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Happy Holidays!

The rain settled over the Bay last night, but not before at least one adventurous sailor took advantage of yesterday’s mild weather. "I couldn’t resist going sailing during the break in the rain on Winter Solstice Eve," reports Paul Nielsen, who sailed his Olson 34 Culebra in the 2010 Singlehanded TransPac. "It wasn’t cold; 55 degrees for most of the day — like summer but without the fog. Winds were in the high teens and the ebb was pretty swift, much more than forecast. I suppose it was from the river, swollen with rain. The south wind set up a 3- to 4-ft sea against the ebb in the East Bay. It was lively and wet upwind, to say the least. Off the wind it was every bit as fun as surfing down ocean swells. I saw a couple other souls on sailboats, including someone on a weathered Down East 32, but very few sailors took advantage of the break in the rain.

"Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera so I had to grab this shot with my Blackberry. The setting sun pierced the cloud cover long enough to let me to run to the bow and capture this crisp but warm light, cast beneath the approaching storm cloud. I love the contrast of the warm tones against the almost surreal, deep hues of the cloud. The colors are the real deal, not photoshopped. What a day!"

The forecast calls for rain through the weekend, so only the most diehard sailors are likely to be out, but Monday is calling for clear skies. We can’t think of a better way to enjoy Christmas Eve than by taking the family out for a mild daysail. Just be sure you pack some hot cocoa and that your iPod is loaded with festive music.

Speaking of the upcoming holidays . . . Latitude‘s World Headquarters in Mill Valley will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, then again on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. ‘Lectronic Latitude will also be taking a break until December 28, so we’ll take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry holiday!

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Sweeping new immigration laws took effect in Mexico on November 9. And then on December 6, a new administration from a new political party took over, which meant many of the old immigration officials were replaced with people who had no experience in that part of government.
If you’re stumped — or perhaps in a near-panic — over what to get your favorite sailors for Christmas, we’ve got a few suggestions.