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November 12, 2008

A New Fueling Option – And It’s Cheap

The Cirque crew got service with a smile – and good prices, too – at the new La Cruz fuel dock.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Attention southbound cruisers: Laura, Debbie and Louis of the San Francisco-based Beneteau 42s7 First Cirque report that the brand new fuel dock at the Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz is now fully operational. This is good news indeed for those headed to Banderas Bay, as there was no fuel dock near the poplular La Cruz and Punta Mita anchorages previously.

The best news, though, is that diesel in Mexico costs about half what it does in the Bay Area — $2.45/gal compared to $4.80/gal. We should note, however, that part of the disparity is due to the fact that the Mexican government subsidizes fuel. Don’t look for the U.S. government to follow suit any time soon.

Cruiser Killed by Thieves in Venezuela

Tragedy struck in Venezuela Saturday night when three men boarded Ken and Cathy Peters’ sailboat Chill in an apparent robbery attempt. Local authorities report that Ken Peters, 55, tried to defend himself and his wife with a gun, wounding one of the attackers, but was shot to death. Also wounded in the attack was fellow cruiser Steve Davis of the Hunter 37 I’Lean, who was aboard Chill at the time and was shot in the leg. Cathy Peters and Steve’s wife Gloria were not reported to have been injured. Authorities also report at least one suspect has been detained.

This terrible crime is reminiscent of the death of Daniel Dryden, a cruiser killed in Guatemala during a robbery attempt in August. Beyond the attacks themselves, both occurred after the cruisers had moved their boats from a marina to an anchorage in preparation for an early departure. Chill and I’Lean left Bahía Redonda Marina Saturday for their return trip to the U.S., staging at Isla Borracha near Puerto La Cruz. The Drydens moved their Southern Cross 39 Sunday’s Child from a marina to get used to living at anchor before leaving port. Additionally, the owner of a French catamaran was shot to death in September while at anchor in Venezuela. While anchoring is a wonderful aspect to cruising foreign waters, it would seem wise for cruisers in these areas to stick with the herd and stay at marinas whenever possible.


Francis Joyon was snubbed in the voting for the ISAF’s male World Sailor of the Year for 2008.

© 2008 Vincent Curutchet/DPPI/IDEC

When it voted to discontinue the multihull event for the 2012 Olympics, we started to wonder if all the rancor directed at ISAF wasn’t warranted, at least in part. Oft-repeated charges that competitive sailing’s worldwide organizing body was organizationally broken, opaque, and out of touch with the broader global interest in sailing were all over popular sailing news outlets. Yesterday’s announcement of Ben Ainslie as its male 2008 World Sailor of the Year will serve to further that argument and not because Ainslie wasn’t a valid candidate, but because there was another nominee who did something extremely special.

Ainslie’s record is truly phenomenal, what with winning every Finn world championships he’s entered, the Sailor of the Year award twice previously, and the three gold and one silver medals he’s earned since his Olympic debut in Savannah in 1996. With a gold this year in the Finn class in Qingdao as well as the 2008 Finn Gold Cup, Ainslie had another phenomenal and laudable year.

Alessandra Sensini and Ben Ainslie, voted as the 2008 female and male Sailors of the Year by the 125 ISAF member National Authorities.

© 2008 Kurt Arrigo

While there was only one Gold Cup, there were 19 other gold medals given for sailing if you don’t count the Paralympics. That’s not to say they’re any less meaningful, but Francis Joyon did something that no one else has ever done — he sailed his 97-ft trimaran IDEC 2 around the world singlehanded in less than two months on what was an average budget for that kind of undertaking. Not only did he take more than two weeks off the existing record, after 57 days and 13 hours he finished a little less than a week shy of the outright round-the-world record — posting the second-fastest time around the globe, period!

So what did he have to do to win? Set the outright ’round the world record also? We’re not sure if even that would have done it. But to us, Joyon’s liminal and remarkable passage is a singular achievement worthy of an award that bills itself as, "the highest award a sailor can receive in recognition of his/her outstanding achievements by the world of sailing."

We’d love to know how you feel about this, so let us know here!

Queen’s Final Voyage

After nearly 40 years of service, the Queen Elizabeth II began her final voyage last Saturday — by being blown onto a sandbar near Southampton. Fortunately, it was a soft landing. Tugs pulled her off and festivities were delayed by only about half an hour. More than a few people at the gala farewell joked that the ship grounded herself deliberately to avoid being taken out of service.

It was easy to anthropomorphize when it came to the grand dame of ocean liners. Built in 1967 (and making her maiden voyage in 1969), the 963-ft, 70,000-ton liner has transported 2.5 million passengers some 5.5 million miles over the oceans of the world, including 800 transatlantic trips and 25 round-the-world voyages. She is the longest serving ship in the Cunard line, set many speed and endurance records, and even served as a troop ship during the Falklands war. If those bulkheads could talk . . . .

Although she will no longer sail the seas, the QE2 will live on. Her final voyage is to Dubai, where she will be remodelled and reopened as a floating hotel in 2010. And actually, some of those bulkheads will talk — the $80 million selling price included the ship’s valuable onboard art collection, and the makeover is slated to include an onboard museum chronicling the ship’s long and colorful history.

Cabo Record Falls

Yesterday, Peter Tong’s SC 70, OEX, finished first in the 2008 Long Beach to Cabo San Lucas Race in record-breaking time of 2d, 22h, and 50m, eclipsing the elapsed time race record set back in 1987 by just under five hours.

“It was a wonderful trip,” Tong said. “The first night was pretty rough and we made a couple of errors. But once we sorted it all out and regrouped we got back on track."

Finishing Tuesday behind OEX and also breaking the record were, in order, Bob Lane’s Medicine Man, Ed McDowell’s Grand Illusion — which unofficially has first in class on overall corrected handicap time — and Brack Duker’s Holua. Per Peterson’s Alchemy also finished Tuesday afternoon, missing the record by just over 33 minutes. Doug Baker’s Magnitude 80, the pre-race favorite, was knocked out of the race early on the second day when their mast came tumbling down. Kevin Flanigan’s Ocelot also retired from the race early the same day.

Provisional Results:
Division I
1. Bob Lane, Medicine Man, LBYC – elapsed 3:00:48:15, corrected 3:01:10:05
2. Doug Baker, Magnitude 80, LBYC – retired
Division II
1. Ed McDowell, Grand Illusion, King Harbor YC – 3:00:53:30, 2:21:58:33
2. Peter Tong, OEX, LBYC – 2:22:50:09, 2:22:07:38
3. Brack Duker, Holua, Cal YC – 3 :01:14:42, 2:22:49:40
4. Per Peterson, Alchemy, Oceanside YC – 3:04:20:07, 3:01:48:58
5. Chris Slagerman, Cheetah, South Bay Yacht Racing Club
6. Kevin Flanigan, Ocelot, Corinthian YC of Portland – retired

ORR (not all boats are being scored under ORR)
Division I
1. Bob Lane, Medicine Man, LBYC
2. Doug Baker, Magnitude 80, LBYC – retired
Division II

1. Ed McDowell, Grand Illusion, King Harbor YC
2. Brack Duker, Holua, Cal YC
3. Peter Tong, OEX, LBYC
4. Chris Slagerman, Cheetah, South Bay Yacht Racing Club
5. Kevin Flanigan, Ocelot, Corinthian YC of Portland – retired

The same jury that found Skylar Deleon guilty of three murders — including those of cruisers Tom and Jackie Hawks — spent 10 hours last week deciding his fate: life in prison or death by lethal injection.