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When we met Latitude senior editor Andy Turpin in Puerto Vallarta this spring, he asked us to report back on Daniel's Bay, Nuku Hiva, and what affect the Survivor television series may have had on it.

We talked to Daniel today, and he's very happy with the outcome of Survivor's visit here. Of course, as everyone who has met him knows, he's a pretty happy guy in general. In any event, his new home is just around the corner in Hakaui village. He says he likes it and is very comfortable, and has no intention of moving back to Hakatea Bay. We gave him a copy of the April Latitude, and he got a kick out of the picture on page 54 taken by Don on Summer Passage a few years ago.

But not everyone is quite as happy with the television show's producers. Yesterday, we went to the beach at Hakatea Bay where Daniel used to live and met Jean-Yves, who has been living behind the beach for several months now. Jean-Yves is Daniel's nephew, and having lived in Paris for several years, speaks English fluently. He says that his father owns all the property along the beach and for some distance back, and that he is acting as the caretaker. He also told us that his father allowed Daniel and his wife Antoinette to live there for many years. Jean-Yves and his father aren't happy with the producers of the Survivor show, claiming that several small structures weren't rebuilt, as had been promised, and they hadn't been paid what they had expected for the filming. I'm sure CBS might have a different take on this claim. In any event, it's now up to the lawyers and the French government to work things out with the Hollywood attorneys.

Jean-Yves was very personable, and offered us coconut, grapefruit and other fruits. He and his father were cutting the grass behind the beach, and it was starting to look very nice. The grass cutting did stir up the sand fleas, however, and they literally swarmed around anyone who came to the beach. Jean-Yves said that so far no tourists have come to visit the beach post-Survivor - only cruisers! I have to say that the show must have done a pretty good job of cleaning up, for I couldn't see any sign that they'd ever been there. All Jean-Yves has to remember it by is a coconut with a cork in it.

We also asked a few people we met in Taiohae about the Survivor show. On the positive side, they said it brought work to those in the nearby villages. On the negative side, those in the tourist industry said it basically shut them down since the Keikahanui Nuku Hiva Pearl Lodge - the primary hotel - was booked by the show which left no place for tourists to stay, and that some of the sites tourists would normally visit were closed off for the show.

That's our report. We leave for the Tuamotus tomorrow.

Clark Straw
Final Straw, Mason 54
Hakatea (Daniel's) Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands

Clark - What a pleasant surprise. We - and undoubtedly a lot of our readers - assumed that the Hollywood folks would have left behind more bad feelings, trash, and destruction.


I have a question for the know-it-alls at Latitude. I heard that from mid-June through mid-July, there will be some substantial work done on the Carquinez Bridge, and that it will require the waterway below to be closed to vessel traffic for a part of each day. What's the deal? I'm going to be taking my sailboat to the Delta at the end of June, and need to know what the schedule is for the closings.

Alson Silva
Northern California

Alson - From June 17 to July 18, the waters beneath the Carquinez Bridge will be closed for approximately six hours a day, to both install Christmas lights and to repair the damage done when we T-boned it about 10 years ago with Big O. The hours of closure will be different every day. For complete information, see this month's Loose Lips. We're just kidding about the Christmas lights - but not about the T-boning!


It's been two years since my best friend died. He sailed the coast with me from Seattle to Oceanside, withstanding the high winds, sleeting rain, and general bad weather. He sailed like a pro, enduring the motion of the boat in rough seas. He passed away peacefully on the evening of September 22, 1999, at the age of five. I buried him at sea.

All right, so I bought my friend from Maser's Pet Store in Kenmore, Washington, and his name was Tigger after my late cat and favorite Walt Disney character. Regardless of his small size, his long furless tail, and pink ears and feet, he truly was my best buddy in the whole world. So, to Tigger my rat, I miss you dearly.

Karissa Brandt
Misty Morn, Spencer 35


The recent Moore 24 Nationals at Santa Cruz featured three days of good racing in mostly 15-20 knot winds and three foot seas. You wouldn't think falling overboard was a serious risk. But during Race 3, one of the leading boats did a windward broach while planing under spinnaker, and two cockpit crew and the helmsman were flushed overboard. After spending about five minutes in the 52° water, two of the swimmers were recovered by their remaining two crew - who did a great job in dousing their spinnaker and making a return.

Their helmsman, however, was in trouble and sinking fast. His race-required lifejacket was not keeping him afloat, and only the top of his head was visible when I pulled him alongside using a Life-Sling polypro rope. Being a singlehanded spectator to the racing, I was unable to lift him aboard amidships, but did manage to get him aboard via the stern ladder. Despite coughing up a lot of water, he was recovering well by the time we reached the dock. But it was a near thing, and in another minute he may well have sunk for good.

I believe the direct cause was that the Musto Regatta lifevest he was wearing did not provide the minimum flotation to keep him afloat. This popular brand of lifevest is worn by many sailors primarily for its comfort, not for its lifesaving ability. It is not Coast Guard approved, and only gives nine pounds of floatation when new. It appears the floatation of bubblewrap filling is subject to deterioration, especially when hiking hard against lifelines. If you go overboard wearing cold water sailing gear and boots, this type of lifevest may not keep you afloat. With all the comfortable, Coast Guard approved, foam-filled lifevests now available, it is a mystery to me why regatta organizers currently allow such non-approved vests to satisfy their PFD requirement. Judging from the Moore 24 incident, this is a false sense of security and nothing more.

If you or your children rely on such a vest in Northern California sailing conditions, I would give it a second look. The tragedy of Larry Klein is too fresh to be forgotten.

Skip Allan
Wildflower, Wylie 27

Readers - After receiving Allan's letter, we asked him for additional information. He sent us the following letter.


I'd rather not say who the guys were or what Moore 24 it was, as it's immaterial to the point. Also, my participation in the recovery was not "heroic," as one of you suggested, but what any professional seaman would have done in the circumstances. It was, however, discouraging to me that 12-15 racers on other Moore 24s passed in proximity to the swimmers, and not one stopped or came back - except for the boat that had lost the crew overboard. The two reasons I heard were, "We were going so fast that we would have been past them by the time we doused," and, "We saw other boats in the vicinity and thought they were taking care of things."

I don't wish to make an issue of this separate part of the day's happenings, other than to point out that the very first racing rule of Part 1, Fundamental Rules, Rule Number One is, "A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger." This brings up an interesting question. At what point is a person overboard 'in danger?' In the tropics, it may be one thing, and in 52° water with wind waves, it may be another. Interestingly, as I sailed close-hauled on starboard tack to the scene of the three swimmers, a port tack tailender, not under spinnaker, came barreling at me and shouted "get out of the race course!" When I pointed out the swimmers, they stopped shouting at me - but sped right on by.

Again, I do not wish to criticize the participants in the Moore Class Nationals, as many are my friends, and in the heat of action, decisions sometimes can get blurred. My reason for writing is more of an educational nature so that we all can improve upon our responsibilities and reactions. This was not a sensational event, but it could have been had the guy drowned. Dinghies - and a Moore 24 is really a dinghy - go down all the time. It was just that three crew usually aren't separated from their vessel.

Skip Allan
Wildflower, Wylie 27


I trust that you've had an avalanche of protests to your reply to the March letter from the woman who was angry that the Crew Lists were split by gender. Your reply astonished me for its hostile and condescending tone. It was a personal attack that evidently springs straight from the very bias that you deny. Sailing - which I happen to enjoy - is still pretty much a man's world, but belligerent denial of a legitimate issue is not worthy of Latitude 38.

Marcy Liston
White Cap
Santa Cruz

Marcy - We regret to inform you that there has been no avalanche of protest, merely your single snowflake. A few others, however, wrote to castigate the woman for referring to less experienced women sailors as "bunnies." While that wasn't a nice comment, we think that you and they are making mountains out of molehills. We spoke to the woman in question - who sounded pleasant and reasonable on the phone - and told her that if she didn't find a ride on some other boat, we'd be happy to take her out on Profligate to try to start her networking. We haven't heard from her, but the offer still stands.

As for your "astonishment," please understand that just because we didn't agree with the woman's point of view doesn't mean we're misogynistic - not any more than your disagreeing with us means you wish you had a penis. The doctor prescribes a long ocean cruise.


Last Saturday some friends and I were sailing towards The Slot when a fully loaded Chevron tanker came southbound from Richmond. It was towing a Foss tug that was facing backwards! One of our theories for why is that the tug was working to counter the 'squat' of the tanker. The other theories - a law enforcement officer was aboard - involved DUI tests for all involved. Can anyone explain what was happening out there?

Nick Salvador
No Strings Attached

Nick - It's all about perspective. The tanker and the tug have different goals. The tanker's job is to move forward, which is why it's pointed that way. The tug's job is to be ready to slow the tanker down and control its turning axis, which is why she's pointed the opposite way. Tugs do this all the time because it's more effective than sidetying to larger ships. At least that's our theory.


On May 11, 2002, seven adult friends and myself went out on my yacht to have dinner and watch the fireworks sponsored by a local radio station. We anchored south of the Bay Bridge near Pac Bell Park with other boats of all sizes. Following the show at around 10 p.m., I noticed an incredible number of Coast Guard vessels cruising by anchored boats, creating wakes and shining high-powered lights into boats where the occupants were doing no more than socializing. A light was shone in our boat also. One of the Coasties hailed us to turn on our running lights - even though we were anchored with the proper light showing.

When we weighted anchor and headed back to the marina in Alameda, I noticed that the Coast Guard was stopping numerous vessels on the Bay and in the Oakland Estuary. Many of them were just heading home. As we approached Jack London Square, a Coastie with a bullhorn hailed us to say that we were going to be boarded because we had violated the 'no wake' law for the Estuary. At the time, we were travelling down the center of the Estuary at several knots, and had a favorable current of two knots. Because of the Coast Guard's behavior which I had observed earlier in the evening, I was extremely mad and intolerant of the unreasonable stop. And I showed it.

