Photo of the Day

Lucky to Live so Close

September 25 - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

If you're trying to understand the appeal of winter cruising in Mexico, this photo of the Marina Paradise, Banderas Bay and La Cruz, might give some hints. While it's cool, gray and often raining in Northern California from November through March, it normally sunny - and always warm - along mainland Mexico.

Marina Paradise is located about four miles north of the Puerto Vallarta airport, and unlike the hotels in PV proper, has a great beach for swimming, body surfing and surfing. In addition to a marina, it's also a very, very nice hotel and spa. Dick Markie is the harbormaster. Paradise Marina is home to the Banderas Bay Cruisers Regatta late each March - which is free!

Marina Paradise has been the winter home for Latitude's catamaran 'Profligate' the last two winters, and we expect to have her there for most of this winter. The sailing in Banderas Bay is the most consistent in Mexico, with a regular afternoon breeze of 12 to 18 knots. Forget the foul weather gear, all you need is a Speedo or bikini. There are also excellent cruising destinations in the bay, our favorite being Pt. Mita, home to some great surf and a couple of laid back palapa restaurants. Pt. Mita is as quiet as downtown PV is hectic.

Photo Courtesy Marina Paradise

Banderas Bay is also the gateway to Mexico's Gold Coast, 150 miles of great cruising down to places like Ipala, Chemela, Careyes, Tenacatita Bay, Melaque, Barra de Navidad and Manzanillo. We'll be doing lots of Banderas Bay sailing and some Gold Coast cruising with 'Profligate' this winter, so if you might be interested in joining us on a shared expenses basis, email Richard and we'll let you know the details after our plans have firmed up.

We're lucky living here in the United States - the great cruising of Mexico is so close at hand.

Weather Updates

September 25 - Pacific and Atlantic Oceans

Tropical Weather

It's all quiet along the coast of Mexico. Over in the middle of the Atlantic, Hurricane Isaac is hooting at 80 knots and looking to become stronger. Fortunately, he appears to be heading well north of the Eastern Caribbean. You can take a look at Isaac at

San Francisco Bay Weather

To see what the winds are like on the Bay right now, check out

California Coast Weather

Looking for current as well as recent wind and sea readings from 17 buoys and stations between Pt. Arena and the Mexican border? Here's the place - which has further links to weather buoys and stations all over the U.S.: Right now, it's quite calm all along the coast.

Pacific Sea State

You can check out today's sea state at:
For another view, see


Cruisers Rescued After Nine Days Adrift

September 25 - Bay of Biscay

Even though far fewer cruisers were out sailing 25 years ago, it was not uncommon to hear stories of crews who lost their boats and spent days - if not weeks or months - drifting around in liferafts waiting to be rescued. Thanks to the advent of EPIRBs, that rarely happens anymore. But it happened last week.

According to reports from the Associated Press, four Germans left the northwest coast of Spain on September 13 for the Netherlands in an unnamed sailboat. The group consisted of a couple, their two-year old daughter, and the boat's captain. A day into their voyage, while in the Bay of Biscay, an explosion and fire in the engine room forced all four to immediately leave the boat - which sank in a matter of minutes. For the next nine days, they drifted around without any food. The only water they had was what they could catch in a plastic bucket when it rained.

It's unclear whether or not the boat was equipped with an EPIRB. We suspect that it was, but the crew couldn't get to it because of the explosion and fire. If they had an EPIRB, they almost certainly would have been rescued in the heavily trafficked waters in a matter of hours. As it was, they were passed by 11 vessels that didn't see them, until a tanker spotted them.

While in reasonably good shape now, the two-year old stopped breathing while being brought back to shore on a helicopter. She was resuscitated and appears to have recovered completely.

Don't go offshore without an EPIRB!


September 25 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace

Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? Check out YOTREPS - 'yacht reports' - at


Olympic Update

September 25 - Sydney, Australia

Sunday was round robin two at the Olympics for the Soling class, and it was not a good day for the American team of Jeff Madrigali of Novato, Craig Healy of Tiburon, and Hartwell Jordan of Discovery Bay. Having lost four of their five match races, they were eliminated. Many observers had expected them to win one of the medals.

