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Photos of the Day

February 16 - Canary Islands

©2007 www.francescodibenedetto.com

Today's Photo of the Day is of Francesco di Benedetto on his Tornado 20 beach cat Bella Stella. It was taken on January 2 as he departed Las Palmas in the Canary Islands for Guadeloupe in the West Indies. That's right, his idea was to make the 2,750-mile transatlantic crossing on a 308-lb catamaran.

Bella Stella was capsized five days later in severe weather. Virtually all of Francesco's food and equipment were lost. He nonetheless gamely continued on. But after 12 days without food or water, and just a compass to navigate with, he set off his EPIRB. He was soon rescued by a Norwegian ship. Oddly enough, the catamaran itself was still in excellent shape.

Having mostly recovered from dehydration, di Benedetto is about to start a media tour and perhaps write a book. If you'd like a sneak preview, you can visit his Web site at www.francescodibenedetto.com.

Even though they have similar names and modes of transportation, Francesco is not to be confused with Alessandro di Benedetto who set a new record when he sailed across the Pacific from Japan to San Francisco Bay on his small cat last August.

- latitude / rs

Alessandro di Benedetto, not Francesco, set a new world record last year aboard his 18-ft plywood sport cat.
Photo Latitude/LaDonna
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Photos from a Crossing

February 16 - South Pacific

Last year Tom and Amy Larson of the Oakland-based Yorktown 35 Sandpiper crossed the Pacific to New Zealand and Australia, and they sent us photos to answer two of the most common questions folks about to Puddle Jump have about Tonga:

1) Are there rave-like full moon parties in Tonga?

©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

2) Are there drag queen shows in Tonga?

Photos Courtesy Sandpiper
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

As you can tell from the photos, the answers to both the questions is yes.

- latitude / rs

Two Puddle Jump Parties in Mexico this Year

February 16 - Mexico

By the way, this year's Latitude 38 Puddle Jump Party, held in conjunction with the Paradise Village Resort Marina, the Tahiti Tourism Board, and the Vallarta Yacht Club, will take place on Monday, February 26, at 2 p.m. at the Vallarta YC. And yes, representatives from French Polynesia will be there to answer all your questions and basically put out the welcome mat. And isn't that a nice change? Latitude's Andy Turpin will, as always, be presiding over the event. Sorry, but participation has to be limited to folks sailing across this spring.

The Pacific Puddle Jump Class of 2006
Photo Latitude/Andy
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

With so many folks planning to jump across from Z-town, Latitude and Rick's Bar in Zihua will be co-hosting a second Puddle Jump Party, this one at Rick's Bar, on Thursday, March 1, at 2 p.m. Andy is looking forward to meeting all of you, taking your photos, and getting little bios for the April edition of Latitude 38.

- latitude / rs

The High Cost of Drying Out in Puerto Escondido

February 16 - Puerto Escondido, Baja California

In the last issue, we reported that the rates for Singlar's new dry storage services in Puerto Escondido seemed pretty reasonable - something like $200/month for a 40-footer.

The new news from Puerto Escondido is that we or they had it all wrong, for the rates are so astronomical it's laughable. We're now told that dry storage for a 40-ft boat will be $7.80/ft/week, which comes out to $312 a week or an absolutely ridiculous $1,248 a month.

- latitude / rs

New Moorings at Ayala Cove

February 16 - Angel Island

The new moorings slated to have been installed in Ayala Cove last summer have finally been set, just in time for the the long weekend. Angel Island Superintendent Dave Matthews reports that 27 new helix-style (think 'corkscrew') moorings were recently embedded into the sea bed and are ready for use.

The replacement of the moorings wasn't totally straightforward so boaters should be aware of a few things. First, the orientation of the field is now facing north instead of south, so a boat's bow should be pointed toward the Golden Gate. Remember, always tie bow and stern in Ayala Cove. Secondly, the moorings are run like a campground and checkout is at noon. Boaters on balls are also now allowed to stay on the island until 10 p.m. if they came ashore by dinghy.

Most importantly, boaters should be extremely cautious when entering the mooring field anywhere near low tide. It seems that, to avoid impacting the sea floor, the chain connecting the ball to the anchor is held off the bottom with a short length of nylon line attached to floats. Unfortunately, the line is long enough and the water shallow enough, that the lines float on the surface at low tide. There is a plan in place to fix the problem but, it being a government project, don't expect it to happen in the near future.

The rates for docking or mooring at Angel Island are still the same: $10 day fee for the docks and $15 for a mooring ($20 after May 15). Up to four boats can raft on one mooring, with each additional boat paying $10. Keep in mind that these new moorings are in a 'trial period' so the number of boats allowed to raft could change if problems arise.

A cool feature of www.angelisland.org that we just stumbled across is the 'Angel Island Cam'. The camera, which refreshes every 30 seconds, is located on the second floor of the Visitors Center and overlooks the mooring field, docks and picnic area, perfect for seeing what the traffic is like before you leave your slip. And this weekend is shaping up to be perfect for getting out of the slip!

- latitude / ld

This shot of Ayala Cove was taken at 9:37 this morning and shows plenty of room in the new mooring field.
©2007 www.angelisland.org/angelcam/cove.htm

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