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April 17, 2023

Lafitte 44 ‘Ocean Bound’ Reported Missing in Sea of Cortez

A sailboat with three souls aboard has been reported missing in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. Ocean Bound is a 44-ft Lafitte crewed by Kerry and Frank O’Brien and William (Bill) Gross. We understand the boat left Mazatlán at around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 4, and headed west across the Sea of Cortez en route to San Diego. The crew had planned to stop in Cabo San Lucas on April 6 to check in and reprovision. When they did not check in by the weekend the situation was reported to the US Coast Guard. The sailors’ families are now also appealing to the sailing community for help in finding the trio.

Missing sailboat
The missing Lafitte 44 Ocean Bound.
© 2023 FB/Ocean Bound

In a Facebook post, Melissa Spicuzza of San Diego wrote that there was a report of cell phone pings on April 4 from a position off the coast of Mazatlán, believed to be calls to marinas in Cabo San Lucas. “All calls were short and it’s presumed they were trying to make slip/ball reservations. Based on the short calls they were unsuccessful.”

The post included the information that Kerry and Frank, the owners of Ocean Bound, both hold US Coast Guard captain’s licenses and have 20 years experience sailing together, and that Bill has over 50 years of sailing experience and is an extremely talented coastal cruiser.

Frank and Kerry O’Brien.
© 2023
Bill Gross.
© 2023

“The sailing community has hundreds of additional vessels looking for our family members. Sadly they have not seen or made contact with them either,” Spicuzza wrote. “Ocean Bound is a sturdy older vessel and by many accounts is one of the best sailboats ever constructed.”

On April 15 the US Coast Guard issued a release stating that the search and rescue efforts are being conducted by the Mexican navy (CMAR/SEMAR) with assistance from the USCG. According to Spicuzza’s post the USCG has determined a couple of scenarios on which to base their search efforts.

One: “The travel projection” — if Ocean Bound simply lost radio contact and continued her journey to San Diego. The search will focus just north or south of Turtle Bay (Bahia Tortuga) on the Baja Peninsula, in addition to long aircraft sweeps along the Baja Peninsula.

Two: “The drift projection” — if Ocean Bound became disabled. This search is focused by CMAR/SEMAR in a 100-mile area south to southeast of Cabo San Lucas, around the waters near Puerto Vallarta. These parameters are reassessed each night to redefine the search the next day.”

“We cannot express enough gratitude to the USCG, CMAR/SEMAR and the sailing community for their help the past four days and their continued S&R efforts going forward. They have communicated all of their efforts with kindness and compassion more than once a day. We truly appreciate everything you’ve done and continue to do. Thank you, you bring us hope and comfort in this painful time. The social media posting efforts of our families is to reach as many people as possible across the globe. If anyone has seen, heard of Ocean Bound and her crew. Knows someone in the areas around the search perimeters. Please help us bring Kerry, Frank and Bill home,” Spicuzza wrote.

Please share this story with all your friends and contacts, sailors or not, to help find the crew of Ocean Bound.

Magic 15 — 2023 Delta Doo Dah is a GO!

On behalf of the Latitude 38 Doodettes, we’re announcing the launch of the 2023 Delta Doo Dah!

It’s a vacation in your own backyard. It’s offshore cruising practice. It’s sunny, warm and summery weather. And it’s not too far from the Central Bay — It’s our beloved Delta!

water fun at the 2023 Delta Doo Dah
The Delta awaits!
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Latitude 38

We’re ready to GO, so check out the Delta Doo Dah website to register now!

And keep checking back online as summer approaches, as we’ll be posting more information about this year’s Delta events. You won’t want to miss a thing, so stay tuned for more information about what’s doin’ in our beloved Delta.

Are you excited yet? Ready for summer? We are!

When you sign up for the Delta Doo Dah make sure you order the new 2023 DDD burgee!
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Latitude 38

So, what IS the Delta Doo Dah, you say? It’s got a long history and has morphed and evolved over the years, with Christine Weaver at the helm organizing and gathering the Delta community. What began as a big, coordinated cruising rally has turned into something of an annual DIY mecca for sailors seeking sunshine, warm weather, and chill vibes. The Delta area is home to many restaurants, marinas, and mooring sites, and is a classic getaway during summertime for sailors and those with power boats.

This past weekend we asked Ben Shaw of the Out The Gate podcast and owner of the Hallberg-Rassy 352 Dovka why he likes cruising the Delta, and he responded, “While only a day’s sail away, cruising the Delta is a world apart from sailing on S.F. Bay, in so many ways. Warm water, bridges that open, small historical towns, and winding waterways to tuck into are a few of the things to be explored upriver.”

Have you participated in past years? Send your favorite Delta photo or favorite destination here!

Interested in participating this year? Register today and tell us your story!

Latitude 38’s new, random read clickbait. If you click below it will take you to a random page on our website. It might be an ad or it might be a great story from the past. Or who knows – like Click Bait everwhere you don’t know where you’ll end up. (We promise it won’t be bad, it will be on the Latitude 38 website and it will be about sailing.)

The Newest Use For Old Sailbags Is Good For Cute Puppies Old sailbag

Sailors Flock to Svendsen’s Spring Fling Weekend

This past weekend at the second annual Svendsen’s Spring Fling was a smashing success! Two days of sunny, warm weather had lots of people coming out to Svendsen’s Marine in Alameda after the long, rainy winter to check out gear, reconnect with old sailing neighbors, and make new friends. At the Latitude 38 tables, we talked with show visitors who had traveled all the way from Fresno, Tahoe, Sacramento, and Southern California. Svendsen’s had over 850 ticket downloads. They really did a great job growing the show this year.

