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April 14 - Puerto Vallarta

Bingo Again! suffers tragic grounding on March 10.

With his pet macaw perched on his shoulder, Bear Myers has been a familiar character on the Mexico cruising scene ever since he and his wife, Lynn, took their Catalina 42 Bingo Again! south in the 2002 Baja Ha-Ha.

Cap'n Bear in happier times
Photo Latitude/Andy


Although they are experienced racers and cruisers, a short lapse in proper watch-keeping led to tragedy last month, when Bingo Again! struck rocks off Punta Perula while en route from Tenacatita to Puerto Vallarta. Both Lynn and Bear - in addition to their menagerie of pets - got safely ashore, but their boat was soon a total loss.

Bingo Again! on the beach after being holed by nearby rocks.
Photo Robert Sutherland

Many nearby cruisers came to their aid, for which the couple is eternally grateful. Look for the whole story in the May issue of Latitude 38.

Pacific Sail Expo Opens Today

April 14 - Jack London Square, Oakland

Pacific Sail Expo, the West Coast's only really big sailboat show, opens today at Jack London Square in Oakland, where it runs through Sunday. Don't miss it. Hours are 12-7 p.m. on Wednesday, 10 to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and Sunday 10 to 5 p.m.

The Wanderer will be leading two seminars, the first on Friday at 4:45 p.m., comparing cruising in Mexico with cruising in the Caribbean, and the second on Saturday at 6 p.m., on the Baja Ha-Ha. He's going to be really embarassed if nobody shows up, so could you please mark your calendars?

At the show's close on Friday, Ha-Ha vets are invited to the Latitude booth for a reunion, where the one and only Foxy of Foxy's on Jost van Dyke in the British Virgins will be playing his guitar and scandalizing everyone with his lyrics. See you at the show!

Don't forget to catch Caribbean crooner Foxy Callwood playing
and singing at the Latitude 38 booth this Friday evening.
Photos Latitude/Andy

Queen of the Seas to Go for Transatlantic Record

April 14 - Atlantic Ocean

Brit Ellen MacArthur ­ whose singlehanded offshore sailing accomplishments have charmed the sailing world ­ has a new boat, the B&Q Castorama, a 75-ft trimaran designed by Nigel Irens. She also has her sights on Laurent Bourgnon's singlehanded west-to-east transAtlantic record of 7 days and 2 hours. He averaged 17.5 knots for the 2,925-mile passage. MacArthur is currently off the coast of Brazil and heading to New York where she'll start her assault on that mark. She reports that her new tri is demanding to sail, but has exceeded expectations in all respects. She also says she's delighted to be back on the ocean alone again.

Photo Andrea Francolini

It's MacArthur's misfortune that no matter how well she does in her record attempt, it will probably still be in the shadow of Frances Joyon's recent singlehanded around-the-world record aboard the 90-ft trimaran IDEC, during which he took just two more days to go around than did Olivier de Kersauson and crew when they set the then Jules Verne record with the same trimaran. Characteristically, MacArthur heaped praise on Joyon for his achievement.

Speaking of Kersauson and his 125-ft maxi tri Geronimo, luck seems to be running out on beating the around-the-world record set just weeks ago by Steve Fossett and Cheyenne. Geronimo, sailing in moderate wind but without the use of her primary headsail, is almost 800 miles behind Cheyenne's pace, and has to make up distance in less than two weeks, an extremely tall order.

Check out www.teamkingfisher.com for more details.

Only Idiots Live Aboard Iced-in Boats

April 14 - Wickford, Rhode Island

"Thank you for considering my request for a giant boat de-icer with my subscription renewal," writes Christine Watson of the Cal 36 Clarity, which is berthed in Wickford, Rhode Island, which sounds like some sort of frozen wasteland. "Normally Latitude is my salvation during the cold winter months, but this year's cold exceeded even Latitude's ability to warm me, no matter how many issues I wrapped around my neck and stuffed into my boots.

"What is a sailor to do when faced with the harsh realities of living aboard a boat during the coldest New England winter in 100 years? Escaping the slip for one last sail on December 29, I enjoyed the solitude of having all of Narragansett Bay to myself, while sailing at 8 knots on a 15-knot breeze. Temps were mild enough to lull me into thinking that this winter might not be so bad after all. A scant one week later, the boat became untenable when the ice in the harbor became so thick that all the thru hulls, bilge pump, water tank and whale gusher foot pumps froze solid overnight! This even though I thought I was doing a fair job of tending to them. I took the warming lamp off the batteries long enough to use it to try to thaw the bilge pump. The batteries froze before I got the lamp back on them two hours later, despite being two feet away from the hull and only six feet from the space heater!

