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Delta Dawdling on Our Minds

May 7 - Upriver

On big weekends like Memorial Day, Labor Day and the Fourth of July, the entire Delta region seems to be buzzing with revelers. Many folks bring their whole family, plus every watersports toy in their garage.
Photo Courtesy Angelina

The days are getting longer and the beginning of summer is fast approaching, but in the Central Bay this time of year often brings dense fog rather than sunbathing weather. However, a short sail upstream on the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Napa or Petaluma River will have you stripping off layers of fleece and foulies faster than you can say, "Pass the sunblock."

A less-traveled alternative to the Delta is a trip up the Napa (seen here) or Petaluma River. While winding your way through wetlands, you'll feel as though you're hundreds of miles from the hustle and bustle of modern urban living.
Photo Latitude/Andy

With that in mind, we'll bring you an overview of Delta and river cruising in the June issue of Latitude 38. Not only will an up-river cruise give you access to sunbaked anchorages and unspoiled wetlands, but you can swim in fresh water and, as one Bay Area sailor pointed out, "The weather up there is ideal for sprucing up your brightwork."

Allegations of Hit and Run Surround Vessel Sinking

May 7 - San Francisco

The U.S. Coast Guard is currently investigating circumstances surrounding the sinking early Thursday morning of the 37-ft fishing vessel Clara B II outside the Golden Gate.

After reportedly being struck by another vessel, the two fishermen aboard the Clara B II were able to send off a mayday and launch their liferaft. They were rescued sometime later by another fishing vessel, the Nickie J., and taken to Coast Guard Station Golden Gate.

Although completely unsubstantiated at this time, rumors are circulating among the fishing fleet that a 40-ft vessel out of Santa Cruz hit the Clara B II then left the scene. This allegation reportedly came from the Clara B's skipper, who is said to have sighted the other boat before his vessel went down. At this writing, however, Coast Guard investigators cannot corroborate this information. We will try to bring you more details as the story develops.

Profligate's Regress

May 7 - Panama

After a sizzling quick Canal passage, Profligate is back in the Pacific, anchored about a half mile from the Flamenco YC. The Panama City skyline looms about 10 miles in the distance. It's hot. Real hot. Although it's early morning, sweat pours from every pore. If you don't like heat and humidity, you have no business in the tropics.

The new Gold Coast built 65-ft Tropicat as seen at the Panama Canal YC. She's headed for charter service in Cabo, where she'll take out nearly 100 passengers at a time, replacing the trimaran Pez Gato, which long ago went 'soft'.

There are new and nutty rules for transiting the Panama Canal. One of them is that our entire crew of 11 had to have their photos taken and be fingerprinted!

It's been one of the wildest two weeks of our sailing lives. In less than 14 days, we've raced Antigua Sailing Week aboard the R/P 92 Leopard of London; taken great photos of the new MaxZ86s Pyewacket and Morning Glory, as well as the 140-ft Pacific Cup bound Mari-Cha; with 10 others sailed 1,200 miles from Antigua to the San Blas Islands; set a new boat speed record of 25.3 knots among hundreds of surfs; spent a day - and a ton of money - running around Colon setting up a rapid Canal transit; got photographed and fingerprinted in order to transit the Canal; hung out at the Panama Canal YC; did a Canal transit in six hours; anchored in Flamenco Marina; and dropped off crew. Plus met hundreds of great people.

One of the better streets in Colon, Panama, the so-called 'colon of the universe'. This was once a beautiful colonial town that has completely gone to hell. Lack of jobs will do that.

Having completed that, Doña de Mallorca and the Wanderer had about 11 minutes before welcoming the new crew. Fortunately, the list of things to be done was small - solve the starting problem on the port engine; make sure the house charging system problem had really been fixed; deal with some steering issues; and catch up on two week's worth of sleep. Once that was done, the rest - dashing to Nicaragua, Acapulco, Cabo, and San Diego before the start of hurricane season - almost sounds easy. But of course, it's never that way. The one thing we can say for sure is that life hasn't been boring.

Lake Gatun, the heart of the Panama Canal. The only way to cross the continental divide by yacht!

Everything now seems much better. A lost crew member was found; the port engine starting problem mysteriously cured itself; the alternator bracket and steering issues will apparently hold until California; and a good night of sleep was enjoyed. See the June issue of Latitude 38 for more stories.

A slow and small boat in the canal about to cross paths with a big ship. The little guy paid about $350 to transit, the ship about $100,000. No wonder the Canal doesn't want small boats.

Our new friends on Tropicat locking down on the Pacific side
Photos Latitude/Richard

Star Worlds Results Final

May 7 - Gaeta, Italy

Following some problems with the scoring of the Star World Championship that delayed the final results, results have now been released and those nations which have qualified for an entry to the Olympic Sailing Competition confirmed. Although still to be ratified by ISAF, Spain, Denmark, Germany and Canada have qualified. The ISAF ratification will confirm that the athletes who qualified the above nations meet the nationality requirements as set out in the Qualification System for the 2004 Olympic Sailing Competition.

The results mean that Spain and Germany now join Australia, France and Great Britain as the only nations to have qualified in every sailing event in Athens. They will be sending a full team of sailors along with Greece, who as host country automatically qualify in every event. See www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=7033 for more.

Anders Ekstrom and Frederik Loof
Photo Courtesy Star Class

Frederik Loof and Anders Ekstrom of Sweden took the top spot in the Star Worlds, held April 23-May 1 in Gaeta, Italy. The top U.S. team was Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter in fifth place. They qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in March at the Olympic Team Trials. For more, see www.starclass.org.

Sailing in Day 1 of the 470 World Championships
Photo Courtesy Sailing Club Uskok

More Olympic Class Championships are clustered around Europe this weekend. The Men's and Women's 470s are racing in Zadar, Croatia, May 7-16; the women's Yngling Worlds are in Santander, Spain, May 7-15; and the Finn European Championships and Olympic Qualification Regatta is being held in La Rochelle, France, May 7-15.

Bongos in the West

May 7 - Jamestown, RI

A new singlehanded sportboat called the Bongo is venturing west from its Rhode Island birthplace to tour left coast yacht clubs this month. The schedule for California:

May 7-9, Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, Long Beach
May 12-13, Santa Cruz Yacht Club
May 14-16, Cal Sailing, Berkeley
May 21-23, Encinal Yacht Club, Alameda

Designed by Paul Cronin, the 15-ft boat features a roomy cockpit that can accommodate crew, two sizes of spinnakers and a double-reefable main for flexibility, and a retractable bulb keel for stability. See www.sailabongo.com for more.

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