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March 15, 2013

Free Publicity for Charter Boats

Hop aboard one of the Bay Area’s many crewed charter boats and leave the pre-sail prep and post-sail cleanup to the professional crew.

Adventure Cat
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Because we’re wordsmiths by profession, it’s only natural that we love words. But not all words. In fact, there are a few that we really hate, such as "comprehensive." Why? Because every time we attempt to put out a comprehensive list of something — such as the so-called comprehensive list of all Bay Area charter boats which appears in every April edition of Latitude 38 — we manage to leave out one or two newcomers.

With her 90-ft length, the schooner Bay Lady is one of the largest crewed charter boats on the Bay. Operating out of South Beach Harbor, she carries up to 80 passengers.

Bay Lady
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We don’t want that to happen again this year, so if you are new to the Bay Area’s charter fleet — and are running a legit operation — we’d love to hear from you.

As you’ll see in the charter listings that reside on our website year-round, we poll all the sailing schools and list every sailboat available for bareboat rentals, plus all crewed sailboats which carry at least six passangers. If you’d like your crewed boat listed we’ll need the following info:

  • boat name
  • brief description of boat and its history
  • passenger capacity
  • where berthed
  • available for what type of charters
  • phone and website
The sweet-sailing C&C 48 Incognito is one of many ‘six-pack’, as in six-passenger, crewed boats in the Bay Area fleet.

©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Running these listings in April — timed with the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show (April 12-14) — is our way of giving the fleet a free shot of publicity. But we only do it once a year, so waste no time in contacting us

Where Have All the Outboards Gone?

A recent rash of outboard thefts on the Estuary is a good reminder for boaters to secure their motors. "We recently bought a boat on eBay, and between the time we won it and the time we picked it up, the outboard had been stolen," writes an Alameda sailor who prefers to remain anonymous. "It was slipped from the docks of a local yacht club.

"The local outboard shop told us they’ve received calls from 50 or more people whose motors were pilfered in the last two months. Where are they going? The theives could be selling them on Craigslist without their serial numbers, but there are very many listed. It’s also interesting that motors in the 8- to 9-hp range are being targeted, obviously because they’re more portable than larger engines, yet are strong enough to push most boats.

"I think outboards should come with chips embedded into the drive system so you can track it, similar to having your pet chipped. Serial numbers on metal tags that can be pried off don’t help much in tracking down your stolen property. Until that happens, West Marine has a clamp-on lock to prevent theft. Does anyone know how well these work?"

West Marine offers a corrosion-resistant stainless bar lock for $100.

© West Marine

How do you secure your outboard against theft? Do you use something like West Marine’s high-security outboard bar lock that sells for $100 or have you figured out a method of your own? Email with your solution (photos welcome!).


The Evolution of Sailboats

We’ve been in the sailing business for 40 years, and we’ve noticed two big in changes.

The first is how much easier and safer it is to sail, thanks to modern electronics such as GPS, AIS, radar, EPIRBs and such. In the old days, it took a lot of work to have a decent idea of where the heck you were, and god help you if had an emergency and needed help.

The second big change is in how much larger boats are for any given length. Today’s 30-ft boats often have nearly as much useable space as the 40-footers of the ’70s. We were reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when we walked down the docks of BVI Yacht Charters in Tortola and took a couple of photos of a new Beneteau Oceanis 41.

That’s not a swim step, that’s a dock!

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
This 41-ft boat has more cockpit space than a ’70s-era boat twice its length.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Check out that transom! It’s almost like the boat has her own little marina. As for the cockpit, there’s probably four times as much useable space as a similar length boat of the ’70s.

When was the last time you checked the date on your flares, the status of your fire extinguisher and the number of lifejackets you carry on board?
Of all the winter offices of Latitude 38, this year’s is the most unusual — a former tattoo parlor at St.