
San Diego

Wayne and Glenda ÷ Sorry about confusing A-8 with A-9. It's easier to remember places when they're given descriptive names such as the 'Laurel Street Anchorage' or the 'Shelter Island Anchorage'.

Might you be a little confused about the San Diego Harbor Police Docks? The long dock closest to Pt. Loma is a Customs Dock and a dock for the Harbor Police vessels, and as such is off-limits to all other vessels. This seems perfectly reasonable to us for two reasons: 1) A Customs dock needs to be a secure area, and 2) Because there are a whole bunch of Police Dock transient berths just a 100 feet further into the bay.

Whenever we enter an unfamiliar harbor, we never presume that we can tie up at any dock ÷ even for just a short period of time to make arrangements. Either we'll have made arrangements ahead of time, will make inquiries with the harbor authority over VHF while slowly motoring around, or will pull into a fuel dock and top off the tanks while we get the lay of the land.

By the way, unlike the bad old days, the San Diego Harbor Police gives all transients who ask a large portfolio that welcomes everyone to the Bay and describes all the rules, services and facilities. It's excellent, and we usually get 150 or so to pass out at Latitude's Cruising Kick-Off Party in Alameda in October.

As for the Poobah, he apologizes for his misleading remarks about Columbia 10.7s. What he meant to convey was that the boats were never marketed as racing boats, and therefore it was a pleasant surprise when one won her division. Indeed, under PHRF, all boats theoretically have an equal chance of winning a race.


At first glance, Mr. Van WyeČs New Runways Are Unnecessary At SFO letter seemed to be well thought out and reasonable. But it turns out he's all wrong. The technology he refers to in this instance is not a viable solution.

Van Wye's facts are correct concerning the capabilities of the GPS approach and aircraft avionics. However, his 'solution' uses 'apples and oranges' thinking. The GPS approach allows an aircraft to make an approach in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions without the use of ground-based equipment. We have had the technology for decades that allows IFR approaches using ground-based equipment with as much precision ÷ which was and still is the worldwide standard of aviation. In those decades, a waiver had never been issued if two runways were too close together ÷ regardless of new technology. It's for a very basic reason: the runways are too close to each other ÷ so it would violate minimum spacing standards.

Van Wye makes the assertion that we ought to be able to keep two aircraft on simultaneous courses to parallel runways at least 750 feet apart? But consider a scenario when a Boeing 747 is on an approach to runway 28L, and on a parallel approach to a runway 750 feet to the right is a Boeing 737. With the planes moving at about 250 feet a second, where is the reasonable safety margin in the planes only being 750 feet apart. Depending on the angle of convergence, if anything goes wrong these aircraft ÷ which weigh hundreds of thousands of pounds ÷ may only have a few seconds to maneuver clear of each other.

As an air traffic controller, I know that we can't afford to lessen the standards of safety. San Francisco airport is not currently the busiest airport in the country, but it has one of the worst rankings for delays. These delays are the price we have to pay to protect the Bay from having a third runway built on it. Like Van Wye, I also believe in protecting the environment. But to me the answer is to build a new runway inland, not in the Bay.

Jeff Koger
Northern California

Jeff ÷ We're convinced that the current separation zones are necessary for a reasonable standard of safety. But we're puzzled about the 'third runway' you suggest be built on land. What parcel of land do you have in mind?

For those who don't think it's a problem, it rained on February 13 and created a big problem at SFO. Because the parallel runways couldn't be used, 92 of the day's 1,260 flights had to be cancelled and most others were delayed 60 to 90 minutes. It was worst of all for folks with 8 p.m. and later flights home from Los Angeles, as they were eventually put on a jumbo jet at 11:00 p.m. Their baggage arrived at 2:15 a.m. The Chronicle editorialized that "City, regional and airport officials, as well as environmental groups, should move to immediately get plans rolling for suitable new runways."


IČve been working on my cruising dream for several years now, and last summer took a big step along the way of making it a reality. I bought an Allied Seawind II and renamed her ÷ using the ceremony I found in one of your letters ÷ Orinoco Flow. She's based out of Minnesott Beach, North Carolina.

I enjoy reading Latitude and appreciate the efforts of you and your staff to produce an interesting, informative, and always amusing magazine. I was just reading the Banderas Bay Report in the January issue when a terrible thought crossed my mind. Please tell me the Wanderer and any other cruisers were not on the Alaska Air flight #261.

