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May 8, 2009

Let’s Go Sailing

It would be a crime to waste this weekend’s fabulous weather on anything other than sailing.

© 2009 Peter Lyons

The forecast for this weekend couldn’t get any better for Bay Area sailors. Highs in the mid-70s with 10-15 knots of wind — perfection! So drop whatever other plans you may have had and get your boat out of the slip, whether it’s having a little racing fun in a beer can, going out for a family daysail or jockeying for the best position for KFOG’s KaBoom fireworks display on Saturday night.

You don’t need to read Dale Carnegie to ‘win friends’ – just invite them sailing this weekend!

© Peter Lyons

If you find yourself shorthanded but still want to ‘get out the boat’, be sure to hit Latitude‘s online Crew List. You’ll find hundreds of sailors — racers and daysailors — eager to get out on the water, as well as skippers looking for crew. For example, you could call Teresa Pangelina, 52, of Hayward. Last fall she sailed aboard the Coast Guard’s tallship Eagle in the Parade of Ships, and caught the sailing bug. Teresa admits to "zero sailing experience" but says she’s not afraid of a little hard labor to earn her seat in the cockpit. "I’m looking to gain experience, get a little exercise and have some fun," she said. Teresa is available on the weekends and is willing to go just about anywhere on the Bay to catch a ride. You can find her profile and contact info on our Daysailing Crew List.

Singlehander Still Missing

It’s possible that Landers is at sea aboard a green Portland Pudgy dinghy like this one.

© 2009 Portland Pudgy

Despite a multi-faceted search effort, missing American singlehander Billy W. Landers has still not been found. As reported Wednesday, the 64-year-old sailor’s boat, Emily Pearl, was discovered — holed and sunk — earlier this week along the rugged coast of Nuku Hiva, one of the principal islands of the Marquesas Islands. Two of the first clues to Landers’ whereabouts were that his PFD was retrieved near the beach and his unsinkable plastic dinghy was nowhere to be found.

According to Landers’ close friend, fellow singlehander Erik Dix, the concensus among investigators is that the missing sailor probably did not come ashore. With the help of a local hiking guide, French gendarmes and others have "scoured the area from the village to the bay where the boat went down." But their extensive searching revealed no sign that anyone had been moving through the area. Despite this, the land search continues today, along with underwater investigation of the wreck site by French Naval divers. The hull is breaking up rapidly, however, due to near-shore surge.

Dix reports: "I’ve asked the gendarmes some questions about the condition of the boat that they will try to get answered tonight: whether the jib was up, if there was a ‘ditch bag’ still aboard, etc. . . For a few reasons that were unclear in translation, the investigators do not think that he was harnessed to the boat, and fell overboard. They don’t believe that he was wearing the harness that was found washed ashore, and that it was washed from the boat like some of the other things. . . Their opinion is that Bill was not aboard the boat when it hit the rocks; that he left earlier and the boat drifted into shore."

French Navy boats and aircraft continue to search today for the dinghy or other clues, following a search pattern based on prevailing wind and current. During his short stay at Nuku Hiva, Billy had apparently made many new friends. Locals, as well as cruisers, are deeply concerned for his safety.

Reward Offered for Missing Jolly Roger

For the last 25 years or so, Latitude 38 has been proud to sponsor a competitor in the annual Master Mariners Regatta. This involves donating a few bucks to the Master Mariners Benevolent Association, a nice bunch of folks who are dedicated to the maintenance, restoration and sailing of classic wooden yachts. In return, a sponsored boat flies your house flag and takes one person from your organization aboard as crew. This has been a delightful arrangement that’s worked out terrifically over the years for all concerned.

The sponsored boat is supposed to return the flag after the regatta, and we never had a problem getting it back until a few years ago, when one of our flags went missing and has yet to show up again. That’s where, hopefully, one of you come in.

The MIA flag was about 3×4 feet. It showed a white skull and bones on a black background, with the skull wearing one of those beanie hats with a little propeller on it. The shorthand of its disappearance was that the boat that flew it that year — this was sometime in the early part of the decade — was sold right after Master Mariners and left for the East Coast within the month. It is currently based out of Washington, but several communications with the new owners indicate the pirate flag is no longer aboard. We’d just get another one made, except that the person who designed it passed away and did not leave any sort of master design to work from. We don’t even have a good photo decent enough to use for a remake.

We really, really miss this flag. Having exhausted all other avenues, we’re hoping one or more of you readers can help us out. So we are officially offering a reward of both a Latitude 38 T-shirt and ballcap for any information leading to its return. Email John with any tips.

In the meantime, look for Latitude’s also-pretty-cool ‘clipper ship’ flag flying from the main truck of a yet-to-be-determined competitor in this year’s Master Mariners Regatta, scheduled as always for Memorial Day Saturday, May 23. Might your company be interested in sponsoring a yacht? Log onto for more information — and get busy designing a house flag of your own.

The Arnolds Have Been Around

In late October of ’06, the San Jose-based Arnold family set sail on the Baja Ha-Ha. They’ve since covered nearly 35,000 miles while going around the world. Makes us wonder what we’ve done in the same period of time.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The San Jose-based Arnold family report that in late April they completed their circumnavigation aboard their 45-ft Dufour ketch Fafner, having covered 34,865 miles since they started with the ’06 Baja Ha-Ha. In the Ha-Ha preview, Geoff reported that his parents were "old salts" who had done a circumnavigation with him and his two siblings aboard a 33-footer from ’74-’76 — which was long before today’s modern electronics and other conveniences. So his and Karen’s plan was to take daughters Claire and Alexandra around "when they were old enough to know what was happening, but too young to do anything about it." And they succeeded!

The Arnolds – Alexandra, now 14, Claire, now 16, Karen and Geoff – in Taiohae Bay on their outbound leg. They are now headed to Hawaii and expect to be back in California by July.

©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Arnolds didn’t do your normal Milk Run circuumnavigation. You can tell by looking at the chart and seeing that they finished up via South America, Cape Horn and the Pacific rather than the Panama Canal. That’s why they completed their circumnavigation at Taiohae Bay in the Marquesas, of all places.

This map shows the Arnold family’s route. Notice that they are returned from the Med via South America, Cape Horn and the Pacific, not the Panama Canal.

©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
After buying 50 grapefruit for less than $5 in Guaymas, Wayne and Carol took the wine treatment to ward off any possibility of swine flu.