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May 4, 2009

Astor Steals the Show in Antigua Classic Regatta

The 86-ft Newport Beach-based schooner Astor shows her heels to the Antigua Classic Regatta fleet last month.

© 2009 Janet Hein

Latitude would like to give a big salute to Richard and Lani Stramen of the Newport Beach-based Astor, an 86-ft (overall) Fife schooner that was built in Scotland in — get this — 1923. The couple and their crew not only took Concours honors in class at the prestigious Antigua Classic Regatta in April, but they bested 60 other great classics — including two J Class yachts — and Spirit of Tradition yachts to win overall Concours honors. But that’s not all. Proving that Astor is much more than a pretty face, they also took first place racing honors in Vintage Class A. Well done! Mind you, this is a schooner they recently spent six years cruising 60,000 miles in the South Pacific.

Thanks to an interior like this, Astor, which recently completed a 60,000-mile South Pacific cruise, took overall Concours honors.

© 2009 Janet Hein

We’ll have more on Astor in the June issue, but if any of her many old friends from Southern California and the South Pacific would like to add their congratulations, they can do so via email.

Lani Stramen says buying, restoring and cruising Astor changed her life.

© 2009 Janet Hein

Latest Threat to DBW

On May 14, an important decision regarding boating in this state will be made in Sacramento. If it goes our way, recreational boating in the Golden State will remain, well, golden. We will continue to get excellent boating safety and education programs, grants to improve marina and launching facilities, and timely environmental work involving green boating and invasive species control. If it goes against us, boating concerns will largely disappear into the huge morass of inefficiency which has gotten the state into all this trouble in the first place.

We’re talking — once again — about the proposal to eliminate the Department of Boating and Waterways and transfer its responsibilities and administration to the Department of Parks and Recreation. Simply put, this would be a disaster. In its 52-year history, DBW has been a model of efficiency and — more to the point in these tough economic times — it doesn’t cost the state a dime! The organization operates entirely on the taxes you pay at the fuel dock, the fees you pay to register your boat, and some long-term investments. The DBW budget has therefore fluctuated over the years (from upwards of $100 million a few years ago to $77 million last year), but they still accomplish their mission. Parks and Rec, on the other hand, has suffered several cutbacks over the years, making it less efficient. As part of its assignment to cut costs for the 2008-2009 budget, it is planning to close or partially close 48 state parks, and its backlog of deferred maintenance alone now totals $1.2 billion. How well do you think boating is going to be supported by these guys?

This is the fourth time since 1992 that lawmakers have tried to eliminate DBW. The previous three were stopped short by overwhelming response from boaters (and the tireless efforts of watchdog organizations like RBOC — the Recreational Boaters of California). We hope you guys will rally once more to stop this latest attempt.

Check out RBOC’s Call to Arms, then contact the three senators on Senate Budget Subcommittee 2:

Despite Economy Rallies on a Roll

Profligate, Latitude’s Surfin’ 63 catamaran, seen here enjoying great sailing conditions in the Sea of Cortez, will be the mothership for the Ha-Ha for the 12th time this fall.

SOC Photographers
©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One segment of the world of sailing that seems not to have been hurt by the poor — although apparently recovering — global economy is sailing rallies. We give you three examples:

First, within 48 hours of being announced on ‘Lectronic, all slots in Latitude‘s Delta Doo Dah Rally, from June 27 to July 3, were taken. Maybe next year we’ll have room for more.

Second, the World Cruising folks in jolly old England have announced they have already received 181 paid entries for their Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) that starts in November. Six of the entries are from the U.S.


Finally, although entries weren’t accepted for this fall’s ‘Sweet Sixteen’ Baja Ha-Ha until Friday, 29 of them were received by Monday morning. One of the main reasons people sign up for the Ha-Ha early is that it gives them a better chance at getting a slip in Cabo when the fleet first arrives. While the 10-entries-per-day pace of sign-ups certainly can’t be sustained, it suggests that there might well be a good Ha-Ha turnout despite the poor economy. As for us, we haven’t brought Profligate back from Mexico yet — but we still can’t wait to sail south with the Ha-Ha again!

Ha-Ha entries to date include:

1. Natalie, Ericson 35 MkI, Ford Johnson, San Francisco
2. Sirocco, J/130, Lee Pryor, Oceanside
3. Galatea, Island Packet 380, Doug Hounshell, Berkeley
4. Sally Lightfoot, Corsair 31 UC, Paul Martson, Ventura
5. Trim, Del Rey 50, Ken Newell, Irvine
6. Dolfin, Crealock 37, William Meanley, San Diego
7. Moondance, Canadian Sailcraft 34, Niels Frommann, Santa Clara
8. Sabbatical, Mason 33, Bill Thompson, Long Beach
9. Meshach, 45-ft custom tri, Thor & Tanya Temme, Nawiliwili, Kauai, HI
10. Norwegian Steam, Jason 34, Alan Westhagen, Seattle, WA
11. Cuba Libre 3, Catalina-Morgan 440, Orlando Duran, Marina del Rey
12. Laura, Bristol 41.1, Michael Michel, Richmond
13. SeaFox, Sabre 452, Jim Hurst, Sausalito
14. Gato Go, Kennex 445 cat, Craig Wiese, San Diego
15. Mykonos, Swan 44, Myron Eisenzimmer, San Francisco
16. Pipe Dream IX, J/160, William Piper, Miami, FL
17. Siempre Sabado, Westsail 28, Stephen Yoder, Newport, OR
18. The Brass Ring, Sun Chaser 58 cat, Robert Brass, Toledo, OR
19. Stray Cat, Seawind 1000 cat, Harold Dean, San Francisco
20. Mai Pen Rai, Islander 36, Noble Brown, Benicia
21. Astraea, Cheoy Lee 41, Robert Moon, San Francisco
22. Grace, Beneteau Oceanis 393, Paul Witzke, Portland, OR
23. Virago, Catalina 470, Paul Goss, Alameda
25. Serenity, Tayana 52 DS, Gordon Cornett, Ventura
26. Mulan, Grand Soleil 39, Susan Karda, Vancouver, BC
27. Proximity, Swan 41, Rod Lambert, San Francisco
28. Nalu IV, Lapworth 48, Kent Miller, Los Angeles
29. Reverence, Tayana 58, Jason Scott, San Pedro

The new 20 peso note from Mexico? Lonnie Ryan
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC The H1N1 flu — politically incorrectly referred to as the ‘swine flu’ — doesn’t seem to be a problem for cruisers in Mexico yet.
Ever think about getting a tattoo? This one indicates that the bearer is officially registered in the world-renowned San Diego-to-Cabo cruisers’ rally.