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Photo of the Day

May 26 - New Zealand

Todays Photo of the Day is of the first known sailboat to have a helipad.

Photo Courtesy Alloy Yachts

In June's Latitude 38, to be distributed Friday, Bob Buell of Hawaii takes issue with our recently reporting that the 172-ft Salperton is the largest sailing yacht ever built in New Zealand. Well, we were correct until a month or so ago, when Alloy Yachts launched the 178-ft Dubois-designed Tiare. The boats are near sisterships except for the rigs and the transoms. Salperton is a ketch. Tiare is a sloop in order that her owner can land his seven-seat EC-130 helicopter on the back of the boat. Naturally, the backstays have to be taken off and the boom moved out of the way. But as the photo from Alloy proves, it can be done. Just don't try it on your Cal 39. Tiare is now on her way to the Med, where upper crust charters don't like to be without chopper service. We wonder how her helicopter is going to get there.

The Continuing Trend Toward Bigger Slips

May 26 - San Diego

Linda Leathers of Cabrillo Isle Marina in San Diego, host for the Baja Ha-Ha Kick-Off Party, reports that their upgrade of the marina is going along very well. "The new bathrooms will be done by Memorial Day, and half of the marina will be completed by the middle of July. Everything will be done by Ha-Ha time in late October. Based on the greater number of big boats, we took out most of our 56-ft slips and put in more 60s, 70s, and 77s. Those are the ones that are needed."

Profligate Fully Regressed

May 26 - Baja California

By the time you read this, Profligate should be back in the USA after her fall and winter cruise to the Caribbean and back. Here is her report via Skymate from Monday, which missed that day's 'Lectronic Latitude:

"We're seeing and talking to lots of other boats doing the Bash, including an exodus of sportfishers from Cabo. One of the sailboats, Tenacity, a Peterson 44 from San Francisco, is going south. Skipper Tom Steketee is headed for the Canal and then Maine. We also spoke with John and Christy of the Marina del Rey-based Morgan 46 Finisterre. They spent 2.5 years in Mexico and 'just loved it!' Having singlehanded all the way around the world for four years on his Seattle-based C&C 38 Topaz, Ken Hellewell has taken crew on for the Bash. He's the author of the Cruising Guide to Tonga. We also heard a Coast Guard alert for Patricia Belle, a black San Diego-based schooner with four crew overdue on a passage from Mazatlan to San Diego.

"We've spoken with a lot of sportfishing boat crews, who have been really friendly. They have been busy helping others with engine advice. One boat south of us had a medical emergency, and they all rushed to assist with Satphone calls to San Carlos, where the boat with the patient was headed. It's a nice community out here.

"The weather has been 'Bashy', meaning with seas up to 10 feet. We came inshore last night about halfway up the Baja coast, and it was a much smoother ride. We had an alternator problem, but this time it turned out to be a different broken wire from the one in Panama.

"There have been reports of a new fueling service, Comestibles Annabel, in Turtle Bay to compete with Ernesto. Owner Ruben Venezuela, who also operates the Pemex station, got shut down. When we pulled in, he was off to La Paz to get the necessary permits. So Ernesto still had a monopoly.

"After a winter in the Caribbean and the heat and humidity of Panama, I'm freezing!"

Update: "80-ft whales!" On Tuesday morning we got another report from Profligate, this time 180 miles south of San Diego, and they were reporting seeing one or two pods of blue whales up to 80 feet in length. Three times we challenged them on the length, but they are standing by it.

Cat's Meow Floats

May 26 - Puerto Escondido, Baja California

"At dawn Monday, The Cat's Meow floated," write Dave and Carolyn Shearlock of Que Tal. It took "three big pumps and lots of men and women with buckets, working from 4:30 AM on with the low tide. At about 10:30, Siempre Sabado took her in tow in Puerto Escondido. The rest of the Cat Fleet is here organizing their boats and getting the stuff on the beach picked up and arranging for the rest of the barrels to go back (all the plastic ones went on the Cat)." Thanks to Tim Schaaf for forwarding the Shearlocks' email to us.

Cat's Meow, the motor yacht that saved so many fellow cruisers from a similar fate during Hurricane Marty, had gone up on some rocks near Agua Verde on the night of the 20th. See our reports on Friday and Monday.

Kite Sailing in from the Farallones

May 26 - San Francisco

According to Scuttlebutt, on May 23 Chip Wasson of Treasure Island, Steve Gibson of Mountain View, and Jeff Kafka of Pacifica kite-sailed 28 miles from the Southeast Farallones to Crissy Field just inside the Gate. The trio sailed in 12 to 28-knot winds, and completed the course in two hours. They had two support boats.

It reminds us of the time that the late Shimon van Collie, longtime editor at Latitude, sailed his sailboard out to the Farallones and back. Well, he didn't make it back inside the Gate, but rather to Stinson Beach. He did it alone and without any support boats.

Severe Flooding in Hispañola Kills More than 160

May 26 - Hispañola

As much as eight inches of rain in one day on Haiti and the Dominican Republic have claimed more than 160 lives. Other parts of the Caribbean have tremendous amounts of rain, too, such as Antigua and Barbuda, where the ground is so saturated that all the schools had to be closed.

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