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NORTH FROM LOS ANGELES TO SAN FRANCISCO
I'm looking to buy a Dreadnought 32 out of L.A., and I need to bring her home to the Bay. What's the best way? I looked into hiring a professional delivery skipper, but it's very expensive. I had a Pearson 33 once that I often sailed alone. My sailing skills are all right, but the coast is unknown.
David R. Prince
David - You've got three options: Truck your boat, hire somebody else to motor/sail it up, or bring it up yourself. If time is money for you, and you have to haul the boat out to have her surveyed anyway, trucking might make a lot of sense. If not, you either have to hire a skipper and crew, or do it yourself. Or, there is the old hybrid solution: hire a delivery skipper for just the tough part from Conception to Monterey, while you do the easier parts at the beginning and the end. In general, we would discourage anyone from attempting Conception to Monterey singlehanded.
Getting a boat from L.A. to San Francisco on her own bottom is similar to climbing a ladder - you don't want to be in a hurry, and you want to take it one step at a time. The trip from L.A. to Santa Barbara - and even Point Conception - should be easy enough if you stay pretty close to the coast, although you might get a little wind and some seas near Pt. Dume.
Where you're most likely to run into tough conditions is the 170 miles between Conception and Monterey. Sometimes it's no problem. For example, when Profligate came up the coast May 12 and 13, the delivery skipper and crew never saw even 10 knots of wind and the sea was like a pancake. But when the skipper and another delivery crew had tried to make the same trip 10 days earlier, they were hit by winds gusting to more than 60 knots - according to the tug skipper next to them - and even worse, seas officially recorded at being in excess of 23 feet. The crew did, however, ignore gale warnings in order to find themselves in this situation.
The strategy for getting from Conception to Monterey is to hang out at Cojo in the shadow of Conception for as long as it takes to get a good weather window for the 45-mile trip to Port San Luis, a great shelter against the prevailing northwesterlies. Many folks leave in the middle of the night, when the wind sometimes eases up. If the weather turns real bad en route, you may have to bail out and head back around Conception. From Port San Luis, it's only about 20 miles around to Morro Bay, where the folks at the Morro Bay YC are known for world class hospitality. Caution: The entrance to Morro Bay is subject to closure during times of high surf.
It's 30 miles from Port San Luis - and 15 miles from Morro Bay - to San Simeon, which also provides excellent shelter in northwesterlies. Again, you may have to wait for a weather window to do that passage in comfort.
From San Simeon, it's about 80 miles to Stillwater Cove and 95 miles to Monterey - and in our estimation that's the worst part of the coast, for in the time it takes to cover 80 miles in a 32-foot boat, the weather can turn from acceptable to bad. This is particularly true near Pt. Sur, which can be a real bitch, and is often harder to get around than Conception. Some fishermen and delivery skippers take refuge at Pfeiffer Cove, about seven miles southeast of Pt. Sur. We wouldn't recommend doing it for the first time in fog or at night.
Once you get to Stillwater Cove or Monterey, you're about 90 miles from the Bay, and you can pick your weather for intermediate hops - if necessary - to Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay.
To summarize our advice for deliveries
north: 1) Above all, don't be in a rush, for if you take on the
Central Coast weather, it will kick your ass. 2) Fall and winter
are the best times to come north. 3) When you get a weather window,
go like hell for as long as the window is open. 3) Always know
where you're going to bail to if the weather turns bad, and stick
close to the coast so you can reach your refuge before things
really get bad. 4) Dress warm. Really warm.
THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME
When you wrote your April article about West Coast circumnavigators, you forgot about us. We're Conrad and Charlotte Skladal of the 43-foot Wisp. We started our circumnavigation in March of '83, and returned 14 years later in June of '97.
Charlotte, who is a mechanical engineer, did the design, which features a full keel with a cutaway forefoot. She also coordinated the construction of the fiberglass boat. Conrad did the actual building. Construction took two years, with another year spent on the final trim and other details. We built just about everything but the winches and engine. For instance, we built a wood mast - based on the screwy idea that the rest of the world was mostly apes swinging from trees - so we could make repairs on it if necessary.
Our route took us from San Francisco to the Marquesas, Tahiti, the Cooks and Suvarov, American and Western Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, Australia, up to Papua New Guinea, and back down the east coast of Australia to Sydney. We then crossed the Tasman Sea to visit New Zealand again, before continuing up through New Caledonia to Rabaul, New Guinea again, the Hermit Islands, over to the Philippines and Hong Kong for six months, then back to the Philippines after the cyclone season. We next sailed down to Borneo and Singapore, to the east and west coasts of Malaysia, up to Thailand, to the Chagos Archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya for 18 months, then down the east coast of Africa to South Africa for 15 months. We next crossed the Atlantic to Barbados, Puerto Rico, and Ft. Lauderdale. Twice we went up the IntraCoastal Waterway to New England, then over to the Bahamas and through the Panama Canal in January, 1996. We cruised north to Costa Rica, then over to Hawaii and back to San Francisco. We dropped anchor off Sausalito on June 23, 1997. It had been the adventure of a lifetime!
While everywhere is different, we particularly enjoyed New Zealand, with Australia a distant second. It's noteworthy that English is spoken in both places. Fiji was very nice, and we were surprised how advanced a country it was. South Africa was wonderful, and the west coast of Africa - especially Kenya - was very enjoyable. We were in no hurry, so we tended to stay places for six months to a year, which gave us time to become part of each community. Because we weren't in a hurry, we usually sailed the boat at about five knots. We often could have gone faster, but we were more interested in comfort than speed. We did fly home from time to time to visit family and friends, and fortunately didn't sell our house in Sunnyvale.
We currently keep Wisp in Coyote Point, and sail her from time to time. During our circumnavigation we kept her in excellent condition. Now that we're home, that energy tends to go more into the house than the boat.
We're ticked off about one thing in Latitude. During our journey, we sailed over a log that was 60 feet long and three feet in diameter. There was no damage to our full keel boat. I later wrote a letter expressing the opinion that a full keel boat such as ours is safer for cruising than fin keel boats with spade rudders. The editor disagreed, saying that fin keel boats were better in storms because they could safely run off. We didn't like the reply because a friend of ours was lost off his fin keel boat during a storm off Africa. We still think full keel boats are safer for cruising.
Conrad and Charlotte Skladal
Wisp, Custom 43
PIDGEON AND VOSS
In your 'Rounders' Roundup article, you overlooked Harry Pidgeon, the first man to complete a circumnavigation from the West Coast. Harry was the second man to complete a solo-circumnavigation, and the first to have done it twice. Around the World SingleHanded, The Cruise of the Islander, the book Harry wrote about his first circumnavigation, is, in my opinion, one of the best small boat voyaging books ever written. It's still in print and can be found in many major bookstores. To me, the appeal of Harry's story is that he actually enjoyed his voyage. It wasn't something he undertook as a stunt or to escape from society. He ends his book with the statement, "Those days were the freest and happiest of my life."
Another early West Coast voyager of note was Captain John Voss, who set out from Victoria, B.C. on the Tilikum in 1901, with the intention of circumnavigating. Captain Voss's voyage was not singlehanded, however, and he ended his voyage in London in 1903.
I'd hoped that by now someone would have noted the omission of Harry Pidgeon from your list of West Coast circumnavigators. Harry twice singlehanded around the world with his 34-ft gaff yawl Islander.
Please forgive me if my recollections are off, as it's been some time since I last talked with Harry, but as I recall, he was a railroader from somewhere back east who retired to San Pedro with his wife in the late '20s. He studied boat-building, seamanship, and navigation in the local San Pedro Library, then went on to take the tests. Armed with Rudder magazine's plans and instruction booklet titled How to Build a Seabird, which was a 26-foot hard-chine gaff yawl, Harry built the scaled up 34-foot version. He did the construction on a sandspit above the high tide line next to a lumber yard in Wilmington. The boat was mostly built of fir, and took him about a year to complete. She would never have an engine. After launching, Harry sailed the boat in local waters, to Catalina, and to some of the other Channel Islands. When he felt he had it together, he set off in a westerly direction, and did the rounding.
He wrote a book - Around the World Singlehanded, the Cruise of the Islander - detailing his trip and experiences. After the book-writing, he set off and sailed around the world again in order to check out places he missed the first time. His book is still available at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Gift Shop, Berth 84, Foot of Sixth Street, San Pedro, California 90731, $8.95, illustrations and photos. The Museum has a display of Harry, his trips, and some of his things from his voyaging.
At the first L.A. Boat Show - which was in the late '40s after the war - Harry and the Islander were a featured attraction on the grass at the Coliseum. Islander had been hauled, trucked uptown, and set next to the Kettenburg display with PC #73, with George and/or Paul Kettenberg answering questions. I went aboard and visited with Harry. Islander and Harry were looking well-traveled. It's not surprising, as he didn't start his circumnavigations until he was into his 50s.
Harry's third try was with his wife, and had a bad ending. Islander dragged anchor during a storm in a South Pacific lagoon and was lost. The last time I saw Harry and his wife, they were finishing off a 26-foot Seabird that had been framed and planked by a woodshop teacher at San Pedro High. They were going to make another try at going around, but were really getting along in years. I don't think they ever completed the job.
