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October 31, 2007

Fireboat Tiburon Christened Saturday

Ken Royal christens the new fireboat Tiburon with pride. Royal has been an integral part of the creation of this high-powered jet catamaran.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

A new 35-ft fireboat for the Bay was christened over the weekend at San Francisco YC in Tiburon. Built by Moose Boats in Petaluma, the aluminum catamaran named Tiburon, is powered by twin 380 horsepower diesel engines with Hamilton jet drives. The 22-inch draft of Tiburon allows it to enter shallow areas such as Richardson Bay and the vessel is well equipped to handle both marine and some land fires. It will be the only boat on the Bay crewed by firefighters and paramedics to provide advanced life support medical care.

Tiburon shoal draft will make it easy for it to reach boats in shallow spots.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We actually had the chance to see Tiburon in action Monday afternoon as it practiced its firefighting techniques on Richardson Bay. Unfortunately, it was a little too far away for a good photo op but we were duly impressed by her water-spraying prowess.

Bottom Paint Study Begins

In the September 21 edition of ‘Lectronic, we put out a call for volunteer bottoms to join in a study sponsored by Janssen Pharmaceutica to test new ‘green’ bottom paint in the Bay Area. In desperate need of a bottom job ourselves – and, of course, always up for doing our part for the environment – we volunteered our own bottom.

We were too embarrassed to snap a shot of our filthy bottom before KKMI pressure washed it.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The biocide Econea was created by Janssen, and various paint companies have developed formulas incorporating it into antifouling paint. Boats accepted into the study will have three paints – two experimental and one control with high copper content – applied to their bottoms in a pattern.

This zebra striping pattern used on another study boat is essential.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Every six months, the boats will be hauled and the paints evaluated. Preliminary testing by the paint companies, who had to show positive efficacy data to even participate in this study, gives every reason to be optimistic, and we’ll report on the results throughout the study.

Will the new eco-friendly bottom paints keep these guys from latching on?

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Incidentally, Jack Hickey, who is coordinating Janssen’s countrywide studies, is looking for volunteer boats in Marina del Rey and San Diego to participate. The same basic criteria need to be met by any potential volunteer:

1) Your boat must be in the area for the next year so it can be hauled every six months for inspection.
2) The paint currently only comes in black, so if you need red bottom paint to coordinate with your canvas, this study’s not for you.
3) You absolutely, positively, no matter what must NOT scrub your bottom during the testing period. Remember, they’re testing the effectiveness of this paint so scrubbing would skew the results.
4) Volunteers will pay for the first haul-out and application of the paint. The paint and follow-up haul-outs are free.
5) You must have a hard/non-sloughing paint on your boat.

Marina del Rey has one of the highest Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for dissolved copper in the state, mainly due to its poor flushing ability. The federal EPA standards allow for up to 3.1 parts per billion in yacht harbors and Marina del Rey is several times above that limit. If you’d like to volunteer your own bottom for the study, contact Jack Hickey at (732) 319-1435 or by email.

Two Circumnavigators Check In

We received reports this week from two intrepid singlehanding circumnavigators: Jeanne Socrates aboard her Najad 36 Nereida and Mike Harker on his Hunter 49 Wanderlust III. Both left Cocos Keeling within days of each other on their way to Mauritius and appear to be within spitting distance.

Jeanne Socrates hung Nereida’s nameboard in the beach shack where “yachties” congregate for sundowners and BBQs on Direction Island. Notice that Jim Kellam – the ‘harbormaster’ for last year’s Singlehanded Transpac – hung Haulback’s board in 2005. If Socrates makes it to Hanalei Bay in time, it’s likely she’ll be ‘harbormaster’ for next year’s race.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We love that sailors can shoot off updates from the middle of the Indian Ocean. "Beautiful place, Cocos," wrote Socrates, "Paradise anchorage with white sand, palms and reef!" Harker wrote of the sailing: "The winds and ocean have been good for sailing with 12-18 knots of wind usually out of the southeast off my stern quarter." We can’t wait to read their next installments –  they always leave us wanting more.

Both plan on a short stay in Mauritius before moving on to South Africa. To check on their progress, go to Jeanne’s website at and Mike’s at

Why Did the Sea Lion Cross the Road?

To find out how many Richmond police it takes to shoo a wayward pinniped back to the water.

“Book him, Danno.”

© 2007 Aaron Detrick

Aaron Detrick, who took this cameraphone shot, thought a major crime had been committed when he pulled up to Marina Bay recently to find at least 10 cop cars lined up in front of the marina. It turns out they were all there to herd a young sea lion that had managed to cross a street back to the water, a process that took about 15 minutes and left everyone grinning. Such a show of force may seem a little over the top, but it’s hard to begrudge the police in the 9th most dangerous city in the U.S. – they just marked the 29th murder of the year – a little feel-good distraction.

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, the modern sailing
family . . . latitude/JR
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC Roughly 600 sailors gathered in San Diego for the annual Baja Ha-Ha Costume Kickoff Party which, by any measure, was a smash hit.
Four crew aboard the Chicago-based J/35 Jason were on their way to the boatyard on last Wednesday to haul out for the winter when crewmember 38-year-old Alexander Childers fell overboard.
Even though the winds were less than thrilling this weekend, racers in the Great Pumpkin report a fantastic time.