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January 21, 2011

SailFest Help Needed

Zihua Sail Fest is a fantastic annual event that’s not only fun for cruisers but helps the neediest of kids.

© 2011 Zihua Sail Fest

"This is the 10th anniversary of Zihua Sail Fest, to be held February 1-6, and if you’re cruising mainland Mexico, we need your help," writes Pamela Bendall of the Port Hardy, B.C.-based Kristen 46 Precious Metal, who will chair the Cruiser Activities again this year. "During the 10 years, the project has built five schools — actually, four with another under construction — and is now educating over 1,500 of Zihua’s poorest children as well as providing clothes, a hearty meal each day, eye and teeth check-ups, and a future. For those who don’t know, without this program, these poor and in many cases non-Spanish-speaking children would otherwise never see the inside of a school. Sail Fest has run the numbers, and has calculated that every volunteer in Sail Fest represents four children getting an education. In other words, the participation of one couple on a boat means the lives of almost 10 kids — and their families — will be changed forever. And we cruisers, who are so fortunate, all know about
the benefits of education in impoverished societies.

The Aguas de Correa elementary school. Sail Fest raises funds to build better facilities for these kids.

© 2011 Zihua Sail Fest

"Despite my local promotion of Sail Fest to the cruising community, I was surprised to learn that four boats are leaving today and another tomorrow — almost on the eve of this terrific and important event. This bums me out, because in addition to not making the impact on the community their presence would provide, these cruisers are missing out on a lot of fun. We’re going to have a parade, a fun race, and countless other fabulous competitions and social events.

The kick off party features live entertainment and a fundraising auction.

© 2011 Zihua Sail Fest
Cruisers and the kids they’re helping meet up at the beach party where all sorts of hilarity ensues.

© 2011 Zihua Sail Fest
Just one cruiser’s volunteer efforts directly help these four girls get an education they might not otherwise have.

© 2011 Zihua Sail Fest

"So if you’re cruising mainland Mexico, I urge you to become a part of this terrific event, where all the money raised is doubled by other generous donors. Besides, it’s a well-known truth that the easiest way to become happy is by helping others. So I’ll be here for Sail Fest with a bunch of other giving cruisers, and I hope you’ll be here, too. Together we can change the lives of many of these adorable kids, and at very little cost."

The Parade of Boats is a highlight of the event. If you’re in the area, stick around for a bit and you’ll make memories that’ll last a lifetime…

© 2011 Zihua Sail Fest
…and change the lives of kids like this forever.

© 2011 Zihua Sail Fest

For the record, we at Latitude are big believers in Zihua Sail Fest, which to our knowledge has been the most successful cruiser fundraiser in Mexico. Participate and keep the dream alive.

CGs Searching For Missing Cat

The Phillipine and U.S. Coast Guards are searching for the 38-ft catamaran Pineapple, which left Guam two weeks ago headed for the island of Cebu. Four men and a woman — one of which is a Filipino American and member of the U.S. Air Force — were reportedly aboard the boat. The Pacific Daily News is reporting that the boat lacks "long-distance communication equipment," which has hampered the search that came at the behest of concerned family members. Although the roughly 1,500-mile passage was south of it, there was a 934 mb low in the northwestern Pacific earlier in the week that reportedly created a sizable sea state in the area.

And the Winner Is…

In Wednesday’s ‘Lectronic we challenged our readers to name our new logowear model, and boy were they happy to help — we received nearly 200 suggestions! By far the most popular was ‘Lattie’, followed by ‘Laticia’. A number of folks thought they were looking into the face of Barbie or even Lee Helm herself.

Stop by Latitude’s booth at Strictly Sail to have your photo taken with Crissy Fields.

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

But the hands-down favorite among Latitude staffers was ‘Crissy Fields’. Congratulations go to Timothy B. McCormick who posted his suggestion to our Facebook page — he’ll receive the hat on Crissy’s head for his efforts. Thanks to everyone who played! 

Naked Ninja Attack Thwarted

No matter what business you’re in, thinking creatively often helps you become successful. Perhaps that’s why a would-be thief in Cartagena, Colombia, went to the trouble to paint himself from head to toe with black paint before attempting a nighttime caper in the cruiser anchorage.

Despite bureaucratic impediments to expansion, Cartegena’s Club Nautico currently serves as a comfortable base for dozens of cruising sailboats.

© Club Nautico de Cartegena

In the end, the stealth coating didn’t help much, as his would-be victims, David and Bee Pettingill aboard the Bear Valley-based Shock Wave 42 cat Green Flash heard him rummaging around on deck. 

When David shined his "multi-million candlepower light" around the deck he found "a naked guy on his hands and knees doing a slow stalking move just like in the movies." The guy, whom David later dubbed the Naked Ninja, tried to escape, but got hung up in the lifelines initially before diving into the bay and swimming toward a neighboring boat, Toucan. David launched his Hawaiian sling at the fleeing thief to give him an extra incentive not to linger, even though the guy was obviously out of range. 

According to David, the Colombian Coast Guard showed up immediately, as they’d reportedly been drinking beer on a nearby boat. They eventually apprehended the painted ninja, and by the time they got him ashore a crowd had gathered to watch the action. "When the Coast Guard moved the naked guy from the boat to the paddy wagon, a big cheer went out and the spectators whacked him with sticks, kicked him, and threw things at him while he was using both hands to cover up," David explains.

It’s a pretty funny story, but the fact that theft in Cartegena — particularly of dinghies — is on the rise, is troubling to many westbound cruisers. Nevertheless, the Pettingills love Cartegena and wouldn’t disuade other cruisers from stopping there. "Cartegena is great," says David. "We wouldn’t have stayed six months if it wasn’t. Best place in the Carribean to get work done. Lots of dinghies are stolen and a few petty thefts from anchored boats, but no violence. Ours was the only boarding I know of with people on board, while or before we were here."

Okay, so we know we already showed you video of the AC45’s first sail in Monday’s ‘Lectronic.
It’s easy for longtime sailors to forget how hard the ‘lingo’ can be for newcomers to learn.