When six to eight heavily-armed Coasties boarded our boat, we all expressed our outrage. When I advised them that there wasn't a 'no wake' law in the Estuary, and that a boat can't make headway or have steering without making a wake, I was told to shut up. Because of my expression of outrage, the same person who told me to shut up said that he was going to inspect the boat. Because of my objection to the boarding, he said he would "take all night to do so."

During the stop, my wife and the wives of the other men on the boat were down in the main salon while I was on the flybridge. When I attempted to go down below to check on them and to be present with the owners of the boat - who are clients - two Coasties refused to let me go. In fact, one pushed me, causing me to lose my balance and fall against the steps. The other put his hand on his gun as if to draw it on me. I have Charcot-Marie Tooth Disease, which has crippled my lower limbs and hands, and I have bilateral artificial hips that make me unstable on my feet. Any fall could necessitate a hip surgery, and my handicap is clearly noticeable when I walk.

One other person on the flybridge got up to move around, at which time another Coastie drew what we believe to be mace, and pointed it in his face. When I again asked to be allowed to go below, I was told that I could not. Although I was told that I wasn't under arrest, I was not allowed to move off the flybridge. My wife was allowed to come up to the flybridge, and informed me that the Coasties in the main saloon were threatening to make a detailed search of the vessel - including going through the garbage.

At the time of this unpleasant experience, I only knew that the Coast Guard didn't have to have a reason to board for a safety inspection. I did not know what their search powers were, nor did I know whether the announcement of an incorrect reason - a 'no wake' violation - affected the validity of the boarding. I have now done some preliminary research, and found that the Coast Guard is authorized to make a limited investigatory stop of a vessel, but that a more extensive search is permissible only if there is either consent or probable cause plus exigent circumstances. U.S. v. Zurosky, C.A.1 (Mass.) 1979, 614 F.2d 779, certiorari denied 100 S.Ct. 2945, 446 U.S. 967, 64 L.Ed.2d 826.

I further believe that all of the stops made by the Coast Guard on that night were pretextual for the purpose of determining whether people were either drinking or using drugs. In addition, I believe that the Coast Guard conducted unlawful searches of vessels, overstepped their authority and power, were abusive, excessive, obtrusive and oppressive. I'm not going to allow this conduct to go by without attempting to do something about it. At this time, I am therefore demanding that the Coast Guard issue each occupant of the vessel an apology, and that the Coasties involved be dealt with accordingly, and that each stop and/or arrest conducted on May 11 by the Coast Guard be scrutinized to determine if the conduct of the Coast Guard was clearly appropriate.

Rodney Mariani

Rodney - We'll be interested to hear if your 'demands' are satisfied - although we wouldn't hold our breath. In the meantime, as a matter of self-interest, we suggest that mariners be cooperative rather than confrontational when it comes to dealings with the Coast Guard. Make things easy for them, and they'll generally make life easy for you. If, on the other hand, you become outraged and extremely mad that the 4th Amendment doesn't apply to them, you could end up wasting a lot of your time and potentially find yourself in some unnecessary trouble.

By the way, it's only common sense that at times when very large numbers of boats congregate on the Bay - such as for the KFOG show, the Fourth of July, and Fleet Week - the Coast Guard is going to be out in force keeping a particularly keen eye out for unusual or unsafe behavior. These are the times when you want to make sure that your running lights are working, that you don't create a dangerous wake, that the skipper isn't guzzling beer, and so forth.


Each year we anticipate enjoying the KFOG Kaboom concert and fireworks show with a small circle of friends aboard our vintage Islander 30. This year there would be eight of us aboard. We arrived at the site off San Francisco at about 6 p.m., and found a good spot to drop anchor in the midst of about 350 other boats. We fired up the BBQ, poured some cocktails, and settled into the event with Boz Scaggs coming on not long after our arrival. It was great. And the fireworks that ended the show were spectacular. When it was over, we held tight to give the other boats time to clear out.

After finally weighing anchor at about 11 p.m., I set the sails while one of my regular crew took the helm. It was great sailing, as we had the tide with us and it was abnormally warm. We entered the Estuary at about 11:45 p.m. under full sail, with various people taking turns at the helm in the fading breeze. I relaxed, sipping beer on the rail. As we were going along, our group decided that we should stop at Kincaid's for an appetizer and a nightcap. With my wife at the helm and me up forward dousing the jib, I noticed that a Coast Guard inflatable had come up from behind. I gave them a friendly salute, and they saluted back.

As we approached the guest dock at Scott's, I - being the best driver and the owner of the boat - took the helm for the docking procedure. I pulled in perfectly. That's when I noticed that we had company - the Coast Guard. With six of our group of eight having already gone up the ramp, one of the Coasties asked who the owner was. As I identified myself, I realized it hadn't been a friendly inquiry. He asked me if I had been drinking, and I admitted that I had. When he asked if I minded if he boarded my boat, I told him that I didn't, not really knowing his intentions.

Within the next five minutes, I was given a series of sobriety tests. My pulse quickened, as I knew I was in trouble. Although I had only been behind the wheel for five minutes, and was traveling at less than three knots, I blew a .16 - and was therefore arrested for Boating Under The Influence. I couldn't believe it was happening! Although I tried to explain that I had only been at the wheel a few minutes, and only because I was the best at docking the boat, it was to no avail. It didn't matter to them that two of our crew hadn't drank at all, and had recently been driving in lieu of me.

I was handed over to the Oakland Police, and shortly after midnight was taken to the city jail. I spent the night in a crowded holding cell until after 8 a.m. the next morning.

I'm writing this for two reasons. First, to find out what my rights are when the Coast Guard requests permission to board? What happens if I say no? Secondly - and I'm sure that I'll find the answer to this one on my own - what are the penalties for BUI? Do they effect my DMV record and driving privileges? I drive a company vehicle, and if convicted, will lose my job.

Please print my letter and let everyone know that it's a myth that law enforcement agencies don't bother sailboats. And beer can racers, realize what can happen to you.

Angry In Alameda
Islander 30

Angry - The Coast Guard has, based on United States Code, the right to board your boat any time they want, and they will exercise that right. If you impede that boarding, they will "detain" you. If you significantly impede them, they will arrest you for impeding the boarding. So you basically don't have any rights - not even the 4th Amendment right that prevents your home or car from being searched without reasonable cause.

If the Coast Guard has reasonable suspicion that you may be under the influence of alcohol, they will administer preliminary field sobriety tests. If you fail them, they will either give you an administrative citation or turn you over to the local jurisdiction on land. The legal limit for blood alcohol is .08 in California. A BUI is just like a DUI in that it will affect your DMV record. As we're sure you already know, you need a lawyer.

We're not going to pretend that we - and a lot of other sailors - haven't had a drink or two while sailing. But if you blew a .16, you were twice the legal limit. Given the speeds at which sailboats travel, we don't think the big danger was so much you ramming anything, but rather falling overboard at night. Drinking while sailing can't be recommended - particularly heavy or prolonged drinking. For practical purposes, you sure want to avoid it on occasions when the Coast Guard will be out in force. We're sorry that you had to be the one who got caught, but hope your experience will serve as a wake up call for everyone.


Holy shit, what a trip up the coast from Puerto Vallarta to San Diego! Fourteen days and 1,500 miles of sailing Dorr Anderson's J/37 Blue Heron upwind doublehanded. We must have been f--kin' loco - but that's how a lot of great adventures start. I'm glad for the experience, but you won't catch me doing it again anytime soon.

We left Puerto Vallarta on April 18, trying to get to San Diego ASAP because Dorr had already purchased another boat. We originally started out doing the old clipper ship route, which would have taken us about 400 miles offshore. But being the racers that we are, we started playing the windshifts, and found ourselves coming in on Cabo - which put us much further north than we expected. So we continued playing the westerly shift during the day and the northerly shift at night - and gave up on the clipper ship route.

We stopped in Turtle Bay on Day 11 for fresh food and to top off the fuel tank. After six hours, we headed back out to try to get around the point in the middle of the night when it wasn't supposed to blow so hard. But it was blowing. It never seemed to stop blowing - which is why they call it the 'Baja Bash'.

We arrived in San Diego on May 1, having sailed all the way except for 12 hours, during which we didn't have wind. The average wind speed was 15 to 20 knots, with 4- to 5-foot, steep and lumpy seas, so we had to keep the boat slowed down to 5 to 5.5 knots so as not to launch off waves more than every couple of minutes. The launchings and poundings are worse than Chinese water torture! Then we had three days of 25-knot winds that gusted to 30 knots - which increased the seas to 8 feet - at which time we really had to slow down. During this I hand-steered for a couple of hours each day just for fun and exercise. It was just like a video game - except that you got soaked when you screwed up!

Roberto Sutherland
Echo, Wylie 34
Mill Valley / Puerto Vallarta

Readers - And to think that Roberto had one of the easier Bashes north this spring. Check out the following Letters, Changes, and Cruise Notes, and you'll learn why this was one of the worst 'Bash' seasons in memory.


Kristen and I want to thank the Coast Guard and all the boats who made efforts to assist us when the steering on our Pearson 36 ketch went out 30 miles from shore in bad conditions while doing the Baja Bash. We had started that leg from the north end of Cedros Island - about halfway down Baja - with two other sailboats.

We had spent three days on the hook at Cedros, where it howled nonstop at 30 knots. So getting underway seemed like a better alternative. As we left the island, conditions were as bad as advertised, but once we got 10 miles to the north, the wind was down to 25+ knots and the seas 8 to 10 feet. We were making good time bashing through the waves, although we had lost visual contact with our buddyboats.

Just after the sun went down, conditions deteriorated. The wind picked up to over 30 knots again, and the seas became steeper and more confused. Then we heard a loud 'snap', and the chain came off the steering column. We were able to rig our emergency tiller and slowly get underway again, but I had to do the steering by hand. Our most direct course resulted in waves of 50° water crashing into the cockpit, drenching me.

