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March 18, 2011

Nereida Leaves Ushuaia

Indefatigable Jeanne Socrates, 68, spent two months getting Nereida once again ready for sea.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

After two busy months holed up in Ushuaia, Argentina effecting repairs — but mostly waiting for replacement parts to arrive from Europe — to her Najad 380 Nereida, Jeanne Socrates finally made her way down the Beagle Channel early this week, bound for the Falkland Islands. Socrates had left Victoria, B.C. on October 25 on a planned nonstop solo circumnavigation, but a knockdown on her approach to Cape Horn on January 5 dealt a crippling blow to her record attempt. With a severely damaged windscreen/dodger and a broken boom, Socrates managed to limp in to Ushuaia under her own power.

Dozens of cruisers from all over the globe lent helping hands during their stops in Ushuaia.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Considering the damage Nereida suffered in the knockdown, and the fact that replacement parts and a new boom had to be shipped from Europe to Argentina, Socrates’ stay in Ushuaia seems downright short. But if Jeanne is one thing, it’s determined. With the help of many local workers, and the generosity of passing cruisers, she managed to get Nereida seaworthy again in record time.

Nereida is on-track to arrive in Port Stanley on East Falkland tomorrow morning.

© Google Earth

Having left Puerto Español on Wednesday, Jeanne expects to arrive in Port Stanley in the Falklands tomorrow morning. From there, she’ll head to Cape Town — where she’ll have officially completed a circuit of the globe (via three of the five ‘Great Capes’) — and possibly South Georgia Island. We’ll have more in the April issue of Latitude 38.

El Salvador Rally Heats Up

In years past, many cruisers sailed right past El Salvador, but with a seven-week lineup of fun events, the country’s Bahia del Sol is becoming a must-do stopover.

© 2011 El Salvador Rally

The second annual El Salvador Rally may be a fledgling event that’s not yet widely know, but there’s one thing that clearly distinquishes it from all others: It’s festivities last for seven weeks! Now that’s what we call a party.

According to organizers Jean Strain and Bill Yeargan, the first batch of participating cruisers arrived last week — 17 boats — and were greeted with the same generous hospitality that impressed last year’s fleet. In addition to chillin’ in the Bahia del Sol pool, enjoying local food and libations, attendees were happy to find that there is now an on-site port office so cruisers no longer have to make the trek to San Salvador to clear in and out.

Delmy Castaneda, Head of Maritime Records (left) strikes a pose with rally organizers Jean Strain and Bill Yeargan. Delmy’s on-site office makes it easy for new arrivals to clear in.

© El Salvador Rally

This year’s rally has garnered 81 entries, some from as far away as Aruba. In the coming weeks, a variety of weekly events and activities will take place as new arrivals continually trickle into port, with the final celebration on May 1. Look for additional reports here and in the pages of Latitude 38. The Rally’s official blog can be found here.

After completing a challenging crossing of the notorious Gulf of Tehuantepec, cruisers Lena and Larry Blais of the Krogen 42 Hobo look like they’re thrilled to be making a pit stop at Bahia del Sol.

© El Salvador Rally

The Price of Diesel

A couple of mariners — they have a trawler — who plan to return to Central America and Panama on their boat are hoping to get an update on the price of fuel — diesel and gas — in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. If you have current info, could you please pass it along?

Here in St. Barth, diesel goes for about 1.36 euros a liter. There are 3.9 liters to a gallon, so that makes it 5.30 euros to the gallons. Given the euro-to-dollar exchange rate, that turns out to be $7.42/gallon. So yes, if you’re going to fill up a six-gallon tank for your dinghy outboard, you can kiss a $50 bill good-bye. Then you can start looking for a four-stroke as opposed to a two-stroke. Based on our experience, four-strokes get about double the fuel economy.

You’ll burn up half this bill filling up your outboard tank in St. Barth.

© Webb Logg

Diesel is slightly less expensive.

‘Round the World News

It’s been awhile since we’ve updated you on the various ‘Round the World races currently underway. In the doublehanded Barcelona World Race, Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron aboard Virbac-Paprec 3 are holding on to a 166-mile lead as they transit the doldrums with multiple Olympic medalists and Volvo Race veterans Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández stalking them aboard MAPFRE. Hanging in third, some 900 miles behind the leaders are Pachi Rivero and Toño Piris aboard the Renault Z.E. Sailing Team. The lone American in the fleet, Ryan Breymaier, sailing with Boris Herrmann aboard Neutrogena, is currently in a battle for fourth place despite nursing a dodgy keel. Five boats out of the 15 starters have retired, and the race has taken its toll on the entire fleet. Although it’s nominally a non-stop race, the boats are allowed a "technical stop," which more than a few teams have had to use, including the leaders.

Thomas Coville’s Sodeb’O has found some slow going off the coast of South America, falling some 400 miles behind the reference time of Francis Joyon’s ’08 trip aboard IDEC 2.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Velux 5 Oceans Race "Ocean Sprint 4" gets going again from Punta Del Este, Uruguay on March 27, and lone American and race leader Brad Van Liew will be looking to add another leg victory to the three he’s already amassed.


Thomas Coville has been locked in a furious battle with "virtual" competitior Francis Joyon in a bid to better the latter’s ’08 singlehanded ’round the world mark of 57d, 13h, 34m. After overcoming a 1400-mile deficit to Joyon’s reference time — this in spite of missing skins on the crash box portion of his starboard ama’s bow — Coville has dropped about 400 miles behind the reference time as he struggled to get across the equator. Coville’s 105-ft trimaran Sodeb’O had a relatively fast transit of the South Atlantic, where Joyon was beset with light air and rig issues that forced him to make three trips to the top of his mast. But Joyon had a pretty straightforward and fast trip up the North Atlantic in ’08 and Coville will really need to put the pedal down to get home faster than Joyon did.

With many midwinters series wrapping up throughout the rest of this month, the weekend regattas are back in full swing.