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January 19, 2011

Name That Snot Bubble

In the January issue of Latitude, we ran a sneaky little quiz in Sightings. The only mention of it was in the caption for this photo that ran on pages 78-79 in conjunction with a story on a bottom paint study. "The first reader who can correctly identify this slimy, squishy glob that was dangling from our depth sounder wins a Latitude hat," read the caption.

Alameda’s Gary Henry was the first to respond — on January 2! — identifying the snot bubble as a tunicate. Hot on his heels was Alice Watts, First Mate of Alma, who also claimed the goo was a tunicate. Their answers were confirmed by Sarah Cohen and Brita Larsson, students of San Francisco State’s Romberg Tiburon Laboratory: "It’s a solitary tunicate (Styela sp.) covered with a colonial tunicate (Botryllus sp.)." Thanks to everyone who played!

AC 45s Roll in 25 Knots

Okay, so we know we already showed you video of the AC45’s first sail in Monday’s ‘Lectronic. But we couldn’t resist including the above video, not only because it’s freakin’ cool, but because it’s more representative of the conditions these massively powered-up boats will see in the Bay.

In other multihull news, the 131-ft Banque Populaire V could possibly start an assault on Groupama 3‘s Jules Verne record by the weekend. Pascal Bidegorry’s longer, wider, heavier and more powerful steed could be a real threat to Groupama‘s 48d, 7h, 45m tour du monde.

Meet Latitude’s New Crewmember

Latitude 38 has acquired a new ‘crewmember’ to help us show off our colorful logo wear at Strictly Sail, April 14-17. But we’re at a loss as to what to call this lovely lady, so we decided to leave it to our clever readers. Email your name suggestion to LaDonna or leave a comment on our Facebook page by 5 p.m. on Thursday. We’ll announce our favorite name in Friday’s ‘Lectronic and the winner will receive the hat lil’ miss thang is wearing. (If more than one person suggests the winning name, the first person to have submitted will be the winner.)

Update: Thanks to everyone who sent in a name suggestion. We’ll announce the winning name in tomorrow’s ‘Lectronic!

Learning ‘Sailingo’

It’s easy for longtime sailors to forget how hard the ‘lingo’ can be for newcomers to learn. We were reminded of this recently when a newbie made the following observations:

“A rope is a rope until you bring it aboard a boat. Then it’s a line. Unless it’s used to pull sails, then it’s a sheet. Cut it into pieces and it can become a guy — but never a girl. Or a vang, outhaul, downhaul, gasket, topping lift, jackline, halyard, twing, reef point, traveler, or probably a bunch of other stuff. When you’re done sailing, that same bit of . . . cordage . . . can become a dockline or a spring. But as soon as you coil it up and step onto the dock, it’s a rope again.

“Isn’t that right?” he asked.

"Um, well . . . yeah. But it can still be a line . . . .”

“And you guys are writers, yet you never correct things like ‘down below’ and ‘up forward’. Aren’t those phrases redundant?”

By golly, he was right about that, too.

“And I’ve seen ‘anchors away!’ used lots of times to mean letting the anchor drop. I’ve also heard it used to mean raise the anchor. Which one’s right?”

"Well," we said loudly (relieved to finally get a question we could answer without sounding like dorks), "technically, ‘anchors aweigh’ — meaning to raise the anchor — is proper. But yes, we’ve often seen them confused, probably because ‘aweigh’ sounds just like ‘away’."

He took us to task on a couple other points, but frankly we have no idea why the place where the shrouds and forestay attach to the mast is called the hounds — or why it’s plural. Or why ‘fetch’ has nothing to do with any kind of, er, hound bringing back a stick you’ve thrown. But we were able to confirm that a winch has nothing to do with a wench. Even though some nonsailors also get those two mixed up sometimes.

There was more. No, on sailboats, mast cranes aren’t used to lift anything, and tabernacles have nothing to do with Morman choirs. When he started in on why ‘ceilings’ and ‘floors’ had nothing to do with their shoreside counterparts, we glanced nervously at our watch. Oh wow, look at the time! — we were, um, late for a meeting. Nice talking to you . . . bye.

Sheesh. Okay, okay. Points taken. Some ‘sailingo’ doesn’t make a lot of sense.

It’s still easier to understand than Australian.

Youngest Circumnavigator?

There’s been a lot of buzz in recent years about young solo circumnavigators. In fact, the latest would-be record breaker, Dutch 15-year-old Laura Dekker, set sail a few months ago aboard her Jeanneau 38 Guppy.

We’re curious how much Lee remembers about the trip, as she was only four when Rough & Ready crossed her track at Hilo, Hawaii, in 1986.

© 2011 Ciszek Family Archives

But with all the excitement generated from recent solo attempts, we can’t remember anyone ever addressing the question of who was the youngest non-solo circumnavigator. That issue came up recently when Curtis Ciszek asked that he and his family be added to Latitude 38‘s official West Coast Circumnavigator’s List. You see, Curtis and his wife Lettie set sail in 1982 aboard their 42-ft wooden ketch Rough & Ready when their daughter Eulalie (Lee) was only 3.5 months old. She was only four when they returned in 1986. Lee’s younger sister Shelly was born en route, but did not do a complete circumnavigation.

So we’ll put it to you, our readers: Does anyone out there in Latitudeland know of a West Coast circumnavigator that returned from circling the globe when younger than 4.5 years old?

Please email us with info, and high resolution photos if possible. As keepers of the West Coast Circumnavigators List, this is info we ought to know.

Your PRO for the 34th America’s Cup: John Craig. AC34
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC There was some exciting news in the America’s Cup realm over the weekend.
Yucca and Emily Carr joust their way toward Blossom. © Erik Simonson The cold and dreary winter weather broke just in time for the 60th Corinthian Midwinters to get underway this weekend under sunny skies and temps that seemed to get up into at least the high-60s.
There’s a new "largest privately-owned yacht in the world." She’s the 533-ft motoryacht Eclipse, which is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.