With reports this month from
Viva on a slithery situation in Costa
Rica; from Tai Tam II on Bocas del
Toro and Cartagena; from Adagio on
a year in Tasmania and Australia; from Mamouna
on Costa Rica; from Willyflippit
on buying a cat in France, sailing the Med, and then crossing
the Atlantic; from Roxanne in New
Zealand; and Cruise Notes.
Viva - Islander 37
Costa Rican Two-Step
I'd been sitting on the starboard side of the cockpit for about
two hours, just reading and drinking tea and watching the sun
rise over the mellow harbor at Golfito, Costa Rica. Dolphins
were playing around, howler monkeys were doing their morning
growling, and dozens of different kinds of birds were doing noisy
bird things. You really learn to enjoy Mother Nature's creatures
when you're cruising.
Glancing up from my book, I noticed what looked like a cow pie
or a coil of old hemp at the foot of the port side settee about
four feet from my feet. What the heck? A closer inspection
revealed that my new shipmate was a snake! The thing was various
shades of brown, had a triangular head, and was coiled up and
seemingly asleep. Basically, I didn't believe it, didn't
like it, and didn't want to be there! So I quietly put the
dinghy in the water - which required playing with the davit lines,
which were about a foot from my new pet - and motored over to
Banana Bay Marina to get advice.
After my friend Steve from Witch of Endor got his camera
and two Ticos from Banana Bay joined us, we all returned to Viva
to do battle. Actually, the others thought they just were
humoring me - until they saw the snake! It took my Hawaiian sling
and two machetes to separate the part of the snake with the fangs
from the part that tried to go everywhere but into the bucket,
but we did it. We learned that it was a fer de lance snake, which
is locally known as the 'two-step' - because that's as far as
you can walk if one bites you. So I had been really lucky.
How did the snake get on my anchored boat? Did it climb
up the anchor chain? The fer de lance is a land snake, and even
though all reptiles can swim, they don't normally do it on purpose.
And how did he get to my little boat in this big bay? Did
a bird drop it? What kind of bird carries around deadly
snakes, and what are the odds of it landing on Viva? Did
some bad guy throw it aboard as a sick joke? I figure if
a guy can handle venomous snakes well enough to pick them up
and throw them, he could just come aboard himself. And the
biggest question, what do you have to do to a 4'10" snake
hide to make it into a hat band?
- bob 11/12/02
Tai Tam II
- Island Packet 40
Tom & Kathy Knueppel
We left the Bocas del Toro region on the northwestern part of
the Caribbean side of Panama in October of 2002, and spent two
weeks travelling to the San Blas Islands, which are on the southeastern
part of the Caribbean side of Panama. The lovely San Blas Islands,
as well as a small part of the Panama mainland, are home to the
50,000 members of the Kuna Indian nation. Only about 40 of the
365 San Blas Islands - all of which are quite small - are actually
inhabited. The others, which aren't much more than islets, are
used for coconut harvesting, with village families rotating as
caretakers on a seven months on, five months off, basis. Trading
schooners from Colombia ply the islands purchasing the coconuts
and selling fuel and supplies.
In addition to the coconut trade, the Kunas make money selling
molas to the very few tourists - mainly cruisers and the occasional
small cruise ship - and by a limited amount of agriculture on
the mainland. The Kunas essentially operate on a modified version
of communism, which has prevented a division of their society
into the haves and the have-nots, and keeps everyone believing
they are partial owners of their wonderful country. Most islands
of any size have a small village with a sahila or local chief,
who along with a congreso runs the island. Many of these islands
are 200 yards or less in diameter, and are tightly packed with
Kuna families who travel between the mainland and these small
islands via ulus - dugout canoes that are either sailed or paddled.
Navigating among the islands is a challenge, as the barrier reefs
that provide such excellent protection from the strong winds
and waves of the Caribbean are also severe hazards. The Zydlers'
excellent cruising guide to this area is highly recommended,
but cruisers still sometimes have problems. We visited the wreck
of a Hallberg-Rassy 42 that had gone on a reef a few years ago
and couldn't be pulled off. It was a very depressing sight. From
one of our anchorages we were also able to see a large freighter
on the reef about a quarter of a mile away - reminding us to
be constantly vigilant and careful with our navigation. The existing
charts for this area are old and not very accurate, so GPS is
potentially more of a hazard than an aid. One needs to learn
to navigate by sight, figuring out the depth of the water by
its color. We ran aground once while entering an anchorage, but
were able to get off with the help of several cruisers.
The tiny Kuna women are always dressed in their traditional garb,
which is a yellow and red head scarf, wrapped skirt, and bright
polyester blouses with hand stitched molas in matching patterns
on either side. Their faces are painted with a thin black line
down the bridge of the nose, and many wear a large gold band
through their pierced nose. Strings of small glass beads wrap
their arms and legs to keep them slim. Generally speaking, the
women are the breadwinners, as they make and sell the molas and
An interesting aspect of the Kuna culture is that in each village
one male, early in his life, has to stay back with the women
to learn the art of mola making. From what we have observed,
it is these men who tend to make the best molas. It is fascinating
to observe these men, as they are very feminine in their mannerisms
but actually live like the other men. We visited one of these
'special' men with his family, and it was an eerie sight to see
this extremely feminine man, wearing nail polish and rouge, holding
hands with his wife and child.
Unfortunately, the San Blas Islands are no longer unspoiled,
and many of the beaches were covered in the remnants of civilization
- plastic bags, bottles, shoes, and so forth. In addition, the
Indians weren't as innocent as we'd expected. They are quite
aggressive in peddling their wares and almost always expect gifts.
We left the San Blas Islands at the end of November, and made
our way to Cartagena, which is where we've been for almost a
month. We really love this historic city and her people. Despite
U.S. State Department warnings about Colombia, we have never
felt threatened - although we're always careful to be aware of
our surroundings. It seems as though Cartagena is somewhat isolated
from the rest of the country's violence, perhaps by agreement
of the combatants.
Cartagena has two marinas cruisers can stay at, and it's also
possible to anchor out. Both the marinas and the anchorage are
off the suburb of Manga, a comfortable middle-class neighborhood.
