Latitude 38‘s website may not be the slickest site on the Internet, but you don’t have to do too much digging to stumble onto some pretty cool stuff — and a number of improvements are being discussed for the near future.
One section that we’re particularly proud of is our ‘official’ West Coast Circumnavigators’ List, comprising boats and sailors who’ve either begun and ended their lap around the planet on the West Coast of North America, or are based here.
The latest request for inclusion comes from Vancouver, BC-based Evan Gatehouse, his wife Diane Selkirk, and daughter Maia, now 15, who completed a six-year rounding at La Cruz, Mexico, aboard their 40-ft Woods Meander catamaran Ceilydh. If our memory serves us, starting from bare hulls, Evan greatly modified the boat using his own design.
The Canadian family set sail in the spring of 2011 from La Cruz (in Banderas Bay), and we caught up with them a few months later at the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous. There, we learned that Diane is a successful freelance writer whose published work helped resupply the family’s cruising kitty. (Google her.) Maia, then 9, seemed to have made friends with many other kids in the fleet — and that was a pretty big year for ‘kid boats’.
We’ll add Ceildyh and her crew to the master list this week, and we invite you to have a look at the impressive list of those who’ve been all the way ’round — beginning with the legendary Harry Pidgeon, who soloed aboard a wooden boat that he built on a Southern California beach. Also, a good place to meet some West Coast circumnavigators will be at the Latitude booth at the Pacific Sail and Power Boat Show in Richmond (April 6-9), during our Friday evening booth party. In the meantime, our congrats to Evan, Diane and Maia!
J/Boats has come up with a brilliant marketing idea to build interest among future boat owners in its hot new sportboat class, the J/70. The Newport, RI-based company is inviting youth teams representing sailing clubs from all over the country to compete at the first-ever US Youth Championship and win a free J/70 for a year.
The J/70 Youth Championship will take place at J/Fest New England on August 11-13, 2017. Sail Newport will host the event at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI. "The goal of this event is to help develop and build leading-edge junior keelboat sailing programs across America," say the organizers. The winning club will be awarded free use of a fully equipped J/70, sails and trailer included, provided by J/Boats, for 12 months.
The USJCA championship will be open to 10 youth teams representing US Sailing-recognized sailing clubs or organizations. The teams will compete on 10 brand-new J/70 Class sailboats with sails (main, jib, spinnaker) that comply with J/70 class rules. The boats will be identically rigged and tuned at base settings recommended by the sailmaker.
Teams will qualify for entry in the championship by being the top scoring youth team in the J/70 class at one of a series of regattas in various locations around the country. On the West Coast, the qualifiers will be the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in San Diego on March 17-19 and St. Francis Yacht Club’s Sportboat Regatta on July 8-9.
In order to be considered a ‘youth’ team, all crew must be under the age of 20 throughout the 2017 calendar year. For more info, see the Notice of Race at www.jboats.com/images/stories/pdf/J70_Youth_NOR_011217.pdf.
Folks who have been around cruising for many years will probably recall that the ‘standard’ time for a circumnavigation used to be three years. That’s what seemed to fit in with coming and going of hurricane/cyclone seasons, the speed of the boats, and the then-normal pace of cruising life.
The first year would be across the Pacific Ocean, the second year across the Indian Ocean, and the third year across the Atlantic Ocean. Naturally there were cruisers who took longer. As in five years, 10 years or even 25 years.
Up until about five years ago when Somali pirate attacks reached their peak, the greater percentage of cruisers went by way of the Red Sea and the Med instead of by way of South Africa and the South Atlantic.
In the last 10 years there has been an increase in quicker circumnavigations. A good example is that of the late Mike Harker, who despite some physical limitations singlehanded his Manhattan Beach-based Hunter Mariner 49 Wanderlust III around the world in just 11 months. It’s possible to do it that quickly without tempting hurricanes/cyclones.
Also encouraging quick circumnavigations have been various around-the-world rallies. The World Cruising Club has been running the World ARC, a 15-month, 25,000-mile event, on an annual basis for many years. Eighteen boats took off from St. Lucia on January 7 for the start of this year’s version of the event.
Charlie and Cathy Simon of the Spokane- and Nuevo Vallarta-based Taswell 58 Celebration did the World ARC two years ago and loved it. While they admitted that the pace of the event didn’t allow them to spend as much time as they would have preferred in certain areas, they did get to see lots of places in a relatively short amount of time, and the pace wasn’t too bad. And they loved the camaraderie of the group. In all, the experience has inspired them to attempt the Northwest Passage this summer.
The World ARC divides the route into two parts: from the Caribbean to Australia, and from Australia back to the Caribbean. This allows entries to take a break and rejoin the second half of the event a year later if they wish.
Perhaps even more impressive than this year’s World ARC is the second Oyster World Rally for Oyster-brand yachts. A fleet of 31 Oysters with owners from 10 countries will depart Antigua this Sunday on a “fully supported” 27,000-mile circumnavigation. Unlike the first Oyster Rally, at 27 months this one is going to be twice as long as the first and will be divided into four stages: the Pacific Rally, the Antipodean Cruise, the Asian Rally, and the Trip Home.
So while the World ARC fleet heads directly from St. Lucia to the Panama Canal, the Oyster fleet will stop at each of the ABC Islands and the San Blas Islands before regrouping for the Canal transit. There will be similar pauses along the way.
Entry in around-the-world rallies is not cheap. As we recall, the entry fees for both the World ARC and Oyster World Rally ran about $25,000. But based on Latitude 38’s discussions with sailors who have done both rallies, folks who could afford them felt as though they’d gotten full value for their money.
If you’ve done an around-the-world rally, we’d like to hear your thoughts.