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February 10, 2014

Z-Fest Pictures Tell the Story

The wind gods blessed Z-Fest with a nice breeze for the yacht race this year. As you can see, a variety of cruising boats joined the fun.

© 2014 Eileen Redding

We haven’t heard the details yet, but a quick look at these photos from volunteers Eileen Redding and Margaret Reid confirms that the 13th annual Zihuatanejo Sailfest was well attended, and by all indications, a big success. There was even wind this year for the yacht race, which is not always the case.

Many American and Canadian expats travel to Z-town annually, specifically to help out with Sailfest – and, of course, to get away from harsh winter weather.

© 2014 Margaret Reid

As regular readers know, Z-Fest is an annual six-day festival put on by visiting sailors, expats, and local businesses. The varied menu of activities includes a sailboat race, a boat parade through Zihua harbor and along the Ixtapa waterfront, a live music concert, a chili cookoff and more.

Canadians Marian, Jason and Huevo proved their mastery of spices as they earned top honors in the ‘hotly’ contested Chili Cook-Off.

© Margaret Reid

Each activity has a fund-raising component which helps build and support schools for the disadvantaged indigenous youngsters who live in the hills surrounding the city. Z-Fest profits, distributed via the Por Los Ninos charity, address a ‘Catch 22’ within Mexican law. That is, if you don’t speak Spanish (as with many of the Zihua’s indigenous groups), you can’t attend public school. But if you can’t attend school, how are you supposed to learn Spanish, right? Por Los Ninos solves this problem for many local kids, by building classrooms and funding their operations.

Despite the fact that they live nearby, a day at the beach is a big treat for many of these local kids.

© Margaret Reid

From the beginning the sweat and financial support of cruising sailors has always been a big part of this amazing success story.

Windy in the Windward Passage

Newport Beach’s Devan Mullins must have been going through old photos, because he recently sent us a photo of the Wanderer at the helm of Latitude’s Big O from back in 1996. We don’t normally wear a swimming mask when driving, but it was gusting up to 49 knots in the Windward Passage between Haiti and Cuba, and the rain drops were stinging our eyeballs.

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

This raises the question, when was the last time it was blowing so hard that you had to wear a swim mask when you were outside? Please limit your replies to 250 words. A photo would be nice too.

Man Overboard in the Circle

This past Saturday during the Berkeley YC Midwinters a distress call went out on VHF Channel 78 from a J/24’s skipper alerting racers of a man overboard. The individual had been hit in the head by the boom during a jibing maneuver and was knocked in the Bay, still conscious.

Practicing MOB drills is important to ensure that each of the crew are aware of the proper procedure.

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Will Paxton, owner of the Express 27, Motorcycle Irene brought the incident to our attention. His and numerous other boats were preparing to start a race when the incident occurred. "Several boats circled for 15 minutes or so before Phil Krasner and his crew showed up on his Express 27, Wetsu, with some proper life saving gear and they were able to get the victim out of the water after a 20-minute struggle.

From all indications, this was no simple task. By the time Wetsu reached the man, he was showing early signs of hypothermia and had lost the use of his legs, further complicating the rescue operation, which was accomplished by bringing him over Wetsu’s transom.

Although uncommon, incidents like this always give us pause to consider how difficult it can be to raise someone out of the water and the kind of safety gear we use while enjoying racing on the Bay. We’ll continue discussion of this topic in the March edition of Latitude 38, and we’d love your input. Aboard your race boat, daysailer or cruiser, what measures do you take to facilitate crew-overboard rescues?

Last Call to Sail Aboard ‘ti Profligate

Last year’s Bucket was won by Adela, the 182-ft schooner that was launched 111 years ago! She was driven by our old friend Shag Morton, perhaps the most Caribbean and un-corporate of all mega yacht drivers.

© 2014 Tim Wright

In case you missed Friday’s ‘Lectronic, we want to remind readers that we posted an announcement of two opportunities to sail and play in the Sunny Caribbean with the Wanderer and Dona de Mallorca aboard the catamaran ‘ti Profligate. One opportunity is during the St. Barth Bucket, the other is during the Voiles de St. Barth. See the detailed announcement in last Friday’s ‘Lectronic.

Blasting along the Sir Francis Drake Channel with a bone in her teeth, the lovely Liberty Star, illustrates that along with modern racer-cruisers, bareboats and megayachts, you can still find traditional sailing craft in Eastern Caribbean waters.
On January 29th we reported that Russell Coutts, Oracle Team USA’s CEO, was frustrated that the city of San Francisco had not offered the same terms and conditions to the America’s Cup Event Authority for the 35th America’s Cup as they had for the 34th.