Club Nautico is the marina favored by most cruisers. It offers
bow or stern ties to somewhat rickety docks. Divers are on hand
to secure a forward line to an underwater mooring, so anchors
don't have to be used. The current slip rates are $0.25/ft/day,
with $2/day for water and electricity, and discounts for longer
stays. For those anchored out, all the club's amenities are available
for $2/day. John, the friendly harbormaster, accepts reservations
and can be reached . Club Nautico has a restaurant, bar, book
exchange, laundry, showers, and phones, and serves as the cruiser
hangout in Cartagena. The security is excellent, so we have no
hesitation recommending Club Nautico to anyone who might want
to leave their boat for an extended period. The marina staff
is friendly and works hard to accommodate cruisers.
We're staying at the other marina, Club de Pesca, which is nestled
amongst an old fort not far from Club Nautico. Club de Pesca
is a private club and most of the slips have boats owned by Colombians
- although about 10 are set aside for visitors. The docks are
made of cement, and slips go for .30/ft/day, water and electricity
included. In order to get a slip, you need advance notice as
well as the recommendation of a member or a cruiser who is already
staying there. When it comes to amenities, there is not much
difference between the two marinas, and neither one has hot water
showers. Club de Pesca has slightly more modern docks, but it
doesn't have much atmosphere and unlike Club Nautico, not much
When cruisers in Cartagena get tired of marina and city life,
it's only 20 miles out to the Rosario Islands, an excellent cruising
After coming through the Panama Canal from the Pacific, many
cruisers look for a place to leave their boat for several months.
They generally end up in the Bocas del Toro area, which is where
we left our boat. Having now been there and Cartagena, we feel
that Cartagena might be a better option. It's safe to leave your
boat unattended in both places, but Cartagena has more to offer.
For example, it has at least three major haulout facilities and
every kind of service you can imagine. Bocas, on the other hand,
doesn't have any place to haul out and not much in the way of
Prices are also lower in Cartagena. Even at the upscale Club
de Pesca, a hardworking boatwasher and general handiwork man
will charge $15 for a good eight hours worth of work. Cartagena
is also a lovely city rich in history and with many inexpensive
but wonderful restaurants in the European tradition. A typical
four-course meal with unlimited wine runs about $10. A final
point to consider is that Bocas, which is pleasant, is somewhat
off the beaten track and is very wet much of the year. Cartagena
has a two-month rainy season. As anyone who has ever gone through
a major rainy season will tell you, the mildew and other moisture
related problems are not to be underestimated. All in all, we'd
recommend Cartagena over the Bocas for leaving a boat.
When arriving at Cartagena, you'll get a 90-day visa. This can
be renewed each month for a total of six months, at which time
you either have to leave or obtain a visa at a Colombian consulate
or embassy outside of the country. By the way, it's about 170
miles from Colon, at the Caribbean end of the Canal, to Bocas,
while it's 240 miles to Cartagena. However, if you leave from
the San Blas Islands - which aren't to be missed - it's only
180 miles to Cartagena.
We're planning to stay here for a few months before making our
way to the Western Caribbean.
- tom and kathy 12/15/03
Adagio - M&M 52 Cat
Steve & Dorothy Darden
Tasmania And Australia
(New Zealand / Formerly Tiburon)
This will be our first Christmas away from our daughter Kim and
her family, so we are trying to keep our chins up. In November,
Dorothy helped Kim and her family move from San Francisco to
beautiful Bainbridge Island, a 30-minute ferry ride from downtown
Last year saw us having wonderful fun and meeting many new friends
here in Australia. With the start of 2002, we continued to cruise
the beautiful waters of Tasmania, first going up the incredibly
beautiful rocky coastline of the east coast, visiting four national
parks in 10 days. We continued around to the wild and wooly west
coast of Tasmania in March, always being careful to avoid all
At the end of June it was time to head north to Australia and
the Great Barrier Reef. On our way to the Whitsunday Islands,
just inside the GBR, we beach walked and went scuba diving or
snorkeling at every island we visited. We were enthralled by
what we saw underwater, and the fish and coral looked to be in
excellent health in most places.
When we got to Townsville, we turned back south again to avoid
the summer cyclone season and to take advantage of the northerlies
which provided lovely sailing down the east coast of Australia.
While at Sanctuary just south of Brisbane, we enjoyed Carols
by Candlelight, a rollicking collection of opera singers leading
the audience in song, accompanied by big band sound, jazz singers
and dancers, costumed characters, a nativity scene and heaps
of good fun.
Five days ago we arose early to depart Sanctuary Cove before
daylight for a pleasant eight-hour sail south to Yamba. We were
allowed to tie up at the visitors dock for two nights while we
explored the two sister towns that frame the entrance to the
mighty Clarence River. Although the river is currently enfeebled
by drought conditions, it gave us a peaceful place to keep the
boat, away from the worries of ocean weather and bar crossings.
We would naturally keep a wary eye for reports of heavy rains
upstream and flood warnings.
The next morning we took the Clarence River Ferry across the
river to Iluka. A pair of osprey watched us from their perch
on the navigation light north of Dart Island, and a third soared
overhead. After a 30-minute ride in the pretty little traditional
wooden ferry, we arrived at Iluka where Dorothy photographed
a white-winged triller bird singing happily in a beachside tree.
A flock of white pelicans floated with great dignity in the little
harbor, and zillions of pea-sized soldier crabs flowed over the
sandy shore in waves.
Dorothy then walked to the Iluka Nature Reserve and followed
the five kilometer World Heritage Rainforest Walk, a pathway
through tall trees whose branches held large clumps of staghorn
fern. Thick llianas, vines like those out of a Tarzan movie,
hung from the treetops to the ground. The trail ended at a climb
up to a whale lookout atop Iluka Bluff, which provided sweeping
views of beaches to the north and south. The waves begin to break
far out from shore, forming beautiful white rollers that go on
for a long distance. The region is renowned for its great surfing,
and we often see young people carrying surfboards through town.
The deckhand on the ferry lassoed the pilings from a fair distance
using an old, floppy dockline with a loop spliced into the end.
He showed me a blue swimmer crab he had taken from a crab pot
he keeps near the Iluka ferry dock, and gave me instructions
for catching flatheads and whitings in the Clarence River.
Yesterday morning, we phoned the Harwood Bridge operator to ask
if he could open the bridge for us in the afternoon so we could
make our way upriver to the 'Scottish' town of McLean. We got
the operator's wife instead of the operator, and then she forgot
to tell him. At 20 minutes before the appointed hour of 2 p.m.,
we were 20 minutes away from the bridge, when we saw it was already
opening. Good, we thought. A sailboat was positioned close to
the bridge, and passed under as soon as it was opened. Then -
whoops - it began to close! We finally reached the bridge operator
on his mobile phone and he agreed to reopen it as soon as he
could. The bridge is for Route 1, the major north/south artery
along the Australian east coast, so we had to wait quite a while.
