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September 15, 2010

Evasive Action on the Estuary

Navigating the Estuary on a busy day — such as last Saturday — is not for the faint of heart.

© 2010 Goose Gossman

By all accounts, this past Saturday was one of the loveliest days on the Bay all year. Perfect temps, mellow breezes . . . and lots of traffic, as the (in)famous Potter Yachter fleet found out when they launched in the Estuary for a cruise-out to Clipper Cove.

“Where does all the stuff go, anyway?”

© 2010 Goose Gossman

"Passing ships in the turning basin called for respect and seamanship skills," reports Goose Gossman of the Benicia-based Potter 14 Gale. "The prop wash from tugs made for a fun-house-like ride. You really have to wonder where all the stuff in those big metal boxes is going — and if the enormous trouble humans go through to get it is worth the effort."

A set date for a cruise — whether to Cabo or Clipper Cove — is the most important part of casting off the docklines.

© 2010 Goose Gossman

But Gossman was even more perplexed by something else: "Even with as many boats on the water as there were, the vast majority were still slip-bound, with scarcely anyone aboard — even slip-sailing — on a day which couldn’t get much better." If you find you don’t get out as often as you’d like, perhaps it’s time to join — or form — a group that has planned monthly cruise-outs (like the Potter Yachters).There’s no better return on your investment than actually using your boat.

Catalyst Cat Lives On

They say cats have nine lives. But until we heard about the rebirth of the PDQ 32 cat Catalyst — which capsized and was subsequently abandoned off the North Coast July 7 — we thought that old adage applied only to felines, not to two-hulled sailboats.

After surviving her traumatic ordeal in the frigid waters off Fort Bragg, owner Kristy Lugert assumed her newly-purchased dream boat was a total loss, and that she’d never see it again. But by sheer luck, the overturned hull turned up in a North Coast ‘doghole’ a few days later near the Mendocino County town of Albion.

After a long trip down the coast from Mendocino County, Jerry and Kristy share a proud moment Monday on the approach to Point Bonita.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Unbeknowst to Kristy and her crew mates, Steve McCarthy and Greg McCuen — who were recuperating from their near-death rescue during the days following the incident — Kristy’s brother Jerry took it upon himself to salvage the battered hull. With the help of his friend Les Waterman and others, they successfully towed the hull out of the rocky doghole to the safety of Albion Bay. After pumping her out and making a variety of repairs, including replacing the starboard rudder with a new one fabricated by a local fisherman, they towed Catalyst to the Bay behind Waterman’s vintage 54-ft Chris Craft, with Kristy at the helm. Friends Matt Bisset and Daniel Gray also came along on the adventure.

If you look closely, you can see the battle-tested PDQ 32 being towed beneath the Golden Gate.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The trip south wasn’t easy, but it was a piece of cake compared to the ill-fated delivery attempt in early July. What will become of the mastless cat is now up to Jerry, who bought her for a dollar. An engineer by profession, he just couldn’t resist the challenge to refloat her and bring her back to life. Kristy, by the way, has received an insurance settlement and may soon be shopping for a new boat. And she has undoubtedly thanked her father profusely for having the foresight to rent an EPIRB from Boat U.S. for the delivery, which was instrumental in saving the three crew members’ lives. 

Safety First

The first photo in the sequence on The Triton’s website shows Capt. Henry’s boat riding in through Jupiter Inlet, as it had done many times.

© 2010 Stuart Browning

The Triton website reports that on September 3, experienced fishing charter skipper Tom Henry was entering Florida’s Jupiter Inlet when his 51-ft powerboat broached. Sadly, Henry, who was not wearing a PFD, died as a result of the broach — he lost his footing, hit the deck hard, and fell overboard — all of which is graphically portrayed in the disturbing sequence of shots taken by Stuart Browning.

A few frames later, the boat has broached and the skipper has lost his footing. Continuing on down the sequence, Henry can be seen falling from the bridge.

© 2010 Stuart Browning

Closer to home, a small fishing boat with four men aboard ran into the Richmond Marina breakwater in the wee hours yesterday morning, sending 71-year-old Roland Reed and 62-year-old Ralph Dankin overboard. The two other passengers were able to retrieve Dankin and Reed, but they were unable to revive Reed. No one aboard was wearing PFDs.

If anything can be taken away from these tragedies, it’s that even experienced seamen can make small errors that escalate quickly and uncontrollably. Wearing a PFD from the get-go is your safest bet.

A Penny For Your Thoughts . . .

Well . . . whaddya think?

© 2010 America’s Cup

The buzz generated by Monday’s announcements regarding AC 34 from the Golden Gate YC and Club Nautico di Roma is palpable. We want to give ‘Lectronic Latitude readers a chance to weigh in on the radical shift in the Cup’s direction. We’d love it if you’d take the time to write us and touch on the following.

• Do you like the AC 72 Catamarans?
• Do you like the fact they’ll be powered by wingsails?
• Do you like the idea of the "America’s Cup World Series" leading up to the Cup?
• Do you like the youth-team racing proposed in the protocol?
• Do you think Monday’s announcement of the venue, type of boat and protocol will help or hurt the chances of the Cup coming to the Bay?
• What do you feel is the chance (as a percentage) of the Cup coming to the Bay, and why?

Please keep your responses brief and send them here. Also, please include whether or not you’ve ever sailed a multihull and your age — we will omit those from your response if you so desire. Thanks!

The area around the soon-to-be-installed slips was also dredged. © 2010 Bob Naber Just in time for the Rolex Big Boat Series — which starts on Thursday — the City has just finished the dredging of the San Francisco’s West Harbor, home to San Francisco Marina, Golden Gate YC and St.
  With bated breath, the sailing world has been waiting for months for a definitive announcement regarding the 34th America’s Cup.
In order to prove once again that truth is stranger than fiction, we give you the following ad from Craigslist, where two young girls planning to sail around the world — drunk most of the time — want a pirate-killing man to come along to protect them.
As many globe-trotting cruisers know, the Indian Ocean’s Chagos Archipelago is regarded as having some of the cleanest waters and healthiest reef systems on earth.