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August 2008

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I'm interested to find out more about the name/class/specs of the boat on the cover of the July Latitude. Thanks to the free-standing rig, she looks like a very unique and easy design to sail.

Planet Earth

Scott — She's a Wyliecat 30, one of eight Wyliecat models between 17 and 66 feet that have been built in Watsonville since '94. She has a wishbone rig on a 47-ft carbon fiber mast, and displaces just 5,500 pounds. Particularly popular with shorthanded sailors and older guys looking for performance without needing a lot of crew, Wyliecat 30s rate PHRF 105 in Northern California.


We read your piece about how the owner of an unmanned boat at Clipper Cove suspects that his anchor rode might have been cut. After spending a couple of weeks on the Bay to escape the heat of the Delta, we have an understanding of why someone might cut loose one of the boats anchored there.

We'd planned our trip to the Bay to take advantage of the various anchorages while doing some sightseeing in the area. Well, we all know how Richardson Bay has been polluted with abandoned craft, but it seems like the same thing is starting to happen at other Bay anchorages.

Clipper Cove was, of course, one of the places we wanted to visit, but the west end of the cove, which is the safe end, was packed with boats that had nobody aboard. And it looked as though nobody had been aboard these boats in a long time. Three times we stopped by to find a spot to anchor, but each time it was impossible because the best spots were occupied by boats with nobody on them.

We understand that Clipper Cove is a free anchorage, but how free is it, and who is it free to? We're not saying that we have more right to anchor in the cove than others, but should we be forced to pay for a slip — $60/night for a 40-footer — just to visit the Bay?

Due to the expense, we cut our trip to the Bay short. But on the way back to the Delta, we stayed at one of our favorite anchorages, China Camp. Although we pulled in mid-week, wouldn't you know it, two of the best spots had been taken. We spent three days there, but at no time did we see anyone on the two boats taking up the best spots.

The philosophical question is whether or not it's right for somebody to have a boat but not have a slip for it? This brings up another question. If one of these abandoned boats were to break free and cause damage to our boat, would the owners of those boats be responsible for the damages?

Randy & Ramona Garrett
R3, 40-ft sloop
Tied to a dock in the Delta

Randy and Ramona — Your last question is the easiest to answer. If one of the abandoned boats were to break loose and damage your boat, you'd effectively be out of luck trying to get compensation. After all, you know the boat isn't insured and the owner probably has very little money, so the cost of locating the owner, filing a lawsuit, and actually collecting any money from a favorable judgement — assuming that you could even get one — would be nil. Fortunately, boats don't break free that often, and when they do there is usually little if any damage.

Unless things have changed without our hearing about it, Clipper Cove is technically not a free anchorage. It's still controlled by the Navy, whose standing order is that boats need a permit in order to anchor there. But since the Navy pulled up stakes long ago and control still hasn't been turned over to the City of San Francisco, nobody pays any attention. Clipper Cove is just like west of the Pecos River was in the Old West — all but without the rule of law.

In places where there is an authority, rules and laws have been put into effect to make sure that a few boats can't hog an anchorage. For example, the State Lands Commission has decreed that, in most situations, boats can't be anchored on the same state lands for more than two weeks at a time. However, this law is usually only enforced when boats staying longer than two weeks deny others the right to use the anchorage, and when there is a supervising authority that feels like enforcing the law. This law doesn't apply to anchorages that are outside the state waters, which is why you see boats anchored semi-permanently just outside harbors such as Santa Barbara, Marina del Rey and Newport Beach.

In places where there are both supervision and keen competition for prime anchoring spots, authorities have imposed different plans for dealing with the issue. In San Diego, for example, there are a variety of anchorages with different restrictions. In places such as popular La Playa Cove, which is between the San Diego YC and the Southwestern YC, you can't anchor without a permit, and your stay is limited to 72 hours. That's a good thing, because if there weren't restrictions, it would be packed with boats that would never leave. There is another anchorage in San Diego Bay where boatowners who aren't residents of San Diego County can anchor for up to a month. In Newport Beach, there is a 72-hour free anchorage, and you don't even need to get a permit. You are, however, supposed to always have at least one person on the boat, although this is rarely enforced unless it's windy and there is a danger your boat will bump into others in the anchorage.

