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Photos of the Day: Key West Race Week

January 21 - Key West, FL

California skippers and crew are making a good showing on the podium as daily awards are handed out at Terra Nova Trading Key West Race Week. With four out of nine races completed, Santa Cruzers Samuel 'Shark' Kahn and dad Philippe are in the 1-2 positions in Melges 24s (that's right, 14-year-old Shark is ahead of his dad again); Bay Area J/105s Zuni Bear and Masquerade are out in front of their fleet; and tactician Dee Smith is leading the Swan 45 Vim to the head of that new class. San Francisco J/120 Oui B 5 is in second place in PHRF 5, which consists solely of J/120s and J/109s; also in second, in PHRF 11, is Lucky Ducky, a WylieCat 30.

Shark Kahn drives Pegasus 492 to the top of the Melges 24 heap.
Photo Jack Hardway

SoCal sailors can be proud of 70-year-old Angeleno John MacLaurin, who celebrated his initiation into the international Farr 40 class by sailing his new Pendragon V to City of Key West Boat of the Day honors with first- and third-place finishes. Warpath, of San Diego, and Crocodile Rock, of Santa Barbara, are in first and second place respectively in the Farr 40 standings. Of course these and other entries are well stocked with West Coast crew - and don't we wish we were among them!

Vicarious pleasure can be derived online at www.premiere-racing.com, where daily results, reports and excellent photos are posted each day around mid-afternoon PST.

Action in the Mumm 30 class, which includes Groovederci from Santa Barbara, currently in third place.

Two photos above: the new Swan 45 class

A Farr 40 start

Farr 40 maneuvers


Photos Rich Roberts, except as noted

"We've Had Trouble with DHL in Mexico Also"

January 21 - La Paz, BCS

"In your January 2004 issue, following a report from Richard Booker of the Winnipeg-based Mystery Cove 38 Crocodile Rock, who said he had to abandon his replacement extrusion because DHL employees in Mexico City wanted such a big bribe, you asked if anyone else has had similar problems with DHL in Mexico. We have."

So writes Jon Doornik of Seadream in Caleta San Juanico, Baja.

"When we returned home to Oregon to spend Christmas of 2002 with our family, we sent a hearing aid out for repair. When it wasn't repaired in time for our return to Mexico, we had the agency send it to Marina Palmira in La Paz via DHL, as we'd heard they were dependable. When the $2,500 hearing aid didn't arrive as scheduled, we went to the DHL agency in La Paz, who phoned the DHL agency in Guadalajara where most imports to Mexico are cleared. They told us as this was a medical supply, we needed to offer proof it was really needed. As my wife is deaf without hearing aids, we had our hearing specialists in the States send certified information that my wife was under their care and needed the hearing aid to hear.

"Guadalajara responded by telegram saying that we needed to have a Mexican doctor certify that my wife was deaf. So we went to a doctor in La Paz, who interviewed her, and certified the hearing aid was absolutely necessary. He wrote a letter which we faxed to DHL in Guadalajara.

"DHL responded by saying we needed to see the Secretary of Health in La Paz to certify that the hearing aid was legal, and that her hearing aid was an appropriate import. After spending most of a day at the Secretary of Health, we received the appropriate documents and faxed them to Guadalajara.

"After we received no response, we asked the management of Marina Palmira to assist us - which they did at great length.

"The next response we got from Guadalajara - we still don't know if it was DHL or Aduana - was that we needed to send them $70 U.S. to pay an agent to represent us before Customs. At this point, other cruisers at Marina Palmira told us the same thing had happened to them regarding boat replacement parts, and that it would be a bottomless money pit which would not result in our receiving our hearing aid.

"So we phoned DHL in Guadalajara and told them to ship the hearing aid back to the sender in Oregon. The next day they sent a letter saying they had done so.

"The hearing aid never arrived in Oregon, and to this day remains 'lost'. We then applied for the $2,000 insured value when we returned to Oregon in May. DHL responded by saying that due to the Geneva Convention their loss was limited to $150 U.S. After much faxing back and forth between our hearing aid provider and DHL, DHL agreed their Oregon agent had made a mistake in filling out forms, and finally sent us $2,000 insurance coverage.

"The most disconcerting part of this nine-month episode is that my wife's hearing was severely limited while we were sailing in Mexico. And that despite jumping through many Mexican 'hoops' and paying money, we got zero results.

"Our advice to cruisers in Mexico is not to use any mail service in or out of that country. Other cruisers and/or friends remain the reliable method of getting goods not obtainable in Mexico into Mexico."

You Can't Please Everyone

January 21 - St. Barth, FWI

We received an email the other day from a reader who said he was sick and tired of all our reports and photos from the Caribbean. It's was kind of a bummer to get a letter like that, but all we can do is the best we can.

Later that day, we got a more positive response from Mike Chambreau of the Cal 34 Impetuous: "I just wanted to say that your efforts sure show up in the great 'Lectronic Latitude, with photos and articles every few days about wonderful sailing places, wonderful races, and so forth. And thanks to your busy staff as well."

So we'll just have to keep doing the best we can and hope more people like it than don't like it. For those who don't, just skip over the stuff you don't like.
While we're on the subject of the Caribbean, here's one of our favorite shots, which shows what happens if you try to take a dinghy through the surf at precisely the wrong time.

Photo Latitude/Richard


January 21 - 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

January 21 - 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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