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Photos of the Day: Vallejo Race

May 10 - San Francisco Bay

The Catalina 30 Starkite gives two Newport 30-IIs, Achates and Harry, a run for their money.

Vallejo Yacht Club's annual Vallejo Race is, for many, the race of the season. More than 200 boats turned out last weekend for one of the largest inland sailboat races in the U.S., and as always, it was a spectacular sight. Light winds and a strong ebb on Saturday made for a slow start, but as the afternoon winds picked up, so did the action. Today's Photos of the Day are just a sampling of the terrific photo ops this race provides. Check out the June Latitude 38 for the results and more great photos.

Strike Slip plows the way for Coast Starlight Ltd.

As the wind finally picks up, so does the speed for Razzberries, Rocinante, and Made Easy.

Queen Ann brings up the rear.
Photos Latitude/LaDonna

America's Cup Action Resumes Tomorrow in Valencia

May 10 - Valencia, Spain

There are still 12 teams, all of whom face the same decision - do they sail their new generation boats, all the appendages of which are shrouded, or do they not show their cards by continuing to race with their old boats, as modified as they might be?

The only U.S. team, of course, is the Larry Ellison funded BMW Oracle Challenge based out of the Golden Gate YC. But the local angle is pretty weak, as the head of that effort is the mercurial Kiwi, Chris Dickson. Plus, America's Cup stalwarts Dennis Conner and Paul Cayard won't be part of the action.

The BMW Oracle boats have been doing some two-boat test sails.
Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Cruisers Face Dilemmas, Too

May 10 - Central California Coast

Doña de Mallorca and crew on Profligate spent last evening at the Cojo anchorage just southeast of Pt. Conception, hoping to get some rest and for the Central California sea conditions to mellow out prior to the last 270 miles of their delivery trip north to San Francisco from La Paz. Alas, both Commander's Weather and Buoyweather.com report 10-ft seas at about 10 second intervals, with winds expected to 25 knots by late in the afternoon. And because the Pacific High has settled in, there apparently won't be any relief on the California coast in the near future.

So what are the options for a crew that has other obligations in a few days? 1) Backtrack 140 miles to Newport Beach, where moorings are just $5 a night. Alas, it's first come, first served, so it's not certain there would be any space when the cat got there. In addition, the sea lions are reportedly back in greater numbers than ever, and are crawling all over the boats. 2) A short term guest berth is available in Ventura, but that would require backtracking 80 miles, and guest berth fees there are $1/ft/night. 3) Slog it out to the north at low speed for as long as the crew can take it. The boat has made something like 16 SoCal to NorCal trips in 10 years, and only had to turn back once, that when encountering 45-55 knot winds and 23-ft seas just south of Pt. Sur. But still, you want to be as nice to your crew and boat as possible.

So what was the decision this morning? They headed north. "The seas are big and the fog is very thick," reports Mallorca, "but there's not much wind yet. The harbormaster at Avila Beach, a really nice guy, says they've got plenty of good mooring buoys, but that the sea lions have started climbing all over boats there, too. So if it gets too rough to continue, we might have to pull into Morro Bay until the weather improves."

When Profligate came north last year, the seas were flat and there was no wind all the way from San Diego to just 15 miles from the Gate. So sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're not.

Just 10 days ago at the Agua Verde anchorage in Baja, Profligate and her crew enjoyed much warmer air and water temperatures, and even a little smoother water.
Photo Latitude/Richard

What Makes these Dolphins Jump so High?

May 10 - Patagonia, South America

Photo Courtesy Breila

Scientists don't know for sure, but we suspect they're trying to spend as much time out of the cold water as possible. This shot was taken in Patagonia, where the ocean water would still be cold even if it weren't fed by the many glaciers.

Little Consistency of Laws in Mexico

May 10 - La Paz, BCS

One of the things that most Americans have difficulty with in Mexico is accepting that laws are interpreted and enforced differently in different parts of the country.
For example, if you clear out of most ports in Mexico for San Diego, it's just a little bit more complicated - but not much - than clearing from one Mexican port to another. But it's much more difficult if you want to clear out of La Paz for San Diego. The problem is the La Paz port captain there says that all boats must get a medical clearance before clearing out of the country - something that takes all day and can be rather expensive. So what's the solution? Most U.S. boats check out of La Paz for Ensenada, another domestic port, and clear to the U.S. from there. Ensenada, like most Mexican ports, doesn't require any medical clearance. The reality is that many U.S. boats clear out of La Paz for Ensenada, but keep going right on by to San Diego. Officials in San Diego don't have any problem with it.

Another area where Mexican law is interpreted differently in different areas is with regard to being able to charter one's foreign boat. In Banderas Bay, there are a number of foreign-owned boats that have obtained licenses allowing them to charter legally. Neil and Mary Shroyer in La Paz report that it can't be legally done in that area except under the auspices of a company with 51% Mexican ownership.

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