Photo of the Day

May 17 - Redwood Shores

Rob Novak of Shindig, sent us today's Photo of the Day, and the story that goes along with it:

"Last year we were sailing our Catalina 36 from Sausalito to Redwood City when we took on an unexpected visitor. We were sailing in the middle of the South Bay, on a screaming reach in a 20 knot northwesterly. Somewhere abeam of Coyote Point I noticed a small green bird fly toward us. The bird flew up to the spreaders and tried to get a grip. The boat was rolling a bit and the little guy couldn't hold on.

"You could tell he was tuckered out as he flew around the boat for another pass. His next stop was the stern pulpit. The bird struggled to keep balance and flew off and lined up for his third pass. This time he came in low and got in the wind shadow of the dodger.

"Like a shot, the little green bird flew right through the companionway and disappeared. My wife and I looked at each other, paused then looked back at the companionway. I hopped down into the cabin and looked around for the little bird. It took a while but I found him sitting on a pillow in the center of the forepeak. This green parakeet looked really tired. He was panting hard and made no objection when I picked him up off the bunk.

"It is hard to tell but I'd say he looked a little relieved too. Had we not sailed along it was a long way to make land. As fate would have it, we now have a pet parakeet. We named him after another explorer that took to the sea looking for the new world. Columbus turned out to be a girl but that is no reason to change her name."

Rob and his new friend
Photo Courtesy Shindig

Brad and Tommy Team Up

May 17 - Charleston, South Carolina

Brad van Liew is that rarest of Americans. He did a great job in the last Around Alone race, and this time, he managed to pull in big time sponsorship - from Tommy Hilfiger. Brad had hoped to be starting this September's Around Alone in an Alan Andrews' Open 60, but when sponsorship was slow in coming, he and his wife hocked everything purchase one of the hottest Open 50s in the world, Mike Garside's former Magellan Alpha. Now he's got sponsorship. Isn't that how life goes? Van Liew's boat will now be called Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America.

Having recently moved to Charleston, South Carolina, from L.A., van Liew finished third in Class II in the last Around Alone while sailing a boat that was considerably slower that the top boats in class. As van Liew prepares for the upcoming event, his base will be moved to New York, all the better for Hilfiger publicity.

Good on ya, Brad!

Photo & Graphic Courtesy Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America

The Worst Year in Memory for Baja Bashes

May 17 - Atlantic Ocean

We can't remember a year in which we've gotten such miserable reports on Baja Bashes. The latest is from Robert Sutherland of Mill Valley and the P.V. based Wylie 34 Echo:

"Holy shit what a trip up the coast! Fourteen days and 1,500 miles sailing Dorr Anderson's J/37 Blue Heron, doublehanded, to weather, heeling 15 to 25 degrees, and launching off waves. We must have been f--in' loco, but that's how a lot of great adventures start! I'm glad to have had the experience - and even gladder that it's behind me. I won't be doing that again anytime soon.

"We left Puerto Vallarta on April 18 for San Diego, because Dorr needed to put his boat up for sale ASAP, having already ordered a bigger new one. We originally started out doing the old clipper ship route, which would have taken us about 400 miles offshore. But being the racers that we are, we started playing the wind shifts, and found ourselves coming in on Cabo - which put us much further north than we expected. So we continued playing the westerly shift during the day and the northerly shift at night.

"We sailed all the way, except for about 10 or 12 hours that we didn't have wind. The average wind speeds were 15-20 knots, with 4 to 5-ft steep and lumpy seas. so we had to keep the boat slowed down to 5 knots so as to not launch off waves more than every couple of minutes. That launching and banging is worse than Chinese water torture! We also had three days of 25 knots gusting to 30 knots, which increased the seas to eight feet - so we really had to slow down. During this time, I hand-steered for a couple of hours each day just for fun and exercise - just like a video game, except you got very wet when you screwed up! We stopped in Turtle Bay on day eleven for fresh food, topped up the fuel tank and headed back out after about six hours to try to get around the point in the middle of the night while it's not blowing so hard, but it was still blowing. It never seemed to stop blowing, and always in our faces. Of course, that's why they call it the Baja Bash."

This is Blue Heron, but this was not the point
of sail she was on coming up the coast.
Photo Latitude Archives

Delta Bound? Mind the Bind at Carquinez in June and July

May 17 - Carquinez Strait

For about six hours a day, between June 17 and July 16, the Carquinez Strait will be closed to all vessel traffic. No kidding. This is so bridge work can be done on the new bridge. The hours will change most days. We'll have the full schedule in the June issue of Latitude 38. If you're headed to the Delta, and don't want a long delay, you'll want to check it. The strait will, however, be open all of the July 4-7 weekend.

San Diego Police Docks Open Again

May 17 - Newport Beach

About two weeks ago, the new San Diego Police Docks were reopened. Although they only have three new slips, they are much bigger slips, giving the facility nearly double the previous capacity. For example, they have eight 60-ft slips, in which they can cram a number of smaller boats. As of yesterday, there were only three open slips. Restrooms with showers, if all goes well, will be finished before the start of the Ha-Ha.

By the way, there's a new rule in San Diego for anyone wanting to use the cruiser anchorage. You must come by the Police Dock so they can check your boat out to make sure it complies with basic safety and pollution requirements. It's free and quick, but now it's required for the permit. Transients who don't live in San Diego, and whose boats aren't registered in San Diego County, are permitted three months a year of use in the anchorage.


May 17 - 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

May 17 - 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 The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay is at

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

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