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October 9, 2020

‘Chubby Girl’ Back on the Mainland

Wil Spaul and Chubby Girl arrived in Monterey Wednesday evening, safe and mostly sound. As reported in Monday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude, rough conditions, thought to have come from Hurricane Marie far to the south, pounded the tiny 9-ft craft during the 70-year-old Spaul’s attempt to sail the smallest boat ever to Hawaii.

Wil departed the Bay on September 27 and had made it about 200 miles out (due in part to no wind the first two days) before the damage occurred. Then, last weekend, successive big waves slammed into the boat, damaging among other things his main hatch, which started leaking; crunching his satphone so that it could only transmit (but not receive); and ultimately, damaging the rig and small mainsail. Barely a week into the attempt, and with all his clothes and bedding soaked, Wil decided to return, regroup, repair, and try again. He originally hoped to sail back to Berkeley, where he had started from, only to encounter light breeze and a southerly current set.

Wil at the dock in Monterey
A cold, wet Wil sits alongside the tiny Chubby Girl after arriving in Monterey.
© 2020 Jeff Canepa

On Tuesday, “After realizing I will not be able to (make) Monterey and the current is carrying me down to the Big Sur coastline, I decided to contact the U.S. Coast Guard,” he posted on his blog ( At that point, he was about 70 miles due west of Monterey.

The cutter Forrest Rednour out of Los Angeles did the first tow. About 10 miles from port, Chubby Girl was transferred to a smaller craft that completed the tow into Monterey. He arrived around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. “I cannot speak highly enough of the professionalism of the Coast Guard teams that were involved,” Wil said upon arrival.

Chubby Girl was due to be trucked back today to Berkeley Marine Center, where the boat was built earlier this year. Wil plans to make repairs and modifications and beef up some things over the winter — and try again next spring.

Chubby Girl at the dock
Chubby Girl will soon be back in Berkeley, with plans to head out to sea again next spring.
© 2020 Jeff Canepa

“He’s learned a lot from this short trek that I think will help in his next venture west,” said Jeff Canepa, who was one of a few people who showed up to take Chubby Girl’s docklines. Jeff’s offer to run Spaul’s soaked clothing and bedding through his home dryer was gladly accepted, while Wil headed to a hotel for a hot shower and good night’s sleep.

The current smallest-boat-to-Hawaii record is held by Gerry Spiess, who sailed the 10-ft Yankee Girl to the islands from Long Beach in 1981.

Hurricane Marie swerved west into the Pacific and has since dissipated.

Caption Contest (!)

Here it is, the post you’ve all been waiting for: October’s Caption Contest (!).

We found this photo on Marine Rescue Hervey Bay’s Facebook page.

Hervey Bay (pronounced Harvey) is in Queensland, Australia. It is a sleepy little town situated on the edge of a calm, protected bay, which is a breeding ground for large numbers of whales. It looks as if they also have ‘big’ tides!

Caption Contest (!) Anchored Boat High and dry on Rock
“Your caption here.”
© 2020 Marine Rescue Hervey Bay

Drop your caption into the Comments below. Good luck!

And remember to check out September’s winning caption and top 10 in this month’s Latitude 38 magazine.

Notes and Photos from Flibbertigibbet’s Summer Wanders

A remarkable 92 boats signed up for 2020’s Delta Doo Dah Dozen, so when we put out the call for stories and photos to run in the October issue of Latitude 38, we received more than we could possibly squeeze into the pages of the magazine. Jim Adams of Flibbertigibbet was particularly generous in his contributions. We’re sharing here more of his photos that we didn’t have room for on newsprint.

