With reports this month from
Velera and her not-dead skipper in
Panama's San Blas Islands; from Sea Angel
on the tribulations of leaving your lady for six months a year;
from Sea Wolf on an engineless trip
down the coast of Baja and one to come across the Pacific; from
the March Sailing Madness on Banderas
Bay, including a big photo spread; from Aquarelle
on getting knocked down three times off New Zealand; and an extra
large serving of Cruise Notes.
Velera - Tartan 37
I'm Not Dead
Some of my friends might be wondering what has become of me and
my Tartan 37 Velera. I was going to truck my Tartan from
California to my summer home in Maine, but decided to sail her
around via Panama instead. This made for my first dilemma - was
I on a delivery or a cruise? The two are very different, as one
has an objective and involves speed toward a destination while
the other is about taking your time and the journey being more
important than the destination. I've learned that the two don't
mix, as I've either had to pass up places to make a schedule
or fell hopelessly behind in making any progress toward my destination.
I'm behind right now, but I am making progress.
I left Alameda on December 2 of '05, and made my way south, stopping
at all the usual places - Cabo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco,
Zihua, Huatulco, Barillas in El Salvador, Golfito in Costa Rica,
and Balboa in Panama - as well as a lot of nice stops in between.
I transited the Canal in May of last year, then left the boat
at Bocas del Toro, Panama, for the rainy season. I'm now at Chichime
Cay in the San Blas Islands, where the aquamarine-colored water,
white sand beaches and palm trees are right out of a photo calendar.
I'm besieged daily by kids wanting candy or Kuna women wanting
to sell molas - oops, there's someone knocking on my hull as
I've had a lot of adventures. Among the highs were the 34+ knot
winds that took us from San Diego almost all the way to Cabo
San Lucas in just a few days; nice evenings in Mazatlan, Zihua,
and Panama City; but nothing beats the San Blas Islands and the
nice Kuna people who have somehow managed to preserve their culture
despite welcoming visitors. The biggest lows have been equipment
failures. If you can possibly carry a Hypalon hard-dinghy bottom,
do it, as lesser dinghies are a real liability. And don't buy
a Satphone before checking with other cruisers that it will work
in Central America. Some don't - no matter what kind of coverage
the manufacturer claims. My other equipment failures probably
should have been expected. The 4,200 miles from San Francisco
Bay to Panama is no daysail. We did more motoring than I had
expected, but we did have some glorious sailing.
Another major factor in how enjoyable a cruise will be is how
well things go between you and your crew on longer passages.
I had very good luck with the folks who joined me, but getting
to places to meet their airplanes - coming and going - makes
you tempt the weather gods and pass up nice spots. I've decided
that I would prefer to take my chances singlehanding - with the
20-minute kitchen timer to periodically wake me - than to force
myself into a finite schedule. Based on my experience, it's safer
- and more enjoyable. But I do want to give special thanks to
Jim Ballou, who has done the trip more than once aboard his own
boat, as well as others, who gave me a lot of guidance on where
to stop and where to avoid.
There haven't been any really big surprises on the trip - as
long as you don't count the crazy French sailor aboard the very
nice Amel sailboat in Portobello, Panama. He rammed three boats
and then tried to set them on fire two nights after I anchored
next to him there. So some dangers aren't what you would imagine.
I will be starting north to Florida in April, and hope to reach
Maine by June. I'm going via the islands of San Andreas, Providencia,
Guanaja, and Isla Mujeres to Florida. It will be a major slog
for a singlehander. I will stop on the East Coast, but my goal
is to be in Maine by June. I've done about 4,500 miles, and figure
I have less than 2,700 to go, so I have that in my favor. What's
my rush? I'm going to be the new harbormaster in Castine, Maine,
for the summer. I think it's one of the most beautiful harbors
in the world - although I'm naturally prejudiced.
By the way, there was talk going around back home that I was
dead. I was just out of touch, and am fine, thank you.
- ray 04/05/07
Sea Angel - Peterson 44
'Girl Problems' In The Caribbean
It seems that the longer that I leave my girl Sea Angel,
the more problems she gives me. I had her high and dry in the
yard at Peakes Yacht Services in Trinidad for last season's June
to November hurricane season, making it the fourth in a row that
I've done that. I didn't splash her again until November 10th,
which means that she was out of the water almost six months to
the day. Just to prove that cruising isn't all fun, I'm going
to tell you about the work I did to get her ready for the new
It's much more comfortable to do as many projects as possible
while the boat is in the water as opposed to being on the hard
- especially in the tropics. First off, it's much cooler without
the radiant heat from all that dirt surrounding the keel, and
I can run my water-cooled refrigeration so I'm not having to
buy bags of ice every day for the cooler. In addition, the beer
is much colder next to the cold plate, not to mention the fact
that there's plenty of space to keep a good supply of healthy
food stores. Both beer and healthy food are essential to long,
hard days of working on a boat. And in the early morning hours,
when Mother Nature calls, it's so much nicer to simply step off
the stern rather than have to climb down a 12-ft ladder.
Upon my return to Trinidad, I spent the first couple of days
cleaning and airing out Sea Angel. I had to wipe down
the complete interior with a solution of water, bleach and vinegar
to kill the mold. I also discovered that over the course of the
summer, her 15 tons had caused the large wood blocks under her
keel to settle into the dirt - which, of course, turned to mud
because of all the rain that falls in Trinidad. As a result,
the bow settled slightly, so the rainwater which had found its
way down the mast and into the bilge did not all flow aft to
the bilge pump in the engine room. This standing water in the
bilge added to the humidity level inside the boat, which made
for an environment more conducive to the formation of mold.
I had left my boat with four 110-volt fans set on a timer to
run 18 hours a day to prevent the mold. Alas, the motors on all
four of them burned out. My fans had worked perfectly the previous
two years, so I suspect that there was a power surge that damaged
the motors. I also left bowls of bleach around the inside of
the boat to inhibit the growth of mold. But last year I learned
not to use stainless steel bowls for bleach, because when I did,
the bleach literally dissolved the bottom of the bowls, damaging
the teak shelf on which they had been sitting. Living this cruising
lifestyle is definitely a learning experience!
Some cruisers choose to leave an air-conditioner or dehumidifier
running while on the hard, although it increases the cost of
storage by about $1/day for electricity, plus the cost of renting
or purchasing a machine. If you have something like this running
on your boat, you must then hire someone to look after it on
a regular basis. Locating a dependable person to undertake this
task is not easy in Trinidad - at least based on what fellow
cruisers have told me.