My fiancee Kristen stayed down below and spent two hours on the VHF trying to raise any vessel. The only response she got was the hiss of static. Even though the situation was under control, I was becoming hypothermic and started to have trouble steering. We felt very alone in the dark. Kristen finally put out a pan pan - which is less than a mayday - and the U.S. Coast Guard responded immediately 250 miles away! Kristen's decision to let the Coast Guard know of our position and situation turned out to be the key in allowing other boats and cruisers to help us - not only to anchor safely, but to also repair our steering and complete the Bash.

I cannot stress how important it was for us to have others know where we were and what our situation was. We want to thank everyone who expressed concern and offered assistance - especially the motor vessel Takara for relaying to the Coast Guard for us; the Browns on the Little Harbor 53 Wings, and Adam Sadeg on the Morgan 38 Blarney3 for coming to our aid; and Kea for staying with their buddy boat even though their radio was out. Thanks to all of you, Sol Mate is now safe in her new home of San Diego.

Rob Runge and Kristen
Sol Mate, 365 Pearson Ketch
San Diego

Readers - We asked Rob why the couple didn't just backtrack to Turtle Bay and wait until the entire Pacific weather pattern - that was causing the relentless northwesterlies - changed. He explained that they were basically out of money and food, and didn't want to give up the hard-earned miles they had already made to weather.

We've gotten lots of reports from battered Bashers this spring, and the one thing they all remark on is how cold it was. Shortly after getting north of Cabo, the water temperature plummeted 20 degrees, chilling everything. Their bodies, softened by the winter heat of Mexico, weren't ready for it.


I finally completed the Baja Bash, but it took a long time and sure wasn't easy. When I finally got to within 178 miles of San Diego, I had my biggest thrill.

I was motorsailing - which is what you have to do to get upwind in waves - and it was blowing about 18 knots from the northwest, when all of a sudden the engine started running at a higher RPM. "Crap," I thought to myself, "my prop must have fallen off. So I looked behind the engine in the engine compartment to see if I could see the shaft turning from forward momentum - but what I saw was just part of the prop shaft and a whole bunch of water! It seems that my prop shaft decided to break just north of the packing gland. Ouch! Then a whole bunch of water decided to pour into the boat. Ahhhhhhhhhh! What do I do?

I ran all over the boat searching for something to cover the packing gland - maybe a piece of rubber or a bag that I could hose clamp to the packing to keep the water out. That's when I saw . . . the Nerf football! I cut one end off, then shoved it into the opening, wrapping a towel around the packing gland and wrapped it all up with some 3/16-inch line. Take a Nerf football to Mexico, play with it on the beach, then plug up the hole in your boat with it. It's kinda like the American Express card - don't leave home without it.

Needless to say, it was a long 178 miles to San Diego. After two days of sailing, with the very patient Mike and Lee Brown on the Little Harbor 53 Wings standing by to make sure I didn't sink or end up on a lee shore, I made it to San Diego. So here I sit at San Diego YC, awaiting the next adventure. Chances are it will be prepping the boat for a truck ride to San Francisco.

I'm sure glad to have the Bash out of the way. Man, what a nasty coast! It's a long way without anything or anyone anywhere. And it's cold and blows like stink every day. There were fellow cruisers stranded all along the way, wishing they were back in San Diego.

Adam Sadeg
Blarney Blarney Blarney, Morgan 38
San Diego


The 'clipper ship route' from Mexico to California always works - except when it doesn't. It's not that it didn't work at all for myself and my crew Bernard, but it only worked for awhile.

We left Cabo on May 7, and in the beginning everything worked to plan. By the time we got 100 miles out on starboard tack, we were already getting lifted. By the end of the day, we were sailing almost parallel to the coast some 300 miles offshore. That was the good news. The bad news was that it had been blowing 15 to 25 true ever since we rounded the Arch at Cabo. The wind, of course, wasn't the big problem, but rather the steep and confused seas. We were almost always trying to slow the cat down so the 'fillings would stay in our teeth'!

So on Day Six, we said - well, we said a lot of things, but the consensus was - 'enough already'! At the time, the weather forecast was predicting winds up to 30 knots off Central California and all the way out to longitude 130. So we tacked and started heading for land. We figure that at the maximum, we'd been 450 miles offshore. As far as I'm concerned, the route worked great. If the conditions had been a bit kinder, we would have pressed on up until we got a layline for San Francisco. With everything said and done, we'll be making San Diego in about eight days, and it was still better - in my mind - than bashing straight up the coast.

It really wasn't that bad a trip. We broke the genoa halyard, but were able to use the spinnaker halyard instead. Then we got a line tangled in a prop while trying to deploy the drogue, which meant I had to go swimming in 12-ft seas while it was blowing 30 knots.

Blair Grinols
Capricorn Cat, 46-ft Custom Cat

Blair - Swimming offshore in 12-foot seas at age 69 - we can't decide if you deserve an award or a big spanking!


There's a new playground at South Beach in San Francisco, which features a miniature ship and other nautical goodies. Unfortunately, the can and nun buoys at the entrance are either backwards or meant to convince the tykes that they're sailing in IALA-A, because the red one is on the port side of the entrance.

I'll be relocating to New York City this summer - although I wouldn't go if I couldn't get a subscription to Latitude. Do you know of any good, low-key sailing clubs back there?

Regarding the story in 'Lectronic Latitude about the three sailors going overboard during the Moore 24 Nationals, it's astounding and reprehensible that racers would not only sail right by a drowning competitor and offer lame excuses to rationalize it, but that they would also scream at the rescuer to get off the course! If I were running the race, anyone who had sailed by would be permanently barred from the class - preferably from racing and sailing altogether. I'm also surprised by your mild reaction. It would likely have been different if someone had drowned. And I don't care what Skip Allan claims, he is a hero, and probably saved the helmsman's life.  

Bill Quigley
San Francisco

Bill - As for New York City, we don't know anything that's low key back there, so good luck in finding the kind of yacht club you're looking for.

As for the overboard incident, we were hesitant to make too emphatic a statement because we weren't there and therefore aren't sure how many competitors were clearly aware that there were some fellow sailors in the water that needed help. After all, if you're racing and it's windy enough to broach, most sailors are primarily focused on what's happening on their boats. However, all of you who did know people were in the water yet sailed right by need to rethink your priorities.

We think the world of Allan, but believe he's right about the hero business. If he had to dive 10 feet under water to pull one of the crew to the surface - or had otherwise gone far beyond the call of duty - then he would be a hero. But if he was on the spot and able to rescue the skipper with relative ease, he was just being a responsible human being.


While reading the May Latitude, I was jogged into writing to you once more for various reasons. First, to give you and some friends an update. Hopefully you remember me as the owner of the wooden Saltflower, the Hanna 35 Gulfweed that I owned for 12 years and sailed to the South Pacific and back to Kauai - before she was destroyed by hurricane Iniki. Then I had the Cal 25 Iniki, and in October of '00, purchased an Ericson 35 MK II. After 18 months of refurbishing, I'm out cruising again, although for the present only in the Channel Islands.

I bought my Ericson Legacy for $17,000, and now have slightly over $57,000 in her, but have a reasonably fast cruising boat. As some people might already know, the Ericson 35 MkII was more of a racer/cruiser than a cruiser/racer, and therefore had small tanks, so not too many got cruised very far. Here's a list of some of the upgrades that I've made: new Universal diesel, new larger-size standing rigging, removable babystay for staysail or storm jib, Profurl roller furling, all new wiring and electrical panel, 315 watts worth of solar power, radar, autopilot, two GPS units, two VHFs, a super entertainment center, a laptop with all the charts from Canada to Guatemala and Hawaii, new upholstery, 30 gallons more water and 16 gallons more fuel. I did all of this while living on a mooring in Catalina Harbor on Catalina. Who says you have to be in a boatyard or at a dock to rebuild?

Actually, it was the short blurb about bald eagles in the Channel Islands that actually prompted me to write you. Here in Cat Harbor, we get to see bald eagles just about every day as Scootch, the caretaker/manager of the Fish Farm - an experimental growout facility, exploring the feasibility of raising white sea bass for sale - offers them fish he's caught, so they hang out on the cliffs at Cat Head. There are now at least six nesting pairs on Catalina.

By the way, Dusty Tremblay should be added to your list of circumnavigators. He went around twice in a Peterson 44. I last saw him in '92 in Pago Pago aboard his new Kelly/Peterson 46. He was 84 back then and still singlehanding. I talked to an old friend of his last year, who had talked to his son, who says Dusty is now living in Northern California.

I might as well share some comments about cruising, too. Most of the 'cruisers' I see passing through nowadays haven't quite got the concept. 'Cruising' is taking your time and savoring whatever befalls you. Today it should be called 'speeding', as most of them seem in a hurry to get everywhere - including high speed runs through anchorages, where there are boats with small children playing on deck. What's all the rush?

When checking in and out of foreign countries, I always dressed well, carried my papers in a briefcase, and was never in a hurry. While sitting and waiting my turn at port captain's offices in Mexico, someone would often come up and ask why I was there. Upon showing them my papers, I was always escorted to a separate room, where my papers were stamped and I was given a "Vaya con Dios." I generally completed my paperwork several hours before cruisers who were dressed in shorts and Tshirts. In PV, I walked from Migracion to Nuevo Vallarta - and still beat three couples who had been standing in line ahead of me and they took taxis back! Most countries conduct state business in a more formal manner than here in the States.

Enough of my babbling on. If you're ever in Cat Harbor look me up. I've always got cold beer for old friends. Cat Harbor is my homebase when I'm not out shaking the bugs out. Any of my old friends can email me at: saltflower at Life is good Slow down and enjoy it!

Bruce Westrate
Legacy, Ericson 35 MKII
Cat Harbor

Bruce - Hopefully, you remember us as your 'G Dock' neighbor in Ventura in the early '80s, before you set sail for the South Pacific and became a bartender at the Royal Suva YC. Too bad we didn't get your letter a week before, as we saw your boat several times during walks around Cat Harbor last month.


