November 16, 2007

More than 2,400 Miles in the Med

Stockton’s Ni Orsi and his crew sailed more than 6,000 miles to reach this anchorage at Corsica that has a strong resemblance to The Baths in the British Virgin Islands.

© 2007 Ni Orsi

"Since we arrived in Santa Margherita, Ligure, Italy, on May 26 from Aracaju, Brazil, having sailed 5,900 miles in our new Dolphin 460 Finalamente, we’ve added another 2,440 miles this summer in Italian and French waters," reports ‘Ni’ Orsi, a member of the Stockton Sailing Club.

"My wife Krissy and I have now visited most of Corsica, both the east and west sides and the north side of Elba, and there’s still much more to come. We’ve been to many great places, and found lots of great little bays to anchor in that have sand beaches. We then sailed from Santa Margherita to St. Tropez, France and back. Then we were off again to Corsica, before ending up at the Cannes Boat Show, where our Finalmente was the first Dolphin 460 to be shown to the European market. She was a hit! After the show, we headed back to our base at Santa Margherita — but not for long. Two weeks ago we sailed south down the Italian coast once again, but this time to put Finalmente away for the winter in La Spezia. However, before doing that, we sailed around the Portovenere area, and found several very good anchorages with excellent restaurants.  Now that the boat is ready for the winter, we are heading back to Stockton to visit friends that we have missed.  We will return to the boat on February 23, with the intention to sail south to revist Elba and Corsica, and then continue on down to Sardinia, Capri and Sicily."

Spectacular and romantic Portovenere, Italy, is where Finalamente has been put up for the winter. When Belvedere’s Tom Perkin’s threw a party to celebrate the launch of his 289-ft Maltese Falcon, she was anchored right off this fortress.

© 2007 Ni Orsi

Life after the Spill

A little over a week after the 902-ft Cosco Busan sideswipped the Bay Bridge, spilling 58,000 gallons of heavy-duty bunker oil into the Bay, the focus on oil recovery has moved from the water to the shoreline. The Coast Guard announced yesterday that 10 of the 11 oil skimmers were dismissed, having collected about 16,974 gallons of oil. Trained volunteers and paid workers have already cleaned up several Bay Area beaches, including Crissy Field, Baker Beach, China Beach and Stinson Beach, among others. Work will continue on Angel Island, Rodeo Beach, Muir Beach and Berkeley Marina.

Clean up crews are now focusing on scraping as much oil as possible from the shoreline.

USCG
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Meanwhile, the City of Berkeley officially reopened the marina yesterday afternoon. Berkeley YC confirmed that their Chowder Race will run as scheduled on Sunday afternoon but several other YCs have cancelled their weekend races because of the spill. Below is a list of scheduled Bay races and their status as of this morning:

  • BYC’s Chowder Series — Confirmed
  • EYC’s Jack Frost — CANCELLED
  • SFYC’s Pre-Holiday Regatta — CANCELLED
  • SeqYC’s Redwood Cup #1 — Confirmed, start time delayed until 1330
  • SBYCs Island Fever — CANCELLED
  • VYC’s Midwinter #1 — Confirmed

We’ve heard a number of sailors say they haven’t seen any oil in their marinas but they should know that much of the funky scum that can be seen throughout Richardson Bay, for example, is indeed oil.

The oily scum left after last week’s spill can still stain your boat.

latitude/LaDonna
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While not as dramatic as the large patches of smelly black goo that could be seen the first few days after the spill, this oily scum — what we can only assume is the coagulated form of the ‘sheen’ — can still damage gelcoat. Readers may recall the photo in November 11’s ‘Lectronic of the Morris 36 Annie after sailing through the spill the day it happened. Unless a boat was sailing last Wednesday, most boats won’t see that kind of damage, but could still face costly clean up from the scum.

Annie’s waterline stain was the least of her damage but it still needed to be removed carefully.

© 2007 Paul Kaplan

KKMI’s Paul Kaplan points out that there is no one way to clean every boat stained by the spill. "The process for removing the oil varies depending on the type of vessel and the protective finish," Kaplan noted. "Boats may have gelcoat or one of several kinds of paint, all of which require different cleaning techniques to prevent damaging the finish."

A KKMI yard worker, suited up for a nuclear war, carefully cleaned Annie’s hull, restoring her former beauty.

© Paul Kaplan

Kaplan also reminds boaters that any petroleum distillate used to clean a boat must be handled as hazardous waste (so no tossing the rags in the trash) or we could just end up creating more of a mess. The safest option is to have your boat professionally cleaned in a boatyard. If your hull has been stained by oil, you may be able to file a claim for damages by calling (866) 442-9650.

The Cruising Season in Mexico is On!

With the Ha-Ha having ended last Saturday, more than 150 cruising boats are now fanning out all over Mexico, from far up in the Sea of Cortez to way down at Acapulco. However, the most popular destinations continue to be La Paz, Mazatlan, and Banderas Bay / Puerto Vallarta.

But some are taking the path less travelled. For example, a few Ha-Ha boats have headed only 19 miles east of Cabo San Lucas to the newly opened Puerto Los Cabos Marina, where Harbormaster Jim Elfers has been finding space for skippers who say they really need it.

The lack of berths in Mexico has suddenly become so severe that some boatowners are willing to pay $25 to $30 foot/month to be in Puerto Los Cabos, which, for several years, will be a massive construction site.

latitude/Richard
©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
With so few slips available in prime spots in Mexico, even unfinished Puertos Los Cabos Marina looks beautiful to many skippers.

latitude/Richard
©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Despite the fact that only a few of what will ultimately be 400 docks are in place, that there are virtually no services, and for the next several years it will be nothing but a massive construction site, boatowners are willing to pay $25 to $30 a foot per month in order to get a spot there. The imbalance of the supply and demand for slips has become that extreme in the prime spots in Mexico. If you think that’s bad, wait until you hear what they want for prime real estate.