Much of my information comes from memory of reports in the local newspaper, which kept track of Harry as something of a celebrity - much more so than his friends and neighbors who were afloat at California Yacht Basin off 22nd Street. The others included Heifitz on Serenade, Bogart on Santana, and Haden on Brigadoon.
Robert - Your recollection of conversations
with Pidgeon are amazing, as he died way back in '54. Our omission
of Pidgeon was indeed a glaring oversight, as he was a remarkable
person. We particularly like his perspective on circumnavigations:
"You can sail for one day, can't you? That's all it is, one
day after another." We'll have a more detailed report on
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BERTHS
We're looking for some strategic advice. We have a Brown 40 trimaran that we'll be leaving Seattle on in early September, and hope to find dock-based moorage in Southern California for the month of October in order to finish a variety of boat projects - the largest one being the purchase and installation of solar panels. Since we have two kids under the age of nine and want to meet other cruising families, we're also going to do the Ha-Ha.
Steve at Downwind Marine recommended that I start calling for San Diego berthing immediately, preferably near Shelter or Harbor Island so we could be close to marine stores and Ha-Ha festivities. But after making about a dozen calls, I reached the conclusions that: 1) Nobody knows if they'll have slips available in October, and 2) There are very few slips for multihulls. My guess is that we should wait until August, then start calling again. If we can't find anything in San Diego, we should start making calls further north. We'd take whatever comes up south of Point Conception.
Do you have any idea which communities have the best supply of space for multihulls? I assume our ability to find moorage will be a function of the general supply/demand conditions coupled with the seasonal impact of boats moving southward. Should we consider looking in the Bay Area? Is it prudent to be sailing out of the Golden Gate in mid-October?
Bill and Karryn Dean
Bill & Karryn - We empathize with your situation. You'll be headed to a new area to get ready to start a grand new adventure, and it seems as though everybody is telling you there is no room at the inn and slamming the door in your face. Since you have a multihull, it's even worse, because there so few berths that will work for you. It kind of sours you on the prospect of cruising, doesn't it?
It's extremely unlikely you'll be able to get reservations for a month's stay at a marina in San Diego - although there's no harm in trying. But no worries, for if you're at all flexible - as good cruisers must be - there are many solutions to your problem. Since you're just one of many Ha-Ha crews that will be finding themselves in a similar situation, we've published a Southern California Anchoring and Mooring Guide in this issue. By the time you're done reading it, you'll realize that you have many pleasant options south of Conception - most of them more interesting and less expensive than spending an entire month in the same marina in San Diego.
As for north of Conception, September and early October are two of the most glorious and mellow sailing months of the year. In fact, we don't usually head south from San Francisco for the Ha-Ha until about the 15th of October, because we don't want to miss out on the great fall weather in Northern California. Want some more good news? After you're in Mexico for a little while, you'll be wondering why you ever wanted to be in a marina. Life on the hook is wonderful, particularly on a spacious and level trimaran. Finally, if all you're going to have left to do is buy and install some solar panels, why do you need an expensive slip? Start enjoying the cruising life - on the hook - in California.
In any event, have a wonderful trip down
the coast of Washington and Oregon - please be careful - for you've
got a lot of great places in Northern and Southern California
to look forward to during the best weather of the year . . . and
then you're off to the cruising pleasures of Mexico.
It was nice seeing the Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca at the Banderas Bay Regatta Party in Mexico. Thanks for the great coverage of the event in Latitude.
We're looking forward to participating in the Baja Ha-Ha this year, and would like to make berth reservations in San Diego and Cabo San Lucas. Would you please give us the name of the marinas and their phone numbers?
Last year's Catnip Cup for cruising multihulls to Vallejo was lots of fun, and we'd like to do it again this year. Have any dates been set?
Dolce Vita, Marquesas 56
Mai - For strategy on getting berths in Southern California this summer and prior to the Ha-Ha, see our Southern California Anchorages and Mooring Guide later in this issue. As for berths in Cabo San Lucas after the Ha-Ha, the marina has traditionally set aside all empty slips - there aren't many - for Ha-Ha boats. These slips are usually assigned - with consideration taken for boat size - based on the order in which boats signed up for the Ha-Ha. If you sign up early, you've got a much better chance of getting a Cabo slip than if you sign up near the end. But we can't guarantee anything.
By the way, the phone numbers and email addresses of all marinas in Mexico will be included in the Latitude First-Timer's Guide To Cruising Mexico. These booklets will be sent out with the official entry packs shortly after June 1. To get an entry pack, send $15 to Baja Ha-Ha, Inc, 21 Apollo Road, Tiburon, CA 94962, along with a self-addressed, stamped 9x12 envelope. The address is just a mail drop and there is no phone, so don't bother stopping by or trying to call.
This year's no-host Catnip Cup for cruising multihulls from the Golden Gate to the Vallejo Marina - with a big pot luck on Saturday night - will be on June 9 & 10. Consult 'Lectronic Latitude for complete details. The date wasn't decided upon until very late, so please advise all your friends with cruising multihulls.
In any event, we're looking forward to
having our cats play together in the Bay, on the way to Mexico,
and - unless we rush off to the Caribbean - at the Banderas Bay
Regatta next March.
CRAZY FEES IN MEXICO
We've seen a lot of discussion in Latitude regarding fees for checking in and out of ports in Mexico. Some of the information is conflicting, not to say confounding. Is there a definitive source of information on the subject, perhaps an official Mexican website, that can be relied upon? Our main interest is in cruising to Ensenada and perhaps the nearby offshore islands. Can you help?
Harry - The information on fees is conflicting and confusing because the interpretation and application of the law varies greatly from port to port. Currently, it's a complete - and expensive - mess in Mexico. We're eternal optimists, however, and expect the situation will be much improved by the start of the fall cruising season. If it's not, we'll explain strategies on how to legally keep these fees to a minimum. It's easy, legal, and requires just a little planning.
But if you're just cruising to Ensenada
and Islas Todos Santos, you don't have much to worry about. Just
pay what you're asked in Ensenada - it's not that much in the
big scheme of things. You don't have to pay anything when you
get to Todos Santos, because there is no port captain out there.
On page 50 of the May issue, Derek Elliott of Octavia expressed great affection for his boat's Ford 170 series industrial diesel, but needed to know where he could find a replacement intake exhaust manifold. I suggest that he try www.marineparts.com/partspages/Osco/osco.htm, or www.holtcorp.com/form.html.
If he's got a phone, he can also try Marine Partsfinders Inc., (561) 881-0001 or (800) 680-0389; fax: 561-881-0339; 618 US Hwy #1, North Palm Beach, FL 33408. They're open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST. There are also Holt Heat Transfer products at (800) 224-4484.
Senior Accredited Marine Surveyor
SHOULD BE PRIORITIES ON WHO GETS SLIPS?
My thought is, yes, there should be priority on slips to users - not mere occupiers - of boats. Priorities must be rational and enforceable. Here's how:
1) The BCDC should require all permitted liveaboards to leave their slips for 10 days each calendar year, for eight hours or more each day. Verification by harbormasters.
2) All marina tenants would radio their first 10 departures each calendar year, and harbormasters would check them off.
3) No month-to-month leases. All leases terminate each December 31 - but are renewable if the tenant is not in default of rent or in violation of the '10-day rule'.
(Note that month-to-month tenancies require termination 'for cause', which would invariably lead to charges of discrimination upon some basis or the other. Thus annual leases would do the job because they automatically expire for everyone at the end of each calendar year.)
4) Upon renewal of leases during January of each year - a slow time of year and hence a good time to do the paperwork - each berther must pass a special Coast Guard Auxiliary inspection that includes an operable engine, current flares, and all the other stuff. Berthers cannot receive a new lease until that inspection is passed. Berthers - except for legal liveaboards - also must show two evidences of residence on land, as an owner or renter, such as property tax bills, utility bills and/or DMV records.
My rationale? Automated gate cards won't work - as Berkeley Marina already knows and as Santa Barbara Harbor will find out. Besides, they only show when tenants are inside the gates, not when they take their boats somewhere. The key is to kick out - or transfer to liveaboard marinas in the Delta - boats that never - meaning less than 10 days per year - go anywhere under their own power. It's irrelevant who visits a boat, how many times, and what times of day. For example, I know there is a woman who owns a 50-foot sloop she keeps in the new part of the Santa Barbara Harbor, and the boat is presently not seaworthy or sailable. The woman owner complies with the no-liveaboard rule, but she's never taken the boat out of the slip, thereby displacing somebody who would use their boat - and the slip - for the purposes for which they were intended.
A good example of what is happening in response to inexpensive housing on small boats is the Port of Oakland operation at Embarcadero Cove Marina. Boats there never leave the slips and everybody in Oakland seems to have keys to the facilities. Cars - and even vans - full of people pull up to use the facilities. In addition, there are tarpaulins over small boats, with who knows how many people living underneath? To say the least, the facilities are not maintained to the standards required by such heavy public traffic. The marina has become nothing more than a residential community.
Do I like this much Big Brother? Absolutely not. But people will not give back what they can take for their own benefit. My suggestion is far less Big Brother than the chip-in-a-card that records every entrance, exit and bathroom use of the marina occupants. I personally checked out the Berkeley Marina, and they showed me a slip on their computer screen and said, "See, Joe arrived at 7:15 a.m. today, and is still on- board." Christ - that is a whole lot worse than checking out by VHF the first 10 sails of the year!
