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Photos of the Day: Catnip Cup

June 16 - Vallejo

Jitterbug, Gary and Claudette Miskell's Catana 431 cat in the Mare Island Strait

Today's Photos of the Day come from last weekend's Catnip Cup multihull cruising regatta to Vallejo and back. A record 17 cats and tris from 29 to 63 feet participated. It was generally light air and warm on the way up, and mostly light air and warm on the way back. What a weekend!

Mai Dolch's Marquesas 56 Dolce Vita on the return trip off the Tiburon Peninsula

Stuart Kiehl and his Kismet 31 trimaran

Photos Above Latitude/Richard
Photos Below Glenn Fagerlin

Double Play, left, Don Parker and Terri Johnson's Gemini 105 cat, and Joint Venture, Randy and Sandy Devol's Corsair 31 tri, on the warm run up to Vallejo

Some of the fleet as seen from atop Perception at the Vallejo Marina

Sit Down Mexico Lovers, You're About to Be Rocked!

June 16 - San Carlos, Mexico

If you're in Mexico now, or will be heading to Mexico this winter, we have some good news for you. Very, very good news. And then even more potentially good news.

What is the only thing cruisers hate about cruising in Mexico? Duh - the time-consuming and ridiculously expensive clearing in and out process at every stop with a port captain. Well, according to Terri Grossman of San Carlos Marina and Marina Seca, who has been and perhaps still is the head of the Mexican Marina Owners Association, a new law is already on the books that will require mariners only to clear into Mexico once when they first arrive, and clear out at their last port before leaving the country. If you've recovered from fainting, yes, that means no more checking in at every port, no more running between banks and port captains, no more paying big clearing fees, and equally big fees to ship's agents. Although this is not an April Fool's Joke, and the law is on the books, it still needs a kind of final approval from the Legislature. Because there are now three or four main political parties in Mexico, this could take some time, but Grossman is hopeful it will be a done deal by the start of the fall cruising season.

If you're looking for proof that this long awaited improvement isn't just another false hope, Grossman tells us that the Mexican government is putting together all the necessary officials for clearing in - Immigration, Aduana, and so forth - at one office on the dock in Ensenada to make it easy for southbound cruisers to clear into the country. This does not mean you have to stop in Ensenada. Your first stop can be, for example, Cabo San Lucas, it's just that all the officials won't be in one place.

Want more good news? Mexican officials are also talking about ways in which they might be able to subsidize the price of fuel, which has gone way up, for visiting mariners. It's not certain this is going to happen, however, as it would be difficult to administrate.

But if the apparent upcoming change in clearing procedures isn't great news, we don't know what is. As for Terri Grossman, she's on the verge of being ecstatic, "having worked since 1977 to get the clearing process simplified." Indeed, she's the one who stood up and told Mexico's President Fox that the current process was like making visiting mariners go around the stations of the cross!

In order to get the final stamp of approval for the simplified clearing process, it may be helpful in the near future for Latitude 38 readers to email certain officials and legislators. Grossman is collecting the key email addresses. So when the time comes, please be ready to make a few keystrokes on your computer.
Assuming the new clearing procedures pass, it will make life much easier for mariners visiting Mexico, and will be a boon to great little places such as San Blas, which have been virtually boycotted by cruisers because of clearing hassles. In fact, San Blas would be one of the first places we'd head this winter.

Mother Needs Help on Boat in Pacific

June 16 - Pacific Ocean

Pavel Rozalski of the Catalina 380 Crusader needs help for his mother, who he reports is being threatened by her crew while on a passage in the Pacific:

"Barbara Rozalska of the CS 36 Nootka Rose, who did the Puddle Jump, is sailing north from the Cook Islands bound for Honolulu. She has two crew members, who are married and experienced sailors, and who for several days now claim to be seeing demons and saying that the boat is possessed. Most recently, the man screamed, "Now I am in charge of this boat. I do not give a shit about your life." Then he threatened to throw her overboard - but not for the first time. She feels very threatened and is afraid to be in the cockpit.

"I have contact with my mother aboard the boat. She is at a loss of what to do to safely reach her destination. They are at least a week away from Hawaii, not far from Christmas Island, Kiribati. I have contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, and I'm keeping them apprised of the situation. The only thing the USCG could do at this point would be to mount a search and rescue operation, but the boat would likely have to be abandoned. My understanding is that they cannot pursue any law enforcement actions in international waters. The only good news is that my mother's boat seems to be currently making good time. "I'm seeking advice and suggestions from Latitude 38 readers on what the best course of action would be."

It's difficult to know what advice to give without being there. We suppose our suggestion would be to head to the nearest port - assuming that didn't infuriate the couple. If it's truly a life and death situation, we'd set off the EPIRB and be rescued. A boat can be replaced, but a life can't. Then there's also the possibility that Barbara is hallucinating the whole thing. It wouldn't be the first time something like this has happened. Like we say, it's hard to know without being there.

Coastal Cup Recap

June 16 - Santa Barbara

While screaming downwind in ideal go-fast conditions, a crewmember aboard Tom Sanborn's San Francisco-based SC52 City Lights took time out to snap this photo for the folks back home.
Courtesy City Lights

With sustained winds of up to 40 knots, last weekend's Coastal Cup was one of the rowdiest in recent memory. Although there were no major crew injuries within the 30-boat fleet, the brisk winds and big seas along the coast - especially between Pt. Sur and Pt. Conception - resulted in substantial carnage, including a dismasting. One boat reported colliding with a whale which came back and rammed their hull in an apparent act of revenge.

After ending at Catalina for the past two years, the race moved its finish back to Santa Barbara this year, with the line set in the fluky waters off the Santa Barbara YC. Although Bob and Rob Barton's Andrews 56 Cipango led the fleet to Pt. Conception, Mike Travis' SC50 Surfer Girl found better air in the Santa Barbara Channel, allowing her to slip by Cipango Sunday morning and take line honors with a time of 28 hours, 42 minutes and 16 seconds - fast, but not a record-breaker.

After a long, raucous night at sea in which they once saw a 47-knot gust, the Surfer Girl crew enjoys some Santa Barbara hospitality.

Mark Halman's Richmond-based Hobie 33 Sleeping Dragon was first to finish in Division E and took overall corrected honors. See our complete report in the July issue of Latitude 38.

Skipper Mark Halman and longtime crewman Bob Fricke were dazed, but delighted, after steering their overgrown dinghy - the Hobie 33 Sleeping Dragon - to fleet honors.

After a painfully slow night in the Channel, Steve Waterloo (second from left) and his Shaman crew toast their class victory Sunday morning.

On some boats, such as the Alameda-based Soverel 33 Stop Making Sense, literally everything below decks got soaked.
Photos Latitude/Andy Except as Noted

What Kind of Boat Did Captain Ron Sail?

June 16 - Hollywood

"I'm writing you because I don't know who else to ask," says Bradley Hughes of Santa Cruz. "When I saw the film Captain Ron that came out a few years ago starring Kurt Russell, I fell in love with the design. How can I get plans?"

We're probably one of the few sailors who has only seen that movie twice, and as we recall it was a common Taiwan-built production boat. But we don't remember which. We're sure that some of you could help. But Bradley, you have to understand that the interior shots were almost certainly done on a stage, so don't expect to find that.

His Own Private Island

June 16 - Pacific Ocean

This shot comes from John Pettitt of Sausalito, and was taken during Profligate's passage from Panama to California. The crew saw lots of turtles - which is a very encouraging thing - but this was the only one with a bird using its shell as a small island.

Photo John Pettitt

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