Aaaaaannnnnnnd here’s your March Caption Contest(!), which will be published in Loose Lips in the April Issue, and will earn the winner a brand-new Latitude 38 T-shirt. Good luck everyone, and as always, thanks for playing. Please send your entries here.
This month, in anchorages from San Diego to Panama, dozens of cruisers are making final preparations for the ‘jump’ to French Polynesia — the Pacific Puddle Jump.
As regular readers know, we’ve been reporting on this ambitious annual migration for more than 20 years. And that tradition continued this month as we caught up with more than 100 boatloads of international voyagers at three festive events: the Mexico Pacific Puddle Jump Sendoff Party at Mexico’s Vallarta Yacht Club (March 5), and the South Pacific Bon Voyage events in Panama at the Balboa Yacht Club (March 8) and at the Shelter Island Marina (March 10).
Meet the fleet: In Panama we met crews from nearly 80 boats. As you can see in this clip from our Balboa YC event, they hail from many countries.
Who are these sailors? As always, their backgrounds are highly diverse, as are the boats they sail on. We met young adventurers in their twenties and thirties, as well as senior sailors who are on their second or third circumnavigation, plus wide-eyed kids as young as three or four years old. The overarching goal of every crew, of course, is to ride the easterly trades west to the storied isles of Tahiti and beyond, and soak in the tranquil beauty of their tropical lagoons.
From Mexico — Banderas Bay is the primary departure point for West Coast sailors — it’s roughly 3,000 miles to the first possible landfall in the Marquesas (the easternmost of French Poly’s five archipelagos). From Panama, it’s more like 4,000 miles, which is why many Panama Puddle Jumpers stop at the Galapagos Islands en route.
In the April issue of Latitude 38 magazine we’ll introduce you to a variety of fleet members. Look for a recap of the fleet’s crossing experiences sometime this summer. We wish them all safe and exhilarating passages.
Latitude 38 reader and Westpoint Harbor supporter Bob Wilson wrote to remind us about the next BCDC meeting concerning West Point Harbor. "Thank you again for helping to inform your readers of the overreach of the BCDC. The readers of Latitude 38 are certainly among the best-informed members of our community regarding the San Francisco Bay and the most passionate when it comes to protecting it for future generations."
"There is another important BCDC meeting in San Francisco scheduled on March 15 (Thursday) at 1 p.m. The full BCDC Board is set to meet and consider a "Cease and Desist Order" that threatens the very existence of Westpoint Harbor. The meeting will be held at: Bay Area Metro Center, 375 Beale Street Yerba Buena, First Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105
Can’t make the meeting? Bob also asked that emails supporting Westpoint Harbor be sent to Marc Zeppetello at [email protected].
The Friends of Westpoint Harbor have put together their analysis of the BCDC allegations and also created an online petition that now has almost 5,000 signatures. The BCDC has also replied with their perspective on our March editorial along with the rest of the meeting agenda here.
Bob continues, "All of Bay Area boating and those concerned with the environment appreciate your continued support of the San Francisco Bay, the boating community and especially Westpoint Harbor!" Like the BCDC and Westpoint Harbor tenants, we’d like to sail on a clean, environmentally sustainable Bay and, like the tenants, we’d like to find a way to improve Bay access with sustainable marina businesses. And while we’ve asked this question many times before, we’d like to hear your thoughts.
CORRECTION: This story originally said that the upcoming BCDC meeting in San Francisco was "scheduled on March 15 (Wednesday) at 1 p.m." The meeting is on Thursday, which is the 15th of March. We apologize for the error.
These are good days to own a sailboat. Adding to concerns that sea level rise will inundate much of the shoreline, there is mounting concern that, at the same time, the shoreline is sinking into the sea. For sailors, maybe it just means expanding the local cruising grounds and some new race marks to round like the clock tower at the downtown ferry building?
A recent story in the New York Times features maps from researcher Manoochehr Shirzaei showing how the combined effect of rising water and sinking land will put some significant parts of the Bay Area under water. One losing piece of land is San Francisco International Airport. Perhaps we’ll have to go back to the day of flying boats and the Pan Am Clippers.
It’s never been a bad time to own a sailboat and it’s only getting better.