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Photos of the Day

January 13 - Ensenada, Baja California

Photo of the Day

Today's Photo of the Day was taken last Fourth of July during a crab fest on Rarioa, an atoll in the Tuamotus. Those in the photo are, from left to right, Jim Welch of the Hawaii-based Alajuela 38 Desire, Charlie and Suni Danforth of Cosmos, and Mikey of Just Dessert. Judy Meeks, Welch's wife, took the photo.
The photo depicts cruisers enjoying about as much freedom as one can in this world. Only a few months later, after landing in Hawaii by plane, Welch would learn what it is like to lose all of his freedom. He was detained at the airport and then taken into custody by Honolulu Police for a warrant for check fraud in Arkansas.

The fact that Welch was innocent - the guilty man had been behind bars for two months in Texas - didn't prevent him from being handcuffed and having his ankles put in shackles, and having to spend the night in jail.

You can read the whole story in the February edition of Latitude 38, which comes out on Wednesday, February 1.

Desire on the hook at Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas.
Photos Judy Meeks

U.S. Boats in Mexico to Be Slapped with an $80/Month Fee?

January 18 - Mexico City, Mexico

According to our sources in Mexico, that's the idea being floated by SET, which is the second most powerful ministry in Mexico after Hacienda (their version of the IRS). The fee would be assessed on all foreign boats over 33 feet in marinas. The fee supposedly would pay for the Mexican government to keep track of foreign boats in Mexico. Why would they want to do that? SET says they are modeling the program on the one in the United States. Hello! The U.S. doesn't have any such charge for foreign boats, which are allowed to cruise for $19/year.
We'll keep you posted.

Wild Racing at Acura Key West Race Week

January 18 - Key West, FL

As you can see from the photographs by Tim Wilkes, official race photographer, the wind was in the 20s and the seas were up yesterday at Key West, where 286 boats from 14 countries have gathered to battle it out in nine classes.

So far Rick Wesslund's J/120 El Ocaso from Tiburon is leading PHRF III, with two bullets in the last two races. Also doing great is Thomas Coates' San Francisco-based J/105 Masquerade. Having put in two bullets in four races, they have a comfortable lead in their class.

We're not sure what happened to Charles Ray's new Wyliecat 44 C-Squared, which is being sailed by a lot of "old hippies" from Northern California, as she didn't start either of the last two races.

Kristen Lane's San Francisco-based Mumm 30 2 Th' Max is in 6th place in that class.

The three Team Pegasus Melges 24s from Santa Cruz / Tiburon / Honolulu / Newport Beach and who knows where else, are in third, fifth, and tenth, with Dave Ullman, Jeff Madrigali, and Philippe Kahn, respectively, driving the different boats. Other Northern Californians in the Melges 24 class are Kevin Clark's Alameda-based Smokin' in 21st, Matt Frymier's USA 493 from Tiburon in 22nd; Dan Hauserman's Personal Puff from Tahoe in 23rd, Nigel Donnelly's Lester Nightfly from San Francisco in 24th, Stan Eriksson's Pro Spirit from Tahoe City in 38th, and Thomas Klenke's Nothing Venturd from Lake Tahoe in 47th.

Caleb Everett's San Francisco-based Valiente is 15th in the J/80 class.

The winds are blowing in the 20s today, which means that the Melges 32 class will not be racing.

Photos Tim Wilkes

Destroyed Newport 30 Sea Ya Quickly Replaced

January 18 - La Paz, BCS

On November 30, shortly after completing the Ha-Ha, Axel Heller of Long Beach lost his Newport 30 after going aground on the shallow of La Paz Bay. But he's bounced back quickly, having just signed the papers on a La Paz-based Formosa 47 ketch he's christening Exterra Firma. "She's a big step up from my little Newport," he admits.

Marina Village Berths to Go Condo?

January 18 - Alameda

"My husband and I have a slip at Marina Village in Alameda Yacht Harbor," writes Gail Lapetina, "and when we were there this weekend, we saw a Notice of a Public Hearing regarding converting the existing marina slips from rental to condo ownership. The hearing is to be on Monday, July 23. We just want to make sure everybody becomes aware of the Hearing, as some 750 berths could be impacted."

The correct date for the hearing is now February 13. It was originally scheduled for January 23 (not July 23 as noted above), according to James Williams.

Nothing Revealed About Maxi-Cat Cheyenne's Future

January 18 - San Diego

With Cheyenne in San Diego and looking a little worse for wear, we went to see Peter Hogg, who has often sailed on Steve Fossett's record-setting maxi-cat, to ask what's to become of the cat. We have nothing to report, as there was duct-tape across Hogg's mouth with 'Sworn To Secrecy' written on it.

The oddest rumor we heard is that Cheyenne will be converted to a power-cat. You never know, as mega cats are starting to appear around the world.

Panama Still Stuck off Ensenada

January 18 - Ensenada, Baja California

That would be the American President Lines container ship Panama, which went aground at Ensenada late on Christmas Day. Seven tugs tried to pull her off during high tide on the 13th and 14th, but she only ended up higher on the beach. Ominously, a crack has apparently developed in the hull.

Photo Capt. Lonnie Ryan

It's hoped that by taking lots of fuel and containers off, they'll be able to pull the big ship off on a high tide in about a week. Good luck.

Classy Classified: Coast Guard Licensing in Sausalito

January 18 - Sausalito

Modern Sailing Academy will be offering a licensing course for the OUPV ('Six Pack') and 100-ton Master license in Sausalito starting on March 4. The classes will take place on weekends and weeknights - click here for details or call Michael at (800) 995-1668.

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