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May 7, 2014

Escape Velocity Dismasted But Safe

Jack and Marce in better times. “I’m proud that we didn’t panic,” wrote Marce. “We did what we had to do calmly and quickly.”

Escape Velocity
©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"We were reaching in 20-22 knots in somewhat lumpy seas, uncomfortable conditions, but safe and manageable," wrote Marce Schultz of the Annapolis-based 40-ft Manta cat Escape Velocity. "Suddenly I heard a loud twang and looked out the window to see our starboard shroud fall down in a big coil." She and her husband Jack both jumped into action immediately, dropping sails, tightening the windward running back, and trying to secure a spare halyard as a temporary shroud. But despite their best efforts the whole rig came down a few minutes later, falling headfirst into the drink, with the boom hanging up on the only starboard-side stanchion that remained standing. 

Marce and her husband Jack had departed Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Archipelago four days earlier en route to the Marquesas, as members of the loosely formed Pacific Puddle Jump rally. Their having bought the fractional-rigged cat two years ago, this cruise across the Pacific was to be the realization of a 20-year dream. Despite the couple’s exhaustive efforts to save the boom and jib, they ultimately had to let the entire rig go. After taking stock of their options, a 2,600-mile trip to the Marquesas or 400 miles back to the Galapagos, they reluctantly turned into the prevailing wind and set a course back to that remote Ecuadorian archipelago under diesel power. The cat’s fuel capacity gives her a range of approximately 1,000 miles. Presumably they will refuel in the islands, then head back to Panama for repairs.

"It’s been 24 hours since our sudden and shocking dismasting," the couple posted recently on their blog via HF radio email. "We are in a daze of six-hour watches as we slowly motor back to Santa Cruz Island. . . We both agree this is the most uncomfortable ride we’ve ever experienced on a boat. The seas are confused and big, causing rolling and lurching like we’ve never seen before." After studying the fallen shroud, they surmised: "What broke was the t-ball fitting that attached to the mast. Snapped off. This wasn’t metal fatigue or poor tuning. It was a defective part." They had recently replaced all standing rigging. 

We are happy to report that in their most recent post, Marce and Jack sound upbeat, considering fun ways to pass the time until they restart their Pacific cruise next year. The previous owners completed a circumnavigation on this boat, then named Chocobo, in 2012. 

Delta Doo Dah Kickoff Party

The families aboard two multihulls enjoy a little beach time just off Piper Slough near Bethel Island.

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you’re destined for the Delta this summer, you’ll definitely want to drop in at Berkeley Yacht Club this Friday night, May 9. We’ll be hosting the Delta Doo Dah Kickoff Party there starting at 5:30 p.m.

Owl Harbor Marina Harbormaster Devery Stockon (she’s the one in the back) is among our guest speakers.

© David Sawyer / Tazman

There, you can take advantage of the opportunity to meet other Delta sailors, collect Delta cruising information, and learn about the great deals from our sponsoring marinas. We’ll have guest speakers, freebies, and door prizes to hand out – but you must register before 3:00 p.m. on Friday to be eligible for the drawing, and you must be present to win!

The door prizes are part of the fun at the Kickoff Party.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We’ll also have official burgees on sale – save the shipping and handling charge by getting yours in person. BYC will offer a BBQ dinner for $8-$15 (depending on what you order), and their bar will be serving up very reasonably priced drinks. You’ll need to bring cash for all of the above.

Shredded or lost one of your Delta Doo Dah burgees? You can replace it or add to your collection at the Kickoff Party.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Along about 8:30 the ‘formal’ (if you can call it that) part of the evening will wrap up and we’ll adjourn to the lounge for chitchat. We’re really looking forward to seeing you there!

‘Water toys’ on the Delta range from water cannons to sailing dinghies.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Since Delta Doo Dah registration is free again this year, there’s no reason not to sign up! See

The Fuzzy Logic girls having some free fun during last year’s Delta Doo Dah.

Fuzzy Logic
©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Door prizes at Friday’s Kickoff Party will include:

  • A gift certificate for a free weekend at Almar’s Martinez Marina.
  • A pair of sailing gloves from OPB-YC.
  • Two copies of Bill Corp’s Sacramento River Boating Guide.
  • A gift certificate for a pair of PortVisors™ or a PanelVisor™ from Seaworthy Goods.
  • Two prize packages from the Starboard Collection, each including a beautiful nautical serving tray and a 4-piece bowl or plate set.
  • Owl Harbor will be giving away two T-shirts and two-day passes to Isleton Cajun & Blues Festival on June 14-15,
  • A hand-painted apron and a ceramic knife,
  • And an Owl Harbor bag, T-shirt and coffee mugs.

Freebies for all Doo-ers at the party will include:

  • Clean Boater Kits and AquaSmart kids’ activity books from Boating Clean and Green.
  • Crayons for the kids courtesy of Latitude 38.
  • Nautical books for summer reading courtesy of Latitude 38.
  • Delta Tide Books.
  • The Delta Chambers guide book Discover the California Delta.
  • Handheld Wind Meters from WeatherFlow.
  • Blue wristbands with a variety of nautical sayings from Seaworthy Goods.
  • Lanyards from BoatU.S.

Marinas offering specials to official Doo Dah entries include:

For details on each offer, see our Hosts page.

Injured Sailor Undaunted by Accident

A tragic accident will not stop John Spicher from experiencing the wonders of the Sea of Cortez. Pictured here with the supportive staff of Marina Palmira, the recovering sailor wears his ‘soul sailor’ Baja Ha-Ha T-shirt.

© 2014 Tom Brown & Jeanne Walker

Those new to the cruising scene are often deeply impressed by the supportive nature of sailing communities, especially in Mexico — and particularly in times of need. That observation was well illustrated by both cruisers and marine business people in La Paz recently, in the aftermath of a tragic dinghy accident that ultimately caused its victim, John Spicher of the Anacortes, WA-based Coast 34 Time Piece to lose his lower left leg and foot.

As reported earlier, Spicher was attempting to help the owner of a runaway dinghy, whose driver had fallen out without wearing a kill cord, when Spicher was struck multiple times by the high-revving outboard.  

Jeanne Walker of the La Paz-based Eagle writes: "John Spicher, who now calls La Paz, Mexico home, returned after being gone for two months. . . John’s injuries required medical air evacuation to San Diego and ultimately the decision to amputate his lower left leg." (See her full account of the accident here.)

"As John has been living in the La Paz area since the 2011 Baja Ha-Ha, he no longer carried US medical insurance. The cruising community in La Paz rallied around and held several fundraisers for John, raising close to $9,000. At the time of the accident, John’s boat was in the city anchorage. It was moved to Marina Palmira. The marina pitched in with one month’s free moorage and a discount for several additional months.

"John will be receiving his first prosthesis shortly. After a bit of time visiting family and friends in the States, he plans to return to La Paz and get back to sailing in the Sea of Cortez." 

Spicher has lived aboard Time Piece for the past 14 years. While participating in the 2011 Baja Ha-Ha rally, he won the Burrito Division, and earned the designation of "soul sailor" for having sailed the entire route. 

If you’d like to help John out with his enormous medical expenses, donations can be made at PayPal via [email protected].

America’s Cup Wins Emmy

America’s Cup 34 has won an Emmy in the newly created "Outstanding New Approaches — Sports Events Coverage" category. This new category "recognizes a seismic shift in how the sport of sailing is covered and consumed," says an America’s Cup spokesperson. 

The America’s Cup mobile app allowed sailing enthusiasts to watch the Cup in real time on their mobile devices.

© America’s Cup

"Through the America’s Cup mobile app, fans could get race results, video, race animation graphics, wind and tide information, and photos, as well as engage in chat, all in real time – on their tablet or phone, from anywhere in the world."

Jimmy Spithill, who was on hand to receive the Sports Emmy Award in New York City, said that Oracle Team USA had two goals going into the 34th America’s Cup. "We wanted to win the race, which we did, thankfully. But we also wanted to make our sport more exciting and accessible to casual viewers and general sports fans through better television and multimedia production.

"These five nominations, and especially this award for the Mobile App, is recognition for all the people who worked so hard to achieve that vision," says Spithill.

"It’s not often that you have an opportunity to transform the way a sport or an event reaches its fans," said America’s Cup Director of Technology Stan Honey. 

‘With the America’s Cup Mobile App, AC LiveLine, and the other broadcast innovations, we have made a sport that in the past could be difficult to follow, into one that is now impossible to ignore," says Honey.

Here on the Left Coast today — aka Cinco de Mayo — is one of those holidays that gets marketers, restaurateurs and bar keepers revved up to a fever pitch of excitement.