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March 24, 2008

OYRA Crewed Lightship

Most boats in the race carried daisies out in memory of Kirby Gale and Tony Harrow.

© 2008 Bob Naber

Seventy-three boats were entered in this weekend’s Crewed Lightship Race, the first event on OYRA’s 2008 calendar. Conditions for the 25-mile run out to the Lightbucket and back were as benevolent as the warm spring day — 15-18 knots out of the northwest with only occasional gusts to 20. Only one boat turned back because of minor equipment problems.

Emily Carr heads for the finish of the Crewed Lightship Race on Saturday.

© Erik Simonson

Many, if not most, boats carried daisies out with them and cast them into the water at the Lightship in memory of Matthew Kirby Gale and Anthony Harrow, whose Cheoy Lee Offshore 31 Daisy was lost during the previous weekend’s Doublehanded Lightship Race.

Results for the OYRA Lightship Race had not been posted at this writing. They should be available later today at

Experienced Cruisers Need Rescuing

Some of you may recall the strange tale of the Darla Jean, a 48-ft motorsailor that washed up on Fanning Island last December after spending 95 days "drifting" across the Pacific from Moss Landing. On board with owners Jerry and Darla Merrow were their two pets, Gulliver, a five-year-old Macaw parrot, and Snickers the dog.

Much like a pig at slaughter, every last piece of the wrecked Darla Jean was used by the locals.

© Roland Klein

After spending nearly two weeks on Fanning with literally just the clothes on their backs, Jerry and Darla hopped a ride on the interisland supply ship Nei Momi and made their way back to California. Unfortunately, the Nei Momi wouldn’t allow them to take their animals along so they remained in the care of some islanders.

Robby and Lorraine Coleman of the Honolulu-based Angelman ketch Southern Cross —  who’ve been on Fanning for several months — report that the local officials are being pressured by authorities on Christmas Island to either send the animals back to the U.S. or destroy them (it’s illegal to import animals). No one wants to see the animals killed so, after repeated attempts at contacting the Merrows failed, Robby and Lorraine contacted us for help.

Through Darla’s family we learned that the Merrows will not be making it back to Fanning anytime soon — according to Darla’s son, Steve Cliche, they’ve been busy making appearances on talk shows like The Montel Williams Show — and they hope someone might be willing to save their beloved pets from a death sentence. Both animals are seasoned sailors — Snickers came onboard as a puppy right before they left Moss Landing — and are well socialized.

Gulliver the parrot and Snickers the dog will be slaughtered, if someone doesn’t come to their rescue.

© 2008 Robby Coleman

"Benaia, the local policeman, said he’d release the animals to someone else if arrangements could be made to get them off Fanning," the Colemans said. "They’re doing well, but this is a tough place — survival of the fittest." Though Robby and Lorraine don’t have room for pets aboard Southern Cross, they are more than willing to help coordinate a rescue, whether by air or sea. "The supply ship Kwai will be coming around here in mid-April," they report. "We could put the animals onboard when it heads back to Christmas Island, where they’d have to be claimed."

If you think you can help Gulliver and Snickers, email us and we’ll put you in touch with Robby and Lorraine.

Clippers Delayed, Santa Cruz Stop Shortened

Dismastings in the Clipper Round the World Race will delay the start of the upcoming Honolulu to Santa Cruz leg. That delay will result in a shorter Santa Cruz stopover to make up the lost time, according to organizers, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Clipper Ventures. The start, originally scheduled for March 26, is now projected to be 8 to 10 days later.

Durban 2010 and Beyond limps into Honolulu in its diesel-powered configuration with yet to leave the Midway Islands. Until the latter – and a pair of new rigs – arrive in Hawaii, the start of the leg to Santa Cruz will be delayed.

Clipper Ventures
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The delay looked likely when lost her rig 700 miles east of Yokohama, Japan, on the way to Honolulu from the start in Qingdao. Then disaster struck again when Durban 2010 and Beyond lost her rig, albeit much closer to the finish. But the clincher came when fouled its prop hard enough to damage the transmission as they motored toward Honolulu after a refueling stop in the Midway Islands. Following the second dismasting of the completely identical boats, race management called the leg before the boats reached Hawaii, instructing the crews to reduce sail as a safety precaution. "With hundreds of non-professional crew members competing in Clipper 07-08, safety is paramount for Clipper Ventures," said spokesperson Zoe Williamson.

For a more detailed account of the dismastings and what’s involved in getting transmission parts to the Midway Islands, look for the April issue of Latitude 38, due out April 1.

Thanks to Osama, More Red Tape

All merchant mariners and charter skippers will soon have to get a ‘biometric’ I.D. card. Seen here are Bay Lady (background) and Yukon Jack.

© 2008 Rendezvous Charters

Attention professional mariners! Just when you thought you’d jumped through every hoop that the federal government could possibly set up for you, they’ve come up with another one. But don’t blame your local congressman. Blame Osama.

By September 25, 2008, all credentialed mariners — those who hold ‘Six Pack’ through 200-ton licenses, ‘Z cards’ (USMMDs), STCW certificates, etc. — will also have to obtain a Transportation Worker’s Identification Credential (TWIC card). Failure to do so will be cause for your license or certificate to be suspended or revoked.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Congress enacted the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). One of its mandates was that the Feds issue a "biometric transportation security credential" to any individual with unescorted access to secure areas of facilities and vessels, as well as to all mariners holding Coast Guard-issued credentials or qualification documents.

The cost is $132.50 unless the applicant already has had an equivalent background check (i.e. USCG), in which case it is $105.25. For complete info on the TWIC program, see this website.

Patsy Verhoeven, seen here driving her Gulfstar 50 Talion to class honors in the recent Banderas Bay Regatta, has come up with the Sea of Cortez Sailing Week courses.
Cherie Williams gives a belly rub to an appreciative ray in Belize. © 2008 Rod Williams "The death of the woman struck by a jumping eagle ray during a freak accident in Florida last week, and the earlier death of the ‘Crocodile Hunter’, may give some people a wrong impression of these generally harmless cartilaginous fish," writes Rod Williams of the Alameda-based Catalina 42 Azure.
Just a reminder that all boats entered in tomorrow’s OYRA Crewed Lightship Race are invited to pick up daisy flowers from volunteers on the docks at  the St.
We know that this is Robby Fouts (left) with Robert & Kristi Hanelt of the S&S 53 yawl Skylark, but where are they and what are they celebrating?