December 14, 2012

A Splash Followed by a Blast!

Patsy Verhoeven demonstrates the proper way to exit a crocodile’s mouth.

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©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Today is the last day of the Banderas Bay Blast along the shores of the Riviera Nayarit. Maybe that’s a good thing, because the crews of the 22 boats will all be needing a little rest. 

Paradise Village Marina is not only home to the Vallarta YC, it’s also part of the Paradise Village Resort complex, which features four pools and three waterslides. Champagne Patsy Verhoeven, who flew down from La Paz for the Splash and Blast, gets her wet on coming out of the dragon’s mouth. Part of the reason the gringa is smiling is that she only pays $180 a year — , a year! — for complete medical coverage, including dental, in Mexico.

The week’s cruisers’ festivities started with the Riviera Nayarit Sailors’ Splash, a big welcome to the Riviera Nayarit for Ha-Ha participants and other new cruisers put on by the state’s tourism board and others. It started with a cruise from La Cruz over to Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta, and a free brunch at the Vallarta YC. Then there was a sail back to the Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz, followed by swimming pool volleyball, and a big welcome party put on by the tourism board and Marina Riviera Nayarit.

Talk about your fine parties! Free Riviera Nayarit hats and shirts for all. Free tequila served by lovely young ladies in maroon gowns. Free beer. Free artisan pizzas. Free ceviche and other taste treats. And great Cuban music and dancing. All at the Marina Riviera Nayarit’s Sky Bar, which provides a commanding view of Banderas Bay. The weather: About 80 degrees at 8 p.m.

“There were free hats — and shirts — for Doña de Mallorca of Profligate and Robin Stout of the Redondo Beach-based Aleutian 51 Mermaid thanks to the Riviera Nayarit tourism folks.

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©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
“Si señor, you can have another free tequila,” the tequila girls assure a happy Bill Lilly of the Newport Beach-based Lagoon 470 Moontide.

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© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
“You make me want to rumba,” coos Canadian Jane Ray of the Portland-based Hunter 54 Camelot to the excellent guitar player Javi Rodriguez.

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© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Since the conclusion of the Splash Tuesday night, the 22-boat fleet has enjoyed two days of the Banderas Bay Blast, which is strictly fun racing for cruising boats. Day One was a 14-miler over to Nuevo Vallarta and back in moderate winds. Day Two was an 8-mile ultimate light air race from La Cruz to Punta de Mita. Persevering to sail all the way in zephyr conditions were Cheryl Sears of the La Cruz-based J/160 Blue; John and Gilly Foy of the Punta de Mita-based Catalina 42 Destiny; Michael Bowe and new crew Jennifer Martindale of the Marina del Rey-based Catalina 42 Patanajali; and most impressively, Bill and Patty Meanley of the San Diego-based Pacific Seacraft 37 Dolfin — who even towed their dinghy.

John and Gilly Foy, formerly of Alameda who four years ago became delighted full-time residents of Punta de Mita, sailed the entire second race of the Blast on their Catalina 42 Destiny.

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©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
So did Bill and Patty Meanley of the San Diego-based Pacific Seacraft 37 Dolfin.

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©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The second race was followed by the annual re-opening of the Punta de Mita Yacht & Surf Club. New Commodore Debby Hayward announced that all irrevocable lifetime memberships in the Club had been revoked, and everyone would have to join again. Requirements were that you had to have sailed to Punta de Mita, or at least said you had; paid a 10-peso initiation fee (about 78 cents); and received a welcome paddle by the Commodore.

The new Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club Commodore tries to wrap her arms around her new fleet

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© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One by one, new members stood up on the initiation table in front of the entire dinner crowd, bent over, grabbed their ankles, and received their initiation whack. Unable to find a proper paddle, Commodore Debbie used a rake instead. She was very good at her task, looking like someone who may have had some practice. Indeed, young Bao of Cat Two Fold came back for seconds and then thirds.

San Mateo’s Liz Brown, who crewed on Moontide, awaiting her welcome ‘raking’ from Commodore Hayward.

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© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Today is the last race of the Blast, which is also the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity from Punta de Mita to Paradise Marina and the Vallarta YC. Skies are clearing so it’s likely the fleet will get more normal Banderas Bay conditions, which would mean 10 to 12 knots from the northwest, making for a great spinnaker run.

Wish you were all here. If you’re doing next year’s 20th Anniversary Ha-Ha, you might put these events on your post-La Paz and post-Mazatlan itinerary, for they are truly a Splash and a Blast.

Lawsuit Filed in LSC Tragedy

It was bound to happen: The first — but presumably not the last — wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Low Speed Chase, the Sydney 38 that was lost at the Southeast Farallon on April 14 during the Full Crew Farallones Race. Five out of eight crewmembers perished in the accident. Corey Busch, father of 26-year-old Alexis Busch, filed the suit against James Bradford on Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court seeking unspecified damages.  

The suit claims crewmembers should have known that seas "tall enough, steep enough and powerful enough to capsize and wreck their vessel were likely to be rolling onto the four-fathom shoal over which they were steering," and that Bradford and skipper Alan Cahill, who did not survive, were guilty of "outrageous conduct." 

"This is kind of between me and the survivors and their families," Bradford told the Chronicle yesterday. "And I know about the lawsuit, but don’t really know much about it. But I consider them all still my friends."

Another Mazatlan Dinghy Theft

Frank of the Canadian-flagged 46-ft sailing vessel Daybreak Oceane reports that he was also the victim of dinghy theft at Isla de Piedra/Stone Island near the Old Harbor in Mazatlan. "On December 9 at 1 a.m., a 12-ft red Zodiac Futura with a Honda 20 hp motor was stolen off the davits by cutting heavy chain and a padlock . . . while our Portuguese water/guard dog was sleeping five feet from the stern! The Isla de Piedras fishermen are becoming true professionals."

Because this report follows several similar incidents recently, it sounds as if dinghy/outboard thefts are on the rise in that area of Mazatlan, so if you don’t take extraordinary precautions — such as pulling your dinghy on deck (not just lifting it by the davits) and locking it down — your ‘car’ may be missing in the morning. As always, send your reports of dinghy thefts to Richard.

Fort Baker Boat Shed & Marina, situation inside Horseshoe Cove at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.
In case you missed the news in the December issue of Latitude 38, the deadline for the Classy Classifieds has been moved to the 15th of the month, even if it falls on a weekend — which it does this month.
Based on recent reports we’ve received from cruisers, there have been a couple of brazen dinghy/outboard thefts and attempted thefts at the south end of Mazatlan, meaning the Old Harbor and Stone Island.