May 16, 2008

Twenty-Six Miles Across the Sea

Isthmus Cove at Two Harbors, Catalina Island.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Memorial Day marks the start of the summer season at Catalina. As we write this from a heatwave-oppressed Bay Area we’re reminded of the island’s blue crystalline water and a night sky like diamond dust on black felt. We can’t wait to get back to Catalina and there’re as many reasons to go as there are people who go there — and that’s a lot.

A bonfire under the Palm Trees on the beach at Two Harbors.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Here are five things not to miss when you go: 1) A bonfire and barbecue on the beach at Two Harbors; 2) A hike to Inspiration Point — just ask a local how to find it when you get to Two Harbors; 3) See a movie in the Casino movie theater in Avalon; 4) Go snorkeling or diving anywhere around the island — it’s no coincidence that Catalina consistently ranks as a top diving destination; 5) A Saturday night barbecue with live music at the Airport in the Sky.

See you there!

Legato Has Become Escapade

Lake Tahoe residents Greg Dorland and his wife Debbie Macrorie have gone over to the ‘dark side’ by purchasing the Catana 50 Legato that belonged to the late Jim Forquer of Newport Beach. The couple have been researching catamarans for several years and, out of the goodness of his heart, Forquer had been emailing them for months before his untimely death with advice and tips about catamarans.

Catana tries to do the near impossible with their cats, which is combine luxury and performance. Dorland, who was formerly the North Sails dealer for Tahoe, is famous for having gybed an Olson 30 while doing 19 knots off Davenport, and owned one of the first Melges 32s, naturally had some concerns about how well the moderately heavy cat would sail. But he reports that he’s been pleased with her performance so far in the relatively light winds of San Diego.

Legato, now Escapade, as seen during Sea of Cortez Sailing Week outside of La Paz. She’ll soon be sailing on the Bay.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Having rechristened their cat Escapade, Greg and Debbie plan to head out to Catalina for the Memorial Day weekend, then sail north to San Francisco Bay for the summer to get more familiar with the cat and take their many sailing friends out on the Bay. Come late October, they’ll be joining the Ha-Ha to Mexico.

The acquisition of Escapade marks the fulfillment of a dream that Dorland had while living in the South of France in the early ’70s. Our congratulations.

Out of This World

If Google Earth blew your socks off, don’t ‘aim’ your feet at any loved ones when you check out Worldwide Telescope. Released just this week by Microsoft, WWT “enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope — bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world for a seamless exploration of the universe.” To accomplish that, the service combines images from every major telescope and astronomical organization in the world.

Jim Gray was a software engineer with a passion for astronomy.

© courtesy Gray family

The connection to sailing is a bittersweet one — WWT was a pet project of Microsoft researcher Jim Gray,  who you may recall disappeared last January during a solo sail out to the Farallones aboard his red-hulled C&C 41 Tenacious. Despite a massive search which even included real-time satellite imaging, no trace of Gray or his boat was ever found. Microsoft says it’s providing the WWT for resource free to honor Gray’s memory.

Find WWT — available for PCs only at this point — at

A Post-Cruise Night of Luxury

In February, Dave Pryde and Jan Eckmann of the Washington-based Slocum 43 Baraka were thrilled to win the big raffle prize at Latitude‘s Pacific Puddle Jump kick-off party in Zihuatanejo. It was a free hotel night at the swank Pearl Resort on the island of Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas — arranged by our friends at Tahiti Tourisme.

Jan and Dave started traveling the world together decades ago.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

But at the time, Dave and Jan had no way of knowing just how much they’d appreciate those luxurious digs after doublehanding 3,000 miles across the Pacific! "The unlimited hot water and air conditioning were wonderful! The lack of motion took some getting used to after our 22 1/2-day passage from PV to Nuku Hiva. Our son, Joel, joined us for the crossing and we had a relatively easy passage."

According to Dave, there were 47 Puddle Jump boats anchored at Nuku Hiva’s Taiohae Bay last week — apparently the height of the season’s arrivals. But many boats are pulling out each day now and heading west.

Look for a full report on this year’s crossings in a future edition of Lat 38, as well as a report on the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous, slated for June 27-28.

Gaucho was looking good on a kickin’ Sunday sail. latitude/LaDonna
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC We would never encourage anyone to risk their jobs by playing hooky, but if we were to pick a day to call in ‘well’, tomorrow would be it.
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