Photo of the Day
February 9 - Mazatlan, Mexico
Tom Preston sent us this spectacular shot of a winter sunset in Mazatlan. We just had to share it with you!
The Only Cruiser Who Likes Jet Skis
February 9 - Punta de Mita, Mexico
Most cruisers hate jet skis, and with good reason. They are often recklessly operated, the operators seem to mostly enjoy doing noisy circles around anchored cruisers, and they aren't all that friendly to the environment.
Joey Kenney of the San Diego-based Ranger 33 Johnny Rook, who shadowed the Ha-Ha fleet down the Baja coast and did backflips onto the sand from the dance platform at the beach party in Cabo, is the exception. He not only loves high-speed, performance jet skis, he makes his living operating them in a particularly reckless manner. He does stunts on them.
When he told us that he and his fellow stunt guys do flips as high as 25 feet in the air, we were skeptical. But when we bumped into him last week at Punta de Mita, he insisted that he prove it. He made believers out of us.
That's Joey hanging, temporarily, from the handlebars of his jet ski out in front of the Four Seasons Golf Course at Punta de Mita.
In the second shot, Joey and his ride have parted ways. This was not an isolated incident. He and his buddies - all of whom have broken many body parts - did such flips over and over again. As much as we're glad that Joey enjoys himself, we still hate those damn jet skis.
Standby for "Drivel"
February 9 - Banderas Bay, Mexico
A reader recently complained that our reports from places like the Caribbean and Mexico were "drivel." Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, so if you are one of those who think the reports are indeed drivel, you'll want to skip the following - and be happy you didn't pay any money for it.
The Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca arrived in Nuevo Vallarta/Banderas Bay about a week ago with high hopes of making it south to Zihua for the Sail Fest. Alas, we arrived too exhausted to do a 700-mile round trip, in addition to the four days of festivities, in just 10 days. So we had to bail out on that great charity event. However, the Wanderer spoke to Ha-Ha Honcho Lauren Spindler, who has pledged $500 to the charity on behalf of last fall's Ha-Ha fleet.
This hasn't been the best weather year in Mexico. Starting right after the Ha-Ha, there were some nasty electrical storms, blustery weather all along the mainland coast, and for the last week it's been mostly overcast with several days of heavy rain! Most atypical. The only compensation is that it's plenty warm, as always, with unusually good surf.
The overcast weather has at least been conducive to making new friends here on Banderas Bay, such as Jack Carson and Monica Guildersleeve of the B.C.-based steel bilge-keeled junk-rigged cat ketch Bella Via. They are both artists, and paid for nearly half of their five-year circumnavigation with Monica's daughters by selling their artwork. After their circumnavigation they spent seven years doing survey work on the rugged west coast waters of Canada between the northern tip of Vancouver Island and the Alaskan border. The survey work required diving to 60 feet 3 to 20 times a week, sometimes with ice on the surface. Read all about that and the 'origami' boat they built for the job, the masts of which were scrap light standards from the Vancouver Airport, in the March issue of Latitude 38.
Jack and Monica, and some of their artwork
Low on fuel, we stopped at Opequimar Boatyard in Puerto Vallarta to fill up. Desperado Marine runs a chandlery and lunch counter there. Overseeing the lunch and bar operations is Flor, wearing a bare-midriff blouse, mini-skirt, and always mischievous smile. It's a good look.
A few miles away at Nuevo Vallarta, we met with Jim Ketler, Commodore of the Vallarta YC, and Doug Campbell, Vice Commodore. They report that the club has over 300 members and is doing well. Their big event of the year, the Banderas Bay Regatta, is next month, and the number of entries looks good. Jim and Doug were nice enough to pose in front of the downstairs pool that the club shares with marina guests. We've said it before and we've said it again, there's no cruising regatta that has better sailing conditions or a better venue than the Banderas Bay Regatta. You can count on 8-18 knots of wind, flat water, the course being right outside the nice marina, and as soon as you're done it's only a few feet to the pool and jacuzzi, which are surrounded by tropical plants. More on the club in the next Latitude.