"Despite the electric blanket, frozen bedding still had to be peeled off the walls on a regular basis. This was especially disheartening, considering I had glued up two layers of Reflectix insulation in the v-berth, and covered that with foam-backed vinyl, in the hopes of preventing such a calamity! Deciding that only idiots and/or insane people try to live aboard iced-in boats, and not quite ready to fall into either category, it was time to admit that remaining in New England for the winter was a really dumb idea.

"With absolutely no chance of getting the boat free until spring, I packed the van with snorkeling gear, sailing dinghy, my dogs, a friend who was in the same boat, so to speak, and his motorcycle. We pointed south and floored it as well as one can with a van so loaded! After dropping my friend and his motorcycle in Tampa, I headed to Marathon Key, where I basked aboard a friend's Camper-Nicholson 40 for a couple of days before we sailed the boat to Key West. The highlight of that trip was snorkeling on Sand Key Reef, seeing about two dozen parrot fish about the size of my forward hatch, feeding on the bottom, with a nurse shark hovering just above them.

"While in Key West, we anchored off Wisteria, or Christmas Tree Island. The island itself had an interesting and attractive assortment of flora and fauna, but was covered with trash, as well as having a lot of wrecks washed up on the beaches. There were also several camps set up around the island. Some of the not-very-well-kept ones were extensions of the boats anchored nearby, and a few were those of adventurous types seeking a unique experience. The funky mix of people and boats in Key West was a treat after staid old New England. There were expensive yachts mixed in with craft that could be hardly called boats and were barely afloat. Ashore, Mallory Square seemed to be the mixing pot for people from all walks of life, including cruise ship and land-based tourists, the homeless, street performers, artists, and punk kids, with quite a few cats and dogs wandering among the throng. The chickens seemed to avoid the sqaure, prefering less crowded parts of town. I enjoyed the lack of frozen salt water, the variety, and more relaxed pace of life in the Keys, but my overall impression remains one of mass quantities of garbage scattered everywhere.

Photos Courtesy Clarity

"From the Keys, a winding, exploratory drive took me to Titusville, where I re-connected with the friend I had left in Tampa, who had by then nearly circumnavigated Florida on his motorcycle. While in Titusville, we stayed aboard a 1925 Chesapeake Bay oyster boat, Old Squaw, which had been converted into a comfortable yacht by the Hinckley yard. I hopped on the back of the bike and together we hit Bike Week in Daytona. Thousands of rumbling Harleys and acres of denim and leather were quite a change from the sailing scene! But there were still many similarities in the camaraderie, friendliness, and willingness to help each other out.

"Then the word reached Florida that the ice in the Northeast had melted, so it was time to head north again. Upon our return, we were greeted with four days of snow driven by a howling wind. I guess we should have waited another week. Regardless, there was no more ice in the harbor, and buckets of rain washed away the evil snow. It was a relief to find the boat in good shape after being left alone and frozen for six weeks, but there are a lot less pilings left holding the docks than there used to be. Fortunately, in only a few short months, our several weeks of summer should be here!

"Next fall my boat will be heading south with the rest of the smart cruisers! I've said it before, and I'll say it again until it sticks: No more ice, unless it's in my cocktail."

Thanks for the letter and photos. How folks can live where it's so cold and gray for much of the year is beyond us. We can't even take winter in reasonably-temperate San Francisco. But we're not as spoiled at the locals of St. Barth, many of whom don't go in the ocean in the winter because the water temperature has dropped to a relatively frigid 79°!

We'll be expecting a full report on your cruise next winter.

Convergence Launched

April 14 - Santa Cruz

While poking around Santa Cruz Harbor Monday, we sneaked a peak at Convergence, the just-launched Wylie 65 built for West Marine founder Randy Repass. She had just been delivered up the coast by South Pacific cruising vet Jim Foley, after her launch last month at Westerly Marine in Costa Mesa.

Veteran SoPac cruiser Jim Foley strikes a pose at the wheel.

Designed for fast, comfortable family cruising, Convergence features an expansive pilothouse which contains a large nav and steering station, a comfy salon and a deck-level galley. Perhaps best described as a cat ketch, her easy-handling sail plan employs two unstayed carbon masts with wishbone booms.

Convergence features a cat-ketch rig and an expansive pilothouse.

Convergence will be on display all week at Sail Expo. Randy Repass will be giving a seminar on "Cutting Edge Systems For Today's Performance Cruiser," Wednesday, April 14, at 5:45 p.m. in Seminar Tent A.

The 'back porch' is great for toy storage and water-level lounging.
Photos Latitude/Andy

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