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Fun with Spinnakers

November 12 - San Francisco Bay

Saturday was a blustery but basically nice day for sailing, setting the scene for these photos from the Berkeley Midwinters. The rain held off until after the race. See the December issue of Latitude 38 and www.berkeleyyc.org for more.

Saturday's top finishers were:
DIV. A (0-84), Racer X, Mumm 30, Gary Redelberger;
BENETEAU FIRST 36.7, Mistral, Andrew Costello;
MELGES 24, Carpe Cerevisian, Dean Daniels;
OLSON 30, Hoot, Andy Macfie;
ULTIMATE 24, Vuja De, Chris Kim;
DIV. B (87-129), Heat Wave, C&C 99, Klaus Kutz;
SF 30s, Ixxis, Olson 911-S, Ed Durbin;
DIV. C (132-168), Triumph, WylieCat 30, Jake Cartwright/Steve Seal;
MOORE 24, Parachairs, Rowan Fennell;
J/24, Casual Contact, Edward Walker;
MERIT 25, Chesapeake, Jim Fair;
NEWPORT 30, Harry, Dick Aronoff;
DIV. D (171-up), Travieso, J/22, Jack Allen.

In Sunday's smaller, separate series, the top finishers were:
DIV. I (0-87), Racer X, Mumm 30, Gary Redelberger;
MELGES 24, See Ya, Adam Simms;
DIV. II (90-135), Family Hour, Olson 30, Bilafer Family;
DIV. III (138-165), Clean Sweep, Olson 25, Tom Nemeth;
DIV. IV (168 only), Half Blind Monkey, J/24, James Zervos;
DIV. V (171-up), Antares, Islander 30 Mk. II, Larry Telford.

Photos Latitude/Rob

Mexican Government Approves the Escalera Nautica

November 12 - Baja California

Last week the Mexican government approved the concept of Escalera Nautica, which is intended to increase nautical tourism along Baja and in the Sea of Cortez by building a string of 22 marinas and support facilities. This is pure lunacy because it is based on the absolutely idiotic assumption that 55,000 Americans want to bring their boats down to Mexico each year. Not quite. It's also based on the assumption that cruisers want marinas in what are already wonderful anchorages. At the 'awards' ceremony for the Baja Ha-Ha last week, we asked the approximately 440 participants who had crewed on 112 boats if they would have wanted marinas at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. The crowd roared its disapproval, with not one person voicing support for the idea. Everyone wants those two anchorages left marina free - although one guy said he wouldn't mind if they put in showers.

Cruisers don't need or want marinas in places such as pristine Bahia Santa Maria.
Photo Latitude/Richard

If there are any mariners who like the Escalera Nautica idea, don't hold your breath for progress, as Mexico has no money to pay for this wildly ambitious bit of destructive nonsense.

Kiwi Boatbuilders Fall Behind Schedule Too

November 12 - New Zealand

"I'm back from a great trip to New Zealand where we checked on the progress of our 70-ft catamaran and did some traveling," reports Don Engle of the East Bay.

Photo Courtesy Don Engle

"Progress on the boat has not been as fast as we had hoped, so we're in an arm-twisting exercise with the yard to allocate more labor to the project to make up some of the lost time. In any event, it looks like she won't be ready to go into the water until March instead of late January. I had hoped that boatbuilding in New Zealand might be more predictable - a nice fantasy while it lasted. While I was gone, my old Ha-Ha boat Circe II sold, so I'm more motivated than ever to get into a small boat to knock around the Bay and do some racing. Perhaps a J/105."

American Friend of Cruisers Murdered in Costa Rica

November 12 - Playa Naranjo, Costa Rica

Lucky Wilhelm, we just learned, was murdered on October 27 by robbers who broke into his home near the Oasis de Pacifico Resort he and his wife Aggie owned at Playa Naranjo in the Costa Rica's Gulf of Nicoya. The 76-year-old Lucky had been a captain in the merchant marine for 44 years all over the world before retiring to Costa Rica 21 years ago. He was well known to cruisers, who would anchor off his resort for days to months. It's believed that he was murdered after stumbling across locals robbing his home. Having been recognized, they beat his face badly and apparently strangled him. This is not the first time an elderly American landowner in Costa Rica has been brutally murdered.