I'm always amazed at how filthy Sea Angel's decks get
after she's been in a boatyard for a period of time. I leave
her with a canvas cover from bow to stern, but the area between
the lifelines and the toe-rail is open for ventilation. This
area allows dirt in the air as well as debris from other boats
to settle on my deck in the cockpit. About one day has to be
invested to clean this mess so part of it isn't tracked into
the just-cleaned interior.
With that done, I'm ready to start on some real projects - ones
where I will be able to feel the satisfaction of a job well done.
For example, this year I decided to replace my original Combi
wind and speed instruments with new B&G equipment. That's
because I could not find parts for the damaged windspeed and
direction sensors on the masthead a few years ago while still
in Mexico. I also decided to install an Interphase forward-scanning
depthsounder. To do so, I removed all the old wiring in the bilge,
removed the old transducers for the speed and depth sensors,
and filled the hole for the depth transducer. I then had to enlarge
the hole for the new speed transducer, so I first filled the
hole with a two-part epoxy putty. After this hardened, I was
able to locate a new center hole for the hole saw, the latter
a tool I brought with me from the States.
With the new transducer installed and the old depth transducer
hole filled, faired and sealed with waterproof epoxy, I was ready
to start giving my boat a fresh bottom job. But first I needed
to polish my hull to protect what is left of my original and
worn gel coat. This is a task I complete each year by hand. It
takes about one day per side of polish-on, polish-off, over and
over again. At the end of those work days something a little
stronger than beer is required to mask the pain emanating from
the shoulders. Thank god for rum!
Sea Angel's bottom is in very good condition, so all I
had to do was lightly wet sand before applying new bottom paint.
The reason I choose to wet sand is to avoid toxic dust, which
means I don't have to wear a respirator. Although I know better,
this year I only wore a pair of work shorts, a tank top, head
wrap and tennis shoes while doing the messy task. I thought I
was doing a good job of rinsing off any drops of water and bottom
paint, but I discovered otherwise that night after my evening
shower. I had a rash on my arms, legs and face - especially around
my eyes - which felt like I had a particle of fiberglass in every
little bump. They hurt and itched at the same time, making it
impossible to sleep in my hot and humid aft cabin. It took at
least three days for this rash to settle down, so believe me,
I won't make that mistake again.
After 10 long days of hard and unpleasant work, Sea Angel
was ready to go back in the water. Launch day is always both
exciting and nerve-wracking, the latter because you always worry
there will be some leak or some mechanical problem will pop up
because the boat hasn't been used in six months. I had connected
a water hose to my raw water intake and started the engine while
on the hard, so I was confident my Perkins would perform - and
she did. But last year I had discovered that my raw water impeller
was damaged prior to being picked up by the Travel-Lift. As a
result, I was able to replace the impeller and remove the pieces
from the heat exchanger tube in advance.
After a successful launch and getting my boat secured to the
jetty, I was now ready to begin my next list of projects, those
which could only be completed while in the water. I had just
removed my canvas covers the day before, so I was able to get
serious about cleaning the decks, cabin tops and dinghy, the
latter having been stored upside down on the foredeck.
A few years ago, I had repainted the smooth areas of my decks
with Petit Easypoxy. I decided it was time to repaint, as that
was the only way I could get rid of the unsightly stains. In
a country where it rains just about every day, any kind of painting
is difficult, but especially the decks and cabin tops. I had
learned this lesson the hard way my first year in Trinidad. What
I discovered was that if I did a small section each day, and
started very early in the morning, the surface had a chance to
dry before the rain started. Fortunately, there is usually a
brief shower, and that's it for the day, but such showers are
just enough to damage any fresh paint.
I was lucky on my first day of painting, as I had great weather.
I was able to paint the entire forward cabin top, being careful
to cut in around all the teak handholds, portholes, hatches and
miscellaneous deck hardware. It was very time consuming and required
lots of concentration, as I brush the paint on without masking
anything off. Alas, when I checked the job the next day, it wasn't
the bright white it was supposed to be, but had a slight peach
tint. Apparently, the can of unopened paint I'd kept dry and
dust free in my paint locker had gone bad! So it took another
week to get that job done right.
After a few trips to the top of the mast with my new wind instruments
and a custom on-site fabricated mounting bracket, the cables
were installed and my new instruments were working. I had not
yet installed my new speed transducer in its thru-hull because
I didn't want it to get fouled at the dock. Chaguaramas Bay,
Trinidad, is notorious for oil spills, as the adjacent commercial
shipyard is known for simply pumping the bilge water of large
ships directly into the bay. This year was no exception, and
within two days of being on the jetty I had a black and gooey
stain above the waterline on my just-polished hull. Oh good,
another project! So I got to go around the entire hull with a
degreaser to clean off the stains - which appeared to remove
most of the new wax I'd just put on. Then one of my four 8D gel
batteries was defective after being replaced just 2.5 year ago,
so I decided to replace it while under warranty. That's turned
out to be a full day's project and - thanks to the Marine Wherehouse,
where I purchased them originally - the replacements cost almost
the same as what I'd originally paid for the batteries. Some
After re-tuning my standing rigging, installing my sails, provisioning
Sea Angel with food supplies for the upcoming months,
including dry goods and filling the freezer, I was about ready
to untie my docklines. I'd been working every day for 34 days.
My first trip was to be a short one, just a three-mile motor
to Scotland Bay. But before I made it, I'd destroyed the cutlass
bearing. I'm trying to figure out if Sea Angel has been
infected with some kind of gremlin or she just doesn't want me
to leave her for so long, as this has been the hardest start-up
- marc 02/15/07
- Warner Cutter
Adam Stone & Jessica Adams
Migration down the Coast of Baja
Hurricane Katrina drove us from our home of New Orleans in the
fall of '05, so we decided to transform our lives by taking advantage
of the qualities that we liked best about ourselves. We moved
to the Bay Area, but it was while we were in Astoria, Oregon,
that we found Sea Wolf, a beautifully maintained 32-ft
gaff cutter without an engine. She'd been designed by Winthrop
Warner and built in Port Townsend in the late '80s. We bought
her and set off for Mexico and beyond in November of last year.
