December 7, 2012

Forget Shopping, Go Sailing

Don’t squander prime sailing time this weekend. Get your boat out of the slip!

latitude/LaDonna
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you’re still wringing out your foulies from last week’s drenching, you’ll be glad to know that this weekend’s forecast is for sunny, if not terrifically warm, weather. Light winds and temps in the low to mid 60s are perfect for snuggling under a blanket while enjoying a picnic lunch anchored behind Angel Island. Head over to Richardson Bay tomorrow in time to grab a slip or a spot in the anchorage before the Sausalito YC lighted boat parade starts around 6 p.m. (Vallejo YC and Petaluma YC’s parades are also tomorrow night — see our schedule of the remaining Lighted Boat Parades.) Organize an impromptu cruise-out to China Camp or Clipper Cove. Or use the mellow conditions to practice light-wind techniques with your crew. 

Big or small, wood or glass, all of our boats need a good airing out after last week’s triple dousings.

latitude/LaDonna
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Regardless of how you do it, make it a priority to get out there and use your boat this weekend. We guarantee you won’t regret it.

Solo Sailor Rescued; Typhoon Bopha Update

Sailor James Blackford is making an unplanned trip to Japan this week aboard the motor vessel Global Explorer. Although a visit to that island nation probably wasn’t part of Blackford’s original cruising itinerary, we’ll bet he’s not complaining. The motor vessel rescued him Tuesday from his disabled sailboat Makalii in a lonely part of the North Pacific, 85 miles northwest of Palmyra Atoll. He’d been drifting for two days.

Blackford’s safe rescue is yet another illustration of the effectiveness of the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) System, which includes both military and commercial vessels and aircraft all over the world.

After the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received an EPIRB alert from Makalii Sunday evening, an HC-130 Hercules long-range reconnaissance plane was dispatched to assess the situation, as radio communication was not possible. Upon the aircraft’s arrival at the scene at 2:30 a.m. Monday, Blackford said that he was uninjured, but that the boat was taking on water. A pump and other gear was dropped to the wayward sailor, and Global Explorer was diverted to rescue him. Makalii was left adrift.

We’re happy to report another happy ending also. Following our report Monday about Super Typhoon Bopha striking Palau, we learned that Richard and Leora Roll of Seattle were unharmed by the big blow, as was their Beneteau 45 Before.

From high above it, Bopha doesn’t look so ominous, but its swirling power proved deadly in the Philippines Islands.

© 2012 Joint Typhoon Warning Center

Not so lucky, however, were thousands of residents of the Philippines — Bopha‘s next target. The death toll, now over 400, has been steadily rising since the storm hit Tuesday with 130-mph winds and a substantial tidal surge. Hundreds more are still unaccounted for as searchers continue the hunt for survivors. Thousands of homes have been wiped out, causing the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to issue an urgent plea for financial assistance. As horrific as this storm was, however, it was not as devastating as a massive storm last December that killed more than 1,200 people and left many more homeless.

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More Details on CG Death

The Santa Barbara Independent has published a fascinating piece on smuggling between Mexico and California that also offered more details in the death of USCG Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III on Sunday. As we reported on Wednesday, Horne was killed after a suspected smuggling panga rammed the 21-ft RIB he and other crewman were aboard. According the the Independent article, Horne suffered a fatal head injury and, tragically, left a pregnant wife and child.

The piece also notes that, since 2008, "667 incidents of maritime smuggling along California’s coastline" have occurred due to crackdowns along the land border. We recommend reading it (click the link above), as it provides a tremendous amount of insight into the state of smuggling along the coast, as well as the incidents that led to Horne’s death.

As Tahitian drummers pound out an ancient cadence, a Puddle Jumper arrives at Moorea’s Opunohu Bay during the annual Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous.