April 15, 2011

Party at Latitude’s Booth Tonight

It’s Strictly Sail time at Jack London Square!

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Strictly Sail Pacific, the only all-sail boat show on the West Coast, opened its doors yesterday and continues through Sunday at Jack London Square in Oakland. Not only will you find great deals on gear and services, but you’ll also find deep discounts on new boats. Seriously, if you’ve been thinking about a new boat (or sail or engine or fridge or . . .), you won’t find better prices at any other time of year.

Stop by the Latitude 38 booth (#329) to pick up back issues, buy a t-shirt or hat, or just have your photo taken with our lovely new model Crissy Fields.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In addition to free sailboat rides and hands-on demos, Strictly Sail boasts a full line-up of free seminars — including ‘Baja Ha-Ha How-To’ presented by the Grand Poobah himself, Richard Spindler, at 2:15 this afternoon in the Windward room, with a repeat performance tomorrow at the same time place followed by Assistant Poobah Andy Turpin’s ‘Tahiti and the Pacific Puddle Jump’ talk at 3:30 tomorrow in the Portside room.

Just be sure to stick around till 6 tonight for the Baja Ha-Ha, Pacific Puddle Jump and Delta Doo Dah Reunion Party!

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

On top of all this sailing goodness, Latitude will once again be hosting a Baja Ha-Ha, Pacific Puddle Jump and Delta Doo Dah Reunion Party at our booth (#329) starting at 6 p.m. Of course anyone is welcome to join the revelry but it’s a great chance for participants in our various rallies to get reacquainted over a glass of free Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Woodbridge Merlot or Woodbridge Chardonnay. Hope you’re thirsty!

Pirate Negotiator Captured by Feds

According to a Wall Street Journal report yesterday, the U.S. has taken a bold step in combating Somali piracy. Earlier this month, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents entered Somali territory and, with cooperation from local government authorities, tracked down and arrested Mohammad Shibin, 50, a key player in the kidnapping saga of American cruisers Scott and Jean Adam of the Marina del Rey-based Davidson 58 Quest, and their guests Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle. As reported earlier, the entire crew was killed by their captors while their boat was being shadowed by a U.S. warship.

Scott and Jean Adam, owners of Quest, and crew Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle were killed by Somali pirates in February.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Shibin allegedly oversaw ransom negotiations for the Quest crew and others, for which he earned substantial commissions. Previous to his arrest, he had been indicted in a U.S. court on three counts, including piracy and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. If convicted he could face life in prison.

The FBI’s unprecedented step of venturing onto Somali soil was taken with the backing of two 2008 U.N. Security Council resolutions that authorized nations to take "all necessary and appropriate measures" to combat piracy in Somalia.

U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil MacBride was quoted as saying, "The arrest of Mohammad Shibin is a significant breakthrough in the United States’ battle against Somali pirates. We hope this indictment will strike at the heart of the piracy business and send a strong message to all pirates, whether they board the ships or remain on shore in Somalia."

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Breaking the Promise Made to Bill Lee

Twenty years ago, Steve Schmidt, then of Saratoga, promised Bill Lee of Santa Cruz Yachts that he would never race the heavily ‘cruis-ified’ Santa Cruz 70 that he wanted Bill to build for him. Lee wanted the promise because Schmidt wanted a 70 with a much shorter than normal mast, a huge open area aft where an inflatable could be pulled aboard, and other modifications to make the boat better for cruising than racing. She wasn’t going to be the kind of boat to inspire the customers Lee was seeking to attract.

Steve, bookended by competitors and crew, at the Voiles Village. De Mallorca crewed for him, and had you been there, he’d have taken you, too. SC70s need rail meat in the Caribbean.

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Schmidt eventually took off cruising in ’05, and has been living in the Caribbean ever since. As for that promise never to race Hotel California, Too, well, he’s fudged on that big time. In fact, Schmidt tells us he’s raced Hotel California as many as 50 days a year, from one end of the Caribbean to the other.

Hotel California, Too, rolls a competitor off the islands in the Gustavia Outer Harbor.

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In the past, Schmidt’s favorite regattas in the Caribbean were in Trinidad & Tobago and in Bequia. But now his favorite is the just completed Voiles de St. Barth. Why? "I really like the fact that the racing wasn’t the same old windward-leeward stuff, and that we got to race around little islands and stuff. Plus, the sailing conditions were ideal."

“And representing the King Harbor YC here in St. Barth, we have . . . “

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Because of the lack of consistent crew, and because the Caribbean Racing Rule isn’t kind to ultralights with big chutes, Hotel California always races without a chute. And sometimes Steve races without a crew. He may not always correct out well — although he did get a second in a class of 20 in one Voiles race, despite having to steer with the emergency tiller — but he always has a great time. And he hopes Bill will forgive him.

Sailors en route to or from the Hawaiian Islands have always had to keep a sharp eye out for shipping traffic, migrating whales and runaway containers, but they’ll soon have another — potentially more ominous — hazard to deal with.
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Why is this crew smiling? Because they’re headed to the sunny isles of Tahiti with the 2011 Pacific Puddle Jump fleet aboard the fast, comfy MacGregor 65 Braveheart.