In the final regatta of the 2015 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Bermuda over the weekend, Artemis Racing grabbed the spotlight with an epic comeback story on Sunday.
When racing was canceled on Saturday due to light wind, three races were scheduled for Sunday. The Swedish Artemis team came into the weekend in fifth place out of the six teams, but they placed second in the first race on Sunday (after Cup Defender Oracle Team USA). In the moments before the starting gun fired for the second race, the team ducked behind the Japanese boat, and as Australian skipper Nathan Outteridge turned up toward the line, he was confronted with an umpire boat heading directly at him. The closing speed would have been more than 25 knots. The AC45f collided with the umpire boat, incurring serious damage.
"We couldn’t go anywhere," Outteridge explained. "He went straight between our bows, but thankfully nobody was hurt. There was a serious amount of damage to our boat though."
In an effort worthy of an F1 pit crew, the Artemis team stripped off the broken bow sprit and the now-useless Code Zero sail in record time. With less than two minutes to spare, the crew lined up for the next start — then blasted off the line with more speed than anyone else and won not only the start but the second race. "We owned that start," said Outteridge. "It was huge payback for all the hard work from the guys who stripped the gear off, checked the boat, and got us ready just in time."
A fourth-place finish in the third race secured the regatta for the Swedish team. It was a popular and well-deserved event win for Artemis Racing.
The top scores for ACWS Bermuda were: Artemis Racing, 52; Emirates Team New Zealand, 50; Oracle Team USA, 48. The results for the 2015 series are: ETNZ, 122; OTUSA, 112; Land Rover BAR, 109.
The road to hell, as many have noted, is paved with good intentions.
A well-intentioned Max Ebb wrote his October-issue column, called Sneaky Secrets, about how to be a sneakaboard, aka an illegal liveaboard. While not normally an advocate of being less than honest, Max reasoned that more sneakaboards could be a win-win-win situation. A win for the marinas because there is an average of about 20% vacancy in the 47 marinas in San Francisco Bay and the Delta — although the percentage of vacancies increases the farther you get from the Central Bay. A win for people trying to find a personal solution, any solution, to the critical lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area. A win for the marine industry, because the people who bought inexpensive boats to live aboard would surely soon fall in love with sailing and begin spending money at chandleries, in boatyards, with riggers, and so forth.
We at Latitude have always had a bit of a soft spot for sneakaboards. After all, we started Latitude in 1976 as sneakaboards at Clipper Yacht Harbor in Sausalito. We were desperate, because if we weren’t sneakaboards we wouldn’t have the money to found Latitude. Plus, we’ve always believed — and still do — that people who live on boats have a smaller eco footprint than those who live on dirt.
Shortly after the October issue appeared, we received overwhelming — although not universal — condemnation of the article from harbormasters, insisting that encouraging people to sneak aboard would actually result in a net loss rather than a win for everyone involved. After long conversations with a number of harbormasters, who were passionate yet rational, we became convinced that they were right, and that Max and we had completely misread and misjudged the situation.
Encouraging more sneakaboards is a loss for marinas because they already have to spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with sneakaboard issues. For example: answering multiple long calls each day during which living aboard policies would have to be explained painstakingly; answering multiple long calls each day about the availability of regular slips, even though it was clear the person was intending to become a sneakaboard; dealing with suspected sneakaboards; handling evictions of proven sneakaboards; conducting lien sales of boats abandoned by sneakaboards who got caught and who had nowhere to go with their boats; plus an inordinate amount of time having to deal with sneakaboard social problems.
One harbormaster told us he spent 90% of his time dealing with 10% of his tenants — and most of the 10% were sneakaboards. This estimate was confirmed by just about every harbormaster we spoke with.
Encouraging more sneakaboards would be a loss for regular marina tenants and particularly legal liveaboards, because sneakaboards use an inordinate share of the marina facilities and resources. Legal liveaboards, who typically pay about $200 a month extra, grouse about having to wait in line in the morning for freeloading sneakaboards to finish using the showers. Or having to wait to use the laundry facilities for the same reason.