Aground in the tule reeds
There are two kinds of sailors in the Delta: those who have run aground and those who will run aground. Those tule reeds are growing up out of the mud.
© 2020 Jim Adams
mobile phone app map of Mildred Island
“One of our favorite anchorages is Mildred Island,” says Jim Adams. “We actually have a spot there that we prefer to drop the hook.”
© 2020 Jim Adams
Three boats rafted up
Bob Walden and Lori Tewksbury on the Cal 39 Sea Star, Jim and Betty Adams on the Catalina 42 Flibbertigibbet and Peter Pillsbury and Robin Adams (Jim and Betty’s daughter) on the Catalina 36 Kyra’s Joy anchored at Mildred Island, a flooded tract south of the San Joaquin River.
© 2020 Jim Adams
Betty in a flamingo float
In Mildred Island, Betty Adams chills out in a blow-up floating flamingo while distance-visiting Sea Star.
© 2020 Jim Adams

“Although we live in and keep our boat in Discovery Bay in the Delta, we had to go to Sausalito to have some work done,” writes Jim. “On our way back, we came up next to several boats that either had Delta Doo Dah burgees or were going from San Francisco Bay to the Delta to spend some time in the summer sun.”

Two Truths sailing past the windmills
Two Truths, Bob and Betsy Sharf’s Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, sails up the San Joaquin. The Sharfs are Delta Doo Dah regulars.
© 2020 Jim Adams
cattle by the riverbank
The Delta is home to not only sailboats and other watercraft, wildlife and waterfowl, it’s home to cattle, goats, sheep and miscellaneous livestock.
© 2020 Jim Adams

We’ll follow up October’s look back at spring and summer in the Delta with a report on the bash back to the Bay in the November issue of Latitude 38, coming out on Friday, October 30.

The Highs and Lows of Philippe Jamotte

For Philippe Jamotte the initial high was setting off on October 1, on the adventure of a lifetime — to sail singlehanded around the world as the clouds, fog and smoke of San Francisco Bay gave way for an ideal departure. The initial low was the spin of Hurricane Marie to the southwest, threatening to upset Changabang’s path toward Hawaii. The next high was maintaining consistent 200-plus-mile days to blast past Marie and settle into the tropical trades. As sweet as this was, in his cruise notes his exhilaration in getting past Marie appeared to fade as the winds lightened and the boat slowed to just under 9 knots. As he said on October 7, “Woot woot, and about 1,400 nautical miles since we slipped under the bridge! Another 5,000 before Torres Strait …(but don’t quote me).” (ED – we did).

Philippe listed his actual stats on Wednesday the 7th, when located at: 22º 18.006N, 143º 38.754W:

10/06: 236 nm
10/05: 233 nm
10/04: 240 nm
10/03: 237 nm
10/02: 193 nm

1400 miles singlehanded on a 40-foot boat, in seven days, is some pretty slick sailing.

Philippe Jamotte
Leaving the remnants of Marie behind, Philippe is headed south on the trades.
© 2020 Predict Wind / PJSails

Life aboard sounds good and we’re enjoying keeping up with Philippe’s mid-ocean commentary. A sample from yesterday, “We started sailing above 270T, and the latest suggested PredictWind routing says to go South. Voilà, on port gybe for possibly a long time. This will give the port hydro generator some time to rest!

“Had another big meal! All the Backpacker’s Pantry freeze-dried food bags I have are for two servings, but this man is big so … Plus I often only have one major meal a day. I feel like I may return with plenty of food. Oh, another trip? Eh eh …
“Aside from that … Not much wildlife yet: a couple of birds (François and Jeanine I think), flying fishes, that’s it. The fly that had hitched a ride in San Francisco left a long time ago. But oh how the water is blue, ‘I call your name for a swim’ blue!”

Changabang takes flight
Changabang took flight under the Golden Gate Bridge on one of our rare clear fall days.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

This westabout solo circumnavigation is estimated to take around 200 days, and at present, the sleep, food and sailing sound like they’re reasonably well dialed in. Smooth sailing, Philippe.

You can continue to follow his adventure here.

Still Sailing South
Life here is extremely manageable, if somewhat modified. The people continue to be friendly, welcoming, and grateful for our support.
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