Exactly how it is that boats, and we use that word loosely, anchored in Richardson Bay have come to be immune from the laws that all other boats are subject to — for example, they don't seem to need any registration — has always been a mystery to us. But it's been that way forever. We would describe the scene there as disorderly, inefficient, and potentially unsafe, but think "polluted" is a bit of a stretch. In any event, there is still plenty of room to anchor and places to land a dinghy there, so it's a long way from being non-functional. Indeed, Richardson Bay is still the prime transient area on the Bay. Other options, albeit ones with less good access to shore and stores, would include the lee of Angel Island, the lee of the Tiburon Peninsula, and Belvedere Cove. And if San Francisco ever takes control of Clipper Cove, we think it would be great if a 72-hour limit were instituted.


In your July 2 'Lectronic Latitude, you wrote: "A 2006 U.S. District Court ruling is forcing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a 'discharge permit' for every recreational boat in the U.S. — including sailboats, kayaks and rubber inner tubes. The ruling came about because of a lawsuit addressing the issue of commercial ships dumping potentially polluted ballast water into local waters, possibly introducing invasive species."

You also noted that the EPA has historically exempted recreational boats from 'clean water' laws applied to commercial shipping, but because of the latest court action, boatowners — and rubber inner tube owners — could be fined up to $32,500 a day! And that they may be cited by private individuals who might dislike boats — or just people who happen to own boats. Lastly, you report that BoatUS says the EPA is not to blame.

What can I do but quote Emile DeBeque, Act II, Cue 39A, from South Pacific:

"This is just the kind of ugliness I was running away from. It has followed me all these years, and now it has found me. I was cheated before, and I'm cheated again. By a mean little world of mean little men. And the one change for me is the life I know best, to be here on this island, and to hell with the rest."

There is absolutely no way (!!!) a 'private contractor' or private citizen is going to board my boat for water samples without getting blown away . . . per the latest U.S. Supreme Court decision on my right to bear arms. It seems like I'll need to have firearms in the Oakland Estuary.

I don't care what BoatU.S. says, I do blame the EPA. They are required to set standards, but the court did not say exactly what the exemptions should be. So the EPA could easily extend the existing 35-year standards. But the EPA continues to be a bunch of incompetent asshole bureaucrats — i.e. 'mean little men' — none of whom have any boating experience whatever.

Or perhaps the various courts, in their wise 5-to-4 wisdom decrees, are intent in trashing what little is left of values in our society, and telling us in great detail how to live our lives. Gosh, if I need to pee or poop quickly, then I will do it! I have a written statement from my doctor about my incontinence.

Mike Chambreau
Impetuous, Cal 34
Los Altos

Mike — We think you may be misinformed on a couple of fronts. First and foremost, the right to bear arms doesn't equal the right to blow off the head of someone boarding your boat to inspect its discharge. You may want to blow off his/her head, but rest assured that, if you did, no constitutional attorney in the country would be able to win your case.

Secondly, as BoatU.S.'s site explains, "the court's decision, issued in fall 2006, mandated that the EPA is required to develop an operational discharge permit for every vessel in the U.S. by September 30, 2008. Vessels include boats, ships, dinghies, and everything in between." The EPA's exclusion for recreational boats was essentially revoked by the court's ruling — a ruling which the EPA appealed, by the way — so, to comply, the agency had no choice to but develop a permit plan. For more on the details of the situation, go to BoatU.S.'s site at and click on 'Government Affairs'.

But don't panic. As we were sending this issue to press, legislation — known as the Clean Boating Act of 2008 — introduced to both the House and the Senate to restore the federal exemption for rec boats was passed in an overwhelming show of bipartisan cooperation. "This is a fabulous victory for common sense," said BoatU.S. President Nancy Michelman.