Our initial thought was to make a quick trip to the Mexican mainland,
making only the normal cruiser stops at Turtle Bay, Mag Bay,
and finally Cabo - the latter rumored to have 80-degree water
even in January. We wanted to get south fast because it was so
cold in Ensenada that there was snow on the low mountain at the
edge of town. The locals said they hadn't seen snow on Punto
Banderas in 30 years. We got another surprise - we were expecting
Instead of a fast cruise down the coast of Baja, we ended up
taking 45 days to cover the 750 miles, and we did it daysailing
with three other boats that formed our 'Armada': Petra,
from Tacoma, Madeline from Portland, and Folie Douce,
from San Francisco. There are so many great places to stop along
the Baja coast, but one of our favorites was the Benitos Islands,
which are outside of Cedros Island not quite halfway from San
Diego to Cabo. We anchored near a camp where abalone divers and
langosteros live for the months of their shifts before returning
to their homes on Isla Cedros, which is visible in the distance.
Initially, three men came up in a panga to chat and offer us
fresh lobster and dried abalone. One gregarious fisherman told
us the lobster they'd given us were too small to be sold, but
they wouldn't survive anyway because the fish had bitten their
legs off while they were in the traps. "Lobster legs are
like candy to fish," he said. The fisherman spoke English
wonderfully, having learned from magazines, visiting cruisers
- and the music of Huey Lewis!
The Benitos Island beaches favored by elephant seals were littered
with the rotting bodies of dead baby seals. Italian students,
who wear beautifully coordinated clothes and clean shoes, and
who sleep in elegant tents pitched at even intervals among the
rocks overlooking the anchorage, have come to study the problem.
It is they who have, using hydrogen peroxide, written Italian
names on the hides of the seals.
During a visit to the lighthouse, the local jefe points to one
of the graves in a nearby graveyard, and tells us that's where
the architect of the lighthouse is buried. He was murdered by
his two laborers - "Indians like me." The architect
had apparently been as cruel as he was talented, and one evening
the three of them had been sitting around a card table on which
a loaded pistol lay. The architect apparently said something,
causing one laborer to pick up the pistol and fire. The architect
remains on this windswept and forlorn island, unmourned by abalone
divers and langosteros, but remembered by the lighthouse keeper.
The lighthouse keeper told us that he has felt the presence of
the workmen who, like the architect, are buried beneath the floor
of the old lighthouse. The widening cracks at the edges of the
grave, he says, were made by the hands of dead laborers clawing
at the dirt, their anger at the architect still unappeased. We
went into his brightly colored kitchen, where he offered us abalone
that had been drying under the hot sun for a long time, protected
from the birds by netting. A clock radio played in in the background.
Climbing the peak above the fish camp, we looked out over the
anchorage at our armada - a cutter, a yawl, a sloop and a ketch.
The boats were 26 to 48 feet in length. Ours was the smallest
and the only one without an engine. But in the 20 to 40-mile
days our armada typically did, Sea Wolf sometimes took
the lead, and was never far behind.
By February we'd reached Turtle Bay, where we anticipated an
abundance of grocery stores and restaurants. Far from the beaten
track, the little fishing village is more humble than we expected,
and the one restaurant we'd heard about was mediocre. But when
we asked the owner of the deposito where to find a comida buen
precio, he did us a favor by directing us to a taqueria near
the baseball field. They served delicious carnitas and carne
While at Asuncion, we bought huge fragrant local oranges. We
also saw a long, low building with a tin roof where villagers,
working for a Japanese company, make clamshell buttons. Broken
windows in the building revealed a mountain of shells with uniform
holes. We were told that nobody would be working at the factory
until May when the surf clams have grown large enough to harvest.
We learned about our next stop, Abreoejos, from a friend who
loves to surf. Something about the place seemed instantly familiar.
Maybe it was all the Americans living in trucks and campers on
the hill, who spent most of their time in wetsuits sliding along
in the waves. There was also a cantina with wireless internet
full of ex-pats eating hamburgers. One part of Abreojos is a
posh - relatively - gringo settlement and the other is a basic
fishing village. One morning the guys from our armada stopped
to visit a fishing boat, which had taken shelter from the high
winds. They were invited aboard for lunch prepared by the captain.
Later, the same captain made them a present of pounds of fresh
fish that he himself had cleaned.
After an overnight in Bahia Santa Maria, we headed south to Cabo,
which we'd heard was awful, which made us determined to enjoy
it. After weeks along the sparsely populated Baja coast, it was
a shock to see all the fishing boats rushing about, the fake
schooner Buccaneer Queen packed with tourists speeding
past, and a small boat pulling a paraglider. Once we were ashore,
the time-share folks solicited us from their kiosks. What the
heck, in exchange for several hours of our time, plus a couple
of hard sells, we received prizes, got to enjoy elaborate breakfast
buffets, cash - and even hot showers. We love Cabo! At least
we did for a few days. Before long, the haranguing vendors and
jet ski operators wore us out.
Before leaving Cabo, Jessica found an inexpensive but competent
obstetrician, who said all was well. We then sailed down to Banderas
Bay, and are now about to set sail for the Marquesas - with fond
memories of the serene anchorages and stark landscapes of the
- adam & jessica
Banderas Bay, Mexico
If you thought your bottle of cerveza was half empty, everything
was wrong with this year's 15th Annual Banderas Bay Regatta.
The wind didn't blow hard enough to sail the long courses, the
skies were overcast, the local Catalina 37 fleet decided to play
with themselves on another part of the bay, and nowhere near
as many cruisers participated as should have. If, however, your
bottle of cerveza was half full, everything was right for the
15th annual BBR. The wind was more consistent than for the America's
Cup, the racing in almost all six divisions was very close, the
overcast skies prevented anyone from getting sunburned, and the
regatta was so intimate that, by the time Philo Hayward and his
band blew the doors off the Vallarta YC during the awards ceremony,
just about everybody knew everybody else.
The BBR was, as usual, based out of the wonderful facilities
at Paradise Resort and Marina, and was managed by the Vallarta
YC, located in Paradise Marina, in conjunction with the Regates
Y Deportes Maritimos. Before we get any further, we've got to
pause to salute these folks for having made their mark in hosting
everything from local to top international regattas. In February,
they put on Mexico's J/24 Nationals and the Governor's Cup, and
in early March they hosted the prestigious J/24 Worlds, with
over 70 boats from 17 countries. Despite the fact that it was
a huge production, the yacht club and marina combined to put
on what many veterans of previous J/24 Worlds said was the best
one ever. Despite everyone being a little burned out, they still
rallied to host the 15th annual Banderas Bay Regatta, and this
July will be hosting the Optimist Worlds, with over 200 young
sailors from 20 countries. Of course, none of this would have
been possible with out the great cooperation of Graziano, owner
of Paradise Resort and Marina; Harbormaster Dick Markie and his
staff; and the Vallarta YC and its many volunteers. On behalf
of everyone who benefited from all your tireless efforts, thank
One of the world's deepest mysteries - other than peoples' interest
in Paris Hilton - is why more cruisers don't participate in the
fun and free Banderas Bay Regatta. As it was, there were only
28 entries in six divisions. They ranged in size from a San Juan
24 that is a hurricane Kenna survivor, to Latitude's 63-ft
catamaran. Even though the winds and participation were light,
the close competition and the fact all the competitors became
good friends made for an event that punched well above its weight.
