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÷ COAST PILOT

In an April letter, Mike Rosauer of Sausalito asked where to find information on cruising and safe anchorages between Cape Mendocino and San Francisco. Coast Pilot 7 will give him all necessary information for the region and each and every anchorage ÷ starting with Shelter Cove just below the cape and progressing in a southerly direction to USAL Beach, Ft. Bragg (port), Little River, CuffyČs Cove, Arena Cove, Fish Rocks, Fisk Mill Cove, Fort Ross Cove, Bodega Bay (port), DrakeČs Bay and more. All of these anchorages are safe in a northwest blow. They are not safe in southerly blows, but southerlies are uncommon in the summer.

Strong wind from the northwest, large swells and fog are quite common along this stretch of coast, but should make you a better sailor. To safely transit the Northern California anchorages from San Francisco to Shelter Cove, one has to learn weather, run from anchorage to anchorage by waiting ÷ usually daily ÷ for calmer intervals such as early morning, and watch for tide changes. Remember that lumber schooners used to load timber from all of these anchorages and more in the 1800s and early 1900s.

As a commercial fisherman for approximately 30 years, I and thousands of fellow fishermen have utilized all of these anchorages for years as we run up and down the coast. I hate to date myself, but this was even in the days before affordable radar or Loran.

You mentioned Tomales Bay as a possible cruising site. Be aware it has a very treacherous bar crossing when there is a big northwest swell and a strong ebb, so there's potential for a disaster, and many vessels have met their end there. But I have also fished passenger vessels at the entrance buoy in flat and calm conditions when we could see the bottom just six feet down.

If anyone is interested in creating a North Coast guide for cruising or fishing, or for any more northern coastal transit information, my return mail address is: P.O. Box 845, Bodega Bay, CA, 94923.

Lindy Sterck

Bodega Bay

Lindy ÷ Thanks for all the good information ÷ and pointing out our negligence in not mentioning Coast Pilot #7, which actually covers from Seattle to San Diego as well as the Hawaiian Islands. The government publishes Coast Pilots for nine different regions to provide "supplemental information that is difficult to portray on nautical charts." Topics include channel descriptions, anchorages, bridge and cable clearance, currents, tide and water levels, prominent features, weather conditions, dangers, routes, traffic separation schemes, small craft facilities and the like. While Coast Pilots aren't written with cruising sailors in mind and don't have color pictures and ads for marine services, they have so much essential information that no boat should sail offshore without the applicable one.

When the weather conditions are wrong, there are a number of very dangerous places along the North Coast. Tomales Bay certainly can be one of the worst.

÷ BAY OF DREAMS

There are big plans afoot for Bahia de los Muertos, a favorite cruisersČ anchorage between Cabo and La Paz, which is being transformed into the Bay of Dreams development. As rumors are flying on the local ham nets regarding the changes, we thought weČd let you know what we found out during a recent visit.

If you visit Los Muertos by land anytime soon, the first thing youČll notice is a number of newly graded roads: around the points, across the cardonal, down around the smaller bays, and up to the top of the west hill. Power line towers march from the paved road all the way to just before the beach. Large signs identify the development as Bahia De Los Sueños; for information contact gary@gigglingmarlin.com. ThatČs right, the same Gary of Giggling Marlin in Cabo who did so much to make that town what it is today.

After walking among the awesome cacti for what will probably be the last time at that spectacular place, we were shocked and appalled. So when we climbed into our dinghy, we planned to go to our boat and write a letter of complaint to the email address. But right then we saw a well-groomed gringo in a colorful floral shirt drive down the beach in a four-wheel ATV. In a flash of intuition, Patrick shouted, "Gary!" The fellow turned around, and was very happy to answer almost all of our questions. In a nutshell, here's what we learned.

Gary and a number of investors have purchased the entire area, 2.5 miles long on the beach going a mile or two inland. They bought it from the family that had owned it since the 1800s. Gary personally plans to retire there, and wants to surround himself with an intentional community of things he enjoys. So he is planning a golf course where the low-lying stand of giant cardones now lives. He says a "few" cacti will have to go, but heČll plant bougainvillea so it "wonČt be a big deal." He is planning a marina, but says anchoring will still be allowed. While there won't be any big hotel, there will be several B&Bs.

He says they'll be selling quarter acre lots with an ocean view starting from $100,000, and one half acre lots with beachfront starting at $250,000. In addition, there will be annual homeownerČs association fees. He considers this low density, and says there will be "strict" building restrictions. For instance, a home may not be over two stories. He plans to have at least one full service spa, so "while the guys are out fishing or golfing, the gals can get their nails manicured." By law, the public will still be allowed to visit the beach below the marked high tide posts.

Things are happening fast. While we were there, several investors spent the night and were given a tour of the estate. A number of lots have already been sold. A hired crew is working on the grounds daily, cleaning up plastic trash on the beach and posting signs. He did not mention what they plan to do for water.

ItČs been 14 years since we last wrote Latitude. Back then we were in the midst of a five-year cruise through Central America, the Canal, and up the ICW to Cape Cod aboard Coral, our 30-foot Frers wooden sloop. It feels great to be back at it again, this time aboard our Freya 39 Laughter, shaking down in the Sea of Cortez before we head to the South Pacific.

Surely we'll see many more changes and we're bracing ourselves, but the cruising community is still a wonderful group of folks, and magical moments in nature happen with delightful frequency. By the way, Lindi is a naturalist and Patrick a surfing addict, so between the surf and turf we will be reporting in from time to time.

If you can receive this digital photo, youČll see something in addition to floating containers to ponder upon while flying downwind on a dark night. This navigational hazard is a dead, bloated humpback whale that was seen floating 17 miles offshore on our way down the coast to Cabo on March 11. Luckily we spotted him in daylight, and could see him over a mile away. Looked like an uncharted atoll, but didnČt smell like one!

Lindi and Patrick

Laughter, Freya 39

Morro Bay / Isla San Francisco, Sea of Cortez

Lindi & Patrick ÷ Frankly, we're amazed that much more hasn't changed in the Sea of Cortez since 1981 ÷ which is when we first took our Freya 39 down there. When it comes to development in the Sea and elsewhere on the coast of Mexico, we have mixed feelings. One part of us regrets any change from the natural state. On the other hand, it would be unrealistic ÷ and arrogant ÷ for we comparatively wealthy Americans to expect there not to be at least some development. After all, the Baja economy needs to grow so the residents can have a decent standard of living. As such, our primary hope is that all development be as tasteful and as much in tune with nature as possible. The other good thing is that it's not as though Muertos is the last pristine anchorage in the Sea of Cortez.

We nearly ran into a dead whale while crossing the Sea of Cortez two winters ago. He was hard to see, but ÷ phew! ÷ he was easy to smell.

÷ ITČS HAIKU, NOT POETRY

In the midst of a job that required way too much sanding, we replaced the sandpaper discs as they became worn out, and dropped them to the ground. Soon they surrounded our feet. This led to a sort-of haiku:

The sander screams

paper clogs

fallen leaves

Dana M.

San Diego

Dana ÷ A reminder to everyone, Latitude publishes limericks and sort-of haiku, but never poetry.

÷ I DID OWN A LEAR JET ONCE

After his strong reply in the last issue to my comments about yacht brokers, I called Matt Norwood at his office at Aruba Islands Yachts in San Diego. I found him to be quite intelligent and well-spoken. After we talked, I realized that all of my bad experiences with yacht brokers ÷ except for one ÷ were from brokers outside of California, either in Europe or the East Coast. He was nice enough to inform me that California and Florida are the only two states that require yacht brokers to be licensed. He also explained that there is an association of yacht brokers in California, with approximately 70% membership. He said my chances of dealing with an excellent broker would increase if I did three things:

1) Told the broker exactly what my needs are and intended use of the boat would be.

2) Deal with a California broker who is a member of the association.

3) Gave the broker plenty of lead time to really search out a boat to purchase.

I was wrong to have cast the same net over all, and Mr. Norwood gave me an entirely changed view of the profession and the individuals involved. He still does not like me, however, and seems to hold it against me that I need to work 18-hour days as a rice and wheat broker, and still must travel every two weeks to Europe for business. In response to his claims about me: I never have liked caviar; there is no problem finding fuel for a Lear jet at any airport; and, yes, I did own a Lear jet once. Unfortunately, the jet cost almost $1 million a year to operate and I spent 15% of my time flying on airlines while my jet was being repaired. So I decided to get rid of it in '96.

In conclusion, my last letter about brokers to Latitude was too strong, so I will take the advice of Mr. Norwood and continue my quest to buy a sailboat.

Colin Bates

Napa

Colin ÷ We think you were given pretty good advice ÷ although it's also important for buyers to shop for a broker who suits their personality.

There's something about owning a private jet that seems to raise the hackles of the hoi poloi, isn't there? Say, that reminds us of a true but funny story from a couple of years ago. It seems that the head coach for the girl's basketball team at a private school in Marin had his own jet ÷ which, in fact, may be a requirement for coaches in Marin. Anyway, when playoff time came, the team's first game was to be at Alturas or some other place in the desolate reaches of northeast California. So naturally the coach decided to fly his girls to the game.

As you can imagine, the locals ÷ many of whom couldn't afford an old pick-up ÷ were temporarily awestruck by the team's mode of transportation. But they recovered quickly. With the clock winding down and the home team holding a comfortable lead over the girls from Marin, the local crowd foresook the tired old 'We Are the Champions' routine in favor of a clever taunt: "Warm up the jet! Warm up the jet! Warm up the jet!"

÷ BAHA HA-HA VII

We are interested in this year's Baja Ha-Ha cruise to Mexico. Please email us with any information you may have on this event.