We don't have $100,000 and a year to go cruising, but we do have a Yankee 30 on a trailer, 10 months off starting in July - and a two-year-old son. I'd like to launch the boat in San Felipe if possible, or Puerto Peñasco. Has anybody done this instead of going all the way down to San Carlos? Is there a ramp, crane, or Travelift at either port? We draw five feet. Our desire is for warm water and warm nights.

We also have three more questions: 1) Does anyone know where to rent a one-ton truck that can cross the border? 2) Can you reprint the address to protest port fees in Mexico? And, 3) do you have any advice concerning an active two-year-old boy at sea?

John Reynolds
Yankee 30
Santa Cruz

John - They've made some funny boat trailers in San Felipe that they use to launch boats with deep keels, so we're sure they could take care of you. And since they're Mexicans, they'd have no trouble stepping your relatively short mast. Another option - albeit more expensive - would be to trailer your boat to Tucson and have one of Ed Grossman's empty boat trailers haul her down to San Carlos.

But may we make an entirely different suggestion? If you're looking for warm nights and warm water - as opposed to sizzling nights and hot water - you might start your cruise in Southern California in July, just after the June Gloom has ended. It's almost unbearably hot in the Sea of Cortez in August and September, and as you'd be just starting out, it might be hard on your family. We suggest that you consider easing into your cruise by enjoying the Lost Coast between Point Conception and Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands, and after the kids have gone back to school in September, places like Catalina, Newport, and San Diego. This would also give you a chance to shake your boat down while still close to parts and familiar craftspeople. At the end of October, you could head down the Baja coast with everybody else, or trailer your boat to San Felipe.

The people to whom you should send your protests regarding clearance procedures and fees in Mexico are: Lic. Berta Leticia Navarro Ochoa, Secretario de Turismo, at lnavarro at; and Lic. Rosario Graham, Directora General de Servicios a Prestadores de servicios turisticos, at rgraham at

Finally, the best advice we can give is keep a very, very close eye on that two-year-old.


I want to thank Andre Monjoin of Nonchalant, Bruce Nesbit of Razzberries, Michael Jefferson of Foxx Fyre, and Peter Jones of Uno for rendering assistance to John Selbach and myself during the Doublehanded Farallones Race after we lost the rudder on our Wyliecat 30 Silkye. I also wish to thank the Race Committee and the Coast Guard.

Here's what happened. Almost immediately after we dropped our sails, we heard Peter Jones' voice over the radio asking about our status. Since we only had a handheld VHF - I have already ordered a fixed-mount model - he relayed our status to the race committee, which, in turn, was able to inform the Coast Guard. As we limped back toward the Bay steering with the outboard, Andre Monjoin dropped out of the race to escort us almost all the way to the Lightship. Michael Jefferson used his radio to give the race committee updates during our trip back to the Bay. Bruce Nesbit stood by for a while, and also waited at the Golden Gate YC to give us a tow the rest of the way home to Richmond once we got back inside the Bay. The Coast Guard monitored our situation throughout our ordeal. When we were out of contact for a while, they even sent a helicopter to observe our status.

I can't begin to express how comforting it was to know that we were not alone after we had become disabled. I can't repay all these people who helped, but I do hope that someday I get a chance to help some other mariner in distress.

P.S. Despite my wife's objections, I plan on continuing to compete in the Doublehanded Farallones.

John Skinner
WylieCat 30, Silkye
Point Richmond


Your listing of West Coast Circumnavigators is a fine project, but it will be difficult to know when you have a complete list. For example, I missed seeing the names of Bill and Mary Black, a Seattle couple who circumnavigated with their Valiant 40 Foreign Affair. In 1979, they were awarded the Cruising Club of America's Blue Water Medal for their four year, 40,000-mile circumnavigation. Bill is an active member of the Pacific Northwest Station of the CCA, and he and Mary participate in our cruises with their Valiant 40.

Jim Beebe
Port Ludlow, Washington

Jim - Thanks for 'telling' on them. We realize that many circumnavigators - particularly from that era - would never toot their own horns.

There are two things that stand out about the Black's circumnavigation. One is that their initial passage, from Seattle to San Francisco, would be the roughest of their 40,000 miles. Second, that their route was a little unusual. They did a relatively normal Milk Run to New Zealand; spent a year land travelling in New Zealand and Oz; did the South Pacific a little before heading to New Guinea and Darwin; then travelled up the Red Sea and across the Med - all of which is fairly normal. But when they crossed the Atlantic, they did so to Brazil, after which they rounded the bottom of South America via the Strait of Magellan. From Chile, they made a 42-day, 6,000-mile passage to Hilo. Next was a trip to Alaska, and then south to Shilshole Marina, Seattle, their point of departure. Naturally, they made hundreds of stops along the way. Well done!


I live in Russell in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Last week I was given a copy of the March issue of Latitude, the one with a list of West Coast Circumnavigators. If you ever print a new list, would you be so kind to add my name? I departed Sausalito in 1979 with crew aboard my Islander 34 Tiama and sailed west-about the world, returning to the same longitude in 1986. Instead of returning to settle in the Bay Area, I decided to sail west again to New Zealand.

For the last eight years, I have been living in the Bay of Islands. For the last four years, I have been the owner and operator of the 62-ft schooner Windborne, which was built in Cornwall, England, in 1928. I do mostly day trips from the scenic port of Russell.

Thomas Waters
Windborne, 62-ft schooner
Russell, New Zealand

Thomas - We'll be delighted to add your name to the list.


I enjoy Latitude, particularly the interesting letters you print. My letter is to vent about the operators of fast motoryachts who intentionally pass dangerously close to other vessels. The incident that put me over the top to write this letter happened on the afternoon of April 28 on the Oakland Estuary. The problem was a single white male with white hair who was on the flybridge of a 40 to 45-ft white motoryacht with darkened windows. I estimate that the boat he was operating - which had no name and may have just come from the boat show in Jack London Square - was travelling outbound at 25 to 30 knots. Unfortunately, there were three other vessels in the area at the time. My boat was also leaving the Estuary, while two daysailors were returning to the Estuary.

Incredibly, the driver of the motoryacht, which was kicking up a large bow wave, cut between the two daysailors, passing approximately 15 yards from each boat. Her wake was close to five feet tall, and needless to say, both daysailers were bounced around like proverbial corks. It was very fortunate that nobody was injured. The motoryacht then headed off toward San Francisco, passing south of Yerba Buena. I should have called the Coast Guard but did not. Next time I will. Perhaps the operator of that boat reads Latitude, and will modify his behavior before somebody gets hurt.

Boat operators are responsible for their wakes. Perhaps a criminal fine or civil judgment will cause some of these Bozos to slow down. By the way, it's my experience that the great majority of powerboat operators are safe and courteous. My letter is only directed at those that aren't.

Garry Hubert
Sea Bear, Cal 35

Garry - If a large powerboat approaches your boat at high speed and you suspect her wake may cause you or your boat injury, we suggest you sound your air horn repeatedly and stand up and wave wildly - at least until the wake nears. Occasionally this will get their attention and they'll slow down. If not, calling the Coast Guard wouldn't be out of line. To our way of thinking, this problem is the worst on the Estuary, where some powerboaters are frustrated at having to slow down for sailors, and behind Angel Island, where some operators forget that they are responsible for their wakes.


I've got a Laser to donate to the Nicaraguan sailing program that Latitude and Robert Membreno of Puesto del Sol are putting together. The stickers are from 1988, but nobody in my family knows where the title is. The Laser has all the rigging and a decent sail. We'd also be willing to donate an Evenrude 30hp outboard if it can be used.

Northern California

L.W. - Thank you for your extremely generous offer. It's our understanding that Membreno is currently in Nicaragua, so we'll have him contact you when he returns.

For those who may have missed it, the Nicaraguan government and the locals have given enthusiastic approval of San Diego sailor Membreno's plans to build a modest marina in the northwest part of the country. We're trying to collect Lasers that are no longer being used to start a sailing program for Nicaraguan youth. Membreno would ship the dinghies down, and then we'll have a fundraiser on Profligate to send one or two Northern California junior sailors down to teach the locals how to sail them. If you've got a Laser you'd be willing to donate, contact Richard.


I'm looking for a list of all the overnight guest docks in the Bay region that could accommodate a 34-footer.

Mark Smith

Mark - Many of the major marinas advertise in these pages, but if you want an entire list, we suggest you check out the Northern & Southern California Boater's Guide to Harbor's and Marinas. If you don't want to fork over the dough, most facilities also have websites.


Thanks for the years of excellent journalism. But if the big-dollar boats, businesses, and governments continue their encroachment - which means singlehanding becomes illegal and anchoring is $50/night everywhere - we might end up reading letters such as these in about 2012:

"Dear Grandpa, it's been 10 short years since you took me over to Catalina Island on your 30-ft sloop in 2002. Thanks to your excellent instruction and inspiration, I was finally able to take my son 'over Island' last weekend. Things have changed a bit in the last decade, but it's so much safer now. We prepared for the big trip for weeks. The cargo bags were stuffed full of gear and supplies, and I carefully went through the three pages of Coast Guard requirements, cross-checking them with our insurance company's list of additional gear. On Saturday morning, the Harbor Patrol was right on time in bringing our 40-ft boat - now the minimum size for a Catalina passage - out of bonded storage. We were lucky that our permits were approved, and we'd paid all the fees and bonds as required last year. Between that and the safety gear required for the voyage, these cost as much as the boat. But it was worth the peace of mind for the 25-mile trip. By 10 a.m., we were safely tied to the Tow Line to Catalina, and our pilot was on board, checking our ship's documents. The great sea was nearly flat, and we slipped out on the beautiful water. Of course the insurance company would never allow the tow to operate in less than ideal conditions, so all 1,000 boats bound for Catalina that day would have a 'nice' sail - if they sailed at all.

"There is no more sea life - such as the porpoises we saw 10 years ago - on the crossing. It's hard to imagine using water that animals once lived in. Now the ocean is as clean as a swimming pool, and there's nothing to disturb the tourist industry. The long line of boats in front and behind us was a symphony of coordination. The tow smoothed the strains and stabilized the boats well. We were chastised for being the 'old fashioned' folks who still had a mast on our boat, but you taught me that all sailboats have masts, so I'm keeping the tradition for one more generation. My son thinks I'm nuts to pay the extra 30% insurance premium for a mast, and he's certain that it's going to take somebody's eye out one day. He's a good, Safe Citizen with the Safety Scouts.

