Seventy-Six Must Be the New 45
October 16 - Wiscasset, Maine
The two photos show why it's better to be on the water in the Caribbean in the winter than it is on the water - or make that ice - in Maine.
If you still think that your life has to be dull and predictable after you turn 70, you're not thinking like 76-year-old Pete Passano, who along with Bob van Blaricom, built his Wittholtz 37-ft Sea Bear in the creek behind the San Rafael Civic Center back in the '90s. Following the completion of the boat, Passano sailed the Southern Ocean from New Zealand to Cape Horn, crossed the Atlantic nine times in eight years, and has cruised all up and down the Caribbean, and as far north as Ireland and Newfoundland. So what do he and his sweetheart Marina have planned for this winter?
Pete and Marina
"After 16 months on the beach, listening to the daily horror in Iraq and the pathetic drivel coming out of Washington, Marina and I are itching to get to sea again. At least Neptune tells it like it is. We expect the peace and tranquility will be a refreshing and welcome change. We are departing tomorrow from Wiscasset, Maine, heading for the Caribbean. We're not going down the coast this time, but heading straight in the general direction of Bermuda, and then on down to somewhere in the Windward or Leeward Island chain. We're undecided exactly where we are going to stop, but we'll have plenty of time to make that decision. You will hear from us again when we make landfall, but it could be as long as three or four weeks.
"Sea Bear is ready, too. A set of new diesel injectors has Tu Lung Bang running with new enthusiasm. All other systems have been carefully gone over, and are ready for sea. About three days out, we'll be celebrating Sea Bear's odometer turning 100,000 miles."
- latitude / rs
Two Polish Sailing Yachts Conquer the Northwest Passage
October 16 - Arctic Circle
The press office of the QNT Northwest Passage Jubilee reports that last month the crews of the Polish yachts Stary and Nekton completed the famed Northwest Passage, one of the most difficult sailing routes in the world. The Jubilee Voyage started from Greenland on August 15, and was dedicated to commemorate the 100th anniversary of pioneer Roald Amundsen's expedition. The Norwegian explorer became the first person to sail the entire length of the Northwest Passage in the years 1903-1906. Following the steps of Amundsen's route, the members of QNT Northwest Passage Jubilee Voyage 2006 also explored the land. They went climbing in the mountains of Greenland, went paragliding over the Arctic ice, visited the whale hunters' village on Cross Island, and dove on the wreckage of Amundsen's ship Maud.
Graphic Courtesy Athropolis
The first port of call for the boats after completing the passage was Nome Harbor, Alaska, where they moored after many hours of exhausting sailing in the heavy weather conditions. After clearing and three days of rest, the crew set sail for Dutch Harbor and Vancouver, the latter 1,500 miles away.
"The jubilee sailing of the Northwest Passage has closed the main part of the expedition, however, it is not the end of the QNT Northwest Passage Jubilee Voyage 2006 expedition itself, the complete aim of which is to circumnavigate North America. From Vancouver, the expedition will continue on to Miami, and in the process will explore the San Blas Archipelago, then sail through the Panama Canal in order to reach the Darien Narrows, the so-called 'Pole of the Jungle'. When the sailors get to Colombia, they plan to explore the Sierra Nevada de Marta, the highest seaside peaks in the world."
Congratulations to these intrepid sailors, although we hope somebody points out they they will have to pass through the Panama Canal before they explore the San Blas Islands, as the latter are in the Caribbean Sea.
- latitude / rs
The Summer Weather Is Over, Let the Cruising Season Begin
October 16 - Mexico
During the last several days we've spoken with Neal Shroyer in La Paz, Mike Wilson in Mazatlan, and Dick Markie in Nuevo Vallarta, and all report that the during the last week or two the seasonal weather has changed in Mexico. Shroyer reports that nights have been cool enough for folks to wear sweaters, but the water is very warm and lovely. Wilson said he woke up the other morning and there was a cool enough breeze to shut down the air conditioner. Markie says Puerto Vallarta is lovely, which will allow the locals to start preparing for the J/24 Worlds in March, for which they are expecting 80 boats from 22 countries.
For those headed up to La Paz, Shroyer reports there is a new shuttle service between the La Paz airport, which doesn't get many flights, and the Los Cabos airport, which gets about 150 a day. The bus costs $20, and the drive takes 2.5 hours. We can assure you that it's a spectacular drive through the mountains and desert, and will be especially beautiful for the next several months because the desert is so green.
Speaking of Mexico, Jim Elfers, who is both the author of The Baja Bash II and harbormaster of Puerto Los Cabos Marina, will be making two book signing appearances in San Diego later this month. The first will be at Downwind Marine on October 28 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and then at Seabreeze Books & Charts the same day at 2 p.m. Elfers has been sailing and working in Mexico for 30 years, so he can answer all your questions.
- latitude / rs
Author Jim Elfers sitting in front of the Puerto Los Cabos Marina site - as it looked many months ago.
SSS Vallejo 1-2 Coming Up
October 16 - Alameda
The Singlehanded Sailing Society of San Francisco Bay (SSS for short) would like to remind racers that this weekend's Vallejo 1-2 is the final installment in their 2006 doublehanded and singlehanded series, which began way back in January with the Three Bridge Fiasco. The Vallejo 1-2 is a unique event, as racers sail singlehanded (theoretically downwind) to Vallejo on Saturday, but return to Richmond YC doublehanded on Sunday. Vallejo YC will host a dinner on Saturday night.
The race was originally scheduled for Oct. 14-15, but moved to Oct. 21-22 due to scheduling conflicts. It's not too late to sign up, if you can make it to the skippers' meeting tonight at Oakland Yacht Club in Alameda at 7:30.
For more information, see www.sfbaysss.org.
- latitude / cw