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Photo of the Day

August 2 - Catalina Island

Today's Photo of the Day was taken last Saturday afternoon at White's Landing on Catalina after a brush fire was started by lightning. The photo shows a military hovercraft that was driven up on the beach with two fire trucks aboard. The fire trucks then drove off and were able to help extinguish the blaze. Those of you on the far side of 50 may remember when such hovercraft were used to ferry passengers between the San Francisco and Oakland airports.

By the way, several folks who were at Catalina over the weekend have told us that it was so hot at night they even had trouble sleeping on their boats. That kind of weather is almost unheard of.

Photo Courtesy Dennis & Sue Nespor of the San Clemente-based Serenity Now

- latitude / rs


'TransPac Row' to Be Ready for the End of Next Year's TransPac

August 2 - Honolulu, HI

Anne Stevens, the Hawaii State Representative for the 23rd District, which includes the pathetic Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, told Latitude in a telephone interview yesterday that she expects F Dock, the so-called 'TransPac Row', to have new docks in time for the finish of next July's Los Angeles to Honolulu race. Thanks to Stevens' success in getting members of the governor's cabinet to come down and have a look at the disgrace that is the Ala Wai, there have been changes. Richard Rice, who used to head the state's Division of Boating and Ocean Resources, is gone, as are several of the district managers. A shakeup was badly needed.

According to Stevens, there have been a lot of problems at DBOR. For example, they lost out on $1 million in federal funds because they didn't fill out the necessary paperwork on time. In addition, even though a much-needed 28% increase in slip fees was approved for the Ala Wai long ago, it hasn't been implemented because the DBOR has again not finished the necessary paperwork. As such, as many as 171 slips are at risk of being lost because they aren't safe.

When Governor Linda Lingle said she wanted dilapidated 'TransPac Row' ready for next July's arrival of TransPac boats, the DBOR bureaucrats apparently came up with every excuse in the world why it couldn't be done. For example, a year wouldn't be enough time to draw up plans and get the docks in place - as if it's rocket science. Then someone pointed out that way back in 2001, plans had been drawn up to replace the F Docks, making it much easier to beat the deadline.

"I can't guarantee it," says Stevens, "but there shouldn't be any reason why the TransPac row docks won't be in place for the end of next year's race."

We'll have more on the mess at the Ala Wai - and perhaps some hopeful signs that things are changing - in the September issue of Latitude.

- latitude / rs

You're Kidding, Right Here on the Bay?

August 2 - San Francisco Bay

"After sailing past this sunken barge off Alameda on Saturday, I looked to 'Lectronic for an explanation of what happened," writes Brad Clink, "but you didn't have anything. Any idea what happened?"

Photo Courtesy Brad Clink

Unfortunately, we do not know what happened. For when we called Dan Doyle at Coast Guard's Public Affairs, he said, "Never heard of it." Hopefully, he'll get back to us with details.

The Coast Guard's PR machine, which is extremely valuable to both mariners and that agency, is less reliable than the engines on our old photoboat. Somebody needs to get that act together.

- latitude / rs

Advertisement: Discover Two Harbors, Catalina Island - California's Boating Paradise

August 2 - Two Harbors, Catalina

Moorings are always available during the week, as well as on most weekends. Shore boat service available. Onshore amenities include restaurant and bar, general store, dive and kayak rentals, restrooms/showers, fuel, boat parts/repair shop, Wi-Fi access, and land tours.

Baja Ha-Ha Preview on Catalina August 12

August 2 - Two Harbors

Despite the fact that the Baja Ha-Ha folks don't bother to announce the Ha-Ha anywhere but in Latitude 38, to date the greatest number of Ha-Ha paid entries are from Southern California. Of the 66 entries, 24 are from Southern California, 22 from Northern California, 10 from the Central Valley or mountains, and nine from the Pacific Northwest or Canada.

Because of the great interest from Southern California sailors, the Ha-Ha will be having a very casual Ha-Ha Preview at Two Harbors, Catalina, starting late on the afternoon of August 12. The Grand Poobah will fire up a big BBQ pit, and later show slides of previous Ha-Has and answer any questions. Yesterday it was learned that West Marine's Missy Welch will also be coming over for the event, bringing a bunch of free goodies to pass out. We're not talking about windlasses and electric winches, just fun little stuff.

- latitude / rs

Photos Latitude / Richard

Third Place Despite Three Submerged Crew and One Overboard in Sausalito Beer Can Race

August 2 - Sausalito

Harriet Lehman tells us that her Merit 25 Trasher took third place in last night's Sausalito YC beer can race - despite having three crew submerged and one temporarily go overboard out by Yellow Bluff. Lehman says it was "howling the whole race," but when the boat was hit by a 30+ knot gust, the tiller extension broke off in helmsman Rowan Fennell's hand. As a result, the boat rounded up and tacked, with the jib getting backwinded. Naturally all the crew who had been on the high side seconds before were dunked right after the boat tacked. In addition, 'Chainsaw', one of the crewmembers, went off the boat entirely. He only went swimming for a short time, however, and was able to grab the transom and climb back aboard by himself. Queen Anne, a fellow competitor who stopped to render assistance if needed, was thanked but waved off.

Once Harriet and crew confirmed that they had all six aboard whom they'd started with, they rounded Yellow Bluff, set a pole for the downwind leg, and continued on to take third place.

- latitude / rs

Irish Lady Loses Rudder on Attempted Return Trip after West Marine Pacific Cup

August 2 - Honolulu

Dennis Mahoney's Catalina 42 Irish Lady, having recently finished the West Marine Pacific Cup to Oahu, lost her rudder last Saturday on an attempted return trip. Fortunately, she'd only gotten 30 miles from the island when it happened. An attempt to use the emergency rudder to sail back to land was not successful. A Coast Guard cutter towed the Alameda-based boat to Kaneohe Bay, where she was handed off to Charlie Stone for escort the final few miles to the Kaneohe Bay YC. Once at the yacht club dock, it was determined that the entire rudder post had sheared off.

Photo Courtesy Irish Lady

Also having trouble on the way back to the mainland is Andy Evans' Olson 30 Foolish Muse. Evans broke his boom on the way to second overall in the Singlehanded TransPac from San Francisco to Kauai. The boom was welded back together on the island. But halfway between Kauai and Seattle, the delivery crew reports the boom broke in two places. Fortunately, they've been able to continue using the main without the boom.

If you're going to do the Singlehanded TransPac in an Olson 30, or deliver one back to the States, be aware there is a long history of booms breaking right where the vang attaches.

- latitude / rs

Photo Courtesy Foolish Muse

Roger Sturgeon to Build a STP 65

August 2 - Santa Cruz

Sturgeon, whose Santa Cruz-based TP 52 Rosebud repeatedly kicked butt from California to Hawaii to the Caribbean, has ordered a Farr-designed boat built to the new Storm Trysail TransPac 65 rule. It's the same general 'box rule' concept used for the TransPac 52s, which have proven to be wildly popular in Europe, of all places, but larger. The Farr design will have a 4.8 meter lifting keel and displace 13 tons. The boat will be built by Westerly Marine in Long Beach, and launched in April, presumably for the next TransPac.

- latitude / rs

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