As we proceeded upriver, we observed several of the small commercial
fishing boats set up for a night of pocket-netting for prawns.
They secure the boat in a spiderweb of anchors, within whose
restraint the vessel steams at night to disturb the bottom, driving
prawns into a net streamed astern.
By 3 p.m. we were anchored on the shore opposite the town of
McLean, feasting on our summer abundance - mango, oranges, grapes,
tomatoes, and roast chicken. Life is good! Showers were required
before we could lay our weary heads down on our clean pillowcases
for a bit of a read and a nap. We awakened to the dusk chorus
of birdsong ashore, and our new friend the white-winged triller
was belting out a staccato of pleasant notes. For dinner: fresh
local prawns and Steve's killer red sauce with horseradish, figs,
and tossed green salad.
We will cruise as far as Ulmarra tomorrow, explore Grafton by
bus, then head down river and along the coast towards Tassie.
Less than 'two sleeps' before Christmas, we find ourselves surrounded
by sugar cane fields, mango trees, shrimp trawlers and beaches,
floating on a lazy river, anchored near a Scottish town in Australia.
We never would have dreamed it.
- steve & dorothy 12/22/02
Mamouna - Peterson 44
Doug & Lisa Welsch
Bahia Ballena, Costa Rica
We'd like to get the word out to other cruisers about the wonderful
Costa Rican anchorage at Bahia Ballena (9°42'N, 85°00'W).
We like it so much that we've been here for a month. The 1.5-mile
wide bay offers very good protection from most wind and the water
is so clean that we take a swim every morning. When hiking along
the water's edge, it's possible to see monkeys and other wildlife.
It's also a great place to have friends fly in for a visit, as
there are commuter flights regularly from San Jose. No wonder
there's a small ex-pat community here.
During our stay we've had the opportunity to meet a lot of new
non-cruising friends, such as Paul and Lynn Stokes who have a
400-acre property. They hosted a wonderful New Year's Eve
party complete with panoramic views, two roasted pigs, a swimming
pool, and lots of cold drinks. The Ticos and ex-pats have
added so much to our experience.
We have found so much to do in this small area of Costa Rica.
The Bahia Ballena YC, which is operated by Eden, the daughter
of the founder to Heart Interface Inverters, offers good food,
cervezas, water, Internet access and telephone service. She expects
to have laundry facilities soon. Across the street is a gas and
diesel tienda, a small grocery store, pay phone, and trash collection
bins. Friday is a special day, because Honey Heart comes by the
club with a truck full of fresh, locally grown organic vegetables
and exquisite cheeses and breads. Have a desire for fish? The
catch-of-the-day can be bought from the local fisherman at the
dinghy dock and pier. It's a quick dinghy trip to the Tambor,
where there's a grocery store, bar, and disco. The latter doesn't
keep the anchorage up all night unless everyone is dancing the
Tambor is also home to the lovely Tambor Tropical Resort, which
is made of exotic woods, and offers a great view of the bay and
fine dining. For breakfast, we often go to Dos Ligartos for great
gallo pinto. There is daily bus service from Tambor to Cobano,
which has a hardware store, bakery, Internet cafe, bank with
ATM services, and many other grocery stores. The bus continues
to a great little beach community called Montezuma, a quaint
little one-street town with a 150-foot waterfall and fresh water
streams. Here you can find all the goodies tourists love: bagels,
espresso, cookies, ice cream, tattoos and bikinis. We loved
hanging out at Iguana's, people watching. Montezuma also has
a wonderful laundry service, with a washer and dryer - just like
home. And Amelia will have it all done in time for you to catch
the 4 pm bus back to Tambor.
If you're looking for other good anchorages, Isla Tortuga, which
has excellent snorkeling and tree-lined white sand beaches, is
just two hours away. And it's not far to Isla Muertos, Curu,
Cedros, San Lucas, and Naranjo.
What more can we say but - pura vida, amigos!
- doug & lisa 1/10/03
Willyflippit - Switch 51
The Molitor Family
New Cat From Med To Caribbean
While walking the docks at La Marina, Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe,
French West Indies, we noticed a Switch 51 catamaran with a hailing
port of Shaw Island, Washington - so we decided to say 'hello'.
We soon found out that the new cat was owned by the Molitor family
- Scott, Stacey, Lauren (8), Clay (6), with Corsair, a now healthy
cat they'd picked up as skin and bones in Croatia. Wonder of
wonders, they turned out to be Latitude
subscribers, so we were delighted to be able to hand them the
Scott, a contractor, and Stacey, who used to work for Adobe Systems,
began cruising around Seattle with an Island Packet 37. After
enjoying a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, they decided
to take the family on a cruise to Mexico in 2000. The idea was
if everyone decided they liked full time cruising, they would
continue on to New Zealand. By early 2001, they had concluded
that full time cruising - and home schooling - suited them so
much that they decided to sell their house to buy a larger boat
before sailing across the Pacific. So in the spring of 2001,
they had their Island Packet trucked from San Carlos back to
Seattle, where she was sold.
When it came to a new boat, everyone in the family wanted it
bigger, particularly the growing kids, who no longer wanted to
share a bunk. In addition, Scott was looking for better performance.
While in the Sea of Cortez, Scott and Stacey had spent some time
visiting on the Privilege 39 Shea La Vie, and marveled
at the space. In addition, the owners of the Lagoon 41 Tropic
Cat described the advantages of cruising with a cat during
a get together in La Paz.
It's true that when it comes to length, catamarans cost more
than monohulls. But that's not the whole story. "Catamarans
turned out to be no more expensive than monohulls when it came
to the number of staterooms, which is what we were looking for,"
says Scott. So before long the family concentrated on finding
the right catamaran for their purposes.
Most production catamarans are geared to the Caribbean charter
trade, which means the number of berths and ensuite toilets takes
precedence over things such as speed, pointing ability, and bridgedeck
clearance. So the Molitors weren't interested in the models by
Lagoon, Leopard, and Privilege, which have fixed keels, are comparatively
heavy, and generally don't have much bridgedeck clearance. "After
looking around, we pretty much settled on a Catana 431 or 471,
both of which had the qualities we were looking for."
