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August 31, 2015

Come to Our Party, Have a Fabulous Life

Trading boat cards with Jack and Lynn Robinson on a canal barge in France.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"The last 25 years of my life have been fabulous — all because of Latitude 38, the Crew List Parties, and the Baja Ha-Ha."

Those are the words of Lynn (Cagel) Robinson of the East Coast-based Catalac 38 catamaran Felix and the Europe-based 40-ft Dutch cruiser Zwerver. You can read her words in the Changes section of the September issue of Latitude 38 that hits the stands tomorrow.

Lynn is exaggerating, of course, but there is some truth to what she said. She went to her first Latitude 38 Crew List Party in the early 1990s, where she met a gentleman and they did some sailing together. She eventually bought a sailboat with him, and they cruised the Pacific Northwest. She loved it. Alas, he didn’t. End of relationship.

In October 1994, Lynn attended a second Latitude 38 Crew List Party, this one right before the first-ever Baja Ha-Ha. Then 40, she got a berth on a Westsail 43 that continues to hold a distinction among the more than 2,000 boats that have done the Ha-Ha — the boat rammed another Ha-Ha boat from astern. While the rest of the crew bailed, Lynn stayed with the Westsail for repairs in Ensenada, and a week later helped the owner sail the boat to Cabo.

While sitting in the Broken Surfboard Café in Cabo, Lynn met a couple of guys who had just sailed down from San Diego, and she told them of her misadventure. Sympathetic, the owner of the boat, Jack Robinson, told her that he was leaving his boat in Puerto Vallarta, and if she wanted, she could boat-sit while he was gone.

One thing led to another, as it sometimes does, and Jack and Lynn have been adventuring on boats together ever since. They did years of cruising and inland traveling in Mexico. Then they bought a cat on the East Coast and, among other things, did the so-called American Loop. After that they advertised to trade time on their cat for time on a boat in the French Canals. Oddly enough, they ended up trading time with a Kiwi couple who had a boat and a camper van in New Zealand. The trade turned out to be a fabulous experience for both parties.

At the end of the arrangement, the Kiwi couple mentioned they had friends who needed to sell their canal boat. The Robinsons flew to France to see the boat — and bought it. This is their second year of cruising the French canals. In fact, the Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca crossed paths with them after exiting a more-than-a-mile-long canal tunnel in northeast France. When the Robinsons aren’t on that boat, they’re on their catamaran on the East Coast because they just love seeing new things, having new adventures, and meeting new people. Sort of like the Wanderer and de Mallorca.

If you’re like Lynn and Jack, but haven’t found the right situation yet, as either crew or a boat owner looking for crew, you might think about coming to Wednesday evening’s Latitude 38 Crew List Party at Encinal YC in Alameda. The party runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Skippers and First Mates registered for this year’s Baja Ha-Ha get in free, and everyone else pays $7 (cash only). There will be door prizes, snacks, slides of past events, and other fun. The Wanderer, who is the Grand Poobah of the Ha-Ha, Andy ‘Mr. Pacific Puddle Jump’ Turpin, and Doña ‘Chief of Ha-Ha Security’, will all be on hand to answer questions and tell tall tales about previous Ha-Ha’s and Pacific Puddle Jumps.

The inflation of a Sal’s Inflatable Services liferaft in the middle of the party is always a crowd-pleaser.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Do the Ha-Ha Aboard the Mothership Profligate?

If you’ve always wanted to do a Ha-Ha aboard Profligate, the 63-ft catamaran that is the rally’s mothership, this might be your year. It hardly ever happens, but this year there are a couple of slots open, including a cabin for a couple. This is for people who enjoy being in the thick of the action. This is a shared-expenses situation. If you’re interested, call Doña de Mallorca at (415) 269-5165 immediately, and then meet her and the Wanderer at the Crew List Party.

Profligate, the mothership of the Baja Ha-Ha. Crew positions rarely come up. 

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Pre-Crew List Party Mexico Seminar

If you have any questions about cruising in Mexico, we recommend you show up at 4 p.m., as Dick Markie, harbormaster at Paradise Marina in Nuevo Vallarta, and Geronimo Cevallos, harbormaster at El Cid Marina in Mazatlan, will be offering a free Mexico cruisers’ seminar. We’ve known Dick and Geronimo for ages, and they know their stuff.

Dick Markie of Paradise Village (center), flanked by Carol and Wayne Hendryx of Capricorn Cat, at a recent crew party.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Kiwis Take ACWS in Sweden

The podium celebration with the obligatory wasting of perfectly good champagne on Sunday in Gothenburg.

© Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

We can remember the days, back in the ’90s, when we gathered in sociable groups at the homes of friends who had ESPN to watch America’s Cup racing. When races were held during work days, a group of us would trot over to the 2 A.M. Club to watch the action on TV there. In 2013, we made it over to San Francisco as many days as possible, glad that the finals dragged out day after day while the excitement built. When we weren’t so free to leave the office, it was back over to ‘The Deuce’ to watch on the big screens in the bar. Listening to our explanations of the action, some of the afternoon regulars even caught our enthusiasm.

