Photo of the Day

January 19 - La Paz, BCS

These guitar playing folks are Pepe and Sue Maxwell of the Spindrift 43 'Melissa', although now they spend most of their time at some island in the Pacific Northwest looking after Pepe's mom. Anyway, they are organizing this year's Sea of Cortez Sailing Week, which will be held from April 27 through May 5, starting in La Paz but mostly at beautiful Isla Partida. The year's event will have lots of beach activity, boat and yacht racing, and tons of socializing. Pepe and Sue want to assure everyone that this will be a strictly G-rated affair, so folks cruising with kids shouldn't miss it.

Sailing Week organizers Pepe and Sue Maxwell
at the Dock Cafe at Marina de La Paz
Photo Courtesy Melissa

The Race Update

January 19 - Southern Ocean

Yesterday afternoon, Cam Lewis's 110-foot maxi cat 'Team Adventure' slammed her main beam into a wave while traveling at very high speed in the Roaring Forties. The boat suddenly came to a complete stop, injuring crewmembers Mikael Lundh, who was hurt in a fall crossing the trampoline and suffered a sprained neck, and Jeffrey Wargo, who was thrown forward in the galley and bruised his pelvis. Both are in stable condition. When the boat was checked after the incident, it was discovered that there was structural damage in the form of delamination at the forward starboard side of the main beam. In addition, there is some damage to the outer skin and core. As such, Lewis made the decision to divert to Cape Town, South Africa, to seek medical attention for the injured crew and repair the boat. He hopes to resume The Race, having been in a very competitive position in second place. Whether the boat can be repaired quickly enough to rejoin The Race is unclear. Grant Dalton's 'Club Med' suffered structural problems in this same area during her trip across the Atlantic, and extensive repairs were made.

It's been a wild few months for Jeffrey Wargo, a friend of 'Latitude's from St. Barts. A long time crewmember on boats such as 'Ticonderoga', 'Kialoa III', and 'Extra Beat', Wargo was over in Turkey aboard 'K3' when he got a call from Pete Goss and 'Team Philips'. He joined that radical cat not long before she had to be abandoned in the Atlantic, at which time he had to leap into the extremely rough ocean in order to be rescued. A short time later, Jeffrey signed on Lewis's 'Team Adventure'. A lot of Jeffrey's friends in the Caribbean were somewhat surprised - but thrilled - at his bold move up in the sailing world. We all hope for a full recovery for your pelvis, Jeffrey!

Mikael Lundh of
Team Adventure

Jeffrey Wargo
Photos France Telecom 2000

With 'PlayStation' out of The Race for good, and 'Team Adventure' in need of repairs, Grant Dalton's 'Club Med' is left with a sizable lead over 'Innovation Explorer', which is running desperately short of sail repair materials, and nearly insurmountable leads over 'Warta Polpharma' and 'Team Legato'. Grant Dalton's challenge now is to keep his boat and her systems in working order to the finish. It was he who before the start predicted that it would be a race of attrition. One thing is certain, the boats are living up to their speed potential. 'Innovation Explorer' had done 547 miles, 'Club Med' 597 miles and Cowboy Cam 617 miles.

Here's the latest report from 'Innovation Explorer' to get a taste of things: "We have just been through 48 very intensive hours, with more than 20 knots of wind in reaching conditions (wind abeam). They are fairly stressful conditions because there is no room for error. And the boat is pounding a lot. It's also very wet. With the wind veering aft it has become westerly and we are now sailing at a more downwind angle, therefore more comfortable, with still 35 to 40 knots, which is normal for these latitudes. The crew is resting after the eventful night we have just come through. Sighting icebergs at nightfall made us fear that we might find ourselves in a 'minefield'. We stationed a man close to the helmsman to watch the crests of waves for 'growlers' that can be confused with the foam of waves and that radar doesn't pick up."