Thanks for the July issue coverage about the upcoming August 23 Great San Francisco Schooner Race. Unfortunately, it was reported that I created the race. That honor actually goes to John Swain, commodore of the San Francisco YC, who is a longtime fan of classic boats. Swain grew up on the East Coast, worked in boatyards, and later ended up owning a marina and boat yard. He is now an architect working out of Belvedere. He's a really great guy, and I'm just helping him, so it would be great if you could set the record straight.

Alan Olson

Alan — Sorry about the mistake. Nonetheless, we encourage everyone to come out on the Bay on August 23 to check out what's sure to be a terrific schooner sight. We'll have a preview in 'Lectronic as race day draws near.


I'm not sure if you know about the lawsuit against the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for suspending the driver's licenses of first-time offenders of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) statutes. But on June 3, the DMV lost badly. The court ruled that the DMV's license suspensions were illegal because there had been no law passed by the Legislature authorizing such an action.

I was one of the victims of the DMV's illegal actions. I lost a longtime job and had trouble gaining new employment due to their reckless disregard of the laws as currently written. Because of the ruling, I may, at some time in the future when the lawsuit is settled, be able to recoup some of the financial losses I incurred due to the DMV's illegal actions.

For further information, interested parties should visit


R.T. — We're not in favor of any government agency exceeding their authority — heck, we're not in favor of much government at all — but aren't you aware of the irony that you, who have been convicted of boating under the influence — essentially behaving recklessly — are pissed off because of someone else's "reckless disregard of the laws"?


G'Day! I just read on 'Lectronic about a California court ruling that the DMV couldn't suspend a person's driver's license because they'd been convicted of 'boating under the influence'. But where I live, in Queensland, Australia, that's the law. In addition, if you get a ticket for any offense at all on a boat, you get demerit points off your driving record. It makes having sundowners a hit-and-miss affair. As a result, you can only have drinks if your boat is tied up at a mooring, in a marina, or on the hard. If your boat is anchored or tied to a jetty or pier, you're still in charge and can't drink.

I expect the law will be changed in California, at which point you can expect a full on rush by the 'booze police' in order to start raising revenue. At least that's what they've done down here.

Latitude is a great read, so keep it up.

Jim Hammond
Queensland, Australia

Jim — It's funny how drinking laws and enforcement are different in different parts of the world. In the Caribbean, for example, you can drink to your heart's content while sailing, and the chances of law enforcement caring are about it are close to zero.


I'm bringing my Cascade 36 Hale Kai down from Portland to the Southern California area in mid-September, and wondered if you have suggestions or know anyone to contact about possibly leasing a slip for 45 days prior to our starting the Baja Ha-Ha. We've already called a few marinas with no luck. We prefer not to pay upwards of $800 to $1,000 a month for a premium slip, but want a safe place for us and the boat. I hope I'm not asking for too much.

P.S. We really enjoy what Latitude has done for the sailing community.

Chris Lund
Hale Kai, Cascade 36

Chris — Because of the housing crisis, the berthing situation in California is softer than it's been in years. If you read two letters down, you'll find that there are a couple of marinas in San Diego that should be able to meet your needs. Pier 32, which is new and will surely have many berths, is offering something like 30% off regular prices to all paid entries in the Ha-Ha. But first, a letter about a sistership.


Along with Latitude's predictions for the results of the Pacific Cup, I just wanted to throw in another possible class winner. That would be Jack Gainer's Portland-based Cascade 36 Raindrop, a boat that doesn't get much attention.

Raindrop was built by Cascade Yachts of Portland, and was one of the first fiberglass production boats built in the United States. She's raced by Gainer, who has had a long and illustrious racing career in the Pacific Northwest.

Not to make a short story too long, but the two lads — Joby Easton and Bill Huseby — who will be doublehanding the '60s dinosaur deserve some recognition, as it will be the 20th anniversary of their Pacific Cup win in '88 with the Soverel 33 Sting.

