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January 18, 2023

Recent Storms Uncover Unusual Objects at Stinson Beach

Friends of Latitude, Elizabeth and Eric, took a drive out to Stinson Beach last week and were astounded to see unusual objects sticking out of the sand. Well, not really “objects” as such, but a series of wires and pipes that seemed to erupt out of the sand. At first glance one might think of the sandworms depicted in Frank Herbert’s Dune. However, upon closer examination of the photos we received, they definitely look like wires and skinny pipes — a little concerning when you consider this is a popular local beach.

exposed wires at Stinson Beach
Surely no one would want to be swimming in that water anyway, but the exposed wires and pipes would make it tricky.
© 2023 Elizabeth Marina Sutton

“The earth near the bathrooms is basically exposed, and the PVC pipe is sticking out into the ocean. It’s unclear if the tubes were connected at some point or if they’ve always been basically floating up into the sand. They’re definitely permanent. There were, like, 10 of them, so it can’t be that one was broken,” Elizabeth wrote.

“… these tubes were coming out of the sand, say 20 feet away from the bathrooms, and out of the tubes was bubbling liquid, directly into the ocean,” she continued.

Elizabeth described how the natural seawall has been washed away, as the storm surge went right into the parking lots and “… demolished it.” (Just like what happened at the King Harbor Yacht Club, in Redondo Beach.)

“The trash cans were all over the place. Eric and I found that dog leash/dog-poop bag holder thing way out, down buried in the sand, and we didn’t see anybody there working on moving items away from the shore.”
© 2023 Elizabeth Marina Sutton

We’re following a lead that the tubes and wires are relevant to a program for monitoring contaminants from the septic tanks, as Cory Michael Donaher suggested in response to Elizabeth’s social media post, and we’ll let you know if we get some answers.

In the meantime, do any of our readers have firsthand knowledge of what these emergent apparitions are all about?

Good Jibes #74: Alan Olson on Building Tall Ships

This week’s host, Moe Roddy, is joined by Alan Olson to chat about a lifetime of thrills on and off the water. Alan is the project director for the Bay Area’s brigantine Matthew Turner. He built his first boat at age 22, has over 60 years of maritime experience in construction and sailing, and won the 2018 Leadership Award from Tall Ships America.

Alan Olson
How many boats has Alan Olson built?
© 2023 John Skoriak

Hear what goes into building a tall ship, how to sail from Minnesota to the Caribbean, abandon ship, and dodge hurricanes and winter, and about Alan’s five years at a Buddhist monastery. This episode covers everything from tall ships to sailing down the Mississippi.

Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • What kind of horses did Alan’s family ride?
  • How did Alan get into sailing?
  • What brought him to California?
  • How big was Stone Witch?
  • What is a brigantine?
  • Why did Alan join a Buddhist monastery?
  • How many hours did it take to build Matthew Turner?
  • Short Tacks: What’s the best gift Alan’s ever received?

Learn more about Alan and Matthew Turner at

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots — follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re feeling the Good Jibes!

Finding Peace Anchored off Santa Cruz Island

It took an adventure for Carolyn Rosner and Mike Hay to capture this idyllic cruising moment for Sailagram. The pair were cruising their Passport 37 Sula in the Channel Islands. The classic “at-anchor” sunset photo was shot at Morse Point Anchorage on the south side of Santa Cruz Island, with Santa Rosa Island in the distance, after a long day on the water. As they said, “I think we all know the feeling once that anchor’s set.”

Santa Cruz Island
As the sun sets, as seen from Sula off Morse Point on Santa Cruz Island, all is well.
© 2023 Carolyn Rosner

It wasn’t an easy prelude to this setting. Carolyn describes the adventure before this peaceful moment. “We were on our first circumnavigation of Santa Cruz Island from Ventura. This turned out to be a longish day, complete with everything from zero wind to a lot of wind; an iPhone that inadvertently went swimming and is now 200 feet down on the floor of the Pacific; an underway coolant-hose repair; bailing out from a scary anchorage; and finding a safer anchorage — all before dark. Guess this is what they call “cruising.” All in all, it was a full-value day (phone loss notwithstanding), and it felt great to feel safe while spending the night here.”

She went on to say, “We’re only just starting to explore the Channel Islands, but one of the things we like to do is to anchor, go ashore, and run the trails and roads on Santa Cruz. We’ve run out of Smugglers Cove and Prisoners, where it’s legal to land without the Nature Conservancy permit. We’ve found this is a great way to see more of the island — routes can be as long or short as desired — and, of course, the views can’t be beat.” One of the other things Carolyn and Mike like to do is pick up stray Mylar balloons while sailing off Ventura.

This Day, 10 Years Ago

Every so often, we find ourselves with in a slow news cycle. This is one of those times. Local sailing has been a little slow due to all the rough weather, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild hasn’t set off on its record-breaking attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy, the storms have abated and everyone’s getting on with cleanup. So what do we do on days like this? We look back over past issues of the magazine or ‘Lectronic Latitude and see what was going on in days gone by. Today we’re taking a step back to 2013 — 10 years ago — when, on January 18, the day’s news included snippets of ocean racing, kiteboarding (no foils yet), and seeing the light.

Cross-Traffic In Lonely Latitudes

Imagine being in one of the most desolate places on Earth and suddenly encountering a friend from home. That’s what happened to New York-to-San Francisco record challenger Giovanni Soldini yesterday. As the legendary Italian racer’s sloop Maserati beat southwest through the South Atlantic toward Cape Horn, Alessandro di Benedetto, the only Italian singlehander in the Vendée Globe, passed close by heading northeast aboard Team Plastique. Read more…

ten years past
Veteran offshore racer Ryan Braymaier was the only American aboard Maserati.
© 2023 Giovanni Soldini / Maserati

Kiteboarder Rolex Yachtsman of the Year

Marin County kiteboarder Johnny Heineken has been named US Sailing’s 2012 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year after being nominated for the second time in a row. Kiteboarding narrowly missed making it into the 2016 Olympics; movers and shakers in the top governing bodies of sailing are apparently taking it very seriously. Only 24 years old, Heineken has already racked up an impressive list of accomplishments too numerous to list here. Read more…

Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Johnny Heineken, seen here with fellow Kiteboard Course Racing World Champion Erika Heineken, who happens to be his sister.
© 2023 Johnny Heineken

Seeing the Light, and for Little Money

A couple of things that make us grouchy are poor interior lighting on sailboats and pissing away battery power. We think we’ve found a great solution that might work for your boat, too.

The only exception has been to the lighting in the periphery of the main salon. There hasn’t been any. As a result, the edges of the salon have always been dark, making it seem smaller than it really is, and preventing us from being able to recognize people on the other side. That’s not right, so we decided to try some 12-volt LED strip lights as sold through Amazon. Read more…


Be sure to order the 2700k strips for a warm white glow.
© 2023 LED Wholesalers




All you need do is get out of bed
While many of us were lounging at home with coffee and the paper, some intrepid sailors were fulfilling their mission to work on expanding their club's programs. The reward for getting out of bed on a rainy Saturday was an impromptu sail in the break between downpours.
From the Magazine
James Harden DeWitt was born in Oakland on February 13, 1930. Jim became fascinated by sailboats and art at an early age. When he was 7, he drew pictures of sailboats while watching his dad build a 19-ft sloop in their backyard.
Racing Around the World
The Ocean Race, formerly the Volvo Ocean Race, started Sunday in Alicante, Spain, for the first leg of the 32,000-mile round-the-world race. Five red-hot, foiling IMOCA 60s, including American entry 11th Hour Racing, were on the line.