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February 7, 2022

Building Boats and Friendships

Family Boatbuilding

Several kids and a couple of grownups got an early start on the Barra de Navidad Cruise-In Week Sunday morning. The kids ranged in age from 1 to 15 and included gringo cruisers and Mexicans. In the Grand Isla resort kids’ club, Sue Adams of the Fountaine Pajot 44 Winston supervised the kids in building their own little sailboats. Hailing from Sausalito, Sue and her husband John and son Hadrian, 16, have been at the marina for two years. Sue works in the kids’ club at the resort. The family had planned a circumnavigation, but COVID intervened, and her Canadian parents live in the town across the lagoon, Barra de Navidad.

Building seed pod boats
Bella Wisniewski, 15, of the Fountaine Pajot Venezia 42 Bella Luna, helps Rowan, 4, of the 1976 Fuji 32 ketch Monsoon, finish his boat. Sue Adams (left), works on her own boat and coaches the kids.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

For the boat hulls, Sue spent a week collecting seed pods from the coconut trees on the grounds. The boatbuilders decorate them with paint, tape and glitter glue, attach masts and rigging, and cut sails from colorful swatches of cloth.

Luna with finished boat
Luna’s finished boat. We think the outriggers are a brilliant idea. Luna, 10, is Bella’s sister.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll find out how well the boats sail this morning at the Flamingo Mini-Regatta.

Fiesta de Veleros Kickoff

The group gathered for a kickoff party on Sunday evening on one of the hotel’s verandas. Cruisers met one another, reconnected with old friends, enjoyed bebidas and sushi, picked up swag bags, bought hats and T-shirts, and learned of the extensive plans for the week.

Group of cruisers
¡Hola! from the cruisers of Fiesta de Veleros Barra de Navidad.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

More to Come This Week

The main event, the Pink Flamingo FUNd Regatta, will set sail on Friday, with ‘betting’ by spectators on the beach. Additional activities this week include cruises for passengers, races for paddleboards and kayaks, and a movie night. It’s all to raise funds to help with infrastructure at Barra’s schools.

The view of the marina
A view of the marina from the hotel. The afternoon breeze has come up, and a cloud cover has cooled the tropical heat.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Technology willing, we’ll have more posts from Barra this week. The town lies just up the coast a bit from Manzanillo. The marina is the first you come to sailing south out of Puerto Vallarta, which is about a four-hour drive away by land.

Ready? It’s Time to Start Cruising in Mexico

In April 2021 we ran a story by Sydney Paulsen about her and her husband, Dalton Urrutia. Both of them had recently started sailing and bought a Morgan Out Island 33, Mihaly, with the intention of living aboard and doing some cruising. Now, not quite a year later, they’ve managed to get enough of the boat tasks crossed off their list to have actually pushed off and started their voyage south, to Mexico.

Sydney and Dalton on their way to Mexico
Sydney and Dalton and their pooch have headed south aboard their Morgan Out Island 33 Mihaly, with their first stop being Ensenada.
© 2022 Mihaly

Last spring they were up to their elbows in projects to update the boat — making it more comfortable and getting it ready for full-time living aboard and cruising. It was a messy, time-consuming, but ultimately rewarding job.

Dalton aboard Mihaly
There were plenty of projects underway last year but the boat is now sailing.
© 2022 Sydney Paulsen

Sydney wrote us to say, “We’ve officially made it to Ensenada as of this morning, which feels fantastic. Would love for you guys to share our departure photo — I’ve attached it! We’re so excited to begin and share this adventure; thank you for the support.”

Not everyone who puts these plans into motion makes it out there, but we love to see old boats given a second life and new sailors taking off on new adventures. We wish bon voyage to Sydney and Dalton, and will look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

The Wide World of Sailing — In More Ways Than One

Sailing is truly a world-widening activity — even if you’re not actually on a boat. This morning’s ‘Lectronic Latitude is being brought to you from various locations across the US and across the ocean. Our crew is scattered, but all still happily working away to produce the three-times-weekly ‘Lectronic posts and the monthly magazine. This is in part because of COVID (we all started working from home in 2020), and partly because … well, because we’re all sailors!

