March 7 - Cuba
Remember Gene and Marcia's photos of the Bahamas from yesterday's 'Lectronic? Well, here are some shots of Cuba taken by the same crew of the Manta 40 Pangaea.
If you get a chance to sail to Cuba - which is full of American boats - don't miss it. It's very strange and interesting. Our overwhelming impression? It's the world's biggest slave plantation, where the people idle away their lives waiting to die.
Grass Powered Tractor
Mercado at Holguin
Money and Cruising
March 7 - Western Hemisphere
"From a cash flow perspective, cruising is affordable to almost anyone. We encountered and enjoyed people from every part of the spectrum - shoestring budgets to 'spare no expenses'. Neither end had a lock on the happiness quotient, and neither was necessarily safer or better equipped than the other. As far as actual costs go, our family of five spent about $40,000 per year for everything - including a satellite phone habit that averaged about $1,000 per month. This figure also includes $8,000 of hospital cost for elective surgery, all boat expenses, plenty of inland travel, and a new laptop. We made no particular effort to be frugal, yet we found that the whole trip was far more economical than living in the Bay Area! Once you get into the tropics your cost of living declines dramatically. We met numerous families who had sustained a cruising lifestyle for 5 to 10 years by avoiding the higher cost areas. Everyone has different requirements, but the bottom line is that money is not a problem. The big ticket item is your boat and there are loads of reasonably priced, competent boats on the market. The barriers to departure should not be financial ones. En route it is possible to earn a living in various capacities. Working for fellow cruisers is one way but we met people earning funds by teaching, running restaurants, consulting and running shoestring trading operations." For the complete article, see the April issue of Latitude 38.
If we were to classify cruising budgets,
we'd do so the following way:
Food like this in the tropics just isn't expensive. For example, the boy selling shrimp on a stick. The 'oysters wheelbarrow'. Or the chile relleno at a local restaurant.
Big Blow Down in Mexico
March 7 - Pacific Coast
By the way, Mike joined us for a great spinnaker run on Profligate in Banderas Bay about 10 days ago, during which he told us he's currently sailing alone - but wouldn't mind some female companionship for the cruise to the Caribbean. Mike's about 40, handsome, well-groomed, in good shape and has great social skills. He's a consultant for the outdoor sports company he used to be the national sales rep for. If you want to contact him, you can do so by email.
Mike Miller of Uhuru
March 7 - Marseille, France
Cam Lewis of Team Adventure, now 1,000 miles east of Buenos Aires and 5,300 miles from the Marseille finish line, referred to his recent birthday as follows: "Today marks the beginning of my 44th lap around the sun. I am still working on my second lap around the planet."
In the aftermath of Club Med's first place finish, we're learning that the 100-foot cat wasn't as problem free as the skipper and crew let on. By far the most alarming problem was a primary structural failure resulting in an area of delamination around one of the main crossbeam roots, the area where the crossbeam that supports the mast joins the hull. Skipper Grant Dalton explained:
"We were fine until about 5,000 miles
from the finish, which is 75% of the distance around the world,
when we suffered some nasty structural core shear, or delamination
under one of our beams, exactly where the front beam joins the
starboard hull. Before we left Barcelona we had to decide what
to take in the way of spares. We had to think carefully because
you don't want to weigh the boat down with unnecessary equipment.
It is important to take universal things, things that can do a
lot of jobs. Apart from a few spare parts, we also took three
amazing guys - our Three Man Army, Neal MacDonald, Ed Danby and
Jan Dekker - who could fix anything, with hardly any parts. And
when we found the delamination problem they just got inventive.
The core between skins disintegrated over a patch of about two
square meters in a really important structural part of the boat.
The Three Man Army took the watertight bulkhead doors from inside
and bolted them on to the inside and the outside of the suspect
area. We had to steal parts from other areas in the boat, for
example the bolts we used we 'borrowed' from the base of each
winch, we took two from each winch, and we took a few from the
generator... We didn't talk about it at the time, we just dealt
with it, and anyway big boys don't cry - we fixed the problem
and got over it. Importantly, we didn't want the opposition behind
us buoyed by the fact that they could smell blood."
In addition, just days from the finish, a lower shroud failure cause them to nearly lose the rig.
The Club Med crew display their trophy to the press.
Photo C. Borlenghi Courtesy Club Med
We're still having trouble getting the photos from the Heineken Regatta, so we'll put off our report for another day.
March 7 - 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 http://www.bitwrangler.com/yotreps/
March 7 - Pacific Ocean
To see what the winds are like on the Bay and just outside the Gate right now, check out http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/wind/.
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.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/stuff/southwest/swstmap.shtml.
Seas are normal in the Pacific. But you
might check out the Pacific Ocean sea states at: http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/RSSA/PacRegSSA.html.
For another view, see http://www.oceanweather.com/data/global.html.
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