Tom Thornberry
Salem, Virginia

Tom ÷ Our immediate concern, upon hearing news of the crash, was that some of our cruising friends from Northern California or Seattle had been on that fateful flight. After all, it's a popular way for cruisers to get back to the States. We've flown #261 about five times in the last two years, but thankfully ÷ and obviously ÷ weren't on the one that crashed.

It so happened that we were flying to Puerto Vallarta the next morning on Sun Tours ÷ which at just $286 was a heck of a deal. When we got to Puerto Vallarta, we asked if anyone knew of any cruisers who might have been on the plane. At the time nobody had, and we haven't heard anything different since.

We had to keep holding our breath until they released the crew list, however, as on our last flight on #261 we'd bumped into steward Bill Stange, a great guy who a number of years ago set a new Singlehanded TransPac elapsed time record with his Olson 30. As it turns out, he wasn't aboard either.

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were on that flight.


Is there a Bay Area source of parts and service for the classic Seagull Outboards? Until now, my wonderful source of Seagull parts, repair and wisdom was the SportsmenČs Outboard Marine on 22nd Street in San Francisco's Mission District. The shop was also a fascinating outboard museum as well, with outboards on display that dated back to at least the early 1900s. Unfortunately, the shop recently closed and its owner ÷ I think his name was Bob ÷ retired.

Now I'm at a loss to know where to find the parts, help and advice for Seagulls that I used to find in the Mission.

My wife and I recently saw The Talented Mr. Ripley. There was a scene in the film where ÷ much to our surprise ÷ we saw a dinghy equipped with a Seagull outboard.

Jim Fraser
Morgan Hill

Jim ÷ Did you find the movie as boring as we did? The only things we liked were the Italian Riviera scenery and the fine performance of Jude ÷ who is a guy ÷ Law. We thought the Seagull Outboard had more charisma than Matt Damon, who was supposed to be the star.

Although the Brits no longer make Seagull Outboards, these fix-it-anywhere engines still have many ardent fans. To find parts and repairs here in the colonies, try West Coast Contractors at 28 13th Street in San Francisco. Their number is (415) 861-6124. For those looking for a shrine to Seagull Outboards, try Capt. Ron's Vancouver-based Outboard Motor Heaven website at www3.bc.sympatico.ca/RonBattiston/.


What was the deal? After watching the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals, I feel compelled to voice an opinion. With nothing for Dawn Riley's America True syndicate to gain in racing against Prada on the last day, wouldn't it have been better for them to step down? Had they done so, it's very likely that the two boats in the Challenger Finals would have been AmericaOne and Team Dennis Conner ÷ both American boats. Prada might have easily been knocked out. And it's not as if America True didn't have a precedent. In a previous round their decision not to sail a final race eliminated Young America.

Where was America True's team spirit? What about Team USA and the folks back home? We 'true Americans' can only hope that Paul Cayard and crew will show their stuff and get the job done against Prada. But I can't help wondering, was it all about pride, Dawn Riley? Or was it all about Dawn Riley's pride?

Mike Reganold
Portland, Oregon

Mike ÷ There's room for debate, of course, but we feel both of America True's decisions were consistent ÷ despite obvious appearances to the contrary. The guiding principle in both cases was self-interest, which dictated that they not race against France in the final race of Round Three and thereby knock Young Amer-ica out, but did race against Team Dennis Conner in the final showdown of the Semi, thereby knocking them out of the Finals. In the first instance, it gave them a better chance to win the America's Cup, in the second instance, it furthered their reputation through a high-profile victory.

We fully support America True in both of these decisions, because if the truth be known, most American Cup campaigns are privateering efforts whose primary goal is glory and financial rewards for the CEOs. Sure, Dawn, Paul and Dennis would like to win the America's Cup for America, and Paul would very much like to win it for the St. Francis YC as payback for all they've done for him. But if you get to the heart of it, these America's Cup efforts are primarily about brand building and the good things that come with it. After all, do you think Dennis Conner became wealthy through the drapery business he used to own, or through the America's Cup? Paul Cayard's participation in numerous America's Cups has been very good to him also. Do you think any of this was lost on Dawn Riley, a veteran of a previous America's Cup and whose syndicate really worked the 'coed card'?

Lest anyone get the impression that we're slamming Dawn or Paul, we're not. We think they would have done just about anything to win the Cup ÷ partly for altruistic reasons but mostly because it would have been in the best interest of their brands. However, we're not so sure about Dennis, who has already won the America's Cup several times. If it came down to building two boats to make a more serious effort to win the Cup or to build one boat and line his pockets with the money that might have been used for a second, we're not sure he wouldn't ÷ and hasn't ÷ done the latter. After all, 'milking' a brand long after its time has passed is a time-honored business tradition.

