April 30, 2008

Oh No, Not Again!

Ah, yeah, we know. You’re getting barraged by emails announcing this new posting. After the same thing happened Monday, we thought we’d found a solution. . . No such luck. As we write this, however, we are switching to a new ‘listserver’ software which should eliminate the problem. (We’re keeping our fingers crossed.)

The backstory: Moments after we posted Monday’s edition of ‘Lectronic Latitude, subscribers were deluged with an avalanche of identical emails announcing the new edition. This resulted in our office being deluged by an avalanche of phone calls and emails from perplexed subscribers! Thankfully, most of them were good-natured and understanding.

At first we assumed that the mysterious incident was caused by an alien invasion. Turned out, though, to be a problem with our ‘listserver software’ which mischievously put the notification message into a seemingly endless loop.

Again, our apologies for the inconvenience.

Shark Attack Kills S.F. Surfer in Mexico

A yet-to-be-identified 24-year-old surfer from San Francisco died from a loss of blood after he was attacked by a shark Monday, while surfing at Troncones, a popular surf break for cruisers whose boats are anchored at Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

Authorities said the victim suffered a 15-inch wound in his right thigh from a gray shark. Reports of shark attacks are rare in Mexico. It’s not clear if this is because there aren’t very many of them, or because they aren’t reported. We believe it’s the former.

This fatal attack comes less than a week after a swimmer was fatally attacked by a shark off Solana Beach in Southern California.

Italian Crosses Atlantic Alone on 20-ft Beach Cat

Italian sailor and adventurer Vittorio Malingri arrived in Guadeloupe April 28, 13 days, 17 hours and 48 minutes after leaving Dakar, Senegal. What’s remarkable about the non-stop, unassisted 2,545 mile trip is that he did it aboard Royal Oak, a 20-ft purpose-built, beach cat — alone!

Vittorio Malingri sailing off Dakar Senegal at the start of his solo 2,545-mile transatlantic solo record attempt.

© 2008 Royal Oak Cesare Grassotti

"From a physical point of view, it was much less difficult than a leg on an around the world race in a larger boat," Malingri said upon reaching Guadeloupe. "Now I am going to sleep in a bed. See you later.”

His attempt represented the first singlehanded beach-cat crossing on this route. The 47-year-old Malingri has a lengthy and varied resume that includes Orma 60 sailing with Italian sailing superstar Giovanni Soldini, a Vendeé Globe Race attempt in 1992, the Dubai Motorcycle Rally, and driving 10,000 miles through Mexico in a ’61 Chevy Malibu. At one point during this latest adventure, he was actually ahead of the outright reference time set by Frenchmen Pierre-Yves Moreau and Benoit Lequin in December of 11 days 11 hours and 25 minutes. Only a weakened Azores high and power generation issues prevented him from maintaining that pace.

A member of the French Navy taking the finish time of Malingri’s transatlantic crossing off Guadeloupe.

© 2008 Royal Oak Cesare Grassotti

“It was a wonderful experience regardless of the difficulties and problems that I encountered," Malingri added. "The boat worked marvelously, apart from the problems I had with the solar panels that affected my energy supply and therefore the functioning of the automatic pilot and phones. The biggest problem is that I had to do everything with only one hand; with the automatic pilot out, my other hand was needed on the steering. At night, for short intervals, I tied off the rudder in order to rest."

Canadian Westabout Circumnavigator Aborts Attempt

The crippled ‘Kim Chow’ riding out a South Atlantic Storm under drogue. Aboard, skipper Glenn Wakefield waits to be transfered to the Argentinian research vessel ‘Puerto Deseado’.

© MRCC Argentine

After a rollover on April 24 claimed his solar panels, liferaft and a hatch in the South Atlantic, Victoria, B.C.-based Glenn Wakefield has called off his attempt at a solo, westabout circumnavigation. Having suffered broken ribs and a concussion, and with his Cheoy Lee Offshore 40 Kim Chow crippled by an inoperable engine, discharged batteries and water ingress due to the missing hatch, Wakefield was realistic about his chances of successfully rounding Cape Horn.

"After carefully considering the options Glenn felt he could not safely round Cape Horn and has made a very personal and difficult decision, and the only logical one under the circumstances, which is to end his circumnavigation," wrote Wakefield’s wife Marilyn on his website.

After waiting 48 hours under drogue for sea conditions to permit his transfer, Wakefield is now aboard the Argentinian ship Puerto Deseado en route to a rendezvous with an Argentinian Coast Guard vessel which will complete his transport to an unspecified port in the country. For more information visit: www.kimchowaroundtheworld.com.

Dan Alvarez’s Ericson 30+ Travieso enjoys some downright pleasant conditions while rounding the South Island in Saturday’s Singlehanded Farallones Race.
Step one: snag the net ball. © 2008 Andy Conlin By law, every mariner is required to keep a lookout at all times.
If you’re planning on doing the Vallejo Race on May 3-4 and haven’t signed up yet, you might want to consider signing up online today to avoid late fees.