Just as they were about to sign on the dotted line, however,
they talked to some Catana owners who described some of the teething
problems they had with their boats. Teething problems the Molitors
eventually discovered are pretty common on all new boats - including
"Then we looked at the Switch 51," continues Scott,
"which is built by a small and relatively new French company
called Composities Sud. Designed by van Peteghem and Lauriot-Prevost
- who designed the Lagoons as well as many racing cats and trimarans
- she's similar in appearance to the original Lagoon 47 and Lagoon
55, but is quite a bit lighter, has higher bridgedeck clearance,
and daggerboards rather than fixed keels. We liked her, so we
signed up to take delivery of hull #6 in France in early 2002."
At the time they bought their Switch 51, the price was in the
range of $600,000, a little less than a comparable sized Catana
model. She was well equipped for cruising, however, including
a washing machine that uses 13 gallons a load but works well,
a Fisher-Panda 4.5 gen set that's been reliable, refrigeration,
a full complement of electronics, a Spectra watermaker, twin
furling headsails, and much more. In a somewhat unusual move,
Scott opted to have the boat outfitted with 40-hp Yanmars rather
than the standard 56-hp models. He explains that he'd kept a
full complement of spares from the Yanmar 40 on their Island
Packet. Even with the smaller diesels, Willyflippit motors
at 9.3 knots in flat water. Like many catamarans, the Molitors'
has a heavy duty bimini that covers the massive cockpit area.
"The kids love to play on top of it," says Stacey -
who went on to admit that it's one of her favorite places to
"Our boat was supposed to be ready on February 15 of last
year, but it wasn't ready for us to actually take off on until
the middle of May," Stacey continues. "We're not complaining
about the delay, however, as the company bent over backwards
to help us. Furthermore, they didn't nickel and dime us to death
over minor changes and additions, and haven't even billed us
for some bigger things."
The Molitors obviously have a sense of humor, for in addition
to having a catamaran named Willyflippit, they have a
dinghy named Betty Wont. Funny names and all, in mid-May
they started their Med adventure by sailing to Marseille and
then the Poquerolle Islands in the South of France. "Two
of the drawbacks of having a catamaran in the crowded Med are
finding berthing in small harbors and the cost of that berthing,"
says Scott. "At one marina in the Poquerolles, they were
asking $90/night. We were going to leave because we can't afford
prices like that. The only reason we stayed is because my dad
absolutely insisted on picking up the tab. It would be the most
we would ever pay for a berth."
After the South of France, the family continued on to Corsica,
and the Ionian Sea area of Greece for a month, followed by six
weeks in Croatia. "Despite the crowds we really loved Croatia,"
say the couple. "One of the nice things about Croatia is
that other than the first two days at Dubrovnik, we were able
to anchor out the entire time."
With the passing of summer, it became time for the Molitors to
start heading east. On their way, they made a number of stops
in southern Italy, the impoverished part of that country. "We
didn't care for it at all, as there is lots of crime and we got
the feeling everybody was trying to rip us off. So after two
weeks we moved on to the big Italian island of Sardinia. It was
The family's next stops were the fabled island of Capri and the
beautiful Bay of Naples. "We were able to anchor off Capri,
which was nice, but getting a berth anywhere else was difficult.
As we and a buddyboating monohull neared one marina, a guy came
out and told us it would be $150/night - not counting water or
electricity! Even though it was getting late, paying that much
was out of the question for us. We ended up in a very small marina
near Naples that's barely mentioned in the cruising guide, where
the owners had to rearrange a bunch of smaller boats so we could
fit in. It was still $80/night, but there was 24-hour security
and the owners were very considerate. Folks thinking about cruising
in the Med need to realize that there are some places where it's
easy to anchor for free, but there are other places where you
almost always have to go into a marina."
After the stop near Naples, the Molitors headed back to the Switch
factory on the France's southwest coast of the Med to have some
minor problems tended to. It was October 1 when they resumed
cruising, heading to Mahon on Spain's Balearic Island of Menorca.
It was during this passage that Willyflippit got her first
taste of rough weather. "We got caught in an autumn gale
with 45 knots of wind from aft," remembers Scott, "but
Willyflippit passed the heavy weather test with flying
colors. We hit up to 13 knots flying only the triple-reefed main,
but the whole family felt safe and secure."
Upon arrival in Gibraltar, they got a terrific shock as young
Lauren was diagnosed as having juvenile diabetes. "The doctor
saved my life," says the eight-year-old. Lauren ultimately
spent a week in a small hospital where she says she was "waited
on hand and foot." The second big shock in Gibraltar came
when Scott went to pay the bill. After a week in the hospital
with attentive care and getting a couple of month's worth of
medicine, the total charge came to just $24! "We couldn't
believe it," says Scott, "but they explained that since
she was diagnosed with the problem while in Gibraltar, their
health care system would pick up almost the entire tab."
Having concluded their time in the Med, the Molitors had mixed
feelings about cruising there. Stacey liked the Med, and was
surprised that things - other than berthing - weren't more expensive.
Scott, who had to worry about anchoring and finding marinas,
didn't care for the Med as much. "He's not the most social
guy in the world," says Stacey, "so it really wasn't
his kind of place." They both report, however, that there
were no problems with port captains or other officials, not even
in Greece. They say that the port captains in Croatia displayed
senses of humor, something most port captains don't admit to
having. They also say that they felt so safe in Greece and Croatia
that they didn't even bother to lock their dinghy.
Stacey and the kids passed on the Atlantic crossing, so on November
28 Scott and two friends departed the Canaries on the 2,800 miles
crossing to Guadeloupe. "We had a mixed bag of weather coming
across," says Scott. "It was pretty rough in the beginning,
with 30 to 35 knots of wind, big seas, and the occasional big
cross sea. It's never going to be comfortable on a boat in such
conditions, but Willyflippit handled it just fine. During
the middle of the crossing we hardly had any wind at all. For
the last third or so we had 15 knots or less. We completed the
passage in 16 days. I was a little disappointed, as I'd hoped
for more wind and a faster crossing, but we still averaged more
than seven knots on the rhumbline distance."
One of the reasons the Molitors had sailed to Guadeloupe is because
Switch has a repair facility there, and they still needed work
on the steering. Nonetheless, the family did manage to enjoy
Christmas and New Years at Les Saintes, the lovely islands just
off the tip of Guadeloupe. Future plans call for them to sail
to Trinidad before returning to the Northwest for awhile. Then
they will sail the coast of South America, transit the Canal
next Christmas, and head up to Costa Rica before continuing on
to the Galapagos and the rest of the way across the Pacific.
