When we interviewed intrepid singlehander Nick Jaffe for the July issue of Latitude 38, he confessed that he’d been told time and again that his goal to reach his homeland of Australia by November was unattainable. Small boats such as Jaffe’s Contessa 26 Constellation aren’t known for speedy ocean crossings — indeed, it took the little red boat 27 days to cross from Half Moon Bay to Honolulu — but the naysayers weren’t taking Jaffe’s single-mindedness and determination into account.
On November 18, the 28-year-old Jaffe sailed into Coff’s Harbor on the north coast of New South Wales, Australia, finishing a journey that began 743 days earlier in Amsterdam. Through his popular blog, Jaffe brought armchair sailors the world over along on his shoestring journey. No big sponsors, no media hype, no record aspirations — just a young man on a sailing adventure. And it was a roller coaster ride. From the triumphant highs of finishing a lonely crossing to the extreme lows of leaving new friends . . . yet again . . . we’ve followed Nick on his physical and emotional journey.
Now that he’s accomplished what he set out to do, Jaffe refuses to wallow in the sometimes-inevitable depression that comes after such a feat. "I’ve come out of all this having twice as much energy and hope for the future, even if sometimes I come across depressed and anxious," he said. We’ll have more on the final legs of Nick’s journey in the December issue, and what he’s planning for the future — do we smell a book deal in the works? — but in the meantime, you can catch up on his adventure at his website www.bigoceans.com.
Yesterday, sixteen-year-old Aussie solo sailor Jessica Watson crossed the equator — the first milestone in her attempt to set the record for the youngest person to sail around the world alone, non-stop and unassisted. She celebrated by hosting her own initiation by King Neptune, complete with a saltwater dunking and an offering of melted chocolate. Watson is currently 33 days into her voyage and the tracker on her website shows that her S&S 34 Ella’s Pink Lady is roughly 200 miles west of Kiribati, one island of which she intends to round before diving south and around Cape Horn.
"I thought that crossing the line would be just like any other day out here, so I surprised myself a little by getting a bit emotional as I juggled three different cameras while counting down the latitude read-out on the GPS," Watson wrote in her blog. "It’s not so much physically crossing into the northern hemisphere that had me so worked up (you can only get so excited about an invisible line in the water!), but the fact that it meant the end of the first leg. Sure, this has probably been one of the easier legs (call it the shake down!) compared to some of the sailing to come. But the distance we’ve already covered is pretty amazing. Getting this far (and everything that happened before the start line!) has given me the confidence to know that, even though we’ve got some seriously tough times ahead, we’re going to be able to have fun tackling whatever comes our way."
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The kind folks at the snazzy Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz have confirmed that they will provide free berthing on the night of Wednesday, December 2, for boats registered for the Banderas Bay Blast, the three-day ‘nothing serious’ regatta on Banderas Bay December 2-4. It’s easy to register — just send your boat name, boat type, your full name and your hailing port to Richard. But don’t delay, because the number of free berths is limited to 30.
Boats that signed up on the first day include Raptor Dance, Maya, Destiny, Interlude, Island Mistress, Charissa, Capricorn Cat, Eupsychia, Profligate and Rotkat. So you can tell this is ‘cruiser racing’. Arjan Bok, owner of Rotkat, said he wasn’t intending to return to his boat so quickly, having already taken off a lot of time to do the Baja Ha-Ha. "But after two days in chilly San Francisco, I changed my mind!"
Yep, it’s warm on Banderas Bay. It’s in the mid to high 80s during the day, high 70s at night, and the water temperature has been over 85 degrees. Skies have been blue, the jungle is verdant green, and the fish are biting. What’s more, the $3.50 tortilla soup at the fancy second-story restaurant at the Marina Riviera Nayarit is delicious, and great street tacos in La Cruz are less than half that. The only bummer is that there hasn’t been much surf.
So if you’re anywhere near Banderas Bay, we encourage you to participate, as the Blast also features the annual reopening of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club — the new shirts are killer — music night at Philo’s, surfing at Punta Mita, and great sailing in eight to 15 knots of wind and flat seas. It’s such a fun combo that Steve May, who did it last year with his Corsair 41 cat Endless Summer, which is back in Northern California, will be taking a break from preparing his boat for the Pacific Puddle Jump to do the Blast with friends.
As we mentioned on Friday, we still have one cabin left for charter on Profligate, for a fun-filled week on Banderas Bay that incorporates all of the Blast. Email Doña de Mallorca for details.
Check out this most popular of the Beneteau designs and Boat of the Year winner. Brise De Mer is a ’10’ with new Quantum Technora sails, new canvas, teak decks, forced air heating, radar, liferaft, davits and RIB dinghy, upgraded engine, winches and more. She’s really in exceptional condition.