Tom Innerarity of Wild Type says, "Lucky and Aggie Wilhelm are well known to cruisers, who could find him at morning coffee or late afternoon wine talking to his beautiful birds and ugly dogs. Lucky was a wealth of information, which he shared freely with his visitors. He had a keen intellect, a sharp sense of humor, a kind heart - and may be one of the few Americans who had met Osama bin Laden."

It's St. Barth or Bust for Profligate

November 12 - Acapulco, Mexico

Profligate, Latitude's catamaran, left Cabo San Lucas for Panama and St. Barth in the Eastern Caribbean just 24 hours after arriving in Cabo San Lucas to finish the Baja Ha-Ha. It was hoped she'd reach Panama in three 750-mile segments - to Acapulco, Nicaragua, and Panama. Alas, running at high revs in the early going burned up fuel at a furious pace - 3 gallons/hour per engine as opposed to one gallon/hour per engine - necessitating an additional fuel stop at Barra de Navidad.

Monday night, before pulling into Acapulco, Profligate hit something in the water. It doinked the new prop, causing vibrations requiring the engine to be shut down. It was checked after daylight, and found that a small chunk had also been knocked out of one rudder. A new prop was put on and they continued.

Acapulco was great, as the club manager and one of the waiters remembered the visit nine years before by Big O, Latitude's previous boat. They were wonderful hosts, and check-in and check-out was accomplished in just three hours. Hot! Hot! Hot! - that's what it's been like from P.V. south for the Profligate crew of six. It's boiling hot during the day, and almost unbearably hot at night. The only respite is from 0200 to just before dawn.

Profligate is currently at 15º 31', 97º 03', or about 40 miles from the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Winds are expected to build to 25 knots and seas to 9 feet in the next 24 hours, so Doña de Mallorca and the rest of the crew are going to try to charge through before the weather gets too bad. If all goes well, they'll arrive at Robert Membrano's Puerto del Sol Marina in Nicaragua on Friday morning. Help! We've lost the Puerto Del Sol email address and it's not on their Web site. Can anybody help?

If all goes well, Profligate will be in Panama and through the Canal late next week, hopefully before the Christmas Winds start in the Eastern Caribbean. A number of folks have expressed interest in sailing on Profligate in the Caribbean. We are considering doing adventure charters on a by cabin basis, but won't have anything to announce until she gets there - assuming, of course, she does get there.

We're just back from the finish of the Ha-Ha and a day or two of rest. As you might expect, we're way behind schedule, so please bear with us as we catch up.

West Marine 1500 Fleet Split in Half by Weather

November 12 - Bermuda

The 32 boats left in the West Marine 1500 Rally from Hampton, Virginia to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, are split into two groups. A total of 21 of them are continuing on to Tortola, while 11 ducked out of the weather at Bermuda. It looks as though they will be there a while, as it's blowing 30 to 40 knots, and there doesn't appear to be a good weather window until Friday or Saturday. The Wormwood 55 catamaran Avalon has been knocked out by a dismasting. All in all, if you want a short, easy, and mellow cruise to the tropics, the Baja Ha-Ha is a much better choice.


November 12 - 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 www.bitwrangler.com/psn.

Weather Links

November 12 - Pacific Ocean

San Francisco Bay Weather

Check out this guide to San Francisco Bay Navigational Aids: http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/sfports.html.

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.

The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay is at www.wrh.noaa.gov/Monterey.

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.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/Southwest.shtml.

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

The site for the Pacific Ocean sea states has moved to http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/shtml/PacRegSSA.shtml.
For views of sea states anywhere in the world, see http://www.oceanweather.com/data.

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