I think the Cascade 36 is most analogous to a '63 Pontiac Tempest, which could be had with a 396-hp General Motors power plant. You didn't want to pull up next to one at an intersection and foolishly rev your engine, because you'd be left in the dust. So I think it will be in the Pacific Cup. For when the competitors feel a 'raindrop', they'd best check the horizon.

On another subject, I read Carl Kirsch's recent letter, and was glad to know that someone else remembers Janice White and Larry Ohs, two sailors who were lost in the Doublehanded Farallones Race many years ago while sailing White's Ranger 22.

Jeff Sleight
ex-crew on Promotion, Santa Cruz 40, in the Baja Ha-Ha

Jeff — It will be interesting to see how Easton and Huseby do, as sailors from the Pacific Northwest have a history of punching above their weight in Pacific Cups. However, the analogy of a 396-hp Pontiac to a Cascade 36 — or just about any sailboat — seems off the mark to us. If Easton and Huseby were to win their class, we think it would be because they are crafty veterans of the event who were able to sail their boat to her rating, not because Raindrop is a Tempest-like inherent rocketship on the water.

By the way, after the first four days of racing in the Pacific Cup, Raindrop was first in class by an impressive 14.5 hours. However, thanks to near drifting conditions outside the Gate on the day of her start, she's only running 21st in the 60-boat fleet.

July 22 update! Raindrop has now catapulted to first overall.


I'm probably not the only one to have noticed that the U.S. and global economies are a little rocky right now. While I've saved enough money to buy a condo, Suze Orman, the celebrity financial planner from Oakland, tells me that it's too early to jump into the housing market. Besides, the idea of moving into a condo strikes me as almost as boring as living in the apartment I currently live in. So I'm toying with the idea of buying a sailboat to liveaboard. After all, it seems like it would be more fun and less expensive than a condo or my apartment. I'm not a tree hugger, but a sailboat's small carbon footprint might also appeal to the type of woman I'm hoping to attract.

The problem with living aboard has always been that it's been hard to find liveaboard slips. Given the current economic situation, are more boats slips available, and are more legal liveaboard slips available?

Steve Sordero
San 'Rent Control City' Francisco

Steve — Good questions. We spoke with a variety of harbormasters to get the answers.

According to Alan Weaver at Marina Village in Alameda, where 80% of the tenants are sailboats, he hasn't seen any indications of more slips being available at his marina. "We're 99% full and everybody seems to be sitting tight. I might expect to see some boats moving from more expensive marinas to less expensive ones in the future, but I haven't seen it yet. By the way, some people have assumed that powerboaters might be trying to unload their boats, but I haven't seen that yet either. With it costing as much as $2,000 to fill up some powerboat tanks, they might not take their boats out as often, but apparently they like them as their home away from home. I've heard some powerboaters grumble about fuel prices and talk about switching to sailboats, but I don't know of anyone who has done it yet."

There is great news over at Berkeley Marina for folks looking for liveaboard slips, but it's not really because of the economy. When John Mann came in as the new harbormaster a little more than a month ago, he found that the marina, which is 80% sail, had 10% of the slips vacant. Looking further, he noticed that the Bay Conservation and Development Commission has approved 100 liveaboard slips in that marina, but only 40 of that allotment were being used. As such, the Berkeley Marina took out a full page ad last month in Latitude and listed some of the many slips they have available, including eight liveaboard slips from 28 to 60 feet. "We have a lot more of them, too," Mann told us. At $491/month for a 40-ft liveaboard slip, with water, garbage and electricity included with most of them, it sounds like big bang for the buck.