Liz and Dick Gusse

Cyberspace

Liz & Dick ÷ While Latitude started the Ha-Ha and the Wanderer continues to serve as the Grand Poobah, the event has long since been owned and operated by Baja Ha-Ha, Inc, an independent company with virtually no assets. They not only don't have email, they don't even have a phone. But they did forward us all the information about this year's event, and we've published it in this month's Sightings.

÷ HA-HA 2000 KIDS

We're looking forward to the Baja Ha-Ha 2000. Seven years ago we made it our goal to go cruising this year, so relatively speaking, it's just around the corner!

Since we'll be cruising with our daughters, Haley, 8, and Daphne, 5, we're looking forward to meeting others who will be doing the Ha-Ha with young kids. In fact, it would be great to know in advance about other family entries and what their plans are for afterwards. So if anyone wants to get in touch with us or have their kids get in touch with our kids, our address is: The Cottrells, Box 80071, San Diego, CA, 92138-0071. We can't wait to turn left at Pt. Loma!

Shari Cottrell

See Life

San Diego

Shari ÷ Great idea!

÷ WOMEN ON THE HA-HA

Every year I read about the Ha-Ha and wish I could have gone. I couldnČt make the Crew Party this year, but was wondering what the chances are that skippers still might need crew once they get to San Diego? Would the fact that IČm a female be a disadvantage?

I race in all the PHRF events in San Diego, but have never done anything longer than the Newport to Ensenada Race. IČm also not sure that this is a reasonable idea, since I wouldn't have much chance to evaluate the skipper's skill and the condition of the boat.

If there are women out there who have hooked up with Ha-Ha boats just before the event and would be willing to pass on their opinions, I'd love to hear from them. I can be reached at lromero@ptsc.com.

Linda R.

San Diego

Linda ÷ We don't know if it's feasible for you or not, but one of the best opportunities to meet with skippers is during our Mexico Crew List and Ha-Ha Kick-Off and Reunion Party, October 3 at the Encinal YC ÷ which unfortunately for you is in Alameda. If you can get a cheap roundtrip ticket, it still might make sense for you to fly up for the night. You could also take out a Classy Classified or two expressing your interest in crewing in the event.

It's also quite possible that you could hook up with a boat at the Costume and Kick-Off Party on October 29th at Cabrillo Isle Marina in San Diego ÷ something other women have done in the past. But you've identified the downside: very little time to evaluate the skipper and boat. There is a chance, however, that you might meet such a qualified skipper, crew and boat you'd be willing to go with them based on instinct and reputation. But it's strictly your decision.

When looking for crew positions, it's both an advantage and a disadvantage to be a woman. You're sure to get extra attention ÷ but will it be the kind you're looking for? Of course, there are still a few Neanderthals who are convinced that women don't belong on boats. Not us. So far we've taken more than 20 women on the Ha-Has, and were delighted with all but one ÷ and even she wasn't that bad.

If you're a woman who has tried to get a crew position on the Ha-Ha, both Latitude and Linda would love to hear from you, no matter if you've gotten a ride or not, and no matter if you had a good time or not.

÷ WE BOTH WANT TO BUILD A NESTING DINGHY

My boating partner and I were reading about the Dave Greer designed nesting dinghy in the February or maybe March Sightings. He wants to build one. So do I. Can you tell us where we can get plans for the boat?

Cathy Coulter

Everett, Washington

Cathy ÷ Check out the Boat Plans Online website for details and ordering info at: www.bateau.com/plans/small/FB11.php3.

÷ WHAT PROMPTED AT&T TO PULL OUT?

In September of 1998, my wife and I sailed home to Seattle after completing a circumnavigation. Recently, while conducting a routine check of our SSB transceiver, I discovered that radio stations Kilo Mike India (KMI), Whiskey Oscar Oscar (WOO) and Whiskey Oscar Mike (WOM) have gone off the air.

The loss of these stations raises several questions. First, weČre wondering if itČs still possible for offshore cruisers to make marine operator assisted calls to the United States via SSB radio. Are there any alternatives to KMI, WOO, and WOM? If not, are there any plans to revive these stations, perhaps with a different carrier?

WeČre aware that email services such as SailMail are attempting to fill the gap in ship-to-shore communication via SSB. Do these email services provide any distress calling capability, and if so, how does it work? We really appreciated KMI, WOO, and WOM for their ability to field distress calls and provide links to SAR organizations. When we sighted a flare off the coast of Ecuador, for example, we contacted WOM in Florida, and they in turn linked us to the Coast Guard in Miami. Had there turned out to be an actual emergency, WOM could have helped save lives. Do current SSB email services provide a similar link to rescue authorities?

Finally, weČre wondering what factors prompted AT&T to pull out of the HF marine operator business in the U.S. With the recent failure of the Iridium satellite network, it appears likely that HF radio is going to remain an important communications tool for some time to come ÷ especially aboard small cruising boats constrained by limited budgets.

Mike and Susan McKim

Susan Bright

Seattle

Mike & Susan ÷ The only station we know that's left is WLO in Georgia, which has a range of between 2,000 and 5,000 miles. AT&T wanted out of the business because they were taking a financial bath. The problem is that many commercial mariners and well-to-do private mariners had switched to more reliable high-end communication alternatives such as SatComs and the different Inmarsat options, while thrifty cruisers were switching to low-cost email communications via SSB and/or Ham radio. While Inmarsat and SSB radio gives you immediate access to the Coast Guard, SSB and Ham radio based email do not.

It's interesting that you called WOM in Miami to report seeing a flare off the coast of Ecuador. While crossing the Atlantic, some of our crew thought they saw a flare 900 miles east of Puerto Rico, so we mentioned it to WOM. They passed the message along to the Coast Guard ÷ which sent out a search plane the next day! If we were faced with a similar situation today, we'd just call the Coast Guard direct over the SSB.

÷ CAT CHARACTERISTICS

It occurs to me that Latitude readers might be interested in the cruising characteristics of a catamaran. I think I can qualify as a person who can objectively expound on this subject, as my wife Joan and I own Capricorn Cat, a self-built 45-foot all around performance cruiser.

We carry a 700+ square foot Spectra full-battened main, and a 400+ square foot Cruising Laminate 120% genoa. We also carry three spinnakers, setting them as wind speed and direction dictate. Our big chute is a 1,600 square foot 3/4 oz light air symmetrial chute. The other two are 1.5 oz asymmetricals. We use the small one, about 1,100 sq ft, downwind in heavy air. We carry it in as much as 22 knots apparent. Because our cat is 25 feet wide, we don't need a spinnaker pole. We just tack the windward corner to the nose of the windward hull and lead the sheet off the clew, admiships on the leeward hull.

We put 11,000 miles on Capricorn Cat since this time last year. We spent last winter along the Gold Coast of Mexico, competed in the Banderas Bay Regatta in Puerto Vallarta in late March, and then cruised to the Marquesas by way of the San Benedicto and Clarion Islands ÷ which are to the south of Cabo. We then continued on to the Tuomotus and Society Islands until late August.

It took us 16 sailing days to cover the approximately 2,800 miles from Puerto Vallarta to the Marquesas. We attacked the passage by carrying the main and genoa until the wind clocked around, then we set one of the three spinnakers without a main. The Cat carries a spinnaker on a much wider range of wind angles when the main is down, and we can jibe it by crisscrossing lazy sheets and letting the tack and sheet fly and retacking the opposite side. We broke the spinnaker halyard just south of the Equator, so we went wing on wing, with a genoa on one side and a triple-reefed main on the other. If we hadn't triple-reefed the main, we couldn't have eased the boom out far enough to sail downwind.

We had 20 to 25 knot winds most of the time, so we used the roller furling as a 'throttle' to keep the boat from going too fast. That may sound crazy to monohullers, but believe me, it's no fun to average 10 to 12 knots on a bluewater crossing. In order to do that, we need about 25 knots of wind, and that usually means 10 to 15 foot seas and three to four foot windwaves in between. We found that when we kept the speed down to about nine knots, it was quite comfortable. We talked to a lot of monohulls cruisers along the way and heard them desribe sailing 20 to 30 degrees off course because the roll in the following seas was so bad. We were able to comfortably sail rhumb line all the way.

We made the return trip through Hawaii to San Francisco Bay in 30 days. We had to endure 3.5 days of steady 35-knot winds forward of the beam. We sailed under triple-reefed main alone to keep the speed down to a liveable pace. One day we even dragged a Gale Rider drogue while sailing to weather to slow down! Those 3.5 days were the only ones of the trip where Joannie was unable to cook a normal meal. Fortunately, we spent our night watches inside the cabin ÷ from which we have a 360-degree view ÷ watching the radar. This means we don't have to sit out in the cold.

Having had quite a bit of ocean experience with our cat, I'd like to comment on some of the outlandish statements I read from catamaran owners and dealers. Such as, "I expect to cruise 20 knots in 30 knots of breeze." Or, "That's the price you pay when you cruise at 15 knots." Folks, those statements are from b.s. slingers who really donČt know what 'cruising' is.

Sure, it's fun to sail at 15 knots on the flat waters of the Bay when it's blowing 25 knots and you can be on your perfect point of sail. But you just don't find those kind of smooth conditions when you're on a passage, so catamaran sailors who claim they can 'cruise' at 15 knots are being misleading. Many of our fellow cruisers in Mexico who did day snorkeling trips with us out of Z-town can verify that Capricorn Cat has sailed at 12 knots with 25 people aboard. But it sure presented a lot of stress on the rig, and I sure know better than to brag that I could do it hour after hour while cruising.

It's mid-April now and we're returning to the Bay Area from Mexico via the Clipper Ship route. We will return to Mexico again in the fall, and then it will be Tonga time in the South Pacific next summer right after the Banderas Bay Regatta ÷ the most fun regatta on the planet.

