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August 9, 2021

Update on Cruising French Polynesia

When will the cruising world reopen? Kevin Ellis of Yacht Services Nuku-Hiva updated the Pacific Puddle Jumpers on the current situation in French Polynesia. Unfortunately, things are still not getting back to normal and, as in many places, things are not heading in the right direction.

French Polynesia
The anchorages of French Polynesia are not yet ready to welcome new arrivals.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Andy

Here is Kevin’s report: “In brief, there are no changes to report touching the entry of yachts coming from foreign ports.

“The number of cases has jumped sharply in the last two weeks. We are today at 1563 active cases; early in July we had only nine. So, it appears the Delta variant is the cause. 28% of the population are vaccinated and health officials are upping the pace on getting more people vaccinated. Gathering in groups has been restricted again and bars and discos were closed again. The authorities have stated they are committed to trying to keep the country open for tourism but, if need be, they will close things down again to stop the rapid rise in cases that will overwhelm the medical care system.

“So, as far as the yachting community is concerned, nothing has changed. The maritime borders are still closed. Yachts can still request permission to enter via the DPAM directly or with the aid of an agency. The requirement to show imperative need is still in effect.”

Many island nations to the west, including New Zealand and Australia, are still closed to cruisers, so the anchorages of French Polynesia are full of boats that can’t move on. Beyond the ever-changing headline news, many cruisers are finding quiet getaway spots, though they are having to adjust their sails as government policies change in response to the virus.

There’s Always Something New in Sailing

As sailors, we are always interested in and keeping an eye out for new ideas in sailing. Having said that, sailing in essence is simple — all you need is some sort of hull, a sail, and wind. But it’s when people apply various technologies to the basic sailboat design that things can get quite interesting. Yesterday we shared a Facebook post, published by San Francisco Sailing Science Center (SFSSC), about a new “cheap and modular” sailboat designed by Pixel & Timber — a company dedicated to bringing new designs and innovations to fruition. The question asked by our friends at SFSSC is whether the creation of this particular sailboat is “Greenwashing or Great Idea.” We shared the post on our own Facebook page, but we also thought the question merited some research. So we followed the links and found more information about the ‘new idea’, which appears to be called the Modular Multihull Sailboat — we’ll call it the MMS for short.

It looks like an ordinary trimaran.
© 2021 Pixel & Timber

According to Pixel & Timber’s website, the MMS has many positive features. It has been designed for inland lakes, but “due to the versatility of its design” is also appropriate for coastal sailing. Its hulls are made from “reclaimed ocean HDPE” (high density polyethylene) — in other words, all that plastic that organizations such as Ocean Voyages Institute and The Ocean Cleanup are collecting from the oceans. It’s also meant to make sailing “more affordable.”

The boat is said to be “adaptable to the unique weather and water conditions of every user and their unique abilities.” To achieve this claim it is available in three formats — tacking outrigger, small trimaran, or catamaran. “Prior to purchase, users can configure all aspects of the boat online using a build-and-price feature similar to those used by automobile manufacturers.” Sounds ideal, right?

The boat is designed to be “user-assembled.” The buyer can select their own combinations of colors and materials for their boat’s various components. And as the boat is assembled after delivery, the cost and ecological impact of shipping are reduced.

Does it come with hex key and illustrated instructions?
© 2021 Pixel & Timber

Here are some features of the MMS that we thought were kind of neat. Integrated cooler/storage — a small compartment just “abaft the mast” that serves as a waterproof space for dry items, or as a cooler. The compartment also helps stiffen the hull. A thru-hull rudder attachment with “clamp-on fittings similar to the stem and steerer tube of a bicycle.” A small mast step that accepts a universal windsurfer mast base and allows for “nearly any combination of mast, extension and sail.” The mast base also has a quick release system that enables the entire rig to be “folded flat along the trampoline or (with a different sail) arranged as a tent.”

What we have written above is only a very brief outline of the Modular Multihull Sailboat and is in no way meant to be a review. Neither did we actually answer the original question. But if the designers’ innovations and environmentally positive features are as they claim, this writer feels the boat is worth taking a closer look at, should it find its way onto the market. And aside from all the ‘feel-good’ stuff, it looks like a whole lot of fun!

Thanks to our friends at San Francisco Sailing Science Center for sharing.

Tales of the South Pacific

As cruising the South Pacific is a little tricky at the moment, we decided to share the Schmidt family’s “Tales of the South Pacific,” which appears in this month’s Latitude 38 magazine.

We introduced readers to the Schmidt family back in 2018, when their otherwise uneventful Pacific Puddle Jump turned pretty eventful: They towed a disabled 36-ft monohull named Vata almost 700 miles to safe harbor! Aboard at the time were owners Shaun and Sherrie, and their kids Paige (then 14) and Jordan (8), as well as Manuel and Nadia, German cruisers they had met and befriended the year before in the Med. Since then they have sailed more than 23,000 nm and visited — so far — 33 countries.