Lovely Bahia Chilleno is a lovely no-cost option to high slip rates at the tip of Baja. It’s only good in settled weather, however.

latitude/Richard
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Fortunately, there are some no cost options. Other boats have taken to anchoring anywhere the water is calm and shallow on the south coast of Baja — which is often almost anywhere at this time of year. And trust us, the water has been warm and luscious, and the surfing great.

Cape resident Mike Miller, who did the ’00 Ha-Ha aboard his Vanguard Uhuru, says places like this, near the Big Rock and Zippers surf spots, make good anchorages during most of the winter. He also says that the folks at Palmilla, whose boats are anchored in the background, will be starting construction on their own small marina.

latitude/Richard
©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Latitude‘s catamaran Profligate was one of the first boats to make a post-Ha-Ha 300-mile crossing from Cabo to Banderas Bay — light winds and 84 degree temperatures in the middle of the night —  but in the last several days more boats have started showing up. In fact, Dick Markie, Harbormaster at Paradise Marina in Nuevo Vallarta, has been shuffling boats like crazy to make room for all the boats he’s taken reservations for. It’s no easy job. Marina Vallarta, in Puerto Vallarta proper, is packed too. The half finished hotel that’s been crumbling on the port entrance to the harbor at Puerto Vallarta has finally been torn down, and construction on a new hotel/condo affair has begun. The photos show a small marina at the Entrada. We can only imagine what those slips will ultimately go for.

A month before the official opening, boats have moved into Nayarit Riviera Marina. Partner Christian Mancebo expects to have 320 slips and 160 boats by February.

latitude/Richard
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Fortunately, Christian Mancebo, a partner at the nearby Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz, has opened what will become a 400-berth marina a month before the grand opening ceremonies to make room for 30 or so Ha-Ha boats. Once again, water and electricity aren’t yet available everywhere, and it will be a construction site for some time.

‘Banjo Andy’ Turpin jams with Philo Hayward during an open mike night at Philo’s.

latitude/Richard
©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In another sign that the cruising season had indeed kicked off, Philo Hayward’s Restaurant/Bar/Music Venue in  La Cruz is attracting big crowds once again. The ’00 Ha-Ha vet, who sold his Cal 36 Cherokee after cruising almost all the way across the South Pacific, was in fine form, singing his sailing-based songs, backed by his band and fronted by any number of folks dancing. To our way of thinking, there are few things in the world of cruising as good as returning to Philo’s and, with the heat of the night causing sweat to drip off your brow, sipping on a cocktail, munching on one of his Mexicana pizzas, and listening to Philo sing. After a few nights you get to know most of Philo’s repotoire, at which point the songs come back to you like old friends.

PHOTO

In other news on Banderas Bay, we’re told that someone has installed about 20 moorings over at Yelapa, one of the most difficult but beautiful places to anchor in Mexico. We’re told they go for $20 a night, but we have no idea how secure they are. If anyone could provide a report, we’d much appreciate it.

In addition, if you’re one of the folks who has continued on up to La Paz or over to Mazatlan, we’d love to get firsthand reports on how things are going in those cruisers’ favorites. We’re sure things are just as busy and fun in those places.

Latest Salvos Over America’s Cup

Remember how great the last America’s Cup was? The close racing, the exciting TV coverage on the Versus channel, the good feeling that it was finally an event worthy of sailing’s oldest trophy?

Neither do we.

From now until the next Cup — whenever that may be — most AC proceedings will apparently be more suited to Court TV. As noted in Wednesday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude, talks between the America’s Cup Defender Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) — Alinghi’s home yacht club — and Golden Gate YC — homeport of record for BMW Oracle Racing — had stalled. Those talks had apparently been going well and compromises were on the table when earlier this week SNG abruptly struck the white flag and fired a broadside, demanding that GGYC drop their lawsuit and enter AC 33 by 5 p.m. EST today (Friday). GGYC volleyed back, claiming that SNG clearly didn’t want AC 33 to start in 2009, and they (GGYC) had no intention of dropping the lawsuit until all points of contention had been resolved.

Yesterday, GGYC sent SNG a settlement offer signed by three additional challengers (Emirates Team New Zealand, Team Origin [Great Britain], and Team Shosholoza [South Africa]), which urged Alinghi to accept a joint proposal covering “all outstanding points on the rules so that the event can go ahead in 2009.” If all points were agreed upon, GGYC would drop their suit.

SNG basically responded “No way” — thereby setting one more stepping stone in place toward a final showdown in the New York Supreme Court.

As we reported on Monday, Chris Perkins’ J/105 Good Timin’ was stolen from its slip at San Francisco Marina sometime over the weekend.
Just when you thought it was safe to buy your ticket to Valencia, negotiations between America’s Cup Defender Société Nautique de Genève (SNG)/Alinghi and GGYC’s BMW Oracle have come to a screeching halt.
The crew of Profligate fueled up at Marina Cabo San Lucas last Saturday and would like to report the following prices: Diesel was 6.63 pesos a litre or 25.11 pesos a gallon Gasoline was 7.85 pesos a litre or 29.71 a pesos a gallon The exhange rate between the peso and the dollar is about 10.5 to 1, which means that diesel was a little less than $2.50 U.S.
In a move which falls under the heading of "unclear on the concept" the outer (red and green) channel markers at the La Paz harbor entrance were moved west recently, apparently due to operations near the Pemex fuel facitlity.