Blair and Joan Grinols

Napa

Readers ÷ The above letter is the result of a hot-tub conversation the Wanderer and Blair had in Paradise Village after racing their catamarans for the second time at the Banderas Bay Regatta. The Wanderer told Blair that he'd written a Sightings piece ÷ it appears in this issue ÷ about how disgusted he gets when he reads some of the more outrageous claims about multihull cruising speeds. "I know exactly what you mean," Blair immediately responded, "it makes me so hopping mad that I'm going to write you a letter on that subject." This was that letter.

It's noteworthy that Blair speaks as the owner of a performance cruising cat that despite being loaded down with all the typical cruising gear, is quite a bit faster and more weatherly than the typical French production cat designed for the charter market. In fact, Capricorn Cat hauls ÷ as anyone who participates in the June 10-11 Catnip Cup to Vallejo and back will be able to see.

÷ UNNECESSARY PLUMBING

The thru-hull fitting with internal threads described in Glenn SmithČs April letter on bilge pumping has been around a long time. I installed one over 25 years ago to circulate fresh water through my refrigeration system while in the slip. They are also available as bulkhead fittings, but some are not as well faired or streamlined as the normal skin-fitting. But it would be very easy to ream out and tap threads in a blank one, if necessary.

However, there is a better reason than the one cited for these fittings to be unnecessary for bilge pump plumbing. With the development of the 'socks' full of oil absorbent material now available everywhere, there is no reason to have any oil in your bilge water, regardless of any stray leaks. The absorbent material is also much cheaper and easier to safely dispose of than is oily water.

I feel a much bigger threat to the environment ÷ and to our pocketbooks in the form of steep fines ÷ are the air vents on boat fuel tanks. My vents come out through the topsides. Before I need to completely fill my tanks again ÷ as for a long trip ÷ I plan to either modify the existing skin-fittings or replace them with threaded ones to accept a small tube to a container ÷ as Smith described. Most of the time the containers will only receive air, but catching an occasional burp will be worth the effort. The few times I left an oil sheen were years before the laws came into existence, but the sheens always embarrassed me. I avoid the problem now by only partly filling the tanks.

Ernie Copp

Orient Star

Long Beach

Ernie ÷ The fuel tank air vent problem is one that needs to be addressed, as fueling up has become an activity laced with anxiety. We find ourselves filling our tanks no more than half full and pumping at a ridiculously slow rate just to make sure a tiny burp won't cause a single drop of fuel to land on the water and create a sheen. There's got to be a better way ÷ and you seem to be onto it.

÷ BACK FROM MEXICO

Thanks again for the wonderful time that we had on the Ha-Ha last year! It was so much fun that my skipper, Peter Nasca, wants to do it again next year with his Cabo Rico 45 Utopia. His boat is currently in Puerto Vallarta while he is back at work like the rest of us. He needs to bring the boat back to San Diego to get it refitted, as he's going to continue on cruising after the 2000 Ha-Ha. But he wants your opinion on just how long it would take to bash back up the coast to San Diego. He's been told eight weeks ÷ which is about twice as long as I would expect. What do you think?

I recall that someone has written a book about returning boats to California. Do you know the title, author and publisher?

David A. Cahak

Power Integrations, Inc.

Sunnyvale

David ÷ The book you're trying to remember is the Baja Bash by Jim Elfers. You can get it at most marine stores ÷ or from Elfers in person at Coast Chandlery in Cabo.

For some guesstimates on how long it would take to bring a boat back from Cabo, check out the next Letter and this month's Cruise Notes.

÷ PACIFIC AND MEXICO

My crew and I are serious about doing the upcoming TransPac, and the subsequent Baja Ha-Ha in October. We have cruised our Catalina 30 Diamondback around Monterey Bay, San Francisco Bay, and points south, but we haven't logged extensive miles without returning to the arguably comforting security of dry land. Nor have we weathered storms of the type that books are written about.

As far as the Ha-Ha is concerned, I've read that it's one of the fairest weather rallies one can enter. We are neither hesitant nor ill-equipped to face challenges, but we'd like to know what we might expect. We're also concerned about the return trip to Santa Cruz, as we have a limited amount of time to get the boat home. With a good crew of four ÷ and assuming a few stops and typical winds of late November and early December ÷ how long would it be before we were surfing the point back home?

P.S. Keep up the good work, as I know it's tough to please everyone.

Danny Robinson

Diamondback, Catalina 30

Santa Cruz

Danny ÷ The Los Angeles to Honolulu TransPac is only held on odd-numbered years, so there isn't one this summer. The West Marine Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, is held on even numbered years, but it was sold out many months ago and has a very long waiting list. Unless you want to do the Singlehanded TransPac in late June, you're out of luck for organized events to the Islands this year.

It's true that the weather conditions along the Baja coast during the Ha-Ha are often benign. Nonetheless, everyone participating in the Ha-Ha must be fully prepared for challenges not limited to out-of-season hurricanes; 50-knot Pineapple Express winds with 25-foot seas; falling overboard; being intentionally run down by a fishing boat; being unintentionally rundown by a ship; having the boat catch fire; being hit in the head by a falling mast; having the keel and rudder ripped off by a whale or semi-submerged container; dying of alcohol poisoning after a session at Squid Roe . . . you get the picture. As such, people who want to avoid the risk of injury and death should avoid the Ha-Ha ÷ and, in fact, all offshore sailing events.

How long would it take to get a Catalina 30 back to Santa Cruz after a Ha-Ha? The weather is, of course, the major factor ÷ although a seized engine would slow you down, too. The winter weather off the Pacific Coast of Baja is similar to the winter weather along the coast of California; lots of calms and light winds periodically interrupted by occasionally nasty storms. Late November and early December are actually about the best time to bring a boat north. If you don't spend all your time ducking into anchorages and have typical weather, you should be back to San Diego in eight to 12 days and Santa Cruz in 12 to 16 days. It is possible to make it faster. Dave Reed once delivered a Westsail 32 from Cabo to San Diego in just six days, motoring all the way. And some Ha-Ha vets motored their Irwin 38 from Mazatlan to San Francisco in 13 days ÷ in March, no less. On the other hand, if you hit the weather just wrong and tend to idle in anchorages until the weather is just perfect, it could take three weeks or even a month to get back to San Diego.

If you and your friends are Internet people with more money than time, you might consider taking your boat up to San Carlos in the Sea of Cortez after the Ha-Ha and having her trucked home. This might also give you the chance to do a little cruising in the enchanting islands just to the north of La Paz. See the February issue for an account of having an Express 37 trucked from San Carlos to San Francisco Bay.

÷ TEAM CALIFORNIA

We were fortunate enough to be in New Zealand to watch the America's Cup racing. It's a beautiful country with friendly people ÷ and a superb America's Cup boat and team. The Italians were great, too, as they were gentlemen and good sports ÷ but they were outclassed. They were consistently outmaneuvered at the starts and their sail-handling ÷ especially when it came to the spinnakers ÷ left something to be desired.

Could any of the other challengers have done any better? After the Kiwis won 5-0, Dennis Conner stated publicly that none of the others could have beaten Black Magic. As an interested amateur who has followed the Cup races since the 1930s, I must agree.

Studying comparative scores can be very misleading, but it has some value. Remember that all six boats in the Louis Vuitton semifinals beat each other at least once or at least sailed a very close race. Prada didn't even win the Challenger Finals hands down, as they were given two races by AmericaOne.

On many occasions I was asked by knowledgeable New Zealanders why the United States split its resources among five challengers. "Overwhelming egos," was my sad reply.

I suggest we form Team California spearheaded by the St. Francis and San Francisco yacht clubs, and supported by all other yacht clubs from San Diego north. Team California would have just one purpose ÷ to bring the cup back to the United States. Surely California, which has 10 times the population and resources of New Zealand ÷ could support the effort.

For the rest of the year 2000, the Team California syndicate should organize itself and line up its corporate and individual sponsors. In 2001, match races would be held all over the country in many kinds of boats ÷ but especially AmericaČs Cup racing boats. These races would enable us to find the best sailors to form the best possible crew.

The best crew in the world can do nothing against New Zealand without having the fastest boat in the world. As soon as possible Team California should start considering who will design such a boat. It may be one of the established designers or perhaps some dark horse. The designer should be chosen early in 2001 so the two boats can be designed, built, tuned and delivered to the Hauraki Gulf in the winter of 2002. This will give our team a year to practice there.

Long-standing local loyalties, established traditions, and massive egos will have to be ruthlessly put aside if such an effort is to be mounted. But if we want the Cup back here, there is no other choice.

Barry Schuyler

Santa Barbara

Barry ÷ We think just about everyone would concede that the Kiwis were far superior in crew work, and perhaps had a little faster boat. But the race we really wanted to see was the Kiwis versus the Italians ÷ but with each team using the other's boat! We still would have bet heavily on the Kiwis.

It's too bad that the whole thing didn't end with the exciting Challenger Finals between AmericaOne and Prada, as the dreary drubbing in the Cup itself put lots of people ÷ and perhaps potential sponsors ÷ to sleep. Nonetheless, we're sure there will be plenty of challengers for the next Cup, although putting together a campaign that can seriously challenge the Kiwis is going to be extremely difficult. But nowhere as difficult as it would be to cobble together a 'Team California'.

÷ CONTRADICTIONS WHEN HEAVING TO

I have a question regarding heaving-to in heavy weather. I note that Peter Bruce ÷ in the 30th Anniversary Edition of Adlard ColesČ Heavy Weather Sailing ÷ indicates that when hove-to, a boat "will probably be moving gently forward a knot or two".

In contrast, Lin and Larry Pardey in their Sail Tactics Handbook recommend that the boat should not move forward from behind the slick produced by the boatČs keel moving sideways through the water. As I understand it, they recommend that the boatČs position relative to the slick be constantly monitored and adjusted to prevent being slapped by a breaking wave.