Right now we have a few people in California, one in the Rockies (we’re not even sure exactly where), one in New York, one in Mexico, and one in Hawaii. But we’re all still connected and working together. And that’s not even including our at-large editors and writers. How cool is that?!

In today’s ‘Lectronic we have a story from our Mexico sailor and racing editor, Christine Weaver, who is there for the Barra de Navidad Cruise-in Week.

This particular story is coming to you from Hawaii. No, we haven’t sailed here, not on this occasion — our boat is still in the refit stage and not ready for a sea voyage. Fortunately we have family here who were very happy to accommodate us (Mahalo, guys!), so we could take a little break from the mainland. It’s just five days, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting, or interesting, particularly for this first-timer. Even one day on the island was enough to imbibe the allure of the Hawaiian vibe. The sand, the palm trees, the azure blue of the ocean, passing whales and passing sailboats, and of course the beautiful people, all conspire to make one want to be here.

world of sailing
It is actually very difficult to stay focused. Who’d have thought?
© 2022 Jay Grant

Unexpectedly, it has been a little surprising to discover that this part of the Big Island (just north of Kona) isn’t inundated with sailboats. Moored in a nearby cove is a catamaran that heads out daily with snorkelers and whale watchers. Other than that, the sailboat activity has been limited to a handful of boats that pass by a mile or so offshore. While this particular section of coastline is beautiful, there is a reef that limits boat access. Outriggers however, have no problem.

world sailing
The catamaran is a popular boat for people who don’t want to swim across the reef.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica
Tandem outriggers are great fun and a stable first-time option for new paddlers.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

We’re going to keep looking for sailing activity in the couple of days we have left here, but in the meantime, we’re going to learn more about the islands so that when we come back with our own cruiser, we’ll know exactly where to go.

Are you in Hawaii right now? If you are, drop us an Aloha in the comments below.

Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Shortlist Announced

US Sailing has announced the shortlist for the 2021 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards. Five men and four women are being considered for this prestigious award. A US Sailing press release describes the nine nominees as “representing a wide range of accomplished sailors from various disciplines and at different stages of their respective careers.

“Some of these sailors were selected based on their consistent exceptional performances throughout the 2021 season and some were chosen for their signature win(s) at major international or national events. These sailors have each mastered their craft and have focused on the importance of precision and performance in their competitive sailing efforts.”

The shortlisted sailors are Conner Blouin, Dave Hughes, Erik Shampain, Harry Melges IV, Taylor Canfield, Anna Weis, Daniela Moroz, Laura Grondin, and Nicole Breault.

All of these sailors are deserving, but who will win?
© 2022 US Sailing

“These nominees and their 2021 sailing résumés will be reviewed by a panel of noted sailing journalists and past winners of these awards who discuss the merits of each sailor’s racing results before voting to determine US Sailing’s 2021 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. The winners will be announced and presented with specially engraved Rolex timepieces in conjunction with the US Sailing Association Awards this Spring on a date and at a location to be announced soon.”

Previous winners include Ed Adams, Betsy Alison, Sally Barkow, Dave Curtis, Dennis Conner, JJ Fetter, Terry Hutchinson, Allison Jolly, John Kostecki, Buddy Melges, Lowell North, Jan O’Malley, Jane Pegel, Ken Read, Cory Sertl, Lynne Shore, Jody Starck, Anna Tunnicliffe, Daniela Moroz, and Ted Turner, some having won the award multiple times.

You can read more about each shortlisted sailor and about the award here.

From the Magazine
In February's 'Latitude 38,' Bay Area sailor Dave Russell shares the story of how the 'Wanderer' crew helped rescue eight souls who had escaped a burning boat.
From Beginner to Professional
Our Golden Ticket winners have interesting sailing stories: Larry started out on OPBs, and four years later attained his OUPV/Six-pack Captain's License.