Is the problem of slips not being used for what they are intended acute? Pretty much so. The harbormaster you quoted is right, there are big old Chris Crafts with homey touches in my marina that never, never, never leave. Why shouldn't they be displaced by someone who will use their boat at least 10 days a year? Sailing out of Vallejo or the Delta is ridiculous - but for living on a Chris Craft that never goes anywhere, it would be as good as anywhere else.
Is there a precedent to displace boats that do not move? Sort of. Think about overnight parking regulations in neighborhoods where cars of non-residents are towed away. It's the same idea. The neighborhood needs the parking slips and residents receive parking permits. What would it be like if strangers simply parked their cars there, pushing residents to some distant parking place? Pretty much the same as parking a boat in a marina, thereby displacing someone who would use the slip for sailing.
I've been featured in your magazine for owning boats for a long time, but please don't use my name - there are people in my marina who would take great offense at my opinions. At this stage of the game, I like peace.
Withheld By Request
W.B.R. - In very general terms, we favor the idea of people who actively use their boats having priority on slips - but the devil would indeed be in the details. For as harbormaster Alan Weaver pointed out to us, there are a lot of retired folks in his marina who come down to their boats all the time and really enjoy puttering around on them. He'd sure object to their getting the boot because they don't take their boats out of their slips often. We don't think there is a black and white answer to this question, and in any event, we think your plan would be very difficult to implement in real life. But we appreciate your comments. By the way, almost every slip lease in Northern California is month to month, and the marinas can terminate at the end of every month without having to give a reason. It's all legal, too.
The gate key systems that track a slipholders'
every entry, exit and restroom use really sound Orwellian in the
worst way. Nonetheless, one of the most popular harbormasters
in the Bay Area has such a system, and he insists it helps him
run a better marina, even from the tenants point of view. Nonetheless,
he admits that the information the system provides can, if used
in the wrong way, significantly violate the personal privacy of
the tenants. It's a brave new world - and we all have more than
a little reason to be frightened.
As a liveaboard for four years at Peninsula Marina and someone who puts 1,000 miles a year on my boat, Latitude's 'use it or lose it' article caught my eye. I don't believe that boatowners should have different levels of priority to slips based on how much they use their boats - but I do think a minimum amount of use should be required each year. Perhaps each slipholder must vacate their slip for at least two hours at least six times a year. This, of course, would only apply to marinas with a waiting list. This would also apply to liveaboards.
I do not believe in people using marinas as low cost housing. In fact, the unseaworthy boats in my marina make me sick. When the Peninsula Marina announced it was shutting down, non-liveaboards were given a financial incentive to leave by March 31, while liveaboards got until May 31. As it turned out, about half of the boats that left in March were liveaboards! They just weren't paying the extra liveaboard fee. It's not much. I pay $469/month total for my Cal 35. In other words, these people were sneakaboards. I wonder what would have happened if these people would have paid the modest liveaboard fee. Perhaps the marina would have been more profitable and the marina closure could have been avoided or handled in a better way for tenants. The marina, perhaps, could have been redeveloped one section at a time.
P.S. Four weeks after writing this, I'll be moving up to Coyote Point.
Runnin' Late, Cal 35
Peninsula Marina, Redwood City
Dave - To each their own, of course,
but we wouldn't consider a total of 12 hours of use a year to
be much of a minimum. How about an average of 12 hours a month
from April through October? For what it's worth, many public and
private marinas already have minimum useage requirements, but
they're usually just one day a year, and often they aren't enforced.
In most cases, this has done little to eliminate boats that are
rarely, if ever, used.
MARINAS, POLLUTION AND DERELICTS
In the May issue, Latitude states that there are derelict boats in the marinas, that liveaboards cause pollution, and that both take up space that's needed by active sailors. The editor went on to state that marina owners are concerned for the active sailors, and feel that it's best for the sailing community to get rid of liveaboards to protect the environment.
Pollution and derelict vessels were used as a justification to prohibit/obstruct anchoring, therefore the same justification should be used to destroy and prohibit marinas and yacht clubs. Anchorages and marinas are mediums in which vessels reside. If the justification to prohibit one is valid, then the other should be prohibited, too.
Derelict vessels could be removed from the system easily with funding from each of the owners of the vessel during its useful life. For example, suppose a vessel has a useful life of 30 years, and during that time has six owners. While they own the vessel, each of the owners should contribute to a fund for the removal of the vessel from the system. Under this system, when the boat came to the end of her useful life, it would be taken away and destroyed by a private contractor with the funds that had been set aside for that purpose.
As for the concept of 'use your boat or lose your slip', I don't want the harbor operator to count the number of times that I go onto my own property. In fact, I already don't want to be in the marina. I've already signed away my United States and Constitutional rights just by signing the marina contract. Please don't give the harbor operators the power to make them think they are a proxy government.
The bays and harbors of California could be easily managed if we kept the marinas and their organization as far from the management process as possible. Their only interest is making the most money for the least effort - which means from the non-sailor who owns a vessel but never uses it or comes down to the marina. Sailing is for traveling, not status. If you want status, I know where you can buy a real nice 1964 Ford Falcon, with a three-speed on the column.
F. Joe Yeager
F. Joe - We need to clarify a few things. First, we don't believe there are a lot of derelict boats in marinas preventing active mariners from getting access to slips and the water, but rather a lot of unused boats in marinas that take up space. Secondly, we never stated that 'pure liveaboards' - those who never take their boats out - cause excess pollution. To the contrary, we believe all conscientious liveaboards - no matter if they take their boats out frequently or not - live more simple and less polluting lives than those who live on land. Unfortunately, it seems that not all liveaboards care about water quality as much as they should. Finally, we don't object to 'pure liveaboards' per se, but rather only when they deny berth space for those who need a slip for access to the Bay and ocean.
Pollution and derelict boat conditions are two reasons some California anchorages have been closed, but the primary reason is land use issues. In general government feels that public lands - and waters - shouldn't be used for residential purposes. As for pollution from recreational boats, we're all for reducing it as much as possible. For many years now, we've felt their ought to be a $25/gallon surcharge on toxic bottom paints in order to create a giant pot of money for the guy or company who invents the first effective non-toxic way to keep boat bottoms clean. There's nothing we'd love to see more than the elimination of toxic bottom paints, and we're surprised there hasn't been more of a push for this by mariners.
Your idea that each owner of a boat should contribute to a fund for its disposal at the end of its useful life is an interesting one. But given the durability of fiberglass boats - the Bounty IIs from as early as '56 are still going strong - we don't think it makes much sense. The very small percentage of fiberglass boats that need disposal aren't the victims of old age, but abuse and neglect. In any event, we believe there would be much better ways to handle the problem.
One of the main drawbacks of a 'use it
or lose it' system would indeed be the monitoring of how often
a boat is used. We're not saying we have all the answers, but
that given the current situation, it's time for the questions
to be raised and the possible solutions pondered.
On the topic of John Bunnell's request for information on the pros and cons of multihulls, you concentrated your answer on larger catamarans versus monohulls. Since John didn't indicate what size of boat he was looking for, nor did he mention his intended use - cruising, racing or daysailing - might I suggest that he consider foldable trimarans, such as the Corsair/Farrier designs? These can be easily trailered - cheaper than trucking - fold up to fit into monohull slips, and depending on the model, sell for well under $150,000. Of course, there's also the added benefit of sailing fast and flat. We love ours!
Essence, F-24 MkII
Brush Prairie, WA
Bess - You may certainly suggest he consider folding trimarans. Thanks for bringing them up.
CHUCK AND LEN
We're hoping you can print this note regarding a couple of guys we miss and would love to hear from. Does anyone know the whereabouts of Chuck Campbell and Len Parsons? Chuck and Len have a 38-ft Brown trimaran named Solar Wind that was in La Paz the last time we heard from them. We've been traveling and they've been traveling, and they won't be able to reach us because our address has changed. If anyone knows of them or their location, could you please let us know? We're trying to find them because they are good friends, not because they owe us money!
Jeff and Kathleen Seibert
860 Coho Way #1
Bellingham, WA 98225
Jeff & Kathleen - We hate to be the
ones to break the news to you, but unless we're terribly mistaken,
Chuck and Len left La Paz for the South Pacific aboard Solar Wind
and were never heard from again. As best we can recall, this happened
four or five years ago. If anybody has any further details, please
share them with Jeff and Kathleen.
In reply to the letter from Jim and Julie Morrison about inexpensive world cruisers, you say that a Columbia 8.7 has circumnavigated. Do you have more details about her?
I did a singlehanded circumnavigation of the North Atlantic - New York, Azores, Channel Islands, Canals to the Med, Canaries, Trinidad, Caribbean, Bahamas and back - and I consider the 8.7 perfectly capable of doing a 'real circumnavigation', but didn't know it had been done.
By the way, the only limitation is that the crew should be in their 40s - at least based on my modification of the old saying, "A man should have a boat as long in feet LOA as he has years of age" into, "A man should have a 30-footer of as many tons displacement as he has decades of age." But I'm 74 years old.
A boat like the 8.7 - which is actually 29'11" - saves on marina costs, paint, the Customs sticker when returning from foreign ports, and just about everything else.