After towing Vata to the safety of the Marquesas in April, doing some exploring and meeting up with other sailing friends who had recently arrived from the Puddle Jump, we set sail for the Tuamotu atolls in search of gin-clear waters and uncrowded anchorages.

A rainbow (or two) at the Hilton anchorage in Moorea.
© 2021 S/V Element

We visited five atolls, each of them leaving a special place in our hearts: the isolation, snorkeling and beach bonfires of Kauehi; the epic diving of Fakarava and Rangiroa; the hospitality of Valentine and Gaston on Toau; and receiving a guided tour of a retired couple’s private paradise on a private motu in Apataki.

After a great sail from Rangiroa to Tahiti to provision and explore, we enjoyed the anchorage near the Hilton Hotel of Moorea for more hiking, snorkeling, horseback riding and even a golf game at the Green Pearl Golf Club to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. With an early-morning arrival in Huahine, we were fortunate to grab the last mooring in deep water in front of the village, and after a good pull test with our engines, we set off to circumnavigate the island on rented scooters. It was so much fun, we did the same on Bora Bora, where we stopped to tie-dye our own sarongs. With our early-season timing, we were also able to take in the opening ceremony of the Tahitian dance festival in Bora Bora with the first few groups of competing performers.

Sarong day in Bora Bora (l to r): Manuel, Nadia, Jordan, Sherrie, Paige and Shaun.
© 2021 S/V Element

(Note to self: Wait one extra day to leave on a passage after a Pacific weather trough passes through.) We departed Bora Bora for the small island nation of Niue the day after a weather system passed through, and we were met with four-meter waves just outside the lagoon entrance. With Element launching off the top of these waves at 11 knots, four of our six crew were feeling “unwell” only 15 minutes into the journey.

Continue reading at Latitude

Inaugural US Open Sailing Series to Conclude in San Francisco

Racing Friday-Sunday

Dave Perry tipped us to events happening this week during the conclusion of the new West Marine US Open Sailing Series. St. Francis Yacht Club, Treasure Island Sailing Center and San Francisco YC will host the final regatta of the 2021 season on August 13-15.

StFYC will host iQFoil, Open Windfoil, Formula Kite, Open Kitefoil, Nacra 17, Nacra 15, 49er and 29er classes. This will be a selection event for Formula Kite representatives at the Men’s and Women’s Individual World Championships. Meanwhile, SFYC will host three Laser classes and the International 420s. Lasers will launch out of TISC.

Foiling windsurfers in Berkeley
On Saturday, Berkeley YC hosted the CalCup windsurfer races. Many sailors from out of the area raced in preparation for this week’s regatta. After the last CalCup races on September 4, BYC will host a wrap party. See
© 2021 Glen Garfein

“The first three US Sailing events earlier this year in Florida and two recent events in Southern California were a huge success,” said Ken Seipel, CEO of West Marine.

“The West Marine US Open Sailing Series is a pillar of our strategy to rebuild the US Sailing Team and stand atop the Olympic podium in LA 2028,” said US Olympic Sailing team executive director Paul Cayard. “By hosting six events across our nation each year, we will cast the net wide and give opportunity to many thousands of our top sailing talent.”

Panel Discussions Wednesday-Thursday

In conjunction with the racing, West Marine will host panels of Olympians and Olympic hopefuls at the Sausalito and Alameda stores.

The Alameda West Marine, in the South Shore Center, will host Olympian Helena Scutt and Olympic hopefuls on Wednesday, August 11, at 5:30 p.m. Scutt is a 2016 Olympian and former member of the US Sailing Team. She competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in the Women’s 49erFX. She’s from Seattle and sailed for Stanford during college. We profiled her in the October 2018 issue of Latitude 38. US Sailing marketing director Josh Toso will moderate the panel discussion. Click here to register:

Bora Gulari and Helena Scutt trapped out
Helena Scutt raced with Bora Gulari on the Nacra 17 at the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, in July 2018.
© 2021 Sailing Energy / US Sailing Team

West Marine Sausalito, in Marin City’s Gateway Shopping Center, will host Olympian Pam Healy and Olympic hopefuls on Thursday, August 12, at 5:30 p.m. Healy is an advocate for women and youth sailing as an organizer, volunteer instructor, coach and mentor nationally and locally in the San Francisco Bay Area. She won a bronze medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, in the 470 class with JJ Fetter of San Diego. Paul Cayard, himself an Olympian, will moderate this talk. Click here to register:

The speaker events are free to attend.

Inland Cruising Rally
The next official event on the Delta Doo Dah itinerary will be a BBQ and activities at Delta Bay Marina in Isleton on Saturday, August 14.