Remember when? *sigh*


Now, two years later, no, we’re not having fun yet. The 35th America’s Cup is not only not coming to San Francisco, even the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is a no-show in the hometown of the defending Golden Gate YC. It might be fun to watch the action streaming on a big computer screen — small viewing parties could still be possible — but the only way to watch the ACWS live is on a paid mobile app. How many friends can huddle around your iPad?

Assuming you didn’t go to such lengths to watch the weekend action, here’s a summary: The hometown of Artemis Racing, Gothenburg, Sweden, hosted the second ACWS regatta over the weekend, and the leaderboard was shaken up. After winning the first event at the end of July in Portsmouth, UK, Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR team had to settle for third place this weekend, slipping to second place in the series. "In both races today the start was critical, and in both races we weren’t great," said Sir Ben. "We started at the bottom end of the line. It was an all-or-nothing start and it didn’t come off; it put us on the back foot."

The British team went into the Swedish weekend in first place and emerged in second for the 2015 series.

© Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Defenders Oracle Team USA took both races on the first day. "This was almost like a warm-up," said Aussie skipper Jimmy Spithill. "It’s all about tomorrow when the points are doubled: Super Sunday. But that being said, I’d rather be in our position."

Oracle Team USA seems to prefer windy conditions to light and fluky.

© Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

But Sunday went all light and shifty, making for much trickier racing on the tight course. "We were really scrambling," said Spithill. "We had a penalty off the starting line. And from then on it was a battle. We could never climb back through."

Artemis Racing, entering the day in last place, ran away for an easy win in the first race. "We got a ripper of a start in the first one, and when you get ahead of the pack in these conditions it can roll into a massive lead," said skipper Nathan Outteridge. The inspiring win in the first race was followed by a last-place finish in the second.

Artemis Racing won one at home for their fans.

© Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

The heroes of the weekend then emerged, when Emirates Team New Zealand won the final race. "It was a tricky afternoon, but our guys had a forecast for it being light like this for quite a few days, so we’ve been preparing for it since we arrived," said ETNZ’s helmsman Peter Burling. With two thirds on Saturday and a second in the first race on double-points Sunday, ETNZ won the Gothenburg event.

The ETNZ crew sailed the most consistent regatta, earning first place for the weekend.

© Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

To watch a recap of the weekend’s racing, tune in to NBC Sports Network on Friday, September 4, at 10 p.m. PDT. The final 2015 ACWS event will be held on October 16-18 in Bermuda. For more info, see Through WISeKey, Oracle Team USA has released an app aimed at connecting fans with the team. See

Three Hurricanes Threaten Pacific Islands

During the weekend, three Category 4 hurricanes roared across the North Pacific: Kilo (left), Ignacio and Jimena. Fortunately, Ignacio, which is the closest to Hawaii, has now downshifted to a Category 2, with max sustained winds of ‘only’ 105 mph.

© 2015 NOAA

Since posting our report Friday on Tropical Storms Ignacio and Jimena, both have increased substantially and are still angling toward the Hawaiian Islands. Farther west, Hurricane Kilo threatens the tiny, remote atoll of Midway.

Early this morning, Category 2 Hurricane Ignacio was 335 miles east of Hana, Maui, and 460 miles east of Honolulu, packing max sustained winds of 105 mph as it moved northwesterly at 10 mph. Although the island chain is under storm watch, if Ignacio follows its current trajectory, it should pass well east of land. The best news about Ignacio, however, is that it has downgraded substantially from its Category 4 status during the weekend. 

As this illustration shows, Ignacio is expected to pass far from land as it tracks NW.


Hurricane Jimena, however, could eventually become a greater threat to the Hawaiian Islands. Now a ‘Major’ Hurricane of Category 4 status with max sustained winds of 150 mph — that’s only 6 mph short of the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson Scale — it is moving west toward Hawaii this morning at 16 mph. Hopefully, it too will arc to the northwest and spare the islands major impacts. 

As you can see by this wind prediction graphic, Jimena is big, bad and ugly. 


Meanwhile, more than 1,000 miles west of Hawaii, Category 4 Hurricane Kilo now has max winds of 135 mph as it travels NNW at 10 mph toward Midway.  

And, as if that weren’t enough meteorological excitement for one day, a yet-unnamed area of low pressure roughly 750 miles south of Cabo San Lucas is showing the potential of forming into a tropical depression (the precursor of a tropical storm), later today or tomorrow. To track this system and others see the websites of the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Centers.

September Latitudes Out Tomorrow

The September mag comes out tomorrow. Don’t miss it!

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Believe it or not, we’ve been told by more than a few sailors that they are absolutely addicted to reading Latitude 38 magazine each month, and they can’t wait for the first of the month, when each new issue hits the street.

This message is for those folks — and everyone else — confirming that by tomorrow afternoon the September issue will be available at marine retailers in the Greater Bay Area, and also downloadable for free from our website. Southern California and Pacific Northwest distributors will receive magazines a couple of days later. Happy reading!

The second round of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series takes place in Gothenburg (Goteborg), Sweden, this weekend, but AC promoters aren’t making it easy for American sports fans to get revved up about the fast-paced action.