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Photos of the Day: Rumble to and from the Jungle

March 28 - Banderas Bay, Mexico

Alicia is a hardcore surfer, so she couldn't help but play in the waves at Profligate's transom.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

About 30 years ago, somebody came up with the saying, "I'd rather have a palapa in Yelapa than a condo in Redondo." Apparently, you can't always get what you want, because there are only about 2,000 people in Yelapa, which is a village around a cove on the south side of Banderas Bay that's surrounded by thick jungle, whereas Redondo has a few more people - and condos - than that. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Yelapa is only accessible by boat, that it only got electricity - and not much of it - about a week ago, and it's hard to take a call there.

Nonetheless, the intrepid skipper of Profligate, accompanied by about 15 folks from the just-concluded Banderas Bay Regatta, decided to risk a visit. Yelapa is still surrounded by thick jungle, but since the rainy reason ended months ago, it was a little brown. Yet some things never change. For example, the deep to the beach anchorage, which once claimed the 82-ft yacht Windward, was as steep as ever. So we took a mooring for $20 from a guy who claimed to own it. And then the 'Pie Lady' was there to greet us the minute we stepped ashore, just as she's greeted everyone who has arrived for the last 30 years. When she agreed to creating a combo pie - a single pie made up of slices of her five different varieties - we agreed to buy. It was about $15, which is twice the price of the average lunch we had on the beach. By the way, the lunches were delicious and, at about $7-$8 for a whole plate, inexpensive.

The Pie Lady has been flogging her goods for 30 years in Yelapa. By the way, our waiter, who attended school in Long Beach right through college, has also been working in Yelapa for 30 years. He claims it's what makes him look like he's still 25.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

There were so many crew on the cat that we can't remember everyone's name, which is why we can't tell you which of our crew took his paraglider up the jungle hills for a sail down. There wasn't much wind, so it wasn't the longest ride in the world, and he was flying so little low that he almost got his bottom tickled by the tops of the palms. But he cheated death again.

One of the Profligate crew flying high.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Girls, of course, just wanna have fun. So when Alicia Bickham - who is into surfing, sports, aromatherapy, Swedish massage, health, yoga and crewing on a big powerboat - and Lisa Zittel, - wife of J/World Sailing School owner Wayne Zittel and an energetic spirit who can't wait to do the Baja Ha-Ha with an "all women plus two guys" crew this fall - were offered some after-lunch tequila, they didn't hesitate.

As you can see from the accompanying photo, the liquor had no effect on them whatsoever.

Alicia, left, sucking a lime, and Lisa, right, with that post-lunch tequila smile.
Photos Latitude/Richard
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

The sail back to Puerto Vallarta was perfecto - an 8-10 knot spinnaker run in flat blue water with a bright sun above. You shoulda been there. In fact, if you ever bring your boat to Mexico, you could be there.

- latitude / rs


San Francisco Cup

March 28 - San Francisco

A couple of people have asked us what was going on in the central Bay over the weekend. Two 30-ft sailboats and a circus of small power boats were seen jockeying around in uncomfortably close quarters between Alcatraz and the Cityfront on Saturday and Sunday.

Silvestri leads Healy on the beat of the first race.
©2007 Chris Ray/www.printroom.com/pro/crayivp

That would be the San Francisco Cup, a long-standing match race series between friendly rivals San Francisco and St. Francis YCs. This year, challenger SFYC selected the Etchells for the best-of-five race series, and both clubs put up top-notch teams. In the end, the series went to four races, with Craig Healy, Jim Barton and Dave Gruver reclaiming the Cup for SFYC.

The winning team of Healy, Barton and Gruver with the rather large SF Cup.
Photo Glenn Isaacson
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

StFYC's Russ Silvestri, Jim Nichols, and Ethan Doyle certainly made Healy & Co. work for their victory. The winning margin in each race was under 30 seconds. Wouldn't it be great to see that kind of close action in that other match race event, the America's Cup?

- latitude / ss

Mike Harker's Report on Port Antonio

March 28 - Port Antonio, Jamaica

Mike Harker, who left Miami in January on a planned 11-month circumnavigation aboard WanderLust 3, a shiny new Hunter 49 loaded to the gills with the 'Offshore Mariner' options, is now in Panama. He sent us this report on his stop at Port Antonio, Jamaica.

"A local born of a Chinese father and local mother here in Port Antonio , Mr. Michael Lee Chin, grew up poor, moved to Canada and made his fortune in banking. He now owns five hotel properties and the hill overlooking this government-owned 'Navy Island'.

"While I was out testing my third reefing lines, Mr. Chin arrived. His first private helicopter made two security passes then landed before the luxury private helicopter landed Mr. Chin and Company. It was right out of a James Bond film except that our Mr. Chin is the really good guy. He has given back a lot of money to his country of birth and is turning the roads and infrastructure of Port Antonio into acceptable condition."

Mr. Chin's security chopper passed overhead twice before the luxury transport landed in Port Antonio.
Photo Mike Harker
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

"Incidentally, Port Antonio is on the northeast corner of Jamaica and was made famous by Errol Flynn, who said the sleepy little port was 'the most beautiful woman I'd ever laid eyes upon.' He bought a private island, built a beautiful hut and invited guests from his boat or seaplane parked in the harbor. He lost it all in one night of gambling."

- latitude / rs

TransPac Rating Limit Lifted

March 28 - Los Angeles

Word is just coming in that the rating limit will be removed for entries in the 2007 TransPacific Yacht Race. The new eligibility limits will allow boats up to 30 meters (98.5 feet) in length overall to compete in their maximum configuration. Until now, the TransPac race had a rating limit based on the slightly smaller MaxZ86 class - namely, Hasso Plattner's Morning Glory and Roy Disney's Pyewacket - and a special rating system was used to rate yachts near that limit. According to the TPYC, the offices of top racing designers Juan Kouyoumdjian and Reichel/Pugh discovered significant loopholes in that rating system which resulted in a large unfair rating advantage for their first-to-finish contenders. In this morning's announcement, the TransPac board of directors said that given the short notice for first-to-finish yachts to adjust their configurations to the limit, they have "elected to follow parallel paths to simultaneously: (1) request correction of the rating system in favor of fleet-wide fair ratings and (2) delete the rating portion of the eligibility limit so that first-to-finish contenders can complete their configuration changes while the rating system is corrected."

The 2005 big boat division start
©2005 Rich Roberts

Meanwhile, the entry list for this summer's race continues to grow, with 52 boats officially signed up, including several doublehanded entries. The current list of entries does not include any of the boats that may be affected by the new rating developments - such as maxis, or Plattner's and Disney's MaxZ86s. One can assume there is still plenty more work to be done before those boats submit their final rating certificates and become official entries. We hope to have more on this story in the May issue of Latitude 38.

In other TransPac news, Casio's Oceanus watch has been named official timekeeper of this year's race. The company will provide 50 Oceanus watches to be used as special prizes or awards to this year's racers.

- latitude / ss

The Keel of Mystery

March 28 - Tiburon

Jean Vaury found some strange beach debris after a storm earlier this week.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Jean Vaury was was walking down the beach near his home in Tiburon the other day when he spotted something strange: a keel. Flotsam often washes up on shore after storms like the one that swept through the area a couple days ago, but it's a rare sight to see a keel make its way ashore. The mystery ballast seems to be from a small boat and appears to have been torn away recently, if the shiny keelbolts are any indication, but nothing else is known about its origins. If you know anything about this mystery, email LaDonna Bubak.

- latitude / ld

The keel is obviously from a small boat. Do you recognize it?
Photos Jean Vaury
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

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©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.