There seems to be a contradiction between Bruce and the Pardeys. What's been the experience of Latitude readers?

Tom Bowers

Grand Marina

Alameda

Tom ÷ We think the experience of most Latitude readers is that they've never had to heave to. We know that we never have. But like you, we'd like to hear from those who have.

÷ UNNECESSARY GOVERNMENTAL INTRUSION

We read the reports in the Seattle Times about the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requirement that as a condition of getting their leases renewed, marinas over state-owned shorelines or underwater land may no longer rent to tenants who live on their boats. This requirement has resulted in eviction notices for liveaboards in some Lake Union marinas.

The reason for no liveaboards? "You donČt have to live on the water," said spokesperson Jennifer Belcher, "you can live anywhere." We feel that this is a narrow view on the part of DNR, as the evictions of liveaboards is not something that is required to protect the stateČs shorelines and water resources. We think it represents an unnecessary governmental intrusion into the private lives of boatowners.

The DNR says the primary concern is that the stateČs shorelines need to be reserved for water-related usages, particularly recreational use. This is missing an important consideration. Living on a boat is a by definition a water-related usage. Saying people shouldnČt live on boats is like saying that boat sales companies donČt have to sell boats, they can sell anything, so they shouldnČt have their sales facilities on the stateČs shorelines. Or that sailors don't have to race boats, they can race anything, so they shouldnČt be allowed to keep their race boats on state owned shorelines. Living aboard a boat is a water-dependent activity.

Further, what about boatowners who never use their boat for recreation? Never mind commercial boat owners, what about the owners whoČve had their boats in marinas over state owned land for years and years ÷ but never have taken them out or even used them at the dock? Is storage of a boat a recreational activity? CanČt someone store their boat just about anywhere? Such as a dry storage lot in Kent, for instance.

ArenČt we missing the real point here? Somebody in the DNR simply does not like liveaboards. The DNR should ensure that laws are in place to protect the waters from pollution ÷ they are ÷ and see that they are enforced ÷ in general, they aren't. What they should stop doing is making judgements about what is or is not a proper water-related use. Jennifer Belcher had no business imposing her judgement on the lifestyle choices of others.

Besides, living on a boat is an environmentally gentle way of living. Boatowners who live aboard have much less impact on the environment than the owners of 6,000 sq ft houses on the Pine Lake plateau with four car garages and enormous electric and water bills. The DNR should be working with liveaboards, not opposing them.

Fred Roswold and Judy Jensen

Seattle

Fred & Judy ÷ It's our theory that the problem with a lot of bureaucrats is that they were hall monitors in high school who never got any respect. They now plot their revenge through the demonizing of activities and lifestyles they don't understand. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much for them to rustle up support for their misguided crusades among an equally ignorant population and cronies within the government.

Mariners in San Francisco Bay have a similar problem to the DNR; it's called the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, a nine-county agency that was created some 25 years ago to oversee development and preservation of the Bay. Despite the fact that the legislation used to create the agency specified that they not be given control over boats, they seized control anyway under the absurd notion that boats are 'Bay fill'. An anchor-out beat them in court over the matter, but didn't have the resources to battle back when the BCDC got the resources of the state attorney general to back them.

There is no question that there needs to be agencies such as the DNR and the BCDC, but they need to be staffed by knowledgeable people with respect for common and historical activities on and along the water, and respect for individual rights. As long as mariners use their boats in compliance with laws prohibiting pollution, neither the DNR nor the BCDC should have the say in how often, and for how long, the boats are used. The U.S. government had no business in Viet Nam, it has no business in woman's uteruses, and it has no business meddling with how many hours a boatowner can spend on his boat.

You also made a good point when you say that living aboard boats can be environmentally gentle. According to our unofficial study, land-dwellers consume about 850% more resources ÷ in the form of useless crap ÷ than those who live onboard boats. Yet the posers and psuedo-environmentalists at the BCDC virtually insist that boatowners who would prefer to live simply on their boats also have a land dwelling. For the BCDC, it would seem it's more important to meddle in individuals lives than it is to help reduce traffic, unwanted consumption, and the housing shortage. But check out the karma of this misguided agency: After two decades of trying to get rid of liveaboards in Richardson Bay, the BCDC's legacy is an armada of defiant people who are mostly living aboard what average people would describe as wrecks and floating debris.

There's more dissent on the subject also. Wendy Hinman, who plans to head south with the Ha-Ha fleet this year aboard Vellalla, is also fighting the DNR's position. She forwarded the two following letters.

÷ A SENATOR'S SENTIMENTS

I too have been very concerned about what is going on with the liveaboard eviction notices and what DNR's actions have been. I met with Commissioner of Lands Jennifer Belcher on Monday, who told me that DNR is working to find other docks available on Lake Union on private land. She maintains that all residential use over public lands is unlawful except for those floating homes, houseboats, and house barges grandfathered into passage of the 1984 law. She's also suggested to Rainier Properties that it dock the liveaboards on its private docks and the yachts, etc. that are now docked on the private docks onto the docks over public land. As I have since learned, however, there are problems with that suggestion as the private docks are covered and cannot handle the tall masts of the sailboats.

I am still asking questions and am planning on attending the rally at Gas Works Park on Friday night. I'm also attending the Ballard District Council meeting tonight at which Shilshole liveaboards will be represented to discuss possible ramifications for them. They, though, from what I have learned, are on Port of Seattle aquatic land. You might wish to contact Al Hughes, President of the Shilshole chapter of the state liveaboards association at 784-7926.

I also agree with you that the liveaboards provide important functions as you have enumerated. I also just happen to like having them at Lake Union!

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles

36th Legislative District

Washington State Senate

÷ FAR GREATER IMPACT

As someone who lived aboard for several years and now lives in a waterfront home not much bigger than a boat, I know that my impact on the Sound is far greater in my house than it was in my boat.

It's easy to see that the types and quantities of all sorts of chemicals used to support a house of even 600 square feet with a naturally wooded yard are probably on the order of ten times ÷ maybe 100 times ÷ as much as those required to support a boat. This is evident with every trip to the grocery store, drug store, or home/garden store with bags of chemicals brought home to keep up the house and yard. All those products ultimately are returned to the water.

By its nature, boat living is the essence of simplicity, where the use or storage of anything but the bare minimum of these products is considered taboo and unnecessary. For example, in four years on a boat, I used zero pesticide, fertilizer, bleach, ammonia, floor wax, carpet cleaner, spray shower cleaner, oven cleaner, paint (or paint cleanup), or wood preservative. That number was zero. None wereneeded to keep the boat shipshape, just a little biodegradable soap and some scrubbing. Imagine what they amount to in a house.

On the boat, electricity was never used at a rate that one 15 amp circuit could not handle even the peaks. In my house, this would not even power the water heater. On the boat, I used less than 100 gallons of water a month. How many hours does it take a house to use this much? Even laundry was only one load a week on the boat, as opposed to five loads a week ashore with many loads generated by clothes dirtied during house and yard maintenance.

Once home on the boat, the car was seldom used, freeing space on the roads. Most travel was walking or bike riding. With a house, we are constantly driving, much of it to support the house, but also because everything is more distant from the house than it was from the boat, not to mention that we need a truck (additional vehicle) for home and yard projects.

Perhaps the best thing for the water is to promote the boating lifestyle and discourage the use of land to support houses and yards. Of course, this would kill the consumer economy; so it could never work.

Mike Hart

Burien, Washington

÷ GREAT EVIL!

Dangnabbit, I can overlook the occasional ÷ or not so occasional ÷ typo, but you folks have got to stop using 'enormity' when you mean 'really big size'.

Enormity means 'great evil' ÷ which under no stretch of editorial license applies to the "well deck" of Super Servant 4.  See the caption for the spread photo on page 207 of the April edition if you don't know what I'm talking about.

Ryan Werner

Cyberspace

Ryan ÷ According to the American Heritage Dictionary, there is a major debate over the usage of the word in question:

"Enormity is frequently used to refer simply to the property of being enormous, but many would prefer that enormousness ÷ or a synonym such as immensity ÷ be used for this general sense and that enormity be reserved for a property that evokes a negative moral judgment. For example, 'Not until the war ended and journalists were able to enter Cambodia did the world really become aware of the enormity of Pol Pot's oppression.' "

"Fifty-nine percent of the Usage Panel rejects the use of enormity in the more general sense in the sentence: 'At that point the engineers sat down to design an entirely new viaduct, apparently undaunted by the enormity of their task.' "

"This distinction between enormity and enormousness has not always existed historically, but nowadays many observe it. Writers who ignore it in phrases such as 'the enormity of the President's election victory' or 'the enormity of her inheritance' may find their words an unintended source of amusement.' "

Since we at Latitude have always believed in 'ordinary language as defined by Wittgenstein and the value of providing an "unintended source of amusement," we'll continue on our wayward ways.

÷ I DREAM OF A CAL 20

I'm a 12-year plus subscriber and fervent sailor-wannabe. Funds ÷ or the absence of ÷ and several small children have thus far kept me off the water. Except for a few memorable exceptions.

But I do dream, and I enjoy fantasizing about the day I get that first boat. I think that a Cal 20 would be a great starter, as it would be stable enough to stand up to a Chesapeake Bay squall, perform well enough for racing, and allow overnighters. It's tough to find them here in the east, but there are a few.

To aid and abet my fantasies, and provide hours of gazing pleasure, I wonder if any readers had any photos of their Cals, at play or at rest, that they would e-mail me? My gratitude shall be boundless!

Lloyd Lachow

Reisterstown, Maryland

llachow@yahoo.com

Lloyd ÷ A Cal 20 is a fine little design that has given countless hours of pleasure over the years. We even know of one that was singlehanded to Hawaii ÷ although that's not something it was built for.

