At a time when negative financial news is making headlines worldwide, cruisers and shore-based expats worked together in Zihuatanejo last week to garner roughly $45,000, which will aid local schools for underprivileged children. The annual event that facilitates this outpouring of goodwill is called Zihua Sailfest.
Unlike a typical regatta, every element of Z-Fest’s week-long schedule of fun-filled events has a fundraising component. The funds are distributed by the nonprofit Por Los Niños organization (which extracts zero administrative costs) to about 20 schools in the hills surrounding the city, most of which are attended by indigenous children who would have little chance of an education otherwise. Read more about Z-Fest in the March edition of Latitude 38.
Saturday provided a little break in the rain, and Golden Gate YC’s Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Series provided a venue for the 70 boats that showed up for its fourth installment.
PHRF 1 was host to a wide variety of big race boats from a 1D35 to a 1D48 and everything in between, including Big Boat Series IRC B winner TNT. But it was Glenn Isaccson’s Schumacher 40 Q that prevailed, finishing with an 11-second win over TNT.
In PHRF 2, Hank Easom’s Yucca extended her overall series lead with a bullet, while Steve Waterloo’s Shaman did likewise in PHRF 3.
Steve Wonner’s apparently renamed Wyliecat 30 Uno-129 took PHRF 4, extending her series lead to three points. In the tight Catalina 34 fleet, Chris Owen’s Mottley won by a 13-second margin. Chris Kelly’s Flyer beat the rest of the Knarr fleet and Peter Jeal’s Polperro beat four other Folkboats. Complete results are available at the club’s website.
If this Saturday’s fantastic weather got you thinking about the upcoming sailing season, then it probably got you thinking about potential crew. Where will you find them? If they’re great, how will you thank them? We’ve got the solution to both problems: Check out our free online Crew List for possible railmeat, then surf on over to the Chandlery and pick out hats and T-shirts for your team. They’ll love our high-quality gear and you probably won’t have to worry about finding crew again for next season.
And if you are looking for crew, don’t forget to drop in to the Latitude 38 Crew List Party at Golden Gate YC on March 11 from 6-9 p.m. It’s still just $7 to get in ($5 if you’re under 25!) and you’ll get the chance to meet dozens of new prospects, talk to the YRA staff, chow down on some kickin’ munchies and maybe even win a door prize!
The Bayview Boat Club was out in force the weekend before last for our first cruise-in of 2009. We have a cruise every month (check out our 2009 schedule, and while we usually cruise to another club on the Bay, this event was a raft-up at Clipper Cove. This was my first cruise as Fleet Captain and I was worried that only a few boats would show up. By late Saturday, every time a new boat came our way, I thought, "Oh no, not another boat!" But the old adage ‘The more the merrier’ really held true!
Many of the participants were from our core of monthly cruisers but several had never been on a cruise before. Some had only planned to stay an hour but ended up spending the night. Cold ones were abundant, as was a variety of wines. And though the food wasn’t officially organized, no one went hungry. There was chicken, steak, sushi, salads, cakes, appetizers — plenty of grub.
It was pretty tough to track all the boats that came and went over the weekend, but I can say that 18 boats spent Saturday night on the hook. The smallest boat was 25 feet and the two largest were 43 feet. Averaging the beam of the boats to 10 feet, that made our raft-up about half the length of a football field! I can tell you that it isn’t easy to climb from boat to boat over that distance — I felt it the next day! But visiting and celebrating the start of the new cruising year with old and new friends alike was worth every aching muscle.
You could call Fred Evans of Mendocino ‘Mr. Six and Six’. Back in ’95, he spent a week with his dying father at an Intensive Care Unit in Oxnard, during which time his father warned him that life passes very quickly so if he had any strong interests — such as going cruising — he shouldn’t postpone them.
Evans, now 64, and who had already cruised to Mexico in the early ’80s, took his father’s message to heart. He bought the Freedom 44 Coyote, did the Baja Ha-Ha II, and has been cruising between 5.5 and 7 months a year for the last 13 years. The rest of the time, he and Robin Whitley, his lovely sweetheart of nine months, live on his five-acre farm in Mendocino. When they are on the boat, a caretaker watches their place. "There are a lot of lesbians in the Mendocino area," advises Fred, "and lesbians are by far the best caretakers."
Evans’ choice of a Freedom 44, which is a cat-rigged ketch with unstayed carbon fiber spars, is interesting. When in Mexico aboard his Javelin 35, he was rolling his brains out so much at one anchorage that he temporarily took refuge aboard a friend’s Wharram catamaran, which was hardly rolling at all. Convinced he should buy a catamaran for his ultimate cruising boat, he did a test charter on a 42-ft cat in the Bahamas — and hated it. "I love to sail, and it was like sailing a Winnebago," he remembers. As luck would have it, he stumbled across a Freedom 44, bought it, and has absolutely loved her ever since. He and Robin delight in sailing into anchorages, something they find very easy to do with the self-tacking Freedom. What’s more, the boat is very fast. "I sailed in company with two 42-ft catamarans from St. Martin to Grenada," Fred says with pride, "and I beat them boat for boat on every single leg."
As much as Fred and Robin love the great sailing conditions of the Caribbean, after a hoped-for stop in Cuba, they plan to sail back to the Pacific. Why? To make sure they will always be able to sail his boat back to his homeport of Noyo Harbor. Fred doesn’t want readers to think he’s a wacko, but he bet a friend $50 that in three years the United States would no longer exist as a single country. "It was a stupid bet on my part," he laughs, "because the $50 I win won’t — like the rest of U.S. currency — be worth anything." And if the currency is worth nothing, they might not be able to pay for a Canal transit, and therefore won’t be able to sail back to Mendocino without having to go around the Horn.
While Fred and Robin share a more apocalyptic vision of the future than do we, we like their style. "We like to live small and be self-sufficient, growing our own food," says Fred. "And raise chickens and goats," adds Robin. That’s when they’re not sailing, of course. When they are on Coyote, they continue to live a simple life. "I only recently installed my two solar panels," said Fred. "Thanks to their generating so much electricity, and thanks to the stoutly-built Coyote being such a good sailing boat, we almost never had to run the diesel. Eat your heart out Venezula and Saudi Arabia!"
Lest anyone think the simple and natural life might not be fulfilling, neither Fred nor Robin have plans to stop anytime soon. And at $2,000 or less a month, it won’t be something they can’t afford.
More on this couple in the March issue of Latitude.