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Photo of the Day

March 2 - SF Bay Area

Photo Latitude/Annie

The March issue of Latitude 38 hit the streets yesterday. Please enjoy it. When you're done reading it, please pass it along to someone else - or at least use it for T.P. As for you folks at Paradise Marina in Banderas Bay, there will be several bundles arriving tomorrow afternoon.

Model Citizens, Civic Duty

March 2 - San Rafael

The problem with one design, as Nat Herreshoff once pointed out, is that the best skipper usually wins. That observation, as we relearned yesterday, seems particularly true when it comes to racing model boats - in this case, 39-inch ODOMs ('One Design One Meter') at the Marin Civic Center Lagoon. Just like 'real' sailing, there's no substitute for time in the boat (or, in this case, 'thumb time'), and the older guys who have been playing with RC boats the longest tend to do the best. Depth perception helps, too.

Corinthian YC sailor Steve Schneider, who seems to have the hot hand lately, topped the 13-boat fleet after 11 races. Karl Tulp, Hans Wolff, Don Wieneke, Ron Locke, and Hal and Mel McCormack also made appearances on the podium, but frankly, we were so deep we're not really sure what went on in the front. But win or lose, the ODOM scene - every other Tuesday at the Civic Center, starting at 11 a.m., weather permitting - is a bunch of laughs with some really good guys, almost all of whom would let even a total stranger try sailing their boat (well, between races or during the lunch break).

Model boat racing also occurs in San Jose, San Francisco (Spreckels Lake in the Golden Gate Park), Loch Lomond, the pond across the highway from the Novato CostCo, and at Tiburon YC. To learn more, contact Karl Tulp. Also, be sure to check out Kimball Livingston's 5-page article 'Pond Life', which features the Civic Center gang, in the February SAIL magazine.

Photos Latitude/Rob

You're Probably Sick of Hearing This, but . . .

March 2 - Mexico City, Mexico

For a long time now we've been told - and have been reporting - that the expensive and time-consuming requirement to check in with every port captain in Mexico was about to be eliminated. But something has always come up. Most recently, we've been told the legislation is again being held up in Congress.
Yesterday, however, a source close to the action told us there is a plan to make the clearing requirement disappear in a way that would not require the approval of the Mexican Congress. We're also told that the oft-promised reduction in the price of diesel for foreign boats is just around the corner.

We've all heard this before, of course, so we're not holding our breath.

Hoping for Influence in Mexico

March 2 - Mill Valley

Yesterday the publisher of Latitude 38, who has also been the Grand Poobah of the Baja Ha-Ha, was interviewed about boating in Mexico by Fabrizio Leon of La Jornada, a newspaper read by many government officials, for an article he was preparing. Here's the gist of the questions and answers:

1) What do you think about Fonatur's Escalera Nautica, the 'nautical stairway' from Ensenada to Cabo and up into the Sea of Cortez?

It is a bad idea because it was based on the assumption that over 60,000 U.S. boatowners wanted to bring their boats to Mexico each winter. There isn't the market for most of the proposed marinas and facilities, particularly on the Pacific Coast of Baja, where most mariners would prefer that the environment remain undeveloped.

2) Do you think that Sta. Rosalillita is a good place for a marina, and do you think it will be successful?

We think it's a terrible place for a marina and won't be successful because it's about 60 miles to the east of the main north-south route along the Baja coast. Nobody goes over there.

3) What about Fidepaz Marina in La Paz?

With the addition of the new Costa Baja Marina just outside of La Paz, the area now has double the number of berths it did last year. At this time it seems unlikely that there is need for yet another marina - particularly one that would be in the least desirable location and have a silting problem.

4) What do you think that the Mexican government can do attract more American boaters into Mexico?

Three things: Eliminate 'domestic clearing'; eliminate 'domestic clearing'; and eliminate 'domestic clearing'.

5) What do you think about the new Ventanilla Unica en Ensenada, where boaters can do all their paperwork in one place? And should they open more of them?

Ventanilla Unica en Ensenada was not a good idea because most cruisers - such as the 145 boats in the Baja Ha-Ha - sail right past Ensenada. Secondly, even though the offices are all right together, the process still takes a whole day or, if you start late in the day, overnight. Mariners can do it just as quickly in Cabo. Mariners don't need more Ventanilla Unicas, they need Mexico to get rid of domestic clearing.

These are the opinions we shared with Fabrizio. We hope they make it into the paper, and we hope the Mexican officials read them and respond to them.

Orange II 10 Days Ahead of Record Pace

March 2 - Atlantic Ocean

Bruno Peyron's 120-ft maxi cat continues to fly north up the Atlantic at a leisurely 560 or so miles per day. They've been holding back pending getting becalmed so they can check the port rudder that was damaged in a collision with an orca several days ago.

Today's amazing fact: Peyron reports that Orange II rode the same weather front all the way across the Indian Ocean, all the way across the Pacific Ocean, around Cape Horn, and nearly as far north as Rio.

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