Skip to content
August 12, 2009

A Whale of a Time in the PNW

"I just finished a 10-day trip around the north end of Vancouver Island on Evening Star, a C&C 43 owned by my friends Dave and Mary Utley from Bainbridge Island, Washington," writes Mike Currie, who sails his "highly modified" Newport 30 Voyager out of Poulsbo, WA. "I’d never been around this part of the island before and I really enjoyed the trip. We saw lots of fog, some rain, not much wind and lots of wildlife.

"The photo above is from one of those special, lucky moments that ended up being one of the highlights of the trip. We were motoring around north side of the Brooks Peninsula when I saw a log in the water directly ahead of us. I veered to port to miss it but when we were about 80 feet away, the log disappeared. Suddenly a large humpback came out of the water directly in front of us! A few moments later a smaller whale breached within 40 feet of us. It jumped three more times behind us, then waved goodbye with a flipper.

"The weather in the Pacfic Northwest may not be always conducive to shirt-sleeve sailing but the wildlife is sure something else."

Was It the Girl or the Numbers?

It may be wise to keep an overcoat handy when traveling with passengers such as this.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Several weeks ago a member of the Latitude family was pulled over while idling up a local channel in a ski boat. Aboard were two bare-chested young men and a gorgeous blonde girl wearing a bikini.

As we understand the incident, the officers did not initially cite any infraction, but asked to see the boat’s registration papers and the crew’s I.D.s. Although the young men will forever be convinced that the officers simply wanted a closer look at their stunning blonde passenger, after thoroughly scrutinizing the boat, the officers did eventually issue a jaw-dropping $376 ticket for improper CF numbers. The colorful italicized numerals and characters that the ski boat displayed, they said, were improper. (Fix-it tickets cannot be issued for such infractions.)

Turns out, the officers were correct. According to DMV regulations, unless federally documented, all sailboats over 8 feet long and all powerboats, including dinghies, must display permanently attached or painted CF numbers on both sides of its bow. They must be in "plain vertical block characters" of not less than three inches in height, must contrast in color with the background hull color, and must have spaces equal to the width of a letter other than "I" between the prefix and the number, and the number and the suffix.

What’s truly ironic about the incident described above is that stick-on numerals and alphabets very similar those used on the ticketed ski boat are marketed at many California marine stores. They have rounded, slighitly italicized characters and come in a wide range of colors, some with patterns that fade from one hue to another. Although we assume that thousands of them have been sold over the years, evidently none are technically legal.

If your CF numbers are constructed from alphabets such as these, you may be in for a $376 shock.

© Hardline Products

In the end, the kids fought the ticket — showing evidence that the numbers had been replaced with straight block characters — and the infraction was dropped. But it cost the skipper the a lot of angst and the loss of a half-day’s work. So take a warning from this tale: be sure your CF numbers meet the regs, and — just to be safe — if you are lucky enough to have gorgeous bikini-clad girls among your crew, suggest that they put on overcoats and frumpy hats when passing patrol boats.

Profligate is Packed for the Ha-Ha

We want to thank everyone who responded to Monday’s mention that there were a couple of slots open on Profligate for the Ha-Ha. Due to the overwhelming response, we can’t take anymore inquiries. Doña de Mallorca will be putting together the team by this weekend, and will be letting everyone know whether they are on or off. We’re sorry that we can’t take everyone, but hope we’ll be able to sail with you at a later date.

Do The Banderas Bay Blast With Latitude Aboard Profligate?

Because there was so much interest in sailing on Profligate, we’ll be opening her up to guests for the action-packed week of November 29-December 6 on Banderas Bay. The week that will include typical cruising activities, the three days of the Banderas Bay Blast, including the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity, and ending with the Vallarta YC’s big Chili Cook-off at Paradise Marina.

If you do the Banderas Bay Week instead of the Ha-Ha, Lisa Zittel, the new Commodore of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club, will give you a free lifetime membership in the club.

©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Banderas Bay week on Profligate will be entirely different from the Ha-Ha in that we won’t focus as exclusively on sailing and onboard life. As such, it would be ideal for folks who might prefer eating ashore every night — the food is as inexpensive as it is delicious — or a day of shopping in Puerto Vallarta as opposed to another day of sailing. But make no mistake, the sailing on Banderas Bay is lovely, with flat water, tropical temperatures and whales. And most of our sails will be spinnaker runs. There will be opportunities for all kinds of other activities: snorkeling at the Tres Marietas Islands, a hike through the jungle at Yelapa, surfing at Punta Mita, salsa lessons in Sayulita, cruiser night at Philo’s Place in La Cruz, and muy romántico dinners, either in the hills of Puerto Vallarta or at the end of a breakwater at Punta MIta, to name a few.

The sailing on Banderas Bay is beautiful, and so are the surroundings. No foul weather gear is ever needed.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As we’ll be doing things such as coming in and out of the surf a couple of times, this week is only suitable for fun-loving folks who are fit and nimble. If you’re interested, send a brief description of your experience and a photo of your smiling face to Doña de Mallorca. By the way, it’s only 3 hours and 15 minutes by air from San Francisco to Puerto Vallarta.

Part of the week is the reopening of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club, so you’ll want to bring a costume. Yeah, it’s all about fun.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
The trip up the Petaluma River is reminiscent of French wine country. © 2009 Tim Crowe We have made annual trips from Alameda to the Petaluma Turning Basin aboard our Catalina 42 Azure for the last several years.