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Photos of the Day: Three Bridge Fiasco

January 30 - San Francisco

Tiger Beetle sails singlehanded alongside Adrenaline and Alcatraz.
Photo Latitude/Andy

Saturday's squalls, drizzle and showers didn't deter the 248 doublehanded and singlehanded entries in the Singlehanded Sailing Society's season opener, the always entertaining Three Bridge Fiasco pursuit race. The wind was plentiful, ranging from 10 knots up to gusts of 30, resulting in lots of reefing. Unlike some years with less wind, almost everyone was able to finish, despite a 4.7 knot ebb. Competitors started in reverse-handicap order. The correct direction this year was counter-clockwise, from the start at Golden Gate YC to Treasure Island, a fast run up to Red Rock, a beat to Raccoon Strait and Blackaller Buoy, and a reaching finish back to GGYC. Unfortunately several boats neglected to check in and were scored DNS.

Origami, a Corsair F-24 MkII, in a gust, leeward float buried, on the last leg from Blackaller buoy to the finish at GGYC, passed the Santana 22s ahead to finish First Overall. The first singlehanded boat to finish was Uno, a Wyliecat 30.

The first monohull to finish, the Santana 22 Emily, was passed by Origami as the two boats approached the finish line.

With three people looking through binoculars, the race committee called this finish a tie, between the Laser 28 Peggy Sue and the FP Belize 43 Chat de Mer.
Finish Photos Courtesy SSS/BAMA

We'll have more in the March issue of Latitude 38, and official results should be posted soon at www.sfbaysss.org.

Not Just a Croc

January 30 - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

In the Friday edition of 'Lectronic, Baja Ha-Ha vets Dennis and Janet Knight of the Plymouth, England-based Oyster 435 Shilling of Hamble needed to use both of their bodies to indicate the length of Pablo, the local croc that swims behind their boat in Paradise Marina. Then yesterday we got a photo of Pablo from Maret Nowicki of the San Pedro-based Dreadnought 32 Raireva. The crocs inhabit all the lagoons up and down the coast of mainland Mexico. But don't worry, a waiter at a restaurant told us that crocs prefer the taste of dogs and cats to that of humans.

Photo Maret Nowicki

For those who are interested in nature, Nowicki also recommends a visit to the turtle hatchery just down the beach from Marina Paradise. They release these little guys into the wilds of the ocean when they are just a day old, and it's really something to see. The mortality rate of turtles in the first year is about 98%, as they have many natural predators. So they need all the help they can get.

Flash! This just in from Bob and Karen O'Hara of Promises: two photos of Pablo. In the first one, he's awakening from his shoreside slumbers. In the second, he's heading for the water with an 'I'm hungry' expression on his face.

Photos Courtesy Promises

Speaking of sea life in the Banderas Bay region, it certainly could be doing worse. During our recent 12-mile trip from Paradise Marina to Punta Mita, we saw six whales, none of which were part of the same pod. In fact, one big guy surfaced just off our starboard hull and started pacing us on a parallel course.

Our friends Russ and Karen Milleson report that while on their boat on the south side of the bay, they came across a very large number of big rays - big as in 15 feet from one wingtip to the other - in one large group. They also report they've seen a lot of big turtles in the bay and out on the ocean. In fact, they came to the rescue of one who had a flipper caught in some fishing line. They carefully netted the big fella, and snipped the line, allowing him to swim freely again. Neither Russ nor we are big fishermen, but he reports that a friend of his caught a tuna in excess of 300 pounds about 15 miles outside the bay.

Photos Courtesy the Millesons

Do you hear the sound of all those birds? It's coming from about 500 pelicans and other winged beasts that are about 50 yards away. For the last two days they've been squawking their brains out while diving for some kind of small fish that have been schooling near the shore.

A Long and Interesting Life

January 30 - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Some boats seem to be fated to spend relatively dull lives, mostly stuck in their berths. But that's not true of boats like the Serendipity 43 Scarlett O'Hara. She was commissioned by Wingate Monroe in the early '80s, and as we recall enjoyed great success in the SORC and the Admiral's Cup in England which, at the time, were the zenith of offshore racing. She didn't fare as well in the Pan Am Clipper Cup Series in Hawaii, as she dropped her rig in one of the early races.

Many years later, Scarlett was acquired by John and Renee Prentice of San Diego, who worked hard to convert her into a cruising boat. They cruised her quite a bit - and quickly, too - in the Baja Ha-Ha and around Mexico. But trouble struck shortly after heading for the Marquesas - their rudder snapped off.
When we bumped into Renee on the docks the other day, she had to tell us all about their new rudder - although it's not clear to us when they got it. "Our new rudder is all carbon and came from the Santa Cruz 70 Mongoose. It only cost $300!"

John confirmed that they picked up the rudder - which probably would have cost $15,000 if they had it made - for just $300 from Minney's Marine Surplus in Costa Mesa. "I hardly had to do any modifications, and it works great."

Another thing Renee loves on Scarlett is the solar-powered night lights that a friend brought down from Costco in the States. "They only cost about $7 each, and they make great night lights inside the boat. We used to have some of the amber ones, and they were pretty good, too. In fact, one night we were ashore with a bunch of other cruisers at Tenacatita Bay, and a bunch of thunderheads came through with lots of wind. Boats were dragging and bumping, and we all had to get back to our boats as quickly as possible. The only way we were able to do it was by the amber lights, and the only way others were able to do it was by their boat's position relative to the amber lights of our boat."

Renee points out one of Scarlett's solar powered lights.
Photo Latitude/Richard

More on the Mid-Atlantic Sinking of First Light

January 20 - Barbados

As reported on January 25, Andy and Jill Rothman of the Tiburon-based J-44 First Light, and crew Bruce Ladd of the South Bay, had to abandon the boat after her rudder dropped off and attempts to tow her failed. The Rothmans were nearing completion of a circumnavigation. Here's an update via Buddy and Ruth Ellison of the Sausalito-based HC 48 Annapurna, who after all these years are closing in on a circumnavigation themselves:

"We left the Canary Islands on December 31 with three of us aboard. Conditions were good, but with rather strong tradewinds - 25-28 knots, up to 32 kts in frequent squalls - and rough seas. All went well until about 1,000 miles from Barbados when, without warning, the rudder snapped off. We spent three basically sleepless days trying to rig emergency steering, trying several variations, but were unable to make any westing towards the Caribbean. About then a British boat, which had been monitoring our situation but could not transmit on HF, reached us on VHF and offered a tow. Of course we gratefully accepted. For two days they tried to tow us, but despite our best efforts and their great patience, First Light was fishtailing wildly in the big seas and we could not get the chafe under control. After the tow line chafed through after numerous tries, Andy decided that in order to safeguard everyone involved, we would have to abandon the boat.

"With great difficulty, Bruce and Andy managed to launch the dinghy. Then Andy made a number of trips between the two boats in the difficult conditions, finally transferring the three of us onto Ros Ailither. The decision to abandon the boat was not made lightly - exhaustion plays such a huge role in these situations, especially when nothing is working and you are out of ideas and materials and way too far from land. We will naturally always wonder what else we could have done, 'if only this', 'if only that'...

"Our hosts, Hazel and Dave, were so kind and wonderful and the 50-ft converted trawler accommodated all of us with ease. A week later we anchored in Barbados and we moved ashore for a few days. We are due to fly out on Thursday."

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