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.
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?