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Photo of the Day

March 7 - San Francisco Bay

Photo Capt. Jack C. Goldthorpe
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Today's Photo of the Day of the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge was taken by Captain Jack Goldthorpe on Friday. The tallships have been on the Bay for the past week while on their West Coast tour, and are scheduled to visit Redwood City starting today, followed by Oakland and Sausalito. For dates, head over to the Lady Washington's site at www.ladywashington.org and click on the Location/Schedule link.

- latitude / ld


Slow Boats to Cabo

March 7 - Pacific Ocean

A week to sail 800 miles? That seems to be the unfortunate reality for the 2007 Newport to Cabo Race. In stark contrast to the record-setting pace of the PV race a week or so ago, breeze for the Cabo fleet has been painfully meager since the March 3 start. The good news is, there's enough to provide some tight competition within each of the five divisions. But there will be no records this year, unless they open up a category for frustration. Several boats have retired, including the SC52 Lightning, which anchored in Turtle Bay yesterday, and the Swan 47 Equity, which was headed there under power.

The 51 boats starting off Newport last Saturday had some good wind, but it soon went away, particularly inshore. There was a brief tease of 10-14 knots for a few hours last night, with 'significant improvement' in the weather forecast for the southern part of the course this morning. The Class A boats - Stark Raving Mad III, Peligroso and Medicine Man - are now expected to finish sometime tomorrow morning, according to the race Web site, www.07caborace.org. At this point, almost everyone else just has their sights set on finishing before the Friday noon deadline.

- latitude / jr

Help Wanted Ad: Small Boat Marina

March 7 - Kwajalein, Marshall Islands

Small Boat Marina Opportunity on a Tropical Island!

Work for a leading defense contractor with excellent benefits. Requires maritime knowledge and boating experience, related degree/experience. Computer and interpersonal skills required. Email resume or fax it to (256) 890-8533. For additional information visit: www.krsjv.com.

Berth Rate on the Rise in Banderas Bay

March 7 - La Cruz, Banderas Bay, Mexico

Despite threats of lawsuits, the much-needed 400-berth marina at La Cruz, about 10 miles up the bay from Puerto Vallarta, continues to be the site of much activity. As you can see from the photos, workers are almost drowning their equipment working on dredging, and some slips have already been installed. The marina construction hasn't posed any problems for the crews of the 40 or so boats anchored just outside the marina site. In fact, cruisers are allowed to land their dinghies in the calm waters inside the marina for a walk up to Philo's Music Studio and Restaurant/Bar and other attractions.

An aerial view of the La Cruz Marina site as seen on a poster in downtown La Cruz.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Some heavy equipment operators at the marina site are encouraged to wear swimsuits.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

A few of the docks are in and could be accepting boats, according to rumor, by early summer.
Photos Latitude/Richard
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

The La Cruz dinghy landing site is better than ever. The flat ground in back is the boatyard site, which had incurred the wrath of the owners of the homes on the bluff, who used to have a water view.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Getting factual information about the new marina is difficult because the owners have been keeping a low profile. But the latest rumors are that while the whole marina won't be completed until early '09, boats will be able to move into some of the slips as early as June of this year. We're also told that there will be an eight-story Holiday Inn going in at one corner of the marina, and that another part will be surrounded by six-story condo buildings with retail space at the bottom. But assume that everything is subject to change.

The two things for sure are that the new marina is dramatically and forever changing this part of Banderas Bay, and that the slips will go like hot-cakes. The only other two real marinas in the very popular bay are at Marina Vallarta and Paradise Marina, both of which have had to turn countless boats away all winter. And this is despite slip fees that are high by California standards. A friend with a Peterson 44, for example, is paying $800/month on a three-month contract at Marina Vallarta. If we're not mistaken, slip fees at Marina Paradise - where the restrooms are 10 times cleaner - are even higher. On the other hand, all the other costs of living in Mexico can be laughably low. The other night, for example, the Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca had a nice little dinner, the entire tab for which came to $6. That's a pleasant change from St. Barth, where a single Tab might run you $6.

Almost everyone, locals and visitors, seems to think the marina is going to be a major boon to the area. But it's not as if the area is desperate for it, as the entire 'Vallarta Coast', meaning from Vallarta proper to about 50 miles north at San Pancho, is exploding with development. It seems like all of it, no matter if on the water or a little ways inland, is either for sale at double last year's prices or is being developed in some way. The good news for cruisers is that the coast from La Cruz to Punta Mita, a distance of about seven miles, is like one giant free anchorage and the sealife is wildly abundant.

- latitude / rs

TransPac Entry Deadline

March 7 - Los Angeles

The deadline for a discounted entry fee in the 44th Transpacific Yacht Race is this Friday, so if you've been on the fence about competing in the biennial race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, you may want to act quickly. Competitors signing up online at www.transpacificyc.org and mailing their entry fee postmarked by March 9 will save 18-25%, depending on boat size. That's on top of the $50 discount for owners/charterers who are current members of US Sailing.

As of Tuesday, 33 entries had registered. They're all monohulls, ranging from a couple of 33-ft boats to Hasso Plattner's and Roy Disney's rival MaxZ86s. But the latest news coming from race organizers is that there may also be a multihull class this year. Bob Webster's Catana 52 Minnow from Pryor, Oklahoma, and Loe Enloe's LoeReal, a 60-ft trimaran (and sistership to Steve Fossett's Lakota, which did the TransPac in 1997) have expressed an interest. Four boats are required for a multihull class.

The history of multihulls racing from Southern California to Hawaii goes back further than you may think. Multis raced in the TransPac in 1995 and 1997, with Bruno Peyron's 86-ft cat Explorer setting the current multihull course record of 5 days, 9 hours in '97. But back in the late '60s and early '70s, multihulls had their own race from San Pedro to Hawaii in even-numbered years. The one and only Bill Lee did the race on a Brown 37 tri, Bachannel, which was owned and skippered by John Marples. "We completed the course in 10 days, 10 hours and won first corrected," the Wizard of Santa Cruz told us the other day. "It was a great ride!"

- latitude / ss

Solo Sailor Seeks Repair Advice after Grounding

March 7 - Bahia Del Sol, El Salvador

A bad situation turned worse for solo cruiser Al Eggert, as he attempted to cross the Gulf of Tehuantepec recently aboard his Gozzard 32 cutter. No sooner had he poked her bow out from the protection of Salina Cruz, than he was battered by a full-blown Tehuantepec'er, with winds of over 60 mph, and 6 to 8-ft seas at short intervals.

After his engine quit, he couldn't keep her off the lee shore with sail power alone, and ended up grounded. Before help arrived the next day, Eggert was attacked and bloodied by a band of men wielding knives and machetes, but he eventually scared them off with a shotgun - for which he actually had no ammo.

Thanks to the efforts of Mexican Navy and Army personnel, the 32-footer was towed back to port. Eggert's primary purpose in writing to Latitude 38, however, was to seek advice on how to pinpoint and repair a leak which "seems to be migrating water from the keel area." The Gozzard has a full keel, and there is no leakage elsewhere in the hull or from through-hulls. "All comments are welcome," by email.

- latitude/aet

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