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Photos of the Day

August 20 - Channel Islands

Today's Photos of the Day are courtesy of Mark Albertazzi and were taken during a cruise of the Channel Islands aboard Paul Plotts' lovely San Diego-based Alden schooner Dauntless. "After a month of hard work, Paul and the crew were able to finish repairs to damage sustained while trying to get Dauntless up to San Francisco for the Master Mariners Race. We finished in time to take first in the schooner class at the McNish Classic out of Channel Islands Harbor. Right after the race we took the schooner's annual week-long trek around the Channel Islands. I hope you enjoy the shots."

Sunrise on the way from Coches Prieto on the leeward side of Santa Cruz Island around to the weather side. "We went from a hot, dry, sunny bay, into the teeth of a 35-knot blow on the west end, and worked our way to a neat little anchorage call Pelicans. It was summer, winter, and summer all over again in a span of 6 hours and 30 miles."

The Pelican Bay anchorage, where the snorkeling and hiking were great

and crew at cocktail hour at Coches

Mark and his wife Shelly hiking above Smugglers Cove with Dauntless in the background.
Photos Mark Albertazzi

Snearly and Rutan's 36 Double D's Put Ha-Ha at 100

August 20 - Tiburon

"Folks entered in Baja Ha-Ha XI, which departs San Diego for Cabo San Lucas on October 25, should be prepared for a big time," reports Ha-Ha Honcho Lauren Spindler, "because yesterday's mail brought in paid entry #100. The one that put it over the top was the Livermore-based Islander 36 named 36 Double D's, which is owned by Dale Snearly and Dena Rutan.

"We've never had this many entries this early. With three weeks before the September 10 deadline, I certainly wouldn't be surprised if we didn't get another 50 paid entries and have more than 130 boats hit the starting line. I asked the Grand Poobah what he thought about what may be the largest fleet ever, and he said, 'I love it! I want it to be the biggest and best Ha-Ha ever!' If you recently sent in for an entry pack, please be patient; we ran out after 210 requests and are having more printed up."

Huge New Container Port 80 Miles South of Ensenada?

August 20 - Punta Colonet, Baja California

If you think that the sleepy little anchorage of Punta Colonet couldn't pose a business threat to the mighty ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, think again. Wayne Stromberg alerted us to an article in the California Business Journal which said a confidential report by the Port of Los Angeles suggests that such a port, along with Lazaro Cardenas on mainland Mexico, could soon siphon away a significant amount of business.

A big shaker in the Colonet deal is one of Hong Kong's oldest trading companies, Hutchinson Whampoa, which had over $13 billion in revenues in 2003. HW, which occupies massive space adjacent to the Panama Canal and is a big player in global terminal operations, already has facilities at Lazaro Cardenas. HW has been test-shipping goods from Asia to Lazaro Cardenas to the U.S. Midwest and East Coast for companies such as Wal-Mart and Costco. HW's plans for Colonet are said to be secret, and only referred to as 'Tomas', the name of a nearby winery.

The California Business Journal also reported that Union Pacific Railroad is considering going into a joint project with HW to lay down tracks to Yuma, Arizona, so cargo could be hauled to the Inland Empire without ever having to go through L.A. or Long Beach. L.A. and Long Beach are known for massive freeway congestion, higher wages, and work stoppages.

Such a project has not yet been approved, but it's said to have support of local, state, and federal officials in Mexico, and that the environmental concerns for the 11,000-acre project are under control. God knows northern Baja needs the jobs. If the plan is approved, it's said a terminal could be finished in one year.
If Colonet comes online, cargo operations in Ensenada - which are hampered by the lack of a rail line and its small size - would be cut back. It would concentrate on yachts and cruise ships.

Chuck, the West Marine Tech Guy, Responds to Fuel Filter Complaints

August 20 - Watsonville

"As a testament to how well-read 'Lectronic Latitude is at West Marine, the Wednesday item about having a problem with one of our fuel filters had barely hit the Internet before about a dozen West Marine associates informed me that you had written a note to me. We'd have a lot better productivity around here if 'Lectronic wasn't so popular.

"The fuel filters you refer to were apparently designed for bush pilots in Alaska who wanted to pre-filter automotive gas for their planes. John Neal, famed cruiser/author/expedition organizer with Mahina Tiare, brought them to my attention as being a less expensive, but equally effective filter compared to the Baja Filter. Our filter uses a fine Teflon-coated screen which will pass hydrocarbons but which will not pass water. (I would normally make a comment about how all of us may have a problem passing water as we age, but perhaps I should not.) The water which is not allowed to go in your fuel tank has to go somewhere, and that is the reason for the sump at the bottom of the filter. I am not sure what they do with the few ounces of fuel and sediment in Alaska, but if the filter comes up clean, I pour it into the tank. If not, I fill a small container and wait for a beach fire or other opportunity to burn the residue.

"Thanks for asking the question, and thanks for using our fuel filter. But please stop being such a diversion for West Marine associates!"

We can vouch for the filter working great at keeping water out, but the wide mouth of the funnel is a problem. We tried to pour the clean fuel in the sump into our tanks as Chuck suggests, but the funnel rim is so big it ran all over the place, requiring a 'two-towel' clean-up. Anyway, you can't imagine the responses generated by this fuel funnel item. Because of a lack of space, we'll have to hold them until the October - yes, October - issue of Latitude 38.

So what am I supposed to do with the fuel stuck in the sump?
Photo Latitude/Richard

Luna Rossa Back After the America's Cup

August 20 - Valencia, Spain

The Italian Luna Rossa Syndicate, which been aggressively training in Spain for three months already, has finally applied for and been accepted as a Challenger for the 2007 America's Cup. It will be the syndicate's third shot. They join BMW Oracle Racing, the Italian squad +39, Team Shosholoza from South Africa, and Emirates Team New Zealand as official challengers so far for the 32nd America's Cup.

Weak El Niño Expected This Winter

August 20 - Pacific Ocean

Government weather experts says that a weak El Niño pattern is expected to develop and affect the United States this fall and winter. El Niño is a weakening of the trades, which leads to warmer water in the eastern Pacific. The last one, in late 2002 through 2003 is blamed for record rains in Europe and Australia's worst drought in 100 years. If an El Niño does develop, NOAA expects above normal precipitation in the Southwest in the winter and early spring. It would sure help the Southwest, which has been experiencing a severe drought.
The problems with El Niños is that it's hard to judge the effect. Sometimes the strongest ones have little effect, sometimes the weaker ones have large effects.

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