÷ I'VE GOT THE ANSWER

What is a knighthead?

One source more than 100 years old defines them as follows:

(a.) One of two large timbers in a vessel that rise obliquely from the keel behind the stem, one on each side, and support the bowsprit, which is fixed between them; called also bollard timbers.

(b.) A windlass-bitt (obs.).

From another ancient source:

Two strong pieces of timber, fixed on the opposite sides of the main-deck, a little behind the fore-mast. They are sometimes called the bits, and in this sense their upper parts only are denominated knight-heads, being formerly embellished with a figure designed to resemble a human head. Knight-heads, was also a name formerly given to the lower jear-blocks, which were then no other than bits.

Alejandro Bustamante

Walnut Creek

Alejandro ÷ Thank you for the enlightenment. Unfortunately, your message came through garbled, so we were unable to decipher the sources given.

÷ SMALL HELO

We were sailing the crewed Lightship race last Saturday when a small helicopter flew by and took a picture of my boat an crew. I would like to know how to contact them to purchase a copy of the photograph. Any idea who it was?

Richard Pfand and Crew

Ann, Valiant 32

Richard ÷ Sorry, but we don't know who it was. Can anybody help?

÷ A SLAVE WAS THE FIRST CIRCUMNAVIGATOR

Who was the first person to circumnavigate our world? It wasn't Magellan who was killed midway through his historic voyage, while Christianizing the islanders at swordČs point. His expedition for the Spaniards was continued under the command of Juan Sebastian El Cano, with just a few survivors of the group that had set out three years before.

Were El CanoČs survivors the first persons to circumnavigate? No. There was a Malay 'slave' whom the Europeans called Enrique. He went into MagellanČs service when Magellan sailed from Portugal to the Indies on an earlier voyage. He was MagellanČs interpreter until he jumped ship in the Indies. He was the first human to leave home to go west and return home from the east ÷ and therefore the first circumnavigator.

L. Mark Lussky

Adventuress

Marina del Rey, California

÷ A SCANTILY-CLAD MAN

Living in mañanaland for the last year, we do see most Latitudes ÷ although sometimes not for three to four months. While recently catching up on some of the earlier year 2000 issues, my wife and I were chuckling because the 'bare breast controversy' is still going on. It's a great subject and will probably continue forever!

However, when I got to the April issue, I was quite upset to see a scantily-clad man! And to my horror, it was me! Please send me the correct procedure for keel-hauling a mate who would send in such a picture without first informing her husband. Liz is still laughing about it! As for me, I would like another chance at my 15 seconds of fame!

Rick Strand

Sarah Elizabeth

La Paz

Rick ÷ We're delighted that your wife sent in that photo ÷ and think you should be, too. For one thing, the Wanderer thinks you look great ÷ and he's speaking as a hard-core hetero. In fact, for the last couple of months he's been running a mile a day and doing crunches with the hope that if he keeps at it for a year or so he might look half as good as you.

Secondly, over the years we've published a lot of photos of the 'beer belly' winners at the Sea of Cortez Sailing Weeks. As amusing as those photos might be, we all know that such bellies are pretty serious health hazards. So we're counting on your photo to help convince guys with burrito bellies that the pathway to a good build and good health is a good diet and an active cruising lifestyle. Yes, you've been drafted as Latitude's poster boy for intelligent and healthy cruising.

÷ DAVE DEXTER PROMPTED MY DREAM

It was with great sadness that I came to the part of the March issue about the passing of Dave Dexter. Back in '92 I was in bad need of a 'mental health break', so I decided to go sailing in the Caribbean. Since I wasn't qualified to singlehand the boat and I couldn't find anyone else to go with me just then, I footed the whole bill for the boat ÷ and a captain. That captain turned out to be Dave. I was impressed by his abilities and enthusiasm ÷ and even more by his dream of beginning a second circumnavigation with Pearl, his lady, and several to-be-recruited crewpersons.

I went home from my week in the Caribbean in much better shape ÷ and with thoughts of the South Pacific swirling through my head. A few months later, I took a leave of absence from my job and flew to Panama to meet Dave, Katy, and two other crew. We transited the Canal, visited Cocos Island off Costa Rica, and then did the run to the Marquesas and on to the Tuamotus, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Palmerston and Tonga. Although I had to fly home to the 'real world' from Tonga, I'd had a blast! I returned home with a dream: to do the same thing with my own boat!

So here I am, eight years later, aboard my Tayana 42 She Wolf in Nuevo Vallarta for Banderas Bay Race Week! I quit my job, sold my house, and came south with my partner Rick in the '99 Ha-Ha. WeČre 'living the dream'. Fair winds, Dave Dexter, wherever you are ÷ and thanks for giving me the dream.

Marsha Stone

She Wolf, Paradise Village Marina

Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Marsha ÷ That's a fine story ÷ and a great way for a sailor to be remembered.

÷ NEW SAFETY REGS

Just after New Zealand finally agreed that it was illegal for them to impose safety inspections on foreign cruising boats, and lost $600,000,000 in cruiser business in the process, an agency in Mexico ÷ or is it just La Paz? ÷ decides to do the same thing. And to charge for it.

After the safety inspection requirement was imposed before a boat could check out of port, La Paz cruisers got organized and sent a formal letter of protest to the President of Mexico and other officialdom.

During a discussion of the matter on the morning net, Max and Mary Shroyer of Marina de La Paz voiced their opinion that we should just be calm and, in effect, buy some more Vaseline. Mary is an ex-school teacher and seems to view we cruisers as her class. We were being rowdy again, so we got our hands slapped again. When we refused to go in our corner, Max and Mary suggested they might be persuaded to talk to the marina association on our behalf.

If you will recall, several years ago an anchoring fee was imposed throughout Baja and the West Coast of Mexico. The basis of this was some obscure law relating to commercial vessels. At that time, there was a whole bunch of anchored vessels ÷ and two very empty dry storage areas ÷ in La Paz. One was at Marina Palmira, the other at Marina San Carlos. It was suggested in an article in Latitude that the anchor fee was really a vehicle to get the unattended anchored boats to go into the dry storage areas. The anchoring fee, about $80 to $100 a month, was about the same as a dry storage fee. Imagine that!

A companion article by Max Shroyer suggested that the accusation was improper and belittled the author for assuming such an injustice. Heavens!

Oddly enough, only about 10% of the boats paid the fee. Some captains refused to pay ÷ and were issued their checking out papers anyway. After the storage areas were filled ÷ with about 400 or so boats ÷ the enforcement of the law faded into the currents. My, my.

Why are the Shroyers being so vocal about our rants? Could it be because their son Niel now heads up the A.P.I., the new heavy organization?

Max and Mary have one very strong verbal backer, however, Hamish Andres Hunter of Lopez Marine Services, a new chandlery here in La Paz. He backs the Shroyers, "If you don't like it, get the hell out!" attitude.

Maybe he's right. It was suggested during the safety regs discussion that should be the case. Next time you think about buying from Lopez Marine tell them you're sorry ÷ and does he carry Vaseline. Stay tuned for more new cruising and provisioning fees from A.P.I.

Jim and Nancy August

Detent

La Paz

Jim & Nancy ÷ We try to be as sympathetic as possible with inactive and former cruisers in La Paz ÷ but sometimes it can be difficult. First off, as a group, those trapped in the La Paz 'cruiser vortex' have a notorious reputation among active cruisers for being the most cranky, whiny, whinging sailors and former sailors in the Western sailing world. For 20 years there have been two extremes in Mexico: The cruisers in Z-town seem to be in a state of perpetual bliss, while inactive and former cruisers in La Paz seem to be in a state of perpetual disenchantment. Oddly enough, those who grumble the loudest in La Paz never seem to leave.

Secondly, an unfortunate hallmark of much of the whining out of La Paz is that it's usually peppered with half-truths, errors ÷ and complete rubbish. An example of a 'half-truth' is when you claim that cruisers have to get safety inspections before checking out of La Paz. Nonsense. As we're certain you're aware, the inspections only apply to boats that have been at anchor in La Paz for 30 days or in a La Paz marina for six months. In other words, the safety inspections don't apply to active cruisers. An example of an 'error' is when you claim that there used to be anchoring fees of $80 to $100 a month in Bahia de La Paz. Our recollection was that they were but a fraction of that.

As for complete rubbish, where did you get the hilarious idea that the so-called 'cruiser boycott' of New Zealand cost the Kiwis $600 million in yachtie business? Since something less than 300 foreign yachts visit New Zealand each winter, it would mean that each one of them would have to normally spend $2 million. Somehow we don't think that's true. Indeed, there is little evidence that the boycott cost the Kiwi marine industry anything at all ÷ let alone $600 million.

The unfortunate consequence of the half-truths, factual errors and nonsense that seem to eminate from inactive and former cruisers in La Paz is that over time, their complaints and arguments aren't taken very seriously.

While reasonable people may disagree with us, we think the Shroyers ÷ who you've somehow enobled with your somewhat lewd and juvenile taunts ÷ offered the best counsel when they suggested that cruisers refrain from ranting about the safety inspections and stay calm. If you've been in La Paz for awhile, you know that officials there have forever been instituting new fees or coming up with novel interpretations of the law that would require small payments. But you also know that most of these new fees and regulations have either been ignored or blew over in a month or two.

Our feeling is that the worst possible thing gringos in La Paz could do is make a loud and public stink to challenge the resolve and authority of the Port Captain. "Haven't those fools learned anything about Mexican culture?" one cruiser asked. Even if a ranting campaign were to succeed in the short run, humiliated authorities could easily take revenge by making life miserable for you and all future cruisers.