When you view America's Cup CEO's as modern day privateers in search of corporate booty and benefits, their behavior becomes a lot more understandable. Given that modern 'sports' ÷ particularly the America's Cup ÷ is all about the money and the branding, we don't have anything against Dawn's decision not to race the first time but to race the second time.

By the way, we recently checked the America's Cup Exchange, and Cayard and Riley 'brands' have soared in value. While Cayard lost in the ninth race of the Finals, it had been very exciting, and he demonstrated that he quite possibly could have won had he not been wearing so many hats. In fact, his stock is the highest valued on the exchange. While Dawn Riley's team stumbled in the Semi-Finals, she'd already proved her ability to put together a very competitive campaign on a low budget ÷ and with a unique marketing angle. Hence her stock is behaving like a bio-tech rocket.


Latitude is willing to take any two people who donate $300 to BAADS ÷ Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors ÷ out on its bad-ass 63-foot catamaran Profligate for a Friday night sail. Sounds like a great opportunity!

Our family just sold our house in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we can't think of a better way to invest some of our obnoxiously-inflated proceeds. I had the pleasant experience of interacting with BAADS while helping to organize and run the Junior Sailing program at South Beach YC. Our young charges occasionally found themselves sharing a one-room clubhouse with BAADS. Ten rowdy kids hopped up on the anticipation of sailing their own El Toros mingled with the very patient sailors of BAADS made for a great scene on a Saturday morning. It's our wish that BAADS continues to thrive in the Bay area.

Although we are selling our worldly possessions in the Bay area ÷ including our beloved Pearson 10M sailboat ÷ and will have moved to Florida in February, a ride on Profligate would definitely bring us back ÷ for a weekend at least. Let us know where to send the check.

Jerry and Kelly Butz

Jerry & Kelly ÷ You heard correctly. If any two people contribute $300 to BAADS ÷ and it's tax deductible ÷ we'll be happy to take you out sailing for a couple of hours on a Friday night. You'll want to send the check directly to BAADS ÷ P.O. Box 193730, San Francisco, 94119, attention Bill Goebeler, Treasurer ÷ because 100% of the money will go to that worthy organization. Rides on Profligate will be available on about a third of the Fridays between June and October, but we won't have a firm schedule until the boat returns from Mexico in June.


The boating community is at risk of losing one of its more pleasant and most secure public anchorages on the California coast. The Coastal Commission has recently approved a permit for an abalone mariculture facility to occupy four large rafts that will use most of the safe anchorage area inside Pillar Point breakwater at Half Moon Bay.

Any mariner who has spent much time traveling our California coast has to be appalled at this decision. Half Moon Bay has been one of the favorite safe haven anchorages for yachtsmen and fishermen for many years. It's just a jump away from San Francisco Bay and the Farallon Islands, yet it's still quiet, calm, and can be entered in almost all weather conditions.

This public anchorage will be irreplaceable to the entire boating community. For the Coastal Commission to allow this public refuge to be taken over by a private mariculture company is unconscionable. When you add to this the potential for fecal contamination from the tons of waste to be generated, and the very real threat of the spread of disease and parasitic contamination to the wild population of red abalone, one has to wonder what dark place the Coastal Commission had their heads when they tendered this decision.

A suit has been filed to stop this travesty, Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations (PCFFA) vs. California Coastal Commission. But your help is needed for it to succeed. Please sending supporting contributions to: PCFFA Legal Defense, P. O. Box 29910, San Francisco, CA 94129-0910. Checks should be made payable to the Pillar Point Litigation Fund. For more information, contact the PCFFA office at: (415) 561-5080.

Craig Barbre
Fishing Vessel
Los 0sos


Last September I saw herbicides being indirectly sent into Los Angeles Harbor at public expense. So I took a few photos and contacted our local newspapers, the Los Angeles Times and the Pasadena Star News. Upon hearing that the mischief was being done by Cal Trans, the reporter from the latter newspaper dismissed the item as not being newsworthy. He described an incident where no one got killed outright as "a good day for Cal Trans."

The accompanying photo shows Cal Trans attending to the 'problem' of weed growth on the hardpan median strip of Rosemead Blvd. in Pasadena. The sparse growth on the strip that needed to be killed had reached a towering height of four inches. The borders of the median strip, to which the herbicides are applied, do show less weed growth.

