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March 6, 2023

Annual Zihua Sailfest Enjoys Outstanding Success

The annual Zihua Sailfest is a two-week event that takes place in the city of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Each February, cruisers come together and participate in the festivities to raise money in support of local children’s education. It all began in 2001 when more than 100 boats arrived in Zihuatanejo with the aim of helping a local school. They held the first Sail Parade and raised $2,000 USD. The money was matched by a donation from Richard and Gloria Bellack and used to buy school supplies, which were brought back the following year. In addition to bringing the supplies, the mariners put their energies into painting and repairing the school. This was the beginning of Sailfest.

This year, Sailfest raised 3.7 million pesos (around $207,000 USD) through events such as the annual chili cook-off, music concerts, auctions, the 5K Sailfest walk/run event, and trips aboard some of the participating sail and motor boats.

Cruisers’ contributions of music and sunset cruises, participation in the Rally and Sail Parade, and the Calcutta on the Rally raised 1,159,876 pesos. (A Calcutta is when boats participating in the rally get friends to send money to bet on their boat. The Calcutta alone brought in 113,400 pesos.)
© 2023 Margaret Reid

“The cruisers took 755 guests onboard for sunset, music, rally, and the Sail Parade. There were a total of 29 boats, but some came early and left early and some came late and are still here…” Sailfest Chairperson Carol Romain wrote in a newsletter, adding that the stayers were most likely waiting for Guitarfest, which began on March 4.

sailfest 2023
The Rally Round the Rock was a popular event that many enjoyed from the sidelines.
© 2023 Margaret Reid
Pictured above are Reverence, Rocketeer, Voyager, and the rally winner, Azure
© 2023 Karen Cooper

Ziva, Rocketeer and Freedom Kirkland were given a special mention for the most guests and bringing in the most money. “All our heroes,” Reid said.

Sailfest champions a very good cause, as is evidenced from a letter penned by one of the local youths.

“One of the reasons we do what we do.”
© 2023 Sailfest

Pamela Bendall, another of the Sailfest organizers, wrote, “Sailfest is an educational fund raiser for some of Mexico’s poorest children. The project began in 2005, and now over 6000 children are being educated through our program — who would otherwise never see the inside of a school. You never have to wake our students up for school… It’s a privilege for them!

“Since 2005, we have built 143 classrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and playgrounds, including 14 new schools. Our nutrition program feeds 120 students at Casa Para Niños where every child comes from a low income family. In addition, Por Los Niños also provides wells for water to two schools.

“During the pandemic Por Los Niños fed on average 1300 meals per week when the entire region was shut down.

“Approximately 100 of our students from the early years are proudly attending university! Many are returning to the community to give back!”

For more information please view our website:

Can You Help Identify This Mystery Sailing Art?

How good are you at identifying sailboats from photos? Reader Chris Juhasz sent us a mystery to solve with the photo below, saying, “I’ve had this photo, artwork since around 1975ish. Can anyone help me learn more about it? It is signed Gilpin.” Chris added, “I grew up in SoCal sailing, casual racing, if there is such a thing around Long Beach and San Pedro. I sold my boat, a Newport 30, over ten years ago when I moved to Idaho. I was pleased to be included in Latitude 38 about 15 years ago when I was lucky enough to spend time sailing around the Caribbean with the late Mike Harker on Wanderlust.”

Can any of our readers help him out? Those are classic sails when you look at the cut of the spinnaker and narrow-paneled main.

Does anyone know the boat, the year, the location? The artist?

Mystery Photo
Mystery image from Chris Juhasz
© 2023 Gilpin

Add your input to the comments below.

David Crosby — Harmony at Sea

When rock legend David Crosby passed away on January 19, he left behind an enormous musical legacy, including his stirring harmonies with bandmates Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young. Besides his renowned musical harmonies, he also found harmony at sea. This led to many miles of sailing and endless sailing friendships formed aboard his famed 59-ft LOD wooden schooner Mayan.

David Crosby at helm of Mayan
David gave this photo to Beau Vrolyk, showing David and his wife, Jan, sailing Mayan between
Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.
© 2023 Courtesy Beau Vrolyk

After publishing our online story of his passing, we received many comments highlighting how much his music resonated naturally with sailors, including CSN songs Southern Cross, Wooden Ships, Lee Shore, and many more. The songs are anthems forming the soundtrack of many sailors’ lives.

Reader Bill Huber wrote a comment reflecting the thoughts of many: “I had to look up, read the lyrics, and listen to Southern Cross, which I always associate with CS&N. I imagined it to be describing a passage on Mayan. (It looks like her on the record cover… remember those?) I fell down this whirlpool thinking about David Crosby, Mayan, Southern Cross and playing it (on the sound system) when we crossed the equator on a passage from Eureka to Fatu Hiva. Thanks to David Crosby for the harmonies to the soundtrack of my youth, and wooden boats. Fair winds and following seas.”

Crosby’s connection to the sea and sailing often appeared in his music, but his actual sailing life, while tightly woven and well known along the coast of California, was less well known to his worldwide fan base. His dad was an Oscar-winning Hollywood producer, so he grew up in Southern California learning to sail in small boats like many other SoCal kids. It was there he first found freedom and escape at sea.

While his sailing life started on other boats, the schooner Mayan is his sailing story. It was an escape that came to fruition in his adult life when he bought the Alden-designed schooner at age 28, in 1969. Sailing aboard her was what he would do for more than 40 years to escape from the demands of the music world and to recuperate from concert tours.

Mayan under construction in Belize. The original line drawings show her long, shallow keel with centerboard. John Alden originally drew Mayan with a gaff rig.
© 2023 Courtesy Beau Vrolyk

Read more about David Crosby’s inspiring sailing and musical life in this month’s issue of Latitude 38.

International Ocean Film Festival Celebrates 20 Years

San Francisco’s International Ocean Film Festival has announced its lineup for the 20th annual Festival. Thirty-three films representing 11 countries will screen at the Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason, across four days from April 13–16. While sadly none of the films are about sailing, they do cover a multitude of topics about our favorite landscape — the ocean.

The opening night’s offering is the much-anticipated Deep Rising, a Sundance Film Festival winner. The film is an “up-to-the-minute tale of geopolitical, scientific, and corporate intrigue that exposes the machinations of a secretive organization empowered to greenlight massive extraction of metals from the deep seafloor, that are deemed essential to the electric battery revolution.”

Other Festival highlights include Collision, an eye-opening film about the main cause of death in large whales, and Patrick and the Whale, in which stunning underwater footage explores the fascinating nature of the sperm whale and its intriguing and complex intelligence and relationship with humanity.

“After 20 years we’re still making waves and saving our world’s oceans one film at a time,” International Ocean Film Festival Executive Director Ana Blanco said. “In an era when climate change is topic number one, and the state of our oceans is a daily priority, never has the work of our filmmakers and activists been more vital, or more newsworthy.”

This year’s film categories include Environmental, Marine Sciences/Wildlife, Exploration & Ocean Sports, Coastal Island Culture, Animation, Conservation, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Shorts and Female Directors. The films range in length from two to 98 minutes and include titles such as Restoring the Farallon Islands: A Critical Conservation Opportunity, Washed Ashore, Robots in the Deep, New Boats, and The Storm Chaser.

While the main event takes place at Fort Mason, three films will screen in San Rafael on Thursday, April 6. You can view the full program of films here.

Ticket are available now at

Since its launch in 2004, the San Francisco-based International Ocean Film Festival has attracted thousands of spectators of all ages from around the world, including film enthusiasts, sea athletes, educators, and environmental supporters. Since then, the Festival has presented over 815 films from 40 different countries and featured post-film Q&A sessions with visiting filmmakers, special panel discussions with content experts, and the Annual Free Student Education Program.

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