There is also the matter of legal liveaboard ‘privacy’. Harbormaster after harbormaster told us that they really love their liveaboards, who tend to be real credits to their marinas, and they go out of their way to make sure liveaboards are spaced through the marina so they will have some privacy. One harbormaster told us his marina was beneath the Bay Conservation & Development Commission’s (BCDC) maximum of 10% liveaboards because he wouldn’t allow anybody to live on a boat less than 40 feet in length, and there wasn’t enough space between 40+ foot boats for more liveaboards.
Taking Max’s advice about buying a cheap boat on Craigslist, and then trying to become a sneakaboard, would be a loss for them, as they would soon discover: 1) They aren’t going to be able to get a berth in a marina unless they have a nice-looking, functioning boat that would be a credit to the marina — and they could pass background and financial checks. Federal Housing Authority rules may apply to houseboat marinas with permanent sewage and electricity hook-ups, but they do not apply to recreational boat marinas. Since nobody has a right to a marina slip, most harbormasters will turn potential slip renters away if they think they would diminish the quality of the existing community. 2) Even if a sneakaboard got a slip, he/she would get caught. How? Electronic gate and bathroom keys mean marina tenants leave a permanent trail of all their marina use. There are also security cameras that record who comes and goes and at what time. The same car parked in a parking lot every night is further evidence. Most sneakaboards are caught, however, because they are turned in by other marina tenants — probably the legal liveaboards who got tired of having to wait to take a shower or use the laundry facility.
One marina owner told us he believed that living on boats is a way the housing crisis has been eased in certain places around the world, and that he was philosophically in favor of it. The problem is that marina owners and harbormasters couldn’t increase the number of liveaboards even if they wanted to, because the BCDC controls them and can make their lives difficult if not impossible. If anyone wants to promote living on boats as a way to reduce the housing problem, address your dream to the BCDC and the State Lands Commission — and good luck with that. It’s not only the BCDC that wields a heavy hand. Because our state is faced with a severe water shortage, EBMUD has informed marinas in their service area that they will be fined heavily if they don’t lower water consumption 20% below 2013 levels.
(By the way, we believe that the vast majority of marina owners and harbormasters would not be in favor of a significant increase in the number legal liveaboards in their marinas because the marinas were not designed and built for significant numbers of liveaboards, and thus don’t have adequate facilities.)
It would be nice if the Bay Area’s housing crisis could be diminished by non-mariners moving onto inexpensive boats, becoming enamored with sailing, and becoming active parts of the sailing community. Alas, that is fantasy.
We at Latitude sincerely apologize for the article promoting such a fantasy, as we believe we let a lot of people down. We’ll try to do better in the future.
If you’re traveling to Mexico this season, there are several important issues you should be aware of concerning prescription meds.
La Paz-based sailors Dennis and Susan Ross recently alerted us that there have been changes in Mexican law regarding prescriptions for controlled medications. The Mexican government is establishing a national database to track prescriptions, utilizing each individual’s CURP number (the Mexican equivalent of a Social Security number). "Expats with temporary or permanent residency visas are required to have a CURP number," says Dennis, "but it is not required to obtain a visitor’s visa. This could present problems for visitors who require new prescriptions or need to refill existing prescriptions — they’d be required to get a new prescription from a Mexican licensed physician. Cruisers using tourist visas that are heading for Mexico should be sure to carry sufficient medications (and their original prescription) to last for the duration of their visit."
Another medical warning crossed our radar via the Southbound cruiser forum at Yahoo.com. A member wrote in to advise visiting cruisers to bring whatever quantities of Coumadin/Warfarin (to prevent blood clots) that they may need.
Previously, this medicine could be purchased over the counter without a prescription. But we’re told that the medication is no longer available and there is no replacement that’s exactly equivalent.
Again, when bringing any prescription medicines into Mexico, be sure you have the original prescription. We’ve also been told that medicines cannot be received in Mexico by mail.