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December 18, 2015

New Race to Bermuda

Troy Sears’ 139-ft schooner America, a replica of the first winner of what would become called the America’s Cup, is already pre-registered for the 2017 Antigua Bermuda Race, the final event in her tour of North America and the Caribbean. She’s seen in this photo sailing San Francisco Bay during the 34th America’s Cup.

© 2015 Next Level Sailing

Much as we would have liked the America’s Cup to return to San Francisco in 2017, Bermuda will take center stage for the 35th edition. So picture this: you’re already in Antigua for the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week on April 29-May 5, 2017. You and your friends need to get yourself and your yachts to Bermuda in time for the America’s Cup activities. Hmm, a bunch of boats need to get from point A to point B at the same time… sounds like a race!

The 112-ft sail-training sloop Spirit of Bermuda, the flagship of Bermuda, will serve as the race’s flagship as well.

© John Wiliszowski

Royal Bermuda YC has announced that the inaugural Antigua Bermuda Race will follow the 2017 Antigua Sailing Week. The new race is designed to offer an exciting passage to Bermuda. "The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club sees the Antigua Bermuda Race as an opportunity to have some fun getting to Bermuda in time for the month-long America’s Cup celebrations," comments the race chair, Les Crane.

The Antigua Bermuda Race will be open to classic and contemporary monohulls and multihulls with a minimum 40-ft  length, holding a valid IRC and/or CSA Rating Certificate or Superyacht rating. Dual scoring will be provided. Cruiser Racers will be able to take advantage of a motoring allowance.

The 935-mile course will start off Fort Charlotte, Antigua, take Antigua and Bermuda to port, and finish off St. David’s Light. In early May the northern limits of the trade winds can extend as far as 28° north. Easterly or southeasterly winds are common for the first half of the passage, resulting in reaching or running with the trades. Light southerly winds are common in the Horse Latitudes of the Sargasso Sea, and the finish in Bermuda is likely to be more tactical and a change of pace from the fast-surfing conditions of the trades.

Registration will open on November 1, 2016, but pre-registration is already available. To stay informed, signed up at on the event’s Potential Participant Survey.

Russell Perdock Appointed Mayor

For many Northern California sailors, the most jaw-dropping ‘WTF’ news story circulating this week is a Lake County Record-Bee report that Russell Perdock has been appointed — not elected, appointed — mayor of Clearlake, the tiny town on the shores of the North Bay lake with the same name.

What’s this got to do with sailing? As regular readers will recall, on the moonless night of April 29, 2006 then-Deputy Sheriff Perdock was at the helm of the 385-horsepower 24-ft powerboat that slammed into the drifting O’Day 28 sailboat Beats Workin’ II, fatally injuring crew Lynn Thornton. Despite the fact that Perdock was blasting across the dark water at an estimated speed of 45 to 50 mph — unsafe by any standard — he was never charged with any crime. Instead, sailor Bismarck Dinius, then 39, became the fall guy — charged with felony vehicular manslaughter, among other things — because he was sitting in the helmsman’s position of the nearly motionless sailboat when the collision occurred, and he’d had a few beers. 

While traveling at an unquestionably reckless speed, Perdock’s speedboat T-boned this daysailer, fatally injuring sailor Lynn Thornton.

© 2015 Channel 7 I-Team

Controversy over the incident raged on for several years as the manslaughter trial and various lawsuits progressed. In addition to Latitude‘s extensive reporting on the case, widespread accusations of rampant corruption in the handling of the investigation prompted in-depth reporting by KGO Channel 7’s Dan Noyes, which turned up the heat substantially on Lake County District Attorney Jon Hopkins. Ultimately, Dinius was found not guilty of two counts, with charges dropped on a third. Although he was much relieved by the outcome, his legal fees reportedly ran up to $300,000.

In April, 2010, Lake County Sheriff Rod Mitchell fired Perdock from his position as the #2 man in the department, with no reason given, although many observers made the connection that Mitchell was up for re-election two months later. He lost to Deputy Francisco Rivero who had campaigned on the promise to eat his hat if voters could find a more corrupt place in California. Once in office he pursued "aggressive law enforcement," cut $1 million in "waste" from the department’s budget, and asked the FBI to reopen the investigation into Lynn Thornton’s death. (Request denied.) District Attorney Jon Hopkins was also voted out of office.

But Perdock did not fade away. In 2012 he was appointed to the Lake County Fire Protection District’s board of directors. At some point he became a city councilman, and last week was elected by the council — not the citizenry — as mayor. News of the closed-door promotion brought a range of reactions from Record-Bee readers. From: "Good for Russ. He will do a good job!" to "Yeah, he sure did a good job killing Lynn Thornton in the drunken boating accident. He should be in prison not running the town."

Peso to Dollar

We’re not saying the Chinese at Mega is any healthier than the Chinese at a typical place in the States, but for less than $4, you get enough food to last all day. 

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Despite the Fed’s having raised the interest rate by a quarter percent in the United States two days ago, the value of the dollar versus the peso still took a little dip yesterday to just 17.04 from 17.79. But no big deal, as you can still go to the Chinese place at in the Mega shopping center between Nuevo Vallarta and Punta Mita and get a heaping pile of food for $3.80. And our tasty mahi dinner the other day at El Coral, which is right on the water at the ‘Mexican Malibu’ surf spot and the Mita anchorage, was $7.50. A dollar goes a long, long way down in tropical Mexico.

The mahi dinner at El Coral wasn’t fancy or anything, but the fish was delicious and the plate cost less than $7.50. 

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Not to mislead anyone, there are places that only accept US dollars. This includes marinas and some marine businesses. 

This is the view from the downstairs of El Coral that you get with your $7.50 mahi dinner and $2.75 margarita. The upstairs view was twice as good. By the way, the surf was killer the day we took this photo.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC
Mike and Shelly on their totally restored Peterson 44 Avatar are to windward of Tom and Helen’s Lagoon 42 Catatude at the start of the Punta Mita Race. 
US Sailing has teamed up with Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky to offer a newly conceived Maritime Heroes Award, aimed at recognizing "men and women who are making significant contributions to educate, volunteer, advocate or simply encourage participation in sailing within their community or beyond."