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Photos of the Day

June 11 - Catalina Island

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

© Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

Is today's Photo Of The Day a sign of times to come? It was taken yesterday afternoon at Fourth of July Cove on Catalina, which is just around the corner from Isthmus Cove. While the photo is of a lovely sight, what's really interesting is the number of sailboats compared to the number of powerboats. In recent years, the ratio at the island has been about 75% powerboats to just 25% sailboats. But as you can see in this photo, the sailboats outnumber the powerboats by seven to four. To be fair, if we'd had a wider angle lens, it would have shown that there was about an equal number of sailboats and powerboats. But over in Isthmus Cove, just 100 yards away, it really was a different story, as the sailboats outnumbered the powerboats by an astonishing 30 to 15. And it's not as though there was a large 'special occasion' number of sailboats. In fact, the Long Beach YC racing fleet had left several hours before. One possible explanation for the different ratio between the two types of boats is that much higher fuel prices are having more of a negative impact on powerboaters than sailors. We'll learn more as the summer goes on.

Panache still looks good for a thirtysomething.
Photos Latitude / Richard
© Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

By the way, while dinghying ashore to Isthmus Cove from our boat on Harbor Reef, the distinctive shape of one boat on a mooring caught our eye from 150 yards away. "It looks like Panache," we thought to ourselves. We motored over, and sure enough, it was the 40-footer that was one of Bill Lee's very early ultra-lights, a precursor to Merlin. If we're not mistaken, she did the '73 and '75 TransPacs, although Chutzpah, a Lee 36, did a little better, taking overall honors both times. She was later owned and campaigned hard by Rod Park of Richmond YC, who ultimately sailed her in a Singlehanded TransPac. We're not sure who owns her now, but we're delighted to report that, in her early thirties, she looks spectacular! We were hoping to invite the owner to a BBQ that evening, but he wasn't aboard, and the next thing we knew, he'd taken off. But our compliments on having the boat in such great shape. If we're not mistaken, Panache was the last beamy boat that Lee designed. While in Hawaii he saw the skinny Ragtime, was impressed, and made Merlin more of a needle.

Remember how warm it was last year in Catalina? By June the water was in the mid to high '70s, warmer than anyone could remember. Talk about climate change, the water is now, depending on who you talk to, between 61 and 64. Brrrrrrrr.

- latitude / rs


A Great Injustice

June 11 - Mill Valley

We've received a lot of mail about Friday's 'Lectronic report on the Lake County D.A.'s indictment of Bismarck Dinius, the crewman at the helm of a sailboat involved in a fatal collision on Clear Lake last May. People were outraged at the facts as we understood them at the time, and clearly believe this to be a travesty of justice.

Some of the notes came from insurance industry professionals who refute District Attorney Jon E. Hopkins' assertion that "there is no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt" exactly how fast Chief Sheriff Deputy Russ Perdock's powerboat was going when it collided with the O'Day 27 Beats Working II, resulting in the death of Lynn Thornton. These professionals, who do this sort of thing every day, say it is indeed possible to tell with reasonable accuracy how fast a vessel was traveling based on the damage to the boats involved, and that D.A. Hopkins' claim is hogwash.

Other readers noted that the same California Harbors and Navigation Code that D.A. Hopkins quoted in explaining why he indicted Dinius says clearly that "A safe speed should be maintained at all times so that: a) action can be taken to avoid collision and b) the boat can stop within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions. In restricted visibility, motorboats should have the engines ready for immediate maneuvering. An operator should be prepared to stop the vessel within the space of half the distance of forward visibility." On the moonless night of April 26, 2006, the powerboat should have been going much slower than it apparently was.

Lastly, many of those who wrote pointed out a basic right-of-way principle: the sailboat had the right of way. Indeed, state law does appear to incorporate the USCG Navigational Rules, including Rule 18 (a) iv: "A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of a sailing vessel."

This story is going to get a lot of attention and we intend to follow it closely as we and many others feel a great injustice is being done. If you were on the boat, or saw the accident, we would love to talk to you. Email Richard.

- latitude / rs & ld

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

June 11 - 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.

Weekend Racing

June 11 - San Francisco

In case you were stuck ashore this weekend, you missed a glorious weekend for sailing. You'd better have had a good excuse! The racing calendar was a little lighter than usual, but there was plenty of activity around (and outside) the Bay, and, from all appearances, folks were having a grand ol' time. Thanks to Peter Lyons for the following shots.