Thanks you to the Svendsen's Crew for all your hard work - we had a great weekend at Spring Fling
Thanks to Svendsen’s crew for all your hard work — we had a great weekend.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Nicki Bennett

The Spring Fling boat show was a good opportunity for sailors to shop as they ready their boats for the summer season ahead. There was a big selection of vendors and local organizations who had product on display, raffles, discounts, and more. And lest you worried that you’d get hungry, there were food trucks parked both days. Delicious BBQ, Mexican food, and a coffee shop made sure sailors were well fed and had energy to enjoy the Spring Fling.

There was more than one reason to head out to Alameda this weekend — just around the corner, Marina Village hosted an open boat weekend. Richard Boland, Cruising Yachts, Seattle Yachts, Denison, SailtimeSF and Atomic Tuna all had boats open for viewing/tours.

Best of all, the promise of free beer kept the crowd close to Svendsen’s. At exactly 4 p.m. sailors descended for the Crew Party (and free beer provided by our friends over at Almanac Beer Co. Thanks, Almanac!). The Latitude 38 Crew Party concluded day one of the weekend. In past years the Crew Party has been held around the Bay in various locations, but this year we brought the social mixer to kick off the weekend at Svendsen’s.

Lots of skippers and crew mingled and made connections, with the upcoming summer deliveries and the Baja Ha-Ha in mind! It was fun to see our community getting out and gathering together. Bay Area boaters are clearly ready to get out on the water, push their limits, learn more skills, and just do more sailing. If you didn’t get to the Spring Fling and want to find or be crew, check out our calendar and the Crew List and sign up today It’s never too late to join the San Francisco Bay Area community of sailors.

If you enjoyed the second annual Spring Fling, drop a “Heck, yes!” in the comments below. Or, if you didn’t get there this time, drop in a “Next year,” and make a note on your 2024 calendar!

The Resourceful Sailor Battens Down the Hatches

The Resourceful Sailor needed to replace the waterproof seal on the removable cockpit engine hatch of Sampaguita, a Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20. This Pacific Seacraft design feature allows access to the inboard motor of their sailboats through the cockpit sole. Since Sampaguita has an outboard, this space is for storage. Regardless of what is underneath, keeping it watertight is desirable.

The previous Neoprene seal was completely compressed, with the lid bottoming out on the base. It had crept and cracked and was suspected to be over 30 years old. Finding the right product was a challenge. Most ship chandlers don’t seem to stock a diverse supply of Neoprene hatch tape. However, I found a local supplier/wholesaler in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle called Gardico, which serves maritime and commercial applications.

old hatch seal
The old hatch seal.
© 2023 Joshua Wheeler

We decided on a 1-in-wide by 3/8-in-thick Neoprene/EPDM blend adhesive-backed strip, which is about as thick as I could use and still bolt the lid on. Unfortunately, as they’re an industrial wholesaler, I needed to buy 50 feet when 10 feet was all I needed. The adhesive technically has a shelf life, but since I have a lifetime supply, I was banking on its being OK. At just under $1 per foot in 2018, I accepted that as the cost of a watertight seal.

The new seal being applied.
© 2023

The project took a couple of hours. Most of the time went toward scraping off the old seal with a putty knife and cleaning the surface for proper adhesion. The adhesive-backed strip was easy to apply and took five to 10 minutes. I made zig-zag cuts where the two ends came together to ensure a good seal. That was in spring 2018.

The zig-zag cut to mate the ends.
© 2023
Like new!
© 2023

Over the years, I have periodically checked the watertight integrity of the seal. I have done this by blocking the drains and partially filling the cockpit with water, also a way of testing the drain time. The seal performs well, being completely dry up to about halfway. Since the drains are blocked, with increased time and pressure, a little moisture enters, I think where the seal ends come together. While not perfect, it is very slight and acceptable under the circumstances.

As for the adhesive, it has performed well over time, and shelf life concerns in my application have diminished. The seal will creep over time if the surfaces do not mate squarely. Sampaguita had a couple of such spots, but the seal has settled into its new place, and the watertight integrity remained. A stronger adhesive added before application might mitigate this, but I determined it unnecessary and undesirable for my application. For one, it has been effective for five years so far. Secondly, since I have a lifetime supply, I don’t mind redoing it if necessary. I have also noted the TACO-brand seal I put on my cockpit locker crept in one spot, and the seal I was replacing had crept, hinting to me a general limitation of these adhesives.

The Neoprene/EPDM seal does compress over time. It went from 3/8-in to 1/16 -1/8-in thick within a year, but its effectiveness remained. The cockpit sole has four knurled knobs that draw it down tight onto embedded bolts. 3/8-in was the most that could be applied, with the knobs still having positive engagement. I would like to see more post-compression thickness, but the result is seemingly satisfactory.

This spring, I decided to add a second strip of seal around the outside of the first, making the seal two inches wide. I did this because I had the extra material and wanted to increase my confidence in maintaining a watertight seal over time. It will need to compress to match the first ring.

The second ring added.
© 2023

Hatch seals can deform, creep, compress, and deteriorate with exposure to UV or chemicals. Since water has an annoying way of exposing these faults, rejuvenation may be necessary. In Sampaguita‘s case, the removable cockpit sole provides excellent access to difficult-to-reach storage, but it requires inspections and maintenance to ensure its watertight integrity in a vulnerable area.

The Resourceful Sailor is keen on finding affordable answers to everyday and not-so-everyday situations. Remember, keep your solutions safe and prudent, and have a blast.