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August 28, 2020

Hurricane Laura Lashes Gulf Coast

Hurricane Laura made landfall in the early hours of Thursday morning, bringing sustained winds of up to 150 mph. As the northern eyewall of the hurricane raced over Cameron Parish, Louisiana, NOAA’s Hurricane Center issued an update urging all to “Take action now to protect your life!”

The Category 4 hurricane was forecast to strike southwestern Louisiana with a “catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds and flash flooding.”  Earlier in the day, social media users were talking about an “unsurvivable storm surge,” while authorities were urging people to evacuate, and for those who chose to stay, to write their name, address, social security number and next of kin, and carry the information in their pocket in a Ziploc bag. “Praying that it does not come to this,” the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

After her initial landfall Laura was downgraded to a Tropical Depression, but not before causing a trail of destruction and killing at least six people. According to The New York Times four of the people died in separate incidents when trees fell onto the homes in which they were sheltering; a 24-year-old man died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his home; and a man drowned when his boat sank. The storm then continued to track across the state, causing widespread damage throughout southwestern Louisiana and leaving thousands of people without power or water.

Damage from Hurricane Laura
This image was taken in the town of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Readers, the person who posted this photo on Twitter is raising funds to help her family deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. The details can be found on her Twitter page linked in the photo credits below.
© 2020 @kidcharmaine

Damaging winds and heavy rains are continuing as the depression moves slowly northeast. As of 7 a.m. (PDT) NOAA advised that flash floods are possible for portions of northeast Arkansas, southeast Missouri, western Kentucky and Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and northwest Alabama, with some regions expecting up to five inches of rain.

Hurricane Laura rainfall map
This map shows the rainfall that is expected this weekend as TS Laura moves across the Southeast.
© 2020 NOAA

Laura is expected to cross the mid-Atlantic coastline by late Saturday and be absorbed by an approaching cold front.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Pacific, two unnamed weather systems we reported on last Friday are now known as Tropical Depression Hernan  and Tropical Storm Iselle. Hernan is currently moving northwest across the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula with wind speeds of less than 39 mph. As of 8 a.m. today, Iselle was situated at 18.3°N 115.3°W, moving northeastward with winds of around 60 mph. She is  expected to begin weakening late tonight.

Pacific Coast - Hernan & Iselle
This image from the mobile phone app Max Tracker shows the paths taken by TD Hernan and TS Iselle over the past week or so.
© 2020 Max Tracker

As always, stay safe out there, wherever you may be.

Delta Doo Dah August Newsletter

As Labor Day approaches we’ve sent out an end-of-summer newsletter to participants in the 12th Annual Delta Doo Dah. Despite the challenging times, the Doo Dah has been a huge success. We sent the newsletter to participants, but it’s not as if we’re trying to hide the information from everyone else!

Delta Doo Dah cruising
Our August Delta Doo Dah newsletter shares some scenes, stories and events from the past summer of cruising.
© 2020 Delta Doo Dah

Since the Delta Doo Dah is a DIY event, it was able to happen rather seamlessly, despite restrictions due to the pandemic.

There are always silver linings to less-than-ideal circumstances. This year, that was the number of folks who headed off to explore this amazing cruising destination, right in our back yard. We had many first-timers, families and veterans who joined the Doo Dah as part of a fleet of 90 registered boats. You can read the complete August Delta Doo Dah newsletter here.

A Bare Boat Charter and a Wedding in the Eastern Caribbean

Recently we’ve found ourselves dreaming of far-off places where the air is clear and breezes are fair, and we imagine we’re not the only ones. And although right now may not be the best time for a Caribbean charter, it’s always fun to read stories about other people’s adventures. Here’s a story about a Caribbean charter, and a wedding, from this month’s Latitude.

We can’t help ourselves — we love St. Vincent and the Grenadines. So, we returned again for 28 days from December 20, 2019, to January 18, 2020.

This would be a somewhat different trip because Yumi and I had earlier decided to get married on Bequia at the Frangipani Hotel. The trip itinerary was two weeks on the boat and two weeks in a cottage on Bequia.

