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March 18, 2009

Puddle Jump Bond Exemptions Approved!

Cruisers always get a warm welcome – especially during the Sailing Rendezvous. But this year they get a bond exemption too.

©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As reported recently, the annual migration from the west coast of the Americas to French Polynesia has begun, with a few boats now closing in on landfalls in the Marquesas. This year their arrivals will be even more joyful than in the past as we’ve just received word that registered members of the Pacific Puddle Jump rally have been given a ‘bond exemption’ by Tahiti’s High Commissioner.

This is a first, and it is a very big deal to westbound cruisers. Normally, every arriving yacht must put up roughly $1,700 USD in cash per person, as a sort of insurance policy — a substantial amount for, say, a family of four. The funds are held in trust by a bank, and are refunded to each skipper when he/she clears out to leave, but hundreds of dollars are typically lost during the currency exchange.

Kristen and Alan Spence (left) of the Napa-based Amel 53 Charisma won the canoe race at last year’s Rendezvous – with a little help from two locals.

©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The exemptions were facilitated by ‘our new best friend’ Michel Alcon, Director of the Tahiti YC, to whom we, and this year’s Jumpers, are deeply grateful. We plan to incorporate a visit to the club as part of our June 19-21 welcome-to-Tahiti event, the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous. Stay tuned for further news on this year’s fleet, and look for profiles of fleet participants in the April edition of Latitude 38.

Boater Missing in Richmond

The search has been suspended for an unidentified man who fell out of a dinghy near Richmond’s Marina Bay last night. According to the Coast Guard, the report came in about 9 p.m. last night that a man had fallen into the water while trying to get off a dinghy onto a larger boat. The Coasties searched for about five hours, eventually suspending the search at 2:15 a.m. this morning.

Not-So-Strictly Sail Pacific News

With just under a month until the start of Strictly Sail Pacific, exhibitors received a letter yesterday explaining that the show will no longer be the only all-sailing boat show on the West Coast. Strictly Sail Pacific has merged with the Northern California Marine Association’s Pacific Power Boat Expo and will now be known as Strictly Sail Pacific & Power Boat Expo. The April 15-19 dates remain, and the venue is still Jack London Square, but the format will be a little different.

The new and expanded show will have two boat basins — one for sailboats, the other for powerboats — with a connecting dock between them. On-land exhibitors will be located throughout Jack London Square, with most booths situated in the large tent and surrounding areas at the east end of the Square, while trailerable powerboats will be at the west end.

"The new combined show is a winning proposition for everyone," the letter said. "It will result in a bigger, more exciting event that will attract additional attendees and provide increased value to our exhibitors."

While we’re a little bummed by the news — after all, we’re unabashedly guilty of a pro-sailing bias — the combined show should give us all a good opportunity to convert prospective power boaters!

Pirates For Pupils Run

Monohulls, multihulls, and powerboats alike mingled to raise money for local kids’ charities in the Pirates for Pupils Run.

© 2009 Jay Ailworth

A record 30,000 pesos — including $500 U.S. donated on behald of last year’s Baja Ha-Ha fleet — was raised in the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity, which was held last Sunday on the beautiful waters of Banderas Bay. After a Saturday night dinner at the Bluewater Grill in Punta Mita for some of the 90 participants, the skippers and crews of nine sailboats, accompanied by three powerboats, started the 12-mile run to Paradise Marina in light winds and pirate costumes. Before long the wind was in the mid-teens and the boats were flying. There are few places in the world that regularly provide sailing conditions as cruiser-friendly as Banderas Bay.

This local kid, who hitched a ride on a participating ‘pirate boat’, clearly wasn’t worried about being keel-hauled.

© Jay Ailworth

The participating sailboats featured four multihulls — Greg Dorland and Debbie McCrorie’s Lake Tahoe-based Catana 52 Escapade, Wayne Hendryx and Carol Baggerly’s Brisbane-based Hughes 45 Capricorn Cat, Steve May’s Emeryville-based Farrier Endless Summer, Jim Milski’s Lake City, Colorado-based Schionning 49 Sea Level — and six monohulls — Jim Casey’s Tahoe-based Jeanneau 43DS Tomatillo, Tom Jones’ Puerto Vallarta-based Charissa, the Mike Danielson-driven and Puerto Vallarta-based J/145 Blue, Don Von Tress’ Island Trader 46 Sugar Bird, Interlude, and Jim and Chris Machado’s Puerto Vallarta-based Jeanneau 41 La Ballona. Also, two powerboats – The Dark Side and Oso Blanco – participated. In the Pirates for Pupils, all participants are winners.

The P for P was founded a number of years ago by Latitude as a fun fundraiser before the much larger Banderas Bay Regatta that is held every March. For the last two years, we’ve also held a Pirates for Pupils in December as part of the Banderas Bay Blast. The most recent P for P was hosted by the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club — with Commodore Heather Corsaro helping with the fundraising and Doña de Mallorca coordinating the Punta Mita logistics — and Vallarta YC, whose Mike Danielson and Andy Barrow running the Lucha Libre fundraising segment of the event.

Capricorn Cat’s crew danced their way across Banderas Bay.

© Jay Ailworth

But the person who has made the Pirates for Pupils what it is since the beginning is Ronnie ‘Tea Lady’, who has been tireless in rounding up participants, collecting donations and making sure the collected money is wisely spent by charities serving children. When a deadline conflict made it impossible for Latitude and Profligate to participate this year, it was unclear if there would even be a spring Pirates for Pupils. But Ronnie stepped in and made it happen. Indeed, she, along with those who helped her, brought in the most money ever. Here’s to you, Ronnie!

Vitesse Too gets a tow home. latitude/JR
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC Grant Hayes and crew Bill Schwob were about halfway back to from the Lightship when they heard the dreaded ‘bang’.
In one of those odd twists of fate, last week a ship lost 31 containers in a storm off eastern Australia — and was itself damaged by one of them!