The work was being performed by one person with a backpack and respirator, while two large pieces of diesel equipment, with attendant personnel, stood by at great expense. About half the herbicide was applied to the median strip, and about half to the asphalt and gutter adjacent to the strip. There was a light drizzle at the time, which had it become rain could have washed the herbicides into the storm drain system straight away.

This scenario is probably being repeated in many locations. How many tons of herbicides does Cal Trans unnecessarily put into the environment each year? If any of your readers has the ability to do anything about this, I would be happy to supply copies of the photos.

Walt Shatford III
Southern California

Walt ÷ That a government agency could be capable of simultaneously spoiling the environment and a breathtaking waste of taxpayer dollars should come as no surprise to anyone. On the other hand, for all we know, Cal Trans is doing a spectacular job ÷ as least by government standards.

As much as we'd like to blame the government for all the pollution problems, we individuals certainly can't wash our hands of the mess. For example, our office is in the flatlands of Mill Valley, one of the most environmentally aware little towns you can imagine. Yet despite the fact that it rained three inches just a week ago, when there was a light rain this morning, the gutters ran nearly black with all manner of toxic runoff. And we're downstream from nothing but Mt. Tam, an industry-free shopping district, and environmentally savvy households. Even during the summer, when Miller Creek is normally clear and filled with fingerling steelhead, several times a week the water turns sudsy from God-only-knows-what.

In defense of the L.A. Times, they've published countless fine articles about the many land-based causes of ocean pollution. One of our favorites was a couple of years ago when they listed some of the stuff that washed down the Los Angeles River into Long Beach Harbor: washing machines, mattresses, dead cattle, bicycles ÷ all the bloated detritus of modern society. There's an inescapable dark side, it would seem, to modern living.


As a Monday-morning armchair helmsman who watched all nine final challenger races on television, I think America One lost her last chance to compete for the AmericaČs Cup on her first tack in the last race against Prada.

Upwind of Prada and only a half boat length behind right off the starting line, America One might have pinned Prada downwind. Had she continued on that starboard tack, America One could have blocked PradaČs wind, moved into the lead, and held Prada ÷ seemingly the slightly faster boat ÷ off for the remainder of the race. Instead, America One ÷ apparently seeking the stronger wind usually found on the right side of the race course ÷ tacked immediately, giving Prada an upwind lead, the race, and the slot in the America's Cup itself.

Bill Andersen

Bill ÷ The Wanderer thinks AmericaOne lost it all when they incurred a seemingly silly foul by not staying clear to windward on the first downwind leg of the 8th race. Up until then, they'd staged a brilliant comeback from being down 3-1 to take the lead at 4-3. So there they were, right next to Prada with four legs left in the race, with all the pressure on the Italians. But by risking the foul for no apparent good reason, they handed the race ÷ and all the momentum ÷ to the Italians right then and there. Oddly enough, the television coverage of the 8th race had opened with an interview with Cayard in which he noted the importance of taking risks at the right time. From our perspective, the risk-reward ratio for AmericaOne not staying clear to windward was devastatingly high.


Hey, you sailors down there, I just wanted to let you know that we commercial pilots above you are listening in case you need help. We always have 121.5 MHZ tuned up, and at flight level 390 ÷ 39,000 feet ÷ we have quite a bit of range and can quickly relay help. We also pick up EPIRB signals.

It's important that sailors know this, because in some regions of the globe, we're about the only ones around. For example, on Friday I flew from Luxembourg to the Cape Verde Islands off Africa, then across the Atlantic to Recife, Brazil. The next day I flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina, then to Punta Arenas, Chile ÷ which isn't that far from Cape Horn. On Monday, I'll fly far across the Pacific to Easter island for a fuel stop ÷ there is no 'air route' between Chile and there ÷ then further across the Pacific to Tahiti. While I play in Tahiti, another crew takes the plane back to Luxembourg. Later I take a commercial flight back.

During such a trip, my DC-8 will have covered quite a bit of water where we would be about the only ones able to pick up a radio distress signal. So don't forget we're up here.

Flying by jet means I'm moving a little faster than I did when I was the Captain of the MacGregor 65 Zeus in Monterey Bay. I'd like to say hello to more than 1,000 people I took sailing aboard that boat.

Sometimes our flights take us to West Africa, and I try to pass out Latitudes to sailors there. There are very few cruisers there ÷ even the French don't like to sail there. Sadly, the problem is that they cut down big trees from the interior and the logs are floated down the rivers and into the Atlantic where they become a hazard to small boat navigation.

By the way, did you know that Joshua Slocum wasn't the first man to sail around the world alone? I quote from the Sabena inflight magazine: "Guetaria [Spain] was the home of the first man to sail around the world: Juan Sebastian Elcano."