For the record, Kevin Reath's Something Wicked, a Beneteau
40.7, ran away with Class 1, with Frank Glassner's J/120 J/World
finishing second. In Class 2, John Haste's Perry/Antrim 52 cat
Little Wing bested Eric and Dana Jones' Seawings tri Seawings.
In Class 3, Platinum, Mark and Clair's N/M 45, tied with
Craig Alger's Beneteau 42 Page One, but took honors via
the tie-breaker. In Class 4, the "one and only" Eugenie
Russell, and her crew of Greg Dean, Molly McMahon, and Mark Passis
on J/80 #5 bested the other two J/80s. In Class 5, Charles Naslund's
Catalina 30 Saber Vivir 30 nipped Paul Whitfield's Islander
36 Casablanca by just a few seconds to earn a quarter
point victory. In Class 6, Jody Ward's lovely wood Lapworth 36
Eros, sailing with local kids, bested Nicole Bachmann's
San Juan 24 Mita'z Pizza for top honors.
As usual, the Banderas Bay Regatta was preceded by two days with
Latitude's Pirates for Pupils fundraising spinnaker run
from Punta Mita to Paradise Marina. About 10 boats participated
in ideal conditions, with nice wind, brilliant blue skies and
typically flat seas. About $1,000 was raised by folks who came
aboard the various boats, and another $1,000 was chipped in by
members of last year's Ha-Ha. Thanks to everyone for their contributions.
And wasn't the 'first day of spring' parade, with all the local
kindergarteners dressed up in gaudy prom outfits, a hoot?
With the opening of the 450-berth La Cruz Marina expected for
about December of this year, Banderas Bay, one of the best places
to pleasure sail in the entire world because of reliable wind,
flat water and great nearby sailing destinations, will have three
major marinas within a 10-mile stretch. If there isn't an increase
in cruiser racing and cruiser cruising on the bay, plus growing
rivalries between the marinas, we'll be surprised. We've also
learned that Eugenie Russell, Commodore of the Punta Mita Yacht
and Surf Club, and Latitude 38 have decided that the Pirates
for Pupils fundraiser will become a three-day North Shore Cruisers'
Rally on December 6, 7 and 8. The first night will be to La Cruz
for a noisy night of music and dancing at Philo's, followed by
a cruise the next day to Punta Mita for surfing and more music
and dancing at the Punta Mita Y&S Club, followed on Saturday
by the traditional spinnaker run back to Paradise Marina. Best
of all, the event will feature three days of racing between the
destinations, pitting John Haste's Perry 52 cat Little Wing
and Lisa Zittel's J/80 J/World representing the Vallarta
YC, against Latitude's Profligate and Eugenie Russell's
J/80 J/World 2, representing the Punta Mita Yacht &
Surf Club. If you like fun, you might want to be there.
The Banderas Bay Regatta will be held in early March.
- latitude 04/15/07
Aquarelle - MT-42 Cutter
Ken and Diane Kay
We had to return to Nelson, New Zealand, after departing for
Australia and running into bad weather that caused a lot of problems.
Here's what happened:
We finished with Kiwi Customs early on April 12 and, along with
our crew Graeme, headed for 1,000-mile-distant Sydney in calm
conditions. The forecast had been for15 knots until Friday -
the 13th - afternoon when winds were to peak at 30 knots along
with 10-ft swells. Late that night it was supposed to ease back
to 15 knots.
The 30-knot winds arrived early Friday evening, so we decided
to furl the staysail and put a triple reef in our main. Despite
the forecast of winds to just 30 knots, it built to gusts of
40 knots with 12-ft seas. Ken took the helm at 11 p.m., at which
point the wind increased to 55 knots with ever-growing seas.
Two hours later, he was violenty ill, vomiting every few minutes
until he was down to the dry heaves.
Graeme came on watch at 3 a.m., at which time the wind was blowing
58 knots and the seas were upwards of 30 feet. An hour later,
our Taiwan-built Ted Brewer design took her first knockdown.
The sound was unbelievable! The wind had been howling so loud
that we could barely hear each other inside the salon, and out
in the cockpit it was horrendous. The wave that broadsided us
had sounded like a bomb going off! We couldn't believe that our
rig - a new mast, LeisureFurl boom, and two furlers that we put
on before leaving California - was still standing.
By then Ken was lying helpless in the dinette, stuffed in between
some pillows. At least when he was on his side he stopped wretching.
But even for Graeme and me, it was impossible to stand - and
even crawling was extremely difficult. I had taken a few pills
during my early evening watch, but about the time of the first
knockdown I'd become violently seasick myself. Even though our
companionway had been closed, the knockdown flooded our boat
via hatches and the Vetus vents. And unknown to us at the time,
a port up in the V-berth area had burst open, allowing water
to continually pour into the boat.
Because Aquarelle had been on a port tack at the time
of the knockdown, gallons of water had flooded the instrument/electrical
panel and much of everything else. It was a real mess, as the
cupboards had all opened up and emptied their contents out. The
sole of the boat was covered with a watery mess that included
food - a dozen broken eggs plus other stuff - charts, the contents
of the cupboards, and, of course, vomit. By this time there wasn't
one dry thing on the boat. Every cushion, mattress, book, piece
of clothing, blanklet and towel had been drenched.
When I clipped into my harness at 7 a.m. on Friday morning, I
was experiencing sheer pee-in-my-pants terror, as the sea was
just a series of frothy white mountains of breaking water. Wave
after wave pounded Aquarelle, and the way she shuddered
unnerved me. I began to shake and felt as though I was going
to become hysterical. By then we were approximately 100 miles
off New Plymouth, and I shouted down to Ken and Graeme that I
wanted to turn back.
Moments later Aquarelle was knocked down a second time.
