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Photo of the Day

June 24 - British Virgin Islands

Photo Courtesy Royal Navy

Anyone over early will be shot! Today's Photo of the Day is of the Royal Navy Ship HMS Liverpool which, believe it or not, will be the starting line boat for the Highland Spring HIHO Regatta in the British Virgins starting on July 7. One wonders how organizer Andy Morrell swung that deal. HIHO stands for 'hook in and hang on', as it's a sailing - boardsailing combo event.

Great Fun Sinks off Pt. Arguello

June 24 - California Coast

The Davidson 50 Great Fun, one of the most successful racing boats of her era, and more recently a Bay racer, is no more. Owner Stan Glaros reports he and a crew of three were on the delivery back from the Coastal Cup race Wednesday evening when the boat started taking on water faster than it could be bailed out - by two electric pumps and "a scared man with a bucket." At the time, Great Fun was motorsailing through 7-ft waves about 13 miles off Point Arguello. Winds were in the 10-knot range.

Although they did not feel an impact, Glaros is reasonably certain the boat must have hit something, since a haulout a couple of months ago showed the 24-year-old boat to be in excellent structural condition. He and his three crew checked all the throughhulls and everywhere else they could get to, but were unable to find the leak. After half an hour of battling the water, at about 10:30 p.m., Glaros called the Coast Guard. The Coasties arrived in a big rigid inflatable. A helicopter came by a short time later and lowered a pump. But by then it was too late. Great Fun's bow was underwater and the Coast Guard ordered everyone off. The crew were transferred to a 47-footer, which brought them to Morro Bay. Glaros' last sight of the boat he has owned and raced since 1987 was of her disappearing into the fog, still motoring, lights on, decks awash. "It reminded me of Titanic in the movie," he says.

The 12 America's Cup Boats Begin Fleet Racing Today in Valencia

June 24 - Valencia, Spain

And you can bet that every team's boatbuilding squad will be on standby to work all night to repair possible damage to their boats. For when you have 12 big boats being driven by ultra-competitive skippers, the risk of collision is great.

Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Quiet Start to the Hurricane Season off Mexico

June 24 - Pacific Coast of Mexico

We're most of the way through June, and so far have only had Tropical Storm Beatrice, way out to sea, with a mere 45 knots. Let's hope it stays quiet.

Confusion on the Date of Baja Ha-Ha Preview at Two Harbors, Catalina

June 24 - Two Harbors

The date is August 13, which is a Saturday. Sorry about the mixed messages.

Clearing by VHF in Certain Ports in Mexico

June 24 - Sea of Cortez

"When leaving La Paz for a two-week trip to Loreto and back in the first week in May," writes Scott Fisher of the Columbia 10.7 Alchemy, "I checked in and out with the port captain over the VHF on channel 16. Since my Spanish is not great yet, and his English was worse, I believe I was asked for the boat name, the number of people aboard, and my destination. Upon arrival in Escondido, checking in involved a shore trip - but only because we needed to pay for a mooring. The port captain there is a great guy, and since it was the end of his day, he gave us a ride to Loreto - which is normally an expensive cab fare. We also had to pay API (port) fees, about $1/day, which took three times longer than the mooring rental. Check out was easy because it was Sunday and nobody was answering the radio in the port office. Upon arrival back to La Paz, it was about the same drill, except this time I also had to give my hailing port and registration number. I think my lack of Spanish may have speeded up the process, as it seemed the port captain was in a hurry to be done with the gringo."

Clearing out of domestic ports by VHF raises some interesting questions. For one thing, it means you have no proof that you cleared out. But if nobody needs any proof, why would anybody even bother? And if the skipper doesn't understand Spanish, and the port captain doesn't understand English, how can a cruiser know whether he's really cleared out? Maybe the port captain was telling him he had to come back to port or he'd be arrested. Finally, if there is no official to receive a clearing out radio call on a Sunday, does that mean it's permissible to just leave?

We suppose these questions will be ironed our during the high season.

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