Photo of the Day

April 4 - Gulf of the Farallones

The lovely shot here is of Stan Honey and Sally Lindsay's Cal 40 Illusion during last weekend's windy Lightship Race. Stan, as many of you recall, is the navigator on Steve Fossett's 125-foot catamaran PlayStation, and he's also the guy behind SailMail. The photo was taken by Jim Puckett from Charles Breed's boat. Charles, along with his wife and kids, imported the Elliott 46 Bravado into the Bay Area. Just for fun, we 'faceted' the photo in Photoshop.

Photo Jim Puckett

Read all about the Lightship Race in the May issue of Latitude 38.

Strange Business In Turtle Bay

April 4 - Turtle Bay, Mexico

Bruce Ladd, captain of Profligate for the Puerto Vallarta to San Diego delivery, reports a funny occurence while in Turtle Bay. After fueling up, he and the rest of the crew climbed onto the pier - seen in this photograph - and walked to town for a few minor supplies. When they returned to the pier an hour or so later, an eight-ft plywood wall had been erected two thirds of the way down the pier! There was no door through the wall, nor was there any way to climb over or around it. Due to language problems it wasn't clear, but apparently there's a stink between the guys who have jurisdiction over the pier and the guys who run the fuel dock at the end of the pier. Whatever. Bruce had earlier paid $282 U.S. for 610 liters - about 150 gallons - of diesel.

Photo Susan Stromsland

At 11 a.m. this morning, Profligate was 20 miles north of Cedros motoring under complete overcast at 7.5 knots. There's a double swell that isn't particularly steep or high, but is making the going a little lumpy. So far this is Profligate's best 'Baja Bash' in four tries. At this juncture last year, it was blowing 35 to 40 knots in nasty seas. Think the Pacific Coast of Baja is warm in the spring? It's not.

Is the Coast Guard About to Once Again Commit Public Relations Suicide?

April 4 - Pacific Ocean

On March 20, Jim and Kyoko Bandy of the San Francisco-based Passport 42 Also II, left Banderas Bay, Mexico, for French Polynesia. After sailing 150 miles to the southwest, they were shocked to be stopped - and eventually boarded - by the U.S. Coast Guard.

"Once the boarding party - which consisted of three Coasties, while three others were at the ready in a RIB - were onboard, they started what turned out to be a two-hour 'safety inspection'. Most of the time was spent filling out paperwork. We received a warning for three things: 1) PFDs not being accessible enough. I had to move two of them on the spot as they told us our Stearns inflatable PFDs were not Coast Guard approved. 2) Out of date flares. 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 of them would have worked. One of the Coasties remarked that he thought 90% of the flares would still work.

"At this point, they told us they were doing us a favor because we were in violation on two other counts that they 'lined out'. 1) Not having a trash placard posted! They gave me one and I put it up. 2) Not having a 'waste management plan at the ready'. I had one that I'd made several years before, but could not produce it in the time allowed. They even wanted to see our copy of the 'Navigation Rules'. Fortunately, I was able to produce that! They told us that if you have three violations, they write a citation that comes with a fine and possible jail time! All this when we were in international waters on our way from Puerto Vallarta to the Gambier Islands in the South Pacific. And all this information had been established over the radio before they boarded. The long arm of U.S. law still got us!"

The Bandys were profiled in the March 23 edition of 'Lectronic Latitude as part of our series on the Pacific Puddle Jump Class of 2001 (see more profiles below).
Photo Latitude/Andy

The Coast Guard created a public relations disaster for themselves in the late '80s and early '90s through hostile boardings of obviously innocent recreational boats. It took years for them to recover most of that reputation. We love the Coast Guard, and dearly hope this incident isn't a sign of a return to the bad old days when recreational mariners were treated as the enemy rather than friends.

Big First Step

April 4 - Hiva Oa

The photo you see here of the rainbow's end is also of Paul and Terry Weiner's Ventura-based St. Francis 43 catamaran Catofun, anchored off Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. When you start ocean cruising, you're supposed to ease into it. Not Paul and Terry. They flew to the St. Francis factory in South Africa in '96 where they picked up their new boat. Their first ocean sail? Six thousand miles from Cape Town to Miami. It must have worked for them, for they are still at it, having crossed the Pacific to New Zealand last fall. In fact, you can read more about their Tonga to New Zealand crossing in the
May Latitude.

Photo Courtesy Catofun

Pacific Puddle Jump

April 4 - Nuevo Vallarta

The most popular way to get to the South Pacific is to leave from Mexico and sail to the Marquesas. That's what the Pacific Puddle Jump Class of 2001 are doing. We're introducing them to you in a continuing series of profiles. Check back for more in tomorrow's 'Lectronic, and you'll find all of them in the pages of the April issue of Latitude 38, which came out on March 30.

Four Winds - Tayana 37
Greg Nickols, Sausalito

Sometimes life just isn't fair. There are probably thousands of West Coast sailors who would give their eye teeth to jump on a boat bound for Tahiti. Yet here was a likeable young guy with a sleek 37-footer ready to shove off, but in need of crew. We were tempted to sign on ourselves.

A capable sailor, Greg came south with the '99 Ha-Ha fleet and has since been all the way to the Panama Canal and back. Keying in on the less-traveled places, he particularly enjoyed the Las Perlas Islands of Panama and a trek through Costa Rica's rain forest. In the months ahead he looks forward to visiting "all the places I've been reading about for the past 20 years like the Marquesas, Tuamotus and Cooks."

In a few years he'll head back to the Bay Area, as he's "not really retired, just temporarily unemployed."

Free Spirit - Pearson 424
Jerry & Barbara Philips, San Francisco

"We've fallen in love with Mexico and its people," says Barbara. After coming south with the '99 Ha-Ha, she and Jerry took Spanish lessons to help them assimilate, then balanced their time in coastal anchorages with trips to remote mountain villages.

This will be the couple's first trip across the Pacific, but they are certainly no strangers to cruising. "Even back in the '70s, when our daughter was only three, we took the boat down the Mississippi and up the eastern seaboard to Maine." Both retired teachers, they used their precious summers to travel under sail. Twice they went from San Francisco up to British Columbia and back, exploring outlying destinations like the Queen Charlottes and Princess Louisa Inlet.

Realizing that most working stiffs don't have that kind of flexibility, they advise, "Build up your experience over a long period of time. Sail outside the Golden Gate and get some practice in real sea conditions."

Photos Latitude/Andy


April 4 - 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 4 - 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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