Tony Bindel

Tony ÷ Thanks for the reminders. As for Juan Sebastian, we've never heard of him ÷ has anybody else? And what about Brazilian Amyr Klink, who according to a February 18 Wall Street Journal story, is the "first man to have sailed around the world solo."


In a recent Letter, a reader was advised to shop for a Coronado 34, "not the center cockpit 35". Well, it's too late for me! I would like to get an idea of what's wrong with my '74 Coronado 35. With coastal cruising and longer term living aboard in Mexico in mind, maybe I can fix some things? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Eric Thompson

Eric ÷ You're reading a negative into our response that simply wasn't there. As always, you want to find a boat that suits your purpose. If you were looking to bash to weather a lot, we think the older Coronado 34 might be the boat. But if you're looking for reasonably fair weather coastal cruising and for living aboard in Mexico, the Coronado 35 might be the preferred boat. After all, her forward and aft cabins are well separated, she's got a center cockpit, and lots of user-friendly flush deck space. We know of an Alameda couple and their young daughter who enjoyed 18 great months in the Sea of Cortez with their Coronado 35, and we recently saw some other folks cruising one in Banderas Bay. You know where else we've seen a surprising number of Coronado 35s? Spain, France and Italy! We suspect they were built over there under license, but they're there.


I pulled out my old dusty copy of the January '83 edition of Latitude to refresh my memories of the 'Cabo Catastrophe'. Behold, someone had 'borrowed' many of the pages ÷ including the entire article on that infamous Cabo storm. Is there a way I can get a copy of that article?

My little boat ended up on the rocks a week ago when a gale caught many of us off guard ÷ while we were soaking in a hot tub at Doe Bay in the San Juan Islands. The wind shifted, my boat was suddenly on a lee shore, the waves picked up ÷ and bingo, my little boat dragged anchor. In some respects it was just like Cabo ÷ although my boat was a rowing inflatable.

Cyrus 'Wind Dancer' Eaton
Formerly with Dr. Bob and his Mason 43
Blue Sky in the early '80s
Bellingham, WA

Cyrus ÷ Because you know the issue in which the article appeared, you can get a photocopy by sending $7 to us at 15 Locust Ave., Mill Valley, 94941.

By the way, as you probably remember there was a 'cruiser catastrophe' of sorts in San Diego a month or so prior to the Cabo catastrophe. The crews ÷ most of us in our early 30s ÷ of three or four boats had a wild night in San Diego before heading south. We went home shortly after taking the photo on the previous page ÷ recognize anyone? ÷ so we didn't have to spend the night in jail.


I want to discuss something of grave concern to almost all Bay sailors ÷ man overboard! It seems as though for many of us, being tossed into the drink is a date with death. The cold water combined with the shock of a sudden dunking and a couple of 'saltwater cocktails' are not everybody's idea of a cozy hot tub.

I can relate. Coming from tropical waters, my first swim in the Bay felt like swimming in the Arctic Sea. You probably know the feeling: the initial shock of the extremities going numb to the point of pain, and instant shortness of breath replete with an 'ice cream headache'.

But ever since I joined the Dolphin Swimming and Rowing Club, I now have the confidence and knowledge to negotiate Bay waters at any time. If I fell out of my boat and the tides were right, I could swim back to my berth if I wanted to. The reason is conditioning!

For instance, the Dolphin Club has a Polar Bear 'race' from December 21 to March 21, during which time a swimmer must log at least 40 miles to 'finish'. So far temperatures have dropped to 49 degrees, but the norm has been between 50 and 52 degrees. And on New Years Day, the South End Rowing Club sponsored the New Year's Day Alcatraz Race, where swimmers were in the water for between 28 and 77 minutes. By the way, we swam without wetsuits or flippers.

Other swim races include: The Golden Gate, 1.25 miles; the Ft. Point to Aquatic Park, 4 miles; the Bridge to Bridge; 5 miles; the Kirby Cove to Aquatic Park, 7 miles. Some swimmers even do the Bay to Breakers ÷ yes, by water ÷ starting at the Bay Bridge and ending at Ocean Beach!

The point I'm trying to make is that anybody in reasonable health can swim the Bay. It's all about confidence. Just knowing you can get in without dying is a big leap forward, and through these clubs many people have learned to swim and enjoy the Bay.

If you were to jump off your dock or your boat at anchor, you would be pleasantly surprised that after about five minutes the shock wears off. Soon your body actually begins to feel warm in a most exhilarating way ÷ you're alive! And you're most likely wearing a big smile ÷ along with your sailing mates.