Again the boat filled with water. Ken managed to crawl from his
berth to the radio, where he attempted to call Maritime Radio
for a weather update. It was then that we realized that we'd
lost all our electronics. The computer was gone, too, sloshing
around in the saltwater slop on the sole. The SSB, radar, and
all the other electronics in our nav station had been knocked
out. Only our old VHF radio had managed to survive, but the signal
from Maritime Radio was very weak.
The three of us agreed that we should head back to Nelson. Ken,
Graeme and I all gathered in the cockpit in our foulies, which
by this time we'd been sleeping in. We'd been under power for
a number of hours, and Ken noticed that a running backstay line
was dragging in the water. Clipping into a jackline, Graeme volunteered
to leave the cockpit and get the line before it fouled in the
prop, which would have left us helpless in the massive seas.
After successfully retrieving the line, Graeme started to return
to the cockpit. But just as he unclipped his tether and leaned
over the coaming, Aquarelle was knocked down a third time
- and Grame was washed head-over-heels off the boat! Ken scrambled
to grab onto Graeme, who was hanging onto the lifeline as the
boat rolled once more. Somehow, he was able to pull Graeme back
aboard as Aquarelle righted herself. It was incredible!
By then we were all scared out of our wits. The wind was gusting
to well over 60 knots and there were 35-ft swells - Force 12.
The following hours were pure hell. With no navigation equipment,
our paper charts lost to the sloshing slop, and the storm still
raging, we crawled into our small and wet holes to wait out another
terrifying night. Ken and Graeme 'stood' their watches by lying
on the floor of the pilothouse in full foul-weather gear, sliding
back and forth as Aquarelle was punished by the seas for
hour after hour. Every 20 minutes they'd crawl up the companionway
to make sure we still had a rig. By this time I was in a state
of shock, shaking with fear and vomiting violently.
Saturday dawned with lighter winds - just 48 knots - and Ken
and I were no longer sick. We were all still badly shaken from
the ordeal, particularly Graeme going overboard, but we were
beginning to think we might actually make it back to New Zealand.
We made more attempts to reach Maritime Radio for waypoints,
which we were able to put into our handheld GPS, our only remaining
piece bit of electronic navigation equipment.
We finally approached the Nelson breakwater shortly after 9 p.m.
on Saturday. But when we asked for a heading into the harbor,
the officials declined to give it to us! They said it would be
"illegal" for them to do so. Thus we bumped along the
breakwater wall in the dark until we found the right spot. Fortunately,
I was able to recall the layout of the harbor and get us back
to the dock. New Zealand Customs was, naturally, right there
to greet us and made us go through the entire clearing procedure
again. At this time we are cleaning up the boat and taking stock
of the damage, but will be flying back to the States to decide
where we want to go from here. But at least we're still alive
and Aquarelle's rig is still up.
- diane 04/18/07
Diane - Three knockdowns in just a couple
of hours? We can't remember the last time a cruising boat reported
conditions that bad to Latitude.
We're glad that you and your boat made it through so well.
"We've survived 'Pirate Alley' and the Bab el Mandeb (Gates
of Hell) at the southern end of the Red Sea, and are now north
of Massawa, Eritrea, making our way north toward the Med,"
report Sam and Bill Fleetwood of the Monterey-based Gulfstar
50 ketch Blue Banana. "We went through the 'Bab'
in 35 knots of wind and huge seas, but at least they were from
aft. Ever since then, we've been sailing into northerlies. Sometimes
it's light enough that we can sail, but often we're up against
25 knots and big, close-together seas that almost bring our 20-ton
boat to a halt. Sometimes we venture out for a few hours, and
make a few miles, but have to turn back. After we had our paint
job/refit done in Phuket, we suffered from terrible leaks during
heavy rains or when pounding into big seas. We weren't sure where
the water was getting in, but after seeping through the lockers,
there were actual rivulets of water running across our new teak
sole! We lost a lot of clothes, food and books. So while in Aden,
Yemen, we took all 14 chainplates apart and dug out all the Sikaflex.
We put new Sikaflex in, covered it with a slice of Bill's old
neoprene wetsuit, then put the chainplates back on. We haven't
had any leaks since. We hope this tip might help some Latitude
While at Strictly Sail in Oakland last month, we bumped into
Jerry Morgan of the San Francisco-based Trintella 53 Sumatra.
He looked significantly leaner, healthier and younger than he
did during the Ha-Ha two years ago. "It's the cruising life,"
he laughed. "Originally we were going to go to Europe, but
it's so expensive over there that we cruised down to Bahia Caraquez,
Ecuador, instead. It's fabulous! The people are wonderful, we
anchor out for free, and all the food and restaurants are very
inexpensive. It costs us less to cruise than it did for us to
live and work back in the States. In addition to our travels
on the water, we've made a number of inland trips to the capital
of Quito, Peru's Machupicchu, and other great places."
For the last decade, Ecuador has had a new president about every
35 minutes, and right now it has parallel groups claiming to
be Congress. Morgan says that kind of political infighting two
miles high in the capital hasn't had any effect on life at sea
level. He also reports that everybody flying to Ecuador's Galapagos
Islands now has to pay $100 as soon as they step off the plane,
as the government is trying to reduce tourism to stop its deleterious
effects on those fabled islands. Yachties, however, haven't yet
had to pay the $100/person fee and have been allowed to stay
for two weeks. After a visit to the Galapagos, Sumatra
will cross to the Marquesas.
While cruisers are still being welcomed at the Galapagos Islands,
it's hard to tell what the future holds. Under pressure from
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, Ecuador's new President Rafael Correa is considering
various options, including limiting tourist permits, to fight
the environmental degradation of the islands. There's no doubt
that the Galapagos, located 620 miles off the coast of South
America and famed for inspiring Charles Darwin's Theory of
Evolution, are facing major ecological problems. And small
wonder. When we first started Latitude, hardly anybody
went to the Galapagos by any means, and hardly anybody lived
there. Massive tourism and the jobs it creates have changed all
that. The Galapagos are now home to 25,000 not-very-neat residents,
including 5,000 people who are there illegally, and including
some government officials and military officers who have allowed
illegal fishing. Although yachts are still being welcomed to
the Galapagos with limited restrictions, don't count on that
being the case for much longer.
