This year’s hurricane season is well underway, with five active disturbances being tracked in the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic regions. Earlier this week Hurricane Genevieve was listed as Category 4 but has been downgraded to a tropical storm as she moves northwest along the Baja coast. Despite the weakened weather conditions the Baja Peninsula has experienced heavy rains and high seas, which have caused regional flooding and treacherous beach conditions. The Star Tribune reported that two people died in high surf in Cabo San Lucas, and that there are power outages, fallen trees and flooding in various parts of Los Cabos. Although Genevieve is tracking out to sea, a Hurricane Warning remains in place for at-risk areas of Southern Baja California.
According to NOAA two more systems are being tracked in the Eastern Pacific Region. As of 5:00 a.m. (PDT) the two disturbances have a 60% and 30% chance respectively of becoming cyclones in five days.
Meanwhile, two tropical weather systems are being tracked in the Atlantic basin. As of 11:00 a.m. (ADT) Tropical Storm Laura was located a couple of hundred miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, heading west at approximately 18 mph. NOAA advises that Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico today and through Saturday. Conditions may extend to the northern coasts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the southeastern Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Saturday and Sunday.
The second disturbance is not yet named but is shown as a tropical depression bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to Nicaragua, Honduras and the Bay Islands. NOAA reports that this depression is expected to strengthen as it crosses the northwestern Caribbean Sea, and will be near or at hurricane strength when it reaches the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, late Saturday. A Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch are in effect. Although strengthening is expected, it is too soon to know to what degree, and exactly which locations it will reach.
You can track Genevieve, Laura and the developing weather systems on NOAA’s Hurricane Center web page.
Latitude’s publisher, John Arndt, recently fired off an email to the Racing Desk: “I’ve heard a few more great comments about the August cover. I thought it would be fun if we did a short ‘Lectronic on ‘Who are those masked folks?’ Do you know who they are?”
When we asked him, the photographer, Christopher Lewis, wrote: “By the way, It’s not all ‘masked men.’ One thing that I love about this boat is the diversity and inclusion. We have an African American owner, a woman as a key part of our crew, a nice spread of old, young and in the middle, pro and top amateurs, plus we even have some immigrants with charming accents.”
Alex Higby, the boat’s project manager, informs us that “Those pictured on the cover in no particular order are:
- Chris Lewis. Navigator extraordinaire, has calibrated the boat, data logged and re-programmed. Rumor has it he could change the path of the ISS from his nav tablet.
- Rob Dubuc. Grinder and all-around nice guy, excellent sailor, puts plenty of power through the handles.
- Hayden Stapleton. Offside trimmer, young, keen and a great up-and-coming rigger.
- Joel Turmel. Runner trimmer. These boats are hard on the runner trimmer as they work just as hard as the main trimmer. Joel is as cool as a cucumber and dialed in. He’s also class captain of the Moore 24 fleet.
- Rodney Daniel. Pit. Rodney has forgotten more than most will know about grand prix yacht racing, America’s Cup, Volvo, Maxi 72, TP52, etc.
- Christine Dubuc. Mid-bow. Hard as nails and as agile as they come. Christine was a regular on Paul’s Soto 30 and is a great addition to the team.
- Nicholas Sessions. Watch out for this kid. Laser sailor Nicholas came out with us for the day and was a great addition.”
After the photos were taken and we chose one for the August cover, the use of neck gaiters as masks — super-popular among sailing crews, and a useful fund-raising tool for cash-strapped clubs and organizations — became controversial. First, a study found that they may be even worse than wearing no mask at all to control droplet (and thus virus) spread. Then it turned out the study was misinterpreted. See this story on CNET and this article in the Washington Post.
The weekend arrives in a few hours. What’s a sailor to do? We’ll refer you to KCBS Radio’s Ask an Expert from Tuesday. Dr. Linsey Marr, an expert in airborne disease transmission, recommended doubling up your neck gaiter if it’s made from only a single layer of cloth.
I Bought a Boat. Now What?
Important decisions in the first weeks? Months? Get great resources for maintenance, racing, cruising, marinas, activities, etc. Learn about boat ownership from experienced boat owners. Bring all your questions! Power boaters and sailors welcome.
Saturday August 29, 10-11 a.m. For registration information, go to www.oaklandyachtclub.com or call 510.522-6868.
“Our friends are asking us why we’d even think about coming home — and we do miss home — but this is a really great place to quarantine. We make our own power, we make our own water, we have a 90-day supply of food, and we can stay on our boat for a long time without any sort of interaction with people,” Jennifer Milum commented in June after arriving in Maine after a long journey from the USVI, including her first offshore passage.
The Milum family, whose home base is Mill Valley, California, got caught up in an improbable situation when COVID broke out seriously in March. They were in St. Thomas, looking forward to island-hopping through the Caribbean and back to the US in time for their kids to return for the fall school semester. But as opportunities to visit other islands shut like doors, their Caribbean cruising dream was stalled.
“When COVID hit and borders closed, we hunkered down and strictly quarantined on our boat,” Jennifer said. “We didn’t even go ashore to get groceries. Instead we were fortunate to find yacht provisioners to shop for us. After weighing our options, we decided to take the leap and do the offshore passage home.”
The past year has been nothing short of a whirlwind for the Milums on their first cruising adventure. While Jeff is no stranger to cruising — his parents, Brenda and George Milum, have cruised on and off for 18 years, during which time Jeff has often joined them — Jennifer and the kids had virtually no sailing experience when they left Martinique last July on their new boat. Jeff and Jennifer, who married in 2008 and spent a 12-month honeymoon backpacking around the world, had talked about cruising for years. As Jeff recalls, the year before they bought their boat, Jennifer started telling people that they were really leaving.
“That was key because then we were committed!” Jeff laughed. “But, certainly an inspiration for our trip was my parents, who at one point offered to give us their boat if we would sail around the world and have them aboard a lot, but we chose not to do that for a number of reasons.”
To continue reading about the Milums, please go to the August issue of Latitude 38.
When we think of clear, clean, fresh air the first thing that comes to mind is sailing on San Francisco Bay. Apparently that’s also true for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. When we looked out the window this morning, we once again saw a distressingly thick haze. It didn’t look like a good morning to open the windows and breathe in fresh air. We dialed in to the handy Bay Area Air Quality Management District website to get some actual scientific data. While waiting for the page to load we saw the background graphics showing the BAAQMD ideal image of a beautiful day. It’s the same as ours.
They know all those wind-powered vessels have no tailpipe emissions, are enjoying a beautiful day, and aren’t contributing (much) to the problem. The fires are devastating, causing damage for many far beyond poor air quality. Lightning strikes, low rainfall and numerous other factors all conspire to create the conditions for such a conflagration. However, we have to believe that lower carbon emissions, more wind power and more sailing could only help ease the strain on a burdened planet. And on a burdened population.
We’re hoping for the best for all those in the ‘line of fire.’ Once again we thank the first responders, many of whom remain in the thick of pandemic responsibilities. We’re also hoping the weekend air is clear enough so that those with access can find some relief sailing on the Bay.
It looks like another challenging fire season, but we hope everyone can stay safe and find a way to take a sailing break this weekend. The big questions are which mask to wear — the pandemic mask or the smoke mask? And which way do you tack for clear air?