I think the logical conclusion of jumping in is to show yourself that, yes, you can survive without panic ÷ and can even come to enjoy it. The more you do it, the more confidence and conditioning you gain ÷ in the unlikely event that you do fall overboard. Being able to overcome panic as you watch your boat sail away is a good thing! If anyone is interested in either of these San Francisco clubs, or if you wish to improve your swimming skills, the websites are www.dolphinclub.com and www.serc.org.

P.S. There is no substitute for wearing a lifejacket when sailing.

P.P.S. Bare breasts are beautiful! It's the second thing I look for after Classy Classifieds.

Steve Counselman
Horse, 45-ft steel ketch

Steve ÷ We also "can relate". Back in our teens, we used to surf Ocean Beach and Santa Cruz ÷ often without a wetsuit because we didn't want our peer group to think we were wimps. A couple of years later, we dismasted and turtled our brother's Flying Dutchman in the middle of an empty Bay on a windy afternoon. We weren't worried ÷ and it had nothing to do with the beers and spliffs we'd been enjoying ÷ because as you say, we were conditioned to that environment. Indeed, we were convinced ÷ perhaps naively ÷ that we could have easily swam to the Berkeley shore. As it was, we spent about 40 minutes treading water and hanging on to the overturned boat until the Coast Guard arrived. That wasn't so bad. Having to periodically jump back in the Bay four times to replace breaking painters, however, was really bad.

We know of several sailors quite a bit older than us who continue to swim in the Bay every day, but it doesn't appeal to us as a way to save ourselves after we fall overboard. We prefer to do our swimming in a 75-degree pool ÷ and then take special care not to fall overboard. After all, 'an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure'.

By the way, there is a fine article in the February 2000 issue of Yachting World on how the Norwegian skipper of a small high performance boat was knocked overboard in the middle of the Atlantic. Despite being able to see the faces of people on rescue boats a number of times, he wasn't found for 18 hours. His saving grace was that he was wearing a lifejacket and that he'd gone over into tropically warm water.


Perhaps some of your magazineČs readers ÷ and specifically owners of CS (Canadian Sailcraft) sailing vessels ÷ would be interested to learn of the establishment of a CS OwnersČ Association (CSOA) for the West Coast. Currently, we have just under 100 members from both sides of the border. Last November we held our Third Annual General Meeting at the Sidney North Saanich YC on Vancouver Island. CSOA provides its members with technical and maintenance support, and we also organize a number of sailing get-togethers throughout the year. Our website is www.closereach.com/csoa/cshome.htm. Membership information can be obtained by contacting Stephanie Dykstra by email at sdykstra@unixg.ubc.ca.

Phil Cocking
Trelawny , CS 36
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada


My wife Lori and I live in La Cruz ÷ a small community on Banderas Bay ÷ across the street from the Machuca family compound. In part of that compound lives a young man named Hugo, his wife Betty, and their son Axil. As with most people in this area, they live a daily hand-to-mouth existence.

One day Hugo, who is a marine biology student at the university here in La Cruz, asked what he might do to make some more money for his wife and child while he stayed in school. I told him to try sell ribs and chicken using a great BBQ sauce I knew of. So Hugo started selling the food on the street in front of the house ÷ and soon locals, tourists and cruisers starting eating there. It developed into a fair business mostly due to the support of the cruising community. La Cruz has the smoothest water for anchoring in Banderas Bay.

Hugo needed to crank his business up a little to raise money for tuition and other family needs, so I suggested a night of Jimmy Buffett music and Mexican salsa music. With the help of a couple of folks who are on the hook in front of town, the word spread on the cruiser net. As you can see from the accompanying photograph, Hugo raised the money he needed and everyone had a great time. The cruiser turnout was so fantastic that it stretched Hugo's modest facilities to the limit. Although some folks had to wait quite a while for their food, everyone remained in good spirits and the party rolled on.

Lori and I have a good life as residents of La Cruz and seriously enjoy meeting the folks who come ashore from their boats. Cruisers seem to always respect the Mexican people and have a big hola for us as they pass by our home. This year we have met El Gitano, Mystic, Echo, Desiderata, and Scout just to name a few. We look forward to all of these folks coming back to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle no matter their destination in the world. Thanks, for Hugo and his family, I am Russell E. Cresto. (cc. Jimmy Buffett's "Coconut Telegraph").

Russell E. Cresto
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Nayarit, Mexico


Did somebody over there forget to refill the Prozac prescription? Based on the January Letters column, it sure seemed like you were a trifle tense.

