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October 14, 2009

Surviving the Storm

‘Diver Dave’ Gissendaner rescues a 30-footer whose anchor dragged off Strawberry Point. “The pounding waves helped us pull her off,” he reports.

© 2009 Tim Sell

As all of us in Northern California know, we got pounded by what was a combination of a very early winter storm and the remnants of a Japanese typhoon. The results were record one-day amounts of rain for October, winds to 67 knots, and seas outside the Gate to 14 feet.

Other casualties weren’t so lucky.

© 2009 Tim Sell

According to Dave Gissendaner, owner of Dave’s Diving in Sausalito, at least four boats broke free of their moorings in Richardson Bay yesterday. "The county puts us on stand-by the day before a storm hits," said ‘Diver Dave’. "We go out at the height of the storm and rescue what we can safely." Dave, with help from local diver Tim Sell, pulled one boat off the rocks at Strawberry Point, but were unable to free the other three boats. Dave reports that either his company will be hired to salvage the boats, or the county will destroy them.

This wooden Ingrid 38 is rumored to be the first ever built. Dave says it’s unlikely that she’ll escape the Corps of Engineers’ bulldozer.

© 2009 Tim Sell

We hope nobody was offshore headed to San Diego for the start of the October 26 Baja Ha-Ha. Fortunately, according to, the weather off the coast of California looks much better for the next week.

But we’d like to know if your boat sustained any damage in yesterday’s fierce winds. Did anyone’s roller furling headsails come loose? Did a dockline snap?  In other words, were there any October lessons learned for the upcoming winter storms? Email Richard with your stories.

Deliver School Supplies to Baja

As Tropical Storm Patricia dwindles to a measly remnant low, the effects of last month’s Hurricane Jimena are still being felt in many places along Baja. Cruisers Steve and Edie Hollan of the Yorba Linda-based Irwin 37 Andalucia have coordinated with officials in Turtle Bay to facilitate donations to local schools.

"A lot of southbound boats have asked for ways to donate needed items to the children’s schools in Baja," the couple wrote on their blog. "We have friends who have a small business in Bahia Tortugas so we contacted them about giving back. They responded with lists compiled by the mayor’s wife, Guillermina Jimenez."

The lists — found here — include standard school supplies easily and inexpensively bought at discount stores. Tuck them away until you reach Turtle Bay, where Mrs. Jimenez will have them picked up from your boat. The Hollans report that donations can also be left at the mayor’s office, but be sure to write "DIF" on the package.

Who wouldn’t want to help these gregarious Turtle Bay students? If you have a little extra space onboard, help them out by taking some school supplies on your way south.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"It will be a lot easier for those doing the Ha-Ha," say the Hollans. "During the beach party on Friday, October 30, just drop off your donation at the ‘Donaciones para Las Escuelas de Bahia Tortugas’ tent."

We’d like to point out that, while the Rally committee is too busy with the event to be directly involved in such charitable drives, we fully support them. If you have questions about this particular campaign, contact Steve and Edie through their website.

Surfers & Cruisers Lend a Hand

Currently cruising the South Pacific aboard Moonduster with his ladyfriend Neria, Alameda-based cruiser Wayne Meretsky reports from the Kingdom of Tonga: "The big deal at Ha’apai this week — and probably for the month and year, if you don’t count the tsunami and the ferry sinking — is an influx of palangi (foreigners) here, who have arrived in a quest to clean the beaches of Tonga. The event has been organized by some surfers from New Zealand and there are perhaps 100 Kiwis and a few Aussies in town, plus a number of visiting cruisers. In addition to the out-of-towners, the local school children have been organized, propagandized and accessorized with garbage bags, and are expected to bring the turn-out to about 1,000.

Since leaving for the South Pacific two years ago, Wayne has seen plenty of spectacular sights. Here, Moonduster lies in Tahiti’s Tahaa lagoon.

©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"It’s interesting to me," says Wayne, "that the surf is on the east coast of Tonga, and that most mid-Pacific debris would be washed up on those shores — but they just aren’t very accessible, so the clean-up will only address the west-facing beaches, and those for only half a day."

In any case, the clean-up effort starts tomorrow morning, followed by a big party in the afternoon to celebrate the newly cleaned beaches. Sounds to us like a worthwhile cross-cultural exchange that could easily be copied at other island groups. When asked to help out with a good cause, cruisers and other ‘water people’ are usually willing to lend a hand.

Who’s that peeking around the bow of Royal Prince? © Jeff Berman Boats poured onto the Bay this weekend to take in Fleet Week festivities.
Well-known Australian skipper Andrew Short, 48, died when his PriceWaterhouseCoopers (formerly Shockwave 5) foundered on the rocks off Flinders Islet.
A doozy of a storm is set to wallop Northern California tomorrow so you’d better grab Toto and run for the cellar — but not before you check your boat.
Frequent news reports on the so-called Mexican drug war has dampened enthusiasm for travel south of the border at a time when the Mexican economy is already struggling.