Speaking of Ecuador, Dave Crane of the Oceanside-based Freeport
41 Revenir reports that Saiananda is a new facility for
cruisers and others in the Bahia Caraquez area. "The facility
is run by Alfredo Harmsen, a biologist who has turned his rambling
riverfront home into a B&B eco resort, and amenities include
moorings, a floating dinghy dock, hot showers, and lots of animals
on the grounds. Sainanda is located six miles up the estuary
from the mooring buoys at the established Puerto Amistad cruisers'
yacht club, and the owners have recently installed new helical
screw anchors directly into the river bottom so the moorings
can handle boats from 30 to 60 feet. When we first arrived, we
moored Revenir at Puerto Amistad, but moved up to Saiananda
two years ago. It's more isolated from the sometimes all-night
noise of boisterous Bahia, yet is only an 18-cent, 15-minute
bus ride from the heart of the city. Harmsen can be contacted
by . We've
been in and out of Bahia Caraquez for three years now, enjoying
the San Diego-like climate, and the location's ease of crossing
to and from Panama and Costa Rica and its proximity to the Galapagos.
Does anybody remember Eli and Sara Bottrell, the young San Francisco
couple who bought Geja, the Bay Area-based Islander 36
that Dick and Sandy Shirley sailed most of the way around the
world over a period of 15 years? What made the deal interesting
is that the price was low, just $10,000, if we remember correctly.
What made the deal more interesting is that the boat was on the
hard in Spain, so most folks who were going to bid on the boat
were going to have to do it sight unseen. We at Latitude
thought that even if Geja was pretty badly trashed, she'd
still make a great deal for a young couple seeking a low-cost
sailing adventure in the Med. The Bottrells agreed and immediately
bought the boat. They've now been in Spain for a few weeks, and
despite a mountain of work and cleaning up that has to be done,
have gotten lots of help from locals and the members of the San
Francisco Bay Islander 36 Association, and are very happy with
the deal. They hoped to get the boat back in the water before
the beginning of May, and we hope to have a report in the next
It's rare for a cruising cat to flip, but even rarer for one
to be flipped twice. Nonetheless, that's apparently what happened
to Paradox, a cat that started life in '96 as an F/P Tobago
35, and was most recently owned by Tom and Stanna Galbraith of
Durango, Colorado. We're not sure how the cat came to be upside
down in Belize's Rio Hondo in '01, but it's our understanding
from some fascinating video on the couple's website that, using
a small tug, they managed to have the cat righted. As the boat
had been upside down long enough for there to be growth several
inches long throughout the interior and on the deck of the boat,
it was a disgusting-looking mess, and you can imagine the condition
of the wiring and electronics. But the Galbraiths obviously saw
possibilities and, after what had to be endless months of dreadful
work, ended up with a cat, stretched to 38 feet, that looked
smashing. And based on other photos on their website, they had
a ball cruising the western Caribbean.
However, according to reports on the web and from the Coast Guard,
things went south on April 11 when the couple were sailing from
Key West to Tampa. They were hit by a squall which increased
the windspeed from 11 to 48 knots, immediately flipping the cat.
The 60-year-old Tom grabbed his wife and pulled her into the
hull where they kept the tools and wetsuits. While it had to
be creepy inside the overturned hull, they knew the cat wasn't
going to sink, and there was plenty of air. Having heard only
one ping from the EPIRB, Tom realized that the EPIRB signal wasn't
getting out. So the next day he drilled a hole in the bottom
of the hull - which was now above their heads - and stuck the
EPIRB antenna out. The EPIRB immediately started pinging away.
Coast Guard Miami got the signal and launched a search plane
at 5 p.m., finding the overturned cat an hour later some 171
miles southwest of Tampa. A rescue helicopter arrived on the
scene at 8:30 p.m. and hoisted the couple aboard. Neither Tom
nor Stanna were in need of medical treatment, but had only managed
to come away with $1,500 and some papers. Family members report
they have no interest in restoring the cat a second time.
The last six months have been hard on the reputation of catamarans.
Last December, the Voyager 440 Catshot was flipped and
beached during a furious storm - that was forecast well in advance
- during a delivery from San Francisco to Seattle. None of the
three crew were found. A short time later, a 45-ft catamaran
being delivered from France to Annapolis was flipped in another
very bad storm, this time near Bermuda. The delivery skipper
died of hypothermia as a rescue helicopter arrived, but the two
crew survived. And now Paradox is flipped and likely lost.
If you're thinking of buying a catamaran, we, who have owned
a catamaran for more than a decade, want to leave you with two
thoughts. First, the size of a cat really does contribute to
stability. According to multihull designer Chris White's book
on multihulls, if you double the size of a cat, the stability
increases 16 fold, all else being equal. Second, if you're on
a cat and the wind is very strong or a squall is approaching,
somebody must have their hand on the mainsheet and/or traveller,
ready to ease at a second's notice. Being badly overpowered on
a monohull can result in a knockdown that might bruise you and
make a mess of the interior of your boat, but being badly overpowered
on a cat can turn your whole world upside down.
Despite the rash of well-publicized reports of problems with
cruising cats, the desire for catamarans continues to increase.
Charter companies around the world are increasing the percentage
of cats in their fleets, and more private parties on the west
coast and elsewhere continue to express an interest in moving
over to the dark side.
"We just submitted an ad to Latitude that starts
off: Jellybean is for sale!" writes Marlene Verdery,
co-captain of the Sausalito-based Pearson 36 Jellybean.
"We're buying a Manta 40 cat, currently located in St. Augustine,
Florida, and are flying back there to bring her down to Panama,
through the Canal, and up to La Paz by late June. We've obviously
been bitten by the cruising bug, and hope to be 'out there' indefinitely
- except for summers when Roy will continue working as a hospitalist."
Congratulations on your new boat! We know you didn't ask, but
delivering a new-to-you 40-ft cat from Florida to La Paz in two
months is a very ambitious plan, particularly when the second
of those two months is in part of hurricane season in Mexico.
If we might be so bold, we suggest that you consider sailing
your cat to Panama and leaving her at Bocas del Toro for the
summer while Roy works. Then, in October or November, you can
cruise to the San Blas Islands, a place we bet you'd love to
spend a month or more, then begin working your way north to Central
America, Mexico and the Sea of Cortez.
Another sailor who has gone over to the dark side is Bob Willman
of Golden, Colorado. He did the '00 Ha-Ha board his Islander
37 Viva!, then often cruised in company with Steve Cherry
of Witch of Endor, taking four years to reach Ecuador.
Two years ago, both of them came through the Ditch to visit the
Caribbean side of Panama, the San Blas Islands, and Cartagena.