A little further up the Bay at Marina Bay in Richmond, Assistant Harbormaster Dale Plumb says, "Our occupancy is pretty good, but we've still got a few slips — including liveaboard slips — available. A 40-ft liveaboard slip goes for $360/month, plus $200/month more to liveaboard, plus $25/month more for a pet to liveaboard." Plumb is one who says he's noticed a bit of a trend moving from powerboats to sailboats. "There are some people who just have to be on the water, and if it's too expensive to have a powerboat, they're moving to a sailboat."

On the Marin side of the Bay, Loch Lomond Yacht Harbor has taken in a lot of small boats that used to be at Clipper Basin #2 in Sausalito, which is being redone for mostly larger boats, so they don't have many of those left. But they do have slips over 30 feet available, although some are too shallow for boats with keels. Loch Lomond is allowed 10% liveaboards, but that quota is currently full. In order to be considered for that status, a boat already has to be berthed in the marina. Once a liveaboard slip becomes available, a computer randomly chooses who gets it.

Clipper Yacht Harbor in Sausalito is rebuilding Basin #2 — where Latitude 38 was born back in '77 — so they are at maximum capacity and will be until the construction is completed, which will hopefully be done by the end of the year.

South Beach Marina in San Francisco, thanks to its great location — and parking adjacent to the ballpark — is not only full, it has a six- to 10-year waiting list depending on the size of slip. "The next person in line for a 38-ft slip," says Harbormaster Jim Walter, "signed up in July of '00." South Beach Marina does not allow liveaboards.

Robert Johnson, harbormaster at Oyster Point Marina on the Peninsula, reports that they are actually up 8% in occupancy this year — but that's an anomaly associated with a dredging project last year. In truth, the marina is current only at 58% occupancy. "We have one of the lower percentage occupancy rates on the Bay because our afternoon winds average 17 to 22 knots," explains Johnson. "We've got 36-ft slips for $265/month plus electricity, and double finger 45-ft slips for $345/month." They do allow liveaboards, but are already at the Bay Conservation and Development Commission's 10% maximum percentage. By the way, the Oyster Point breakwater has been reconfigured to accommodate commuter ferries.

Down in San Diego, where lots of Ha-Ha entries will be looking to get slips for October, the berthing situation is much more favorable than it's been in many years.

"We have around 15% vacancy, and have had that for almost a year," reports Harbormaster Elaine Lutz of Cabrillo Isle Marina on Harbor Island. "Prior to that, such as in '06, we were full and had a waiting list for all sizes of slips. But vacancies have crept up since then, and I even have some liveaboard slips available. It seems to me that lots of the boats we're losing are headed to Washington or Canada. The housing situation apparently isn't as bad in the Northwest as it is down here, and people are finding better buys on the boats in San Diego. In addition, I've been getting lots of inquiries from people, non-boaters, who are selling or losing their homes and are looking to boats as a less expensive way to live. The only place we don't have vacancies is in the larger size slips. I talk to the other harbormasters, and we're not alone in having more vacancies than before."

Eric Leslie, harbormaster at Harbor Island West and at Pier 32, agrees that the market has softened up. "Our waiting list at Harbor Island West is shorter, and in some of the smaller sizes, is non-existent. We estimate a wait of three to six months for a 40-ft slip, while it might be a two-year wait for 50-ft slips. I keep tabs on our competitors, and it's softening everywhere."

As for the beautiful new 250-slip Pier 32 Marina a short distance from downtown San Diego, it's only been open for less than a month, so it's only about 25% full. "About 60 more boats are in the mill," says Leslie, "but we're welcoming all the Ha-Ha boats with a 30% discount. And we do have liveaboard slips. Like Lutz, Leslie thinks a number of San Diego boats are headed to the Northwest. "We saw the same thing in the mid-'90s. Boatyard operators would tell us they were shipping two or three boats a week to the Northwest. The explanation is that we have a better inventory of boats down here than they do up there."

All things considered, it seems to be a bit of a mixed bag. There seems to be continued strength in the demand for larger slips in the higher end marinas, but noticeable softening in smaller sizes, particularly at less centrally located marinas. And liveaboard slips are available, although not everywhere.


