It’s all over but paying off the credit card bills. We’re talking, of course, about the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show, which concluded yesterday and appears to have been a huge success.
For devotees of Latitude 38 magazine, one of the high points of the show was sipping suds and swapping tales at our annual booth party last Friday evening. In attendance were many veterans of the Baja Ha-Ha, Pacific Puddle Jump and Delta Doo Dah rallies, as well as many who hope to eventually follow in their wake.
If you count yourself among such would-be cruisers, we’ll remind you that online sign-ups for the 18th annual Baja Ha-Ha rally begin Monday, May 2, while sign-ups for this season’s Puddle Jump conclude at the end of April. (Online entries for next year’s rally will begin after January 1.)
"I was up at the boat yesterday and have to say it was immaculate. The items I mentioned to you were done and the whole yacht looked superb! Thank you for pay such particular attention to our needs." — Mike Bereziuk, Sunseeker 64
"Your online Crew List is really amazing," writes Marcel Flütsch. "I’m from Zurich, Switzerland, and I made a recent road trip from San Francisco to New Orleans in a VW Vanagon. At the very beginning of this adventure, my friends and I arranged a daysailing trip on the Bay through your Crew List. It was awesome! Skipper Paul was very helpful and let us steer, set the sails, etc. I wish I could find similar services in New York or Boston. A big thank you!"
If you’d like to get your boat out of the slip more often but just can’t find crew, check out the ‘Crew Looking for Boats’ listings. But don’t stop there — be sure to add your own posting under ‘I Need Crew’ and you’ll meet more new friends than you know what to do with. Best of all, it’s totally free!
For most of us, the tricky thing about making charitable donations — both locally and when cruising — is feeling confident that your well-intended gift will be spent wisely, and will truly make a difference.
One shining example of money well spent is the educational support program that results from the extensive fundraising done during the annual Zihuatanejo Sailfest, which typically nets a higher tally of donations than any other cruiser activity in Mexico.
As we’ve seen with our own eyes, every peso garnered from Sailfest goes directly toward the construction and support of classrooms for impoverished kids from Zihua’s hillside communities. A ‘catch 22’ of the Mexican educational system is that kids must speak Spanish before they can attend regular Mexican school, a rule which disqualifies many of the indigenous kids from the hillside neighborhoods. Sailfest money (administered by the nonprofit Por Los Niños) builds and supports classrooms for those needy kids, thus putting them on a path to a mainstream education they couldn’t get otherwise.
Recently, a ‘sailfest kid’ named Oliver Garcia Levya received a remarkable honor which illustrates the importance of Por Los Niños’ support: He’s been offered a full-tuition scholarship to the prestigious Wasatch Academy, a highly-rated institution focused on college-prep for grades 9-12. The normal tuition is $48,000 USD a year!
"Oliver attended the Octavio Paz Primary school, built with Sailfest funds," explains the nonprofit’s American expat administrator Lorenzo Marbut. "Oliver was awarded a Niños Adelante scholarship — funded by Sailfest — to attend secondary school. Sailfest also awarded Oliver a two-year English language scholarship to the Zihautanejo Language Academy where he excelled. If there is such a thing as a "Sailfest kid," it would have be Oliver Garcia. We have done all we can to prepare this special young man, now it is up to Oliver. When you wonder if your heartfelt volunteerism and your financial contributions have meaning, think of Oliver." Check the website for ways you can help.