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March 19, 2014

Big Fun on Banderas Bay

Can anybody play? Yeah, pretty much. The long-established Banderas Bay Regatta is fun for boats of all shapes and sizes. That’s Miss Kitty in the foreground, sailed to a third in class by Randy Hough and crewman Norm who note that their ages (62 and 65) add up to a higher number than their handicap.

© 2014 Harry Hazzard

Among veteran cruisers there’s a long-standing consensus that Banderas Bay — which fronts Puerto Vallarta — offers the most consistent sailing winds in Mexico. So it’s only fitting that the country’s most popular cruiser regatta has been staged there for more than two decades. 

Who says you can’t have fun sailing your house? Robert and Nancy Novak’s Oyster 485 Shindig won the non-spinnaker cruising division with the help of Mark and Patty Thompson, Dan Adams, and Max Shaw.

© 2014 Jerry Shull

Hosted by the Nuevo Vallarta’s Vallarta YC, the 22nd edition of the Banderas Bay Regatta (March 12-14) drew 31 entries in six spin and non-spin divisions. A wide range of boat types was represented, from heavily laden cruising boats ("sailing the house") to go-fast race boats and even a Hobie Cat. True to it’s original concept, the emphasis was on not-too-serious fun. Look for info on the BBR in the April edition of Latitude 38. In the meantime, you can check results at the club’s website. If you plan to be cruising in Mexico next year, this is one event you won’t want to miss. 

No sooner had the dust settled from the BBR than a whole series of other events kicked into high gear. This week various events of the multi-faceted Copa Mexico take place on Banderas Bay, and the San Diego-to-Vallarta racers are finishing now. The weeklong MEXORC, the country’s premier serious regatta, begins March 23. Sounds like big fun to us. 


Orion Breaks Lakota’s SD-PV Record

In this year’s 1,000-mile San Diego to Vallarta race two trimarans have each broken a long-standing speed record. It was back in 1998 when the late Steve Fossett skippered his 60-foot trimaran Lakota to a record finish in 2d, 14h, 20m, 17s. Late Monday, skipper Charlie Ogletree and navigator Peter Isler raced the MOD70 trimaran, Orion to a record finish in 2d, 8h, 33m, 0s. 

The MOD70 Orion has broken the longstanding Lakota record set back in 1998.

© 2014 Jared Wohlgemuth

Following close behind Orion was H.L. Enloe’s Orma 60 trimaran, Mighty Merloe. Despite some major damage to her port foil which slowed her down on starboard tacks, she still managed to beat the Lakota record, finishing in 2d, 13h, 41m, 6s. Merloe’s navigator, Artie Means described the boat as "stupid nuclear fast." Indeed, they saw speeds as high as 32 knots.

The Orma 60 Mighty Merloe was neck and neck with Orion until her port foil was badly damaged.

© Bob Betancourt.

The remaining competitors are within 200 miles of reaching Puerto Vallarta and should be finishing soon — you can track them here. Look for a detailed report in Friday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude.

Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show

Don’t miss this year’s Strictly Sail Pacific boat show. Once again, Oakland’s Jack London Square is where all your sailing friends will be this April 10-13. Of course there will be numerous new boats on site and dozens of new products to check out at the indoor and outdoor exhibitor spaces.

There will also be over 100 FREE seminars touching on everything from the America’s Cup to cruising to yacht rigging. Our own Andy Turpin speaks Friday afternoon (April 11) about the Baja Ha-Ha and on Saturday he’ll discuss the Pacific Puddle Jump and cruising the islands of French Polynesia. For more details, read the online boat show insert here or wait for the hard copy in the April issue of Latitude 38.

And don’t miss Latitude 38’s Baja Ha-Ha, Pacific Puddle Jump, and circumnavigator’s reunion party, Friday night, April 11 at booth #219-221. It’s a great time to catch-up with old friends and join Latitude staffers for a beer and some snacks. See you there!


What’s So Great About Cruising the Pac NW?

We’re not asking this in a derisive manner, but out of curiosity. We all have our preferences, and in case anyone hasn’t noticed, those of us at Latitude 38 are more inclined to like the tropics than cooler cruising areas. After all, sailing in the trades and diving into 81-degree water feels like an all-over massage by the goddesses of the universe. Aaaaaaahhhhhhh.

Yet being close-minded isn’t the smartest predisposition, as you can miss out on a lot of great things in life. For example, 25 years ago we weren’t very excited about eating raw fish. Then we gave it a try. Now we’re probably responsible for half of the declining fish populations in the world.

So while lying in our bunk the other night, we got to thinking, maybe we’re missing great things in the Pacific Northwest. We know the seafood is great. We know there are some beautiful vistas. Maybe there’s even more to it than that.

We suspect many readers who respond will praise British Columbia’s splendid capital, Victoria. Seen here are the guest docks in front of the landmark Empress Hotel.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you cruise or have cruised the Pacific Northwest, we’d like to hear what you like about it. What are your favorite things to do? Where are your favorite places to visit? And if you started a Pacific Northwest cruise from San Francisco Bay, when did you leave, and how difficult was it going against the prevailing northwesterlies.

Really? That’s What You’d Do First

Down in the West Indies some theatergoers have a habit that’s both annoying and amusing: At tense moments in a film, it’s common for folks in the audience to stand up and coach the characters on screen. I.e.: "Look out, he’s got a gun!" "Not that way, mon, the cops are coming!" We found ourselves in a similar scenario last night — screaming at Robert Redford’s character while watching the sailing disaster movie All Is Lost on DVD. 

Yeah, we know, the film has been out for a long time, and despite the fact that (probably non-sailing) reviewers from the New York Times to Rolling Stone praised it as "a masterpiece," "amazing," and "triumphant," many sailors panned it as being inaccurate in many ways. But now that it’s out on DVD we assume there’s a new burst of viewership, so we thought we’d ask your opinion on this much-heralded flick. 

No matter what you thought of the movie, you’ve got to give Redford credit for taking a beating during the filming.

© All Is Lost

We’re not interested in inaccuracies about sail trim, and wind and sea conditions, as we’ve never seen a sailing movie that got those things right. And we don’t want to beat up on Redford — hey, who doesn’t love the Sundance Kid? What intrigues us is the order in which Redford’s character reacted to his boat’s being holed by a container. 

So tell us, if you found yourself in that situation, what are the first five things (in order) that you would have done?

It’s a fact that most cruising sailors never race. That’s partly because they feel they’d be ‘sailing their house’, which is too heavily laden to be competitive, and partly because many of them have little or no previous racing experience. 
Dawn in the tropics, a very pleasant and sensual experience. latitude/Richard
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC After a long winter of extra strong Christmas trades, early mornings in the Caribbean have now turned sweet.