Joanne Jackson of Richmond, who in the last issue complained about the Garmin handheld GPS units having the screens on the bottom and the buttons on the top, must not ever have used such units with one hand. Using the Garmin 76 as an example, placing the button controls above the screen allows the GPS to be held and controlled with one hand — using your thumb for data input, etc. It's simple and efficient — especially when sailors often have to steer with one hand and operate electronic equipment with the other.

Jackson says that Garmin has "evil ways," but I don't agree because designing for function creates good form. Garmin deserves praise, not chastisement. If anyone has evil ways, it would be Magellan, which requires that you hold their handheld GPS units with one hand and control them with the other, thus leaving no hand to steer the vessel.

Thomas Charron
Mi Vida, Catalina 42

Thomas — To each their own, we suppose. We've been very happy with our Garmin products, but have to agree with Jackson's complaint. And since almost all cell phones, which are often used with one hand, have the controls on the bottom and the screen on the top, we don't see why that shouldn't be the case with Garmin GPS units, too. But no matter where a manufacturer decides to locate the screen, it could hardly be classified, like warm beer, as something that's evil.


I have used at least a dozen different handheld GPS receivers, and I continue to appreciate and recommend Garmin over other brands for two reasons: 1) buttons at the top, and 2) software user interface.

"Buttons on top?" you ask? Oh yes! Thiese are by far the best ergonomics for one-handed operation. You naturally grip the unit near its center of gravity and operate the buttons with your thumb in a natural position. If you try this with a buttons-on-bottom brand, you will have a much less secure grip, as the weight of most of the unit sticks out too far past your grip, and your thumb has to bend back in a cramped position to operate the buttons. Try it.

I used to sail my Santa Cruz 27 between San Diego and Los Angeles, often singlehanded, and the ease and comfort of the buttons-on-top one-handed operation of my Garmin was one of those little things that just seemed 'right'. One hand on the tiller and one hand on the GPS.

Scott Truesdell
ex-owner Deathmobile, Santa Cruz 27
Newport Beach

Scott — If you have one hand on the tiller and one hand on the GPS, what about the always-recommended 'one hand for the boat'?


As ex-cruisers who were in the Sea of Cortez in '95-'97, we're really missing Mexican waters and are looking forward to going back when we retire many years from now. Meanwhile, we'd really like to experience paradise for a few weeks. Unfortunately, the high cost of chartering out of La Paz leaves us feeling stuck. Can you recommend any lower cost options? Do you think it would be possible to arrange a swap, say two to four weeks, of the use of a sailboat in the spring or fall in return for letting the owner of the boat use our home in Tacoma for the same period? Obviously, both parties would need to feel comfortable with each other. Are there any legal issues — insurance, owner not being on the boat, etc. — that would complicate things?

By the way, if this proposition sounds interesting to any boatowners in Mexico, they can reach us by .

Ken Fellows, ex-Discovery
Becky Thompson, ex-Esprit II
Tacoma, Washington

Ken and Becky — You can, as they used to say in the '60s, run the idea up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes. We think insurance issues and the matter of the owner not being on the boat can be solved. Probably the biggest concerns each party would have is that their property might get damaged and there would be no effective way to guarantee compensation. But if you do find someone willing to swap, let us know how it turns out.


I just finished a catamaran cruise in the eastern Med with my wife and two children. We loved it! I'd like to charter another sailboat in Mexico this winter. We'd need a skipper — I don't know how to sail — and perhaps a cook.

I've read Latitude's First-Timer's Guide to Cruising In Mexico, which gave me an idea about possible itineraries in the Sea of Cortez and on the mainland coast of Mexico. I've also visited the Mayan Riviera years ago by land, and found it beautiful, but I don't know if it's a good sailing area.

What would you recommend as an itinerary for a one-week charter in either January or February for our family? Are there any local charter companies that you can recommend? We speak fluent Spanish, so we are comfortable dealing with a Spanish-speaking crew.