Changing a staysail aboard Innovation Explorer
Photos Courtesy
Innovation Explorer

Ranking of 01-19-01
1900 GMT
(Friday / 1100 PST)

1. Club Med
dtf 17,443
2. Team Adventure
dtf 17,770 / dtl 327 miles
3. Innovation Explorer
dtf 18,041 / dtl 598 miles

* dtf - distance to finish
* dtl - distance to leader


A Major Shock

January 19 - Mexico City

On January 1, the Port Captains in Mexico - as well as the cruisers - got a major shock. The head of the Port Captains handed down a decree stating that from then on, it would cost owners of boats up to 20 tons 141 pesos - about $15 U.S. - to check into a port, and the same amount to check out. For boats between 20 and 100 tons, the fees is about $25 U.S. for checking in, and then again for checking out. Prior to January 1, there had never been a charge.

Almost as upsetting to cruisers, is the 'dance' they have to do to check in and out. If you're in a marina, you have to get a letter from the marina saying that you've paid up, which you take to the Port Captain. The Port Captain then fills out a form, which you then have to take to a bank to pay the Port Captain's fee. The government does not want Port Captains collecting money. Then you have to go back to the Port Captain, who finally clears you out. It's the same basic three steps to check in. Since there are rarely banks near Port Captains' offices, it can be a real pain. And all this is in addition to Immigration and Aduana, when applicable.

Many cruisers are understandably upset about the disturbingly high fees and the dance - and a few have threatened to make a ruckus or leave the country. But so far cooler heads have prevailed, and there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Perhaps most importantly, Terry Grossman has gone to Mexico City to plead the cause of cruisers and the marine industry. In addition to being the Mexican-born wife of San Carlos boatyard owner Ed Grossman, Terry is the head of Tourism for the state of Sonora and is the president of the Mexican Marina Owners' Association. Terry has had success with federal officials before, as she was a major player in getting approval for the ground-breaking legislation that instituted the 20-year import permit program for boats.

While some cruisers are adamant that there shouldn't be any fees at all, a lot of folks - ourselves included - feel this might be unrealistic. In almost all countries where cruising is popular, fees have to be paid or cruising permits purchased. We don't have anything against a fee-for-services system. However, charging $15 each way is excessive. In addition, having to go through an unnecessarily complicated dance makes the experience a pain rather than a pleasure.

Some cruisers and marina officials have suggested that a $5 charge for checking in and out is more reasonable. And that being able to buy 10 'check in stamps' in advance so you don't have to go the bank each time would save everyone time and effort. We would agree with these proposals - with the provision that some sort of arrangement be made in places such as Banderas Bay where there is a Port Captain at Puerto Vallarta, another at Nuevo Vallarta and, as of December, in La Cruz. In situations such as this - which are relatively unique - you should be able to check in and out of the region, not every time you travel a couple of miles.

The Port Captains didn't charge fees when
Cabo San Lucas looked like this.

Contrary to Ordinary, Latitude's Freya 39 at the first
Sea of Cortez Sailing Week back in '82 - or was it '83?

Beach scene at Sea of Cortez Sailing Week
Photos Latitude/Richard

If one travels between major ports with the current fee structure in place, the fees could really mount up. However, they don't necessarily have to. For example, you could easily cruise for months in Mexico where there is no port captain and not have to pay any fees. In addition, from what we've heard, some port captains are turning a blind eye to potential violations. For example, if you leave a marina to go to a nearby anchorage for a night or two, you're technically required to check out and then back in again - and twice pay the fees and do the dance. Right now, we're told, some port captains are turning a blind eye toward what might be considered technical violations.

Many Mexico veterans are confident that the fees will at least be rolled back. They noted that one year ago, anyone bringing a car into Mexico was required to leave an $800 cash deposit. All that's gone away. Keeping cool - and keeping one's fingers crossed - should be the order of the day.

Burning Cruising Question

January 19 - Long Beach

Yesterday, Craig Tuttle of Castle Valley, Utah, said he would be spending five weeks this summer cruising in Southern California, and wanted to know where to spend the 4th of July. David Biggs of 'Runnin Late' has a suggestion: "I'd recommend that Craig reserve a guest slip in the Downtown Long Beach Marina. The view of the fireworks in front of the 'Queen Mary' is great. He can also take in the new aquarium and rent bikes and ride the strand (sidewalk on the beach) down to and around Alamitos Bay (where there is a West Marine). Catalina is too much of a zoo at that time."

