Graphic of the Day: Big Daddy

March 7 - Pt. Richmond

Spring is in the air, which must mean it's time for Richmond YC's annual Big Daddy Regatta. The fun begins at 11:30 tomorrow morning, with 127 boats registered in 10 classes. The tried-and-true format involves three scheduled buoy races on Saturday, a 'birthday blowout' dance party on Saturday night, and a pursuit race on Sunday (last year's complicated 'Double Starfish' course was shelved due to popular lack of demand). In a nod to these dangerous times, all racers are required to wear PFDs and all boats must carry duct tape. See for more.

Take Me to Polynesia

March 7 - Polynesia

Early reports are that the skippers and crews from 47 boats showed up at the Latitude 38 and Paradise Marina sponsored Pacific Puddle Jump Kick-Off Party at the Vallarta Yacht Club yesterday. We'll have details and photos on Monday.

By the way, as mentioned in the March Latitude, we highly recommend that every boat going to Polynesia carry a copy of Guide to Navigation and Tourism in French Polynesia by Patrick Bonnette and Emmanuel Deschamps. Patrick is the former Capitaine of the Port at Papeete, and Emmanuel has been a travel writer in Polynesia for 20 years, so they know their stuff. It's a beautiful book with lots of chartlets, gorgeous aerial photos, as well as current and historical information. Don't puddle jump without it!

Kane Bay, Ua-Huka chartlet

Tiare Pass, Huahine

Marina Taina, Tahiti

Photos and Graphic Courtesy
Guide to Navigation and
Tourism in French Polynesia

Mordida in Mexico

March 7 - Mexico

Yesterday we were visited by an American who has been living and working in one of the biggest marinas in Mexico for many years. Given his position and fluency in Spanish, he would appear to know more than most about the current situation there. His take on the current state of mordida? Unlike several administrations past, when the worst corruption was at the highest levels of government, he says it seems that corruption under the Fox administration seems to be at the lower levels. While the top guys are clean, the lower level folks - including folks in Immigration and Port Captain's offices seem to be worse than ever.

This person, who often plays the naive cruiser, reports that when checking into Immigration at one port, he was charged twice. Despite protesting, the official insisted it was the right amount. But when he checked, speaking fluent Spanish, at the Port Captain's office, he learned he was being screwed. Upon returning to the Immigration office, he was quickly given half his money back. On another occasion, he went to a bank to change some money. When the clerk gave him his pesos, he held a small amount aside to see if the American would count the money. When he did and found it short, the clerk immediately handed the remaining amount over.

The bottom line? Mexico is a fabulous country with wonderful people, but mordida and little thefts are rampant in some places. Be wary.

Great Response to Call for Help

March 7 - Grenada

In Wednesday's 'Lectronic, we reported that Steve Shultz of Healdsburg had suffered three strokes in late January. He, his wife Ruth Olson, and daughter were known to many cruisers in Mexico for their years in those waters aboard Kabunza, a Pearson 36. Two years ago they bought Kabunza Kat, a Nautitech 43 cat in the Caribbean, and have been cruising her or having her in charter management ever since. Tragically, Shultz suffered the strokes while on the boat in Grenada, and although now back home, is facing a long recovery. As such, Ruth put out a call for anyone who might be willing to skipper their boat from Grenada to Florida - a great trip during the next few months - at a 'friend's rate'. In less than two days, that single announcement generated emails from 16 individuals or couples, many with captain's licenses, willing to take on the job for expenses only. Ruth, who understandably has much more serious things to deal with on a daily basis, has yet to evaluate them. If anyone else wants to add their name, submit your name to Richard. We'll get back to everyone by the middle of next week.

At this point, one of Steve's difficulties is with speech, so Ruth often reads to him. One of the things he enjoys most is hearing from old cruising friends. So if you want to drop him a line, you can do so via Richard. Ruth offers a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have so generously offered to help.

'Heinie' to Start Today

March 7 - St. Martin

The three-day Heineken Regatta in St. Martin starts today with more than 200 entries slated to enjoy the almost always ideal sailing conditions. Making a much appreciated guest appearance will be none other than Steve Fossett and his 125-maxi cat PlayStation. Fossett's bad boy is fresh from smashing the east to west transatlantic record. Apparently the great cat is going to be one of the late starters. Could you imagine being overtaken by a 45-ft wide cat doing 30 knots? You'd need some Heinekens.

PlayStation at the start of The Race
Photo Guillaume Plisson, Corbis Sygma

Jules Verne Drama in the North Atlantic

March 7 - Atlantic Ocean

There's a terrific race against the clock just north of the equator in the Atlantic, as Olivier de Kersauson and his maxi-tri Geronimo battles to regain the record pace in her Jules Verne record quest. Having once led the record pace set by the maxi-cat Orange - currently Kingfisher2 and dismasted in the Southern Ocean - by three days, she now trails by four hours. Geronimo's forte as a tri against the cat is light air, and Lord knows she's been getting plenty of that for 10 days. With only about 10 days left to the finish off France, it's a real nail-biter, as no advantageous winds are on the near horizon.

And You Complain About Your Berth Fees

March 7 - Auckland, NZ

According to a long and fascinating article on the human side of the America's Cup by Ian Brown in The Globe and Mail, 'Canada's National Newspaper', it cost Larry Ellison $300,000 a month - no typo - to berth his 235-ft motoryacht Katana in Auckland for the America's Cup. If you're wondering how he can afford it, consider this. As a result of the paltry 8 cents per $23 share of Microsoft that is being distributed, Ellison's arch rival - but fellow billionaire - Bill Gates will receive $97 million. While Ellison may not be quite as rich as Gates, $300,000 a month for berthing is, as hard as it is for the rest of us to believe, a pittance to him.

Photo Latitude/Richard

Brown also reported that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen - who will probably get $75 million in dividends - had his 320-ft motoryacht Tatoosh on the scene. The mega-motoryacht, often featured in 'Lectronic Latitude, "has five decks, two helicopter pads and one helicopter, a 42-ft racing yacht, a pool, two Hobie Cats, sometimes a submarine, and a crew of 30." Allen, of course, bailed out the OneWorld America's Cup entry from the Seattle YC, the one that supposedly was the environmentally correct one. It costs about $100,000 to fill Tatoosh's tanks.

Brown shone a not always positive light on some of the women at the America's Cup, who very frankly were there for just one reason: to use all their feminine wiles to snag one of the billionaires. Brown's article appeared in the February 15 edition and was a delicious read.

The Cruising Life in the Marshall Islands

March 7 - Marshall Islands

Roy - no last name given - sent the following email from the Marshall Islands where he went to join Vallejo's Blair Grinols aboard Capricorn Cat. "The taxi guys here haven't figured out to come to the airport when the plane from Honolulu arrives, so I hopped a hotel shuttle and grabbed a cab from a hotel in town. Blair was right there to meet me and we dinghied past several old rusting cargo and other derelicts to get to the cat. The anchorage is nice, and Capricorn Cat is on a massive mooring for $1/day. The water is super clear, so he can even make water in the anchorage. The air is about 85 degrees with fairly high humidity, but there is a constant 15 knot NE tradewind breeze that makes it very comfortable. The weather stays the same all year round. Tomorrow we will have some excitement as the locals will be moving a derelict freighter to the lagoon side of the town's best hotel and sinking it in 80-ft of water for a dive habitat. The excitement comes from the fact that it is very close to the seven moored yachts."


March 7 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace

Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? The YOTREPS daily yacht tracking page has moved to

Weather Updates

March 7 - 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 views of sea states anywhere in the world, see

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