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Photos of the Day

April 13 - Mazatlan, Mexico

The Singlar site in Mazatlan as it looked in late '05.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Today's two Photos of the Day demonstrate that it's 'not your father's Mazatlan' any longer. In fact, it's not even your older brother's Mazatlan. The first photo, taken a little over a year ago, shows the northern cruiser end of Mazatlan how most people remember it - vast open spaces, with some signs of development. The second photo, taken a short time ago by Mike Latta of the 22-ft Falmouth Cutter Narwhal, shows that the Singlar haulout facility - which is pretty darn snappy looking - has been completed and that there is other significant progress around it.

Give credit where it's due, the Singlar facility looks first class. To us, it's indicative of how much of coastal Mexico is moving to higher standards. With billions of American investment dollars pouring in, the old schlocky stuff is just not going to cut it.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Latta explains: "If you haven't sailed into Marina Mazatlan harbor lately, my adopted homeport for the last five years, you won't recognize the place. There have been big, big changes. If it ever was a secret, it's out now, as the surrounding area is being built up at a frenetic pace. What not too long ago was simply dune grass and iguana trails is now or soon will be, hotel/condos, homes, offices, restaurants, business mini-malls, shops, a Pemex station and a sprawling golf course development. A convention center is also in the works. We've been discovered! Ah, progress.

"But even to traditional barefoot minimalists, including old farts such as myself, it ain't all bad. The big and modern Singlar haul-out yard that is about to open here in the harbor next door to Marina Mazatlan is going to make a significant difference to us all. And it looks to be first class all the way. Included within the large facility will be individual fiberglass and painting shops, a ferreteria (marine hardware), a customs expediter for importing our boat stuff, a store catering to cruisers' special provisioning needs, plus multiple other shops and services - including a fuel dock. On the second floor there will be a Club Nautico YC with outside deck bar, restaurant, swimming pool - and a Jacuzzi big enough for the entire crew of Profligate.

Singlar's facility is just about ready to give your boat a lift.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

"Bob Buchanan, the authorized Yanmar guru in Mexico, had his Total Yacht Works selected as the primary service and repair outfit to be based at Singlar's two-story workshops. I know that Bob will be glad to finally be able to remove his stock engine parts, gear and other essential inventory off his Bolias Dream and into the onsite shop. next door, in one of the new mini-malls, Antonio Cevallos, our recent and much loved harbormaster, will apparently be opening a chandlery and stocking marine paints. Both would be much welcomed. Other local marine businesses - marine canvas, sail repair, refrigeration, dinghy repair - may also soon move off the docks and into more traditional working spaces. Build it and they will come, right?

"Marina Mazatlan recently changed ownership, and Jaime Ruiz, the new harbormaster, assures us that many harbor additions are in the works. New docks and dinghy landings are scheduled to be completed this summer, and the E Dock section over on the Isla has been purchased and is now available. A new connecting dock has been proposed to tie it in with an extended Dock 9 to the other side of the harbor.

Marina Mazatlan Harbormaster Jaime Ruiz with two of his assistants, Carmina Gomez (left) and Elvira Lizarraga.
Photos Mike Latta & Latitude/Richard
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

"Jaime is an old hand at things marine, having spent years in Barra Navidad producing international sportsfishing tournaments. In between, he'd find boats in Texas and Florida in need of TLC, and deliver them back via the Panama Canal to Barra, where he reconditioned them for resale. He'd even redo the engines himself. This man knows boats! As the president of Club Pesca, Mexico's sportsfishing organization, for the past 18 years, he is presently in the midst of creating a big tournament to be held out of the marina in May. He's also discussing with the government the need to widen, deepen and extend the breakwaters of the harbor's entrance channel.

"So big change is in the works at Marina Mazatlan - and it ain't bad."

- latitude / rs


Quick Passage No Surprise

April 13 - Hiva Oa, French Polynesia

As you read this, many boats of the Pacific Puddle Jump 'class of '07' are either en route to the Marquesas or have recently arrived. The fastest crossing this year - and one of the fastest in recent years - was completed last Wednesday by Steve and Susan Chamberlin's Pt. Richmond-based Schumacher 46 Surprise.

Surprise on approach to Kaneohe at the end of the 2004 Pacific Cup.

"This is our fifth transpacific crossing on this boat, and it is still a delight to sail," reports Steve. "Our 'whomper' (165% jib top) gave us boat speed equal to windspeed in the light reaching off of the coast: 189 nm with 8-10 knots on the beam." AJ Benham and John Gillespie were along as crew.

Susan and Steve seem to be happiest while at sea.