We spent a week or so at Long Beach's Downtown Marina last summer and really enjoyed it. Right outside the marina you have some of the most consistent flat water sailing in the Southland. Good stuff with several fine nearby destinations.

The Guy to Know in Cuba

January 19 - Havana, Cuba

Want to sail to Cuba but would feel better if you knew somebody there? Well, our good friend Lic. Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich, Commodore of the Hemingway International Yacht Club just outside of Havana, might be the guy. "I would like that through 'Latitude 38', your readers will receive the permanent invitation to visit Marina Hemingway." Bueno, no? Jose Miguel, who was given the key to the city of Fort Lauderdale, is a great guy and knows all the ins and outs of the paperwork and legalities. Right now, he's waiting for the fleet to arrive from the Cadiz, Spain, to Havana race.

Club Nautico at Hemingway Marina

Hemingway Marina
Photos Latitude/Richard


January 19 - 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


Kahn Tops Key West Chaos

by Rich Roberts, 'Yachting' Key West Race Publicity Director

January 19 - Key West, Florida

Russell Coutts, New Zealand's America's Cup winner, was asked how the Farr 40 competition at 'Yachting' Key West Race Week 2001 would be if all those world-class sailors were driving the boats instead of calling tactics for the wealthy owner-drivers. "Not that different," Coutts said, thoughtfully caressing a post-race brew. "It might be worse."

Hard to imagine. After a day when 17 of the 37 boats were called for starting early in the first of two races, the class had its fourth leader in four days: Philippe Kahn's 'Pegasus' from Santa Cruz. But Kahn and his tactician - two-time Olympic and world Star class champion and Sperry World Sailor of the Year Mark Reynolds - had to win battles on the water as well as in the jury tent. 'Pegasus' was one of those charged with jumping the gun. "No way we were over," Kahn said. "We were late. We have witnesses from other boats."

The race committee started calling the bow numbers of OCS (on course side) boats two minutes after the gun. 'Pegasus' didn't hear its number 23 because the radio had been turned off. "We knew we were late so we turned it off," Kahn said. "We were startled to arrive back at the dock and learn we were OCS." They appealed for redress and won. Pegasus won the second race. George Andreadis' defending champion 'Atalanti XII' from Greece, with Robbie Haines as tactician, was second. Entering today's final race, Pegasus has 60 points; 'Atalanti XII' is tied with Brack Duker's 'Revolution', Marina del Rey, (Peter Isler) six points behind.

Life was simple in the 1D35 fleet. "It's come down to a two-boat race tomorrow," said Farley Fontenot, sailmaker and main sail trimmer for Owen Kratz's 'Joss' from Houston, which has a four-point lead on W.S. Shellhorse's 'Avalanche', Lake Wesley, VA, after a modest 3-6 in the tough 20-boat fleet Thursday. Kara Zylstra's 'Wild Thing', San Diego, is 10 points back.

Harry Melges, who runs the Melges 24 factory in Zenda, WI, seized control of that 59-boat class by winning both races Thursday and leads Neil Sullivan's 'M-Fatic' from Annapolis, with '92 Olympic silver medalist Morgan Reeser driving and Dave Chapin on tactics, 11 points behind.

Day 4 Action at Key West
Photos Walter Cooper

The IMS big boats are in a virtual three-way deadlock. Bache Renshaw's N/M 49 'Virago,' Portsmouth, RI, shares first place with George David's N/M 50 'Idler,' New York, with Makoto Uematsu's Farr 50 'Esmeralda', Ken Read driving, one point behind. Read said, "'Idler' and 'Virago' have been good light-air boats and they're being sailed very well. We're just hoping for a lot of wind Friday." He may get it. The forecast for the final race is for south-southeast winds to 18 knots with gusts to 22. If that develops, it would be the windiest day of the week.

For complete results see:

Weather Updates

January 19 - 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 Ocean Weather

You can view the University of Hawaii Department of Meteorology satellite picture by clicking here.

Pacific Sea State

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

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