Post wedding bliss.
Whether by land or sea, magnificent views are aplenty, making relaxing an easy chore.
© 2020 Art Hartinger

Our friends and neighbors, Andy and Libby Vevers, joined us on the boat for the second year in a row. We decided to take the new weekly American Airlines flight from Miami to St. Vincent, which leaves every Saturday. From the airport, you can grab a taxi ($80 EC or roughly $30 USD) to the one-hour ferry ride to Admiralty Bay, Bequia.

We chartered the same boat we sailed last year — Cinnamon of Falmouth, a Bavaria 40 — from Sail Grenadines. We continue to love this charter company.

It is low-key, the staff are super-helpful and friendly, and the boat check-out is painless. We had pre-provisioned with the basics, and after shopping at Knights and Doris’, and picking up a lobster pizza from Mac’s Pizzeria to eat underway, we shoved off on December 22 for Mayreau. (We must note that Doris’ no longer has bakery items! Sad, but true. Go to Lina’s across from the ferry terminal.)

The conditions throughout the trip were awesome, as usual, with about 18 knots of wind from the east at the beginning, but then lightening to 12 knots. We like Saline Bay on Mayreau over the more famous Salt Whistle Bay because it is low-key, and there is plenty of room to drop an anchor with lots of chain and swing. After a pasta dinner back on Cinnamon, we settled in to play dominoes, drink rum, and chat about our plans.

In the morning, we made our traditional pilgrimage up the hill to visit our friend Robert Righteous. He was proud to show us his new rooftop deck, and it was good to see that he is well. He gave us some free ice (which we hadn’t been able to find otherwise in town)! We shoved off for Union Island after lunch.

Wedding lunch views
Wedding lunch with a view from The View restaurant in Mustique.
© 2020 Art Hartinger

I had proposed to Yumi in Chatham Bay about a year earlier, on January 1, 2019, and the place is very special to us. When we entered the bay, we could see conditions were calm, the water was clear, turtles were thriving, birds were diving … perfect.

Chatham Bay is famous for shrieking gusts coming straight down the hill and across the bay, so the “best” spot for anchoring is close to the protected shore up in the north part of the bay. The trick is to put someone on the bow who can spot sandy spots, and then drop the anchor in sand. Last year, our anchoring was flawless; this year not so much.

While most newlyweds may have stars in their eyes, Yumi and Art had fireworks!
© 2020 Art Hartinger

Yumi and Art’s story continues at Latitude

Good News and Bad News for Yacht Racers

Northern California

First the Good News

Island, Encinal and Oakland Yacht Clubs, all based in Alameda, have banded together to introduce the Estuary Extravaganza to be sailed in three races on Sunday, September 13. Divisions will be offered for Singlehanded, Doublehanded, One-Design fleets of five or more and Crewed (same household or social bubble) classes. Register before September 8 for the discounted price of $25. Find the Notice of Race and enter at

race start with Oakland in the background
A race start on the Oakland-Alameda Estuary.
© 2020 Fred Fago

We’ll preview more September regattas in ‘Lectronic Latitude on Monday.

Express 37 Nationals

“We canceled our Nationals for this year,” says Express 37 fleet president Dave Fullerton of MudShark. “What a year. Most owners are doing family sailing. We do have five Express 37s signed up for the Doublehanded Farallones in September, so we are still finding ways to race as a fleet. Hopefully we will have more come race day.”

San Francisco Yacht Club

SFYC has canceled the Multihull Regatta scheduled for September 12-13. They’ve postponed the Perkins Challenge from October 17 and the Leukemia Cup Regatta from October 18 to March 2021. Leukemia Cup participants who want to get started now on fundraising can sign up by emailing campaign development manager Alexa Adams.

Treasure Island Vanguard 15 Fleet

“With late August upon us and the originally scheduled conclusion of our Thursday Night Series only a couple weeks away, it’s unfortunately time to accept that we will not have anything remotely resembling a regular season this year,” writes Sam Wheeler, fleet captain of Vanguard 15 Fleet 53. “This email therefore serves as notice of cancellation of the 2020 Thursday Night Series. (Tuesday night team racing also remains suspended.)” Fleet 53 normally sails out of Treasure Island Sailing Center and is subject to San Francisco County health orders.

