April 18, 2008

Snickers Arrives in Hawaii

Snickers is all smiles now that he doesn’t have to forage for his food.

© Laureli

The saga of Snickers, the boat dog abandoned on Fanning Island in December, is coming to a happy close. Honolulu TV stations covered his arrival on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of Aloha Wednesday morning as if he was a foreign dignitary. After disembarking Aloha, Snickers was whisked to an animal quarantine facility for a medical evaluation and to wait for a flight to the mainland.

Animal behaviorist Laureli has been working with Snickers every day to resocialize him.

© Laureli

In the meantime, local animal behaviorist Laureli has been working with Snickers daily in an effort to resocialize him after months of fending for himself on Fanning. She reports that the techniques she learned from Jan Fennell, aka ‘The Dog Listener’, has helped her bond quickly with Snickers. “He’s still very much a puppy,” she told us, “and wants to be calm and secure — he just needs someone to lead him there.”

Snickers will remain in quarantine until arrangements for his flight out can be made. Jack Joslin, aka TaoJones in recent ‘Lectronic reports, will meet his flight and take Snickers to his new home in Nevada.

Gulliver is still waiting to learn his fate.

© Robby Coleman

While Gulliver the parrot’s fate still remains uncertain, he has a whole army of people trying to save him. We’ll continue to report on his situation here but you can also check out the Gulliver’s Island blog Mark Bult, the Aloha crewmember who initially took charge of Snickers, set up to bring attention to Gulliver. Donations are being accepted to help defray the costs involved with rescuing him, especially the flights for vets to test Gulliver for diseases before he can even be considered for repatriation.

Morning Light Preview

Last evening, Roy Disney and Leslie DeMeuse-Disney hosted a West Coast preview showing of outtakes from The Morning Light Project at the Strictly Sail Pacific show. This is the documentary feature film which chronicles the selection, training and TransPac participation of one of the youngest crews ever on that fabled biennial race, sailing one of the fastest boats: the TP 52 Morning Light.

By now, sailors should be at least tacitly familar with this project, as it has gotten a lot of ink in the sailing press. Like everyone else, we had high hopes that it would not only be a cut above the usual ‘reality’ fare, but that it would really capture the essence of both sailing and the TransPac. The first impressions were really encouraging on all counts. This is a very high-quality, no-expenses-spared production, which one would expect of such experienced and talented producers. It is also a really pretty film, with lots of cool sailing shots, nice boats and smiling young people. But about halfway through, there was a defining moment that really tipped the scales into ‘Wow’ territory for us. It was a sequence taken six days into the race. It showed the concerned face of a young grinder as he winds in a spinny sheet. Then he pulls back out of the frame to reveal, in the background, the spinnaker of Samba Pa Ti — the other TP 52 in the ‘07 TransPac and Morning Light’s main competition — only a few boatlengths behind. There was an audible ‘whoa!’ from almost all 100+ people in attendance. (Or maybe our ‘whoa’ was just really loud.) In the middle of the ocean, 1,000 miles from anywhere, these two high-performance sisterships match-raced much of that day, at times no more than three or four boat lengths apart. "I can see them smiling," notes one of the Morning Light crew.

Based on only 30 or 40 minutes of clips — Roy and Leslie kept stressing the film was still very much a work in progress — we formed the following additional impressions: 1) This is going to be an excellent movie. 2) It is going to blow away every concept of a ‘reality’ show. There are no stupid TV plotlines requiring people to be humilitated or ‘voted off the island.’ As Disney noted in a Q&A session afterward, the Morning Light tale is a ‘reality’ story that accentuates the positive in people, not the negative. 3) Part of the goal of this film is to appeal to both sailing and non-sailing audiences, and to get more young people interested in sailboat racing. In our humble opinions, it will accomplish both these goals.

The finished film is due to hit theaters in October. For more on the film, the crew and the project, log onto www.pacifichighproductions.com.

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Crackdown on Hawaii’s Commercial Cats

Remember how both Southwest Airlines and American Airlines recently had to temporarily pull many of their planes out of service because of F.A.A.-mandated safety checks? It turns out that a similar thing happened in Hawaii last summer when the Coast Guard forced 13 of 59 commercial sailing catamarans and trimarans operating out of that state temporarily out of service, primarily because of "serious safety deficiencies" with their masts.

According to a March 5 article in the Honolulu Advertiser, the increased scrutiny came after two deaths on tourist multihulls in a four-month period. In December of ’06, the 65-ft Na Hoku II was dismasted off Waikiki, killing a 13-year-old boy and injuring several others. Then in March of last year, a 48-year-old father of three was hit by the falling mast of Kiele V off of Maui. Several others were also injured.

The Na Hoku II was dismasted off Hawaii in 2006, killing a 13-year-old boy.

© 2008 Brad Wilcox / Pacific Yacht Management

The Kiele V, operated by prestigious Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, had been dismasted twice before, once at sea in ’91, and once in drydock in ’96. That catamaran is no longer operating in Hawaii.

According to the Coast Guard, 11 multihulls were taken out of service last summer "for corrosion and fractures to the mast, and missing bolts in the spreaders." Three were found to have excessive sail area. (Several years ago, a Conser 47 flipped with passengers while sailing off Maui, although we’re not sure if this had anything to do with a sail area issue.) Two boats had training, qualification and licensing difficulties. Two of the vessels with deficiencies removed themselves from service.

Hawaii has more commercial catamarans and trimarans operating than any other state in the nation, with 16 off Oahu, 21 out of Maui, 12 out of Kauai, and 10 out of the Big Island. The U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico is a distant second, with 30 commercial multihulls.

Would we sail a commercial trimaran or catamaran out of the Hawaiian Islands? Yes, unless the boat and rig looked to be in poor condition. Nonetheless, if the wind started hooting — and it can hoot in the islands — we’d make sure we were on the windward side and clear of any rigging that might fall.

Baja Ha-Ha Reunion Party

If you’re a proud Baja Ha-Ha vet or are planning to Ha-Ha sometime in the future, be sure to stop by our booth (#2022/24) at Strictly Sail Pacific tonight for the annual Baja Ha-Ha Reunion Party around 6 p.m. Heck, even if you never plan to sail outside the Gate, come grab a free glass of beer or wine and say hi.

Speaking of the Ha-Ha, if there’s one in your future, you should plan on attending the Grand Poobah’s "Baja Ha-Ha How To" today at 2 p.m. or tomorrow (Saturday) at 6 p.m. in the St. Francis room. If your cruising plans will see you making your way to French Polynesia, you definitely want to hit ‘Banjo Andy’ Turpin’s "Destination Tahiti" presentation tomorrow at 4:45 p.m. in the St. Francis.

Check out Strictly Sail Pacific’s website for a full seminar schedule.

Hanalei on the beach at Punta San Marcial. © 2008 Dennis Monahan Readers Debbie and Dennis Monahan were on their annual Baja fishing trip out of Agua Verde in late February when they came upon this boat.
Sailors up and down the West Coast plan all year for "their" show, Strictly Sail Pacific at Oakland’s Jack London Square, which will have opened by the time you read this today.
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Producers Roy E. Disney and Leslie DeMeuse will be previewing scenes from Morning Light on Thursday night during the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show at Jack London Square in Oakland.
The 63-ft Profligate on the hook just outside of La Paz. latitude/Richard
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC After her 12th consecutive winter season in the tropics, it’s time for Profligate, Latitude‘s Surfin’ 63 catamaran, to head back to California.