But five years to the day after Willman started his sailing career,
Viva! fell victim to a hurricane that formed over Isla
Providencia, where he and Cherry were anchored. Willman spent
the next six months as a "privileged guest" aboard
the Witch. "I finally left the Witch in Florida
to begin a full-time search for a catamaran, and found the right
boat, an '89 F/P Casamanse 44 that had been stretched to 47 feet.
I love the cat - but it did take me awhile to learn to feel the
wind without heeling. The new Viva! is more performance-oriented
than most of the catamarans on the market, and definitely a better
sailor than I am - which isn't saying that much. Eventually I
will introduce my new Viva! to the Sea of Cortez - the
best cruising grounds I've ever found. And a place where I can
get my Latitudes regularly."
We became green with envy when we received this report. Annibale
'Ni' Orsi, formerly of Stockton, reports that he is now on his
way from Aracaju, Brazil, where his new Dolphin 460 catamaran
Finalmente was built and fitted out with air-conditioning
and other stuff, to Italy by way of the Azores. Along for the
lengthy trip and Atlantic crossing are Ray Hawkins of Modesto,
Randy Sparks of Santa Cruz, and Roberto Lux Teixeira of Sao Paulo.
While in the Azores, they will be joined by Urban Gomes of Angel's
Camp. Upon reaching the Med, they will drop by Valencia to try
to catch some of the America's Cup action, then continue on to
Santa Margherita, gateway to Portofino, Ni's new home, which
they expect to reach by May 17th. At that point, they'll have
the entire summer before them on the Italian Riveira. La dolce
vita, baby! Ni says he plans to stay in Italian waters for two
To be honest, we had no idea if Annibale was a man or woman,
so we had to sheepishly inquire. "My Italian name comes
from Hannible, the man who rode elephants over the Alps,"
Ni responded, "and my wife is Krissy. Although I was a member
of the '60 U.S. Waterski Team, and placed the highest of any
American in the '64 Winter Olympics in downhill racing, I've
had boats my whole life. Jeff Canepa got me started in Hobie
14s, 16s and 18s, Ray Hawkins and I are longtime Columbia 5.5
racers from the Stockton Sailing Club, and my Cal 27 pop-top
is a past winner of the Stockton to South Tower Race. And I still
own Miss Pam, a Garwood Commodore 20 classic speedboat
that my father bought new in 1946. Ciao!"
"Plop, plop, fizz, fizz!" writes Steve Cherry of the
San Diego-based big Witch of Endor, a Vagabond 47. "Yesterday
was a red-letter day for me. First, little Witch of Endor,
the Formosa 41 that I cruised for so many years, finally sold.
It's a relief to be back to only owning one cruising boat again.
I hated to see the Little Witch sitting on the hard, exposed
to the ravages of the Northeastern weather, and now she'll get
back in the water and get the attention she deserves. Second,
the results from my mid-term cat scans showed no indication of
any kind of cancer. After four more biweekly chemo infusions,
all my treatment will be history. Third, my new boat, Big
Witch, is sitting on the hard at Indian River Boatworks in
Fort Pierce, Florida, and the engine has been overhauled, she's
gotten a new shaft, new cutlass bearing, and new motor mounts
have been installed. The new dodger is almost on, the masts have
been pulled and painted, and a new Muir windlass will soon be
installed. Also coming are the refrigeration, radar, roller furling
staysail and a lot of other odds and ends. When that's all done,
I'll be expecting to meet up with my longtime buddyboating friend
Bob Willmen as he sails north to the Chesapeake Bay in May or
June aboard his new-to-him catamaran. We'll muster again in November
or December, maybe in Beaufort, South Carolina, then head down
to the Caribbean via the Bahamas, Luperon in the D.R., then down
the Eastern Caribbean to Venezuela, then Cartagena - where I'll
get a new gelcoat put on - to Bocas del Toro, Panama, then through
the Canal to the Pacific. Once there, we'll bounce back and forth
between Panama and Mexico as the hurricane seasons dictate. Hey
everyone, get that colonoscopy!"
The first of this year's Puddle Jump group turned out to be the
father and son team of David Kelly and his 20-year-old son Patrick,
assisted by the self-described "boat wench" Carly Dennis
of the Cal 30 No Regrets. Up until two years ago, David
and Patrick were longtime powerboaters who had honed their skills
in the Santa Cruz Sea Scouts. Nonetheless, they made the P.V.
to Marquesas passage in 23 days.
Puddle Jumpers Steve and Susan Chamberlin, along with crew A.J.
Benham and John Gillespie, set a rapid crossing standard with
their Pt. Richmond-based Schumacher 46 Surprise. The veterans
of five crossings with the boat already, they completed the 2,800
or so miles to the Marquesas in 16 days. "Our whomper, a
165% jib top, had us sailing as fast as the wind in light reaching
off the coast, as we made 189 miles in 24 hours in just 8 to
10 knots of wind." The boat had no real problems until after
they anchored at Tahauku on Hiva Oa, While they were anchored
to check in and get provisions, the rudder slammed down hard
on the bottom during a large swell at night. The impact shattered
the master link in the steering gear and badly twisted the autopilot
mounting bracket. The rudder, which has many layers of carbon
fiber, was undamaged and, using the emergency tiller, the Chamberlins
were able to motor to a calmer anchorage and make repairs.
Jonesy and Terry Morris of the Chula Vista-based Gulfstar Sailmaster
50 Niki Wiki report there is apparently a new marina in
the offing near Zihua. Miami-based Related International announced
they will be building a resort on a three-mile stretch of beach
between the Zihua airport and downtown that will include "a
180-room hotel, 400 residences, an 18-hole golf course and a
marina." There was no word on the size of the marina, which
is one part of Related's $1 billion investment in Mexican coastal
"One of the best-kept secrets in the Zihua area is the haulout
facility at Marina Ixtapa and its 130-ton Travel-Lift,"
reports Dick Locke of the Walnut Creek-based Tayana 47 Tanoshii.
"I'd been in Zihua for three weeks before I'd ever heard
of it. I have a friend who was about to make a pre-Puddle Jump
trip all the way back up to Puerto Vallarta because he hadn't
heard about the yard either! The yard, operated by Performance
Marine, just opened, and there's not much more there than the
level concrete surface, jackstands, and the Travel-Lift. But
they have hired a few workers away from the Opeqimar yard in
Puerto Vallarta, and seem to be making a serious effort to become
a success. It's great to have another pleasure boat- oriented
yard on the west coast of Mexico."
