Good News Flash!

February 16 - Mexico City

Remember the surprise port fees instituted in Mexico on
January 1? They're not gone, but thanks to several meetings between members
of the Mexican marine industry and the Secretary of Commerce and
Transportation, you now only need to pay fees when entering or leaving a
port captain's region, not just the port itself. This is a huge improvement
over the recent situations, and in many cases, a huge improvement over how
things used to be. More on Monday.

Photos of the Day

February 16 - Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

"We know it's February already and a little late to write about Christmas, but what the heck?" write Alan and Patsy Mosley of the Long Beach-based Sedona. "In the true cruising spirit, about 25 Pacific Puddle Jumpers - those who crossed the big ocean from Mexico to the South Pacific - gathered once again for a huge potluck dinner at Taurange Bridge Marina, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Many of us were from the Class of '99, but there were also crews from '98 and '00 that joined in.

"Santa - Kiwi cruiser Allen of Jenny M - made a visit to the delight of 24 happy children who came together, literally, from all over the world to celebrate this special time. Party organizer Biane Bain of Illusion persuaded her husband Peter to be the master of ceremonies and to lead the Christmas carols. Entertainment included a piano and flute duet by Dave of Redwing and Debbie of Romance. Rod and Brenda of the San Francisco-based Glory Days were Santa assistants.

"1999 Puddle Jumpers who just couldn't - or didn't - make it out of New Zealand this past year included Ballerina, Brisa del Mar, Veronique, Juana Lucina, Red Wing, Ricka, Romance and Sedona. European boats included Panacea, Sea Light Star, Oris, Queen Tala, Scaffhogg, Neptune III, Nardis, La Zoe and Iyala. Visiting from northern New Zealand marinas were Billikin (Fred and Beda from Alaska), Tatanka (Wally and Kathleen from Southern California), Toujours (Tom and Bonnie from Southern California), and Escapade. Recent arrivals from 2000 were Lucid Dream, Equinox and Loafer. Most of us are trying hard to break ties this year to go offshore again, back to the islands and cruising lifestyle we love so much. But 'overstaying' a year in New Zealand is a memory that will always be close to our hearts.

"Tony Arnold, Tauranga Bridge Marina manager, and his various assistants, as well as chandlery owner Debbie Thoms, go out of their way to provide friendly, helpful and affordable service. Tauranga and Mt. Maunganui are 100 miles south of Auckland and centrally located for visiting the many thermal areas and the east coast of the North Island."

Left to right: Beda & Fred of Billikan; Bonnie & Tom of Toujours; Alan & Patsy of Sedona; Kathleen & Wally of Tatanka; and Brenda & Rod of Glory Days
Photo Courtesy

Photos Courtesy Tauranga Bridge Marina

Idiocy and Incompetence!

February 16 - Cyberspace

Yesterday we ran a short item saying that Quokka Sports and had called it quits. This was wrong, wrong, wrong, and we apologize. - which had done such a great job with the Whitbread and America's Cup - has unfortunately shut down. It will be missed. Quokka Sports, despite having suffered massive losses, is merely restructuring. Our sincere apologies to everyone involved for having bungled that report.

Del Rey to Puerto Vallarta Race

February 16 - Pacific Ocean

The early divisions in the 1,125-mile race from Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta have been tortured by light winds. Yesterday's report showed the smaller and slower boats already underway averaging an agonizing one to three knots in 24 hours. How long before people start jumping overboard? Fortunately, offshore winds are supposed to pick up to 10 knots, then 10 to 20 knots tomorrow. This will favor the four big sleds and Jake Wood's 83-foot Sorcery that start today. For the latest reports, check out the

The Race Update

February 16 - Atlantic and Southern Oceans

"We are moving at eight knots, and that's plenty fast," says Grant Dalton of Club Med. What the...? Some 5,076 miles from the finish, the following is a condensed form of Dalton's explanation.

"The last 24 hours have been hell. Much worse than anticipated. The low that we had passed by yesterday came right back over the top of us and gave us 40 knot headwinds on top of this ridiculous sea. We have lost a lot of distance [200 miles] to Innovation Explorer but we don't care. All we want is to be delivered from this place. I always knew this would be the toughest area, but it has really vindicated all that I said about it. This has been the worst day of The Race so far for Club Med. The boat rises up vertically and then falls into the deep hole behind each steep wave. Normally in your bunk, you lie feet forward to avoid banging your head against the forward bulkhead. Well, now it is the other way round. You have to sleep head forwards so that when the boat climbs up a wave and becomes vertical, you don't bang your head on the bulkhead behind. No one has slept for at least 36 hours. We haven't broken anything serious yet, only deck fittings, nothing that we can't repair. But there are a lot of strange and unfamiliar noises coming from places we aren't used to hearing noises from. The boat is working really hard. Off the wind catamarans are great, but they do not and never will go upwind. They are absolute dogs. The loads and shocks are just huge, it is like cannon shots going off all around. At one point we seriously considered removing all sails, stopping the boat, and just waiting. We have to keep it really slow. If you were silly, you could end the whole race right here by sailing too fast. Seamanship and survival are everything right now."

Club Med has about 300 miles to go to the southeast trades. Innovation Explorer - which will also have to go through the rough patch - is now less than 800 miles behind. Cam Lewis and Team Adventure, which had been such a threat at the start, are in Wellington, New Zealand, getting a 'skin graft'. They may be there longer than the mandatory 60-hour stop. Warta Polpharma will also have to stop to get some media gear fixed, but will be able to leave immediately, thus moving into third place. Team Legato remains another 500 miles behind.

Blue Club Med
Green Innovation Explorer
Orange Team Adventure
Yellow Warta Polpharma
Magenta Team Legato

Graphics Courtesy Club Med

Ranking of 16 Feb 2001 15:00:00 GMT

1. Club Med / dtf 5,031.9 miles
2. Innovation Explorer / dtl 780.9 miles
3.Team Adventure / dtl 6,285.3 miles
4. Warta Polpharma / dtl 6,373.9 miles
5. Team Legato / dtl 6,861.7 miles

Trivial Pursuit?

February 16 - Pacific Ocean

Yesterday we ran the following item:

"I had lunch yesterday with some cruiser friends of mine who told me a story of a cruising yacht that sank en route from Galapagos to the Marquesas," writes George Backhus of the Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow, currently in Australia. "They told me the boat that sank was Italian, and carried no liferaft, no EPIRB and no SSB radio. The story was that she developed a sudden crack in the hull and took on more water than could be pumped out. The crew were rescued by two nearby yachts . . . that happened to be listening on VHF 16 because they were, get this, having playing a game of Trivial Pursuit over the radio. What luck!"

When we asked if anybody could confirm the story, Keith of Scanmar replied:

"After delivering a 46' steel sloop to Hawaii, I spent the month at the Hawaii YC. During that time I did a lot of reading, and I specifically remember reading an article with photos of the incident described. I can't recall for the life of me however, what publication it was in."

Where Are They Now?

February 16 - Somewhere on Planet Earth

A few days ago we asked if anybody knew where Tom Vance of the Freya 39 Vanessa was. John Keen of the Gulf 32 pilothouse Knot Yet, just back from Townsville, Australia, reports seeing Vance in Fiji in '99, but thanks to "cruiseheimers" can't remember if he continued on to New Zealand or Australia.

We've always liked this photo of Sirius Endeavour, which was taken in the San Blas Islands a few years ago. Who remembers the crew's name and knows where they are now?

Photo Courtesy of Sirius Endeavour


February 16 - 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

February 16 - 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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