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Photos of the Day

January 13 - Ensenada, Baja California

Today's three Photos of the Day by Capt. Lonnie Ryan of Ensenada describe why Christmas Day wasn't the merriest for the captain and owners of the 665-ft American President Lines container ship Panama, which tried to enter port at Ensenada with a load of containers from Oakland. The cause of the grounding is said to have been big swells and strong currents - which we take to mean the captain has a lot of explaining to do. The ship is 80% loaded with containers and hard aground, but not blocking the port. Crews having been going through the long and expensive process of unloading her fuel, which has to be heated in order to accomplish the task, and keeping her from going further ashore. Apparently the best chance to free her will be during the high tide on the 14th. We wish them luck.

Photos Capt. Lonnie Ryan

American President Lines was started during the Gold Rush, and had a storied history until sold to foreign interests in 1997.

Capt. Ryan, the author of 'The 90-Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada', also reports that, "It's a new year and there is a new pulse down here in Ensenada, as the big yachts have begun to arrive and are planning to stay a year in Mexico in order not to owe the nearly 8% sales tax in California. The old 90-day time limit - as opposed to the current one year - is due to go back into effect on July 1 - as long as the legislature doesn't make another bone-headed moved. So we'll see what happens."

As many readers are probably aware, for many years the buyers of large boats took 'offshore delivery' by accepting their new boat in Mexican waters and keeping it there for 90 days, thereby saving a huge tax bill. The California legislature perhaps foolishly figured they could put a stop to this practice by extending the required out-of-state period to one year. We don't have any hard figures, but marine industry people in Mexico say extending the time required to keep a boat out of state had been nothing but a tremendous boon to them. "We say a little prayer of thanks every day to the California legislature for bringing us so much business," says Enrique Fernandez, who used to be the manager of Marina Cabo San Lucas.

Cayard and Pirates at 85% in Volvo Destruction Derby

January 13 - Southern Ocean

Marin's Paul Cayard reports that his Pirates of the Caribbean entry has "damage to the secondary support structure in the area of the keel. That means that the main structure is integral, but the bits that bond it to the boat have been compromised, probably only slightly. I hope and assume that assessment is correct. Again, we won't really know until we get the boat hauled out."

Such hopes and assumptions are just what you want when you're racing thousands of miles across the treacherous Southern Ocean. Seeing little chance of finishing the leg in first or second, Cayard is content to sail at 85% and try to keep the boat in one piece. We presume he's getting paid a lot of money for his effort, and we think he's earning every penny.

Meanwhile, navigator Stan Honey of ABN AMRO One has that boat in first place by a wide margin and looking very good.

From Humble Beginnings to the Houston Boat Show

January 13 - Houston, TX

Kimberly Holland, Playboy magazine's Miss October from 2004, will be appearing at the Houston Boat, Travel, and Sports Show from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. She will sign autographs and pose for pictures. Ms. Holland hails from Humble, Texas, and enjoys boating and posing naked - but not at boat shows. According to her Playboy bio, her 'turn-ons' are "a great sense of humor, a sexy smile, beautiful eyes, and, of course, really good Chinese food."

Photo Courtesy Playboy

No, Not Much Damage

January 13 - Mill Valley

Our heart goes out to all those who owned homes and businesses damaged by the floods in Northern California at the end of the year. The creek that goes through our backyard overflowed, but fortunately there wasn't much damage - as you can see from the photo of our editorial offices.

Editorial dungeon

Publisher/Executive Editor's Corner office
Photos Latitude/Richard

The Worst Yacht Broker Ever?

January 13 - Somewhere in SoCal

As some of you know, we're looking for a replacement photoboat. We found a boat that sounded promising in Southern California, so we called the broker. The conversation went like this:

"You have a listing for the Ocean Master?"

"Yeah." (Long silence.)

"Can you tell us a little bit about her?"

"She's an Ocean Master." (Long silence.)

"The condition of the engines is very important, can you tell us about them?"

"They're okay." (Long silence.)

"Can you be a little more specific?"

"I think the compression is about 120." (Since there are two engines, each of which has multiple cylinders, this was a non-informative response. It was followed by a long silence, too.)

"Are you familiar with the boat and how she's been used?"

"I saw her a couple of months ago." (Long silence.) Based on the broker's enthusiasm, wealth of information, and relentless desire to help, we canceled our plane reservations to Southern California and are looking elsewhere.

It's Friday the 13th

January 13 - Everywhere

So if you're superstitious, watch your step.

Port Captain Reverses Course on Caribbean Coast of Mexico

January 13 - Puerto Morales, Mexico

When Chuck Baier and Susan Landry of the Norfolk, Virginia-based Mariner 40 Sea Trek tried to clear into Puerto Morales on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, the port captain told them they needed to hire an agent, who has been charging $200! Having read Latitude 38, they knew this was illegal, and to contact Tere Grossman, President of the Mexican Marina Owners Association. True to her word, Grossman contacted the head honcho in Mexico City, who contacted the port captain. So when Chuck and Susan returned, the port captain told them he would only clear their boat for free, and did. But Chuck and Susan got on all the SSB and ham nets in the Caribbean and explained what was going on. So the next boat that checked in also refused to use an agent - and was allowed to clear for free.

"We really appreciate your help with all this," the couple write.

We really appreciate their sticking up for what's true, just - and not corrupt.

Cats Might Not Sink, But . . .

January 13 - Dominican Republic

According to the Coast Guard, Jeffrey Jones of Vista, California, and Richard Petersen of Florida, were rescued early today 55 miles northwest of the Dominican Republic when their 38-ft cat Motion Ease started taking on water. The two were rescued by the tug Monitor, and Motion Ease was left partially submerged. There was no report of what kind of cat she is. The two had been en route from the British Virgins to Tampa.

Where Is the Maxi Cat Cheyenne?

January 13 - San Francisco

Steve Fossett's 120-ft maxi cat that once held the Around The World Record was dismasted in the last around the world race, and we hadn't heard from her since. But the Harbormaster at Las Hadas, Mexico, reports that a crew coming through said he helped motor her to San Francisco.

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