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Photos of the Day

February 23 - Punta San Quintin, Baja California

Photo Mike Costello
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Today's Photo of the Day comes from Mexico, where Mike and Leilani Costello of the Oxnard-based Saga 43 Lanakai report that life is very good. The photo is of a very fit looking Leilani holding up the catch of the day, a lovely dorado. But the most excitement they had was up at Punta San Quintin in northern Baja, where a 30-ft whale surfaced a short distance away, then came over to rub Lanakai's hull for about 30 minutes.

Speaking of Mexico, things are improving ashore. The stock market, after the temporary presidential election burp, is up 54% over last year to an all-time high, the economy is growing at twice the rate of the U.S. economy, and the stock price of the three largest homebuilders is up between 80 and 100% over a year ago. Even more important, the little guy isn't being completely left out. People who earn as little as $100 a week can buy a brand new tract home, thanks to a mortgage market that has emerged from almost nothing and subsidies for low-income people. Now, if they can only introduce competition to the sectors of the economy where there are near monopolies.

- latitude / rs



February 23 - San Francisco Bay Area

The announcement earlier this week that the Coast Guard would be turning over a handful of historic lighthouses to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (part of the National Park Service) was met with mixed reactions. Personally, we consider it a good thing that GGNRA will have control of the lighthouses at Point Bonita, Alcatraz, Point Montara and the smaller structures - which were primarily foghorn stations, although they were lit at night - at Lime Point (under the north tower of the Golden Gate) and Point Diablo (about a 1/2 mile farther west). Not because the GGNRA has any more money for upkeep and maintenance than the Coasties - which was basically zilch - but because they are interested in eventual restoration of these structures and opening the big ones to the public.

Though changing caretakers, the light at Alcatraz will continue to be a beacon and landmark for local sailors.
Photo Latitude/JR
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

The thing that seemed to invoke the most ire among several people who wrote to us - or actually, who forwarded letters and responses exchanged with the Coast Guard - was a quote in Thursday's Chronicle. "They are obsolete. They are no longer relevant in today's maritime realm," said a Coast Guard spokesman. While that assessment was perhaps a tad harsh, he was correct - high-tech buoys, GPS and shipboard computers have largely taken over navigation these days.

What we want to make sure people understand is that the blinking beacons at these sites are not going away - just control of the lighthouse structures themselves. (GGNRA already oversees Alcatraz and hosts regular walking tours to the Point Bonita light; the state runs a hostel at Point Montara). We hope it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that all American lighthouses have been automated for about the last half century. Some of these high-tech lights, such as Alcatraz, still glow through the original Fresnel lenses. Others, such as the one on Pt. Reyes, are located some distance away from the old lighthouse.

And speaking of the Pt. Reyes light, the Coasties turned that one over to the Park Service in 1977. The community got behind a restoration effort, it was opened to the public, and it has ever since been one of the most popular tourist attractions in Marin County. One could only wish the same for the current group.

Advertisement: Charter a 'West Coast Cat' in the Caribbean

February 23 - British Virgin Islands

Three of the four Leopard 45 catamarans in our fleet are owned by Northern Californians. These cats were designed and built specifically for four couple - or big family - charters in the BVIs, as they have four cabins with heads/showers ensuite and the most spacious salons and cockpits in their class. Prices range from just $540/week/person in the low season to $820/week/person in the high season. Come find out what your sailing neighbors already know - that sailing a cat in the Caribbean with your friends and family is a blast. We also have a large fleet of monohulls. Having been in business since 1974, we like to think we can answer all your charter questions. So please call us at (888) 615-4006, visit our Web site at www.sailinthebvi.com, or email us.

P.V. Course Record to Finally Tumble?

February 23 - Marina del Rey

Speaking of races to Mexico, it's hard to believe, but the 4-day, 23-hour Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta course record that Dick and Camille Daniels set with the MacGregor 65 Joss way back in 1985 still stands. But it's likely to fall by the first of next week, because the 1,125-mile course is going to be attacked, starting today, by Doug Baker's Andrews 80 Magnitude 80 and David Jane's R/P 77 Scout Spirit. Both of these yachts are far more technologically advanced than anything on the water 22 years ago, and given any sort of consistent wind, will crush the record.

Magnitude, as seen chasing the 144-ft Mari-Cha IV out the Gate at the start of the '04 Pacific Cup.
Photo Latitude/Richard
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Unfortunately, there are but three boats in the racing fleet this year, although there are 10 in the Salsa Division, which features stops along the way and allows the use of motors.

By the way, if you guys on Magnitude and/or Scout Spirit would be kind enough to break the course record during daylight hours, we'll be aboard Profligate out at Punta Mita to record it on digits.

- latitude / rs

Date Set for 2008 Pacific Cup

February 23 - San Francisco

For all you folks who like to plan ahead, take note that the start date for the next Pacific Cup Yacht Race has been set for July 14, 2008. It's hard to believe (we feel like we say that a lot these days) that this will be the 15th running of the 2,070-mile biennial race from San Francisco to Hawaii. Since its humble beginnings in 1980, the race has become one of the classic West Coast sailing events and a rite of passage for many sailors.

Dave Rasmussen and sister Anna Lindsay are all smiles on a sunrise watch aboard Sapphire during last year's Pac Cup.
Photo Courtesy Sapphire
©2006 Pacific Cup Yacht Club

The race entry form won't be available until later this spring, but if you're looking for something to hold you over until then, check out several short crew movies from previous races at www.pacificcup.org/movies.htm.

And if you've never done a Pac Cup before but think 2008 may be your year, be sure to attend the Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show next month, where the Pacific Cup YC will lead an 'Explore the Possibilities' seminar with a panel of experts and past racers, as well as have an offshore-ready boat at the dock to show you how it's done.

- latitude / ss

Crew Needed to Southern California Now!

February 23 - San Francisco

Adam McAfee has his Sydney 38 entered in the March 3 Newport to Cabo San Lucas Race, but thanks to delays in getting his SSB installed, is behind schedule getting the boat south. As such, he lost some of his delivery crew and needs replacements. If you're interested in going south in the next couple of days - all expenses but not pay - call him at (415) 902-2102.

- latitude / rs

There Is a Bay in the Bay Area

February 23 - Novato

There is a bay right in the middle of the Bay Area, but you might not know it from the lack of sailing coverage in the mainstream newspapers. One notable exception is Marin County's daily, the Independent Journal. Sailing photographer and journalist Jan Pehrson writes a full-length article in the IJ's sports section every third Thursday of the month. Yesterday's column featured an item on Kentfield's Paul Cayard and his new World Sailing League, as well as a short about women's sailing here on the Bay. To read Jan's stories online, go to www.marinij.com and type Jan Pehrson in the Search box.

- latitude / cw

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