Scott would love to return to the Sea of Cortez on their cat,
but thinks it's probably a little too far out of the way.
The Molitors report that they are delighted with their choice
of boats, feeling that Willyflippit is the right combination
of space, performance, ease of handling, and price for their
While catamarans are still a small minority in the world of cruising,
their numbers are growing. The Molitors told us that we'd just
missed seeing the Cunard family aboard the Seattle-based Catana
47 Simpatica. Bruce, Allison, Sam (10), Kari (9), and
Holly (4) had taken delivery of their cat new in France 18 months
before, and in November had been the top multihull in the Caribbean
1500 from Virginia to the British Virgins.
- latitude 38 1/12/03
Roxanne - Wylie 60
Tom, Lynn, Jack And Tristan Petty
After Two Years
After sailing to New Zealand at the end of the year to avoid
the South Pacific tropical cyclone season, we put Roxanne
inside a marina facing the picturesque panorama of downtown Auckland.
After two years of the barefoot life on tropical beaches, being
in New Zealand feels enormously civilized, and we are enjoying
some of the finer aspects of urban living. For instance, we have
five two-liter buckets of ice cream in our freezer, each a different
flavor. Tom's rationalization is that the containers are great
for mixing epoxy. We've also become regular viewers of television
- at least when the Louis Vuitton racing is aired. We're enjoying
riding bikes on flat pavement as opposed to the rutted out dirt
roads of the islands. Finally, we look forward to the hot, pressurized
showers ashore - even though they are timed.
Living in an urban area again, we've made some urban acquisitions.
We carry a cell phone which signals calls by playing Jingle Bells,
and have purchased a purple station wagon that is so ugly we've
named it the 'Buttmobile'. New wardrobes also became a necessity,
as the cool of New Zealand's southern latitudes created goosebumps
on our bodies, which had become so acclimated to the tropics.
Three of us wear fleece almost every day. The exception is Tristan,
who still wears swim trunks, T-shirts, and sandals.
Since leaving San Francisco two years ago, we spent a year cruising
in Mexico before taking off across the Pacific to New Zealand.
Here's a quick review of our travels: After sailing up and down
the coast of Mexico, we provisioned like mad in Acapulco before
taking off from Zihua. After a visit to Huatulco, which was very
windy, we continued down to El Salvador. Because of a long civil
war, poor economy, and the earthquakes, Salvadorans aren't the
most trusting folks. I'm glad we visited, but it's a destination
I wouldn't particularly recommend to others. Costa Rica, where
we enjoyed soaking in the naturally heated pools on the sides
of a volcano, was better. Our last stop in that country was remote
and nearly uninhabited Cocos Island, home to countless hammerhead
We then sailed south across the equator to the Galapagos, where
we spent three weeks. It was great to see the fearless animals
such as giant tortoises, sea lions, penguins, lava-lizards, and
the ubiquitous blue-footed boobies. The boys in particular were
delighted to swim with the marine critters. The Galapagos Islands
are truly a world unto their own.
We made our long Eastern Pacific crossing - 14 days - to the
Gambiers, which are way down at 20° south. It was so chilly
for the Tuamotus that we began having hot soup for many of our
meals. Before continuing on to breathtakingly beautiful Moorea,
and then Tahiti, we stopped at several other atolls in the Tuamotus.
For us, the Tuamotus are unforgettable, and represent nearly
everyone's fantasy view of the South Pacific. They are palm lined
atolls brushed by light breezes and surrounded by brilliant turquoise
water. They have abundant sealife, too, so Tom was able to gather
lots of grouper and rock scallops. Since little grows on the
coral atolls but coconuts and shrubs, we missed the fresh veggies
and fruit, but had plenty of high protein fare.
After urbanized Tahiti, we continued on to Huahine, which had
some of the clearest water we've ever seen. We encountered 25-knot
winds at the sister atolls of Raiatea and Tahaa, then made the
short hop over to Bora Bora where we dropped the hook for several
weeks. Although Bora Bora is postcard pretty, it had tacky shops
and was crawling with tourists. Since it's remote and in French
Polynesia, you pay through the nose for everything. It was a
relief to finally move on to gorgeous but lightly populated Maupiti,
just 30 miles away, our last stop in French Polynesia.
Continuing on the Coconut Milk Run, our next stop was Suwarrow
in the Cook Islands. The local caretaker showed us how to harvest
coconut crabs and make lures from oyster shells. Suwarrow was
so wonderful that we could hardly tear ourselves away for the
trip to Samoa. Once we got to Samoa, we met the friendliest locals
of the trip at volcanic Savaii, an island covered in wild flowers.
We also stopped at neighboring Western Samoa, which is more densely
Our last tropical landfall was Tonga, a fascinating place where
the coral groves are so colorful that you can't help but touch
Having visited so many different places, we're frequently asked
which was our favorite. The men on the boat agree that it was
Suwarrow. As for myself, I couldn't begin to chose. Each stop
was priceless in its own way. All in all it's been a great adventure
that's presented us with more experiences and given us more knowledge
than we'd have gotten in 50 normal lifetimes.
- lynn 12/15/03
"The cruising fleet in Costa Rica's Gulf of Nicoya celebrated
Christmas Day at the Hotel Oasis del Pacifico, Playa Naranjo,"
reports John Kelly of the Seattle-based Hawkeye. "This
beautifully landscaped - but under-utilized - hotel was the perfect
location, as it has two swimming pools, a large palapa, along
with laundry facilities - meaning a sink with running fresh water.
For cruisers who haven't been able to do laundry for a month
or more, having unlimited fresh water - and a view of the gulf
- almost made the task of doing laundry by hand a pleasure. People
who participated in the potluck and small gift exchange were
Susan and Brad of the Seattle-based Akauhela; Bruce, April,
Kendall, and Quincy of the Bay Area-based Crowther catamaran
Chewbacca; Peter and Jennifer of the Manistique, Michigan-based
Dreamwalker; John, Vickie, and Dylan of the St. Thomas,
U.S.V.I.-based Firebird; John and Linda of the Seattle-based
Hawkeye; Rickie, Heather, Oden and Kayla of the Gefle,
Sweden-based La Escargot; Bill and Doreen of the Dalles,
Oregon-based Lanaki; Doug and Lisa of the San Diego-based
Mamouna; John, Amy, Jordan, Kendal, and Allison of the Greenwich,
Connecticut-based Nyapa; and Utta and Fergie of the Yuma,
Arizona-based Pipedream. The Northerlies held off until
after the festivities were over, at which time most of the fleet
left the shallow lee shore of Playa Naranjo for the protection
of Isla San Lucas three miles away.