"Catalina was even more gorgeous than I remembered it. But now the hotels reach far out into the ocean, and are stacked in rows right up to the mountaintop and the busy heliport. Our stomachs lurched as our pilot disengaged the tow. It was unnerving being at the mercy of the elements with no guidance! We quickly checked our survival suits, inflated our lifevests, tightened our tie-down straps, and made it in okay. Within five minutes, we were safely under the overhang of La Barca Grande Hotel and being lifted into our rack. I was again charged extra for the mast, since I had to reserve a top rack position. But all in all, it was very nice to go sailing again. I've already put in my new applications to take my boat out again next year! The island has all the comforts of Las Vegas now, so I'm sure you'd like it. So thanks Grandpa, for introducing me to sailing and getting me hooked. It's a great sport and so much safer now. Everyone can enjoy it for just under $100,000 a trip!"

This is my vision of what it will be like if current trends aren't changed.

Brian Drew

Brian - It so happens that we've travelled from San Diego or Newport Beach to Catalina aboard Profligate a number of times in the last two months, and based on that experience are perplexed at your vision of the future of sailing to Catalina. We were able to singlehand to our heart's content. Nobody inspected our boat or demanded that we have insurance. There were tons of dolphins playing with us on the way to the island, and in eight crossings we saw virtually no trash on the water. There was no new development visible anywhere on the island. Since it was before Memorial Day, there were lots of empty moorings, and even at the height of summer there are plenty of places to anchor for free. Where does it cost $50/night to anchor? We paid 50/cents/foot at a marina in San Diego, the same for a mooring at Catalina - and a mere $5/night for a great mooring in Newport Beach. The general belief is that having a mooring on Catalina is very expensive. When it comes to Avalon, that's true, as some of them sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But we were surprised to learn that you can keep a 33-footer on a mooring in Cat Harbor for just $1,100 a year - not a month! The best thing about Catalina was that everybody there - particularly the harbor patrol and other officials - were so friendly, and good-natured. A gold star to Catalina from Latitude.

As for incursions on sailing in general, there's naturally been some of that in recent years because of the tremendous increase in population, but there's still plenty of sailing freedom and opportunity. In Southern California, for example, it's still possible to anchor for free in San Diego, Dana Point, Newport Beach, Long Beach and Santa Barbara for very long periods of time. We're even told that boats are anchoring near the entrance to Marina del Rey, although that sounds crazy to us. And there's virtually no limit to the amount of time one can anchor for free at the Channel Islands or Catalina. Indeed, more than a few sailors are living aboard 'off the grid' - and loving it.


It wasn't until my dad, known as 'Doc', was 85 years old and dying of colon cancer that he decided to sell his 42-ft trawler Suzie Q. He had been part of San Francisco Bay since the '30s. He decided to sell the boat himself. A fellow I'll call 'George', who is a financial professional, gave dad a small down payment with the balance to be due the following week. My dad didn't notice that George had taken the boat's pink slip with him.

The following week, George told dad that his clients weren't paying their bills, and therefore he wouldn't be able to pay him the balance. We told George that we would give him the deposit back and cancel the sale. Meanwhile, the cancer got worse and Doc was admitted to a hospice to die - something George was apparently all too aware of.

I decided to check on the Suzie Q for Dad - and was surprised to find that she was no longer in her berth. George had previously stated he had another boat at Fisherman's Wharf, so I went there to look for him or the boat. Nobody had heard of him. When I went to his residence, he had moved with no forwarding address. I visited my dad every day at the hospice, and he always asked if I'd gotten the boat back. I just had to get that boat back for him, and planned on donating her to the Boy Scouts in his name.

I called the harbors and yacht clubs to the north and south of San Francisco. Everyone was very helpful. They all asked for more information on the Suzie Q and agreed to call if they spotted her. But I was running out of time and luck. My dad's last words to me were, "Get the boat back!"

Greg Baxter of the Golden Gate YC told me that he thought the boat was probably still in the Bay. Tom Moseley and his crew at Paradise Cay - where my dad had kept the boat - felt the same and told me not to give up. I placed an ad in the S.F. Examiner titled "Desperately seeking Suzie Q" with a reward.

Tragically, dad died the first week that the ad ran. I did receive a call at the end of the second week from a sailor who had spotted her that morning in the Berkeley Marina. Tom and his crew went there and brought her back to her berth at Paradise Cay. Soon after all of this, I received a call from Tom, who reported that Suzie Q had been stripped of all her equipment, brass, and radar. The police were called and a report was filed.

It turned out that George had sold the boat to some other fellow in Berkeley, who then registered her in his name. Dad was no longer the legal owner of his beloved boat. The police and sheriff refused to get involved, saying it had become a civil matter. The new owner's attorney offered me the opportunity to buy Suzie Q back from him. Imagine, me buying my father's stolen boat from a stranger who bought it from a thief!

After extensive negotiating, lawyers' fees, and time, I was finally awarded ownership of the boat. But then one rainy night the Suzie Q was mysteriously sunk in her berth at Paradise Cay. Thanks to Tom Moseley and his crew, she was raised and finally donated to the Scouts as planned. My father's dying wishes were fulfilled, for we "got the boat back."

Carlee McCarty
Northern California


I take the Larkspur Ferry to San Francisco every weekday. For the last three weeks or more, there's been this small white military vessel - about 60-ft long - anchored out in the Bay. The word went around that it is a naval research ship, and the deckhands say that there's no name on her bow. Anyway, it's been 'parked' in the exact same spot everyday, between Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge. When one of the ferry boat captains called the Coast Guard about the vessel, their response was "Don't ask."

That naval ship was gone today. Do you guys have any idea what that was about?

Jan Bennett
San Rafael

Jan - We don't have any idea what it was about, but it wouldn't alarm us. When you're running the biggest navy in the world, you're going to have all kinds of unusual looking ships doing all kinds of things. You should see what turns up at Mare Island and down at San Diego. And who knows what they do? But sometimes an anchored vessel is just an anchored vessel between assignments. As for not having a name on her bow, navy ships generally carry their names on their sterns.


We just received the May copy of Latitude here at Bahia Concepcion in the Sea of Cortez. First of all, congrats on such a fine magazine. We read it cover to cover whenever we can, and everyone down here seems to do the same.

Having said that, we're increasingly disturbed by the editor seeming to be somewhat out of touch with the cruising scene here. For in response to April and May letters about cruising in Mexico, he argues that Mexico is still a cheap place to cruise. We're now in our fourth season down here, and we firmly believe that you - albeit unintentionally - are leading your readers astray by perpetuating this myth. We've been to El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica in the past two years, and we can assure you, Mexico is indeed an expensive place.

It is well-known in the community here that you fly in to your boat, mostly stay in expensive marinas, and essentially vacation on your boat, leaving the upwind passages - and, we assume, port hassles - to others. And we realize that you've certainly earned the right to do that. But with all due respect, you either don't know or aren't telling your readers that a trip to the store here is at least as expensive as stateside for any kind of provisioning. Likewise, even the beachside palapa-type eateries in remote anchorages have become way more expensive in the relatively short time that we've been here. And forget the tourist restaurants and bars! On a good day, cervezas in the store run eight or nine pesos apiece - which is about a dollar. When on sale, you can get a six-pack for about $5. Tequila is actually more expensive here than at Safeway back in the States. Forget boat parts, they are way more expensive.

And while you're at it, don't forget the usurious port fees. Sometimes it can cost as much as $40 per port just to anchor out our 36-ft boat. And that's not to mention the attendant Port Authority fees, if applicable. And if you do stay in a marina for a shower or a rest, they're way more expensive in Mexico than in the States. As it is, we anchor out most of the time. As such, we wholeheartedly agree with the readers who wrote in to disagree with you, and quite frankly were disappointed in your response. You hold out Èlan as an example of what can be done in Mexico. But we're quite sure that if you truly interviewed them as regular cruisers, they would wholeheartedly agree with the points that we made above.

Just to restate, we love your mag and the way you edit it, so don't stop. But please, on this one issue, don't create a picture for future Mexico cruisers that's not accurate. We really hope that you print this letter to present another view.

Michael Sutherland and Jennie Cobell
Synchronicity, Islander 38
Bahia Concepcion / Seattle

Michael and Jennie - Thanks for your compliments and honest feedback. Our goal is certainly not to mislead anyone, and with all due respect, we don't think we're as out of touch as you might think. To try to understand our different perspectives, perhaps we need to define what we mean by 'cheap cruising'. In our opinion, this means a couple living on less than $1,000/month in 'normal expenses'. We consider anything under $750 to be 'very cheap', and anything under $500/month to be 'ultra cheap'.

Using that definition, in the last year or two, we've met several couples who were cruising ultra cheaply. There are the Buntings, who documented spending less than $300 a month in 'normal expenses' during three full years in the Sea of Cortez. And they were enjoying a very fine life on that amount, thank you. Two years ago we bumped into Christian and Ali, who were then cruising together aboard the Sausalito-based Haida 26 Blue Dragon. If we remember correctly, they were cruising on something like $150 a month. They might have been doing it on a more basic level than most people would like, but they were having a grand time. If you read the following letter, Don Scotten reports that as recently as 2000, he and his wife were living well while cruising their 40-footer on $300 a month. And we'll bet you a cerveza that Neil and Debra of the Santa Cruz-based Vanguard 33 Tranquilo would fall into the under $750 category. It's not like these folks are unique, they're just not going to be where more free-spending cruisers congregate. The ultra-thrifty cruisers tend to hang out at places where there wouldn't be any place to spend money even if they wanted to.

