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November 29, 2010

A Sunny Thanksgiving

Patsy Verhoeven (right front) and friends are obviously pleased to be celebrating a barefoot Thanksgiving.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

You know you’ve officially made it into the cruising lifestyle when you can say you enjoyed Thanksgiving while wearing shorts and flip-flops — or better yet, bare feet.

That’s precisely what scores of both veteran and newly arrived cruisers did last week in many Mexican towns and anchorages. 

From La Paz, Patsy Verhoeven of the Gulfstar 50 Talion reports on a dockside gathering at her home base, Marina de La Paz, which included diners from Eros, Yellowstar, Sorceress, Adios, Star, Aunt Sur, and Maria. "We had great food, music, stories, friends, and a fabulous sunset to top it off!"

“Did someone say turkey feast?” It didn’t take long to muster up a big crowd of cruisers when the idea of holding a Thanksgiving potluck was proposed at Guaymas.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Up in Guaymas the crew of the B.C.-based Woods Meander Ceilydh explains that, despite the challenge of obtaining turkey and ham, they shared in a huge potluck feast at Marina Guaymas that drew 50 sailors. Unlike some long-anticipated cruiser events, however, this one was essentially spontaneous, with the effort spearheaded by Phil Perkins of the San Diego-based Mannasea and Sharon of Castaway. In addition to inviting all cruisers, they also invited the entire staff at Fonatur’s Marina Guaymas. "As cruisers, we clearly have a lot to be thankful for," say Diane Selkirk and Evan Gatehouse of Ceilydh.

If you enjoyed a cruiser Thanksgiving elsewhere, we’d love to hear about it via email, and see a few photos.

Another Host Family Needed

In July, we put out a call for a sailing host family for German exchange student Viviane Farke. She found one and we’ll bring you a full report on how she and her ‘family’ are doing in an upcoming issue of Latitude 38, but Cheryl Williams, the placement coordinator who contacted us about Vivi, reports that another young German sailor is hoping for a sailing host family as well.

Naomi’s favorite sport is sailing. Most of Cheryl’s exchange students are placed in the Fresno area, but there isn’t a lot of sailing down that way.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Naomi Wolf, 15, lives near Heidelberg with her parents and younger brother. She’s been sailing since she was six, and sails the river Neckar as well as summer trips on the Med. She and her dad compete — and win — regularly in regattas, and Naomi teaches sailing to young kids at her club. She’s an A student, plays piano and bass (she’s even a member of a band), loves swimming, tennis, and snow skiing.

Naomi sails with her dad every weekend. The family also holidays aboard in the Med every summer.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Naomi will arrive in the U.S. in January, and needs a host family for the spring semester. She’s fluent in English and will arrive with her own medical insurance and spending money — the host family is asked to provide a roof over her head and meals. "And it doesn’t have to be a family with kids," Cheryl said. "Retirees and couples are welcome to apply as well." The application process seems relatively painless, as well as obvious — criminal background check, Megan’s Law check, reference check and an in-home interview — but time is running short to find Naomi a sailing home. If you’re interested, email Cheryl or call her at (559) 940-4713.

Racing Outlook

There wasn’t much racing scheduled this weekend, given the holiday, so instead of wrapping-up what wasn’t, we’ll give you a heads-up on what’s coming. Before we get to the weekend, bear in mind that the Port Comission’s special meeting regarding the America’s Cup is, as far as we know, still on for tomorrow at its hearing room on the second floor of the Ferry Building at 9:30 a.m. Try to make it out if you can. Coming up this weekend are second installments for the: Golden Gate YC’s Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Series, the Vallejo YC’s Tiny Robbins mids and the Sausalito YC’s Midwinter Series. The Richmond YC’s Small Boat Midwinters kick off on Sunday. It’s a little too early to call the weather, but the prospects for breeze look good at this point. Enjoy!

Blast to Start on Wednesday

Ideal tropical sailing conditions are on tap for Wednesday’s start of the Banderas Bay Blast, three days of socializing, fundraising and ‘nothing serious’ cruiser-style racing just outside of Puerto Vallarta. Co-organizer Mike Danielson reports that prior to this morning’s net, 17 boats had signed up, with a total of about 30 expected.

The catamaran ‘blast off’ to start the second ‘race’ of the ’07 Banderas Bay Blast. Note the blue skies and tropical temperatures.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Those weary of expensive entry fees have nothing to fear, as the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club- and Vallarta YC-sponsored event doesn’t have an entry fee. If that’s not good enough for you, Raffa and the folks at the Nayarit Riviera Marina will be hosting the entire fleet for free on Wednesday night. And lifetime yacht club memberships in the Punta Mita Yacht and Surf Club are only $1 — but are only available to those who sail to Punta Mita.

The Blast schedule is as follows: 

  • Wednesday: Start off either Punta Mita or Marina Paradise for either an 8.8-mile spinnaker run or a 5.5-mile reach to the finish line off the Nayarit Riviera Marina. Big time socializing and water balloon dropping will follow at the Sky Bar, dinner will be at any of the great street taco stands in wonderful La Cruz, and the night will be wrapped up with live music and dancing at former cruiser Philo Hayward’s Music Studio and Bar.
  • Thursday: The course is 8.8 miles to Punta Mita, to be followed by the annual reopening of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club, which, the other 364 days a year, masquerades as the El Dorado Restaurant.
  • Friday: The last race of the Blast is also the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity, an always delightful 13-mile spinnaker run from Punta Mita to Paradise Marina. The sailing is preceded by a pirate costume lunch at the El Dorado Restaurant, and the sailing will be followed by the traditional water volleyball in the Vallarta YC’s pool.

By the way, scores of high school students from the American School in Puerto Vallarta will be attending the Pirates for Pupils luncheon, sailing on the boats, and raising money as part of a community service program. In addition, the Grand Poobah is donating $1,000 to the fundraiser on behalf of the participants in Ha-Ha 17. Ronnie Tea Lady administers the distribution of the funds, so every penny of it goes to a good cause.

The purpose of the Blast is not just to have sailing fun, but to raise money so kids like these can get even the most basic educational tools, and to preserve the beautiful environment of Punta Mita and the Vallarta Coast.

© 2010 Michele Bolduc
The kids of Punta Mita, seen here celebrating the 100th anniversary of the second Mexican Revolution, are super sweet. So are all the rest of the kids in Mexico.

© 2010 Michele Bolduc

Entry is easy: Contact Mike Danielson on 22A prior to the Wednesday start, or just show up. Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club scoring is simple: We pick the names of the winners out of a hat, and they get a free pizza at Philo’s. The Vallarta YC scores things a little more traditionally. The only important thing is that you have a great time!

Whether you love to gorge on turkey, you sail a turkey of a boat, or are a turkey yourself, the crew at Latitude 38 would like to thank all of you for not only reading our quasi-literary efforts, but also for inspiring us with your stories and photos.
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