John - The 8.7 we were thinking of belonged to Jim Hagen of Santa Cruz, who only learned to sail in his 50s. In double-checking, we're not sure that he's gone all the way around. The last time we heard from him, he'd rather quickly made it to the Red Sea and was having a great time. But we haven't heard from him in awhile. Does anybody know where Hagen is now?
Besides, if a 74-year-old can happily
sail a boat both ways across the Atlantic, there's no doubt in
our mind that the boat is capable of going all the way.
EX-WEST MARINE, NOT EX-SMOKER
After outfitting our boat while working at a West Marine store in Northern California for almost two years, we sailed out the Gate in '92 and turned left. When I worked at West Marine, it was known that I was a smoker - the only one at the store. So it was suggested that I clean up the parking lot after customers who were smokers. I did so willingly.
When we arrived on the west coast of Florida a year later, there was a West Marine within spitting distance of our liveaboard marina. So I applied for a job. When I was asked if I was a smoker, I answered truthfully. I was told that I would only be hired if I quit smoking. So I wore the patch and got hired. But I ended up giving up the patch. From then on, I lived in fear that a West Marine employee would catch me smoking a cigarette in the cockpit of my boat on a day off! In the end, I quit the job, not the cigarettes. I hate West Marine's policy.
West Marine is one of the biggest customers of the company where I now work, so please don't use my real name or the real cities involved.
West Coast of Florida
B.U. - We don't believe a company should
be allowed to discriminate against employees who engage in legal
behavior that doesn't adversely affect their work. Nonetheless,
we hope you stop smoking for your own sake.
I PROTEST EMPHATICALLY
In the May issue of Latitude, Paul Glunt complained of being denied employment at West Marine because he is a smoker. As a result, I wrote a letter to West Marine and told them that although I'm a non-smoker and don't allow smoking in my car, my house, or my boat's cabin, I had to emphatically protest their policy and urge them to change it. I believe a company has the right to require that an employee not smoke during working hours, but should have no say whether they smoke in their off hours.
Helen Morotti, the Employment and Development Manager at West Marine, wrote back to say, "West Marine has chosen to be a non-smoking company. This means we do not hire individuals who smoke in the states in which we operate and are legally able to do so. West Marine complies with all state laws with regard to hiring smokers."
Alejandro - We can understand why West Marine would want to be a 'no smoking' company, both on a corporate level and for the well-being of their employees as individuals. On at least some level, they have a history of caring about their employees' health. When their Watsonville warehouse was first opening, we can remember Randy Repass, the company's founder and chairman, and his wife Sally Christine excitedly telling us about the health food oriented company cafeteria that was soon to open. Providing their employees with better than average cafeteria food is something that both of them really cared about.
We haven't smoked in more than 20 years, nobody on the entire Latitude staff smokes, and we assume that all of us agree that it's a very, very unhealthy habit. Nonetheless, what we can't understand is that most state and all federal courts permit companies to intrude into the personal lives of their employees. Would the courts allow Latitude to prohibit our employees from ever eating meat or drinking a glass of wine - two other legal but potentially health-impacting activities? Given their position on smoking, we can't see why not. Where is the America Civil Liberties Union hiding? They are the first to stand up for every last right of the most despicable criminals - as they should. But shouldn't smokers have their rights defended as vigorously as those of child murderers?
We'd like to remind the judges on our state and federal courts, that one of the first things that Hitler did when he gained power in Germany was - and we're not making this up - institute campaigns against smoking, drinking alcohol and eating meat. Individually, these might have been good suggestions, but collectively they had disturbing implications for anyone interested in personal liberty. One problem is that these well-meaning efforts can lead to strange consequences - such as revising history. For example, when Germany released photos of Hitler's summit with Joseph Stalin, they air-brushed the cigarette out of Stalin's mouth. If you think that couldn't happen in the United States, consider this: when the U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative stamp of the great blues guitarist Robert Johnson, the cigarette that had been so prominent in the only existing photograph of him was removed. Similiar cigarette removals were made to representations of FDR, a noted puffer, and artist Jackson Pollock. The argument can be made that the removal of the cigarettes made them look better. We find such revisions of history to be really creepy. After all, 10 years from now, what's to stop these same people from deciding that Johnson's stamp would look better if his skin were a little whiter and his nose a little less round? It seems to us that once you let a personal liberty go, there's a danger of it becoming a long and very slippery slope.
So quit smoking - but do it for yourself
and your loved ones - not because it's a job requirement.
THE 10% SOLUTION
First, let me squeeze in a thanks for another great Crew List Party at the Corinthian YC in Tiburon. As a result of meeting some new sailors, I may be spending some time cruising in Alaska this summer.
Secondly, here is my BCDC (Bay Conservation and Development Commission) concern. Why should only 10% of a marina's slips be set aside for liveaboards? With pump-out stations for sanitation and generally high housing costs, why not allow more people to live on boats? Shift the control of the liveaboard population to the marina owners and managers, and away from the government.
From what I know, Alan Weaver does an excellent job at Marina Village in Alameda, keeping it a friendly place to live. They welcome 'official' liveaboards, albeit it with a lot of restrictions - Catalina-style holding tank locks, for example. I just can't think of why the BCDC should control the number of liveaboards in a marina, or at least why the percentage should be kept so low.
P.S. I just checked the Calendar again, and it looks to me as if the only week for the Beer Can Challenge this summer is the same week as the Coastal Cup.
Queen - We'll pose your question to Will
Travis, Executive Director of the BCDC, when we meet next month.
At least one California marina outside of the BCDC's jurisdiction
- Ventura West - was built and is maintained for 50% liveaboards.
It seems to work well - although we're not necessarily advocating
such a high percentage of liveaboards - particularly liveaboards
who use their boats exclusively for housing. By the way, while
10% may be the maximum number of legal liveaboards within the
BCDC's jurisdiction, the real liveaboard population in some marinas
easily exceeds it.
HOW COME THE BCDC . . .
Speaking of 'Bay fill'. After the closing of Peninsula Marina this month, there will be five marinas in Redwood City - Pete's Harbor, Bair Island, Docktown, Drake's, and the Port of Redwood City Yacht Harbor. However, there will only be one pump-out station - located at the Port of Redwood City - serving the entire environs. This pump breaks down on a fairly regular basis, and there is a $5 charge for its use by non-tenants. Why is the BCDC allowing new marinas - such as Bair Island - to be built without pump-out facilities? What happens when 'M.T. Head' no longer has a place to empty its tanks?
Speaking of 'use your boat or lose your slip', it was interesting to note the number of 'marina barges' that had to be towed out of Peninsula Marina - or were abandoned once the eviction deadline passed. I looked into picking up one of the abandoned boats - a fairly decent Santana 22 that could easily have been restored to become a match-racing partner for the 22 belonging to the Sequoia YC Youth Program - but had to pass because there are no 'tuna'-sized slips in Redwood City. Sorry, was I screaming? It must be because of what the BCDC's Steve McAdam calls the "glut of slips."
Pete's Harbor, Redood City
John - We'll also raise your question
with Will Travis when we meet with him - although we think that
Redwood City - for reasons that don't make sense to us - is not
under the jurisdiction of the BCDC.
SLIPS, LIVEABOARDS, AND THE BCDC
With regard to your editorial question about whether folks who use their boats should have priority on slips over people who don't use their boats, I really don't think we need another layer of rules and the accompanying monitors that would be required. Surely there are already enough laws, rules and traditions necessary to handle the problem of derelicts and liveaboards taking up slips needed by recreational mariners.
In over 30 years of boating and boat ownership, I cannot recall one marina that didn't have rules about all manner of things - with junkers and liveaboards receiving very special attention. Perhaps enforcement of the existing rules, starting with payment of slip fees - I cannot believe the boat in the accompanying Sightings photograph was worth one month's rent - would free up slips, clean up the docks and the water, and generally get everyone a little less tense about the whole scene. Developing some marinas on the old military bases or elsewhere should reduce tension even more.
But aside from air, water and noise pollution - for which every marina has enforceable rules - I have no problem with liveaboards. As a matter of fact, more than once a marina security person was alerted to potential problems by a liveaboarder simply because the liveaboarder was aware of what was normal activity in their area of the marina. As such, in my estimation, marina owners and management should:
1) Decide to allow/disallow liveaboards.
2) Set liveaboard numbers by the marina's available facilities.
3) Set up something similar to a damage deposit for towing and storing boats moored at unpaid slips.
And the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) should:
1) Become a center for 'how to do it right' information on updating, upgrading or developing marinas.
2) Maintain a list of where waterfront and
marina development should not happen.
Name Withheld By Request
N.W.B.R. - Thank you for your comments.
If it's indeed your contention that there are already enough laws
to make sure that boats used exclusively as residences and/or
unused boats aren't taking up slips needed by active mariners,
we think you may be living in the past. The situation has changed
dramatically in the last 30 years. The increased number of boats
and the terrible shortage of affordable housing in Northern California
has combined to make life very difficult for people looking for
affordable housing and for active sailors looking for places to
berth their boats. Another result is that active sailors who are
eager to enjoy the brisk winds of the Central Bay often have to
motor for an hour or more from distant locations just to get there,
while many boats close to the good winds never leave their slips.
Does this make good sense on any level? As we mentioned before,
we have nothing against pure liveaboards per se - as long as they
don't deny any active mariners from access to a slip and the water.
