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September 8, 2008

Photo of the Day: Playing Chicken

Today’s Photo of the Day was sent to us by Cuyler Binion. "My friend and I were out Thursday afternoon on his Corsair 31 Roshambo heading under the Bay Bridge when this freighter shot off not one, but two ‘five horn warnings’ to the boat seen in this picture," Cuyler reported. "It was hard to tell how close the sloop was to getting hit, but it was close enough for us to hold our breath!"

This incident should serve as a reminder that even though you may be under sail, commercial traffic has the legal right-of-way. And while it may look like you’ll have plenty of time to cross in front of an oncoming freighter, remember that the big boys are often traveling at 10-12 knots — they only look slow and lumbering. On top of all that, the behemoths are very difficult to maneuver and nearly impossible to stop on a dime — it can take a mile for them to come to a complete stop. When you’re on the water, the safest approach is to assume the helmsman can’t see you and take evasive action (just imagine standing on the bridgedeck 100 feet above the water, looking over the bow of a 700-ft ship, trying to tell the difference between a whitecap and a sail). Stay safe out there!

20% Off Everything in Australia

With the transpacific cruising fleet about to head to New Zealand and Australia to avoid tropical cyclone season, there’s good news. The Australian dollar has fallen 19% in eight weeks against the U.S. dollar, and the Kiwi dollar almost as much. Moderate gains were made today in the wake of the U.S. government bail-out of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but both currencies are still down. As such, everything is on huge sale in Australia and New Zealand compared to several months ago.

Dates Set for ’09 Sailfest

For sailors, Sailfest’s low-stress yacht race is a major highlight. Seen here is Louis Kruk’s San Francisco-based Beneteau First 42 Cirque.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Are you already dreading the end of this wonderfully warm summer? If so, perhaps you should begin planning a mid-winter getaway to a sun-kissed destination like Zihuatanejo — ideally timed with the five-day Zihua Sailfest, slated for February 3-8 next year.

As regular readers know, this annual affair draws dozens of cruising boats to Zihua each year, as well of several hundred shoreside vacationers who make pilgrimages south of the border specifically to join in the Z-fest action.

While the festival’s daily activities focus on lighthearted fun, its most important function is to raise funds in support of drastically underfunded local schools. As much as $90,000 has been raised during recent Sailfests.

As an incentive to study hard, the best students get to ride in the Parade of Sail.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Following an evening kick-off party on Tuesday, February 3, activities will include a Parade of Sail, a sailboat race, a dinner concert, a chili cook-off and an auction. Latitude is working with expats-in-residence to add one or two more sailing elements to the mix in order to make the shindig even more enticing to cruisers.

The dinner concert showcases a broad range of musical talent.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Although the festival’s website has not yet been updated — we hear they are in need of a volunteer webmaster — look for futher info here, and in the pages of Latitude 38 magazine.

Terry Bingham Memorial

Readers — As reported in the August 29 edition of ‘Lectronic, cruiser Terry Bingham passed away from complications due to pancreatitis in a Bolivian hospital.

On Saturday, good friends Holly Serdy and Rob Lemmon hosted a "Celebration of Terry Bingham’s Life" that was attended by more than 60 people. Holly and Rob produced a DVD of Terry’s life, showing photos from his youth, and then of course hundreds of photos from his travels. We watched it at least twice, and lots of Kleenex was passed around.

Terry and I met while cycling in August 1995, on a two-day ride from Seattle to Vancouver, BC. Three of our fellow cyclists who were with us that fated weekend were in attendance yesterday. I’m so glad they could all be here as cycling was a very big part of Terry’s life until his real love, sailing aboard Secret O’Life, came into his life. Also in attendance were some fellow sailors, many of whom are current or former cruisers we met in or en route to Mexico. Several more dear cruiser friends at Bahia de Caraquez joined us via Skype.

Tammy Woodmansee (left) celebrated the life of her partner of 13 years, Terry Bingham, with more than 60 friends, including Brian and Mimi Countryman.

© Marlene Verdery

I’m busy helping to put together a memorable day on Sunday, October 5, when we will scatter most of Terry’s ashes in Puget Sound near Eagle Harbor. We are going to have a small boat parade — so far we have two motoryachts and two or three sailboats signed up. All of Terry’s children and grandchildren will be flying in for the occasion and I know we will fill up the boats with those who knew and loved Terry. We are going to save a small portion of Terry’s ashes to take back to Secret O’Life and scatter there in Bahia de Caraquez.

He would have been overwhelmed at the turnout. For all of Terry’s confidence and bravado, he was a very humble guy. I know he didn’t think he was all that special — it was a very endearing quality — but he is so missed and lovingly remembered by many.

Rari is bow-heavy courtesy of several thousand pounds of blubber. © 2008 Rich Boren "In the last two weeks, sea lions have sunk two boats moored in Port San Luis and now they’ve moved on to their next victim," reports Rich Boren on the Pearson 365 Third Day.
Earlier this week Somali pirates seized a cruising yacht in the notorious Gulf of Aden with two French nationals aboard, bringing the number of hijacked vessels in that area to at least 30 since the beginning of the year.