First, you climbed all over Dawn RileyČs case after she took the time to write that very considerate letter. Though your criticism might well be valid, I have to question your sense of timing. After all, she just came back from a defeat in a hard fought campaign that consumed some years of her life ÷ and you dump on her.

Second, in response to a very informative and well written letter by an airline pilot discussing the situation at SFO, you ragged on for two paragraphs about your displeasure over being inconvenienced by Northwest Airlines in situations where the pilot had no control whatsoever.

Maybe you need to start getting out more during these dark winter months.

Bill Winsloe
Wind Blown, Yankee 30
Marina Bay

Bill ÷ There's a context to our response to the Dawn Riley letter. First, it wasn't a letter to Latitude or even Northern Californians, but a form letter that was sent to hundreds of publications around the world. Secondly, during the course of the America's Cup campaign Dawn ÷ or rather her P.R. people ÷ established a standard of individual promotion never before seen in the world of sailing. She couldn't wake up in the morning without her PR people cranking out a press release. There's nothing wrong with either of these things, of course, but against such a backdrop we felt comfortable making what we still believe is a valid criticism. But lest anybody be confused, we'll say it again: We think Dawn Riley did a sensational job with her campaign, and we hope she comes back for another run at the America's Cup. And on a personal level, let it be known that Dawn was extremely quick, courteous, and genuine in responding to questions we had when preparing our stories.

As for our response to the Northwest pilot, we'd like to crawl into a hole and hide. That we even raised the issue was bad enough, that we were factually wrong in part of it was even worse. Read our response to the following letter if you feel the need to hear all the pathetic details.


When I returned home from an 11-day trip to the Orient, I stopped by the marina to check on our boat, the dock lines, the bilge and so forth, and also to pick up a copy of the February Latitude. I was pleased to see you published my reply to Mr. Van WyeČs assertion that Differential GPS technology would suffice rather than actual physical separation of the parallel runways at SFO. Thanks.

However, I was also a little miffed in your total reply.

First, I agree that a lot of lawyers will get rich litigating an issue that, in the end, can't be solved by anything but new runways separated by safe and legal safety margins. New runways will need to be constructed if SFO is ever to join the ranks of having a world class safe airport it deserves.

But then you went on to ask, "What is it with Northwest Airlines?" You wrote about three instances where you allege either the employees and/or management at Northwest strive to make air travel more of a burden than it already is. While not normally a shill for my employer ÷ they just let me fly their airplanes ÷ I do feel you have tarnished a good many people with rather wide, unreasonable and inaccurate assertions. Let me try to explain.

When the snowstorm struck Detroit two winters ago, you implied 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." To be held "virtual hostage" is a little hyperbolic. Everyone was trapped ÷ crews, passengers and all the workers. The snow was falling at such a rate that the Detroit Airport snowplows could not keep sufficient taxiways, tarmac, and runways clear to allow for sufficient aircraft movement. Even those empty aircraft sitting at gates could not be pushed back to clear for aircraft full of people waiting to arrive; there was too much snow and no place to put the plane.

The idea of dropping the airstairs to allow for the passengers to disembark and walk through the blizzard to the gates was scrapped, as in some instances it was over a mile and a half to the terminal! How many passengers would slip and injure themselves in exiting the aircraft in the wind and snow? CanČt you just have see the headlines, "Passengers perish in blizzard in airport boundaries while warm aircraft stood vacant!"

Everyone was inconvenienced as hell, but nobody died and nobody was hurt. Could it have been handled better? In hindsight, most definitely. But no one was held "hostage" and everyone was kept as safe as possible. Northwest Airlines has learned from that '100-year storm' and has implemented measures to ensure that it wonČt be repeated. But any airline ÷ even the United States Air Force ÷ would have succumbed to that onslaught of Mother Nature that day.

Your second issue involved a "Northwest pilot who decided that his crew bunk wasnČt comfortable enough, so he terminated what was to have been a nonstop flight from Atlanta to Tokyo ÷ with something like five pilots ÷ in Portland." In this instance, I believe you have confused Northwest Airlines with Delta Airlines. IČm sure the Delta pilot was 'beached' for disciplinary reasons ÷ unless Delta tried to fly him/her over his legal maximums.

And lastly, you mention when your "American Airlines flight back from Paris to Chicago was diverted by bad weather to Minneapolis ÷ where American Airlines has a tiny presence and Northwest a huge one ÷ you were left stranded on a distant tarmac for four hours because Northwest kept changing their mind about whether they could let American borrow a gate so the passengers could disembark."