"Some of us reconvened a few days later for a bon voyage
party for La Escargot," continues Kelly. "The
family is currently on their way to San Francisco, where jobs
await Rickie, a shipwright, and Heather, an accountant. Oden,
5, and Kayla, 2, will soon have to wear more than a pair of shorts
- or their 'birthday suits' - for the first time in their lives,
as both children were born and have been raised on the family
boat in the tropics. The family is taking the 'clipper route'
to San Francisco, so the only place they can stop during their
5,000-mile trip - which they estimate will take two months on
their gaff-rigged topsail Colin Archer designed ketch - is remote
Clipperton Island. Rickie built the boat himself 30 years ago."
"My name is Darci, I'm a 14-year-old cruiser aboard StarShip.
We've been out for two years now, and are currently at the Pedro
Miguel Boat Club in Panama, heading for the Caribbean. I read
the January Changes from 13-year-old Sara Nutt, who is
cruising with her family aboard the 60-ft ketch Danza
in the South Pacific. I think she and I might have a lot in common,
so I wonder if you could send me her email address?"
Normally we don't do that kind of thing Darci, but we know that
cruising is sometimes tough for young girls, so we'll make an
exception for you. Try Sara . In return, we'd like you to send us a paragraph
or two telling us what kind of boat you're on, who is in your
family, and where you're from.
Don Thomas of the Peterson 44 Tamure had his boat robbed
while sleeping aboard. Here's his report: "Thursday night
I experienced the fourth attempted theft since leaving Mexico
a couple of years ago. Tamure and I are at the Banana
Bay Marina, which is still probably one of the most secure marinas
I've ever been in. Around midnight, I got up from the aft cabin,
took a pee, and thought I'd look outside. Gazing into the center
cockpit, I saw that a few things had been rearranged and there
was a small canvas bag near the cockpit exit. 'What's this?'
I thought. Going into the salon, I found the cabinet doors were
open and a few items laying about, but up in the V-berth both
briefcases that held manuals and important papers were open and
the contents strewn about. By then I was fully awake and realized
what had happened. A ladron (thief) had walked down the
small beach at low tide, entered the water, swam to the stern
of Tamure, and boarded. I think he was in the process
of ripping my boat off when he heard me peeing, and bailed. I
know he'd been in the water, because the cushions and the salon
deck were wet. I was lucky in several respects. First, all he
got was my backpack, an older pair of binoculars (the new ones
were in an unopened cabinet), and my electric razor. The razor
brings up the second lucky aspect. It was located on top of a
cabinet right next to my bunk, and right below it was a heavy
club-like metal piece that I keep elsewhere. The thief was obviously
ready to strike me with it if I awoke. Needless to say, I'm just
a touch rattled! I guess there's some other lucky aspects, such
as the things the thief didn't get: my computer, the money in
a bowl next to it, the watch next to the razor, the other good
watch above my head, and finally the $1,000 Interphase Probe
depthsounder he had removed and set aside to grab on his way
off Tamure. The latter was still sitting in the cockpit.
He didn't take my passport either, which was sitting out on top
of a briefcase. Last but not least, I think I'm lucky I didn't
"Like I say," Thomas continues, "this was the
fourth theft attempt since leaving Mexico. The first was a mugger
I fought off in Guatemala City; the second one cut my dinghy
painter in Bahia Ballena, Costa Rica (the stainless steel cable
saved it); the third was in San Jose, Costa Rica, where my backpack
with my computer was stolen; and finally this. So far the score
is Thieves: 2. Me: 2. For all of us out cruising - or at least
for me - theft and boat security is our major concern. Banana
Bay and the place next door both have security in inflatables
patrolling the anchorage area, and Banana Bay has a guard on
the dock all night long. Nonetheless, I've ordered four small
motion detectors from Radio Shack, which I should have had all
along. But I pays my money, takes my chances, and hopes for the
best - just like everybody else. It's either that or give cruising
up - and I'm not ready to do that yet."
"You asked for info on what's up in Mexico besides at Paradise
Marina, so we're responding," report Jim and Kate Bondoux
of the Northern California-based motoryacht Lionesse in
Tenacatita Bay. "We arrived from Puerto Vallarta and Chamela
yesterday, and were finally able to enjoy the lunch that had
been interrupted three years ago when Liberté,
our Cheoy Lee 66 motoryacht, caught fire and sank. We're really
happy to be back at Tenacatita, and expect to dive on the remains
of our old boat one of these days. Right now we count 19 sailboats
and six powerboats in the anchorage, which is a few more than
in January of 2000, but less than half of what was here last
year. Our guess is that early last year saw a lot of Puddle Jumpers
who had postponed departures because of 9/11 still here, and
that this year's numbers are closer to normal. A partial list
of sailboats would include, Chaika, Comanche, Content, Corazon
de Acero, Delfin Salar, Dulcinea, Frances V, Gemini, Jake, Lady
Home, Lucida, Mrs. Harrigan, Nakiska, Patches, Penn Station,
Pericles, Shadow Dancer, Star Song, and Tyee. The
palapa is open for business with cervezas at 10 pesos,
and is reportedly serving delicious food. Alas, the French restaurant
that was so popular at the old movie set for a couple of years
has not reopened, but the veggie truck shows up on Fridays at
the outer cluster of beach palapas. We miss Don and Leena Hossack
of the Truckee-based Islander 36 Windward Luv, who were
the Mayor and Queen of Tenacatita Bay for so long, but they have
decided to stay around Mazatlan this season. There are plenty
of activities around the bay this year; we missed the Hearts
tournament, but will be around for the bocce ball game later
today, and the sunset cocktail dinghy raftup this weekend."
"We're on our way back to Puerto Vallarta from Isla Socorro,
one of the remote Revillagigedos Islands that are located about
350 miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta," reports Pete Boyce
of the Manteca-based Sabre 402 Edelweiss II. "We
left on January 7, took just under three days to get there, and
should arrive back in Puerto Vallarta on January 21. Socorro
is a volcanic island with lots of low green plants, including
grasses, cactus, and shrubs. There are no trees or beaches. However,
the water was outstandingly clear, with some coral, lots of colorful
fish - including sharks - and lobster. We caught a 50-lb yellowfin
tuna on the way out to the island, and Blue Chablis caught and
- brought us - a 40-lb wahoo. What delicious eating! They also
gave us a bon voyage present of four lobster, which we ate tonight.
