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Tahiti Tourisme to Host 'Puddle Jumper' Welcome

June 16 - Tahiti

For decades West Coast sailors have been voyaging to the fabled islands of Tahiti, but few have ever received a welcome like the one that this year's Puddle Jumpers are expected to get. Let us explain. While visiting Tahiti's Leeward Islands last March, we had a chance to meet with several local tourism folks, as well as French Polynesian Vice President Jacqui Drollet, who, in addition to other duties, oversees tourism activities. When we told Monsieur Drollet and the others about the annual migration of Puddle Jumpers, and suggested that perhaps some sort of reception could be arranged, he seemed genuinely interested.

A fun race from Raiatea to Tahaa will be part of French Polynesian Tourism's
welcome of Puddle Jumpers.

We heard nothing more about it, however, until yesterday, when we received word of the new Tahiti Tourisme Cup 2006 - a two-day sailing and cultural event put together in part - if not totally - to welcome this year's Puddle Jumpers. There will be an Opening Ceremony on the evening of June 30 to kick off the event, which will be followed the next morning by a 'fun' race to Tahaa's Taravana YC. That afternoon yachties will crew with local Polynesians in a series of six-person outrigger canoe races, followed by dinner, awards and, undoubtedly, traditional Polynesian dancing and music. Now that's what we call a welcome! Hopefully, a lot of Puddle Jumpers will be in the area and will participate. It would be wonderful if this all becomes an annual tradition. For more info, see: www.tahiti-tourisme.pf/articles.php?id=1884. Cruisers or vacationing bareboaters may apply to participate by emailing Stephanie or Polynesian Yacht Services.

Part of the welcoming committee during our recent visit.
No one can make a ukulele sing as sweetly as a native Polynesian.
Photos Latitude/Andy

Snorkel Free or Die!

June 16 - Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

With yesterday's designation of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, George Bush, the so-called "anti-environment" President, proposed the largest protected marine reserve in the world. And in the process, he revived our inclinations toward civil disobedience.

The area in question is between Hawaii and Midway Atoll, which at 1,400 miles in length and 100 miles in width, is larger than the state of Montana. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is home to almost 7,000 marine species, about 25% of which can't be found anywhere else in the world. If Bush's plan is approved - the final designation may take a year - fishing should be eliminated in the area within five years.

So what's our problem? First, let us clarify that there are only about three visitors a year to this area except for Midway itself, which is already administered in somewhat of an eco-fascist manner. But under the proposal, visitors wishing to engage in such benign activities as taking photographs or snorkeling would be required to get a permit. We say bullshit to that! We're citizens of the United States, so that resource belongs to us. So unless activities seemingly as benign as taking photographs or snorkeling can somehow be plainly shown to be harmful to the resource, we'll feel justified in engaging in them without a permit. And good luck to the government in catching us.

What's your take on this issue?

Maxi Tri Geronimo Expected to Be Out for Speed Sailing on Saturday

June 16 - San Francisco Bay

If you see a 110-ft trimaran screaming around San Francisco Bay on Saturday between 2 and 4 p.m., that would be Olivier de Kersauson's Geronimo, which just set the record for San Francisco to Yokohama and Yokohama to San Francisco, Matt Jones explains why she'll be out there:

"For the first time on San Francisco Bay, speed sailors will have an opportunity to record extreme sailing speeds in conditions as they exist on a daily basis in one of the best sailing venues worldwide, during the inaugural San Francisco Speed Sailing Event, June 15-18. The concept is simple - go as fast as you can with your sail-powered watercraft, straight-line sailing through a 500-meter course (about one third of a mile), racing against the clock and the elements.

Geronimo's arrival to SF Bay in April.
Photo Latitude/JR

"The speed course will be marked by large yellow buoys set to the west of Alcatraz and adjacent to the Golden Gate YC. Speed runs will be made between 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. daily, with Friday and Saturday as official race days where times will be recorded. Sunday will be an exhibition day."

For more info, visit www.sanfranciscospeed.com.

Stienstra Catches the Baja Bug

June 16 - San Francisco

Even though we're not big into fishing and don't hunt, we've always enjoyed the Outdoor columns by Tom Stienstra, who wrote for the San Francisco Examiner for several decades, and now writes for the Chronicle. But we were floored to read that until recently, Stienstra had never been to the Sea of Cortez. And despite his decades of adventuring, he fostered many of the same trepidations as those of cruisers casting off to Mexico for the first time - what about the roads, tourista, language barrier, permits, insurance, and so forth?

Photo Latitude/Richard

Stienstra's verdict: "We were on the Sea of Cortez, a paradise for world-class fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving, and it hit me that there is no better destination for the money." Imagine what he would have thought if he'd visited before the Sea had been so badly overfished. And how did he rate the trip on the bang-for-the-buck scale? "It turned out to be one of the greatest adventures imaginable, yet it was cheap."

It's Summer Sailstice Weekend the World Over!

June 16 - Clipper Cove

If you're sailing this weekend - and why wouldn't you be? - you should be signed up at www.summersailstice.com to participate in the global celebration of sailing. By registering and sailing you're eligible to win one of over 200 prizes, including a one-week BVI charter with the Moorings, a Hunter Xcite sailing dinghy, an Achilles inflatable, a Hobie kayak and more.

On San Francisco Bay, the Treasure Island Sailing Center is hosting a Summer Sailstice sailing celebration as a fund-raiser for their community sailing programs. The event will feature racing, a cruising rally, music by the Cow Bay Cruz Boys, Mount Gay rum, treasure hunts - and all kinds of activities. Almost any Bay Area sailor should find a good reason to loosen the docklines, get on the Bay and end up in Clipper Cove on Saturday afternoon for a celebration of sail. For tickets and information go to www.tisailing.org.

Clipper Cove, site of the Treasure Island Sailing Center's
Summer Sailstice celebration of sail this Saturday.

Latitude's Former Photoboat Available as a Mechanic's Special

June 16 - Northern California

Latitude has a new-to-us photoboat, a Bertram 28 flybridge currently going under the name of Island Fever. As such, our former photoboat, a Bertram 25, is now for sale. We won't mislead anyone, she's been ridden hard and put away wet. But she is a Bertram, she has upper and lower steering stations, and the design is cute as hell. We also won't mislead anyone about her mechanical condition. The engines and V-drives need work - in fact, the whole boat needs going over. On the other hand, we offer this mechanic's special for a mere $7,500, on a strictly where is, as is, basis.

Photo Latitude/Richard

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