While we continue to believe that it's possible to cruise very inexpensively in Mexico, we nonetheless have inadvertently misled our readers in two ways. First, by not emphasizing that while it's indeed possible to cruise ultra-cheaply in Mexico, it's not typical. Most cruisers prefer the kind of lifestyle they were accustomed to back home. This would mean staying in a marina part or all of the time, eating out several times a week, enjoying drinks in bars, taking taxis, motoring rather than sailing, buying American-brand grocery products, having others do some of their boat work, and running relatively complicated boats. For these folks, Mexico is not as cheap as perhaps we have suggested it was. Second, we may have mislead people by not emphasizing that Mexico isn't as cheap as it was even a few years ago. Yes, the days of the $1 comida are long gone, every palapa has become a tourist restaurant, and Mexico's clearing fees are outrageously high. Not that prices have stayed the same anywhere else.

We don't doubt that some things are less expensive in Nicaragua and El Salvador, which are two seriously impoverished nations, but Costa Rica's not so cheap. As Tom and Kathy Knueppel of Tai Tam II reported last month, the berth fees at Los Sueños Marina are $2/ft night, and if you stay more than 30 days, they require a $2,000 deposit. We don't know of any marinas in Mexico that are that expensive. And unlike all the marinas in Mexico, Los Sueños doesn't allow tenants to use the pools, showers, and other facilities of the adjoining hotel. When it comes to the Third World, you pay pretty dearly for anything above the norm. Frankly, we'd be interested to learn how much money you spent, and on what, in both Costa Rica and Mexico. It's also worth considering that there are cruising areas that are considerably more expensive than Mexico. Have you ever tried to buy a bottle of vodka or a cabbage in Bora Bora? How about a decent cut of meat in Anguilla? Even the little restaurant at Two Harbors, Catalina, has some entrees over $23.

As for the impression that we're out of touch because we take vacations in expensive Mexican marinas is just plain off the mark. At this stage in our lives, we're journalists more than we are cruisers, and Profligate is - smirk all you want - an effective and frequently used research tool. In five seasons in Mexico, we - meaning the Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca - have never stayed in a marina, unless it was two days or less to do a story, or at Paradise Marina for Banderas Bay Regatta, to reprovision and repair, or because the channel was closed. The last thing we're interesting in doing is travelling all the way to a foreign country and hanging around a marina when there are great places to be on the hook. Furthermore, we're enthusiastic sailors who like to take the maximum advantage of our opportunities. When we go to Mexico, our goal is to be headed out to an anchorage within two hours of stepping off the plane; to sail six days out of seven; and to not return to the marina more than three hours before our plane leaves. Dick Markie of Paradise Marina could confirm this.

Since we're working as much as we're cruising, we have precious little time to cover a lot of ground. Therefore, we operate on the assumption that we can cover 150 miles - upwind or downwind - in 24 hours, including stops at several anchorages along the way, and that we'll likely arrive at our final anchorage after dark. As the primary cruising photographer for Latitude, the Wanderer expects to shoot a minimum of 300 photos a week, preferably of as many new people and places as possible. Our vocation and avocation dictate that we be out and discovering as much as possible. So when we've written that it's possible to cruise very inexpensively, it wasn't based on a mai tai-induced dream while lounging around a marina pool, but on recent conversations with active cruisers we met out at anchorages.

If anybody wants to accuse us of having other people do some of our upwind deliveries for us, or that we pay to have someone clear us in or out of ports, we plead guilty. After all, we've already done countless upwind deliveries, often singlehanded, and don't think yet another one is going to significantly add to our body of knowledge. And if you were the publisher of a sailing magazine, how would you prefer that your primary cruising photographer spend his hours - standing in line waiting for another routine check-in, or being out meeting cruisers and taking photographs that he would otherwise not have the opportunity to take?

So is it possible to cruise Mexico very inexpensively? Our modified response would be that while it's not common, based on recent reports from active cruisers, it's indeed possible. The ultra-thrifty cruiser's mantra? Stay out of marinas, restaurants and bars; have a simple boat and do your own boat work; sail rather than motor; take the bus rather than the taxi; avoid American products; and cruise where port captains aren't.

P.S. We read an interesting item in the papers the other day. Hawaiian pineapples are less expensive in New York City than they are in Hawaii.


The cost of cruising has been discussed in recent issues of Latitude, and $15,000 per year was cited as an example of inexpensive cruising. What I have to say here is directed to young people who may wish to cruise but do not have investments returning that kind of money to pay for it.

My wife Kay and I have cruised four times for periods of two or more years. Our first cruise was for 2.5 years in the early '70s, when we spent $210/month. Our most recent cruise was in the Sea of Cortez from '98 until 2000, during which time we cruised a 40-ft sailboat that had most of the equipment other cruisers carry. We lived well, but spent just $300/month. Had we not 'needed' cold beer and an occasional mixed drink, it would have been less. Added to the above was one haulout for a bottom job, two trips back to the States for visas, and $1,000 on dental work. This comes to a total of $5,000 a year - with no hardships experienced.

The keys to thrifty cruising? We don't have medical or boat insurance, and we prefer spending our time at the islands, which means we steer clear of marinas and town - both of which are expensive. I am not necessarily recommending this style of cruising, but just want to show that it's an option. The numbers I cite are accurate, too, as we go cruising with a little pile of money, and when the pile is gone we return to the States to find work.

Lest anyone misunderstand, I would like to point out that the folks who cruise on $15,000 per year are friends of ours. In fact, I was the one who taught Guy Bunting - he and Deborah of Èlan were the subject of the Sightings item on inexpensive cruising - how to spear fish!

Don Scotten
San Diego

Don - Guy and Deborah were spending about $300 a month in what we'd call 'normal expenses'. Are you telling us that the grand total of your expenditures was $5,000 a year?


I got my hands on a few recent Latitude here in New Zealand, and caught up a little on what you've been up to. I must compliment you again on the great read that you produce. I also like your fun fundraisers - such as the Zihua Fest - and your idea to create a Nicaraguan Laser fleet to teach locals about sailing and boats. Garth and I appreciate the fact that you are making a positive difference without reinforcing the stereotype of the rich 'ugly American'.

I also have to say that Laurie Paine's letter comparing Mexico unfavorably with other countries on Dolphin Spirit's circumnavigation struck a chord with us. We agree with many of the points he made, but had thought we were the only ones who felt this way. While we loved Baja, the Sea of Cortez, Tenacatita and Zihuatanejo, we were not as impressed by Mexico as we thought we would be. The rolly anchorages, the trash and lack of wind were our biggest disappointments.

Furthermore, Mexico was not as inexpensive as we had expected. Many things were as expensive - or much more so - than in the United States, which encouraged us not to spend a second season there. We also sensed a pervasive attitude that all cruisers had money to burn, and should pay big bucks for the same things that Mexicans only pay a fraction for. And often times these costs were for things that, given our upcoming plans for long-term bluewater cruising, couldn't be shortchanged. We have a simple boat and a small budget, so perhaps we were in the minority in this regard, but it made Mexico less affordable for us.

Hearing about the difficulties and increased expense of checking in and cruising Mexico made us glad that we decided to continue west rather than spend a second season in Mexico. We have read with interest discussions about an annual cruising fee - in addition to an equivalent fishing license. If those had been in effect, we probably would have decided to skip Mexico. By comparison, it costs us less to enter French Polynesia - which is known to be an expensive place to cruise - although we did post a fully refundable bond during our stay. I wonder how many others are of the same opinion.

Wendy Hinman and Garth Wilcox
Wylie 31, Velella
Seattle / Currently in New Zealand; Leaving Soon for Fiji

Wendy and Garth - We're a little surprised that Mexico disappointed you, but are glad that you shared that information with us. The fact that you feel that way counts big time with us, because based on knowing you from the Ha-Ha, as crew on the Banderas Bay Regatta, and from your letters from across the Pacific, we know you as fine sailors and reasonable people who aren't inclined to whine. Based on your opinion, we're beginning to wonder if Michael Sutherland and Jennie Cobell aren't correct that, despite our efforts, maybe we have become somewhat out of touch with regard to the cost of cruising in Mexico. We promise that we'll pay a lot more attention to it this coming season.


Thanks for your response to our letter in the May Latitude. Speaking as a cruising couple who avoids tourist restaurants and bars like the plague in favor of eating on board or out of the local tiendas, palapas, and taquerias, we still find current-day Mexico to be a relatively expensive place. Again, the provisioning is as expensive, or more expensive, than in the States, the new port fees are exorbitant - may that change soon! - and therefore moorage anywhere there is a port captain, marina or not, is more expensive than California. Speaking with many other cruisers, we definitely feel that those planning to head south should just be aware that even in the backwaters, Mexico isn't the inexpensive place it was six or seven years ago. We miss those days.

We also just wanted to put an exclamation mark on our - and your - advice to do the Ha-Ha. This past weekend, we had the distinct privilege of crewing aboard Rich Mullinax's Still Searching in the incredibly fun Vallejo Race. This is the same skipper and vessel that won the Banderas Bay Regatta which you covered in the April issue. Rich, who, as you pointed out, is a great guy, is yet another really good friend who we might not have met had we not done the 2001 Ha-Ha.

Upon arriving at Vallejo, several other friends from the Ha-Ha - including the irrepressible Lucy, crew on Millennium Falcon - partied with us into the night. So even back here in the Bay Area, the benefits of doing the Ha-Ha continue manifold. Just to reiterate to those sailors considering heading south this year - do the Ha-Ha! You'll have a great time, and there are many benefits that will follow you all season and well beyond. We'll see you down there!

Mark and Sandi Joiner
Orinda / Nuevo Vallarta

Mark & Sandi - We appreciate your persistence in getting your point across. 'Expensive' is a relative term, of course, so we're wondering if there's any way that you - or anybody else in Mexico - could be more factual. Perhaps a breakout of what a couple of bags of groceries cost, both at a tienda and at Sam's Club, in Puerto Vallarta. As for comparisons with prices six or seven years ago, that's quite a long time ago. During that same period of time in Northern California, for example, home prices have doubled.

