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Delta Ditch Run

June 15 - Stockton

The Express 34 Marrakesh and the Express 27s Baffett and Desperado follow the Wylie Wabbit Keala upriver.

The 15th annual Delta Ditch Run, the popular 67.5-mile downwind charge up from Point Richmond to Stockton, attracted 117 boats last Saturday. The race started with a bang, quite literally, as the starting line inexplicably favored the pin end by about 100 yards. The ensuing 'raft-up' was an epic one, but fortunately no one was hurt.

Thoughts about the odd start were soon forgotten as the pleasant and unusually easy sail upriver unfolded. There was little drama or carnage, other than the Hobie 33 Magic Light dismasting and the usual groundings.

Besides an inverted top batten, all seems well aboard Magic Light, when suddenly . . .

Above Photos John Dukat/RYC

The Santa Cruz 52 City Lights was the first monohull to arrive at Stockton Sailing Club. The Melges 24 Go Dogs Go! corrected out to first place overall. Taking first place in their divisions were:

LIGHT I - 1) Enzo, Hobie 33 turbo, Bill Erkelens, Jr.
LIGHT II - 1) Extreme, Hobie 33, Keith Dettman
HEAVY I - 1) Yucca, 8-Meter, Hank Easom
HEAVY II - 1) Arc Angel, Sonoma 30, Jack Tatum
HEAVY III - 1) Fast Freight, Newport 30, Bob Harford
EXPRESS 27 - 1) Baffett, Tom Baffico
MELGES 24 - 1) Go Dogs Go, Parsons/Hawkins
WYLIE WABBIT - 1) The White Boat, Andy Hamilton
MOORE 24 - 1) Ngelew Fejj, Shana Phelan
MULTIHULL - 1) Adrenaline, D-cat, Bill Erkelens, Sr.
CRUISING - 1) Sail A Vie, Hunter 30, Wayne Wilson

See www.stocktonsc.org for complete results, and check out the July issue of Latitude 38 for more coverage.

Bill Erkelens, Sr., aboard the first boat to arrive in Stockton, the D-Cat Adrenalin, passes by his own son aboard the division-winning Hobie 33 with the giant kite, Enzo.

Cam Lewis and his all girl crew aboard Tinseltown Rebellion came in second in the Melges 24 class. Ego, on T-Reb's port side, got a third.
Photos Latitude/Rob

Near Death Experience for Crew of Eight on Small Sailboat in Carquinez Strait

June 15 - Carquinez Strait

Eight sailors - names, ages, and genders inexplicably not recorded by the Coast Guard - cheated death in the dark wee hours of Sunday morning after their small sailboat capsized while sailing in Carquinez Strait. While the Coasties say the boat was 18 feet long, there is reason to believe it may have actually been a Lido 14 - which certainly wasn't designed for a crew of eight.

The near-victims were in the direct path of a large tanker when a crewman on the 94-ft tug Z-Four spotted one of those clinging to the overturned boat waving a flashlight. Advised of the problem, the tanker made a hard turn to port in order to avoid those in the water. When rescued, the eight, who weren't wearing lifejackets, were suffering from various states of hypothermia. One apparently had needed assistance to keep from drowning. It's a miracle that any of them lived.

Near Nine-Year Circumnavigation Terminates in Dismasting

June 15 - San Diego

According to an AP report, William Peterson, 56, of San Francisco, had to be airlifted from his 40-ft sloop Camerra after she was dismasted 800 miles from the coast of California in rough weather. The singlehander was reportedly on the last leg of a nine-year circumnavigation aboard his 50-year-old wood sloop.

Peterson set off his EPIRB and was picked up by the Navy destroyer USS Chung Hoon. When the ship got within a few hundred miles of the coast, a Coast Guard helicopter flew him the rest of the way to San Diego.

Boats Getting Hammered Between New Zealand and the South Pacific

June 15 - Auckland, New Zealand

According to reports from Auckland, seven people on four vessels have been rescued in the last four days between New Zealand and the South Pacific. Among them were Garry and Lisa Blackwood, Puddle Jump vets from '03 aboard their Canadian-based Westsail 32 Scot Free. The couple had been adrift in gale force winds and big seas haflways to Tonga for days. At first light they abandoned their boat and were taken onto the cargo ship Captaine Wallis. Garry is said to have a not-too-serious head injury.

The Blackwoods in Mexico
Photo Latitude/Andy

A few hours later, the bulk carrier Baltimar Boreas rescued a Swedish skipper and his Kiwi partner from Ciru, their distressed yacht. The ketch had lost her mast, engine, and GPS capability. The skipper is well known in New Zealand.
Both the crews of the vessels were first located by Kiwi Air Force Orions. "The conditions were absolutely atrocious," said Wing Commander John Lovatt. "They were the worst I've ever seen, as it was blowing 55 knots across the surface with 25-ft seas."

The 1,200-mile passage between New Zealand and the South Pacific is considered to be potentially one of the most dangerous in cruising.

A First for the 2005 Rolex Big Boat Series - Ocean Racing!

June 15 - San Francisco

The St. Francis Big Boat Series, slated for this September 15-18, is expected to attract more than 100 boats for the traditional in-the-Bay racing. But the event has also attracted the glamor maxis Genuine Risk, the Dubois 90 owned by Randall Pitman, and Morning Glory, Hasso Platner's MaxZ86. Because the latter two are so big and fast, they'd be sent out under the Gate for racing in the ocean too - a first in the 41-year history of the event. So get your cameras ready. Because the maxis draw so much, arrangements are being made to berth them at Pier 45, which is at Fisherman's Wharf.

Nuevo Vallarta Marina Sold, to Be Rebuilt

June 15 - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Eva Swackhamer berthed at the dilapidated Marina Nuevo Vallarta the other day - and learned that it had finally been sold. Originally it was one of the many marinas developed by the Grupo Situr outfit that went bankrupt many years ago. The Nuevo Vallarta facility was taken over by creditor Banamex for a long time, and finally sold just a couple of days ago. The new owners, Impusora Marina Vallarta, have grand plans to tear the entire thing down and build a new facility with slips for boats to 200 feet, a haul-out facility, restaurants, and much more. They hope to start in three months and be done in one year.

However, this valuable property just across from Paradise Marina is much coveted by other developers, and there is some talk that legal action may be taken over what some believe was a non-existent opportunity to bid on a government lease. Indicative of how valuable this property is, Paradise Marina Harbormaster Dick Markie reports that they have nearly 85% occupancy right now in the off season - an increase of 40% over last year. Banderas Bay is booming in popularity.

We'll have more on this story soon and in the next issue of Latitude 38.

Journalist Hal Schell Recovering

June 15 - California

Hal Schell, the longtime and much beloved Delta correspondent for Bay & Delta Yachtsman magazine, as well as the producer of Delta Scuttlebutt, was stricken with a brain aneurysm recently. He is now in the same rehabilitation home as his wife Joanie. They can have visitors and can be reached at (209) 466-2066. We wish all the best for Hal and Joanie.

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