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December 6, 2021

Last Minute Schedule Change Leads to Nighttime Naked Rescue

What started out as an ordinary delivery from Point Richmond to Marina del Rey became a rescue story when Patti Day and three friends altered their departure time to get some extra rest before heading out to sea.

“That decision was the critical decision of what would become the defining moment of this trip. And one that, unbeknownst to us, would change all of our lives — and, we all hope, the life of a still-unknown stranger.”

Naked Rescue crew
The crew of Jazzy, left to right Austin Helm, Patti Day, Susan Obermiller and Ben Cage.
© 2021 Austin Helm

“Not too far past the bridge is the start of the shipping lanes for the larger ships to enter/exit the Bay. Thankfully, at that time of the morning, there wasn’t much traffic either way. As we continued to motor out, both Austin and I paused, looked at each other, and said, ‘Did you hear that?’ We both thought we had heard, over the motor noise, a very faint but distinct cry of ‘help’ coming from the water. ‘Is that possible?’ we thought. It was probably just the foghorn playing tricks on us.

“At this point, neither Ben nor Susan had heard anything, so we all paused for a moment and then, we all heard it again. ‘Help!’ Susan immediately yelled, ‘Throttle down!’ Ben throttled down, and Austin and I grabbed our flashlights and headed for the bow, with Susan standing by in the cockpit ready to throw whatever she had to if we came across anyone. ‘Hello! Anyone out there? Hello! Keep yelling!’ Austin and I screamed. Sure enough, louder now, we heard, ‘Hello! Help! Help!’ OMG, there was someone out there, in the water past the Golden Gate Bridge, riding the current out, toward the shipping lanes! We told him to keep yelling, scanning the water with our flashlights. ‘There he is!’ No, that’s a pelican … ‘There he is!’ Yes, there was a man, treading water, both our flashlights trained on him. And … he was naked. At 3 a.m. In the very cold water.”

Read the full story in this month’s Latitude 38 online, or pick up a copy from your favorite distributor.

You can read about another recent naked rescue in the November issue: Ocean Rescue Off Southern California.

Signing Up for the Crew List Kick-Starts Sailing Adventures

How did the folks below end up having a rum punch together at Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke during a recent summer BVI charter?

Foxy's Jost Van Dyke
Sharon (second from left) connected with the Crowley family through the Latitude 38 Crew List in 2013.
© 2021 Foxy's

The Latitude 38 Crew List now has more than 350 skippers and crew registered and looking to connect for more sailing. Way back in 2013, Sharon put her name on the crew list. Bill Crowley was looking for crew to join his family aboard their Vallejo-based Newport 30-2 Erewhon. This has led to many more sailing adventures together, including participation in the 2020 Delta Doo Dah. The photo above is from their charter with Conch Yacht Charters in the BVI in July. Sharon brought along her mom, Dagmar, on this trip. They celebrated — one year late — grandson Sterling’s graduation from high school. They made their way through the ever-evolving health protocols to rediscover that chartering in a tropical paradise is alive and well — and worth it. If you’re thinking about BVI chartering again, read Bill’s story in the current December issue of Latitude 38 before planning your trip. If you want to find crew or someone to charter with, like Sharon, add your name to the Crew List.

Volunteer Captures Shark Action at the Farallones

If you’ve ever sailed to the Farallon Islands, you’re probably aware that the islands are a National Wildlife Refuge. They are home to the largest seabird nesting colony south of Alaska and the largest colony of western gulls in the world, and they support half of the world’s ashy storm-petrels. Southeast Farallon, North Farallones, Middle Farallon, and Noonday Rock also are designated as a State Ecological Reserve and a Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve. This all means that the islands are out of bounds for most of us. Anyone who does step ashore is likely to be a marine scientist, researcher or a volunteer with a supporting organization.

Another fascinating ecological feature of the islands is its marine wildlife. The Farallones lie within a designated marine sanctuary, and their waters are teeming with sea life — a very good fact to note, considering that from around the mid-1800s to the 1970s the region was a dumping ground for everything from oil refinery waste to unwanted ships to chemicals, munitions and low-level radioactive waste. Fortunately the discontinuation of dumping, and a concerted effort by many organizations and agencies, has helped improve the water quality and enabled both land and sea life to flourish.

