"Mexican law now states that anyone coming within 24 miles of shore must have a visa," reported Taylor Hill in the January 4 issue of San Diego’s boating newspaper The Log. Assuming, of course, that someone doesn’t already have FMM or FM3 status. This is a considerable change from the past, when mariners could obtain a visa at their port of entry into Mexico.
Several sportfishing shops in Southern California are able to sell the visas, but the ones we talked to said the visas they sell are for a maximum of three days — which won’t be of much help to southbound cruisers for whom the visa would quickly run out.
So what are your options? One is to stay 24 miles offshore until you get to your port of entry, then pick up your visa there. Another would be to cross the (land) border at San Diego and get a visa in Tijuana from the Mexican immigration office there. We think you can get a mariner’s visa there, but aren’t sure because nobody answered the phone.
It’s not uncommon for legislators not to see all the ramifications or practical problems with laws they pass, so we’ll just have to see how this shakes out.
If you’re a cruiser who has headed south since the beginning of the year, we’d be interested to hear how you’ve dealt with this.
"I just had to tell you that ‘Lectronic Latitude looks fantastic on my new Kindle Fire," writes Doug Vaughan, who sails his Jeanneau 37 Odyssey out of Oakland YC. "I brought it with me to Puerto Vallarta during our vacation so I could stay connected while sitting on a balcony overlooking Banderas Bay. I have to say, these tablets are very convenient, and so easy to carry and use while traveling."
Doug can use his Fire to do more than catch up with ‘Lectronic — he can also download the entire magazine and take it with him wherever he goes. The same can be done with just about any tablet or e-reader on the market, from the plain ol’ Kindle to the iPad. Of course the photos are brilliant on color screens but those with black and white devices can wax nostalgic about the days before Latitude switched to color. Any way you look at it, Latitude is more available than ever.
Calling all Northern California sailors to support ‘Sailing the Bay’.
Ron Blatman, producer of the award-winning KQED special ‘Saving the Bay’, is back to produce a new public television special ‘Sailing the Bay’. Funding from Bay Area sailors is needed to help kick-start production to bring this film to the screen in the spring of 2013.
The fourth seminar in a free series leading up to this summer’s Singlehanded Transpac, a solo race from San Francisco Bay to Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai, is scheduled for Wednesday night at Oakland YC. This month’s featured speaker is Kame Richards, owner of Pineapple Sails, who will be talking about what he knows best: ‘Sail Selection & Repair’. Doors open around 6:30 p.m. for a little socializing before the seminar starts at 7. These talks — which are free and open to the public — are generally very interactive and last a couple hours, so there will be plenty of time to get all your sail questions answered. For more about the race or future seminars, go to www.sfbaysss.org.
This Saturday’s RegattaPRO Winter One Design race on the west edge of the Berkeley Circle enjoyed sunny skies and a 5-15 knot breeze from a consistent north-northwesterly direction. The race committee, augmented by boats and volunteers from Sausalito YC, set a line that was square to the wind, but the flooding current favored the left side of the course, which had more wind anyway.
One more race day, with two races, remain in this series on February 11. Grace Dances is leading the J/120s, Wallping Swede and Wonder are tied for points in the J/105s, Personal Puff is way ahead in Melges 24s with five bullets and one second, and Always Friday is doing the same in Antrim 27s. See www.regattapro.com/regattas.html for full results.
Not far away on the Berkeley Circle, the Berkeley YC Midwinters continued on both days of the weekend. From the race committee boat, Bobbi Tosse observed, "On Sunday, we thought that perhaps winter had decided to show up. There were dark, menacing clouds, the wind was cold and more robust than the day before, and there were even white caps. As the fleet was rounding the first weather mark, the sun tried to re-establish its dominance of the last three months. Suddenly, as the racers proceeded downwind, each spinnaker looked as if it had its own separate lighting system and the sight was breathtaking. The attached picture doesn’t begin to capture the sparkle and surprise, but it is the best my cell phone could come up with. The real picture will continue to live in my brain."
The BYC Midwinter series also concludes next month on February 11-12, with a bonus Champion of Champions race on February 26. See www.berkeleyyc.org/racing.