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October 18, 2017

Found! Jimmy Buffett’s Lost Shaker of Salt

We’re receiving reports that after years of searching — and indeed, after years of wasting away — Jimmy Buffett has apparently located his lost shaker of salt, which is rumored to be in San Francisco.

The cover photo from Jimmy Buffett’s Facebook page.

© 2017 Jimmy Buffett

To celebrate, Buffett — a musician, songwriter, author, actor, businessman and most importantly, sailor — will play at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium tomorrow at 8 p.m (and one dollar from each ticket sold goes to charity). We expect droves of loyal ‘Parrotheads’ will flock to San Francisco to see the conclusion of Buffett’s Moby-Dick-like quest to find the elusive shaker.

On his Facebook page, Buffett posted video from around San Francisco this morning, and has been posting pictures from West Coast waters throughout the month, including this nugget: "Left out of Oxnard at dawn to head to the Channel Islands looking for surf. Thanks @kellyslater for the tip!" referencing the 11-time world surfing champion.

A screenshot from Jimmy Buffett’s Facebook page. Searching for his lost shaker of salt, and waves.

© Jimmy Buffett

On a more serious note, Buffett has also been rallying support in the wake of the devastating 2017 hurricane season. In September, Buffett wrote on his website: "When your reality is blown away in a matter of hours, the kindness of strangers becomes a lifeline. Now in the 43rd hurricane season since I wrote the lyrics to ‘Tryin’ To Reason With Hurricane Season’, here we are again." 

Buffett created "Singing For Change (SFC)," 20 years ago "as a way to give back to communities where we play our live shows. But when bigger problems than what we are used to handling appear, we have to adapt. Through experience with Katrina and the Haitian earthquake, we’ve learned that the effects of disasters are still evident long after the TV crews have packed up and left, but we will still be there quietly making noise . . . Only last week, as I flew into New Orleans while Irma was ravaging St. Barth."

SFC receives one dollar from each of Buffett’s concert tickets. "Yes . . . printed on the bottom of your tickets you may see the words ‘$1 to SFC Charitable Foundation’ — that’s us," the website said. 

The Wanderer has run into Buffett several times over the years — he saw the maestro in the Caribbean around New Year’s 2008, where he did an impromptu gig with the house band at the Baz Bar on St. Barth.

Jimmy Buffett in St. Barth at the beginning of 2008.

latitude/Doña de Mallorca
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"In his early 60s and looking particularly happy and healthy, Jimmy played rock ‘n’ roll classics with gusto, and the 100 or so people there joyously sang along," the Wanderer reported. "Our favorite was his classic ‘Autour de Rocher’, about the little hotel he used to have an interest in on St. Barth. 

When we reached out for a quote, Buffett only said cryptically, "I blew out my flip flop. I stepped on a pop top. I cut my heel, and had to cruise on back home." Fortunately, Buffett said that there was alcohol and some kind of mixer in the blender, which soon rendered a frozen concoction that would ultimately help the singer hang on.

Coincidence? The location of one of Jimmy Buffett’s resorts shares a spirit and attitude that we admire, but can’t quite put our finger on. 

© 2017 margaritaville

Perhaps the lost shaker of salt will never truly be found. Like Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot, it is the search and the question that drive us, rather than a goal or destination.

Have you ever crossed tacks with Jimmy Buffett? Do you have a good story? Please let us know.  

Ever Seen Two More Shady Characters?

A couple of shady characters about to walk into an empty Italian restaurant.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

A guy in a huge pickup truck yelled at me the other night while I, the Wanderer, was walking across Shelter Island Drive, on my way from the San Diego Yacht Club to my 63-ft cat Profligate docked at Driscoll Boat Works.

It turned out not to be some yahoo, but Randy Repass, founder of West Marine. Although it was very dark on the street, Randy said he could recognize me from the way I walked. It’s amazing because Randy and I don’t see each other that often.

A giant truck isn’t Randy’s style at all, but he’d just bought a 14-ft Marshall catboat sight unseen for his place in the San Juan Islands. He needed to trailer the boat from one part of San Diego to another before somebody else trucked it north.

The honking big truck. It’s not Randy’s normal ride.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Randy and I go way back. In fact, I like to think we were ‘nobodies’ together.

I first met him about 1976. I was still selling boats and had sold one of the first Freeport 41s — which shockingly proved to be a big hit at the Cow Palace Boat Show — and the owner was fitting it out with stuff from a place called West Coast Rope in Palo Alto. I drove down to the place and found that it was a burgeoning chandlery. It was about 7 p.m., and, as I remember, Randy was the only one in the store, and he was marking prices on knives. The typical small-business owner putting in another 70-hour week.

A year or so later, I started Latitude 38.

The fortunes of West Coast Rope, soon to become West Marine Products, and Latitude 38 grew rapidly together. Although Randy’s and West Marine’s exploded more than just growing.

A bunch of people suggested that I open up local editions of Latitude around the country like Randy was opening up West Marine stores. I didn’t like the idea for two reasons. First, Latitude was and remained my art project, not a business. Without my personal touch, it wasn’t going to be my idea of art. Second, magazines are a very different animal than retail stores.

After Randy hailed me on the street, Doña de Mallorca joined us and the three of us went to a nearby Italian place. We were the only customers when we arrived about 8:30 p.m. That’s never a good sign. But by the time we left, there were about 20 customers. Randy said the food was good. De Mallorca and I just had wine.

