Martin and Robin Hardy of the 52-ft trawler The Cat’s Meow are at it again. Back in September ’03, the Hardys worked tirelessly to save about a dozen boats that had gone aground in the Loreto area during Hurricane Marty. Two weeks ago, they once again became heroes — along with a number of other cruisers — by helping singlehander Jim Brown refloat his 35-ft wooden Chris Craft motor sailor Little Fawn.
"Initial rescue efforts pulled the sampson post out of the foredeck, broke the mast, and dragged the boat onto some rocks," reports Mark and Vicki Reed of the Portland-based Ericson 38 Southern Cross. "By the time we saw poor Little Fawn up close, she had a massive hole in her portside, along with several smaller rips and gouges. Jim was camped on the beach, and a number of skilled rescuers were on the scene, assisted by members of the nearby Hidden Port Yacht Club. The boat had been turned from her port side to her starboard side, leaving the damaged area mostly above water.
"Although we didn’t have any significant skills or tools to contribute to the rescue, we soon made ourselves useful. I helped pass radio communications and ferried tools back and forth between the beach and The Cat’s Meow, which was to be the tow vessel. Meanwhile, a group led by Terry Kennedy from the Horstmann 45 trimaran Manta, and including Bill and Les from Optical Illusion and Jean-Guy from Gosling, got to work on patching the hole. They attached thin strips of plywood to the hull with wood screws and Splash Zone (underwater epoxy)."
With the situation under control, Southern Cross left for Puerto Escondido, loaded with Brown’s tools. "The next day, we were delighted to see Little Fawn being towed by The Cat’s Meow," Reed continued. "By the time we arrived at Puerto Escondido, Little Fawn had been lifted onto the hard. The rescue had ended successfully, but Jim’s work is just beginning. It was really nice to see how the cruising community pulls together to help someone in need. We were glad to play a small role in the efforts, but hope that we are never on the receiving end!"
The last is probably a sentiment every cruiser shares, but it’s comforting to know that if the excrement does hit the fan, others will be there to help. Because even the rescuers sometimes need rescuing: Eight months after saving all those Marty victims, the Hardys’ generosity was repaid when they went aground at Agua Verde themselves, holing their wooden hull — beyond repair, many thought. The cruising community stepped up to save The Cat’s Meow, and she was relaunched just five months later.
The 160 sailors on the nine boats in the Clipper ‘Round The World Race fleet got a parting gift of largely sunny skies and a 20- to 25-knot clearing breeze yesterday for the start of their 3,329-mile leg to Panama. At mid-day, the "mother" watches — the rotating galley watch — were prepararing for their first meal at sea, while crewmembers stowed their gear, bid adieu to family and friends, and nailed down some last-minute details.
By 4 p.m. the boats were on the water showing their colors to the City in a parade of sail. A little after 5 p.m., the battle flags came down and the yankees went up, followed shortly thereafter by the staysails. Team Finland, which had finished just over a day earlier, showed they were raring to go as the only boat to go out with their main at full hoist, while the spectator fleet of 10 or so boats congregated at the starting area.
California, which counts Bay Area sailor Shana Bagley and Monterey sailor Donna Womble as part of its crew, got off to a good start as the gun went off around 6 p.m. under the arcs of a fireboat’s water cannons. At the starting line — between the Golden Gate YC and an inflatable mark — California tacked onto starboard and headed toward the early ebb on the beach. The collective mindset of the boats’ skippers was "safety first" and everyone was ducking everyone: early and emphatically! So instead of pushing hard into the beach, skipper Pete Rollason played it safe and ducked a big pack of boats that they might have otherwise crossed coming off the Cityfront on port tack.
Hull & Humber looked as if they were the boat with a local aboard, as they played the ebb perfectly all the way to Blackaller before crossing the Gate and bouncing off the North Tower, picking up a big lift that propelled them to an early lead as the boats passed Mile Rock. As of this morning, overall leader Spirit of Australia had posted the best half-day run of the fleet at 120 miles, while Hull & Humber took a big offshore flier and only managed an 81-mile half-day. California is in seventh after putting 92 miles on the board. Bagley will be sending us updates from aboard during the leg, so stay tuned!
The luckiest of world cruisers have enough cash stashed away that they can set off into the sunset on an open-ended cruise and never have to work again. But for many globetrotting sailors, a cruise to foreign waters is merely a limited-term respite from the workaday world. They set off knowing that eventually they’ll either have to replenish their cruising kitty by coming back home to work or find temporary employment somewhere ‘out there’.
Kirk and Cath McGeorge of the St. Thomas, USVI-based Hylas 47 Gallivanter exercised the second option earlier this year, after arriving at Pago Pago, American Samoa.
"We’ve settled right in for the cyclone season," Kirk wrote in January. "We found jobs, joined the local yacht club, bought a pick-up truck, we’re taking ukelele lessons, and I even pulled an old BMW motorcycle from the tsunami rubble to tinker with." (Pago Pago, by the way, is considered the safest hurricane hole in the tropical South Pacific.)
Kirk, being sort of a jack-of-all-trades type, was hired by the government as the Marine Operations Manager for the Department of Fish & Wildlife, and is in charge of maintenance and operations of their fleet of (mostly-broken) boats. Cath, who is a former on-air media personality, landed her own weekend radio show at a local FM station, where their son Stuart (aka ‘Arrrr Boy’) is reportedly getting some air time too!
American territories such as American Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands tend to be the easiest places for U.S. citizens to find work, but many cruisers find work elsewhere also — working both above and under the table.
If you’ve found work while cruising in foreign waters we’d love to hear from you so we can share your experiences with our readers (anonymously, if you wish). We’re interested in knowing where you found work, doing what, and for approximately what wages. Plus any additional tips you’d like to share on the best and worst places to work, and the most marketable professions or skill sets.