Barry Ellsworth
Planet Earth

Barry — If you're talking about January or February, we'd steer you away from the Sea of Cortez, which is too cold for swimming at that time of year. Even the daytime temperatures can be cool about half the time. If you can switch your schedule to sometime in the spring or fall, the Sea of Cortez would be ideal. In that case, we'd recommend The Moorings out of La Paz. In fact, they are the only 'big name' charter outfit in Mexico, and they only operate out of La Paz. If you do the Sea of Cortez, you want to do a one-way trip from La Paz to Puerto Escondido or vice versa. It would be terrific if you love nature, but not if you're looking for a jump-up at a crowded bar each night. The Sea of Cortez is a very un-Med, un-Caribbean experience.

If the winter is your time of year, you're going to want to find a charter situation that would take you down Mexico's Gold Coast from Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo. Crewed charters are not common along the mainland coast of Mexico, but you might start your search calling J/World Puerto Vallarta. We're not aware of any crewed charter outfits on the Mayan Riviera.


I came across your March 10, 2006, Photo of the Day in 'Lectronic Latitude, a photo that was credited to Peter Whitney. The photo doesn't belong to Mr. Whitney, nor did the story accompanying the photo relate to the day the photo was taken. In fact, the photo was taken by Walker Mangum, and it was sold to the BVI Welcome Tourist Guide, and featured on the cover of the April/May 2007 edition. Furthermore, the woman in the photo walking on the beach is my wife. I think proper credit is due and a clarification in order.

Davide Pugliese
Brandywine Bay Restaurant
East End, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Davide — The advent of digits and the internet has brought the world some wonderful things — but a few not so wonderful things, too. The unfortunate truth is that it's become ridiculously easy for people to expropriate the work of others. For example, about a year ago we were in St. Barth snoozing in the cockpit of our catamaran when Jimmy Buffett came sailing past on his new sailboat. We grabbed our camera, took a photo, and ran it in the next day's 'Lectronic. It probably took all of 24 hours before that photo appeared on a number of other websites, not a single one of which requested permission to use it or even gave us photo credit. Indeed, we've come across websites that feature scores of our copyrighted photos, and when we complain, the owners of such sites basically say "What are you going to do about it?" In most cases there is precious little that can be done about it except to appeal to the owner's sense of right and wrong — which is usually non-existent.

So we empathize with photographer Walker Mangum, and offer our sincerest apologies.


I was wondering if you could provide an update on two stories you posted on Is there any news on David Vann's attempt to do a four-month circumnavigation on Tin Can, the 50-ft aluminum trimaran he built for $30,000? And, I'm interested in learning about the delays in transiting the Panama Canal. Are the very long delays — weeks — that were common in March still the rule?

Seth Hynes
Planet Earth

Seth — Tin Can suffered a serious structural problem shortly after leaving the Bay, so Vann pulled into Santa Cruz. His trimaran is now back on the hard in the Napa Valley. At last word, he was planning to make repairs and modifications, then try again at some future date.

Sources in Panama report that the extreme delays in private yachts transiting the Canal were over as of June, with waits in both directions now four days or less. The waits fluctuate during the year depending on the season and the amount of world trade. With the global economic downturn, future delays aren't expected to be as great as in the past, but you never can tell. However, did you know that the Canal auctions off one transit slot per day to the highest bidder? Since small boats are competing with ships, boatowners should be aware that the highest bid to date has been $165,000. Ouch! But there may be some wiggle room for small boats. We once absolutely had to get through the Canal the day after we arrived at Cristobal with Profligate, and were able to do it — after paying an additional fee of $2,200.


I was at Two Harbors on Catalina on the weekend of July 12-13, saw Latitude's catamaran Profligate parked on Harbor Reef, but couldn't find the Grand Poobah. I'd been hoping to meet him, but oh well, maybe in Mexico during the winter. As the owner of an Iroquois 32 cat — as well as a Morgan Out Island 28 in Mexico — I read with interest the letters fromcatamaran owners concerning the speed that cruising catamarans are capable of. I was amazed. I've had my Iroquois up to 14 knots, and have heard that Iroquois can do even better, but believe that I was pushing the envelope.