Outstanding! The Mexican navy has a base at Socorro."
We're curious if you got a permit to go to Socorro, or did you
have to stop there for 'emergency repairs'? If you got a permit,
how and where did you get it, and how much did it cost?
Congratulations are due Bruce and Alison Cunard - and children
Sam, 10, Kari, 9, and Holly, 4 - of the Seattle-based Catana
47 Simpatica for winning the multihull division in last
December's West Marine Caribbean 1500 from Hampton, Virginia,
to the British Virgin Islands. They finished the approximately
1,500-mile course in 187 hours, 50 of which were spent motoring.
The Cunards - and their crew Eric Newburger and Megan Alt - also
won the Tempest Trophy, the event's most prestigious award, which
is "emblematic of the spirit of the event." According
to Rally Director Steve Black, "The Cunards and crew were
sufficiently well prepared that they were able to spend time
helping others both before and during the passage, including
a mid-ocean fuel drop to another boat." The Cunards reportedly
took delivery of the boat in Europe about 18 months ago.
The only other West Coast entry in the Caribbean 1500 was Quietly,
Dalton Williams' Mason 43 from Friday Harbor, Washington. She
- like three other entries - was 'delayed', although it wasn't
explained what this means.
"We were very surprised to hear about the loss of the Ericson
39 Pneuma on South Minerva Reef between Tonga and New
Zealand," writes Anne Kilkenny, "because my husband
Jon Naviaux and I cruised on her - then named Folle Independance
- across the South Pacific to Australia from '88 and '91. We'd
like to extend our condolences to owners Guy and Melissa Stevens,
whom we met briefly in Astoria in the fall of '99 as they were
heading south and we were returning from our maiden voyage to
Alaska aboard our new boat Ted K. The loss of our old
boat feels like the loss of a dear old friend."
Here's a continuing sweet story. Bill and Sam Fleetwood met through
a Latitude 38 Crew List Party, got married, did the '97
Ha-Ha aboard their Monterey-based Gulfstar 50 Blue Banana,
and then cruised across the Pacific a few years ago. And they
are still together and still happily cruising. In fact, they
just sent us an email from Mooloolaba, Australia, and asked if
we wanted a story about Dennis Conner and John Bertrand racing
in an Etchells Worlds nearby. We told them we weren't particularly
interested in Dennis or John, but would very much like to hear
more details of their cruising adventures. They've promised to
get back to us on it.
"We just completed a wonderful trip down the coast of Mexico,
delivering a Swan 44 from San Diego to Mazatlan," reports
Capt. Sherwin Harris, who didn't identify the boat. "We
averaged over seven knots and only had to motor about half a
day. We feasted on mahi mahi, and enjoyed all the comforts of
a well-appointed vessel - which included hot showers enroute.
We arrived at Marina Mazatlan at 0200, but were nonetheless greeted
by the local security force, which couldn't have been more courteous
or helpful - as were all the other locals. We stayed for the
breakfast buffet at El Cid, and caught a return flight to San
Diego within eight hours of arriving. What followed couldn't
have been more disappointing, however. Upon our return, we discovered
that the credit card we used to pay for breakfast had been duplicated,
and charges totalling almost $1,000 had been run up before the
credit card company got wise. The thieves probably assumed that
we were cruisers in transit, and therefore wouldn't find out
what was going on until it was too late. Our advice is to never
allow your credit cards to get out of your sight. By the way,
it still may be possible to fake your way in and out of Mexico
with a certified copy of your birth certificate, but get a passport
so you'll know there won't be any problems."
While having a quick drink in the far corner of Le Repaire restaurant
in St. Barthelemy waiting for friends to arrive on a ferry, the
Wanderer unknowingly had his wallet fall to the ground. After
two days of fruitlessly searching for the darn thing, he gave
up and got on the phone to cancel the credit cards and block
the checking accounts. Only the Citibank MasterCard was a problem,
as their phone tree proved to be impenetrable when accessed from
the French West Indies. Here's the irony. Two hours after getting
all the cards cancelled, the Wanderer walked into the Le Repaire
very late at night for a coffee - primarily so Doña de
Mallorca could use the ladies' room. How fortuitous it was that
she had to go, for the owner of the restaurant walked over to
the Wanderer and said, "I have something for you."
It was the Wanderer's wallet, with all the credit cards and cash.
This month's photo of Cherie Sogsti, cruising with her boyfriend
Greg Retkowski of the San Francisco-based Morgan Out-Island 41
Scirocco, finds her at a turtle farm in the Cayman Islands.
"They've released over 30,000 young turtles into the wild
since opening," reports Cherie. Releasing 30,000 sounds
terrific, but in reality nearly 98% die in the first year. The
cute little buggers are like snacks for a host of predators.
In any event, Cherie and Greg have since continued on to Cuba.
We'll have full reports on their adventures in Panama and the
Caribbean in upcoming issues.
"You asked for reports from other places in Mexico besides
Paradise Marina, so we're writing about the outstanding staff
at Marina Palmira in La Paz," advise Don and Mary Lou Oliver
of the San Ramon-based Ericson 38 Cappuccino, who are
currently at - where else? - Marina Paradise. "While anchored
at Isla San Francisco about 50 miles north of La Paz waiting
out another of the nasty Northers that plagued the Sea of Cortez
late last year, Dennis and Lisa from Lady Galadriel asked
us if we'd care to join them and some friends for a Thanksgiving
potluck at Marina Palmira. The idea snowballed, and before Lisa
and the other organizers knew it, 50 people wanted in. Since
that would be a little much for a typical dock party, the marina
staff not only let us use their patio but provided the tables
and chairs. And when it looked like rain, Manuel arranged for
a huge tent. It was a little hard to find turkeys, then we discovered
that boat ovens aren't big enough to handle whole ones. So we
needed to - and this isn't very traditional - cut the frozen
turkeys in half. This was no easy task, and a multitude of instruments
proved to be not up to the job. Then somebody brought a Makita
Sawsall! It took three batteries, but it did the job. Dinner
was incredible, as everyone brought a traditional family dish.
Thanks to those on Lady Galadriel, Magic, Mikelele, In The
Mood, El Regalo, Kwilima, and all the others, we'll always
remember it as a special Thanksgiving. 'Thanks' to Manuel and
the rest of the staff at Marina Palmira.
