September 11, 2017

What’s Wrong with This Photo?

Ben, having climbed Mt. Coronado in the Sea of Cortez, checks out the beauty of nature. 

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The obvious answer is that Benjamin Brettingham-Moore of the La Paz- and Tasmania-based Lagoon 440 Sonrisa, having climbed Mt. Coronado in the Sea of Cortez, is looking out over the spectacular beauty of nature as opposed to at the screen of some electronic device.

As beautiful as the Sea is from atop mountains, it’s pretty nice down at sea level, too. Particularly in the fall when the water is warm. 

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As if that weren’t outrage enough, parents Nick and Mel thought that it was important for sons BJ and Huon to spend a few more days out in nature, even if it meant they missed the first few days of school. Must be the Aussie outlook on things.

Dorade Down Under

Dorade is Down Under, adding to her collection of prizes in events like Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

© Andrea Francolini

The Dorade Down Under campaign is going swimmingly for the 86-year-old 52-ft Sparkman & Stephens yawl. In August, the classic yacht slipped onto the podium in the first two of five events off the coast of Australia. The 40-ft LWL Dorade took third place in the 370-mile Brisbane to Keppel Race and second place in the IRC Passage Division 2 at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Before taking on the 628-mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, which will start on December 26, the Dorade Down Under team will head to New South Wales in October for the Bass Island Race and to Sydney in November for the Bird Island Race.

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week wrapped up on August 26.

© Andrea Francolini

The San Francisco Bay Area-based Matt Brooks and Pam Rorke Levy purchased Dorade in 2010 and restored her to her original condition. The yacht competed with (and thrilled the crews of) much younger boats on the San Francisco Cityfront in the 2012-2013 Golden Gate Yacht Club Midwinters before taking off on her Return to Blue Water campaign, which included an overall win in the 2013 Transpac — 77 years after her first win of that venerable race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. For much more and to follow Dorade’s adventures, see

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Irma Lashes Florida

Hurricane Irma, which was described by some analyst as the ‘"size of France," has moved into Florida and the US. 

© 2017 NASA

After devastating the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma marched toward Florida, changing categories from 5, down to 3, and back up to a 4, according to ABC news. The initial models predicted that Irma would make landfall in Miami, one of the more low-lying and vulnerable cities in the tropics. Massive evacuations had been underway all week in southeastern Florida, with many residents seeking refuge on the west coast. There were multiple reports of boaters securing their craft in mangroves for added protection. 

But Irma changed directions. After making landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday, the hurricane moved on to Naples and Fort Myers, with the eye passing over Tampa. Today, Irma is expected to pass over Cedar Key and Tallahassee. 

Droves of Floridians fleeing west suddenly had to return to the east coast. Even though Irma continues to lose strength as it moves toward Georgia, a 15-foot storm surge is expected to inundate southwest Florida, which is a haven for boating. Stay tuned for reports about damage to sailing fleets in the region on ‘Lectronic and our Facebook page.

Like all natural disasters, Irma has brought out the very best, and the not-so best in people: 

In the Caribbean, Sunsail charters reported that they sustained "extensive damage" at their locations in St. Martin and the British Virgin Islands. "But our guests are safe and we continue to reach out to all of our team members," the company said on their Facebook page. "Our locations in Antigua and Bahamas have reported all team members safe and minimal impact to our fleet." 

Hurricane Jose — currently a Category 2 hurricane — threatened to follow Irma into the very islands already devastated. But that storm only ‘brushed’ a few Caribbean locales, though its movement has been called erratic, and still may pose a threat to the Leeward islands and southeast coast of the United States.  

For those of you interested in donating to hurricane relief efforts, one of our readers shared this link for your consideration.

Thanks for Coming to the Crew Party!

Thank you to everyone who made it out for Latitude 38’s Fall Crew Party last week at Spaulding Marine Center. We were delighted to see a ton of familiar faces in attendance, along with a host of new ones. (Some of our newer employees even got to meet the infamous ‘Grand Poobah’, Latitude founder and editor extraordinaire, Richard Spindler.)

And remember, if you missed the party, it doesn’t mean you missed the proverbial boat. Don’t forget that the Latitude Crew List is always online, and that a boat with your name on it is always out there. 

We considered it an impressive turnout at Spaulding Marine Center last Wednesday, as a flurry of sailors rubbed elbows.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC
There were a few siblings in attendance, including the Yutzy sisters — Cheryl and Machelle — who flew from Pennsylvania . . . to San Diego, specifically to try and get on a Baja Ha-Ha boat. But realizing that the party was a few hundred miles away, the sisters got on a plane, and showed up at Spaulding still wearing their backpacks. 

"We befriended ‘Captain Kip’, who took us out and gave us a few pointers. That was our first time first time sailing. We loved it," Cheryl told us this morning, as she and Machelle were on a train headed for San Luis Obispo.

"Machelle and I are first-generation removed from the Amish; both our parents were born and raised Amish and then left," Cheryl said. "Coming from our background, we’re accustomed to a simple lifestyle without modern amenities. We picked up a few books on sailing, so we’re not totally ignorant with sailing terminology."

Still looking to crew on a ‘Ha-Ha’ boat, the sisters are on their way back to San Diego, and the October 29 Kick-Off Halloween Costume Party.  

The Yutzy sisters — from left, Machelle and Cheryl — get the skinny from none other than the Grand Poobah himself.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Another sibling pair — James and Thomas Peters — were also at their first crew party. Both the brothers grew up sailing (including some teaching), then fell out of the sport after moving on to jobs and school. 

James and Thomas Peters say ‘cheese’ at Spaulding on Wednesday. 

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We also saw Mitch Andrus and Quincey Cummings, a couple featured in the August issue’s Sightings (‘Young People, Old Boats’), and father-son duo Mike and Rich Holden, who are sailing their Corsair F27 trimaran Sea Bird in the Ha-Ha.

Mike Holden left, and his father Rich at the Fall Crew Party on Wednesday. 

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Thanks again to all those in attendance for making our first event at Spaulding so special. And don’t forget to keep the Spring Crew Party on your radar.

As Hurricane Irma slowly churns her way out of the Caribbean, it’s difficult to assess the extent of the damage, and to say what’s next for the dozens of islands with economies reliant on tourism and the charter boat industry.
While natural disasters elsewhere have garnered the headlines, the western United States has not slid into September unscathed.
Did you wake up this morning, make coffee on your gimbal stove, and poke your head through the companionway, into your cockpit and onto Richardson Bay?