In mid-April we shared information from Kevin Ellis of Yacht Services in Nuku Hiva about French Polynesia’s plans to open its borders to tourists who have had the COVID-19 vaccination. This week we received the following update from Kevin:
“The maritime borders to French Polynesia remain closed. Next week they are opening up the airways for tourism from Europe for vaccinated travelers. Some restrictions are being eased on Tahiti and Moorea, but still no movement on the lifting of restrictions on yachts. The authorities are gradually lifting restrictions with a wait and see what comes from those changes. If the number of cases in French Polynesia remains stable there is hope for the future.
“There is another factor to consider here: Where will you go from here? Even if they let boats in, Fiji appears to be the only option for continuing west. So, I imagine the authorities here are concerned about allowing too many boats in with nowhere to go after.”
“On another note, we’ve had some boats come without permission, in the hope of things changing while they were en route. DON’T DO THIS. Boats arriving here without permission are being fined and told to be on their way. While the fines are not super-painful, the fact you have to keep going may be. Here on Nuku Hiva things have been fairly loose due to a lack of enforcement personnel. But, when you get to Tahiti, there is no such lack of personnel and they do regular patrols looking for boats in violation.”
Later, on the same day, Kevin sent us this second update, which shows how quickly things can change, and are doing so.
“Since I wrote the message this morning we have been notified that the Department of Maritime Affairs is willing and considering lifting the requirement of imperative need. However, it appears they will not yet open borders fully. Certain restrictions will still apply. All those coming by boat must be vaccinated; if they’re not, they will not be allowed in. Any boats arriving with five or more aboard, having been at sea less than 42 days, will be required to quarantine for 14 days. As they do not intend to open the maritime borders, permission to come in advance is still required. However, by lifting the requirement for imperative need, it will be much easier to get permission.
“[The] only part of this that remains unclear is ‘when.’ They did not specifically say when this would be put into place.”
This is important information for anyone who is hoping to Puddle Jump or planning any kind of cruise to, or throughout, French Polynesia, so we’ll keep sharing Kevin’s and any other updates as we receive them.
Last month we asked readers what’s been on the maintenance list over this last pandemic year, and we have several replies printed in the current June issue. One reply stood out because of its author, and our disbelief. Naval architect Ron Holland wrote in, saying simply, “Done.” We thought we should check in with Ron to see what he’s sailing, and how that’s possible. Ron sent us the photo below of his Coranado 25 Kia Aura, which he keeps near his home in Vancouver, BC.
To imagine Ron enjoying an afternoon sail on his Coronado 25 highlights one of the things we’ve always appreciated about him: He likes to sail. His sailing miles and stories stretch over the horizon. They include sailing dinghies as a kid in New Zealand, racing with the Kiskaddons to Tahiti on their 33-ft S&S design Spirit, moving up to design America’s Cup boats and the largest sloop in the world, Mirabella V, and an endless list of race winners such as Dave Allen’s Admiral’s Cup-/Fastnet-/SORC-/BBS-winning 40-footer, Imp. Yet, after all that, he’s still out sailing on a Coronado 25 designed by Frank Butler in 1966.
We also were able to join the digital audience of Ron’s recent virtual Sausalito Yacht Club webinar. There he spoke of his great memories of living in San Francisco with the Kiskaddons, his many friends on the Sausalito waterfront and around the Bay, and managing to land a third-row seat at a Jimi Hendrix concert at the Berkeley Community Theater in the ’60s. How cool is that? Ron is also a good friend of Sausalito’s Ocean Voyages Institute founder Mary Crowley, whom we wrote about in our June “State of the Oceans” story for World Oceans Day. Ron is a big supporter of Ocean Voyages Institute’s campaign to clean up the plastic in the world’s oceans, and donates a portion of his book sales to the cause.
If you want to want to support two good causes, you can buy the book to support Ocean Voyages Institute, and support local businesses by buying it at Sausalito Books by the Bay, or in Berkeley at George Kiskaddon’s Builders Booksource.
Since the book is written and the maintenance is done, Ron can now go sailing.