St. Francis Big Boat Series

September 25 - San Francisco

This year's BBS was certainly the biggest in history, and perhaps the most pleasant. It was so mellow. Depending on who you talk to, that was either good or bad. While you can read the best Big Boat Series coverage in the Latitude that comes out on September 29, here are the results:

Makoto Uematso's Farr 50 'Esmeralda' from Japan took honors in Class A without winning any of the seven races. Skipper Ken Read proved once again that consistency is the key to victory. John MacLaurin's Davidson 54 'Pendragon 4' was a distant second, nipping fellow St. Francis member Bob Garvie's N/M 50 'Bullseye' by half a point. Eight boats.

Ross Ritto's Farr 40 (IMS) 'High Five' from San Diego took Class B, nipping Neil Barth's Andrews ILC 40 'Yahoo! Sports' from the Newport Harbor YC. Two of the 'Yahoo' crew briefly went for a swim after a lifeline broke. John Siegel's Wylie 42 'Scorpio' from the St. Francis was just another point back. Nine boats.

Chris Boome drove Ray and Bonnie Lopez's elderly Stockton-based Davidson 44 'InfraRed' to a one point victory over Norman Olson's St. Francis-based Beneteau 42s7 in Class C. John Clauser and Bobbi Tosse's IOR Farr 40 from the Richmond YC, another long-toothed warrior, was 14 points back.

After winning the One Design 35 Nationals earlier this week, Bob Hughes of Michigan continued his winning ways by taking the 1D35 division. But it was close. A 10th in the final race dropped him to a 22-point tie with John Wylie's 'Tabasco' from San Diego. Hughes prevailed on the tie-breaker. Greg Dorland of the St. Francis used the DeVos brothers' 'Windquest' to take third. Sixteen boats.

Mark Dowdy of the San Francisco YC took a three point victory in the Express 37 one-design fleet over Mick Schlens' Cabrillo Beach-based 'Blade Runner'. Bartz Schneider's 'Expeditious' from the San Francisco YC was third.

The 16-boat Farr 40 One-Design class was like an America's Cup reunion. The fleet's rock stars included all kinds of A-Cup vets from Auckland: John Kostecki, Paul Cayard, Dee Smith, Dean Barker, John Kolius, John Cutler and Peter Holmberg. Other top notch sailors included Morgan Larson, Steve Benjamin, Chris Perkins, Robbie Haines and Dave Ullman. Whew! John Kilroy of the St. Francis-based 'Samba Pa Ti' took honors over fellow club member Peter Stoneberg. Deneen Demourkas' 'Groovederci' from Santa Barbara took third after a tie-breaker with Hasso Plottner's 'Morning Glory'. Sixteen boats.

Bill Turpin's SC 52 'Ingrid' nipped Roger Sturgeon's SC 52 'Rosebud' by one point to take the SC 50-52 Class. Bill LeRoy and Jim Cascino's 50+ 'Gone with the Wind' was third. Just five boats.

The J/105 one-design class was the biggest in Big Boat Series history, with 32 entries. Steve Pugh and Jeff Littfin's St. Francis-based 'Wind Dance' took honors, besting the last place boat by close to 190 points. Ian Charles' 'Sails Call', also from the St. Francis, was second by just five points. Sam Hock's 'Jose Cuervo' from Sausalito was third, just nine points off the pace.

Finally, the J/120 class was claimed by David Jane's 'J/Bird' from the Bahia Corinthian, who bested Jeff Brown's 'Galapagos', also from the Bahia Corinthian. Steve Madeira's 'Mr. Magoo' from the St. Francis was third as a result of losing a tie-breaker.

Left to Right: Esmeralda, Pendragon 4 and Bullseye led the big boats.

Pendragon trails Esmeralda.

High 5 (white boat at right) led Class B.

InfraRed took Class C honors.

Samba Pa Ti won the Farr 40 One Design Class.

Close quarters in the big J/105 fleet

Photos Latitude/Richard

Wow! It's been a long, busy week. We're off to the beach for a brief break, but we'll be back on Wednesday with more 'Lectronic Latitude.

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