Volvo Ocean Race Resumes with the Start of the Sydney-Hobart

December 26 - Sydney, Australia

To begin Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race, the Volvo 60s are joining in the 630 mile Sydney to Hobart (Tasmania) Race. After Team Tyco won the 1pm local time Boxing Day start, local favorites News Corp, sailing under the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia burgee, led in the first leg of the Sydney-Hobart, around the turning mark and out of The Heads. Then Tyco took a small lead, but at presstime (Web time?) overall Volvo Race leaders illbruck have edged ahead of Tyco to precede the fleet down the East Coast of Australia. However, all the boats are sailing within sight of each other. Just one mile separated first from last place as the fleet entered their first night at sea, beating into a strengthening wind. This gap has widened as the east/west split increased to five miles between illbruck, holding the westerly position, and Tyco, the easterly.

Amer Sports Too with Sydney-Hobart racer Grundig
Photo Carlo Borlenghi/SEA&SEE

Assa Abloy at the first mark
Photo Thierry Martinez

Fighting for the lead aboard Team News Corp
Photo Richard Langdon/Ocean Images

Team Tyco was nose-out on the fleet for awhile
Photo Rick Tomlinson

djuice at the start
Photo Rick Tomlinson

The 2,050 mile Leg 3 will take the Volvo fleet to Auckland, New Zealand, following a 3.5 hour layover in Hobart. For details on the factor weather is playing in the race, as well as breaking news and lots more good photos, see

For an excellent New York Times interview with Marinite Mark Rudiger, navigator of Assa Abloy, see

For more on the Sydney-Hobart race, see

Mexico Tourism Email Campaign

December 21 - Mexico City

Mexico - one of the finest cruising grounds in the world - has created a vexious problem for cruisers. We hope that you'll join us in trying to help them solve it.

Our friends to the south are investing nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in the hope of attracting 10 times the number of Americans who currently visit by boat. Alas, they are making the investment less than two years after instituting clearance procedures that are more expensive and time-consuming than almost anywhere else in the world. While they are doing this out of ignorance rather than spite, the net effect is nonetheless the same: they are discouraging the very tourists they are spending a fortune to attract.

It's impossible to describe the current clearance regulations precisely, as they are interpreted so differently by different port captains, but for a quick synopsis as well as a couple of first-hand accounts, see December 19's 'Lectronic Latitude. For the full version of this story, see the January issue of Latitude 38, to be distributed beginning Friday.

The current regulations are bad for cruisers because they waste too much time and because they are too expensive. The regulations are bad for Mexico because they are giving this great cruising country a black eye with the kind of visitors they are trying to attract. Fortunately, there's a simple and excellent solution - an annual cruising permit. These are common in many parts of the world, and are what Terri Grossman, head of the Marina Owners Association, has been pushing for a long time. Under such a plan, cruisers would buy an annual or seasonal cruising permit for a set fee - say $150 to $300 - and receive a card that would allow them to travel Mexico without having to check in. Or if they had to check in, the port captain would merely stamp the permit and take a copy of a crew list. But that would be it. Cruisers would stop wasting hours of aggravation, Mexico would stop pissing off current and future cruisers.

Terri Grossman tells us that she has pushed SCT and Tourism as hard as she can without it becoming counterproductive. As such, it's time for we cruisers - past, present and future - as well as marine businesses in Mexico and the United States, to respectfully but forcefully help the Mexican government understand what a mistake the current regulations are. As such, we're asking you to email a copy of the following petition to Lic. Berta Leticia Navarro Ochoa, Secretario de Turismo. We're also asking you to send a copy to Lic. Rosario Graham, Directora General de Servicios a Prestadores de Servicios Turisticos.

There are a couple of reasons why now is a good time to push the issue. First, the government is investing millions in the 'Nautical Stairway' to attract more American yachties. Second, President Fox's right hand man is an attorney who has a large motoryacht, so he is at least somewhat familiar with the situation.

Here's the email we suggest that you send (you can copy and paste it into an email):

Dear (fill in one of the names previously mentioned),

As a mariner who loves the people, culture, land, and seas of Mexico, I want to respectfully object to the clearance regulations that were put in place by the SCT in January of 2000. I believe the regulations are bad for tourists by boat as well as bad for Mexico. The changes made clearing in much more expensive and time-consuming. In some cases, it could cost close to $120 U.S. in fees and probably more than a day waiting in lines to cover just 20 miles! In the short term, the effect is to discourage tourists by boat from visiting places with port captains, thereby denying business to nearby marinas, restaurants and stores. In the long run, the effect is to discourage Americans from bringing their boats to Mexico - at a time when Mexico is investing $220 million to lure Americans down a 'nautical stairway'.

We believe that it is in the best interest of Mexico to offer boat tourists a reasonably-priced annual cruising permit - as is done in many other countries where boat tourism is popular. Upon entering Mexico, the owner of a vessel would pay a one-time fee - say $150 to $300 - to purchase a permit that would allow his/her boat to travel about Mexico without having to check in with each port captain - or perhaps only check in by dropping off a crew list and having the permit stamped. Such a system would be much more attractive to boat tourists, yet would provide the Mexican government with an efficient means of collecting a cruising fee and keeping track of all boats and tourists. This is a very important issue for boat tourists - and Mexico - so I hope that you will give it serious consideration.


(your name)


December 26 - 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

December 26 - 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 Winds and Pressure

The University of Hawaii Dept. of Meteorology page posts a daily map of the NE Pacific Ocean barometric pressure and winds.

Pacific Sea State

Check out the Pacific Ocean sea states at:
For another view, see

Top / Index of Stories / Subscriptions / Classifieds / Home

©2001 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.