'Lectronic Index

Previous 'Lectronic Edition

Photo of the Day: How Secure Is Your Slip?

December 13 - Richmond

How solid are the pylons that secure your boat?
Photo Latitude/Andy

Winter storms kick up all sorts of debris, some of which creates serious navigational hazards. Pictured here is an extreme example which was fished out of a seaward-facing slip recently at Richmond's Marina Bay. That entire marina, however, has modern concrete pylons, so this beauty must have traveled quite a distance. Recognize it?

While the upper end of this creosote-coated wooden pylon looks solid enough, check out how deeply eroded the lower end had become before breaking loose. Makes us wonder how many Bay Area boats are moored to similarly feeble structures, thereby playing Russian roulette with every passing storm.

- latitude / aet


Search for Gainey Suspended

December 13 - Atlantic Ocean

The search for Laura Gainey, who was washed off the deck of the 180-ft three-masted barque Picton Castle on Friday, was called off Monday night. Searchers determined there was virtually no possibility of finding her alive after four days in the 68° waters of the Atlantic. The crew of the Picton Castle continued searching for 24 hours but made the difficult decision yesterday to continue on their way to the Caribbean.

Laura Gainey at the helm

Gainey, 25, was the daughter of Bob Gainey, the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team. She had been with the Picton Castle for about nine months when the ship was hit by a large wave during a storm about 475 miles off Cape Cod, en route to the Caribbean. When the crew realized Gainey, who was not wearing a PFD, was missing, they deployed MOB gear and immediately began searching. Sadly, her body is still missing even though they found the MOB gear. Our hearts go out to her family.

- latitude / ld

Yet More Bad Art Depicting Sailboats

December 13 - Phuket, Thailand

"I'm here in Phuket, Thailand, and just finished racing in the annual King's Cup Regatta aboard the 80-ft Ed Dubois designed Intrigue," reports George Backhus of the Sausalito-based Deerfoot 64 Moonshadow, who is about 10 years into a circumnavigation. "Other than a few days of light winds, it was an excellent regatta - warm weather, calm waters, fantastic tropical scenery, beautiful race boats, gorgeous women and pumping parties. Attached is a photo of one of the sculptures used as trophies. Can anybody spot what was not right about it?"

- george backhus

Photo George Backhus

Proofreader Needed at Men's Journal Magazine

December 13 - New York, NY

We were paging through the most recent issue of Men's Journal and noticed a tip about kayaking in the Sea of Cortez. One of the places recommended as worth visiting was Ballandreh Bay. That sounds like a place named after what you feel like following a night of too much tequila. We presume the slick folks from New York City meant Ballandra Bay, which is near La Paz.

- latitude / rs

Expensive Visitors Fees Instituted at the World's Most Remote Islands

December 13 - Chagos Archipelago

If you've been reading Latitude 38 a long, long time, you might remember the names Paul and Susan Mitchell of the big schooner White Cloud. Way back in '82 they took off on the start of a circumnavigation they are just a few miles from completing. They had a big change in '89 in the South Pacific when, if we recall correctly, the wood schooner was in worse shape than they realized, and began to sink. If memory serves, they had to abandon the old girl mid-ocean. So while in Australia, they bought the aluminum sloop Elenoa and continued on their way. They just wrote to say they've made it around to Mexico, but there is "no sense in hurrying back to San Diego." We wonder if they'll even recognize the place.

The Mitchells wrote to advise that Ed Steele, a friend of theirs aboard Doodlebug at Salomon Island in the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, reports that the BIOT (British Indian Ocean Territories) has instituted stiff new fees. Effective January 1, the fees to visit the Chagos will have increased from $100 U.S. for three months to 500 English pounds - about $1,000 U.S. - for just one month. That's a small increase of just 2,700%. Further, the money will have to be paid in advance by wire transfer and a permit to visit the archipelago will have to be obtained in advance.

Between '67 and '71, the Ilois - or locals, most all of whom were of African and Southeast Asian decent - were expelled from the islands - the most remote in the world - so the U.S. and the Brits could build the huge and strategically important military base at Diego Garcia, the biggest of the atolls. In recent years, the English High Court has ruled that the expulsions were illegal, and legal battles continue over the status of the islands - which are also claimed by the Seychelles and Mauritius.

Diego Garcia
Photo & Map Courtesy U.S. Military

The Chagos were like the Garden of Eden for cruisers who arrived shortly after the locals were kicked out, as everything had been left behind, from complete houses with tables set for dining, to a fire department, to crops in the fields. For those who visited in the early days, it was truly bizarre.
Map and Photo courtesy U.S. Military

- latitude / rs

Top / Index of Stories / Previous 'Lectronic Edition

Subscriptions / Classifieds / Home

©2006 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.