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October 27, 2023

Hurricane Otis Devastates the Acapulco Waterfront

As Acapulco digs out from the severe damage caused by Hurricane Otis, the extent of the damage to the renowned Acapulco Yacht Club is becoming clear. It’s not surprising that the yacht club, boats and marina, tucked up in the typically well-protected NW corner of Acapulco Bay, was severely damaged by Otis. The docks were ravaged, boats sank, and most of the many dry-stored boats were knocked over and damaged. The clubhouse is also severely damaged.

Hurricane Otis Acapulco
Hurricane Otis devastated the entire waterfront with severe damage to the Acapulco Yacht Club and its boats and facilities.
© 2023 Facebook
Hurricane Otis Acapulco
Not every boat in the dry-storage yard fell, but it appears most did.
© 2023 Facebook
These before and after images tell a sad tale. Many boats were battered, sunk or washed up on the beaches.
© 2023

The storm arrived with very little warning, since about 24 hours earlier it was a tropical storm that was not expected to grow significantly. Since then meteorologists have all expressed shock at how rapidly it changed gears into an explosive Category 5 hurricane that was essentially a direct hit on Acapulco. Even with more advance warning it’s hard to imagine how boats and waterfront facilities could have done much to mitigate the damage from a storm of this magnitude.

Surely there will be relief organizations looking for support to help the many in need throughout the Acapulco region. We’ll be looking to hear from trusted entities that can help.

The following videos shared across social media show the reality of the hurricane’s aftermath:


Ronnie Simpson Set to Start Global Solo Challenge

The West Coast’s own Ronnie Simpson is set to hit the starting line in A Coruña, Spain, for the inaugural Global Solo Challenge. Along with two other Americans, Simpson is about to embark on a nonstop, singlehanded round-the-world race via the three Great Capes.

Rain and heavy wind have engulfed the northern tip of Spain. “We’re currently about five days from the start of the race,” Ronnie told us on Tuesday. “We’re probably going to start a day late; the weather looks … one could say ‘apocalyptic’ for Saturday. We’re talking close to 60 knots upwind in the gusts; so we’re probably going to be starting a day late, and still seeing a front with over 40 knots of breeze.” Simpson is set to start with two other Americans, Dave Linger and Cole Brauer, for a total of eight more boats joining a race already in progress.

If there were an award for fastest preparation for a singlehanded around-the-world race — which included fundraising and courting sponsors, as well as a ton of boat work — then surely that accolade would go to Ronnie Simpson.
© 2023 Ronald A. Simpson

In what was probably something of an understatement, Ronnie told us, “It’s been a lot of work here in Spain.” He pulled the mast for some maintenance on his Open 50, recently rebranded Shipyard Brewing, then added “a bunch of solar and a wind generator. We did a lot of work on compliance and the safety rules and added a lot of safety gear.

“It’s been a huge push here in Spain, but we’re almost ready to go.”

Top photo: Check out all that new solar on Shipyard Brewing. Bottom photo: Ronnie’s race to the start brought him through Maine for a haulout.
© 2023 Ronald A. Simpson

Simpson was incredibly grateful for the support that he’s received. “I really can’t thank my sponsors enough: U.S. Patriot Sailing and Shipyard Brewing, my title sponsor, and all my shore crew and friends who have helped out.

“It’s been a very cool scene here at the Global Solo Challenge. There’s been a lot of camaraderie; [I’m] really enjoying getting to know a lot of the competitors. It’s a really cool race and I’m just very happy to be a part of it.”

Ronnie Simpson’s Open 50 Sparrow was recently renamed Shipyard Brewing. The rebranding, done in Spain, was at the end of Simpson’s punch list before the late-October start.
© 2023 Ronald A. Simpson

Stay tuned for an upcoming podcast with Ronnie Simpson right here on Good Jibes. (Click here to listen to our 2022 interview with Ronnie.) In the forthcoming November issue of Latitude 38, we dive into some of Ronnie’s background that brought him to the Global Solo Challenge, and the work he’s doing on behalf of U.S. Patriot Sailing, a veterans’ sailing nonprofit.

Also be sure to check out Shipyard Brewing’s YouTube page and the Global Solo Challenge’s race tracker. You can still support Ronnie and make a donation at

Safe Slips: Wear a Snubber

The Bay Area’s 10-day weather forecast looks fabulous. There are great days ahead for sailing. However, our being human, it’s often easy to put off important things like preparing your boat for winter. The news of horrific storms to the south contrasts with our walk down a sunny dock on the Bay, and reminds us how quickly things can change. We noted fenders, most docklines with a snubber, and covers on trailered boats that are ready for as-yet-unseen winter weather. If you’re seeing your boat this weekend, it’s a good time of year to make sure it’s protected. This is especially true if you can’t easily run down to your boat when the forecast changes.

