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August 14, 2009

Special Taxation in Suwarrow

In the northern Cook islands, taxes normally aren’t a big concern. But the ‘shark tax’ occasionally imposed on fish – such as this one, caught by the park ranger’s son – can be annoying.

© 2009 Scott Malone

At the remote island of Suwarrow, the whole of which is a national park in the northern Cooks, sharks are accustomed to humans in the main anchorage. "We would normally have two to six black-tip reef sharks cruising lazily by the boat," explains Wayne Wilson and Susan Leader of the B.C.-based Selestra 50 Daydream, who recently spent three wonderful weeks there.

"When we went for a swim they tended to let us get a lot closer than normal before they turned away. We didn’t feel threatened, but always tried to keep an eye on them. If one headed toward us, we would always swim toward it." Nevertheless, Wayne and Susan had no doubts that these sleek marauders were potentially dangerous, as illustrated by the "shark tax" which was taken from a young fisherman’s catch.

Look for a thorough report on Daydream‘s visit to Suwarrow in an upcoming edition of Latitude 38. And remember, every issue of the magazine can be downloaded for free from the website.

Antigua Sailing Week . . . By Hugo Chavez

Organizers of the famous Antigua Sailing Week are undeterred by the island nation’s financial troubles – next year’s dates have been set as April 24-30.

© 2009 Ted Martin / Antigua Sailing Week

The economy isn’t doing so well in Antigua & Barbuda, the small Caribbean nation that is home to world famous Antigua Sailing Week. The problem is they hitched their star to Sir Allen Stanford, who is now in the slammer for allegedly running an international Ponzi scheme to the tune of $8 billion. Not only was headline-grabbing Sir Allen the biggest private employer on the island of Antigua, he sponsored what was known as — until he was indicted — Stanford Antigua Sailing Week.

And who should pull on his Superman outfit and rush to the rescue but headline-grabbing Hugo Chavez, dictator of Venezuela. That Venezuela is in complete economic shambles didn’t stop Chavez from playing Joe Kennedy for the fool in the ‘oil for poor Americans’ program, and it’s not stopping him from posturing himself as the Savior of Antigua with a $50 million bailout.

“I’ll take bankrupt Caribbean islands for $50 million, Alex.”

Dictators for Hugo Chavez
©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Unfortunately, $50 million is a pittance of what Antigua needs, as the Antiguan government is being sued for $50 billion by plaintiffs who claim the island government was a full partner in Stanford’s Ponzi scheme.

Enjoy the Weekend

Whether daysailing or racing, this weekend is going to be fantastic.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It’s shaping up to be an awesome weekend to get out on the water. According to the forecast from the National Weather Service, Saturday is your day if you’re planning on blasting around the Bay. If you’re planning on a relaxed Bay cruise, then Sunday’s your day.

That should be good news to those of you sailing in Saturday’s events — the 52-boat YRA Half Moon Bay Race and Encinal YC’s Gracie & George Regatta. Those sailing in the multi-day events — either the Laser Masters Nationals at Monterey Peninsula YC or the San Francisco YC’s IRC & Express 37 Invitational — should see every dog get at least one day.

Coming up next week is the 505 North Americans on the Circle, hosted by St. Francis YC from Tuesday through Thursday. They precede the SAP 505 Worlds which run from August 23-29. Both regattas will feature a lot of really impressive talent, big fleets — almost a hundred boats are signed up — and are worth watching if you get the chance.

A Gross of Ha-Ha Entries

Entries for the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ edition of the Baja Ha-Ha keep rolling in, having just reached 144. We’ll spare you the ‘gross’ jokes and instead remind anyone thinking of doing this annual rally from San Diego the Cabo San Lucas in late October, that just four weeks remain to enter before the September 10 deadline. The $350 entry fee is crazy-low for all the swag and discounts participants get in return, and the memories and friends you’ll make are priceless.

For those who have committed to the rally, keep in mind that the amount of fun you have is directly proportional to the amount of sleep you get. The first leg can be a killer for those who underestimate how exhausting two or three nights at sea can be. Even for those who are comfortable handling their boat as a couple, an extra hand or two can make the difference between surviving the trip and really enjoying it. If you don’t already have crew lined up, be sure to register as a ‘Skipper Looking for Crew’ on our Mexico-Only crew list (or as ‘Crew Looking for a Boat’ if you’re in the market for a ride south).

Potential crewmembers are lining up for a ride south.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

A great way to meet prospective crew face-to-face is by attending our Mexico-Only Crew List Party & Baja Ha-Ha Reunion on September 9 at Encinal YC from 6-8 p.m. Registered 2009 Ha-Ha skippers and first mates get in for free, while the rest of us pay just $7. Enjoy apertivos, no-host bebidas and guest experts while you make connections and meet new friends. 

For Ha-Ha entry information, visit the Ha-Ha’s online registration site. Click here for the complete list of entries, but for now, here are the latest:

122. Bluebird, Custom Trimaran 28, John Taylor, Lakewood, WA
123. GypsyBlue, Beneteau 463, John White, San Francisco
124. Done Dealing, Beneteau 47, Jay Bryan, Alameda
125. Tapestry, Command 10 tri, Richard Pearsall, Ventura
126. Sea Villa, Islander 37, Jim Morgan, Sausalito
127. Music, Beneteau 40, Rick Gio, Pt. Richmond
128. Osprey, Elan Impression 434, Jerry Whitfield, Anacortes, WA
129. Paikea Mist, Beneteau 50, Michael Hanssmann, Vancouver, BC
130. Chardonnay, Catalina 30, David Elkin, Richmond
131. Mangareva, Dallimore Cutter 40, Mark Strong, Pollock Pines
132. Jammin’, Freeport 41, James Wilson, Los Angeles
133. Mariah, Seawind 1000XL, Gary Rufener, San Diego
134. Andalucia, Irwin 37, Steve & Edie Hollen, Yorba Linda
135. Ohana, Sceptre 41, Charlie McKenzie, Missoula, MT
136. Capaz, Perry 48, Brad & PJ Baker, Seattle, WA
137. Slow M Ocean, CHB trawler 45, Errol & Norene Phillips, Scappoose, OR
138. Sagittaire, Brewer PH cutter 47, Michael Quiriconi, Seattle, WA
139. I’O, Davidson 44, R. & B. Kuschel, San Francisco
140. Julia Morgan, Morgan Out Island 41, Thomas Christensen, Long Beach
141. Talion, Gulfstar 50, Patsy Verhoeven, La Paz, Mexico
142. Sabbatical, Valiant 40, Phil Kumpis, Hermosa Beach
143. Eagle, Cal 35 Mk III, Phileta Riley, Bandon, OR
144. Simple Pleasures, Freedom 36, Bernard Slabeck, Alameda

"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.