Photos of the Day:
Women's Dinghy Clinic

April 1 - Pt. Richmond

This past gloriously hot weekend, the Richmond Yacht Club hosted their 10th annual Women's Dinghy Clinic, two days of El Toro instruction for women only, almost all of it on the water. Picture about 30 mostly middle-aged women, some of them junior sailing moms, some wives of sailors, some experienced big boat sailors, many holding a tiller for the first time, others polishing their skills, doing hours of drills and races in 8-ft bathtubs. (The Webmistress for one was even more bruised and stiff than she gets on keelboats).

Fortunately the wind was benign, at times pleasingly steady, sometimes challengingly shifty, occasionally dying altogether, and there was more fun than terror. Students sailed in three groups according to experience in the YC harbor, Brickyard Cove, and out in the Richmond Channel. The ratio was four teachers for every 10 students, and, thanks to the club's strong volunteer spirit, the whole thing only cost 50 bucks (plus $50 to rent a boat).

Saturday's sailing was capped off with excellent home-made hors d'oeuvres and complimentary wine, as well as stretching with a physical therapist and even neck rubs from a massage therapist, both from Avanti Health and Fitness.

Photos John Dukat

Port by Port Check-ins to Be Eliminated?

April 1 - Mexico City

Enrique, general manager at Cabo Isle Marina, has just told the Wanderer that there's a new law in the works that will eliminate port to port despacio, that annoying procedure wherein cruisers have to check in and check out of each Mexican port they visit.

The Baja Ha-Ha fleet heads for Mexico.
Photo Latitude/Archives

The new procedure has passed the Mexican version of the House of Representatives, and will become law when it passes their Senate. If passed, cruisers need check in only once upon entering Mexico. Although the time line for this change is unclear, it will be greatly welcomed.

Alisio Lost in Hawaii

April 1 - Manele, Hawaii

Some accounts of the loss of the Lapworth 40 Alisio have been circulating which may be inaccurate, so owner Ron Martin has written in to tell the story.

"I left Wahiawa Cove on Kauai, a mile east of Port Allen, the morning of March 10 bound for Manele Harbour on the island of Lanai. I was singlehanding again and had been since early February. There was absolutely no wind and I motored the entire distance, 33 hours. The sea was flat calm all the way. The entire first night I was off the busy waters of Oahu, limiting my ability to get much sleep. At daybreak I was abeam of Waikiki. I thought about going in, but the calm conditions offered an excellent opportunity to push eastward. 

"As I approached Lanai I calculated that it was going to be tight getting there before dark. I programed an alternative harbor on the south coast of Lanai into the GPS and pressed on to Manele. Closer, I made a decision to rev up the engine and go for Manele. I arrived just before dark. The inner harbor seemed too tight for me to maneuver and Med-moor alone so I opted to go to the outside anchorage. I anchored in 12 feet of water in a spot outside the entrance and rode very comfortably through the night.

"I awoke around 6:30 a.m. and proceeded to get ready to go in and see the harbormaster. During my shower the boat began banging into the rocks. Getting on deck I tried to pull the boat to deeper water with the windlass and then the engine, but Alisio was trapped in the rocks. I got a line out to a large RIB that was heading out of the harbor, but he gave up after a couple of tugs and yelled that he had to go to pick up some people. Some people in the water were trying to help and they got a line from one of the large day trip cats to me and I attached it to my main halyard. I thought he was going to try to crab me off but his plan was just to swing Alisio stern to the sea. She was laying on her port side and was taking on water big time. We were so far up on the beach at this point that there was no danger of sinking, however. It was obvious that her fate was sealed. It took only 45 minutes from the first bang on the rocks to being on her side with a big hole in her. 

"My first mistake was not going into the alternate harbor, leaving myself a safe margin of daylight time. Instead I arrived just at dark, in a strange harbor and dog tired to boot. The combination caused me to misread the cruising guide and anchor in the wrong place. Second, I put 90 feet of chain out (too much, it turned out) and it was fine until the tide went down and waves came up in the shallow water (still no wind) pushing her toward shore to the end of her chain, and into even shallower water. Not checking the depth and looking over the side in the morning also was an error. After that I'll leave it to be God's choice.

