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April 1, 2016

Be on the Lookout for Lady Isabelle

Lady Isabelle was in immaculate condition when stolen from the South of France in October. 

© Lady Isabelle

Caribbean sailors, have you seen this boat? She is the Scorpio 72 Lady Isabelle. Having been stolen last October from an anchorage in the South of France, she was later spotted in the Canary Islands and was seen very recently in the West Indies (sorry, no details on the location).


French Diplomat Jean Vaury, a sailor who used to be stationed in San Francisco, reached out to us to request that we spread the word in hopes that his countryman’s yacht can be recovered. The name may have been changed, of course, but the lines of this design are easily recognizable. 

If you spot Lady Isabelle, contact local authorities and/or French consular personnel immediately. (Or contact us here at Latitude if you get no help elsewhere.)

April Latitude Out Today

The April issue of Latitude 38 hits the docks today. The boat show planner for Strictly Sail Pacific is bound right in.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The April issue of Latitude 38 comes out today, April 1 — no foolin’. As has been the tradition since the early years of the boat show, the Strictly Sail Pacific planner is bound in as a glossy insert. If you haven’t ordered advance tickets yet you can still save $2 online by using the discount code Lat38.

Besides being able to use this handy guide to plan your visit to the April 7-10 show (in Richmond for the first time), the April issue introduces readers to inspirational young cruiser Heidy Gross and a fleet of Pacific Puddle Jumpers in Puerto Vallarta. We thrill to tales of racing south of the border, and Max Ebb ponders anchoring equipment. All your regular favorite sections are in there too, of course: Calendar, Letters, Sightings, Racing Sheet, Changes in Latitudes, World of Charter, Classy Classifieds, and useful advertising.

Pick yours up from one of our loyal distributors, order a subscription or single issue online, or read the digital version.

A Question of Salvage Rights

We’re occasionally reminded that simply proclaiming "Salvage!" when you find an object floating on the high seas does not necessarily win you ownership of it. That might work in the movies, but as two Monterey Bay fishermen are finding out, the issue of salvage rights is a tricky one.

As shown in this enhanced graphic, special research buoys are deployed in key locations throughout the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. The one that was found adrift had been anchored 300 meters beneath the surface. 

© Monterey Bay Acquarium Research Institute

On Monday, federal prosecutors filed a lawsuit against Daniel Sherer and Patrick Anderson, two California fishermen who recovered a US Geological Survey buoy that had come loose from its mooring in January, apparently during storm conditions. The men promptly requested a payment of $13,000 for its return — not a ransom, they clarified, but reimbursement for their lost income due to the salvage operation.

But the government did not promptly cut the mariners a check. Instead, they and their firm, A&S Fisheries, are now embroiled in a very serious lawsuit that requests the court to mandate the return of the buoy along with at least $115,000 in damages.

Because the buoy has an internal tracking device, authorities followed it right to the fishermen’s berth, but the mariners would not surrender it without a payoff. 

© 2016 US Department of Justice

The buoy was deployed in October 2015, 300 meters beneath the surface of Monterey Bay off Moss Landing. It was designed to automatically detach itself this month and send a message to its handlers. But it did so January 15.

In her February correspondence to the men’s lawyer, Sherer’s father David Sherer, Department of the Interior lawyer Karen Glasgow stated, "Your client has no claim or right to possession of said equipment." And she made it clear that continuing to hold it hostage could end very badly for Sherer’s clients.

Marilyn Raia, a maritime lawyer in San Francisco who commented on the case via email, wrote: "In the maritime world, by finding property that belongs to someone else, you do not obtain title to it or the right to possession of it unless it has been abandoned. The offshore distance is irrelevant… This wasn’t abandoned so it’s a moot point really. Abandonment involves an intentional relinquishment of rights to property. You can’t negligently abandon something."

It will be interesting to see if a federal magistrate sees the situation the same way, when the case is reviewed in June. Hopefully, the fishermen will realize that they are out of their depth — legally speaking — and will simply return this curious catch. 

The Cup Comes to America

Here’s what sailing looks like from onboard one of Artemis Racing’s foiling AC45F catamarans.

© Sander van der Boch / Artemis Racing

We wish we could say that the America’s Cup Event Authority has relented and is bringing racing back to San Francisco. But that would just be a (cruel) April Fools’ joke. The closest that the AC teams will get to S.F. Bay this year is Chicago, on June 10-11.

But before they go to the Windy City, the six teams in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series will race in the Big Apple — and we don’t mean Cupertino. Fleet races are scheduled for May 7-8. Sailors will perhaps spare a glance for the New York City skyline while fans gather in Battery Park City and Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza to catch a glimpse of the sailors. The event will be free for the public, and no tickets will be required. All races will finish just off the plaza, home to one central event village.

An artist’s rendering of what racing might look like in New York Harbor, against the backdrop of the event village.


The event village, featuring entertainment, vendors and sponsor activities, will be open on May 7 and 8 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The main stage will host music and performances, including the Dock Out Show, during which fans can hear from each team’s skipper before they head out to race, and the awards ceremony on Sunday. The races will be telecast on big screens in the plaza with an announcer calling the race live over a speaker system.

“The New York Harbor and waterfront parks on both sides of the Hudson River are sailing’s version of nature’s perfectly created stadium,” said the AC’s commercial commissioner, Harvey Schiller. “The harbor’s ability to bring fans so close to the action is what made New York the Mecca of sailing 100 years ago and an ideal home for the America’s Cup more than a century ago. It is an honor to bring this competition back to where it began.”

Spectators interested in watching from their own boats in New York Harbor should visit We’ll share info on watching the action online or on TV in an upcoming ‘Lectronic post.

Artemis Racing and Oracle Team USA tune up against each other on Bermuda’s Great Sound.

© Sander van der Boch / Artemis Racing
Sailing or motorsailing up the Napa River is always fun — unless, of course, you get stuck on a sandbar for hours waiting for the tide to rise.
You might consider Jack van Ommen, one of Latitude’s heroes. Readers might remember that after going bankrupt in his early 60s, van Ommen had almost nothing left to his name but Fleetwood, a Nadja 29 he completed from a kit and had sailed in the Singlehanded TransPac many years before.