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July 24, 2019

PFDs, ‘Golden Rule’, ‘Maserati’

An Unconventional Lifesaving Measure

A few weeks ago, we received a letter from a reader in San Diego about an auxiliary type of personal flotation device.

“I have a very simple safety hint that I’ve kept to myself because it’s so simple it almost seems absurd. I’ve never heard it from anyone else before so I thought I’d air it to you and see if it has come up before: When I go sailing and swimming, I almost always carry a heavy duty party balloon in my pocket. If one goes overboard without a life jacket, or even swimming when caught in a rip, all one has to do is blow up the balloon to about the size of a grapefruit and hold on. No fuss, no muss, quiet, no energy waste, buoyant until you reach safety or safety reaches you. Could be life-saving.”

Let’s not forget how far life jackets and other impromptu life-saving devices  have come over the past 100-plus years.
© 2019 Wikipedia

Thoughts? Please comment below, or write us here, and please be sure to include your Boat Name, Make and Port of Call.

The Golden Rule’s Private Transpac

While the mass and speedy migration of boats going from California to Hawaii has been dominating the headlines, we don’t want to forget about one vessel sailing west for far different reasons.

The Golden Rule, a 39-ft Angelman-Davies gaff-rigged ketch and little sister to the Sea Witch design, departed San Diego a few weeks ago, and is a little more than halfway to Hilo, Hawaii, on the first leg of her “retro voyage” across the Pacific. Golden Rule’s goal is to arrive in Japan in August 2020 for the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, and hopes to return to California in fall 2021 after following the Aleutian Islands around to the West Coast of North America.

Albert Bigelow, a Quaker and the original captain of the Golden Rule, onboard the ketch in 1958.
© 2019 Veterans for Peace

“They’ve seen Transpac boats at least twice now,” wrote Helen Jaccard, the Golden Rule project manager.

Maserati’s Malicious Magnetism for Floating Flotsam Continues

There are unlucky streaks in sailing, and then there’s Maserati. In the 2017 Transpac, the Multi70 hit an Unidentified Floating Object, or UFO, damaging one of her rudders and knocking her back in the multihull fleet. On her record Tea Route run in 2018, Maserati struck another UFO and had to stop briefly for repairs. And, oh yeah, in the recent CA 500Maserati took damage to her rudder again.

So how many times can lightning possibly strike? Well, how high can you count?

Maserati’s incredible bad-luck streak continues. Were her hulls inadvertently constructed of some kind of magnetic flotsam-attracting material?
© 2019 Louis Kruk

“On July 15th, while sailing at 23-24 knots, [Maserati] collided with a big floating object that damaged the left side hull’s bow and the rudder’s wing,” a press release read. “It was very big,” Maserati skipper Giovanni Soldini said of the UFO. “At least one meter high out of the water. It hit the left side hull with great force, severely damaging it, then it glided along the hull and hit the rudder. The object was so big that we lost the outer half of the wing. We had to stop for one hour.”

We wish Maserati better luck in future races.

A Sneak Peak at the August Issue

In just over a week, the August issue of Latitude will grace a newsstand or digital device near you. Here’s one of our favorite pictures from the forthcoming pages.

Any guesses where this is?
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Laser Radial Worlds

Some wonderful photos, taken by Junichi Hirai, have been piling up in our inbox from the Laser Radial Worlds in Miho Bay, Japan. They are too good not to share with our readers. Racing began on Friday, July 19, and concluded yesterday.

Laser Radials starting
A start on Day 4.
© 2019 Junichi Hirai / Bulkhead Magazine Japan
Charlotte Rose
Charlotte Rose did the best of the American team, finishing in ninth place. The 18-year-old hails from Houston, TX, and is a college student at Jacksonville University in Florida.
© 2019 Junichi Hirai / Bulkhead Magazine Japan
Paige Railey
Paige Railey, 32, a member of St. Francis Yacht Club, finished 12th. Railey, from Clearwater, FL, has sailed in two Olympics (2012 and 2016). She was US Sailing’s Yachtswoman of the Year in 2010 and ISAF World Sailor of the Year in 2006.
© 2019 Junichi Hirai / Bulkhead Magazine Japan
Daphne van der Vaart
The photographer captured some wonderful expressions of determination. This is Daphne van der Vaart of the Netherlands, who finished 11th.
© 2019 Junichi Hirai / Bulkhead Magazine Japan
Ecem Guzel
Ecem Güzel of Turkey, in 10th place.
© 2019 Junichi Hirai / Bulkhead Magazine Japan
#218 Takeshi Kuroda
A smaller division for men featured mostly Japanese sailors. We’re pretty sure this is Takeshi Kuroda, who placed ninth.
© 2019 Junichi Hirai / Bulkhead Magazine Japan

Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark won the 111-boat women’s division; Simon de Gendt from Belgium won the 32-boat men’s division.

The press release described conditions on July 23 as “clear skies and a mostly steady 18-20 knot westerly. They call this the Kamikaze Wind.The velocity varied a bit, with gusts in the low 20s. It was a day to stay in phase and stay in the pressure.”

For full results, see For more photos and videos, go to

A Visit to Manele Small Boat Harbor

Joelle Aoki in the office
Joelle Aoki
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Mitch

Meet Joelle M.L.A. Aoki, the friendly new harbormaster at the Manele Small Boat Harbor on Lanai, Hawaii. We went to investigate what changes Larry Ellison has made to the island since he purchased a 97% stake of it in 2012. On the waterfront we met Joelle, who was hard at work cleaning up the neglect and transforming the slice of paradise into a functioning and well-managed marina.

Manele Harbor sign
The Manele Harbor (land) entrance.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Mitch

The 24-slip harbor has gone unmanaged for four years. Its future was in question until July 7, when Hawaii House Bill 1032 was vetoed by Governor Ige, putting a stay on privatizing the harbor. That could have put the marina management into the hands of Larry Ellison through the Pulama Lanai company. So it remains a state facility and Joelle is keeping a great sense of humor as she serves eviction notices to the rodents, wasps and lizards that had taken over her office.

The docks and facilities are adjacent to the Maui ferry terminal and are in great condition. The tour boats that serve the Four Seasons resort also dock here. They stay busy wowing visitors with trips to Puu Pehe/Sweetheart Rock and the leeward Lanai shore. It’s a beautiful harbor with a fascinating history. If you’re planning a visit to Lanai by boat please check with Joelle at [email protected].

sewing in the shade
Manhoff Miztree, hailing from New Zealand, makes needed dodger repairs in the shade and tranquility of the Manele Bay Harbor park.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Mitch
50th Transpac
A couple of days after the biggest and fastest yachts started to trickle into Honolulu in the 50th running of the Transpac race, the flood gates have fully opened with the bulk of the fleet beginning to arrive on Sunday.
San Diego Sailing
There aren’t many dinghy regattas that bring in hundreds of boats, have a mix of juniors and seniors, and sail the entire length of a bay over several hours.
Sacramento River Rally
It was a Dark ’n’ Stormys kinda night when the newest boat owner in the Bay Area J/24 fleet shared a bit about his family history and mentioned: “My family has a house on the Sacramento Delta. It has an excellent Jacuzzi.”