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November 7, 2008

Best Leg Three Ever

Shortly after the 7 a.m. start of Leg Three, chutes were popping all across the horizon.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"Sweet, sweet, sweet!" That’s how one skipper described the sailing conditions on Leg Three of the 15th annual Baja Ha-Ha cruisers’ rally.

By the third leg most Ha-Ha kids had adapted well to the cruising life.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It was, in fact, the sweetest Leg Three ever, with consistent winds as high as 18 knots all the way to the Cape, allowing many boats to sail the entire 170-mile leg. As veterans of previous Ha-Has know, the breeze usually shuts down well north of the finish line at Cabo Falso.

Whether you were sailing a J/boat, a Hunter or a vintage ketch, the sailing was sweet, sweet, sweet.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We’re literally too busy having fun in Cabo — the beach party begins in a few minutes — to bring you further news, but look for more photos and reportorial tidbits in the coming days. And we’ll have a complete recap of this year’s event in the December issue of Latitude 38.

All in all, the sailing was great, the fishing was remarkably abundant and both air and sea temps were appreciably higher than in most recent years — surface water 50 miles offshore measured 84° 55 miles north of Cabo San Lucas!

Hunting the competition, 50 miles out.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Joyon Reclaims Route of Discovery

Francis Joyon and his IDEC 2 just took 15 hours off the singlehanded Route of Discovery record from Cadiz to San Salvador via Grand Canary Island.

© Jean-Marie Liot DPPI/IDEC

Francis Joyon sailed his 97-ft Irens/Cabaret trimaran IDEC 2 into San Salvador a little after 6 p.m. last night, reclaiming his singlehanded Route of Discovery record by a margin of just over 15 hours. Sailing at an average speed of 16.4 knots, he covered the 3,885-mile course in 9d, 20h, and 35m, despite being nearly becalmed in his approach to the finish.

For now, the tit-for-tat between between Joyon and previous record holder Thomas Coville is even. In 2005 Coville took the singlehanded route of Discovery record with his ‘old’ boat, the ORMA 60 Sodeb’O, from Joyon’s old IDEC. Earlier this summer, Coville sailed his 105-ft maxi trimaran Sodeb’O to the singlehanded west-east transatlantic record, breaking Joyon’s 2004 mark. Coville meanwhile, is preparing for an imminent assault on Joyon’s 57d, 13h ’round-the-world mark.

Last year a collision with an unidentified floating object dashed Coville’s pursuit of Joyon’s blazing pace. This year, he’ll have to watch out for boats! Coville will be dodging the 30-strong fleet starting the Vendeé Globe, the six boats sailing the Portimão Global Ocean race, and possibly even the eight boats in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet. The only boat on the water that’ll be faster than Sodeb’O will be Pascal Bidegorry’s new 140-ft VPLP designed trimaran Banque Populaire which will be hunting the fully-crewed outright ’round-the-world record.

Ua Noa Missing Since July

The Coast Guard and family of Bob Arvin are asking for help finding the 49-year-old sailor who left Honolulu on July 14 bound for San Diego aboard his Cape Dory 30 Ua Noa. Arvin told a friend he was taking the "southerly route" with an ETA of September 1. Ua Noa only carries about 25 gallons of diesel so Arvin wouldn’t have been able to motor through all the calms he would have experienced by heading south.

On September 10, the Coast Guard put out a notice to mariners regarding the overdue status of Ua Noa. That same day a China-bound shipping freighter spotted Ua Noa about 1,000 miles from Honolulu in a dead calm. The sails were down so the crew tried raising the skipper on the radio — they were unsuccessful. When they eased up close to the little boat, Arvin popped up on deck and appeared to be in good condition. "He didn’t wave for assistance or otherwise seem to need any help," Coast Guard Ensign Sam Hill said, so the ship continued on its way. Five hours later, the crew heard the notice to mariners and reported Ua Noa‘s coordinates: 24°41.2′ N, 139°21.9’ W — 1,258 miles from his destination.

"The ship didn’t want to turn around so we sent another boat to that location to see if Arvin needed help," Ensign Hill said, "but they couldn’t find him." The Coast Guard estimated Arvin was traveling about one knot but even at that speed, he’s well overdue to arrive in San Diego. Everyone hopes Arvin’s southerly course sent him to Mexico and he just hasn’t been able to get in touch yet.

If you have any information on Bob Arvin or Ua Noa, please contact Search and Rescue at (510) 437-3701 or via email.

Pandering to Prurient Drool

Apparently not all of our readers believe in being fair and balanced. In an email responding to Isabel Tifft’s request in Wednesday’s ‘Lectronic for more beefcake photos in the pages of Latitude 38, Captain Lewis Keizer of Moss Landing-based Ericson 27 Sandpiper says: "I don’t care for men’s butts. The point of Latitude 38 is not to pander to prurient drool — there are plenty of internet sites and magazines to serve those interests. But even the classiest of slick magazines and megayacht ads feature beautiful women — not hunky men. So please don’t cater to Isabel’s roving eyes. Stick with beautiful boats and women."

Of course not everyone agrees. Lynn Langdon wrote to tell us how much she enjoyed Wednesday’s featured hunkiness: "I haven’t seen anything like that in a while. Please keep up the good work!"

What do you think? Do tasteful examples of well-maintained members of the same sex bother you or should room be made for everyone in the pages of Latitude? Email your thoughts to LaDonna.

Southern Star Arrives Sunday

Southern Star will have traveled 18,000 miles in 12 months during this expedition.

© 2008 Delphine Maratier

A multinational team of sailors, scientists, and journalists studying the effects of global climate change on the Northwest Passage will be sailing under the Golden Gate this Sunday at 2 p.m. Let’s give them a big Bay welcome by greeting them aboard our boats.

The 75-ft Bill Tripp designed Southern Star has made six other trips to the Arctic under the command of French skipper Olivier Pitras. This trip was to bring awareness to and study global warming and its effect on the normally ice-packed Northwest Passage. Southern Star set sail from Norway in May and the crew plans to circumnavigate North America in the next several months, returning to Norway next May.

Olivier Pitras reported that the Northwest Passage is nearly free of the ice that has historically choked it.

© 2008 Delphine Maratier

Olivier Pitras will be speaking at St. Francis YC’s Wednesday Yachting Luncheon — open to all other yacht clubs’ members for $13.50 — on November 12 at 12:30 p.m. sharp (the buffet lunch opens at 11:45 a.m.), and we’ll have a full report on their expedition in an upcoming issue of Latitude. For more on their journey, visit

Following a slow spot in the middle of the Atlantic, Francis Joyon has his 97-ft Irens/Cabaret-designed trimaran IDEC 2 going in the right direction.
Isabel ‘Piper Afloat’ Tifft, of the Bay-based Ranger 29 Voyager, recently wrote what this writer believes to be a very valid note: "It seems you regularly run a letter from a woman who’s disgusted by a photo that’s more tawdry or cheesy than usual.
There’s hardly a weekend — heck, hardly a day — when sailing shutterbug Peter Lyons isn’t out shooting on the Bay.
In Monday’s ‘Lectronic, we posted a request for info on Darla Jean III, Jerry and Darla Merrow’s newest boat.