Because you were most likely on a wide-body aircraft, you could only arrive at some gates. And because you were arriving from a foreign country, U.S. Customs would have been involved in the decision to allow passengers to disembark. There are only three 'custom' gates at the main terminal. Were all the International gates already filled with other aircraft, and was it solely NorthwestČs decision to not allow for your more expeditious disembarkation? What number in line was your American Airlines aircraft? Did American Airlines decide it was easier for them to keep the passengers onboard for the continuation back to Chicago rather than have to go chase them all down in the terminal as their airplane prepared to depart? There are many questions, enough I believe, to place doubt on the assertion it was solely a Northwest decision to purposely inconvenience you or American Airlines.

Sure air travel is a hassle at times ÷ 'Time to spare, go by air; more time yet, take a jet' ÷ but Northwest Airlines does not attempt to purposely make air travel worse with dangerous operations, service with a snit, nor with contributing to operations against policy set by U.S. Customs.

Andrew McDonough

Andrew ÷ We feel horrible, horrible, horrible, and almost entirely apologize. We never should have written the thing in the first place ÷ and never would have had our memory not played a trick on us. Indeed, the 'I'm too tired to fly because I don't like my bunk stunt' was the doing of a Delta ÷ not a Northwest ÷ pilot. We're mortified by the mistake.

While we dine on crow, we'd like to make a few last comments on this subject. First, the fiasco in Detroit was merely the end of something like a 30-hour blunder. After leaving St. Martin, the plane was allowed to fly most of the way back to Detroit before Northwest officials decided to send it back south for the night. Then the passengers were required to get to the airport very early the next morning, before anybody realized it would be hours before the pilots could legally fly again. When they could fly, they put them in a situation they never should have had to face. And ultimately, the Northwest pilot had to use a passenger's cell phone to talk to the wife of Northwest's president to try to get some assistance. The weather played a part in it for sure, but employee blunders and incompetence were a much bigger factor in those passengers being stranded on a runway for nine hours.

As for the Minneapolis case, we were indeed number one to get a gate, as all the other wide-bodies came in after us. Everything ÷ including Customs ÷ was set for offloading the plane except for Northwest letting American use the gate. And it wouldn't have been so bad if they didn't keep changing their minds and having us drive all over the airport and raising and dashing the hopes of hundreds of already exhausted people. Talk about torture!

And while we want to sincerely apologize one more time, we'd also like to point out that often times airline employees do try to make life miserable for passengers ÷ usually in the course of labor negotiations. The February 10 Wall Street Journal reports that Northwest Airlines sued the union that represents the 11,000 flight attendants because of an illegal sickout that forced the cancellation of 300 flights over the New Year's holiday.


I'd like to know if you or your readers know the process by which you 'homestead' a boat. It's my understanding that if a person uses his/her boat as his/her principal residence, it can be done.

A 'homestead' filed in the proper manner, as I understand it, protects ones home ÷ or vessel ÷ from being seized by liens and so forth. I'd like to know where to begin.

Jim Barden
Ann Marie, Morgan Out-Island 33
Presently In Mexico

Jim ÷ In the late Sixties, all us 'revolutionaries' at UC Berkeley talked about homesteading. The way we planned it, we could take possession of the biggest and most expensive property we could find ÷ because you can only homestead once ÷ and homestead it. Then we'd screw the 'establishment' by defaulting on the mortgage, but nonetheless getting to keep the house because we'd homesteaded it.

None of us actually did this, of course, because we were too busy chasing revolutionary women and smoking pot, and because we didn't really know what we were talking about. Perhaps one of our more knowledgeable readers can comment on the concept.


How about an article on sailing on Lake Tahoe? I'm the Rear Commodore of the Lake Tahoe Windjammers YC, and we run a very extensive race schedule from South Lake Tahoe. Our highlights include the Southern Crossing in late June and the Fannette Island Race in September. Our weekly Wednesday night 'beer can races' draw over 30 boats in prime season.

If anyone would like information about sailing on beautiful Lake Tahoe, my email is pickelman@hotmail.com and my phone number is (530) 544-8892.

Steve Pickel
Lake Tahoe

Steve ÷ We've had features on Tahoe in the past, and perhaps will find time to do another this summer.

Readers should be aware that the Tahoe YC, based at the north end of the lake, also has a couple of summer series and sponsors the TransTahoe Race. Contact Gary Redelberger at (530) 585-9132 for details.

Rants, raves, comments, drink recipes, may be sent to our Editor.

© 2000 Latitude 38