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December 15, 2008

Taking the Long Way Home

Pictured here during a day of sailing practice in the summer of 2006, the Arnold family of San Jose is now headed around South America.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As soon as we reviewed Geoff and Karen Arnold’s entry application for the 2006 Baja Ha-Ha rally we knew their plans were more ambitious than most. "We plan to take the long way home," they told us, meaning, "we’ll keep heading west until we come back around."

When this shot was taken at the start of the ’06 Ha-Ha the Arnolds’ grand adventure had just begun.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Today, more than two years later, they and their daughters Claire, now 15, and Alexandra, 13, have sailed their 1978 Dufour 45 ketch Fafner three quarters of the way around the world. Currently in Argentina, they’ll soon set off to explore the Strait of Magellan.

Having circumnavigated as a child with his own parents, Geoff knew long ago how such an adventure can strengthen family bonds. But he probably had no idea that the shared love of ice cream, which has developed aboard Fafner, would galvanize the bonds within his own nuclear family. "Back at our house, ice cream could sit in our freezer until it grew ice crystals. Not so while cruising. We start having daydreams about mint chocolate chip cones three days out and progress to drooling while describing black cherry sundaes . . . ." Look for further details on the Arnolds’ cruise — including the best ice cream stops — in the January edition of Latitude 38.

Mele Kalikimaka

If you’ve been too busy sailing to pay attention to the calendar — or go shopping — the Big Day is only 10 days away. Make the stressful holiday season a little easier on yourself — and thrill your favorite sailor — by shopping in our online chandlery. You can choose from a veritable mélange of fruity colored T-shirts and hats, and there are even some tasty delights for your favorite lusty wench or feisty swab.

Eight Bells – Mik Beatie

We are sorry to report that Mik Beatie died suddenly, yet peacefully, at his Corte Madera home on Thursday, December 11, with wife Suzi at his side. He was 67.

Michael Lauren Beatie was born in Hood River, Oregon, on April Fool’s Day, 1941. The son of a Navy officer, he was raised in San Diego, Hawaii and Marin County. Mik learned to sail early on with his father, a big boat racer back in the day. In 1964, the 23-year-old Mik was invited to sail the Tahiti Race aboard the ketch Orion, and thus began a long career on the water. He went on to sail on some of the premier American racing yachts of the time including Bohemia, Kirawan, Vixen, Stormvogel, Ticonderoga and Windward Passage.

Mik worked variously as a tugboat captain for Crowley Maritime, and ferry boat captain with Golden Gate Ferry. His excellent boat handling skills and good sense were relied upon though winter storms, the 1989 earthquake, and other crises large and small. Mik retired from GG Ferry in 2006 after 31 years.

Mik’s love of racing never faded. In between stints on big boats, he started racing Lasers in the ‘70s, later graduating to Express 27s (Beth! was one of the early hulls out of Alsberg Brothers) and still later, 11:Metres (Pier 23). Small keelboat sailing in San Francisco Bay allowed him to share his love of the sport with his only son, Hogan, who had joined the family in 1970. In 1986, Mik and Hogan took leave of work and school to travel to Australia as part of Tom Blackaller’s St. Francis YC-based Golden Gate Challenge America’s Cup team. They shared a room in the compound for six months. It was a situation some offspring might cringe to contemplate, but Hogan remembers it as a highlight of his life. “He’s always been my best friend,” Hogan said of Dad.

Mik is survived by wife Suzi, son Hogan, daughter-in-law Mariah Beatie, an aunt, two sisters, several nieces and nephews and three great nieces. And of course his unofficial sailing family, which may comprise much if not most of the Bay Area sailing community. All loved Mik’s keen perception of the qualities of people, tides and boats. His boundless sense of humor and entertaining ability to “talk story” will be fondly remembered and passed on by all who knew him.

Plans for a memorial had not been finalized at this writing. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to your favorite charity.

Some Good Reads

Don’t get us wrong. The internet is great. But when it comes time for a good read, we turn the computer off and grab a book. If you’re a scholar and gentleman (or woman) such as ourselves — or are looking to buy a nice sailing-related book for one — maybe we can help you out. In the next few ‘Lectronic Latitudes, we’ll do quickie reviews of a few books published this year that the sailor(s) on your gift list might enjoy.

  • In June, 2005, John and Jean Silverwood’s Lagoon 55 catamaran Emerald Jane hit a reef in the South Pacific. Black Wave (Random House, $25) is the story of what happened to the San Diego couple and their four chidren before, during and after that night — including the loss of John’s leg, severed by the falling mast. Not only a terrific read and ultimately an uplifting story, this book delivers the message loud and clear that, no matter how prepared and experienced you are, never think it can’t happen to you.
What began as a tragedy was turned into an inspirational read in the Silverwood Family’s Black Wave.

Emerald Jane
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
  • The Black Pearl — A Pirate Ship has nothing to do with Johnny Depp and everything to do with Paul Cayard and his crew sailing the Disney-sponsored boat of that name in the last (2005-06) Volvo Ocean Race. Cayard has always been a talented writer, and this book contains not only his daily reports — appended to chapters covering each leg — but also a memoir written after the race, in which the Pearl took second against almost unbelievable odds. The book, available only through Cayard’s website ( is $25 per copy, or $50 for a signed edition. All proceeds from the sales go to supporting local sailing, specifically the Belvedere Cove Foundation, which assisted Paul in getting the book published, and the St. Francis Foundation, which supports junior sailing programs at both the San Francisco and St. Francis Yacht Clubs.
  • It’s been a long time since Lin and Larry Pardey captivated — and motivated — a generation of cruisers with their first book, Cruising in Seraffyn. In the three-plus decades since then, they have added substantially to the knowledge base with a series of books, videos and DVDs. One of the best of these is Storm Tactics, the third edition of which was released in ‘08 (Pardey Books, $22.95). This one is revised, expanded “and Cape Horn tested,” and just chock full of real-life heavy-weather methods they and others have used and tested over the years. It’s certainly not the only book written on the subject, but it is one of the best. Also new from the Pardeys this year: Cruising Has No Limits, a great DVD featuring Lin and Larry at home in New Zealand, sailing Taleisin and going on a 4X4 safari in South Africa. Find it at
Courageous kiteboater Anne Quemere in happier times. © Arien Challenge As reported in Wednesday’s ‘Lectronic, French adventurer Anne Quéméré was forced to abandon her unprecedented attempt to sail solo from San Francisco to Tahiti aboard a vessel propelled only by a kiteboarding-style kite.
‘Tis the season for lighted boat parades, and if you missed the half-dozen that graced Bay Area waters last weekend, several are coming up.