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Photo of the Day

June 4 - Point Conception

Today's Photo of the Day is of Pt. Conception in all its fury as photographed by Robert Sutherland from aboard Profligate a week ago Thursday. It answers the question of how the big cat was able to make it from San Diego to San Francisco in just 49 hours.

Photo Robert Sutherland

96-Hour Notice Required when Returning to States? It Depends?

June 4 - Washington, DC

About a week ago, an announcement was made by the National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC) that "all vessels entering U.S. waters from a foreign port must give a 96-Hour Advance Notice of Arrival." It emphasized that "there will be no exceptions regardless of the size of the vessel."

This was a mistake. Larry Steward, a civilian liaison with the NVMC confirms that this requirement does not apply to vessels under 300 gross tons.

Backhus and Moonshadow to Continue Circumnavigation

June 4 - Auckland, New Zealand

George Backhus of the Sausalito-based Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow reports he's about to get moving on his circumnavigation again:

"With the leaves turning autumn colors, the days getting shorter, and a winter nip in the air, it's time for Moonshadow and I to head north and west. This time she will leave New Zealand for good and we will set out in earnest to finish the circumnavigation we started in 1994. Our plan is to sail on June 5 with the Royal Akarana Yacht Club's race from Auckland to Noumea, New Caledonia. After New Caledonia, my very flexible itinerary will have us calling into Queensland and the Northern Territories of Australia, Indonesia, Asia, across the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and Suez Canal, summer in the Med, and across the Atlantic to our starting point in Ft. Lauderdale. The time frame is approximately 18 months, but our plans are always drawn in the sand at low tide."

Good Weekend for Sailing San Francisco Bay

June 4 - San Francisco Bay

We went out sailing last weekend and took these photos of folks having fun on their boats. What are you doing this weekend? As for us, we're going sailing again. Summer's here and the sailing is great.

Photos Latitude/Richard

Good News on Cat's Meow from Baja

June 4 - Puerto Escondido, Baja California

"The Cat's Meow, the San Pedro-based motoryacht that was instrumental in saving many of the cruising sailboats thrown ashore by Hurricane Marty in Puerto Escondido last summer, has left Puerto Escondido for La Paz," reports Carolyn Shearlock of Que Tal in Puerto Escondido. "You'll remember they recently had an accident that put their boat on the rocks, sunk her, and flooded the engine. But thanks to the help of many cruisers and others, the engine is running again, and they expect to be hauled at Abaroa's very soon. Making the trip are Martin Hardy, the owner, along with Dario from Ballena, Royce from R Dreamz, and Dave from Que Tal. Robin, Martin's wife, will go down there in a few days when she is finished taking care of their belongings here.

"People have asked where they can send contributions in the U.S. to help Martin and Robin, who have no insurance, but who helped save so many other boats. Checks can be made out to Martin Hardy, and send to Mike and Katya on Kindred Spirit at 325 Pine Street, Sausalito, CA 94965. Mike and Katya will deposit the money in the Hardys' account, and they'll be able to access it from Mexico. The Hardys would be most grateful for any and all contributions."

California Coastal Commission Dreaming

June 4 - California Coast

The following opinion piece by J. David Breemer of the Pacific Legal Foundation appeared in the Monterey Herald in late May:

"Whose Ocean View? Coastal Commission Bars Homes to Benefit Boaters.

"Ban houses so boaters can have pristine views of the coast? Incredible as it sounds, the California Coastal Commission is actively implementing this policy in the name of protecting 'scenic resources.' Seems the Commission got fired up about the idea after a boat owner complained about seeing homes along the coast on a recent voyage. So  last  month, the Commission's Executive Director, Peter Douglas, issued a memorandum expressing his determination to help the poor boaters by restricting any development that might break up offshore views of the coast. Douglas put on his poet's hat to justify his latest regulatory squeeze on coastal property owners. 'People who come...to be on the water are a community of users whose enjoyment of the coast for recreation, to find solace and inspiration, or to be with wild nature is also deserving of careful stewardship,' he lyricized. To protect the quality of the spiritual 'sojourn' at sea, Douglas vowed to preserve seascapes 'by minimizing the intrusion of human works, particularly along rugged reaches of rural coast.'

"Translation: If your home can be seen from the sea, it's probably not going to be built at all.

"Sound crazy? Not when you look at other Commission rules. The Commission already bars coastal landowners from building a home near a stream or on a slope, or between a stream and a slope. There can be no building if your home looks different than your neighbors' or different than the surrounding natural setting. No permit if your land contains common plants, like coastal chaparral, which the Commission calls an 'environmentally sensitive area'. And no permit if your home might be seen from a public trail or, if shielded from the trail, it could be seen from cars traveling on Highway One.

"And now, no permit if a boater might see your home while sailing along the coast.

"Nothing in the Coastal Act authorizes such a rule. The Commission might as well ban homes that can be seen by a skydiver. Or why not ban yachts so homeowners can have a pristine ocean view? This is just as legal as banning homes to benefit boaters. The difference is that a no-boat rule would require the Commission to consider the perspectives of coastal landowners, something the Commission finds exceedingly hard to do.

"The Commission was created to ensure the balanced and environmentally sound use of land, while respecting property rights. But Douglas' Commission continues to demonstrate a bias against landowners. Homes for people are out; protecting the 'quality of a sojourn' for a 'community of users' (which somehow does not include landowners) is in.

"For such utopian goals, the Commissioners increasingly restrict building; the supply of new homes and hotel rooms keeps dwindling, and the price of living or vacationing near the beach keeps getting higher. In the end, the Commission will put the California dream out of reach for all but the most wealthy.

"But at least the fishermen will have a nice view."

In our opinion, the California Coastal Commission has done a tremendous amount of good over the years - but sometimes doesn't know when it goes over the line of common sense. And this is crossing the line. Imagine if a home on the coast could be banned because some guy burning 30 gallons/hour of diesel in a big stinkpot wants to deny somebody - maybe a disliked neighbor - their dream house. And what would be next, banning houses everywhere in California because they destroy a 'scenic resource' for recreational pilots?

Sometimes environmentalists run off the rails. For example, Executive Director Douglas, who has been with the Coastal Commission from the beginning, which we think is way too long - told us he's against creating fish habitats! This despite the fact that 90% of the fish habitats along the California coast have been destroyed. Not only that, but out of what seems like a blinding hatred of oil companies, he seeks to destroy rather than save some of the rich marine habitats the oil companies have inadvertently created. We'd prefer to see environmentalists in power whose love for the environment isn't eclipsed by their hatred of other things, lest they cut off their environmental nose to spite their face.

As a boat owner, do you think that you and other boatowners ought to have the power to prevent others from building a house on the coast, in a properly zoned area, solely because it would destroy your scenic view from the water? And if so, how many miles back from the coast should the ban on houses be in effect? We say 'not in our name' - but what do you think?

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