Just as Randy and I had pretty much started our businesses about the same time, we sold them about the same time. I sold Latitude about a year ago, and after my employment contract ends with the November 1 issue, I won’t be writing for the magazine any more — except perhaps for the Baja Ha-Ha article. At this stage in my life, I don’t need fixed deadlines. Writing is what I do, however, so I’ll be writing about sailing frequently and at length on my Richard Spindler Facebook page.

West Marine — where Randy had been the biggest shareholder — was purchased by a private company a few months ago.

Having been at our respective gigs for 40 years, Randy and I both thought it was time. The one thing we haven’t given up is sailing and enjoying being on the water. Randy’s Wylie 65 cat ketch Convergence is in Maine right now, and he’ll soon have the catboat in the San Juans. He also has a powerboat there. As most of you know, I have sailboats in California/Mexico and the Caribbean, and a powerboat in Paris.

While Randy and I both admitted to having worked very, very, very hard, we also recognized that we were both lucky to be at the right place at the right time. We hope all of you are as lucky, too.

Socrates Cancels Circumnav Attempt

After taking a fall from a ladder in a British Columbia boatyard, Jeanne Socrates has postponed her attempt at becoming the oldest person to singlehand around the world until next year. 

"I’m leaving hospital today to stay with friends nearby and recuperate slowly, but carefully," Socrates told us by email last week. Socrates said she still hasn’t decided what she’ll do this winter. "The thought of visiting friends further south (once I’m rid of this neck brace) to escape the cold winter is very tempting! British Columbia is a wonderful cruising ground, so I might cruise here over the summer before my re-start next October."

Jeanne Socrates — seen here in in Kauai in 2006 — shows us some damage she sustained during the Singlehanded Transpac.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Socrates had planned to depart Victoria on October 5 for her solo, nonstop, unassisted, record-attempting circumnavigation. Her Najad 380 cutter Nereida was on the hard for antifouling and inspection. "While working on the boat, Jeanne fell from the top of a ladder and suffered significant physical damage (yes, the ladder was tied off)," a press release said. Socrates suffered nine broken ribs, fractured several vertebra, broke her nose and damaged her right elbow. 

"I’m all good so long as pain is under control," Socrates told us. "I’ve been lucky to receive so many messages of support which have all been very much appreciated and have helped me a lot." 

We wish Jeanne Socrates a speedy recovery, and hope she’s ready for another record-setting attempt next year.

Sailing Gets Extreme This Week

Long one of our favorite racing series out there, the Extreme Sailing Series will bring eight teams to sunny Southern California to contest the penultimate round of their 2017 championship in a weekend that promises to provide plenty of action and a few surprises. Taking place October 19-22 in foiling 32-ft GC32 catamarans, the ESS is a one-design multihull championship that has been touring the globe for years (foiling for the last three) and often serves as a training ground, and a proving ground, for upcoming and current America’s Cup talent.

Light-air racing in Cardiff, Wales.

© Shaun Roster

In a style similar to that of the America’s Cup, the ESS combines the high-speed drama of foiling cats with top-tier international talent and an intimate stadium-racing format that allows sailing fans to be just mere meters from the action while viewing from shore. This weekend’s racing in San Diego should offer unparalleled access and visibility to shoreside fans as the racing takes place just off Harbor Island, the site of a free-to-the-public race village.

Day 3 of racing in Cardiff in late August.

© Vincent Curutchet

One of the biggest story lines of this event is that of Santa Cruz native and former Alinghi and Oman Air helmsman Morgan Larson returning to the series with the wild-card Team Extreme San Diego. Larson has sailed on the ESS circuit for years, winning the title in 2014 with Alinghi (the last year of non-lifting-foil-equipped boats) and narrowly missing out on the title last year with Oman Air. Alongside Morgan will be an all-American team of sailors and shore crew who have experience at the highest level and should be a force to be reckoned with on the racecourse, despite this being a one-off appearance for the team. "We have a complete Californian squad from our shore team to our sailing team; three of us are San Diego natives. We may be a late entry this season but the caliber of guys on our team is second to none," commented Larson.

Santa Cruzer Morgan Larson leads all-Cali team of Andrew Campbell, Matt Cassidy, Mike Kuschner, Cooper Dressler, Riley Gibbs and shore crew Brian Janney.

© 2017 Lloyd Images

A related headline for this weekend’s regatta is that of America’s Cup skipper and the winningest Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie, who will fall in on his own Land Rover BAR Academy team and take the helm in a one-off appearance as well.

Leapin’ lizards! It’s Sir Ben.

© 2017 Lloyd Images

SAP Extreme Sailing Team, Oman Air and Alinghi occupy the podium with just two rounds to go in this year’s championship, though just a handful of points separates all three teams with two rounds left to sail. Conditions should be lighter on Thursday with a traditional northwesterly filling in Friday-Sunday, which should create picture-perfect flat-water sailing conditions for the GC32s, which need only 10 knots of breeze to get up on the foils. Check back here for a full recap next week in ‘Lectronic Latitude.

Find out more about this weekend’s event here.

That’s Amoore. Joy Dahlgren’s Moore 24 hailing from Royal Victoria YC prepares to hoist the spinnaker.
You never know. Remember years ago how cool it was when you bought a box of Cap’n Crunch and you’d reach in to find a plastic dinosaur or a fake tattoo?
Originally from the eastern Sierra, Peter Whitney has been a friend of Latitude’s since he was aboard the Freeport 41 ketch Country Gentleman for the boat-destroying Cabo storm of 1982.