Jan Passion was volunteering with Point Blue Conservation Science, ferrying biologists and their gear and supplies to Southeast Farallon Island, when he came across an act of nature rarely seen by most of us.

Jan’s catamaran Hokahey on the mooring ball with the launch boat tied alongside. In the bottom right corner of the photo you can see the hoist that lifts the launch onto the island. See the last photo below for more detail.
© 2021 Keli Hendricks

“I was, finally, after years of searching, fortunate enough to see a white shark,” Jan wrote.

Jan estimated the shark to be around 14 feet long and somewhere between 20 and 30 years old.

“[The shark] had just killed a sea lion.”

Being so close to water, they had a front row seat to nature at work.
© 2021 Keli Hendricks

Jan and the two crew were in the launch boat when he spotted a red patch in the water.

“[I] first thought it was a life jacket or a lost piece of sail … and then realized it was the blood from a shark attack.

“One of my crew had an excellent camera and got some pretty neat shots of the dorsal and tail fins.”

The shark’s head appeared only twice, and unfortunately was not captured in any of photos. Next time …
© 2021 Keli Hendricks

And just for the curious among us, this is how the supplies are brought onto the island.

The launch, with all the supplies aboard, is hoisted from the water using the large crane arrangement seen in the photo above.
© 2021 Keli Hendricks

For more information about Point Blue Conservation Science, or to get involved, you can reach the organization here: [email protected]

Books Recommended by Our Good Jibes Guests

Shiver me timbers, winter is coming, and that means the holidays are here. For my family, it means visiting my parents to help them get the Christmas lights out of the garage and get them up on the fleet. Whether you’re hoisting multicolored LEDs, tinsel or your cups of grog in cheer, you need to think about your gift-giving to those far and near. But do not fret. You are in luck, because Latitude 38 has been asking our Good Jibes podcast guests for their favorite books. Take these recommendations from sailors like Chuck Hawley, Moe Roddy, Chip Merlin and our own John Arndt, and add some to your shopping cart.

Author, podcast host, speaker and Cal 34 Bingo owner Ryan Foland shows off a selection of books from our Good Jibes podcast guests.
© 2021 Joanne Foland

We’ve got you covered, whether you need an idea for an unexpected guest with a gift in hand, a Secret Santa scramble, or a surprise for your old man. With these sailor-recommended books, you’re not just giving a great read, you’re giving skills, sailing insights and stories of adventures on the sea. Go buy them at your local bookstore or search for them online. Happy sailing to all, and to all we wish you a season of Good Jibes.


Good Jibes podcast guest

Sea-Steading by Jerome FitzGerald Charlie Deist
Tinkerbelle by Robert Manry Chuck Hawley
Gipsy Moth Circles the World by Sir Francis Chichester Chuck Hawley
Trekka Round the World by John Guzzwell Chuck Hawley
Physics of Sailing by John Kimball Paul Dorsey
Fastnet Force 10 by John Rousmaniere Brendan Huffman
Mutiny on the Bounty by William Bligh Brendan Huffman
10,000 Leagues Over the Sea by William Albert Robinson Brendan Huffman
Dove by Robin Lee Graham Katie Burgess
Moby Dick by Herman Melville Lyall Burgess
At One with the Sea by Naomi James Moe Roddy
Taking on the World by Ellen MacArthur Moe Roddy
Adrift by Steven Callahan Moe Roddy
Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum Jim Hancock
The Long Way by Bernard Moitessier Jim Hancock
Mavericks & Merlins by Chip Merlin Chip Merlin
How to Sail Around the World by Hal Roth John Taussig
Marine Medicine by Eric A. Weiss & Michael Jacobs John Taussig
Latitude 38 (technically a series of ‘mini books’ when you buy someone a year’s worth of issues delivered to their door!) John Arndt


If you have not yet tuned into our Good Jibes podcasts, visit to learn even more than book recommendations from West Coast sailors. Many in the list above are classics that have stirred sailors’ souls for decades and are worth a read or reread. Our book-review editor, John Riise (aka JR), regularly reviews new books each year. You can learn about some of this year’s new books in Sightings in the November and December issues of Latitude 38.

Answer by Sunday
The US Match Racing Championships Committee is considering a proposal to require at least one female on each team.
Did you raise your sails last month?
Sailors were out in force across November, and as a result, we have dozens of photos of happy, smiling sailors doing what they love!