"The year 2002 was a very busy year for us," report
Andy and Jill Rothman of the Tiburon-based J/40 First Light,
"as we visited 10 countries while sailing 7,000 miles between
Thailand and the Med." We'll have a full report on their
trip in the March issue.
Don and Lynne Sanders, who took off from Benicia many years ago
aboard their Skookum 53 Eilean, report they went around
the world last year. On a 747. They left their ketch at Mooloolaba
on Australia's Sunshine Coast, where she's been based for several
years now, and hopped the plane. Their last flight back to the
boat was from Sacramento, where it was 110°, to Sydney, where
it was 45° and everybody had the flu. Naturally, they caught
it, too. All was well by Christmas, however, it was 80° in
Mooloolaba with a lovely sailing breeze out of the southeast.
"We've been meaning to write because we've had some major
changes in our cruising plans," advise Derek and Emily Fisher
of the Sausalito-based Columbia 31 Tango. "The day
we dropped anchor at Punta de Mita on mainland Mexico in mid-November,
we found out that I was pregnant! This was a surprise, as we
weren't planning on starting a family for a couple of years.
After staying in Puerto Vallarta for a few days, we decided to
head back to the States due to my increasing discomfort - major
nausea - and not knowing much about being pregnant. We had a
great sail back up to Mazatlan, a nasty sail across the Sea of
Cortez, and a thoroughly miserable bash up the Baja coast. We
stayed in Turtle Bay for several days waiting for the systems
hitting California to die down, which they never really did,
so we continued north anyway. We arrived in San Diego three days
before Christmas. All in all, we sailed 3,000 miles at an average
of 4 knots, and were extremely pleased that our 38-year-old boat
performed so well and without any problems. The only casualty
was a torn spinnaker. Miraculously, we managed to sell Tango
in San Diego in less than a week! We are now fast forwarding
to our post-cruising plans a year or so earlier than expected,
and will try living in the Midwest in a home without a diesel
engine for a change. With the baby coming in July no matter if
we're ready or not, it's the end of an era for us."
With all the talk about clearing fees and procedures in Mexico,
it's worth checking what it costs to clear and cruise in other
places. In the British Virgin Islands, checking in - you only
have to do it once - costs $20 U.S., plus $6.50 if it's the first
time you're checking in that year. If you're staying longer than
30 days, visas must be renewed at $25 a person, and the boat
must be temporarily imported for an additional $200. Checking
out at Virgin Gorda is $5 person, while at Jose van Dyke it's
In Puerto Rico, which is more or less the good old U.S. of A.,
it's $25 for U.S. boats to check in, but you only have to pay
it once a year. It's $37 for foreign boats, and that includes
a one-year cruising permit. Foreigners aren't charged for visas.
When it comes to clearing fees and procedures, is the U.S. the
most hospitable or what?
In order to promote marine tourism in Venezuela, back in November
of '91, the legislature made amendments to Article 38, which
deals with foreign vessels checking in and out of that country.
The changes meant that once a foreign vessel less than 40 tons
had checked into the country and paid a fee of 300 Bolivars,
it could move about the country without having to check in with
other port captains. At least this is how the Chamber of Commerce
for the state of Sucre interprets the law. Since many port captains
in Venezuela aren't up to speed on the law, the C of C suggests
that cruisers carry a copy of Article 38 around with them. It
can be downloaded from their Web site. Of course, given the upheaval
in Venezuela these days, it might be best to avoid that area
"After a fine trip from Annapolis to the British Virgins
in November of last year with my friend Stu Wallace," writes
Marc Hachey of the Auburn-based Peterson 44 Sea Angel,
"I had a singlehander who noticed my hailing port drop by
with the latest Latitude,
my favorite rag. I had a good chuckle over the comments made
about the girl's bikini on the August cover. I thought it was
a great photo, but it did get me to thinking about the 'BUMper
sticker' photo of me that had appeared in Latitude. Perhaps
I was exploited? That I had taken a step backwards for the respect
of my fellow man? There were no letters of complaint, so I began
to wonder if nobody cared about me and my feelings. Seriously,
if the people who complained kept their bodies in better shape,
they would have a better appreciation of well-toned bodies, and
they'd show more respect for those of us who aren't ashamed of
how we look. So keep publishing the great photos, as there's
nothing wrong with a little 'eye-candy' for both sexes.
"By the way, last summer my cousin Wayne Hachey sailed from
Cape Cod to Annapolis with me via Long Island Sound, New York
City, the New Jersey coast, the Delaware River, and up through
the C&D Canal and into the Chesapeake Bay. It was a great
trip with some fine sailing. During my two-week stay in Annapolis,
I got to spend some time with Bill and Lisa of Vite, who
I'd met on the 'left coast' of Panama. I also got to talk over
the VHF with old cruising friends John and Barbara from Dream
Weaver, who I expect to bump into down here in the Virgins.
It's just so great to reconnect with cruising friends after being
off the water for a few months. I then returned to the Corrotoman
River, off the Rappahanock, where friends Ray and Elizabeth Berube,
whom I'd first met on my trip north in June, invited me to tie
to the pier where they keep their Sabre 32. With water and power,
it was a real treat to not have to worry about charging the batteries
to keep the refrig running. There were a few frosts while I was
there, so I cannot begin to put a value on the electric heater
that kept the main salon of Sea Angel comfortable. Ray
and Elizabeth were wonderful to me as they invited me to join
them for several meals, offered me the use of their washer and
dryer, allowed me to take hot showers, drove me all around to
get boat parts and provisions, and introduced me to several great
people while I was there. The only negative was that Ray kicked
my butt in cribbage 85% of the time."
For the past several months, we've been listing the big events
coming up in Mexico. Here, for a change, are the big upcoming
events in the Caribbean: Heineken Regatta, St. Maarten, March
7-9. This is serious fun no matter if you race your cruising
boat, race on someone else's boat, or just like to drink and
dance the night away. B.V.I. Spring Regatta, April 4-6. Great
fun in the British Virgins, which because of consistent trades
and flat water, were made for pleasure sailing. Antigua Classic
Yacht Regatta, April 17-22. This side of the Med, there's nothing
that can touch this assemblage of classic yachts, and the Med
can't match the sailing conditions. Bequia Easter Regatta, April
17-21. Bequia is a great little island, and the racing and partying
are a little less intense. Antigua Sailing Week, April 27-May
3. Although we're told this event isn't quite as wild and crazy
as it once was, it's still at the upper limits. But it's at least
worth checking out for a race or two.
But no matter where you sail, make 2003 your best cruising year