Thanks for the report. The only downside for do-it-yourselfers
hauling their boats in Marina Ixtapa, as opposed to P.V., Mazatlan
or La Paz, is that Marina Ixtapa, tucked back from the sea, is
very hot and humid, even in the dead of winter.
"What brings former cruisers the warmest memories of their
cruising years?" rhetorically ask Jan and Signe Twardowski
of the Gig Harbor-based Sundeer 64 Raven. "For most
of us, it wasn't so much the places we went - although they were
wonderful - but the people we met along the way. We have such
fond memories of Jean-Marie and Emiliane and their family in
Makemo in the Tuamotus; Teata, our dinner hostess in Fatu Hiva;
Becko the pearl carver; and so many others. As for our fellow
cruisers, they became like family, as we shared exotic adventures,
joyous celebrations - as well as difficulties at sea, illness
and injury. For us, that was our 'real world', never to be forgotten,
and always a pleasure to recall with close friends.
"Our Puddle Jump Class of '02 was a pretty tight group,"
continue the Twardowskis. "We got organized in P.V. before
jumping off and going our own ways through the islands, but had
reunions all over the South Pacific - Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Fakarava,
Moorea, Vava'u, Auckland during the America's Cup, and at Musket
Cove. Heck, we had reunions at just about every other island
through the South Pacific. Five wonderful years later, almost
all of us have or are heading back to the West Coast, either
by sailing uphill, Dockwise-ing, or selling our boats in New
Zealand or Australia. Two of the best-known exceptions are Pete
and Susan Wolcott of Hawaii, who have replaced their SC52 Kiapa
with a new M&M 52 custom cat built by Schooner Creek in Portland,
and who, after cruising Alaska this summer, will be heading across
the Pacific again. And, Keith and Susan Levy of the Richmond-based
Catalina 47 C'est La Vie, who can't wait to get back to
their boat in Australia early next year to resume cruising.
"Those enjoying the festivities in San Diego included Paul
Zack and Mary Taylor of the Long Beach-based Tayana 37 Avventura;
John and Arianna Flook of the Passport 40 By Chance; Keith
and Susan Levy of the previously mentioned C'est La Vie;
Debbie and Al Farner of the Richmond-based Valiant 40 Different
Worlds; Clark and Suzie Straw of the San Diego-based Mason
54 Final Straw; Adrian and Paula Fournier of L'Eau
Life; Dave and Gay Rutter of the Seattle-based Perry 57 Mobisle;
John and Diane Anderson of Rag'n Dragon; John and Lynette
Flynn of the Grand Soleil 46 White Hawk, and us. We all
loved the cruising life and vow to keep the reunions going in
the future. We relish every copy of Latitude to help us
continue leading this 'real life', even if vicariously, and thank
you for all the information, encouragement and support that you
provided. By the way, we sold our Raven to a Tucson couple
who are friends of Steve and Linda Dashew, and she's still cruising
the South Pacific."
"I thought I'd say 'hello' to let everyone know that I'm
off on another sailing trip," writes Quinn Closson of the
San Diego-based Roberts 53 Tequila. "I sailed her
to Australia two years ago after the Ha-Ha, and soon I'll be
sailing her home. In fact, if you know any cute girls looking
for some adventure, I'm their guy. I've already been down to
the boat for 10 days to survey her for the trip, although while
there, I bumped into some local girls and somehow a lot of rum
got consumed. By the way, I'm sure many of the folks who did
the '05 Ha-Ha with us will remember Mike. He not only played
a key role in all our shenanigans, but sailed all the way to
Australia with me."
Closson is one of those folks who was pretty much a sailing novice
before the start of the '04 Ha-Ha. In fact, once he and Tequila
were almost to the first stop at Turtle Bay, their experienced
crew claimed it was too rough, and made him turn around and sail
all the way back to Ensenada to drop them off. But Quinn and
Mike were undeterred and, despite having to sail about 300 extra
miles, managed to catch up with the fleet as it was about to
depart Turtle Bay.
We always love to hear about folks making great voyages in small
boats. By the time you read this, singlehander Jack van Ommen
of the Gig Harbor, Washington-based Naja 30 Fleetwood
should be far past St. Helena in the South Atlantic and have
made landfall at Brazil. He doesn't have that far to go to complete
From bikes to boats for the Bash. We bumped into Richard Owens
of Mill Valley, who was getting ready to do a bash from Puerto
Vallarta to San Diego with his Norseman 525. Knowing it would
be cold north of Cabo, he'd bought a biker's electric heating
vest - the kind that normally gets plugged into a motorcycle's
electric system. "I put a 12-volt plug into my cockpit console,
so when I'm in the cockpit I've got my heated vest, my Ipod and
my autopilot." We think that noise is Bernard Moitessier
rolling over in his grave. By the way, when not sailing, Owens
is into golf, not bikes.
If you're going to be keeping your boat in Venezuela for the
hurricane season, you'd better keep your eye out for inflation
- and meat! President Chavez's so-called 'Bolivarian Socialism'
has raised the real incomes of the poor - who comprise 58% of
the population - by 135%. That's a wonderful thing. However,
thanks to foreign exchange controls, inflation, and to a tiny
degree the fact that President C is giving fuel subsidies to
some poor Americans, inflation is rampant and has therefore provoked
conspiculous consumption. The results are sometimes humorous,
such as Govenor Luis Acosta Corlez, a Chavez supporting, blasting
critics by saying, "Don't revolutionaries have the right
to own Hummers, too?" The noise you hear this time is Che
rolling over in his grave. A Hummer, by the way, costs $180,000
U.S. in Venezuela. The not-so-funny part of inflation and price
controls is that beef is almost impossible to find in the stores.
Why? Because butchers can sell it on the black market for four
times the official price. That's the downside of un-free markets.
We wonder if there are shortages of bottom paint, too.
Tom Perkins of Belvedere took Maltese Falcon, his 289-ft
Dyna-Rigged giga-yacht, to St. Barth for the 'Bucket' in early
April to duke it out - in friendly fashion - with 30 other yachts,
most of which were well over 100 feet. He reports that he was
very pleased with his boat's 'wow factor', but even more so with
her starts. Perkins reports his football field-long yacht was
never more than two seconds late in crossing the line. "If
we do say so for ourselves, we think that's awesome!" But
what we really would have liked to see in person was Falcon
crossing the finish line doing 18.8 knots! Maltese Falcon
is already on her way back to the Med, where she'll race in the
Palma Superyacht Regatta in June.