We’re pretty sure every boat registered in the Bay Area left its slip on Saturday to join in some Fleet Week fun and catch the annual Air Show. As expected, several teams of crazy-skilled pilots served up some amazing acrobatics, concluding with the headlining Blue Angels.
Boats may have jockeyed for the best position outside the strictly-enforced restricted zone between Alcatraz and the Cityfront, but we didn’t hear of any major cases of ‘bumper boats’.
Even though rec boats seemed to stay out of each other’s way, the same can’t be said for commercial traffic. One big boy didn’t even bother with the standard five toots – he just laid on the horn for about a minute.
Even if air shows leave you less than thrilled, Saturday was a fantastic day to go sailing. Moderate breezes and warm air made for absolutely perfect sailing conditions. And though seemingly every Bay boat was out enjoying the day, there was room for everyone.
Because Bob Bechler has done several Baja Ha-Has and several Pacific Puddle Jumps aboard his Gulfstar Sisiutl, he’s become sort of a ‘roving reporter’ for Lat 38. A few weeks ago he wrote in about the South Pacific Games, and the opening of a new marina in Apia, Samoa, a place which had previously been thought of as having few facilities for cruisers:
"Sisiutl rounded the Horn…..no, not THAT one! This Horn is the point inside the harbor in Apia, Samoa. We arrived after a passage from Suwarrow just in time for the opening of the 13th South Pacific Games and the newest marina in the South Pacific. The South Pacific Games are held every four years and is an Olympic style competition of island countries throughout the Pacific. This year 100s of competitors from 22 countries participated in 33 sports. Smaller teams from Niue, Norfolk Island, and Tokelau joined large contingents from Tahiti, New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, and American Samoa. All but one country left with at least one medal in the games and a good time was had by all, competitors and spectators.
"The new marina was funded by the Samoa Port Authority and built by Bellingham Marine at a cost of $1.25 million. Phase one provides 47 slips. Phase two will add another 36 slips and other amenities such as new restaurants, shops, common area on shore, showers, etc. The fees for using the marina are the same as anchoring in the harbor to encourage use of the marina. The fees range from approximately $12/day for a 10.5 meter boat, $20/day for 16 meter, and up to $40/day for a 30 meter boat. Power at the slip is 220v so a transformer is needed for those of us wired for 110v. There is a security guard on duty 24/7 and leaving the boat unattended is not a problem. Apia was always a nice place to stop but gone are the days of tying up to the barge to check in and getting your boat tattooed by the big tire bumpers and the slippery, crowded dinghy landing. The new marina is one more reason to bypass American Samoa and head directly for Apia. Sisiutl was the first boat into the new slips."
Japanese sailing icon Ken-Ichi Horie is back in the news — or will be soon — with yet another weird new boat he intends to sail across the Pacific. Longtime readers will recall Horie as the first Japanese sailor to sail solo from his homeland to San Francisco in 1962 aboard a 19-ft plywood sloop named Mermaid. He was 23 then. He is now 66 and still going strong. In the 45 years since that first voyage, Horie has recrossed the Pacific many times in many different types of craft ranging from a 9-foot sailboat to peddle and solar-powered boats to a 32-ft catamaran whose hulls were made of aluminum beer kegs welded together — the latter a nod both to his interest in recycling and his longtime sponsor Suntory breweries.
Like an old time magician, Horie tries to top himself with each new project. Improbably, he continues to succeed. Proof positive is his latest boat, Suntory Mermaid II, which he hopes to voyage from Hawaii to Japan starting next summer. This 31-ft aluminum catamaran is powered by wave action — the pitching movement of the boat causes hydrofoils beneath the bows to generate thrust “like the tails of dolphins and whales”. The boat will also be fitted with an engine, mast and sails, but those will not be used in the crossing.
We’ll have more on the boat, the technology and Horie-San himself in future editions of ‘Lectronic Latitude and Latitude 38. In the meantime, check out this website for more on the boat and a layman’s summary of the technology: www.tsuneishi.co.jp/english/horie/index.html.
As in years past, berth availability is tight, tight, tight in San Diego at this time of year. With 177 boats signed up for the 14th annual Baja Ha-Ha cruisers rally (which begins October 29), and about 65 powerboats registered for the inaugural Fubar Odyssey (which begins November 7), we would encourage southbound skippers to take advantage of the many excellent berthing opportunities en route to San Diego,
Two of the best choices are laying over at Two Harbors, on the northeast side of Catalina, where there are plenty of safe, secure moorings to be had at reasonable prices, and at Newport Beach, where well-protected overnight buoys are available for the incredible price of $5 a night. Other options are detailed (with contact info) in the downloadable PDF "Southbound Berthing" found at www.baja-haha.com As reported earlier, Baja Ha-Ha entrants can also berth free of charge in a special anchorage at San Diego’s Glorietta Bay – drop by the Shelter Island Police dock to get your special permit (619-686-6227).
Ha-Ha skippers should note also that Ha-Ha sponsor West Marine is generously offering free shuttle service to and from their store and other key cruiser locations such as consulates, marinas, anchorages and grocery stores. Beginning today, shuttles will operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week through Monday, October 29, the event’s starting date.
A final southbound cruiser note is that the popular Baja Net has changed its SSB frequency to 7259 LSB, running daily at 0800 PST.
We received the following email from John Siegal today:
"I have a 15 year collection of Latitudes that I must get rid of. I hate to throw them out. Is there anyone you know of who might like them?"
If you’re interested, shoot John an email.