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April 30, 2010

May Issue Released Today

Hittin’ the streets – the May issue is out today!

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The May issue of Latitude 38 hits both newsstands and the interweb (later) today, and you don’t want to miss out. Inside, you’ll find out how to get a globe-girdling G-class multihull for a fraction of her replacement value. You’ll also get a peek at the latest collaboration between Naval Architect Jim Antrim and Berkeley Marine Center’s Cree Partridge. There’s a look at some high-latitude cruising and some below-the-radar bogus sail training. Don’t miss our report on the Clipper ‘Round the World Race, some real-life "supermen," or how to maximize your cruising while staying in the Golden State. We don’t know what Cuba and Beer Can Racing have in common, but they’re both in there too, along with all the regular features of our favorite — we might be a little biased — sailing magazine. Enjoy!

Plastiki Reaches Christmas Island

After leaving the Bay on March 20, Plastiki racked up an impressive 92-mile-per-day average.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

After 39 days and 3,600 miles, Plastiki made landfall at Christmas Island on Wednesday. The 60-ft eco-cat, built in San Francisco from recyclable materials and, most notably, empty soda bottles, left the Bay on March 20 bound for the Line Islands. Uncomfortable seas at the outset made this an even ‘greener’ trip than planned — David de Rothschild in particular reportedly had a tough time getting his sea legs — but eventually everyone settled in, along with the trades. Considering the boat’s complete inability to point and amount of drag caused by thousands of submerged soda bottles, Plastiki and her skilled crew made good time to their destination.

The crew’s stop in Christmas Island likely won’t be a long one, but they were warmly greeted upon arrival.

© The Plastiki / Matt Grey

"We got a tow in from one of the local ferry boat handlers, who managed to pull us into the very shallow lagoon; getting in and out of these atolls can present real challenges," de Rothschild reported on "When we got onshore we received a welcoming ceremony from the local community; there was an amazing dance from some local school kids, probably no older than 4 or 5 years old, to welcome us to Christmas Island to talk about our project." During their stay on Christmas Island, the crew will speak to students about recycling and their role in keeping our oceans clean, as well as meet with a variety of environmental and agricultural groups.

The crew will share their mission with the island’s children and teach them how they can positively impact their own environment.

© The Plastiki / Matt Grey

There’s no word on when Plastiki will depart for Tuvalu, with Sydney, Australia being the final goal, but skipper Jo Royle reports on the ship’s blog that the boat faired very well during the voyage. "We have completed nearly half of the distance as the crow flies to Sydney; we have sailed the longest, most remote leg of the journey. When we departed San Francisco the Plastiki really was an unknown, yet we have arrived in virtually as good a shape as we left. The Plastiki is in shape just to continue onto Sydney." We’ll continue sharing reports on the mission, but in the meantime, keep up with the crew on their website.

Are You Going to Vallejo?

Saturday could look a lot like this, albeit with more breeze.

© Peter Lyons

The party hats and hangover kits are being packed, and the division splits are up, because its time for The Great Vallejo Race. As both the official opener for the YRA season and the first installment of the hugely popular Party Circuit, the race has one of the biggest turnouts of any of the Bay’s races, not to mention one of the best parties hosted by one of the most hospitable clubs.

While Sunday might be as breezy as it was two years ago, this year’s flood means San Pablo Bay will be a little more settled.

© Peter Lyons

This year’s race up to Vallejo on Saturday is looking really pleasant as of now. The National Weather Service is calling for the breeze to build to 20 knots through the day. And a pretty decent flood should see the fleet get up there early, which leaves extra time to party! Sunday should see something similar. So make sure you take a camera and get plenty of pics. Send them, along with your stories, here. We’d like to include the best ones in ‘Lectronic Latitude and Latitude 38. Right now, we’ve got to run out and get our party hats; we’ll be seeing you up there!

Ha-Ha Registration Opens Monday

If you’ve been chompin’ at the bit to sign up for next fall’s Baja Ha-Ha rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, your time has come! We’ve been working on a new online signup protocol, and expect to have it up and running just after noon next Monday, May 3 at the event’s website.

Will you be aboard when the Ha-Ha 17 fleet heads south this year? If your own boat isn’t ready, you may find a ride as crew.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

All told, more than 2,000 Ha-Ha boats have made the run to the Cape thus far, with more than 7,000 crew aboard. Tallied together, they’ve sailed more than 1.5 million miles! Enough to circumnavigate via the tropics 60 times.

If you plan to join the fun this year, be aware that those who sign up early will have the best chance of getting a slip when the fleet arrives at Cabo. But before you get caught in the sign-up frenzy, let us repeat our annual mantra: If your boat was not built, equipped and maintained for offshore sailing; or if you would not be willing to make the trip on your own, please do not sign up. Even though the route is off the wind with favorable currents, overnight offshore sailing is serious business. That said, if you are ready, we’re eager to welcome you to the Ha-Ha 17 fleet, which promises to be a great one. At least a dozen boats currently cruising Mexico have vowed to bash back to San Diego just to be part of the fun again!

On the website you’ll find complete info about the event (see About the Ha-Ha), as well as a wealth of tips and advice about cruising Mexico (see the First Timer’s Guide). In a nutshell, the entry fee is still $350 (or $300 if your age or boat length is less than 35), which includes parties, all sorts of official Ha-Ha swag, and a mountain of worthwhile discounts from sponsors. We do our best to keep the entire event PG-rated, as we love having lots of kids along; hence, heavy partying is discouraged; the minimum boat length is 27 feet; singlehanding is not allowed; and powerboats are always welcome.

Beginning with the Costume Kickoff Party at the West Marine compound on October 24, the event runs two weeks, with the Awards Ceremony November 6 at Cabo Marina. So what do you say? Is this your year to Ha-Ha?

Looks like the highly controversial sail training operation aboard the homebuilt steel cutter Columbia was a bit ‘bogus’ after all.
While today’s headlines are more likely to be about Tiger Woods’ sex life than about Haiti, relief efforts spawned by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake — which killed more than 150,000 people and devastated the impovershed nation on January 12 — are on-going.