Photos of the Day

April 12 - Banderas Bay, Mexico

A lot of sailors are unclear on the proper way in which to exit a boat enroute to a surfing session. Ali of Blue Dragon demonstrates the proper form in this three photo sequence as she leaves Profligate to paddle in at La Lancha on the north shore of Banderas Bay. Notice in photo #1 how she's standing on the top of the daggerboards, the highest part of the boat, some 14 feet off the surface of the water. When you're going to go surfing you want to psych up by starting out with a little flair. Observe that her arms are spread for athwartships balance, and she's standing on the balls of her feet for maximum fore and aft trim. The only fault we find is that she's wearing a wetsuit - the water is muy caliente in Mexico, at least compared to Northern California. In photo #2, Ali has compressed the muscles in her body and leaned forward, all the better to safely thrust herself over the top of the lifelines that always want to snag a leaper. In photo #3, you see the results of her technique. She's easily cleared the lifelines, isn't in danger of hitting Christian on the other surfboard, and is about to enter the water with a minimal splash. Well done Ali!

There were a number of cruisers/surfers who enjoyed long stretches of the winter at Punta de Mita because there are a number of fine breaks close by. The point is great in a northwest swell, although you'll got to watch out for the rocks and particularly urchins. Mike Miller of Uhuru ended up with a knee looking like a pin cushion after taking a fall. It took more than a month before his body was able to reject all of the very painful - and long - urchin spines. The inner break in front of the palapas at Punta de Mita is likened to the easy waves at Cowell's Beach in Santa Cruz when it's small. But when it's big, it's known as the 'Mexican Malibu', big bottom turns, messing around on the nose, cut-backs and other longboard fun. Even the Wanderer was getting some very long and playful rides, all the way inside the breakwaters. Further inside the bay is La Lancha, which offers lefts as well as rights. The cool thing is that La Lancha and the Mexican Malibu are good on opposite tides, so you can surf one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Cowabunga!

Photos Latitude/Richard

What Boat Do the St. Francis YC Commodores Prefer?

April 12 - San Francisco

It would appear to be the venerable Knarr. Steve Taft, current commodore of the St. Francis, sails one. In fact, that's his hull #122 Gossip leading last weekend's San Francisco YC Resin Regatta. Since Taft is the commodore of the club, Gossip is the club's Flag Ship. He's being trailed in the photo by #102, Terry Anderlini's Benino. Anderlini is a Staff Commodore, which means he's a past commodore. Other St. Francis commodores who have campaigned Knarrs are Grant Settlemier and George Sayre.

All the original Knarrs were built of wood, but now it's a mixed fleet of wood and fiberglass versions. That's why there were wood boats in the San Francisco YC's Resin Regatta, and why there will be fiberglass Knarrs in the St. Francis YC's upcoming Woodies Regatta. No, nothing is simple anymore. Knarrs are also popular in the St. Francis Wednesday Night Series. Each August there's an International Knarr Championship, but the location alternates between Denmark and San Francisco Bay. This year it will be on the Bay.

We also enjoy a clever boat name, and Taft's Gossip is one of the best. "What's the significance of the name, Steve?" "Nothing," he told us, "gets around faster than Gossip."

Photo Latitude/JR

Looking Here, There, and Everywhere

April 12 - San Francisco Bay Area

The latest dock talk is that Oracle Racing, which was unable to reach an agreement to compete for the 2003 America's Cup under the burgee of the St. Francis YC, has been unsuccessful in similar negotiations with other yacht clubs in California such as the San Francisco and Richmond Yacht Clubs. Currently, they're said to be talking with the Golden Gate YC. There's no giant rush, as they have almost another year to align with a club.

Before anybody misreads between the lines and thinks this means that Larry Ellison and Oracle Racing are driving a hard bargain and trying to screw people over, that's not necessarily the case at all. As we understand it, it's Ellison's goal to make the America's Cup better than ever, and he feels - probably rightly so - that the only way to do that is to get the Cup out of the control of a never-ending succession of yacht clubs. Yacht clubs, on the other hand, have other interests besides the America's Cup. So the failure to reach an agreement so far doesn't mean anybody is necessarily a bad guy, just the Oracle Racing and yacht clubs have different and sometimes conflicting agendas.

By the way, June 4 is the release day of The Proving Ground, a book by Wall Street Journal correspondent G. Bruce Knecht, about the disasterous 1999 Sydney to Hobart Race. Much of the story is told around what happened aboard Ellison's Sayonara, as told to the author by Ellison. A number of Northern California sailors are frequently featured, including Mark Rudiger and Zan Dredjes. One of our favorite parts is when they are in the worst of the storm, Sayonara is deliminating in many places, and the question of survival is very real:

"When Ellison saw Zan Dredjes pumping more water from the hull and noticed how bloodshot his eyes were, Ellison said, 'What a bunch of dumb shits we are to call this fun.'

"'Just you wait,' Zan said, 'You'll look back on this race with pride, and you'll be out here again someday.'

"Ellison didn't have an audible comment, but to himself he was adamant: there's no fucking way I'm ever going to be out here again."

Sweet Sailing

April 12 - Newport Harbor

Is there anything more lovely than watching somebody really in tune with their boat? We don't think so. Shortly after entering Newport Harbor last weekend, we came across this person - we're not sure if it's a man or woman - sailing this small sloop. It was a lovely sight.


Photos Latitude/Richard

West Marine J/Fest

April 12 - San Francisco Bay

Sixty-eight boats sailed in last weekend's excellent West Marine J/Fest Regatta, co-hosted by Encinal YC and Sail California. The windy 2-day, 4-race series attracted big fleets in three one design classes, but only four boats in PHRF. The sailing was splendid. Saturday's second race ended in front of the clubhouse, and the Saturday night feed/raffle was well worth the trip up the Estuary.

Class winners were: J/105 - Sails Call, Ian Charles (33 boats); J/35 - Jarlen, Bob Bloom (8 boats); J/24 - Tundra Rose, Keith Whittemore (23 boats); PHRF - Tigger, J/33, The Fennells. See the May issue of Latitude 38 for complete results and more photos.

Top: Colorful Cityfront parade
Right: Competition in the huge J/105 division
Bottom Left: Close racing among the J/35s
Bottom Right: Kiri, Bob George's J/35 (in the lead in this photo) broke her mast at the entrance to the Estuary on Saturday. Fortunately, her crew was quick to douse sails and the rig did not come down.

Photos Latitude/JR


April 12 - 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

Weather Updates

April 12 - Pacific Ocean

San Francisco Bay Weather

To see what the winds are like on the Bay and just outside the Gate 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.:

Pacific Sea State

Seas are normal in the Pacific. But you might check out the Pacific Ocean sea states at:
For another view, see

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