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December 12, 2016

Encore Repeats ORR Championship

Wayne and Suzie Koide’s Richmond Yacht Club-based Sydney 36 CR Encore has won the ORR West Coast Championship Northern Division for a second year in a row. 

Seen here racing in the St. Francis YC’s 2016 Rolex Big Boat Series, Encore won an encore championship in ORR this year.


"ORR is a measurement rule and is supposed to take all the guesswork out of rating dissimilar boats. The fact that we can be competitive with much larger and faster boats is a testament to that rule," said Wayne. "Regardless of what rule we are sailing under, I believe the most important element in racing is having a committed crew," he stressed. "Win or lose, if you’re racing with your friends and family, you can never go wrong." He added, "This was quite an honor to have won this for two years in a row and I have our devoted crew to thank for our success."

Suzie and Wayne Koide at StFYC during last year’s RBBS. They won their ORR division in that series in 2014 and 2015.

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The Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) and the Offshore Racing Association (ORA) announced the winners of the 2016 series on Thursday. Edward Marez’s Santa Cruz YC-based Santa Cruz 70 Buona Sera finished second. Another boat sailed by an RYC couple, Mark and Shana Howe’s Santa Cruz 50 Adrenalin, placed third.

The ORR West Coast Championship Series began in 2013. The 2016 races included the OYRA Lightship, the YRA Great Vallejo Race, the Spinnaker Cup, the Coastal Cup, the OYRA Farallones Race, the Pacific Cup, and the Rolex Big Boat Series. Scores were based on the best results of a minimum of three of the races. The Pacific Cup was weighted as two races while the other regattas were weighted as one race. "Not everyone (including us) did all of these events," commented Wayne — but all three of the top finishers raced in the Pac Cup. 

Skin So Soft Bugs the Bugs

For decades, Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil has been touted as an excellent ‘underground’ insect repellent by many of those who have used it in the tropics and in forested areas. Mind you, Avon assiduously avoided marketing it for that use, noting that it hadn’t been approved by the EPA for that purpose.

Despite the fact that repellents with DEET are supposed to be far more effective than Skin So Soft, there are still lots of people — including many cruisers — who swear by Avon’s well-known product.

We’re not sure when it happened, but at some point Avon got into the insect repellent business with two products marketed specifically for that purpose. One is Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin, and the other is Skin So Soft Plus IR3535 Expedition.

Both products contain picaridin, which is a synthetic repellent based on a compound that occurs naturally in the black pepper plant. Skin So Soft Plus Expedition is pretty much the same product but with sunscreen.

Consumer Reports tested the three products a few months ago and came to the following conclusions:

1) As was the case when they last tested Skin So Soft Bath Oil in 1993, it was effective, but only for a few hours, and thus was among the least effective repellents they tested.

2) Skin So Soft is a "middle of the pack" repellent that contains only two thirds as much picaridin as competing products, and doesn’t contain any DEET. Avon promotes the product because it doesn’t contain any DEET, a compound many consumers don’t like.

3) Consumer Reports cast shade on the Expedition product because they don’t like multi-purpose products.

To us, the interesting thing is that apparently Skin So Soft Bath Oil does work for a couple of hours, and in many cases that’s as long as cruisers need it because many insects are dawn-and-dusk irritants.

What’s your experience been with Skin So Soft? Would some singlehanders smell better if they used it even when there were no bugs around? Is there a repellent you like better? (Email Richard.)

Imprisoned Cruiser in Legal Limbo

On Thursday, the government of Tonga officially requested extradition of American cruiser Dean Jay Fletcher, 54, to stand trial in that island nation’s capital, Nuku’alofa, for the alleged murder of his Canadian wife Patricia Linne Kearney last summer.

Regular readers may recall the bizarre sequence of events that led up to Fletcher’s apprehension in early October at Pago Pago, American Samoa, and his subsequent transfer to US authorities soon afterward (due to an extradition treaty). After alerting authorities in Vava’u, Tonga, about his wife’s death (no details yet released), Fletcher was eventually accused of killing her himself. But somehow he escaped from custody — an act for which five Tongan police are being investigated — then made his way to his vintage Rhodes Bounty 42 Sea Oak, and headed out to open sea. He was chased, but scared off his pursuers with a flare gun. A few days later he made the mistake of pulling into Pago Pago for fuel. After another chase, he was apprehended by authorities there. 

Our understanding is that Fletcher has been held in a Hawaiian detention facility ever since, during which time he filed a writ of habeas corpus (essentially demanding clarification on the evidence against him.)

Fletcher and Kearney had set sail for the South Pacific from Mazatlan in the spring of 2015. Acquaintances within the Mexican cruising community are still in shock over both the murder and the accusation that Fletcher did it. "They were quiet but friendly folks who kept mostly to themselves," says an anonymous source in Mazatlan. "I personally can’t imagine him killing her.”

Tonga practices British common law. If Fletcher is extradited and convicted, he could face the death penalty via hanging — although the last execution in this low-crime archipelago was in 1982, according to Cornell Law School research.

The rail on a J/24 in the 2015 Crew You Regatta was a wet ride, but not because of rain.
Needless to say, the development of smart phones and tablets, in combination with the specialized apps that support them, have led to dramatic changes in the way millions of people acquire information and conduct their lives — including boaters.