SAUSALITO CRUISING CLUB AND THE BCDC
The Sausalito Cruising Club has been having a lot of trouble obtaining a permit from the BCDC in order to repair the existing pilings that hold the clubhouse/barge in place.
- The Mayor of Sausalito has stated verbally that she supports the Club and its efforts to repair the pilings.
- The Club offers an affordable alternative to the exclusivity of the high end yacht clubs, thus opening use of the Bay to many families with children who might otherwise be shut out. The Club has boats that the members can use.
- The Club's barge is a historical building. It lends character to the Sausalito waterfront.
- The Club is an all-volunteer effort. Thus it brings together members of the community.
- The Club provides a meeting place for older and retired people who might otherwise be out of touch with the community.
I am personally working with the Richardson Bay Maritime Organization, the Marine Heritage Association, the Hawaiian Chieftain, and the Arques Wooden Boat Building School, on a program for at-risk youth. We have already begun work on a process that uses two historic wooden boats, and the milieu of the historic Sausalito waterfront. We provide an opportunity whereby these children can build their self-esteem, learn problem-solving techniques, build their knowledge base, and develop contacts within the community so that they might become responsible adults instead of drug addicts or worse. The Sausalito Cruising Club has a nice dock and facility that would be well suited for the two historic wooden boats that we now have.
We would urge the BCDC to make every effort to support us in our work and grant the piling repair permit. It is, quite simply, the right thing to do.
Lee - We're not familiar enough with
the situation to comment, but at some point doesn't the current
Sausalito Cruising Club structure - which has been home to some
of the great times of our lives, including the early Crew List
Parties - need replacing with something that would better benefit
the club and all the other groups that were mentioned?
In the last two issues, you've been asking for help in trying to compile a list of west coast sailors who have circumnavigated. Having been in Newport Beach for the past 50 years, I know our harbor has been home to a few.
Probably the most famous circumnavigator from Newport Beach is Tom Steele. Many, many years ago he bought an unfinished Tahiti ketch from my father, finished her out, christened her Adios, and sailed her around the world twice! Adios was rolled numerous times in the Indian Ocean during a tropical cyclone, and all Tom could do was lash himself to his bunk belowdecks. Knowing the storm was pushing the disabled yacht towards shoal water and treacherous reefs, he just hung on and prayed. Tom lucked out, as Adios somehow threaded her way through the reefs and emerged in deep water on the lee side! I'm happy to report that Adios is still sailing, and Tom can still be seen riding his bike around town.
Mike Kane, the multihull nut, left Newport Beach on his 40-ft trimaran Corousan right out of college. He was gone a couple of years, then one day sailed back into Newport having circled the globe. Mike even had the nerve to try to sell me back a spinnaker after putting 20,000 miles on it. I declined the sail, but did give him $5 for the turtle bag.
Lin and Larry Pardey built their first boat in Costa Mesa, and I'm pretty sure they launched her in Newport Harbor. We saw a lot of them in those days. Lin was a regular at the store. In the course of three years I think she spent $11 on boat parts.
Robin Lee Graham, whose circumnavigation with Dove starting when he was in his mid-teens, was the subject of National Geographic articles and a big budget movie, was also a Newport Beach boy. Some people think his parents just turned him loose on the high seas in a little boat as a stunt. But before Robin's mostly-singlehanded circumnavigation in the Lapworth 24 and later Allied 33, he crewed with his parents on a trip through the South Pacific aboard an Angleman ketch. Nonetheless, I never would have let my kids attempt what Robin did at his age.
From about '77 to '80, the Beasley family did a circumnavigation with a lovely 55-foot ketch - or maybe it was a yawl. The whole family still plays with boats. Mom and dad built a copy of the plumb bow English pilot cutter Lark that I used to see tearing up the waters in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. It blew my mind a few years back when I hit the starting line in a classic yacht race off Newport Beach to cross tacks with a Lark look-a-like. I later learned she was the Beasley's brand new cold-molded classic that they had built in New Zealand using the original lines of Lark.
Newport was also the homeport of a cool dude named Hixson who did a circumnavigation. He had the metal plating company in Costa Mesa, and his brother owned the Warehouse Restaurant here in town.
As for my circumnavigation, it was so long ago that it's hardly worth talking about. I was pretty optimistic thinking I could sail Shearwater, an 82-ft LOA schooner, around the world for $1,000 a month. Early on, I discovered that the real challenge wasn't the sailing or the navigation - it was paying the bills! Having been in the yacht charter business for 15 years before we departed with Shearwater on an open-ended family cruise, I took on a 'make-'em-pay' attitude toward my crew. No one could sail for less than $10 a day, and if someone just wanted to stand watch and ride along without doing any of the hard work, it was closer to $20 day. A retired schoolteacher from Santa Cruz joined Shearwater in the Marquesas, and paid $500 a month for the next 18 months. When we left New Zealand, I had six Kiwis who were each paying $500 a month. If you ever want to do an article about making your boat pay her own way, I'm you're man. Incidentally, there's an advantage to big boats: they ride better and have more potential for income. Before it was over, about 35 people had helped me sail my ship and pay the bills. We had a great time, visited 22 countries, and had only one afternoon - it was off Cape Agulas, Africa - of extremely bad weather.
Shearwater, 82-foot Schooner
Ernie - Thanks for all the great information. If any of our readers can fill in the blanks - who designed the boat the Beasleys went around in, when Mike Kane circumnavigated - we'd sure appreciate it.
By the way, Ernie is the owner of Minney's Yacht Surplus, which for many years was located on PCH in Newport, but is now just up the hill on Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa. If you're looking for used stuff, he's got it. Unfortunately, they don't make many schooners like Shearwater anymore, nor do they make characters like Ernie.
OFF MY CHEST AFTER 30 YEARS
I've been meaning to write this letter for 30 years. With the recent tragic incident in which a local skipper drowned trying to save his wife, who had fallen overboard, I am moved to relate a true story.
It was a warm spring day and three of us - the skipper, his 12-year-old daughter, and myself - were aboard a Catalina 22 on Richardson Bay. Not long after we had left the slip, while still under outboard power, we noticed some unusual activity on a small sailboat about 50 yards in front of us - both of the people on the boat jumped into the water! This meant nobody was left on the boat, which was still being propelled by a small outboard. As we approached the folks in the water, they held up a beagle, which had apparently fallen out of the boat. Not wanting to endanger the people or the dog in the water, our skipper passed wide of them with the idea of catching their boat and returning with it to haul them aboard. As an afterthought, the 12-year-old with us tossed an inner tube to the couple in the water.
It soon became apparent that without the crew's weight, the empty boat started to pull away from us. It was only after we cranked up the rudder on the Catalina that we began to overtake it. It must have taken 15 minutes before we pulled alongside the runaway boat and I was able to hop aboard. We then immediately circled back in the two boats, and by the time we got back to the couple, they were cold, frightened and clinging to the innertube and the dog. Needless to say, they were very thankful when we pulled them aboard.
In hindsight, we should have responded differently. Thanks to a quick-thinking youngster with an innertube, nobody sustained any injuries - apart from a few dog scratches. But we boys just weren't thinking clearly when we went off to rescue the boat before the people.
There, I've got it off my chest and feel relieved. I just hope this helps someone else as well.
David - As long as nobody was hurt and you learned from the mistake, what's the sense in being so hard on yourself? After all, you're pretty far down the line of responsibility. For instance, your help never would have been needed if the other folks: 1) Had taken the proper precautions to keep their dog from going overboard; 2) Hadn't made the mistake of risking the life of a human to save a dog; and 3) Made the incredible error of both jumping in and leaving nobody aboard the boat.
Nevertheless, prior to going out for
a sail, each skipper and crew should have a pretty good idea of
what to do in basic emergency situations - such as if the skipper
fell overboard or was knocked out by the boom, if the mast fell,
or if the rudder dropped off. At least two people need to know
the basics of operating the boat, radio and emergency gear. And
in no event should the last person aboard jump into the water
to save another. Pre-thinking potential tragedies can eliminate
I was wondering if you could help me track down a boat. From the mid-'80s through the mid '90s, my father, Richard Derickson, and Jill Neidrauer, his life partner and later wife, used to write to Latitude as they cruised the South Pacific aboard his Passport 40. He passed away a few years ago of cancer, and Jill sold the boat.
I just bought a Newport 41, and it stirred some fond memories of sailing the high seas and feeling the tropical breeze. In any event, I would love to track the boat down and see how she is doing. The boat was sold around mid-'94 in Saipan. If anyone knows of the boat, I wish they'd let me know.
sailorvarnish at cs.com
Any recommendations on books that provide an authoritative background on catamarans in terms of sailing characteristics, construction qualities, and relative merits as compared to a monohull?
George - Chris White's The Cruising Multihull
is beginning to seem a little dated, but it has all the basic
stuff. We still think it's the best introduction to cruising trimarans
MARINE FLEA MARKETS
Thanks for letting Max and Lee do the May story on marine flea markets in Northern California. Upon reading Max and his dynamic sidekick's article, I wasn't at all surprised when they drifted off into more technical areas. Excusable. About the only thing in their article I could take issue with was one of their flea market 'tips'. "Don't buy anything inflatable" is their advice. "It probably should have read, 'Don't buy anything inflatable if you don't know a damn thing about inflatables'." The rest of the tips were excellent.