We've also used the phrase "not that expensive" partly in comparison to normal life back here in the United States. When up here, you not only have very expensive housing and utilities, but also need a car, car insurance, more and better clothes, cable TV and Internet access, and are faced with rather expensive recreation and entertainment costs. If you were to take your lady out for a drink and dinner in San Francisco, followed by a movie, you could easily spend $150 or more after tolls and parking are added in. When in Mexico, a thrifty alternative might be an inexpensive onboard meal with friends while enjoying a tropical sunset. We may be wrong, but it's our opinion that it's easier and less expensive to live a healthier and more satisfying cruising lifestyle in Mexico than in California, in large part because the weather is so much better and because there's so much more to do for little or no money.


Many thanks for the Circumnavigator's Ball at Sail Expo in April. It was a fun get-together. We met some cruisers that we hadn't seen in quite a while, and it was good to see the enthusiasm of future world travelers. But there's one bit of advice that we can't stress enough: If you plan to go cruising, go as soon as you can. Don't wait for everything to be perfect, because it will never be so. The world is changing fast, and the charming little port of yesterday is hard to find today.

Charlotte and Conrad Skladal

Charlotte & Conrad - We enjoyed seeing everyone, and will probably be holding a similar party at Sail Expo in a year or two.


Several letters in the recent edition of your wonderful magazine referred to instances of Max Props mysteriously disappearing. As an insurance underwriter, when valuable items go missing, my first thoughts turn to crime. As such, if the props disappeared while the vessel was docked or at anchor, I would suspect theft. If they disappeared while the vessel was underway, there may have been a case of 'theftus interruptus'. In other words, the thief might have been interrupted before he/she could complete his/her task. The partial job would result in a loosely-attached prop, which would fall off the vessel at the first opportunity.

I suggest that you don't forget the immortal words of Al Capone: "Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action." I think more than three props have disappeared.

Joseph Launie
Santa Barbara YC

Joseph - Thanks for you concern and professional insight, however, we don't think any theft was involved. Both of our Max Props came off while underway, and long after the boat had been put back into the water. Furthermore, Max Props are complicated affairs, with lots of little pieces. It's not only very difficult to remove them while the boat is in the water, but during such an attempt some of the critical parts would likely be lost. In other words, they are not attractive targets. We're happy to report that nobody else has complained about their Max Props disappearing.


In the April 25 edition of 'Lectronic Latitude, you ran a beautiful photo of a fleet of trimarans racing in Europe. And you posed the question, "Why don't we have this kind of sailing action in the United States?" Well, we sort of do have multihull action like this, the boats are just a bit smaller. For example, on the 20th and 21st of April, we had the Hobie Division 3 Kick-Off Regatta off the main beach in Santa Cruz. I had to miss it due to my obligation of working at the Hobie booth at Sail Expo, but apparently the conditions were epic. In fact, the Santa Cruz Sentinel did a write up about it on the 25th.

Jeremy Leonard
Vice Commodore, Fleet 240
Santa Cruz

Jeremy - With all due respect to Hobie Cats - which are great boats that have provided gazillions of sailors with endless fun - they aren't really the same as the state of the art 60-ft trimarans that were featured in the 'Lectronic photo. Not unless the Hobies have suddenly become capable of 625 miles in 24 hours.


I was thrilled to see our boat on the cover of last month's Latitude. You referred to her as High Strung, but her name is actually Cut Time.

As for the little kite, it's a borrowed one that we were flying for practice. It's a little small and thus was flying a little high. Our regular spinnaker is an asymmetrical that sets on a 17-ft moveable pole, the same setup we used on our Thunderbird. It was quite a challenge until I remembered the Kiwis using a 'strope' in past America's Cup races in San Diego. The system seems to work well now, as we jibed about six times on the way to Vallejo without problems, and there was only myself, my wife Femie, and our new foredeckman Yannai, who learned from the ground up this winter.

Curtis King
Marina Bay, Richmond

Curtis - Sorry about the goof on your boat's name, we thought we knew it from memory, but obviously didn't.


Congratulations on 25 years of whatever you want to call it!

I'm in the process of divorcing - I know you understand - and am 'consolidating'. Among the stuff I need to get rid of are boxes of Latitudes covering much of the last 10 to 12 years. It's not a complete set or anything, as I'm not that organized. But I just can't stand to take them to the dump knowing how much somebody else would want them. I just have no idea how to find them. A veteran of the '99 Ha-Ha, I just bought an Islander 36 - I'm aiming for the 2006 Ha-Ha when my daughter hopefully goes off to college - so I'm back and forth between Occidental and Sausalito a lot. This means I could deliver the magazines most anywhere in the North Bay. Anybody interested?

Michael Daley
Laughing Matter
Occidental, CA


Here is a suggestion for John Craig Uhrhan, who is incarcerated in Walla Walla, Washington, but has offered to send old Latitude to "the most deserving hurricane hole." He could mail them to the Peace Corps Volunteers of the Republic of Kiribati. This can be done cheaply through the U.S. Postal Service. He can send them to me at the following address:

Joe Keyerleber, Peace Corps Kiribati, c/o United States Embassy, P.O. Box 1379, Majuro, Marshall Islands, 96960. Our good friends at the embassy will forward them to us on the weekly flight of Air Marshall Islands to Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati. We will then put them in the mail that we send out weekly to our Volunteers on the outer islands of Kiribati. Even though the Marshall Islands is an independent republic, under Compact agreements, it is served by the U. S. Postal Service. John can send the magazines book rate, parcel post, or if he is feeling flush, priority mail to speed things up a bit. It shouldn't cost more than a few dollars.

I can assure him that the Latitudes will be put to good use. The Volunteers will read them, use them to teach English, decorate their houses with the covers, and wrap fish in anything that is left over. By the way, John Thurston - featured in a recent issue - is a good friend of the Peace Corps. We see him frequently and charter his trimaran Martha to visit some of the outer islands.

As for me, I sail a small catamaran around the lagoon of Tarawa when time permits, and aspire to a cruising lifestyle when I complete this assignment in about two years. I venture to say that my copy of Latitude - and maybe John Thurston's, if he is a subscriber - are the only ones to be found anywhere in Kiribati. A batch of them sent from John Craig Uhrhan - or anyone else, for that matter - would be very well received by our folks here.

Joe Keyerleber
Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati / Central Pacific

Joe - Thanks for the suggestion.


My wife Susan and I are completing a world cruise aboard the cruise ship Seabourn Sun. While walking down the main street in St. Helena in the middle of the South Atlantic, we ran into William Peterson - a cruiser we'd known from his days working at the harbor in Monterey! William sailed away on his 40-ft ketch in '89, and is still out there!

Our other bit of sailing news has to do with a storm we encountered off the coast of South Africa on March 29, and got stuck in for awhile because of a sailboat in distress. It was blowing about 55 knots with 30-foot seas, when the Petit Prince, a new South African sailboat on delivery from Durban to the Virgin Islands, lost her rudder. They were in such trouble, that the captain of the Seabourne Sun, provided a lee for them for four hours. During this time, the crew of the sailboat tried to get into their liferaft, but it immediately blew away. A Coast Guard vessel was dispatched, had a difficult time getting to the yacht, and when they did found it, conditions were too rough for them to help. So a helicopter was called out. Before it could rescue the five aboard, the sailboat was dismasted and rolled 360°. The helicopter was nonetheless able to pull them all off, and they made it ashore shaken but relatively unhurt.

However, the four hours spent wallowing in the 30-ft seas providing a lee was hard on the cruise ship. Some forward windows were blown out; several metal doors were ripped off their hinges, which resulted in some flooding; a large pontoon was washed overboard; and the steel steps forward were torn from their foundation. Anything that was tied down on the forward decks ended up in the ocean. The ship also broke about half her wine glasses - some serious damage! And a number of passengers were injured as a result of falling or getting banged into something.

The captain of the Seabourn Sun was quite upset with the sailors for having put him in such a predicament, as they'd left Durban shortly before us, and like us, had been aware of the gale warnings. As a result of their failure to heed the gale warnings, they ended up putting many other people at risk, and caused damage to the cruise ship.

Anyway, it had been very exciting to watch the whole rescue operation from the stern of our pitching ship, especially since it all turned out so well. After retrieving all of the sailors from the ocean, the rescue helicopter flew over our ship to salute our assistance.

Kevin LaGraff


I am hoping that a good percentage of your readers have at one time or another watched the movie Wind, starring Matthew Modine and Jennifer Gray. Do any of you know if the sweaters they wore in portions of that movie - Jennifer's arrival at the docks, Matthew's first time seeing the I-14 - are movie props, or can they be purchased elsewhere? I'm looking for a gift for someone that has expressed interest in these items, and I have looked everywhere I could think of with no success. Any suggestions?

Randy Ross
rjrsailing at
San Diego

Randy - Kimball Livingston, who co-wrote the movie, would probably know the answer to your sweater question. He usually reads this magazine, and will probably contact you with the answer.

We think the most lasting memory of the movie was the special spinnaker called the 'Whomper'. Is there a racer out there, who being behind, hasn't jokingly said, "Let's set the Whomper!"

Since we're talking Hollywood, we can gossip. What's the deal with Jennifer's nose? It might have been a little prominent before, but now there's almost nothing left!


Long ago, I recall reading a quote - it might have been in Latitude - from one of the members of the committee that developed the IOR rule. It might have been Steve Taft. Anyway, he'd been asked why the early IOR boats had been such sweeties, while their successors became cranky and graceless beasts. His reply was to the effect of: "What do you expect? Ten smart, hard-working, honest, well-meaning individuals sit around a table for several months coming up with their best shot at a reasonable rule, then 10,000 smart, hard-working, and not necessarily honest or well-meaning people spend 10 years trying to figure out how to beat it?"

I find myself using the example of IOR 'bumps' and that 'quote' repeatedly in trying to get people to grasp why they should be very wary of looking to government regulation to solve problems. I sure would like to know who was quoted and where.