Jim Ketler and Doug Campbell
We also paid a call on Philo Hayward, who has been running Philo's Bar/Restaurant/Music Hall/Motel/Internet Cafe/Community Center in La Cruz in the winter, and cruising the South Pacific in the summer. That is until last fall, when he was able to quickly sell his Cal 36 Cherokee Spirit in New Caledonia. Philo says that things are growing as quickly in La Cruz as they are in the rest of Banderas Bay, and that work is slated to begin next month on a 120-berth marina in La Cruz. He's not sure the marina will really hold 120 boats, but he's being told they really are building a marina. Philo is doing a great job for the La Cruz community as well as cruisers. We'll have more about it in the next Latitude.
That's it for today's drivel, as a good swell has just come up at the 'Mexican Malibu', and we've got some waves to catch. As for tomorrow, it should be a beautiful spinnaker run back to the marina. Wish you were here.
Container Hits - Fact or Bogeyman?
February 9 - Pacific Ocean
A few days ago, an esteemed colleague at a famous eastern newspaper called to ask about boats hitting containers - those big steel boxes full of cargo that stack onto freighters like giant Legos. It occurred to us that we hadn't heard much about this subject in a few years, and were wondering if maybe it had become an urban sailing legend.
Don't get us wrong. We have written a lot
over the years about boats hitting submerged objects. However,
in many if not most of these cases, skippers and crews do not
see what they hit, even if the hit occurs during the day. In
Back when the container industry was in its infancy, lots more boxes were lost overboard simply because shippers hadn't learned the best ways to secure them. These days, there are many more containers in transit across the oceans, but the ships, interlock systems and tie-downs are much better, so fewer are lost. Also, statistics show that when containers do go overboard, most will either sink immediately or within a few days, and thus pose no problem to other shipping or boating. We have also talked to several cruisers who have spotted 'floaters', but these were sticking up partially above the surface and thus visible from a long distance away. Not those 'bogeymen' containers lying in wait just below the surface for an unsuspecting boat to sink.
Which leads us up to the question of the day: is there anyone out there who has really hit a submerged container floating just below the surface? Not someone who thinks they have, but KNOWS it. If so, we would like to hear from you by email.
Many More Bay Boats
February 9 - San Francisco Bay
Alert South Bay reader (and Bay Area PHRF guru) Dave Few emailed us with the following: "I have to take exception to the statement made in Sightings, February '05, to wit, 'The Bear is one of only two sailboat classes designed specifically for San Francisco Bay (the Birds are the other), and the class is an integral part of Bay sailing history'. Indeed it and the Bird are a treasured part of Bay history. Back in the 1960s Ellie Dowd, the Cal dealer, could not compete with the Bird in the Cal 30-1, whereupon I was told she petitioned Bill Lapworth and Jensen Marine to design and build a boat for SF Bay. They complied and the result was the Cal 2-30, a very good boat indeed, and at about 10,000 lbs and 4,500 lbs ballast she was a great Bay boat. She was one of many boats we have owned, and we did well with her in the South Bay as other owners did in the Main Bay."
Of course, Few is absolutely right. The Bird/Bear statement was way too broad a generalization, and we have since disciplined the writer of the piece, as well as the battery of proof readers, fact checkers and copy editors that failed to pick up this blatant error. (Just kidding. What's a copy editor, anyway?)
On Saturday, we asked Hank Easom and the Yucca crew - all longtime hardcore Bay Area racers - to name a few more boats that were designed, built and sailed specifically on the Bay. Here's the list, courtesy of mainsheet trimmer/bartender Mike Figour, that the guys came up with: Acorn, Windward, Yankee, Sunset, Hurricane, Big Bear, Mercury, Clipper, Junior Clipper, Spaulding 33, Buccaneer, El Toro, Zephyr, Shamrock, Farallon Clipper, Golden Gate, Hawkfarm, Melody, 101, Treasure Island, S.F. One Design, and Voyager. There were a few more on the list, but we can't read Mike's handwriting.