In the article, they asked for readers to write about their best 'scores'. I wish I could. Would it be the 34-inch Edson elk hide covered wheel for $40 bucks? Or that $5 dollar Harken block that now provides service at the foot of my mast, or the almost new tri-radial spinnaker for $100? My 'best' list would go on and on. One thing is certain: if it had not been for marine swaps, I wouldn't have been able to afford to equip my boat anywhere near as well as I wanted. Because of the growing popularity of marine swaps in the last few years, I don't think I'm alone.
Sure, there are a few folks out there who wouldn't be caught dead at a marine swap meet. They're also the ones - perhaps unbeknownst to them - that provide the fuel for the swaps and create a reason for their existence. It's all trickle-down. Those year-old hi-tech racing sails that have lost that 'racers edge' and are no longer competitive, are now powering a happy weekender about the Bay at one third the price of new sails. Or that big boat owner with deep pockets who decided that he needed a new set of winches "just because", has provided a Wednesday night beer can racer with new-to-him winches. I say,"Thank God for the Big Dogs and Intel!"
If you look at it closely, everything on a boat is an upgrade. It starts when the boat is first purchased, and it never ends. Hell, even the boat we own is either a hand-me-down or an upgrade - it just depends on which end of the stick you're holding. At a marine swap, there's always that opportunity to find something better than what you already have. Some folks actually find what they originally set out looking for, although I've never been so lucky. In my case, I never know what I'll need until I find it, which is why marine flea markets are so damn much fun.
I read with great interest Jim and Kyoko Bandy's report in the May Changes on their boarding by the U.S. Coast Guard between southern Mexico and French Polynesia. With no comment regarding the boarding itself, I noted that the Coasties warned them about their out-of-date flares. Jim Bandy commented: "The ones I'd bought before leaving California in November of '99 were out of date already. I carry all the flares I've purchased since 1985, so I'm sure one or more of them would have worked. In fact, one of the guys remarked that he thought 90% of them would still work."
My suggestion is that Jim and Kyoko forget about the Coasties' manners and think about when they might need to use a flare. Usually it's when it's dark, wet, you can't see, you're in deep trouble pushing up a rock-lined coast, and you're sinking or somebody is badly injured. When you need a flare, you need a flare that works, period. The Coasties were right, and their warning - if heeded - may save your life.
The crew of Pegasus Project recently conducted a live-fire flare exercise at the Coast Guard facility at Yerba Buena Island. Two Coasties demonstrated the safe and proper use of various flares that we had carried or scrounged from Olympic Circle Sailing Center and Berkeley Marine Center. Like the Bandy's, most but not all of the flares we tested had expired - some of them dating back to the late '80s. We fired off about 30 flares in all - including handhelds such as the ones used on highways, Very Pistol flares, and Paine-Wessex high flying parachute flares - which were the best. We were shocked at the results. We didn't count, but at least half of the out-of-date flares were duds. They didn't fire at all, or fired and lobbed into the air but didn't flare, or flared for only seconds. The Very Pistol backfired after firing a few duds in the air, so we junked it after the exercise.
What we discovered is that out-of-date flares - even ones kept in dry places on the vessel, and even flares stored in a dry-box with a moisture-sealing gasket - didn't work more often than not. Like all safety equipment, flares shouldn't be aboard if: 1) You don't know how to use them and have not exercised with them, and 2) They aren't reliable. Do not keep and do not give away your expired flares. Fire them or dispose of them. Replace them when they are out-of-date.
When you purchase replacement flares, check the dates. A well-known marine supplier sent us new Paine Wessex parachute flares that ostensibly last for three years - but their expiration date was less than 12 months from the purchase date! And these flares cost more than $50 each. The supplier kindly replaced them at no cost and let us keep the nearly-expired units for our exercise. They were all within the expiration date, and they all worked.
By the way, we thought that the few Very Pistol flares that did work were pathetic compared to the parachute flares. The handhelds can't be seen far away, and are only used properly according to Coasties for close-up 'we're over here' work. The high flying - 1,000 feet - Paine Wessex units that shot up in seconds to great heights - slowing the traffic on the Bay Bridge and resulting in a series of 911 cell phone calls in spite of the Coasties advertising the exercise for hours beforehand - floated down for a minute or so, carrying a brilliant flare before hitting the water. The Paine Wessex parachute flares scored well on the Practical Sailor tests a few years ago. We thought they were the best of what we have aboard Pegasus. We have a stock in a waterproof box in our cockpit locker, and more belowdecks in a dry storage area.
The Coasties at Yerba Buena were very helpful and cooperative. They even disposed of our used flares. They will help any boater test and learn how to use their flares. You just have to call them to set up a convenient date and time. The Pegasus crew agreed that it's fun to fire these little rockets when it's not an emergency.
Peter - Good advice. Mariners who haven't
fired flares really should get some practice. If you bring your
own flares to Latitude's spring
or fall Crew List Parties, the Coast Guard will supervise your
setting off the flares. It really is educational, because they're
not intuitive - or wouldn't be during an emergency.
During one of my classes in celestial navigation, I seem to recall being told that one only needed four consecutive editions of the Nautical Almanac to have the necessary data for all future years. Considering the cost of the Almanac these days, this sounds like fiscal responsibility at its best. Could any of Latitude's readers confirm this?
John - We hope one of our readers can
help, because we're among those who believe that sextants are
no longer necessary on boats.
STARTED FAST AND WILD
Well, we did it! After coastal cruising for decades in Southern California, my wife Carolyn and I - we're both in our sixties - doublehanded our 43-foot cutter from Dana Point to San Francisco. And we never had to sail to windward!
Sharp Latitude readers will quickly understand that this can only mean one thing: that we took the long way around to San Francisco - around the Pacific High, that is. We first sailed to Baja and the Mexican mainland, then from P.V. to Hawaii, then north around the Pacific High to British Columbia, and finally tamed the 'graveyard of the Pacific' down to San Francisco Bay. We spent two weeks in the Bay - including Fleet Week, which we loved - then continued hop-scotching back down the coast to our homeport of Dana Point. It was a fantastic 9,000-mile, one year - November to November - cruise that included two long passages of 19 days each. We made 88 stops during the fun and challenging year. For us, it was the trip of a lifetime.
I mention this as a tribute to the fact that my dream of cruising began on San Francisco Bay in '58 when I was a geology student at UC Berkeley. My first ever sailboat ride was on a Lido 14 on the Bay, one of several that the University Sailing Club had just bought. As I recall, it was hull number two or three, which is noteworthy because Schock went on to build thousands more. My second sail was also on the Bay aboard a design I remember as a 'Jolly Boat'. Maybe I have the spelling wrong, but the boat was fast and wild in the Bay winds, and it really turned me on to sailing.
As for my cruising dream, it started with a chat on that scruffy old Berkeley dock with a UC professor who was tinkering on his little sloop - I think it was a Folkboat - and musing about someday sailing away on her. I've thought about that guy many times since then, wondering if he ever took off. It only took me 41 years to disconnect and do it. I want to thank you folks at Latitude for the last couple of decades of your spirited magazine, which has helped folks such as us keep the cruising dream alive.
By the way, are Jolly Boats still sailing on the Bay?
San Juan Capistrano
Doug - Thanks for the nice words. We're not familiar with Jolly Boats, but perhaps some of our readers are.
Oddly enough, one of our first sails on the Bay was aboard a privately-owned Lido 14 when we were philosophy and Russian majors at UC Berkeley. Clad in nothing but shorts and a T-shirt for the trip from the Berkeley Marina to Treasure Island's Clipper Cove, we got drenched and overpowered when the afternoon breeze filled in.
With the recent increase of gasoline prices and the associated impact on the cost of diesel fuel, I decided to do some calling around to see who has the best price on diesel fuel in Northern California. I called 17 fuel docks on San Francisco Bay and in the Delta, and on April 25th found the average price to be $1.71/gallon before discounts. The lowest price was $1.39/gal - $1.25 for over 100 gallons - at Coyote Point Marina. Several operators indicated their prices had either just risen or would rise within a day or so. Prices are pretty volatile, of course, and are only valid at the time the survey was actually made. I thought other folks might be interested in the prices, so I will be doing monthly updates at http://seaskills.com/DieselFuelPrice.html.
If anyone has a suggestion for a fuel dock that should be included, drop me a note at peter at seaskills.com with a contact number at the fuel dock.
CORTEZ SAILING WEEK GOING ON WITHOUT US
We just found the most recent issue of Latitude and want to respond to your good comments on Sea of Cortez Sailing Week, and its comparison with other cruiser events in Mexico.
Puerto Vallarta has predictable daily wind, so the racing for the Banderas Bay Regatta is good. As you know, there's not much wind in the Sea of Cortez in April, so racing is not the focus at Sea of Cortez Sailing Week. The use permit for the Sea of Cortez Sailing Week site at Caleta Partida doesn't allow us to leave the immediate beach area, so a beach clean-up - such as takes place in Puerto Escondido during Loreto Fest - is also out. Besides, Partida is always cleaner after Sailing Week than before.
