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December 14, 2016

It Was a Beauty of a Blast

Greig and Leslie Olson’s Napa-based Brown Searunner 31 trimaran Doggone heads out toward the center of Banderas Bay during the light-air first race of the Blast. The Olsons have done the SoCal Ta-Ta, the Ha-Ha, and the Blast, completing a trifecta.

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Is there a better place for mellow cruiser racing than Banderas Bay in mid-December? We don’t think so.

The lead-up to the Banderas Bay Blast was the Riviera Nayarit Tourism’s Welcome to Banderas Bay Sailors’ Splash for arriving Baja Ha-Ha and other cruisers last Friday night. Free shirts, hats, tequila, food and music next to the amphitheater of the Marina de La Cruz. Much fun.

After a day to rest up, there was Blast ‘Ha-Ha style’ racing on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday that attracted 21 boats. The weather for the first race was perfect — 85°, bright sunshine, flat water — but almost no wind. The Great Water Balloon Drop after the race at the marina pool almost made up for the missing breeze.

The Blast fleet anchored in front of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club at Punta Mita. Alas, there was no surf this year. 

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Monday’s race to Punta Mita for the annual opening of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club was sailed in perfect conditions. Light air at the start gave way to as much as 20 knots of true wind halfway up the 8-mile course. Profligate was hitting just under 10 knots going to weather in flat water and bikini conditions, but even that wasn’t enough to overtake some of the higher-pointing monohulls. If that wasn’t enough, the background was jungle and the early arriving humpbacks were breaching.

After the dinner at the yacht club — where two of the three waiters had to be sent home for having had a little too much to drink — new Commodore Donna Melville of the Gabriola Island-based Baltic 42DP Northwest Passage initiated new club members with the carbon-fiber SUP paddle. White Male Privilege was observed, as the male members all got an extra hard swat — if not two — from the lovely commodore. Who knew Canadian women were so powerful?

First-graders from the Punta Mita area put on a performance for the Blasters prior to the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity. 

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The final race of the Blast was the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity, a 12-miler to Paradise Village Marina. While the wind was a little on the light side — 10 knots dropping to about 8 knots — the mostly reaching conditions still made it a delight. Fred Roswold and Judy Jensen’s Serendipty 43 Wings — which they’d sailed around the world for 18 years — nipped three other boats at the finish to take overall honors. But everybody was a winner, no matter if they were flying a chute for the first time or ‘racing’ with eight others on their boat. It was racing with friends, not against them, and one of the best Blasts in years.

Sweet sailing or what? Paul Martson’s Beneteau 40 — formerly of the Bay Area — spinnaker-reached down the north shore of Banderas Bay during the final race of the Blast. 

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

During the awards ceremony at a packed Vallarta YC, Ronnie ‘Tea Lady’ announced that the goal of raising $1,500 from the small group for educational supplies for children around the Banderas Bay had been reached.

For a video of of Profligate and her 18 crew during the Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity, shot by Brian Charette of Cat 2 Fold, visit our Facebook page,

Tell Us Why You Love NW Sailing

With a little luck, you can snag a berth in front of Victoria, BC’s Empress Hotel — at the center of that sparkling-clean port’s many shoreside attractions.

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In a bareboat chartering report a few years back, we referred to the cruising grounds containing the Gulf and San Juan islands as "the Greater Puget Sound area." But as several Pacific Northwest readers quickly pointed out, that was a pretty lame descriptor of the splendid maze of forest-rimmed waterways that have long been a favorite cruising grounds for West Coast sailors. As we learned, the region’s proper name these days is the Salish Sea.

Needless to say, we’re not experts on sailing within the eternally green isles and inlets of the Northwest, yet that area is one of our favorite places on earth to sail and explore. That’s why we often promote it in the pages of Latitude 38‘s World of Chartering section. 

Peaceful, well-protected anchorages such as this abound within the Salish Sea cruising grounds. 

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In our January issue we’ll spotlight Salish Sea chartering yet again by sharing our insights on how to best enjoy that wonderful region during its prime summer sailing season. With that in mind, we’d love to get some input from recent Sailish Sea sailors on specific spots to check out or avoid, tips on tides and anchoring, worthwhile activities ashore, etc. We’d also be thrilled to receive a selection of your favorite photos. Please email your input here. And thanks in advance for helping out.

Solution to Uncanceled TIP Dilemma

If you never intend to sail your boat to Mexico, you may be weary of reading our occasional updates on obtaining, canceling and renewing that country’s mandatory Temporary Import Permits. But if you do intend to cruise south of the border, it’s important that you follow the rules correctly. 

Thanks to the creation of a year-old government website, obtaining a new TIP while your boat is still in the US is simpler than ever (once you decipher a few odd translations in the English version). However, if you bought your boat from a former Mexico cruiser who never canceled his TIP, you could be in for a major dolor de cabeza (headache). 

We’re happy to report, however, that the Mexican customs agency is making a special effort to solve such problems. In a government release posted yesterday, it was announced that special customs officials will be on hand at Tijiuana’s Otay Mesa customs office from now through December 22, specifically to solve problems associated with uncanceled TIPs. If your boat has one, we think investing in a flight to San Diego and a cab ride to Otay Mesa would be money well spent. See the full press release here.

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. 
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.
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.