Last week we posed a question about the occurrence of multiple Latitude 38 Golden Tickets being won in close succession. While we thought it was perhaps some crazy esoteric phenomenon, we’ve now been presented with a theory that suggests it’s nothing more than chance. Sailor David Cohan aboard Tahu Le’a out of Westpoint Harbor, Redwood City, dug up his alter ego as a “Decision Analyst” and “Aspiring Polymath” (but seriously, David has a PhD in management science and engineering, and over 30 years of analyzing uncertainty, decision and risk) and presented an argument that on the surface sounds just as confusing as the situation in question, but after careful reading actually makes sense. Here’s what David has to say on the matter:
“This is in response to the question posed in today’s ‘Lectronic, asking if anyone has any answers to the ‘phenomenon’ you’ve observed in the pattern of discovery of Golden Tickets. As it happens, along with lots of cruising stories (we’ve only barely touched the surface …), I do. The answer is disarmingly simple, albeit counterintuitive to many — you’re just observing the outcome of a series of independent random events.
“Consider an analogy. Suppose you roll a single die dozens of times, in a game in which you only ‘win’ (e.g., find a Golden Ticket) if you roll a 6. It turns out that ANY pattern that, over time (e.g., lots of months), averages out to 1 ‘win’ every 6 rolls, is equally likely.
“So, for example, the following sequences are equally likely:
L L L L L W L L L L L W L L L L L W L L L L L W L L L L L
L L L W L L L L W L L L L L W L L L L L L W L L L L L L L
L L L L L L L L W W W W L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L
“However, humans are inherently poor at processing and intuitively understanding uncertainty. So we tend to think that something that is ‘random’ should have ‘more variability’ in the pattern you observe — so most people would tend to intuitively think either of the first two sequences is more likely than the third (which is a slightly exaggerated example of the pattern about which you asked). But they are NOT more likely — all three patterns are equally likely.
“So it’s a simple matter of random chance, fully consistent with the laws of probability, that you observe people finding Golden Tickets two or even three months in a row, after long gaps.
“There’s another related but different psychological trait, which is almost universal, known as the ‘Availability Bias.’ So when you observe two Golden Tickets in a row, and recall observing the same before, your perception is that it’s happening more frequently than would be logical. But it’s almost certainly not and, perhaps, you may not recall as distinctly times where there was just one Golden Ticket (rather than a series). Hence, one tends to subjectively give more weight to the repetitions.”
David says this is a “very well-understood phenomenon in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, decision analysis, and any field that addresses humans dealing with uncertainty in the real world.” And he’s happy to provide references upon request. Well, we’re happy to accept David’s information as correct, but if you have any questions or opposing ideas, drop them into the comments for us all to see.
The Southern Italy city of Taranto will host the first-ever Italy Sail Grand Prix (aka SailGP) on June 5-6. The Spartans founded Taranto more than 3,000 years ago. The City of Two Seas stands between two bodies of water, the Mar Grande and the Mar Piccolo.
How to Watch
For in-person spectators, waterfront access will be free. The viewing area will be open both days from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Premium tickets for the grandstand are selling for 20 euros each. Tickets are also on sale for on-the-water viewing. None of this will matter to what we estimate will be 99.9999% of our readers!
Armchair sailors can watch the action on social media and the SailGP app. For links, see https://sailgp.com/watch. But set your alarms — coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m. PDT each day!
Whom to Watch (Californians)
On the US team, Aussie-San Diegan Jimmy Spithill serves as CEO and helms the boat. Andrew Campbell is from San Diego and Cooper Dressler is from Coronado; both are grinders. Dressler was on the Bay Area Youth America’s Cup team (American Youth Sailing Force). The Bay Area’s Daniela Moroz is a member of the sailing team. Read all about Moroz in the June issue of Latitude 38.
Some Crew Changes from the April Event in Bermuda
The British team, led by Sir Ben Ainslie, won in Bermuda, but Ainslie will be missing for the next two events. Paul Goodison will take his place, debuting at the helm of the Brits’ 50-ft foiling catamaran.
New Zealand has three new team members: Swiss-born helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis, James Wierzbowski as flight controller, and Jason Saunders as wing trimmer. Because of the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke will step aside during the SailGP events in Plymouth and Aarhus. Gold medalists Burling and Tuke will sail the 49er in the Olympics.
The Crashed Boats Have Been Repaired
On June 2, the US and Japan boats splashed back into the water for training after extensive repairs. The two had collided in Bermuda. The boats arrived in Italy on May 20, and multiple shifts have been working on the carbon fiber hulls, steering systems, hydraulics, and electronics.