Sailing Week does have a big draw, however, that being one of the most beautiful cruising settings in the world. And that you have to get there by boat, eliminating everyone who isn't a mariner. And there are enough activities to keep even the most jaded cruisers entertained for a week: volleyball, horseshoes, over-the-line baseball, chili cook-off, dessert contests, beer belly competition, talent night, progressive dinner, and yes, when there's wind, some sailing. We even brought lights for partying at night. We feel Sea of Cortez Sailing Week is a spring rite - and a wonderful place to socialize and show off, if that's your thing.
The big drawback to Sea of Cortez Sailing Week is, as Latitude noted, the lack of consistent leadership. When we were asked to organize the event this year, the commodore of the sponsoring Club Cruceros de La Paz specifically asked us what jobs we were not interested in handling. We told him that we thought it would be best if the club handled the fund-raising, the permits, and the making and selling of the T-shirts. It troubles us to say this, but we feel the Cruising Club de La Paz failed in all three areas. Despite our limited Spanish and lack of connections in town, we had to take over the permit acquisition process when it became obvious the club wasn't making any progress. The T-shirt sales - the club's main fund-raising aspect of Sailing Week - didn't get going until everyone started asking where they could buy them. We hoped a club member would solicit prizes for the raffles and awards, but none did, so we had to take on that job also.
We'd come down from Washington to organize and run the event, but after we were in La Paz for awhile, it became clear that the newly-elected commodore didn't want us to be in charge. Before it was over, we were hassled about all kinds of things - but the stuff they really bugged us about were using the allotted funds for their event and receipts. It's obvious to us why there is a lack of continuity of leadership for the event: the Club Cruceros de La Paz chases away everyone who loves Sailing Week - such as ourselves, who have only missed one since '94. Right now we're very disappointed, and have had enough of the Cruising Club de La Paz crap to discourage us from ever running it again. Our next stop on the way north will be Loreto Fest, where we expect to be very involved.
As we write this, we're in La Paz and Sailing Week is going on without us at Caleta Partida. Our Melissa is sold but not delivered, and we planned on attending Sailing Week as our swan song with her. We were packed and ready to go, but when we tried to start Melissa, we realized that we had battery problems. At that point we decided that we couldn't afford to jeopardize the sale, and started clearing her of all our possessions. As a result, we had to send a bunch of stuff out to the island on Monday, stuff we were originally going to bring out ourselves. Nonetheless, there had been a great opening ceremony at the Navy Club, and we're sure we gave the Sailing Week folks enough tools to carry on without us. We're disappointed not being out there, but we plan to be part of the greeting committee when the fleet returns to La Paz. And we hope to see the rest of them at Loreto Fest.
We hope that future organizers care as much about the event as we do, and that it will continue to be a successful event. But we have our doubts. Thanks for letting us talk about it.
Pepe and Sue Maxwell
Camano Island, Washington / La Paz
Pepe & Sue - We're not familiar with the nature of your differences with the commodore and/or the Club Cruceros de La Paz, so we can't comment on them. But we suspect that the underlying cause is that nobody is quite sure what the Sea of Cortez Sailing Week is anymore.
When the Wanderer created the event in the early '80s, it was to be a Baja version of Antigua Sailing Week. Fun racing was the main focus, with lots of supporting social activities. For a couple of years, there was active racing, with a bunch of good boats and even sailors such as Lowell North and Dick Deaver taking part. But after about five years, a combination of fluky winds, disorganization, and shrinking fleets, eliminated racing as a core activity. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, except that nothing seemed to fill the void. So as it stands now, Sea of Cortez Sailing Week seems . . . well, a little bit like a fish taco without the fish. Or maybe it's just the cruiser social gathering of all cruiser social gatherings in Mexico. In any event, it will be hard for it to be the best event of its kind until it can figure out what it is. Anyway, we hope everyone had a great time - how could they not? - and sends us lots of photos.
A word to the wise everywhere. It's a fool's task to try to organize and run an event when you're not on the scene for at least several months in advance. We learned that lesson well after the first Sea of Cortez Sailing Week.
LAT 38 JEOPARDIZING COMMERCIAL AIR TRAFFIC
Here I am again, sitting in front of my radar scope, pushing tin. I've been an air traffic controller forever and, frankly, your magazine is making it extremely difficult for me to complete my final four years. How many times in the coming years must I read about the Sea of Cortez during a short coffee break, and then trudge dejectedly back to the control room? There is one bright spot, though. I've found that during periods of heavy traffic, if I concentrate really hard on the radar sweep going round and round, and cross my eyes just so slightly, all the aircraft become glowing green sailboats gliding smoothly through translucent seas.
How can I obtain a Ha-Ha entry form for the fall of 2005?
Joe - The same way the people obtain entry forms for this year's Ha-Ha: By sending a $15 check to Baja Ha-Ha, Inc., 21 Apollo Road, Tiburon, CA 94920 - along with a self-addressed, stamped 9x12 envelope. We're looking forward - seriously - to the '05 Ha-Ha, as it will be the lucky 13th.
PUERTO VALLARTA RACE
My Ericson 38 Astraea, along with Hall Palmer's Hunter 54 Pegasus, were the only Northern California boats in the cruising classes of the Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta Race - which you covered so well in your April issue. I'm writing to encourage other cruisers from the Bay Area to enter the next running of the race, in February of 2003. It's a great way to avoid the winter rains, join an international regatta, and get the boat to mainland Mexico for a half season of cruising.
The Del Rey YC's race to P.V. is the club's premiere event, and is supported wonderfully by a group of energetic folks from the club. They go all-out to make the biennial race a delight for all entrants, with several informational seminars, assistance with the legalities and logistics of sailing to Mexico, support along the way, and super parties in Puerto Vallarta.
The only complaint that my crew and I had was that the club initially miscalculated and misreported the results of the cruising classes - which were then published in the April Latitude. Astraea placed second in Cruising Class A, not third. The Del Rey YC's website has the full corrected results and more info on the race at www.dryc.org.
George - The Del Rey YC always does a
great job with that race. For others who want to do a mid-winter
event to Mexico but not wait until 2003, next February the San
Diego YC will be sponsoring a race from San Diego to the Paradise
Resort and Marina near P.V. For details, visit www.sdyc.org.
YET EVEN MORE CIRCUMNAVIGATORS
Seeing the May issue report from Bill and Diana Chapman on their circumnavigation reminded me that I should give you the names of other circumnavigators - and fill in the details of Jerry Knecht's voyage around the world on Night Watch.
Knecht, who lives in San Anselmo, circumnavigated from April '95 to March '97 via the South Pacific, Torres Strait, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Suez Canal, Atlantic Ocean, Panama Canal and home. He did it aboard his Moody 425 named Night Watch. His main crew was his wife, Sue, and John McVea - although several other friends joined for different legs of the voyage. Jerry was the first member of the San Francisco YC to circumnavigate, and was awarded the Yachtsman of the Year Award in 1997. A Cruising Trophy was created in his honor at the yacht club, using a scale model of Night Watch. Jerry is a retired attorney and a member of both the San Francisco YC and the Cruising Club of America.
Ray and Shirley Triplett of San Jose completed a circumnavigation in 1981 aboard Morning Star. I have no details on the boat, but they sailed east to west and passed through the Red Sea, the Med, and the Panama Canal. I believe Ray may now be deceased. He was a member of the CCA, but his name does not appear after 1996.
Hal and Margaret Roth, now living in St. Michaels, Maryland, but formerly of San Francisco, completed a circumnavigation in 1985 on Whisper. I believe that Whisper was a Spencer 35. Their route was east to west via the Panama Canal, the Med, and the Red Sea. Hal Roth completed a solo circumnavigation in 1987 on the modified Santa Cruz 50 American Flag as a participant in the 1986 BOC Challenge Race. He passed Australia, the Cape of Good Hope, and Cape Horn on his route. Hal also completed a solo circumnavigation in 1991 with American Flag as a participant in the 1990 BOC Challenge Race. This trip he sailed west to east via Cape Town, Sydney, Cape Horn and Uruguay.
Beau and Annie Hudson's circumnavigation on their Freya 39 Lionwing was completed in August, 1992. Their route was east to west via the Cape of Good Hope and the Panama Canal. Beau is a member of the Cruising Club of America.
Don and Ann Gumpertz, now of Toluca Lake, completed a circumnavigation on Westward in April, 1976. Their route was west to east via the Panama Canal and the Cape of Good Hope. I have no details about Westward. Don is a member of CCA.
I hope the above is helpful to you.
John E. Sanford
John - It sure is helpful. Thank you
SEVEN YEARS, FOUR MONTHS, TWO DAYS
We were just given an April Latitude, and I see someone else beat us to the punch by reporting our circumnavigation. Anyway, to help fill in the gaps, here's the rest of the information: At 10:35:35 local time on April 19, 2001, Another Horizon crossed its track outside Zihuatanejo, thus completing our circumnavigation. In seven years, four months and two days, we sailed 40,308 miles, visited 459 ports and anchorages in 61 countries, crossed three oceans and countless seas, five canals, and even some lakes and rivers. It's a big world!
Some corrections and clarifications for your table: Tina's last name is Olton; our boat is a Valiant 40, her homeport is Alameda, and we were out from '93 to '01. We're are now in Puerto Vallarta, heading north, hoping to be back in the Bay Area sometime in June.