Check your docklines this weekend.
© 2023 John
For a safe slip make sure your docklines always wear a snubber.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Boat Cover
A well-secured cover can save you a lot of grief later.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Boat Cover
This boat will be ready to sail this weekend, and every time the weather cooperates.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Tire & Chain
Now is a good time to check all the connections between your boat and the docks.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Shipshape and secure. Ensure those furling headsails are wrapped or well secured before you leave the boat for a couple of weeks or more.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Chafing gear
Chafing gear is always a good idea.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Remember, it won’t be this calm all winter.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

The time to prepare for bad weather is during good weather. We’ll be delivering our November issue next Wednesday, November 1, which is generally the time the weather starts to turn. It’s a good time to check all your docklines, chafing gear, fenders, furling sails, open ports, cleats, dock connections and anything else that might cause problems when winter storms return. As a guide, here’s a downloadable checklist prepared by Mary SwiftSwan of Afterguard Sailing Academy.

If you want to make sure your boat is safe this winter, make sure it wears protection.

For a more complete list of winter protection suggestions see Mary Swift of Afterguard Sailing’s list here

Vallarta Yacht Club Warms New Home With Full Event Schedule

Vallarta Yacht Club has officially taken over their new premises in the bar/restaurant area of a commercial building situated among the hospital and immigration offices. “The ink is drying, we have a new home! We have reached an agreement with our longtime partners, the Paradise Village Group, to secure a new facility. Our rent will not change substantially and we anticipate having the new location for at least the next three to five years,” the press release said. They also have a “verbal commitment” for use of the old lot for regattas like WesMex, access to the pool and shower areas for the Junior Sailing Program, and permission to continue using the space on the side of the ramp to store some of the club’s boats. “We may even have a couple of FIBBA staff children as new students in our program.”

It’s now official.
© 2023

After 21 years in their former premises, the facility was taken over by the State of Nayarit in September, leaving the members to ponder the group’s future. Now, along with the good news of a new home, the club has announced a schedule of events that’s sure to keep sailors busy well into 2024. Leading off on the calendar are five events to see out the year. First up is the 2023–2024 Opening Day, at the club’s new home on Saturday, November 4. Then the festive-season month kicks off with The Great Chili Cook-off and Taste of Nuevo. This fun event will require chili cooks, and tasters. Know anyone who can help? Also on the calendar is the annual Lighted Boat Parade and Junior Sailing Fundraiser, a Panama Posse Presentation, and on Christmas Day, the annual Navidad en la Playa — this is where everyone gathers to share good times on the beach and send “On the beach in Mexico” photos to family and friends farther north.

Once the festivities are over, January dawns with a range of on-the-water events including the Vallarta Cup 2024, J/70 Monthly Regatta, and Cruise-Out to Barra de Navidad. And of course there are several ongoing races and get-togethers, such as the fortnightly beer can races, drop-in dinners, happy hours, game days and more.

It sure does sound as if Vallarta is the place to be this winter!

new Yacht club premises
The future of Vallarta Yacht Club is here!
© 2023

Despite the good news and the great calendar, the club is facing budgeting issues due to “some un-budgeted purchases,” and changes in the USD-peso exchange rate. They have therefore started a fundraising campaign, “New Beginnings,” with a goal to raise $45,000 USD to complete the move and fit-out of their new premises, along with replacing some out-of-date equipment. You can donate to the club’s campaign here.

Another great way to support the club is to get involved. Sign up for the races, join the cruise-out, meet other members at the happy hours and dinner. Of course, you need to be in Mexico to do that, but why not?

“We are working on our budget for next year. Our plan will include adding new members, added income from the other tenants of the building, a review of menu and drink pricing, as well as our annual revision of our dues and fee structure. We foresee a bright future and opportunities in this location that are not available in our old clubhouse,” Commodore Randy Hough wrote. “I think it is going to be fun, challenging at times perhaps, but VYC will be better and stronger by this time next year!”

Sailing In Pictures
Bay Area sailor Sally Lee Stewart sent us these fun photos that she took during the recent Jessica Cup, hosted by St Francis Yacht Club.