Pete Pollock
Palo Alto

Pete - We're not familiar with the quote, but it sounds more like the late naval architect Gary Mull - who was on the IOR Technical Committee for a long time - than Steve Taft. In any event, we're unclear on the analogy. Would the United States Congress - 'The Best That Money Can Buy' - be the 10 "smart, hard-working, honest, and well-meaning" guys, or would they be the 10,000 "not necessarily honest or well-meaning people?" Excuse us for being cynical, but we're not sure there are 10 honest and well-meaning people making laws.


Congratulations on the 25th anniversary of your magazine - which is so much more than a magazine. I started reading Latitude in 1980 when Al Thomas, a friend and navigator, got us all hooked while we were in Seattle putting together the new SC 50 Scotch Mist II. Wishing you guys all the best, and many more years of good sailing.

Lynn Murphy
Vancouver, Washington

Lynn - Thank you - and everyone else who sent us congratulations. Without such a superb readership, we would be nothing.


We finally arrived in Isla Mujeres on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula two weeks ago. We'd chosen to hurry our return to St. Pete by bypassing Xcalak, as we were hoping to see our son back in the U.S. before he deploys to the Gulf. Thus we only had to clear in/out of a single Mexican port.

We were asked to clear in first with Sanitation - we were coming from Guatemala - then Immigration, Customs, and finally with the Port Captain. After two days, we gave up on finding Customs, when we were finally told that "he lives in Cancun and usually doesn't come here." In any event, we were made legal at the cost of 395 pesos for Immigration stamps for two, 224 pesos for clearing, 90 pesos (3.65 pesos per gross ton) for anchoring rights, and finally another 224 pesos to clear out. That came to about $100 U.S. for a five day stay. We were stunned - despite having read about increased port fees in Latitude for some months. In an apparent attempt by the port captain's staff to feel a little less embarrassed, they explained that had we cleared in first at Xcalak, we'd have paid all the same fees a second time - minus a second Immigration fee! And that if we'd cleared on a weekend, everything would have been twice as much!

The $100 U.S. is about the same as we paid in Guatemala, and also in the Bahamas - but in those cases it was for clearing in and out of a whole country, not a single port. To put it another way, our Caribbean cruise included 11 countries and island nations and nine dependencies, commonwealths and what the French like to call departments, and we paid less in fees to all those governments - the Bahamas and Guatemala aside - than we were charged by one Mexican port. Perhaps it's this perspective that Mexico's SCT needs to better grasp: they are pricing access to Mexico far out of scale to Caribbean counterparts.

Sailing out of St. Pete, we enjoy relatively easy access to the Western Caribbean - but we're not terribly excited about the prospect of cruising Mexico's Yucatan coast again any time soon - in part due to their clearance requirements. And it isn't just the money, it's the feeling that you've been 'had'.

Jack & Patricia Tyler
Whoosh, Pearson 424 Ketch
St. Pete, Florida

Jack & Patricia - It's ridiculous.


In recent issues there have been a lot of complaints about the clearing procedures in Mexico. It's of interest to me, because although I've only cruised in Puget Sound so far, I dream of getting a sailboat and sailing to Mexico and beyond.

It seems to me that we're spoiled in this country, and feel that everybody else in the world should 'bend' to doing things the way we feel is right and proper. I say this because in the May issue, which had complaints about Mexico, there was also mention of the troubles the Yamashita family of Japan had with U.S. officials. I wonder what their take would be on the hospitality of the United States. How do we as a country treat cruisers from other countries?

I travelled extensively with the military, and always found it curious when some of my fellow service members would complain about the rules, customs, health standards and whatever, never giving a second thought to how our customs might seem to others.

Steve Denney
Bay Point, CA

Steve - As the following letter will explain, Mexico is way out of line in what they charge cruisers for clearing in and out of ports and for the hoops that have to be jumped through. The experience of the Yamashita family aside - who were the victims of a technical problem and an inflexible bureaucracy - the U.S. is very kind to foreign cruisers. Visitors to the U.S. have to pay a one-time fee of about $16 for a year's cruising permit, and then call an 800 number from time to time. In other words, foreign cruisers can cruise the United States for a year for less money than it costs to clear in - but not out - of a single Mexican port. And in way less time.

We're all for enjoying the differences of different countries and cultures, which is why we travel. But we're not in favor of being wildly overcharged and inconvenienced for no reason at all - especially when it's giving Mexico, a country we love, an unnecessary black eye. Mexico is investing a fortune to attract mariners, but has so far been unable to connect the dots to realize that they are overcharging and inconveniencing the current ones.


Having spent the past eight years cruising on and off in Mexico, I understand the desire to visit this beautiful country. However, maybe it's time to consider not running the Ha-Ha for a year. For in so doing, perhaps the Mexican government would rethink their clearing policies and fees for cruising boats.

By not encouraging another 200 cruising boats to go to Mexico this year, the Ha-Ha and the cruisers who otherwise would have gone could make a statement that unless they change things we won't be visiting. The alternative is to encourage southbound boats to bypass Mexico and visit Central America instead. I recently crewed on the Sirena 35 Hawkeye from southern Mexico to El Salvador. It took four hours and a lot of money to check out of Mexico, but just 10 minutes and hardly any money to check into El Salvador.

There is nothing wrong with the Mexican government making a reasonable fee for a cruising permit upon entry into their country, but making visitors spend half their time at port captain's office, the bank and immigration offices, is just plain unreasonable. You don't have to do it when you enter the country by car, plane or train, so why single out boats!    

When Latitude encourages sailors to head to Mexico, it's just a signal to that government that what they are doing is all right.

Ken Allison
Crew aboard Hawkeye, Sirena 38
Foster City

Ken - There are numerous reasons why we think your suggestion of a Ha-Ha boycott isn't the best idea. First of all, the most boats that ever completed a Ha-Ha in any given year is 126, which is only a small fraction of those cruising Mexico during any given season. And it's not as if the Mexican government keeps track. Second, the thought that there might be less cruisers in Mexico would probably be just the thing to spur other cruisers to head down and enjoy the less-crowded conditions. Third, people make major changes in their lives to do a Ha-Ha, changes that can't suddenly be postponed for a year without hardship. So most of them would go to Mexico whether there was a Ha-Ha or not. Fourth, despite the waste of time and expense in checking in, Mexico is still a great place to cruise.

Our number one argument against such a boycott, however, is that it misreads Mexican culture. If you're trying to set up a 'war of wills' between the Mexican bureaucracy and cruisers, we can assure you that cruisers are going to come out with the short end of the stick. In our opinion, it would be most effective to continue an email campaign of gentle protest and let Mexican officials come to their own realization that the system is as bad for them as it is bad for cruisers.

I've been reading Latitude for years, and respect your opinions. So I'm interested in your recommendations for cities on the East Coast for sailing throughout the year? I'm looking for active PHRF racing and coastal cruising with decent winds. I am considering everything from Virginia, to south Florida, to the Gulf of Mexico. I guess I'm trying to find something comparable to the sailing that I've enjoyed for the past 15 years in the Channel Islands.

Heading East

Conrad - We're not familiar enough with the East Coast to make a recommendation, but if you want to sail all year, we'd assume that you're going to have to be as far south as Florida. But perhaps we can get some expert input from our readers.


How can I become crew on the Baja Ha-Ha? I didn't see any printable application forms on your Web site. I'm an experienced sailor, speak passable Spanish, and have local knowledge of the Los Cabos area because I own a bar and grill in San Jose del Cabo.

Bill Haufe
San Francisco

Bill - Although the Ha-Ha was started by Latitude 38 and the Wanderer serves as the volunteer Grand Poobah, that event is an entirely separate entity from Latitude 38 - which is why we don't maintain a list of folks who want to crew.

We have three recommendations for folks wanting to get a berth on the Ha-Ha: 1) Take out a Classy Classified expressing that desire. 2) Attend the Mexico Only Crew List / Ha-Ha Kick-Off And Reunion Party at the Encinal YC in Alameda in early October. And 3), show up in San Diego during the third week of October with your sea bag packed and your passport in hand.


I think I'd like to do a circumnavigation sometime in my future and it seems as though a catamaran might be the way to go. But I don't know what it's like to sail on one. I've been taking sailing lessons at the Cal Sailing Club for a little over a year, and have made three delivery trips outside the Gate - and I'm very keen to do as much bluewater sailing as possible. But can you help me with recommendations on how to break out of the monohull community and into the multihull community, as I just don't know how to do it? For example, should I try to get on a cat in the Ha-Ha?

Sarah Carroll

Sarah - It's harder to break into the catamaran community than the monohull community because there are so many fewer cats. We suggest that you try to hitch a ride for the June 8 and 9 Catnip Cup to Vallejo and back. It's a no-host affair, but Glenn Fagerlin is keeping a list of boats that plan on participating. Email him at gfagerlin at to see if he knows of anybody looking for crew. If that doesn't work out, you can also take out a Classy Classified stating your desire to get experience on cats. The Ha-Ha is an excellent opportunity to get significant cat experience. See the previous response on how to try to hook up with a cat in that event.


I've got two things to say. First, even though I live on the East Coast, I love your magazine. It's so full of great stuff of interest to mariners that I read it from front to back.

Second, while looking into your magazine about four months ago, I saw an ad for Bilge Buster, a machine the ad claimed would eliminate any odor from my bilge, no matter the source. After eight hours, the odors and mold were gone. I think the product is outstanding.

Bob Johnson, Marine Surveyor SA
Middletown, New York


In the April Changes, Terry Shrode calculates the number of circumnavigators according to the number of boats that pass the Red Sea or the Cape of Good Hope annually. His calculation is correct only if one assumes that all circumnavigations last one year. As such, his total of 250-375 persons needs to be multiplied by the average duration of a circumnavigation in years.

Kirk Benson
Atlanta, Georgia

Kirk - What we think we've got is confusion between the approximate number of people completing a circumnavigation in any given year and the number of people in the process of making a circumnavigation. For our money, the former is a more useful number, as it would be very difficult to come up with the average duration of a circumnavigation.

Rants, raves, comments, drink recipes, may be sent to our Editor.

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