They experienced only a few minor mishaps along the way, but their luck changed shortly after reaching Atuona, on the Marquesan island of Hiva Oa. While anchored bow and stern in Tahauku anchorage to check in and get provisions, Surprise was slammed against the shallow bottom during the night by large southern swells. "The bow went skyward and the stern came down hard on the bottom," explains Steve. "The impact shattered the master link in the steering gear and badly twisted the autopilot mounting bracket. Fortunately the rudder, many layers of carbon fiber, withstood the impact." Using their emergency tiller, they were able to maneuver to a calmer anchorage and make repairs.

In the coming weeks, we hope to bring you further 'Lectronic Latitude reports from Puddle Jumpers. Also, look for the second installment of Puddle Jump profiles in the May issue of Latitude 38 as well as a wrap-up report later this summer.

- latitude / at

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

April 13 - 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 en suite 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.

Olin's Lucky Day

April 13 - Hanover, NH

In the April issue of Latitude 38, we wrote about several folks who actively sail well into their 70s, and asked for suggestions of other 'Sailing 70s' whom we could profile in a future issue. Turns out we may have set the bar a little too low. Today we send birthday wishes to legendary yacht designer Olin Stephens, who celebrates his 99th birthday on this luckiest of days.

Olin Stephens racing the Six Meter Sprig in 2002 at the sprightly age of 94.
©2007 www.6mrnorthamerica.com

Stephens' name has been synonymous with quality and beauty since he began his career 80 years ago. Designs by the self-taught sailor include everything from the Lightning to TransPac, Fastnet, Whitbread, and America's Cup winners. His firm Sparkman and Stephens, which he founded with his brother Rod in 1931 (Drake Sparkman handled the brokerage side of the business), remains one of the preeminent design houses in the country. Stephens 'retired' in the 1980s, but he continues to closely follow developments in modern-day sailing. Apparently he can still be seen on the race course on occasion, though he regrets that he doesn't get out as often as he used to. We've never met him personally, but we're told he's as 'with it' as he ever was. Anyone who reaches such an esteemed age is worthy of a celebration, and even more so those who remain active and lucid as they approach the centenary mark. So warmest wishes to you, Olin, and many thanks for all you've done to inspire legions of designers, builders and sailors over the years.

By the way, if you know a 'Sailing 70' or even a 'Sailing 80 and beyond', email John Riise. Please include a short bio and contact information.

- latitude / ss

Holy Cow - Bullship Tomorrow!

April 13 - Sausalito

It's been 68 years since the first five El Toros were built in the woodshop at Berkeley High School, and more than 50 years since some wingnut got the idea of racing them across San Francisco Bay. But both the boat with the little shovel on the sail (because, legend has it, "A lot of bull was shoveled in its design.") and the Bullship race remain as popular as ever.

Tomorrow at 9 a.m., the 54th Bullship gets underway as always off the Sausalito waterfront and finishes at the San Francisco Breakwater hopefully before the tide turns. Features of the race include 'cowships' (large keelboats under power who retrieve errant members of the herd) and trophies for first to finish, first woman, oldest skipper, first 'maiden' voyager and just about anything else they can think of. If you don't know about this already, you're already too late to enter, but you can get the SIs and NOR at www.eltoroyra.org/regattas.htm to be ready for next year. Look for results from this hard-fought regatta (really!) in Monday's 'Lectronic Latitude.

- latitude / jr

Circumnavigators Rendezvous Reminder

April 13 - Oakland

In case you've recently been returned to Earth after lengthy testing on an alien spacecraft and have missed all the previous announcements, we will remind you that our second West Coast Circumnavigator's Rendezvous is scheduled for April 20 -a week from today - at the Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show in Oakland's Jack London Square. It will take place aboard the beautiful topsail schooner Lynx from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. All circumnavigators who have started and ended their roundabouts from the West Coast or Hawaii are invited. Those who have submitted their names and information to our database will get into the show for free (applies to skipper and spouse only - go to 'Will Call' and point out your name to get in). With a few exceptions, the rendezvous itself will be your basic, unstructured mingle. The exceptions are: 1) A group photo, so practice saying "Cheese." 2) A selection of photos from your trip that we can keep. Ideally, these would be digital or scanned photos on a CD. 3) A business or personal card (or at least that information) so we can contact you later if we want. 4) One good story from your trip. It can be funny, touching, romantic, favorite destination or all of the above.

Room on the ship is limited so if you're planning on attending RSVP to LaDonna. You can also send her your circumnavigation information if you have not already done so (we need your names, your homeport, the years of your circumnavigation, and the type/length/name of the boat.)

We need to disembark Lynx at 4:30 because they are going out for a sail at 5 p.m. We will be awarding two tickets to one lucky circumnavigator couple to go along for the ride. Others can go along for $60 per adult ($35 for kids). The sail lasts 2.5 hours and all money goes to the Lynx Foundation, whose mission is to educate children in American history through a hands-on, maritime program. If you want to go, you'll need to RSVP for that, too. You may do so by calling (866) 446-5969.

- latitude / jr

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