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August 31, 2009

More ‘Stone Age’ Than Manu Rere

Hans Klaar’s 73-ft Ontong Java was a welcome sight to many Polynesians.

© 2009 Glenn Tieman

The name Glenn Tieman should ring a bell with regular visitors to this site and readers of Latitude 38 magazine. He’s the Southern California traditionalist who hand-built a primative Wharram catamaran, and recently sailed from Mexico to the South Pacific. In the excerpted report below, we catch up with Tieman in Moorea, a few days after his crossing from the Tuamotus:

"At Moorea I met Hans Klaar on his one-of-a-kind 73-ft voyaging double-canoe. On his previous boat, also a Wharram cat, Hans was one of the first westerners to use crab claw sails — like the ones I have on Manu Rere. His current boat is likely the only yacht even more radically stone-age than my own. Although he does use a 5-hp outboard engine, he had the Ontong Java built, along Polynesian lines, from big planks cut from two trees in West Africa. The gaps between the planks are sealed with strips of rubber tacked over.

"Before leaving Papeete I got an email from him saying he was at Moorea with one too many girls aboard and hoping I could take one. They were beauties too. Several people at Moorea appreciate Polynesian vessels like Manu Rere and they kept me entertained with diving, touring and dining.

Renowned as one of the most majestically beautiful islands on Earth, Bora Bora is typically the last stop before leaving the Societies.

Manu Rere
©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"I moved on to Huahine, then to Bora Bora, which, despite its drawbacks, looked like the Matterhorn heaving out of the sea and mist. Again at Bora Bora I anchored next to Ontong Java, and I’ve come across a few other Wharram catamarans and their crews as well during  these last couple stops. From here it’s a thousand miles to Wallis Island, possibly first stopping at Samoa, then north through Tuvalu before the southern hurricane season begins." Look for more on Tieman’s travels in an upcoming issue of Latitude.

Angry Jimena Barreling Toward Baja

Batten down the hatches, Jimena is heading inshore – and she appears to be in a very bad mood.

© 2009 NOAA

More often than not, strong Eastern Pacific storms and hurricanes threaten the Mexican mainland and Baja Peninsula, but veer offshore or diminish in strength before inflicting much damage. It could be a different story with Hurricane Jimena, however, which is now slowly advancing toward Cabo San Lucas, packing sustained winds of 127 knots (145 mph), and gusts reported up to 155 knots (172 mph)!

Thankfully, this graphic is just a simulation. With any luck, Jimena will take a flyer away from the coast.


If the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s three-day prediction simulation is correct, hurricane-force winds could lash lower Baja by mid-day tomorrow. Historically, however, wind strengths generally diminish substantially as they approach or cross land masses. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that this monster hangs a sharp left soon.

Solo Sailor Overdue in Marquesas

Family and friends are ‘waiting for Godot’ to arrive safely in the Marquesas.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Friends and family of singlehander Jim Cheshire, 63, are asking Pacific Puddle Jumpers to keep an eye out for Cheshire’s Alberg 35 Godot. Cheshire left Manta, Ecuador, on July 21 bound for the Marquesas but has not checked in with his shoreside contact. Godot has a white hull with no name, and the main is emblazoned with Pearson’s logo and the sail number 153. His EPIRB has not been activated.

It appears Jim Cheshire had a liferaft and EPIRB aboard Godot – the EPIRB has not yet been activated.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

USCG Pacific Search and Rescue in Alameda was advised on Saturday of Cheshire’s overdue status and has notified commercial traffic along his proposed route. Hopefully Cheshire has simply been experiencing a slow crossing — it’s a 3,500-mile journey — and will make contact soon, but if you have any information on his whereabouts, you might ease some very worried minds by emailing his family or calling (860) 304-5733.

When last we heard from Dick and Sharon Drechsler, they were prepping their Long Beach-based Catalina 470 Last Resort for a trip down the beach from Puget Sound.
Although details have yet to be finalized, festivities in San Diego surrounding the annual Baja Ha-Ha cruisers’ rally are expected to reach a new level.
A 13-year-old Dutch girl attempting to become the youngest-ever circumnavigator has been placed under state supervision in the Netherlands.