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Dozens of Jumpers Head West

Because the five archipelagos of French Polynesia comprise a French Overseas Territory, it’s proper to fly a French courtesy flag when you arrive. But you’ll score big points with the islanders if you also fly a French Poly flag such as this one. What’s unique about the South African schooner Shang Du? Her all-family crew includes four daughters — all of whom stand watches.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As reported previously, we had a very busy schedule last week in Panama, getting to know sailors of all stripes who will soon sail west to the storied isles of French Polynesia — on the 3,000 to 4,000-mile crossing dubbed the Pacific Puddle Jump.

Meanwhile, additional groups of Jumpers will soon head west from La Paz and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and elsewhere. All in all, 178 boats from many nations are currently registered on the official Puddle Jump website. As noted Monday, 28 sparkling Oyster yachts participating in the Oyster World Rally are also poised to pounce soon.

You, too, would have an upbeat attitude if you were about to head west to Tahiti. We met these international sailors at Shelter Bay Marina last Saturday.

Video Andy / Latitude 38

Joining with partners who flew in from New Zealand, Fiji and Tahiti, we did our best to educate this year’s fleet members about everything from favored anchorages to immigration rules in a series of three half-day Bon Voyage seminars at Balboa (co-hosted by the Balboa YC) on the Pacific side of The Ditch, and Shelter Bay, on the Caribbean side.

As always, the collection of sailors we met varied wildly, from those with vast experience to some who were relative newcomers. Some were new to Latitude 38 while others were longtime devotees, such as Australian John Pool of the Brisbane-based Beneteau 50 Jandamarra, who found his British crew members through Latitude 38‘s free online Crew List

Is Latitude 38 read beyond the West Coast? Absolutely. Aussie John Pool found his able crew for the crossing on our free online Crew List. 

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In upcoming issues of Latitude 38, look for profiles and photos of many of this year’s Jumpers. And in issues this summer we’ll recap their crossing experiences and the three-day arrival celebration called the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous. But what about you? Is there a Pacific Puddle Jump in your future?

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