It's true that the Shroyers have long had business interests in La Paz, but at least they understand the culture and how to respond to problems. And like it or not, through the Marina Association and other avenues, the Shroyers and other marina operators have contributed much to the happiness of cruisers ÷ even cruisers who've never stayed in their marinas. Can we all say Import Permits? Can we all remember what it was like when foreign boats that stayed in Mexico for more than six months were supposed to be supervised by a marina? Few cruisers have any idea how much people like the Shroyers and others in the marine industry have done behind the scenes on behalf of all cruisers. We're not nominating them for sainthood or anything, but think your comments aren't deserved.

We also think it's important for gringos who are basically homesteading on their boats in Bahia de La Paz to periodically remember that they are the guests of a foreign country, and that Bahia de La Paz wasn't created specifically so they could have a lovely place to live rent free or store their boats. Can you imagine what it would be like if the 400 boats now in dry storage were still anchored out unattended? Can you imagine the uproar if several hundred Mexican cruisers ÷ or shrimp boats ÷ tried to anchor rent-free for several years in San Diego Bay, Newport Harbor, or San Francisco Bay? The louder floating homesteaders in La Paz complain about how bad they have it, the more they demonstrate their lack of knowledge about the rest of the cruising world.

The truth of the matter is that cruising in Mexico has been and continues to be an incredibly great deal for cruisers. As such, we're frankly embarrassed that a group of mostly inactive cruisers would make such a tempest in a teapot over minor safety inspection fees that are likely to be history in a matter of months. And even if this segment of the cruising community is completely right in their evaluation of the legality of the inspections ÷ which we think they are ÷ we think they're blowing it with their entirely inappropriate responses.

÷ THE SAFETY INSPECTIONS IN LA PAZ ARE ILLEGAL

It will be in everyone's best interest if the cruisers in Mexico read the following information very carefully, but the Port Captain in La Paz was making a mistake when he said that Article 4 of Ley Navegaou gives him the authority to conduct safety inspections on all boats ÷ as was reported in last month's Sightings. In condensed form, this is what Ley Navegaou says:

÷ That the Port Captain has the authority to inspect Mexican vessels.

÷ That Mexico has jurisdiction over Mexican flag vessels no matter where in the world they are, and jurisdiction over foreign vessels that are in Mexican waters.

÷ That foreign vessels in Mexican waters must adhere to Mexican law ÷ but very importantly, it does not enumerate any specific regulation or law.

All of the things above make Mexican maritime law very similar to U.S. maritime law. And here's the important thing: As is the case with U.S. maritime law, it is specifically superceded by international treaty ÷ in this case the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This convention can be thought of as the international constitution that governs the seas ÷ as agreed to by the signatories. I don't know if there are any maritime nations that are not signatories, but Mexico certainly is one.

Part VII, Section 1, (General Provisions) of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea discusses nationality of ships in Article 91, and status of ships in Article 92. Basically, these relate to the right of nations to designate who flies their flag. Article 94, 'Duties of the flag State', very specifically states that the flag State is responsible for ensuring safety at sea with regard to "the construction, equipment and seaworthiness of ships; the manning of ships, labor conditions and the training of crews . . . the use of signals, the maintenance of communications and the prevention of collisions . . . that each ship, before registration and thereafter at appropriate intervals. . . has on board such charts, nautical publications and navigational equipment and instruments as are appropriate for the safe navigation of the ship."

It continues with many more provisions relating to crew qualifications ÷ and then addresses the question of what occurs if a State believes that another State is not "exercising proper jurisdiction and control with respect to a ship" carrying that State's flag. The process is not for the one State to conduct safety inspections, but rather to complain to the State whose flag the offending vessel flies.

In Section 3, "Innocent Passage in the Territorial Sea", Subsection A "Rules Applicable To All Ships", Article 17 "Right of Innocent Passage", says "Subject to this Convention, ships of all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea." Article 21, "Laws and regulations of the coastal State relating to innocent passage", part one, says that "The coastal State may adopt laws and regulations, in conformity with the provisions of this Convention and other rules of international laws, relating to innocent passage through the territorial sea, in respect of all or any of the following:" which includes many provisions, one of which is "the safety of navigation and the regulation of maritime traffic". Part two then sets limits to the above: "Such laws and regulations shall not apply to the design, construction, manning or equipment of foreign ships unless they are giving effect to generally accepted international rules or standards."

To summarize the above, the flag State is responsible for safety standards on its flag vessels. I would assume that for purposes of this law a vessel with a state registration is the same as a federally documented vessel ÷ although I honestly don't know. So Mexico can only enforce safety standards on its own vessels ÷ although it can do it no matter where they are. As we know, the U.S. Coast Guard can enforce U.S. standards on U.S. flag vessels no matter where in the world they are.

So what to do? In my humble opinion, boatowners in La Paz or someone representing groups of boatowners in La Paz should contact Captain Rebolledo, Director Capitanias, Marina Mercante y Puertos, in Mexico City. He is the head of all the port captains and can be reached at: 5 - 604 - 4884 or 5 - 604 - 8157. The most effective strategy will be to politely report what is happening in La Paz, and why you are complaining. Above all, show respect and refrain from any threats or saber rattling! Do not say you are going to the U.S. Embassy, the press, or anything of the sort.

Expect him to give you a brusque and defensive reply, and assume that he will likely defend his Port Captain. Do not provoke or allow yourself to be provoked. When you've had your modulated say, thank him for his time ÷ and then sit back and see what takes place. Left to his own devices, the Port Captain will likely intercede. But let him find his way.

Above all, do not fall into or let others fall into the common cruiser trap of getting on a high horse and saying what an asset to La Paz the cruising fleet is! It would, however, be most appropriate to say that you and most of the cruisers are retirees simply trying to enjoy the charms of Mexico. It would also be appropriate to point out how long you have been here without ever having to have a safety inspection. Make sure anyone contacting the head of Port Captains will use discretion for it will only take one hothead to make a mess of everything.

'Captain Zorro'

Onboard, Baja California Sur

Readers ÷ 'Captain Zorro' has many years of both cruising in the Sea of Cortez and working with government agencies that have jurisdiction over Mexico's marinas and waterfront. He knows the law, and he knows the culture of the government. As such, we completely agree with his recommendations.

÷ MORE FEES AND CHARGES IN MEXICO

Good morning cruisers ÷ remember that line? The new fees and charges ÷ along with the existing ones ÷ can bring your bare bones entry into Mexico to between $1,500 and $2,400 per year.

If this is not a problem, then consider the new restrictions with respect to the recently newly enacted 'park areas' in the Sea of Cortez. For example, cruisers in the Loreto area are now required to have a number attached to their vessels if they are going to be spending much time there. Furthermore, cruisers are now requested to check in by radio when they arrive, and advise the 'park ranger' about what time they anchor and leave each anchorage. You're supposed to do this in advance.

In the La Paz area, there is a similar situation ÷ but you have to check in with the Port Captain. They also want to know your projected itinerary.

At present, there is no funding for enforcement vessels or personnel at the islands, but given the new fees, there will be funds by next year.

The irony of the whole protective aspect is that cruisers had no part in the overfishing or using dynamite and/or bleach to capture the last fish and crab. The well-equipped pangas and larger commercial vessels did a good job of that.

A good example of the 'ecological mindset was best expressed by Mike McGettengan, a leader of Sea Watch, in a recent article of the Gringo Gazette. He reported on the seizure of a 85-foot longliner in Mag Bay which had tons of illegally caught marlin, dorado and swordfish in her hold. But get this: the vessel is owned by Alfonso Rosinol, President of the Mexican Federation of Fisheries.

Here is the following list of fees and other charges:

1) Fishing permit for boat and all persons onboard. Yearly.

2) Visa, tourist card. Required of each person, which must be renewed annually.

3) Anchoring fee when not in a marina, daily.

4) Safety inspection fee, yearly.

5) Temporary Import Permit after six months. Good for 10 years.

6) Permits for purchase of water and fuel, now in effect in San Carlos, Mag Bay ÷ and soon to be expanded to all the fuel docks on the west coast of Mexico.

7) Cruising Permit for each specific jurisdiction. Time line unknown.

8) Marina fee slips ÷ now higher than in the United States.

9) Insurance, for vessel and personal liability, now to be enforced.

You will soon see an A.P.I. office at all major ports. The A.Y.I. is the fee collecting agency.

Storm Rider

Puerto Escondido, Baja

Storm Rider ÷ We think you need a new calculator. Having just had Profligate return from six months in Mexico, we're mystified where you came up with the $1,500 to $2,500 U.S. in "bare bones" fees. So let's check your list.

1) Fishing permit for boat and each member of the crew. Nobody is required to get a fishing license unless they want to fish ÷ which is the same as in the United States. If the fees help preserve and protect the Mexican fishery, we're all for them. Before any cruisers bellyache too much about the fishing fees, let's take a minute to remember that some cruisers fish without licenses ÷ and how almost all cruisers have broken Mexican fishery law by taking or buying lobster and other shellfish.

2) Visa and tourist cards. A visa costs what, $20 for six months? We're told that's about half of what visas cost for the United States. Tourist cards are free.

3) Anchoring fee when not in a marina. Profligate anchored all over Baja and the mainland this winter and never paid any anchoring fees. If we're not mistaken, such fees are only assessed in major ports where inactive or former cruisers tend to live on their boats for months ÷ if not years ÷ at a time. So this fee rarely if ever applies.

4) Safety inspection fee. This only applies to the subset of inactive cruising boats and only in La Paz. It's also being contested and will likely be eliminated soon. In any event, it's only a few bucks.

