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July 7, 2008

Mag 80, Medicine Man Beat Tahiti Record

Doug Baker’s Andrews 80 Magnitude 80 demolished the Tahiti Race record by 3.5 days, finishing Thursday with an elapsed time of 11 days, 10 hours, 13 minutes and 18 seconds. While there’s really no such thing as foregone conclusions in a 3,571-mile race, there was little doubt that Mag 80 and her closest competition, Bob Lane’s Andrews 63 Medicine Man, would both best the existing record. Two days after Mag 80 passed the Pt. Venus Lighthouse, Medicine Man also beat the previous mark set in 1994 by Fred Kirschner’s SC 70 Kathmandu.

“They should run this race again in 2012," Baker said enthusiastically. "It’s not just a race — it’s an adventure.”

Still at sea as of this writing was Jim Morgan’s SC 50 Fortaleza, with Chris Welsh’s Spencer 65 Ragtime presumed finished earlier this morning. In addition to finding Tahiti a nice finishing destination, a common refrain amongst the sailors was that the race wasn’t just a TransPac with an extra 1,300 miles added on.

“This race is so much longer than any other race we have done," Mag 80 watch captain Keith Kilpatrick said. "It is completely different from a Hawaii race.”

For updates visit the TransPacific YC website.

The DMV as a Rogue Agency?

Since the early 1990s, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has been handling drunken boating convictions — aka BUIs — like drunken driving convictions in the sense that they’ve suspended the driver’s licenses of the offenders. There is just one problem with that practice — in early June, the Court of Appeal Second Appellate District Division ruled they didn’t have the right to do so. Such an action would have required a law passed by the California Legislature — which will probably be forthcoming.

As we understand it, those license suspensions will now be set aside, and the ‘victims’ may be entitled to sue the DMV. About 150 to 200 people have been affected each year since the early ’90s.

We’re not in favor of people ‘boating under the influence’, but neither are we in favor of government agencies exceeding the authority granted them under the law.

Commencing Countdown

There are only a few days left before the 22 competitors in the Singlehanded TransPac start their 2,120-mile odyssey to Kauai, and they are no doubt busily putting the finishing touches on their boats and gear. Even so, about a dozen took time out from their prepartions to gather under a tree — much like the tree they’ll be meeting at nightly in Hanalei — at Marina Village Yacht Harbor in Alameda on Saturday afternoon, exactly one week from their departure date.

Jeanne Socrates, who set out on a solo circumnavigation after the 2006 race but lost her boat last month just 50 miles from her starting point, put in a surprise appearance. "I’ll be crying as I wave goodbye to them," Socrates said. But she plans to greet them all with a big smile at the finish line in Kauai.

While friends and family joined the sailors at the party, the racers quickly broke off into little groups, discussing everything from eco-friendly food packaging to weather forecasts. It doesn’t look like they’ll have much to worry about on that front — the forecast shows the North Pacific High is far enough north that they may just be able to set a rhumbline course for Hanalei Bay. Of course, anything can happen in the next five days.

For more on the race, surf on over to and click on the big brass belt buckle.

Where is Beverage Reef Anyway?

When you go cruising, Beverage Reef is actually one of the places you want to avoid.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The July issue of Latitude 38 — now available everywhere, including online — features a great interview with Sausalito’s Marc and Doreen Gounard, who built a 33-ft cat in the early ’90s for just $35,000, and have since spent four six-month seasons in Mexico and completed a 4.5-year circumnavigation with their son and daughter. The interview makes for great reading, particularly for budget-oriented cruisers.

There is, however, one editorial goof that might have some of you scratching your heads. For in describing the route of their circumnavigation, the couple are quoted as saying, " . . . we spent six months cruising French Polynesia — it was easier to get a long-stay visa back then — then went west to the Cooks and Beverage Reef . . ."

Beverage Reef? We looked on Google images, and the only photo that came up for ‘Beverage Reef’ was a stack of beer bottles. This leads us to believe that we misheard them, and that they’d actually said "Beveridge Reef."

This is Beveridge – not Beverage – Reef, which is part of Nuie. As reefs go, it’s a real low-rider.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Diminutive Beveridge Reef — six miles by three miles — is located in the middle of the triangle formed by Tonga, America Samoa, and the Cook Islands, and is part of the Exclusive Economic Zone of only slightly larger Niue. Beveridge Reef is somewhat unique in that, not only is it not part of an archipelago, but is underwater most of the time! Nonetheless, it provides a degree of shelter in the middle of an otherwise open ocean.

Beveridge Reef was first reported in 1847 by the British Captain Lower-Tinger, who named it after his brig. It’s been the home to a number of wrecks over the years, the best known being the Nicky Lou, which got stuck in ’92. That wreck briefly became home to the facetious Beveridge Yachting Club. Jonathan ‘Bird’ Livingston and Suzie Grubler of the Pt. Richmond-based Wylie 38 Punk Dolphin almost lost their boat at Beveridge back in ’03. Enjoying dinner on another boat, they weren’t aware that the rode on their boat chaffed through, and the Punk almost drifted out the pass in the darkness. Had that happened, they might have created their own Beverage Reef.

Fourth on the Bay

Bay Area sailors couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to celebrate our country’s independence. Friday saw a nice steady breeze for most of the day, conveniently dying down in time for the fireworks. And even though the wind decided to take a vacation on Saturday and Sunday, the warm weather meant hanging out in your marina sipping mai tais was just that much more pleasant. How did you celebrate the holiday on your boat? Send your stories to our editorial department.

A 2006 U.S. District Court ruling is forcing the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a ‘discharge permit’ for every recreational boat in the U.S.
Matt and Judy Johnson of Antioch, along with their grandson Tyler, were rescued last Saturday after running their 40-ft Elsewhere onto the reef surrounding Aur Atoll in the Marshall Islands group.
Wings takes flight last Independence Day. latitude/LaDonna
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC Independence Day is one of the most popular sailing days on San Francisco Bay — hundreds of boaters take their family and friends for a great daysail in the Slot followed by a quiet picnic behind Angel Island.