Multihulls and monohulls alike buzzed around the Central Bay for the 14-mile Long Distance Race in the 2007 InterClub Series.
© 2007 Peter Lyons/www.lyonsimaging.com

The OYRA sent its fleet up to Drake's Bay on Saturday and back home on Sunday. Despite the lumps on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, No Ka Oi was all smiles.
© 2007 Peter Lyons/www.lyonsimaging.com

Duelling J/120 bowmen duke it out during SFYC's regatta for J/120s and Express 37s on the Berkeley Circle.
© 2007 Peter Lyons/www.lyonsimaging.com

Not pictured, but no less important was ODCA racing off Knox on Saturday. As we pushed this report live online, only results from the InterClub (www.sfbama.org) and Drakes Bay (www.yra.org/OYRA) races were posted. But keep an eye open for the ODCA and SFYC results at www.yra.org/ODCA and www.sfyc.org, respectively.

- latitude / ss

New LA Harbor Regs: Avoid Everything

June 11 - Los Angeles

Okay, let's see. In or around LA Harbor, you can't get too close to lighthouses, ship terminals, loading facilities, ships, tugs, anything belonging to the Coast Guard or Navy, power plants, oil rigs or islands, certain aids to navigation, whales, amusement facilities, ecologically sensitive areas, oil and gas storage facilities, any dredging activity, and any in-water construction projects. Did we miss anything? If so, it probably falls under the umbrella of CNA - controlled navigation areas, where recreational boaters need to call ahead to the Port Police for permits to enter the 'zone'.

Apparently soon to be added to the list: any commercial or government vessel, including fishing boats and ferries. In other words, by late summer, Southern California boaters will basically have to stay at least 100 feet away from everything, assuming they take the foolhardy risk of leaving their slips in the first place.

Homeland security is once again being invoked for the new regulations, scheduled to begin a 90-day grace period soon. After that, assuming the new rules will have the same penalities as other 'security zone' violations, boaters could be subject to fines of $25,000 per violation, or a cumulative fine of $250,000 and 12 years in prison.

Nobody has quite figured out how sailboats figure into this. All it would take, for example, is a harbor tour boat motoring by your becalmed Hobie Cat to put you in violation. And darn if those pesky bridge openings aren't too narrow to maintain your distance. For that matter, many boats would not even have to leave their slips to be in violation.

In the works: floating Botts dots and a wind tariff. Just kidding. We hope.

- latitude / jr

Will a Circle Be Unbroken?

June 11 - Southern California

Do you ever have similarly shaped things break on your boat at the same time? It's been happening to us. First it was the gypsy on the windlass. After 10 years of hard use, the chain-gripping angles had become so worn down that the chain slipped on it when under high load. Fortunately, it was a relatively easy repair. None of the fasteners were too corroded, and Lewmar was quick to ship the part, so this 'five-minute job' only took about 90 minutes total.

What's next?
Photo Latitude / Richard
© Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

The next thing that went - and right when we were due to vacate our Alamitos Bay slip for the arrival of another boat - was the raw water impeller on the starboard engine. There hadn't been any problem with overheating, but when we started the engine this time, no water came out. There wasn't anything wrong with the water strainer, so we were pretty sure it was the impeller. Our problem was that we have the impellers replaced on a regular basis by our mechanic, so they've never failed in action. It also meant that it's been a long time since we had to replace one ourselves. It could have been ugly, but thanks to friends confirming that Yanmar impellers aren't held in by circle clips or anything, this 'five minutes job' didn't take more than 45 minutes. If you're about to take off for Mexico, make sure you know how to replace the impeller on your diesel, as it's one of the few things that you need to know how to do with your engine.

They say bad things happen in threes, so we're looking at what round things might break on the boat next - a steering wheel, one of the winches, an instrument dial? Sailing always keeps you on your toes.

- latitude / rs

Big Boats and Dollars for Charity

June 11 - Newport Beach

It's hard to get much newer than Roger Sturgeon's STP65 Rosebud, fresh out of the boat yard and making its racing debut this weekend. And it's hard to find a more well-practiced crew than the 18 to 23-year-olds on Morning Light, the TP52 that has spent considerable time over the last six months training for this summer's TransPacific Yacht Race. But this weekend four 1980s-era sleds trumped the 15-boat fleet in the First Team Real Estate Invitational Regatta off Newport Beach.

The fleet included boats both larger (Doug Baker's Magnitude 80), and newer (namely, Rosebud and the new Andrews 50 It's Ok!), as well as the aforementioned 'kids'. But that's not to say that anyone was out of form or showing signs of age. All boats were in prime condition and though it was a friendly competition, you can be sure that there was plenty of pride on the line. But in the end, the results came down to ratings, waterline and local knowledge, plain and simple. Ed McDowell's SC70 Grand Illusion, skippered in McDowell's absence by Patrick O'Brien, won the Hoag Cup.

While the 'old' boats took the cake, it was the weekend's chosen beneficiary, Hoag Hospital Heart and Vascular Institute, that really came out on top. More than $400,000 was raised from the regatta - a figure race organizers believe is the largest amount ever raised by a charitable sailing event. You can see all the results, daily summaries and photos at www.firstteamregatta.com.

- latitude / ss

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