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April 22, 2013

A Mid-Ocean Proposal

During a passage of nearly 3,000 miles it’s a thrill to break up the daily routine with an equator-crossing celebration.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Novice sailor Katie Flynn undoubtedly knew in advance that her crewmates aboard the Vancouver-based Beneteau First 40 Hydroquest were planning an equator-crossing celebration while en route to French Polynesia. What she didn’t know, though, was that her boyfriend, Ben Curry, was going to propose marriage as part of those festivities. We haven’t heard when the young couple will actually get hitched, but it seems to us they’re already experiencing a world-class honeymoon, having made landfall in French Polynesia’s remote Marquesas islands last week after a fast crossing from Banderas Bay, Mexico.

By the smile on their faces, and the ring on her finger, we’re pretty sure Katie said, “Yes,” when Ben proposed in mid-ocean.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Upon arrival, Cap’n Will Curry, Ben’s brother, wrote: "After 19 days at sea and 2,700 nautical miles (as a crow flies) we have made landfall. We are currently anchored in Taiohae Bay on the island of Nuka Hiva which is stunningly beautiful. It has a ‘Jurassic Park’ feel to it that words can’t describe." On their best day they logged 180 miles — a new boat record — and they generally had more wind than many boats typically experience: "Multiple days of 25-knot winds in both the southeast and northeast  trades."

Ah, to be young, fit, good-looking and cruising the South Pacific on a comfy sailboat. We can’t help being a bit envious of Will and Sarah, but we’re thrilled they got ‘out there’ when they did.

©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As you may have read in our profile of Will and his lovely wife Sarah, which appears in the current edition of Latitude 38 (Puddle Jump Profiles, Pt. I), they’ve been talking about bluewater voyaging together since their first date six years ago — when they were 26 and 24 respectively. 


We also heard from Tom Van Dyke of the San Francisco-based Searunner 31 tri En Pointe, who doublehanded to Nuku Hiva in 28 days with an adventurous Mexican gal named Tulia who is eager to see the world. Little did Tom and Tulia know before arriving at Taiohae Bay that a fleet of luxurious Oyster yachts would be there also. Despite the disparity in levels of comfort, it goes to show any decent boat will get you to the same spectacular anchorages. Check out the welcome they all received.

Look for another set of Puddle Jumper profiles in the May edition of Latitude 38, and a recap later this summer on the 200-boat fleet’s crossing.

Oracle Team USA Wins AC World Series

Oracle Team USA ultimately took top honors in the three-venue AC World Series. Now, can they maintain the momentum during the America’s Cup?

© 2013 Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

There was plenty of close racing during the America’s Cup World Series event in Naples, Italy (which ended yesterday). But when points for the Series were tallied, Oracle Team USA came out on top yet again by winning the match racing and making a strong showing in the fleet racing, thus succeeding in their bid to sweep the three-venue, ACWS 2012-13 season. 

Building on the previous America’s Cup World Series successes of Oracle Team USA helmsman Jimmy Spithill, the team’s Naples crew, led by helmsman Tom Slingsby, continued the winning momentum by defeating Luna Rossa Swordfish in the match race final.

Racers shouldn’t get used to the kind of weather they saw on the final day of racing. Summer on the Bay will keep them on their toes!

© Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

But in the Super Sunday Fleet Race that same day — where possible points are greatly increased — Swordfish’s helmsman Francesco Bruni and his crew were determined to redeem themselves. And they did, with an adrenaline-charged win in an AC45 stampede where the lead changed three times. Swordfish came from behind on the final run to the finish line to score a win before an ecstatic crowd.

Although finishing second in that Super Sunday fleet race, Oracle Team USA took fleet honors for the 2012-13 season with a total of 245 points over second place Luna Rossa Piranha (191 points) and JP Morgan BAR (181).

The obligatory spraying of Champagne over the winners.

© Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Does this mean Oracle Team USA is a shoe-in to dominate the main event of this summer’s America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay? Definitely not, as there’s a world of difference between AC45s and AC72s. But their ACWS successes certainly can’t hurt.

Click here for much more.

New Annual Fee for Documentation

If your boat is federally documented — as opposed to simply being registered in your state — expect to start paying a new $26 annual fee to renew. The fees are based on the actual costs of processing nearly a quarter million renewals annually. You can read exactly how they determined the cost of the fee HERE, but we’d suggest getting a cup of coffee or a Red Bull before you do. 

"This doesn’t seem like a big fee if they ran the Vessel Documentation Center in a more efficient way," says reader Tom Jeremiason. "By going to an online system, they’d save money on postage and paper. Another way to streamline would be to extend non-commercial/recreational vessel renewals from one to five years."

We’ve received a few other emails from readers upset about the new fee but we’re having a hard time getting too worked up over it. Not only does it seem very reasonable but, quite honestly, we’ve always been a little surprised that the feds don’t charge for annual renewals. It’s also interesting to note that the current fee structure for obtaining a Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation was put in place back in 1993! Nevertheless, if you feel strongly about the issue, you can comment at the link above until May 3.

Let’s Get the Kids Sailing

SEA will host a week-long sailing camp for local youth this summer.

© 2013 Sailing Education Adventures

Sailing Education Adventures of San Rafael operates a youth sailing program for the kids of Canal Alliance and the Canal District’s Bahia Vista Elementary School. (For those of you not familiar with it, the Canal is not just a waterway, but a multi-cultural, working-class neighborhood. Many residents could be termed ‘economically disadvantaged’.) To help raise funds to pay for the program, Whipper Snapper Restaurant on Fourth Street in San Rafael will donate part of their proceeds on Thursday, April 25, to the SEA program. Jose Neto, just back from Brazil after touring with Steve Winwood, will play guitar.

These young whipper-snappers are having a blast out on the water.

© 2013 Sailing Education Adventures

"We really want to get this group of kids on the water for summertime sailing," said SEA Youth Director Barbara McVeigh, "and they need our help to do it!" For more info, see

Nor’Sea owners and fans gathered at Oakland YC last weekend in appreciation of their favorite design.