With regard to the cost of checking in and out of ports in Mexico, our experience has been very different from what others have reported. We have stopped in five ports now, and here in Puerto Vallarta are only paying fees for the first time. By the way, we always check in wherever and whenever the country - all 61 of them - required it. In addition, Mexico isn't the only one that requires checking in at every port you stop at.
We first checked into Mexico at Puerto Madero, where we found the port captain to be a prince. His staff took one copy each of our crew list and boat documentation, and our zarpe from El Salvador. That was the end of our check-in process. When we were ready to leave, they sent us to the airport at Tapachula to check in with Immigration and Customs, then gave us our exit zarpe for "Puerto Vallarta y puertos intermedios." We didn't pay a single peso checking in or checking out. Between Pto. Madero and Pto. Vallarta, we stopped only at marinas, and we asked each marina to please take care of any paperwork required. In each case, after they looked at our zarpe, they said it wasn't necessary, because of the way our zarpe read. No further paperwork was necessary, and no fees were paid. Note, however, that we are not 'cruising' Mexico at this time, but just passing through on our way home, and therefore not staying longer than three days.
Steve Salmon and Tina Olton
REALLY, REALLY FAST
We've now seen the 147-ft Mari Cha III sail in person - and you're right, she's really fast. In fact, she's the most impressive sailing machine we've ever seen! You know how aggressively those guys sail the big ketch? They have to reef the main and mizzen before they can tack. Now that's a sailboat!
Of course, Mari Cha III just about disappeared over the horizon on us and Beowulf in the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race. In fact, we counted it as a moral victory that we could still see her when she crossed the finish line. In less favorable conditions than we had last year, the giant Briand ketch beat the record we set last year by 20 minutes. Nonetheless, we ended up first overall in the fleet on handicap, correcting out 27.5 minutes ahead of the next boat - and we didn't even have to use the engine.
The Antigua YC is talking about a cruising yacht regatta - maybe down to Guadeloupe and back for two races, then a couple of short, easy, around-the-buoys races. There would even be a mom and pop class for those who prefer to sail without crew. They're talking about late spring. You might get your oar in the water and stir a bit if you feel so inclined, as it's still in the formative stages. Linda and I think it's a great idea, and that they'll get a lot of boats if they promote it.
Steve - Congratulations on finishing so close behind the great Mari Cha III, and for correcting out first. A tip of the Latitude hat to you.
Here's the Caribbean cruising regatta
that we think should happen - but never will because there are
too many countries involved: Îles des Saintes to Deshaies,
Guadeloupe. Deshaies to English Harbor, Antigua. English Harbor
to Dickinson Bay. Dickinson Bay to Gustavia, St. Barts. Around
St. Barts. St. Barts to Tintamarre to Marigot Bay. Marigot Bay
to the Bitter End YC on Virgin Gorda, British Virgins, to Foxy's
on Jost van Dyke for the awards ceremony. Two weeks for the whole
works. We're seriously thinking about taking Profligate to the
Caribbean this winter, so there might be at least one boat entered.
I GOT MY BOAT TO SAIL HER
This is just a note of appreciation for Latitude being my inspiration and guide for my cruise and personal adventure. For years I have been reading your magazine on my way from my home on the beach in Manhattan Beach to Venice Beach along the bike path. The bike path goes right through Marina del Rey, and I used to stop in at the boat dealers and fantasize.
Last October I finally found the boat - a Hunter 34 - that could put me onto the open ocean of my dreams. So I joined the Ha-Ha 2000, and invited my lawyer and doctor - both of whom have boats in Germany - to come along. The combination of their expertise and the Poobah's guidance made it a completely enjoyable experience. After the Ha-Ha, I left my boat in the capable hands of Ed Vergara at his 'virtual' Marina Santa Cruz Bay in La Paz so I could return to work for the German television network ZDF.
Since returning to WanderLust in La Paz in February, I have singlehanded over to Mazatlan, down the coast to Puerto Vallarta, and back to Cabo San Lucas for Spring Break. My good buddy Tom flew down with his two daughters for the two-week vacation. We left the girls in Cabo and sailed back to Puerto Vallarta. He later flew back to his daughters and then home, while I continued on alone back to La Paz.
My experiences with the Mexican people and everyone in the cruising community have been nothing but pleasant and enjoyable. The only problems I have are the tremendous distances between the offices you're forced to stop at when you check in and/or out of a port. I am paralyzed from the knees down, which makes the trips between port captain, immigration and banks long and difficult. Their offices are never at the port, but rather a long distance away, and usually at the opposite ends of the city from each other. I sure hope the situation will be improve in the near future.
By the way, there has been tremendous progress at the Marina Santa Cruz in La Paz, as they now have some docks! There are a dozen or more floating at their pilings, and at least 40 more in various stages of construction. Ed Vergara is a good man to be in charge of their construction and placement. Donald Robins, a Canadian boatowner, expert mechanic and all around nice guy, seems to be doing the best he can with the limited resources.
Anyone interested in price comparisons on bottom jobs? I got a quote of $1,250 to have my boat hauled and painted in Marina del Rey, and $950 to have the same job done in Cabo. But I went with the standard price offered by Abaroa's Yard in La Paz for boats 35 feet and under: $400 for hauling, cleaning, sanding, and two coats of painting. The paint is extra. I chose the recommended tin-based Hemple paint from Spain for $90/gallon. The new bottom paint should help with the 'bash' back up the Baja coast. I will be making the trip alone, and plan on three to four weeks of upwind sailing. But hey, that's why I bought my boat - to sail her!
Sign me up for the next Baja Ha-Ha. I learned a lot the last time, and am looking forward to enjoying myself on the next one. I highly recommend it to everyone.
WanderLust, Hunter 340
Manhattan Beach / Cabo San Lucas
Mike - Thanks for the compliments and
information. By the way, you neglected to report that you'll be
stopping in Ensenada to have that tin-based bottom paint - which
is illegal in California - removed.
ONLY THREE STOPS
The publisher of Latitude was a Russian major at Berkeley, but I don't know if he remembers the great story I Didn't Perceive the Elephant that Ivan Krylov wrote in 1814. After visiting the zoo, one grazdhanin - citizen - shares his impressions with a friend who was there a day before. He is telling how much he enjoyed the Siberian tigers, Alaskan bears, African zebras, and so forth. The friend listened and then asked, "What about the elephant?"
"Elephant?" the grazdhanin replied, I didn't see any! I am sure I perceived all animals in the zoo - I even noticed little hummingbirds - but I definitely didn't see the elephant."
The point of the Krylov story is that sometimes we overlook the big things, not the small things. Why do I bring this up? Your April list of circumnavigators! Despite being the author of 36 articles in Latitude - including 12 about my solo circumnavigation in '84 with just three stops - as well as the author of 35 published books, a person listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, and the navigator in three attempts to do a solo circumnavigation in less than 100 days - you left me out.
Dr. Andrew Urbanczyk
Dr. U - While it may seem as though we're modeled after the titled character in Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot, or perhaps even Akaky Akakievich in Nikolai Gogol's The Overcoat, there was actually a reason to our apparent lapses in memory. We wanted to 'stretch' the story by having omitted persons - such as yourself - write in to complain, and by getting others to provide further interesting details on their circumnavigations. If you only had a little more patience, we surely would have remembered your trip around on our own.
Patience - say, wasn't that the major theme and virtue of General Kutusov in Leo Tolstoy's 365-chapter book War and Peace? Remember how on pages, 227, 438, 573, 891, 1256, and 1958 - and about 200 others - Kutuzov kept saying that despite Napolean's decimating march into Russia, that Russia had only one weapon, and that was patience, and they would win in the end. The old general was right, too, for by being patient and not giving up, the terrible Russian winter arrived and routed the French - just as it would rout the Germans a century later - allowing Mother Russia to survive. We've never forgotten that.
This has nothing to do with sailing, but suddenly we're reminded of one of the most hilarious things we've ever read. Remember Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, the monumental investigation of all types of passion? And remember how all the Brothers K had got their garrulous old father to promise to absolutely, positively behave himself when they met with Father Zossima? And how the old man then intentionally and torturously reneged on his promise, and did everything concieveable - and more - to insult and disgust the Father? It was so awful, yet made us laugh so loud. Brilliant! Nikolai, Fyodor and Leo - nobody writes like those guys anymore. Now, back to sailing.
SELECTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN?
A few days ago, I called the office of the BCDC (Bay Conservation and Development Commission) in San Francisco to tell them that I was a concerned boatowner who wished to report a source of fecal pollution in the South Bay. The young lady answering the phone was eager to hear more - until I explained that the contamination I was concerned about wasn't coming from a boat, but from the homeless living under the bridges and along the banks of the Guadalupe River in downtown San Jose - almost right under the nose of city hall! All interest then evaporated, and I was told such matters were "out of the jurisdiction" of the BCDC. It would seem the BCDC will only pursue polluters if they have boats, and the prime purpose of the Commission is not to keep the Bay clean, but to amass political capital against mariners.
My calls to the San Jose City Council were also fruitless. Yet I remember attending a long meeting several years ago where all the important politicians and Congressman Pete Stark expiated at length about the horrors perpetrated by people living on boats. The pols then agreed with each other that something must be done!
It can only be assumed that the homeless encampments produce sewage on a daily basis. As such, we should insist that sanitation devices be installed and the use of them made compulsory for riparian residents - just as mariners are so enjoined.
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