"I called a Mayday and spoke briefly to the Coast Guard, but by that time it was too late for them to do anything, and what it mostly accomplished was having some lieutenant badgering me over the harbormaster's cell phone later about my responsibility to get the one gas jug and six diesel jugs off the boat or I could be subject to heavy fines, and about my responsibility to get the boat out of there as it was an environmental protection area, with the threat of more possible fines. All this while in the first stage of shock of having lost my lovely boat, my nest egg, (no hull coverage) and way of life, watching her die on the beach.

"The harbormaster, Sherry Menze, took over. She gave me her small sailboat to sleep on, washed and folded four loads of my laundry, fed me for three days, made all arrangements, made her cell phone available and introduced me to Pat Ross of Sea Engineering who happened to be there with their salvage barge dredging the harbor.

"He sent two divers over to check it out and their report was that there was a 3-ft by 5-ft hole on the port side with a huge rock stuck in it. I hired his two divers to help get as much gear off the boat as possible before dark. They worked like maniacs, and we salvaged a lot of gear. Fortunately most of the electrics were high and dry on the starboard side. The high tide that night pushed her broadside to and higher on the beach, butting up to the keel that was all that was left of a boat that suffered the same fate less than a year ago.

"I was able to walk aboard without getting my feet wet and took more gear and personal effects off for the next two days. Sherry and a few other locals helped me carry this heavy gear 100 yards down a boulder-strewn beach to the road. She also allowed me to sort out this gear on the lawn behind her office. Her cohort, Terry, built a shed to store it all until I could get all it transported to Oahu. As harbormasters go they don't come any better than Sherry Menze - she's a sailor herself and therefore has the understanding needed for the job but more important has a very large heart.    

"Fortunately I did have liability insurance, and Sea Engineering was hired to dispose of the boat. Yes, I did say dispose of. I did not stick around to witness that. Pat told me later that it was ugly but spared me the details. I was offered a picture of her laying on the beach but declined. The picture, I assure you, is in my mind's eye constantly.

"Will I get another boat and go back out? I would love to go, but the answer is 'probably not'. Money is a problem, and I don't think I have the energy to make another boat ready to go. I will be offering a plethora of great gear for sale on Oahu in mid-April. Meanwhile I am staying with my son here, spoiling the grand-babies."

Osaka Cup Yacht Wrecked on Reef

April 1 - Rossell Island, PNG

After spending last night hard on a reef to the southwest of Rossell Light on the southeastern tip of Papua New Guinea, the crew from Mad Max were this
morning helicoptered uninjured from their broken boat by the Japanese Antarctic Research vessel Shirase.

Owner/skipper 49-year old Jim Murchison and crew 54-year old Jeff Thomas were sailing north towards Bougainville on the 12-meter ocean racer as part of the doublehanded Melbourne, Australia, to Osaka, Japan, race, when they struck the reef at 2:45 Monday morning. Neither sailor was hurt or in any immediate danger. The boat was not so fortunate. Hitting the reef on a rising tide, the vessel was holed and started taking on water.

After spending 40 hours lolling around the Solomon Sea to the south of New Island, Osaka Cup overall and Open Racer Class leader Maverick II has at last found a storm cell to power her northwards to reach the halfway point in the 5,000-mile race.

Pacific SAIL EXPO Update

April 1 - Oakland

You can win a free passage on 103-ft tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain, a ketch based in Sausalito, or the 110-ft brigantine Irving Johnson from Los Angeles. The Hawaiian Chieftain will sail from the Pacific SAIL EXPO docks on the afternoon of Thursday, April 24 to meet the brigantine Irving Johnson at the Golden Gate Bridge. Both vessels will then sail back to the show for a festive welcome on Thursday evening. The festivities will mark the first time Irving Johnson, launched in 2002, makes landfall in a San Francisco Bay port. Two winners will also be able to sail aboard the Irving Johnson on May 2-4. To enter go to and click on Pacific SAIL EXPO.


April 1 - 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

April 1 - 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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