5) Temporary Import Permit. This only applies to boats staying for more than six months ÷ and is a huge improvement over the arrangement, or more accurately chaos ÷ that preceeded it. And at $20 it's hardly a bank-buster. In theory, the Import Permit helps cruisers bring in replacement boat gear duty-free. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. It's worth noting that cruisers, no matter if they have Import Permits or not, sneak tons of replacement and other gear into Mexico duty-free anyway.

6) "Soon-to-be-expanded program of permits being required to take on fuel and water." In the last 25 years, there have been countless fee or permit programs that were going to be established in Mexico but never came to pass or lasted more than a few months. As with everything in Mexico, we'll believe something when we see it. During the last six months, we paid no fees to take on fuel or water ÷ although we were charged a whopping $35 dock fee when we took on fuel in Puerto Vallarta.

7) Cruising permits required for each jurisdiction. We've been cruising our boats in Mexico for nearly 20 years and have never been asked or required to get a cruising permit. Once again, we'll believe it when we see it.

8) Marina slip fees, now higher than in the United States. First of all, this claim is not necessarily true. For example, 40-foot slips in Newport Beach run as high as $1,000 a month, while a 40-foot slip at Isla Mazatlan can run as low as $175 a month ÷ and that includes the 15% tax. Another thing to remember is that most marinas in Mexico are full-time residences for many cruisers and offer many more amenities than at typical marinas.

It's nonetheless true that most Mexican marinas are quite expensive. But since they have long waiting lists in the season, it's not as though they are charging more than the market can bear. Most importantly, one of the greatest things about cruising Mexico is that there are a zillion terrific places to anchor for free, so nobody ever has to pay for a marina slip. In fact, why anyone lucky enough to be able to spend full time on their boat in Mexico would stay in a marina more than a couple of times a month is a mystery to us.

9) Personal boat and liability insurance is required. While all cruising boats are supposed to have this ÷ many don't ÷ Mexicans boats have to have it, too. It's not that expensive.

Without using a calculator or anything, we figure the 'bare bones' fees required to cruise Mexico each year is more like $100 than $2,500. As such, if you're trying to portray the Mexican government as a bunch of bad guys trying to screw cruisers, the charge doesn't carry much weight with us. We hate to sound like a broken record, but we're going to say it again, Mexico is a really terrific deal for cruisers.

÷ 9 OUT OF 10 SAILBOATS HAVE ELECTRIC MOTORS

The Chesapeake Sailing School in Annapolis has electric trolling motors on nine of their 10 Tanzer 22s. The Tanzers are used for classes, club racing and daysailing rentals ÷ and are therefore somewhat akin to the Santana 22s on S.F. Bay.

CSS's dock is about half a mile up Back Creek, so the motors get used for departure, docking and in Back Creek. IČve had both the gas outboard and electric trolling motors on these boats, and found that you can't beat the electric trolling motors for convenience. They are fiddle-free and much lighter than a gas outboard. The battery lives in the fuel locker. You just lock the motor down, twist the throttle, and go.

When docking, you donČt have to back off the engine speed, reach over and back for the gearshift, and wonder if the motor will sputter out at exactly the wrong time. The trolling motors have plenty of power to move and maneuver the 2,900-pound Tanzer 22 in the usually quiet waters of Back Creek, so they are excellent for this purpose.

Chesapeake Sailing School keeps all their boats and equipment in excellent condition, so I have never had a problem with a low battery. I believe they connect the batteries to chargers each night. There was one time, though, when I wished I had a gas outboard. We had just come about and were headed for home when the wind died. Fortunately, the tide wasn't a big factor at that time of day ÷ although it certainly wasn't in my favor. Like every sailboat on the water, we were stuck. My wife asked if I had any ideas that didn't include quietly drifting out to sea. I told her to tip the motor down, twist the handle, and "start docking from out here" ÷ and that it would just take longer. It did take longer, as I think we were at the practical limit of a trolling motor.

My feeling is that more horsepower than an electric trolling motor provides would be needed for S.F. Bay if the wind dies.

Bill Schaumburg

Whichever Tanzer 22 Goes Out Next

Newton, New Jersey

÷ ELECTRIC OUTBOARDS

I have enjoyed four years of outboard-free sailing on the Bay aboard my Ranger 22. A 32-lb thrust Minn Kota trolling motor connected to a 115 amp-hour sealed marine battery located belowdecks provides reliable and silent 2.5 knots of auxiliary power. My boat weighs between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds ÷ she's a 'quarter tonner' and therefore considerably lighter than the popular Ranger 23. The electric motor is mounted on an outboard bracket.

I recently purchased a 52-lb thrust Minn Kota, removed the control head and transom mount, reducing the engine to a one-forward-speed stalk-with-motor. A copper pipe 'T' was added to the stalk, allowing the motor to mount into the two-inch round opening in my reverse transom. I then purchased a male and female trolling motor plug set, and mounted the receptacle in the cockpit along with a turnkey battery switch. A one-amp battery charger completed the installation.

This arrangement allows a quiet beginning and end to my sails out of Ballena Bay. I remove the engine completely from the stern and stow it below while sailing.

It usually takes about 15 minutes to get in and out of the marina, for a total running time of 30 minutes. Thanks to a tremendous ebb and no wind, I recently had occasion for an endurance test ÷ two hours. Sixty percent of the battery was discharged.

I would be glad to provide more details to anyone interested. Contact me at aeverett@ix.netcom.com.

Bob Spencer

Yes!

Ballena Isle Marine, Alameda

÷ DIESEL ELECTRIC PROPULSION

I was wondering if anyone has any information about using a diesel-electric propulsion system on a small boat. I'm referring to a system such as the kind used on modern railroad locomotives, where a diesel engine furnishes power for a DC generator, which furnishes power to a DC motor, which drives the locomotive. The advantages might include, no need for a transmission, the ability to locate a generator/main engine in the boat without regard to drive-shaft issues, plenty of electricity for other uses such as refrigeration, autopilots, lights, heaters, and so forth.

Apparently, the inherent inefficiencies in changing energy states from diesel oil, to DC electricity, to propulsion were overcome by railroads using 1950's technology. It seems to me that there must be some major impediments to using such systems in small boats or it would be a popular system. Any idea what these disadvantages are?

Jackson Underwood

Shamanita, Yamaha 25

San Diego

Jackson ÷ We don't know what the disadvantages are, but we could hazard a wild guess: weight. It's essential that locomotives be heavy. It's good for boats not to be too heavy.

÷ WHERE DO I GET MY AVON CERTIFIED?

I'm writing to ask if you know where I can get an Avon 8-person cannister liferaft serviced. The one we have says it was serviced by Willard Marine Services and Sales in San Francisco, but I can't find them listed anywhere ÷ and have no idea how long ago it was serviced by them.

P.S. Love the magazine.

April Winship

Northern California

April ÷ Try Sal's at (510) 522-1824 or Hewitt Industrial Supply at (415) 371-1054. Both are authorized Avon service centers.

÷ CATALINA 30

A couple of months ago, Steve Klein wrote in asking for your advice and suggestions for a boat in the 30 to 35-foot range that has a decent one-design racing fleet with spinnaker, that can be sailed short-handed, and is suitable for family cruising. After all of your good advice, I would like to suggest that an excellent choice was inadvertently overlooked by you: the Catalina 30. For San Francisco Bay, I would recommend a standard as opposed to tall rig.

San Francisco Bay has a one-design racing schedule, and the boats are also one of the roomiest for cruising. The Catalina 30 may not be the fastest 30-footer on the Bay, but when set up for racing they are competitive in PHRF and a blast to race one-design. Catalina 30s love the wind, and if you can make one go in light air, you can make any boat move.

Last but not least, the Catalina 30 is one of the most affordable boats in this size range. The relatively low cost is one of the reasons why over 7,000 of them have been sold. Walk around any marina and you'll see them. Most were purchased for casual daysailing and pleasure cruising, but most people don't have any idea how fun they are to race.

Last September we held the Catalina 30 Nationals in San Diego and divided the boats into three classes. Three were one-design: a tall rig spinnaker class, a standard rig spinnaker class, and a standard rig non-spinnaker class. The last two classes were for non-spinnaker boats with handicaps. Out of town skippers were able to participate with loaner boats and by crewing on local boats.

For more information about the Catalina 30, see the International Catalina 30 Association web page at www.cata-lina30.com. For Catalina 30 information on San Francisco Bay, contact Tom Charron at (510) 658-1705 or see the site at tomcharron@aol.com.

Mike Roll

Commodore, International Catalina 30 Association

San Diego

÷ NO WAY TO TURN IT OFF

I picked up an Eska 2.0 CID outboard motor at a marine flea market for $20. IČve not tried to do much with it yet ÷ mostly because if I got it started, I wouldn't know how to shut it off ÷ short of waiting for it to run out of gas. And that's just not practical.

I found an address for the company somewhere in Iowa and wrote them a letter, but it was returned. Does anybody know where I might be able to get an old owner's manual? I need to know the point gap, how to turn it off, and the other basics. I believe itČs model #14220B, serial #02001107.

Paul Berger

Cyberspace

Paul ÷ Eska used to make outboard and trolling motors that were sold under Sears, J.C. Penny, Western Auto and Montgomery Wards brands. It was purchased in 1988 by Certified Parts Corporation of Jacksonville, Wisconsin. The good news is that CPC continues to purchase and assemble all the major repair components for Eska units ÷ including the 2 h.p. model. Contact them at (608) 752-9441 for further information.

÷ PLANNING TO SAIL TO THE MARQUESAS

You have a great web site and a great magazine. I'm considering a cruise from San Francisco to the Marquesas and Tahiti with some friends. Can you recommend of any good planning resources?

Kyle Strand

Cyberspace

Kyle ÷ We'd like to help you out, but you need to be a little more specific about what kind of planning you need to do. Are you talking about what you need in a boat and gear, what the weather will be like, what the best course might be, what will be required in bonds, when there are cyclones? If you read Changes and the articles in Latitude, you'll quickly pick up all the basics, at which time we'll be happy to try to fill in any blanks.

