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July 20, 2012

$2k+Used Engine=Cruising Boat

“I’m almost free,” exults Justin Jenkins on the bow of Ichiban. It may be incongruous to have a boat with a Japanese name and Jamaican colors for trim, but why not be different?

©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It’s tough being young these days. Jobs are hard to find. Good paying jobs are as rare as altruistic politicians. The cost of education and housing have gone through the roof. As if that wasn’t enough good news, the younger generations are faced with the happy prospect of having to spend their entire lives working to pay off the various government Ponzi schemes created by the stupidity and profligacy of previous generations. Who can blame younger folks if they want to bail?

And bailing by sailing south to Mexico and perhaps beyond is exactly what 30-year-old Justin Jenkins of San Diego is planning to do this November with his girlfriend, Anna Wiley, 30. We met Justin at Driscoll’s Boatyard in San Diego, where he was enthusiastically working on Ichiban, his 1972 Columbia 34 MK II, surely the 34-ft production boat with the most headroom ever.

Whether they are cognizant of it or not, younger folks such as Justin and Anna seem to intuit that they have one big advantage over older generations — their youth. So while lots of folks over 40 think they can’t afford to go cruising because boats with all the comforts and luxuries they want cost so much, younger folks, who have had to accept the fact they can’t be so picky and won’t be able to afford as many creature comforts, know different. They realize that by being frugal, cruising south of the border can be dirt cheap. As in being able to live like kings and queens for what would be below the poverty level here in the States.

Having previously owned a Cal 28 that he "sailed all over hell," Justin paid all of $2,000 for his Columbia 34. As you might imagine, the boat wasn’t in perfect shape, but elbow grease cured a lot of it. She wasn’t loaded with sails, either, but when a Hunter 35 owner decided to replace his sails, Justin offered him $100 for his old full-battened main. The man laughed the offer off. But he was back an hour later, not only agreeing to it, but happy to throw in a headsail for another $100.

Justin, green-rimmed sunglasses and all, ready to check out the rest of the world.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Jenkins’ biggest problem and expense has been an engine for Ichiban, which didn’t have one. He initially outfitted the boat with a transom-mounted outboard bracket and an 8-hp Suzuki. "While I did use it to motor my boat all the way to Dana Point, it doesn’t really work. The problem is that, when there is a wake or something, the engine gets swamps and the show is over. So while the outboard is a Plan B for calm conditions or in an emergency, I had to put in a real engine."

Or maybe he just hasn’t read the books by the Pardeys yet.

After a lot of work, Jenkins ended up installing an Atomic 4 gas engine with a V-drive. A gas engine is not the perfect engine for a cruising boat, but unlike politicians willing to borrow 40 cents for every dollar they spend, Jenkins understands that he has to live within his budget.

We think Justin and Anna will do well. In part, because they’re smart. For example, Justin loves to surf and will be taking several boards with him. When we asked if Anna likes to surf, Justin said, "She wants to learn from another girl, she doesn’t want me to teach her." See, we told you they are smart.

Anyway, we wish Justin and Anna — and all younger cruising folks heading out this year — the best of luck on their voyages. We think you’re going to have a great time, and we know that when you come back, you’re going to be both much smarter and much wiser.

Triple Stars Recovered

Last November, the formerly Sausalito-based Island Packet 380 Triple Stars was abandoned by Rob Anderson during the North American Rally to the Caribbean (NARC) after his wife Jan, 59, was swept overboard when a massive wave broke on the boat. (He later recounted the events of November 11 in a Cruising World article.) Left adrift, Triple Stars was spotted 230 miles off Bermuda in March by a cruise ship, but wasn’t recovered until last week when some fishermen towed her into Ely’s Harbor on Bermuda. Found 26 miles southwest of the island, Triple Stars doesn’t appear too worse for wear, considering she’s spent the last eight months adrift. Though Rob Anderson has been notified of the recovery, there’s no word on if he’ll claim her.

L’Hydroptere Poised to Pounce

Sailing and flying are normally considered to be two totally different modes of travel, but not in the case of the revolutionary l’Hydroptere DCNS, which is currently poised to challenge the L.A. to Honolulu speed record.

The picture says it all: This boat can fly.

© 2012 Francis Demange / l’Hydroptere

Regarded as the fastest sailboat in the world, the unique "flying trimaran" was launched Tuesday in San Pedro after a week of upgrading and fine-tuning. She now lies at Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, where she is visible from shore — no doubt many passing sight-seers will scratch their heads at the sight of her, as this so-called "flying fish" is substantially different from any other sailing craft.

The record she will try to better is that set in November, 2005 by Olivier de Kersauson and crew aboard the trimaran Geronimo. Amazingly, they covered the 2,215 miles from L.A. (Pt. Fermin light) to Honolulu (Diamond Head light) in 4 days, 19 hours and 31 minutes — averaging 19.17 knots.

Ready for a wild ride, the crew (left to right) are Jacques vincent, Jean Le Cam, Yves Parlier, Alain Thebault and Luc Alphan.

© 2012 Francis Demange / l’Hydroptere

Needless to say, having an ideal weather window is essential to break such an astounding record, so the team — Alain Thébault, Jean le Cam, Jacques Vincent, Yves Parlier and Luc Alphand — is currently poised to pounce, as soon as appropriate conditions develop. That may happen within the next few days, so stay tuned for updates.

With the money you’ll save on diesel, you can buy matching shades for your entire crew.
  With the arrival of Randy Leasure’s Westsail 32 Tortuga, the 18th Singlehanded TransPac has come to a close.