Southern California

5O5 North Americans

“This isn’t exciting news, so I’m just going to get to the point,” writes information officer Brendan Heussler on behalf of the 5O5 American Section. “The 2020 North Americans have been canceled. The officers voted unanimously in favor of canceling the event, citing health concerns due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” Alamitos Bay YC in Long Beach had planned to host the 5O5 NAs on September 24-27.

Little Ensenada Race

Southwestern Yacht Club has canceled the Little Ensenada International Yacht Race on October 2-3. The 59-mile Little Ensenada starts in San Diego.

San Diego Yacht Club

Rescheduled from May, SDYC’s Yachting Cup is still on for October 10-11, but the club has canceled the International Masters Regatta (October 16-18) and Lipton Cup (October 10-11).

The good news for the Finns is that their Pacific Coast Championship is on for September 12-13 at SDYC.


Finn Gold Cup

The bad news for the Finns is that the International Finn Association has canceled the 2020 Finn Gold Cup, which was to have been held on October 2-10. They had postponed the regatta from its original dates of May 8-16 in Mallorca, Spain.

US Team Racing Championship

Following months of collaboration and teamwork, US Sailing and the Bristol Yacht Club in Rhode Island decided not to hold the 2020 US Team Racing Championship this year due to ongoing circumstances caused by the COVID19 pandemic. The championship was originally planned for September 11-13. Bristol YC has agreed to host the 2021 US Team Racing Championship for the George R. Hinman Trophy next summer or fall. US Sailing will announce specific dates later. In the spring, Qualifiers for the championship were canceled and the event transitioned to invitation by résumé.

New York Yacht Club

NYYC’s plan to restart the 2020 sailing season on August 28-30 with the 166th edition of the Annual Regatta was stymied by an uptick of COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island. Uncertainty followed regarding possible quarantine restrictions imposed by neighboring states upon anyone spending more than 24 hours in the Ocean State. But, determined to exhaust every opportunity to get sailors on the water this season, NYYC has moved the Annual Regatta to the first weekend in October. It will now include the Melges IC37 National Championship originally scheduled for those dates.

M32 Worlds

the M32 Class board canceled the 2020 World Championship scheduled for Miami on November 16-22. “The current travel climate due to the COVID-19 situation does not allow for intercontinental travel in a way that we need to have a proper World Championship,” they stated. “With the logistics involved in running and competing in a World Championship we can not wait to see how restrictions evolve this fall.” Racing “on a continental level” continues. The Marström 32 catamarans may be able to race for their North Americans on the dates previously planned for the Worlds.

In Cyberspace

Next Friday, September 4, at 10 a.m. PDT, on Quantum Sails’ In Position video series, Ed Baird, Federico Michetti and James Dagg will share their trimming tricks and tips. See

Over the Horizon in 2021

Newport to Cabo

Newport  Harbor YC opened registration for the 2021 Newport to Cabo San Lucas International Yacht Race, to be held on March 19-25. Within minutes of opening the entries of the 2021 race, two boats entered. Doug Baker’s Kernan 70 Peligroso and the Andrews 77 Compadres were the first boats to step up.

Congressional Cup

Long Beach YC has announced that the 2021 Congressional Cup dates will be May 12-16. “We’re already counting down the days,” states their press release. They had to cancel the 2020 edition of the world-class match racing regatta.

Refurbished and Ready to Sail
You may recall the story in the April, 2019, issue about the shipyard accident involving the historic working brigantine Vega. In a nutshell, during a routine haulout at a shipyard in Thailand, the carriage wheels on the marine railway collapsed and the 128-year-old wooden ship (built in 1892 in Norway as a Baltic and North Sea trader) rolled off and onto her port side.
Baja Ha-Ha
We hope to see you cruising in Mexico and enjoying La Buena Vida en El Mar. The people are fabulous, the country is gorgeous, and the cruising is fantastic.
Record Row Across Pacific Continues
Professional sailor Lia Ditton left San Francisco Bay on June 17 to embark on a  journey from the Bay Area to Hawaii. But instead of sailing, Lia is rowing the 2500 miles across the Pacific — solo.
USCG Invites Mariner Feedback
The USCG is conducting a Waterways Analysis and Management System Study on the Shallow Draft System (waters less than 12 feet deep), to make navigable waterways safer and more efficient.