÷ DOES CRUISING HAVE TO BE COMPLICATED?

I live aboard in San Diego and plan to head south ÷ for the third time ÷ next fall either on my own, with crew, or crewing for someone else. But the more I read about other cruisers, the more it seems that cruising is becoming more complicated. Is it true that we must now all have a GPS or two, a liferaft and an EPIRB? And in addition, a radar, laptop computer with weatherfax, SSB, watermaker, refrigeration, pressure water, TV, VCR, microwave and so forth? In the past, cruisers have gone to sea without all these 'improvements'. Lyn and Larry Pardey for one ÷ or should I say two?

Are there still cruisers who go voyaging without an engine, and with just the basics of compass, log, charts, sextant and depthsounder?

Are their people out there who have left their complicated lives ashore ÷ and are not recomplicating them with excess gear while cruising? Who believe that it is by increasing our skills and living in harmony with the ocean that we become safer ÷ as opposed to becoming safer by increasing the number of gadgets which ultimately can't always be trusted and must be backed up anyway? People who refuse to become equipment operators, and who value the satisfaction that comes from doing things the hard way? And who see the value of independence, simplicity, solitude, silence and being still?

I'd love to hear from these people or see their stories or letters in Latitude.

P.S. I'd like to compliment you and your staff on a first class sailing magazine. My favorite parts are the Letters and stories by fellow cruisers. And I'm sorry to hear that Coast Watch will be no more.

Barbara Molin

seagypsygirl@hotmail.com

Kelowna, British Columbia

Barbara ÷ Thanks for the nice words. We're also going to miss Coast Watch. Opinions about what cruising gear simplifies or complicates life are like elbows: everybody has a couple. Let's go over your list:

If you're looking for simplified cruising, we suggest that you take two handheld GPS units and an old guidebook to Mexico ÷ in which case you certainly wouldn't have to spend money on or clutter up your boat with a compass, knotmeter, log and sextant. Indeed, a GPS and a bunch of batteries have turned what used to be 'basics' into what cruising minimalists would call wretched excess. Based on personal experience, we also know it's possible to happily cruise Mexico without a depthsounder, the last of your 'basics'. A depthsounder is nice, of course, but a leadline can handle most of the important tasks.

This isn't to say some greatly experienced sailors wouldn't disagree with our view. The guy in the photo is Bob Mercer, who was learning to take sun shots on the way from Seattle to San Francisco during one of John and Amanda Neal's more recent Offshore Sailing Seminars on Mahina Tiare. We have no idea why they still teach sextant use on all their trips, but they do. Similarly, long-time cruisers Ty and Toni Knudsen recently bought a new sextant ÷ see Sightings next month on their impending cruise to South America. Ty isn't exactly sure why he bought one either. But rest assured, that when it's overcast and/or gets foggy, both the Neals and the Knudsens rely on their GPS units.

We think EPIRBs are essential for all boats that sail more than 25 miles offshore. In fact, given the tremendous number of lives they have saved and because of all the valuable resources they have prevented from being squandered while searching the oceans for people, we think EPIRBs should be mandatory equipment on all boats that sail more than 25 miles offshore. See this month's Changes for yet another example of how an EPIRB helped save two lives at sea.

When we took our monohulls offshore, we always had a liferaft. But some very experienced cruisers ÷ like the Knudsens ÷ make long cruises without them. In most such cases, provisions have been made to use the inflatable as the liferaft.

Radar love! Having spent way too many anxious foggy hours off the coasts of California and Mexico in the '70s and '80s listening to the approach of unseen ships, we never want to be that vulnerable again. So we love radar, which makes cruising so much more safer and relaxing. If somebody would prefer to flounder around blind in a busy shipping lane or have to make a blind landfall during a heavy squall, far be it from us to deny them that pleasure, but we'll take radar every time. Lowell North, however, is one who disagrees with us. After completing his circumnavigation, he told us that radar really wasn't important except in the few parts of the world where fog can be a problem.

Laptop computer and/or weatherfax? Steve Salmon and Tina Olton did a cruise to the South Pacific about 15 years ago, and currently they're about 3/4s of the way around the world on a circumnavigation. Looking back on their first cruise, they feel they were almost irresponsible for not knowing more about the weather before taking off on each leg. They know much more about the weather ÷ and are thankful for it. We never had a weatherfax in all the years we owned Big O. In retrospect, we'd have sure felt stupid ÷ or worse ÷ if we'd ignorantly sailed into a severe storm and have somebody get hurt as a result.

A SSB has three primary uses: To gather weather information, to send email and/or chat with friends, and for communication in emergencies. But lots of folks cruise to Mexico without them. If Profligate wasn't the mother ship in the Ha-Ha each winter, we probably wouldn't have one either. But for people who like to stay in contact with family back home or sailing friends making the same passage, or folks who are going beyond Mexico into the South Pacific, SSB and/or Ham radio is very popular.

Cruisers are split over watermakers. Some people ÷ particularly those who enjoy long showers ÷ think they are indispensible. Others think they're not worth the trouble required to install and maintain. We tend to be in the latter school. For the last three winters our 30/gal/hour watermaker has been in our garage while our boat has been in Mexico. We haven't missed it. The Knudsens used to collect all their water in the South Pacific with boat awnings and such. Now that they're headed for dryer climes, they've purchased a watermaker. It's a personal choice.

Cruisers are split on refrigeration the same way they are split on watermakers: Is the cost and maintenance worth it? We cruised Mexico for several years with refrigeration, and several years without it. We could be happy either way.

Doña de Mallorca frequently complains because there is no pressure water for showers aboard Profligate, so everybody has to use gravity-fed Sun Showers. Eventually the boat will get showers, but so far life has been simple without them ÷ and the Wanderer hasn't had to worry about carrying or making anywhere near as much water. Profligate is outfitted with a pressure water pump for the galley sink. It's nice, but tends to waste more water than a hand-pump would. So pressure water isn't that big a deal at all.

Profligate is not currently equipped with a television, VCR or microwave ÷ and they're not expected onboard anytime soon. Yet lots of folks who've been out cruising a long time tell us they really enjoy staying in touch with civilization through movies and stuff. So to each their own.

There are still a few folks who go out cruising without an engine, but not many. We love to sail, and even a zephyr is usually enough to satisfy us. Nonetheless, there are times and situations ÷ trying to round Conception in sloppy seas or trying to make port before a big blow arrives ÷ when we think not having an engine would be the height of foolishness ÷ if not irresponsibility. But engines are expensive and require lots of maintenance.

All the 'improvements' you mention have one or two purposes: Increased safety and/or increased convenience. Personally speaking, we feel that things that make sailing safer are worth the extra expense and complications. When it comes to things that make life onboard merely more convenient ÷ while at the same time more complicated ÷ they just aren't as important. But each cruiser can choose from the buffet of things he wants or doesn't want.

÷ I ADMIRED HIS SHAMELESS LIBERATION

Although I met Shimon Van Collie earlier, it was while sailing with him as part of the Leading Lady crew that I got to know him best. He was rather quiet, the kind of quiet that comes from being an observer of human nature ÷ like most good writers. His appreciation of life and of people was reflected by a bemused twinkle in his eyes.

Like me, Shimon grew up in a middle class community in New England with a 99% white populace. While I was comfortable with that, and in fact never gave it much thought, my impression was that Shimon was always trying to climb out of that box. His lifetime seemed an effort to break out, to cross racial and cultural lines. Shimon lived the noble dream that we all talk about, where there are no labels and all people are one.

Less than two years ago, I was reading my morning newspaper and there was a story that said Shimon-Craig Van Collie had won the 'dancing fool' contest and would be Grand Marshall of the Solano Stroll parade. Wow! I couldnČt miss that! I was in Oregon the night before, but I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and drove two hours to the airport, caught the earliest flight back to Oakland, and drove as fast as I could to Albany to catch the parade. Finally, Shimon came gyrating down the street in a colorful satin costume, soaked in sweat from the brilliant heat of the morning sun, at the head of a band of half-naked women. I admire that kind of shameless liberation in people.

In early December, Tom Wylie and I went to visit Shimon. He was already bedecked in chemo hair, thin, tired, and in obvious pain. But I was glad to see the bemused look still gleaming in his eyes. He spoke of the joy of vivid memories, being able to relive the delight of sailing and of dancing the parades over again in his mind. One wistful comment struck me particularly, "I guess those were my two things, leading the parades and windsurfing the Farallones." I guess he meant it was his time in the limelight but I was stunned that he didnČt mention his body of work: hundreds of articles and several books. Certainly whatever renown Tom and I have is at least partly due to ShimonČs writing.

We were planning a last sailing trip together, along with his wife and son, just two days before he passed away.

Jim Antrim

El Sobrante

÷ WHERE TO LOOK FOR A GIB'SEA

In the April issue, Syd Hudspith asked where to find out about GibČSea boats. I can report that in 1986 they were advertising 24, 40 and 52 foot sailboats, of which only the 24 had a swing keel. There were also 50 sales or service centers in France back then.

Gibert Marine, which manufactured the line, was headquartered at Marans on the west coast of France near La Rochelle. Beneteau, Jeanneau and Dufour were located within 100 kilometers, making for a cluster of boatbuilders not unlike Southern California in the late '60s and early '70s.

If Hudspith is really looking for a French swing keel boat, he might want to check out the Ovni model beachable swing keel beachable aluminum monohulls in the 40-foot range. A good place to look for these would be in the French sailing magazine Bateaux. It's available on any magazine rack ÷ in France, anyway!

Jim Crittenden

Flyer, Columbia 8.7

San Rafael


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