As I'm still a new owner, I think there are certain differences between cats and monohulls — besides speed — that are seldom mentioned. First, catamarans can sail backwards! Yep, I've done it. There is a tacking technique all catamaran owners know to insure that the jib will stay full until the very last moment of the tack. Otherwise the jib will be backwinded and, unlike a monohull, which points to weather, cats actually go backwards when this happens. I'm sure all catamaran owners are laughing right now, for at some point every cat owner has done it. If he hasn't done it, he's either lying, has a bad memory, or blamed it on his wife.

Second, since cats have no ballast, in gusty conditions they are like driving a Corvette with both feet on the pedals, taking only one foot off at a time. In other words, you accelerate and decelerate faster than on monohulls, something which causes you to grab onto something for balance.

Third, while cats don't heel, they do something different. They wobble. This is a side to side motion mixed up with an up and down motion while going over swells. It's like the movement of a snake on the water — especially if the cat has daggerboards instead of keels and the daggerboards are in the up position. I have learned to have some board profile to keep a better track, although it slows the boat a little.

Fourth — and this really takes some getting used to — is docking a cat. Since there is no ballast, there is little forward momentum when you let sail down or put the engine in neutral. With very little water resistance, a cat stops once she's in irons. It takes some getting used to if you've only sailed on monohulls. So you learn to drop your sails at the same time you jump onto the dock. It's kind of hard to do when you're singlehanding, but you sure look brilliant when you're able to pull it off!

Lastly, a cat gives you the feeling of riding on top of the water instead of sailing through it. The buoyancy factor is in everything you do out there. Keeping a catamaran light works for you when you need to keep her trimmed in heavy weather. Keeping cats balanced evenly is an even bigger challenge, as all additional weight should be kept low and centered.

In the year of owning my cat, I've noticed I use different sailing techniques compared to my monohull. It's like the difference between skiing and snowboarding. But all snowboarders who started on skis share one opinion — they can never go back to skiing. I keep my Morgan Out Island 28 in Mexico, and when I returned to her last summer, I got the shock of my life sailing on a monohull again. I couldn’t wait to get my catamaran out on the ocean again, feeling not only the difference in speed, but its unique motion on the water. But I don't want too many people to hear about this, because if everyone bought a catamaran, we'd need three times the number of slips to accommodate them all. As for you monohull sailors, please don't try a cat, for once you do, you'll likely discover what I have . . . once you go cat, you never go back.

J. Barden
Martes, Iroquois 32 MK2
Ann-Marie, Morgan Out Island 28
Marina del Rey

J. — We remember seeing your cat on the east side of Isthmus Cove. You shouldn't feel bad about an Iroquois 32 not hitting 20+ knots as reported by the owners of more modern cats. After all, she was designed in the '70s and built with '70s materials. As a result, she's not as light and doesn't have as much sail area as newer 32-ft cats. It's sort of like expecting a Columbia 30 monohull from the '70s — which rates 180 PHRF — to be able to sail as fast as the new Columbia 30, which displaces less than half as much and rates 75 PHRF.

Cats will indeed sail backwards during failed tacks. We've had Profligate 'sailing' in reverse at over three knots, and found she was surprisingly easy to steer, too. In our experience, the real fun starts when you start getting the cat moving forward again. For up until water gets going past the rudders at sufficient speed, you actually have to delicately turn the wheel to port in order to go to starboard and vice versa.

We agree with your observations that cats seem to sail on top of the water while monohulls sail through the water, and that cats have a quicker and jerkier motion than monohulls. Usually, but not always, we find that catamaran motion is less fatiguing for the crew.

We love our cat, but think catamaran popularity will always be tempered by several factors: they are quite expensive compared to monohulls; it can be hard to find berthing for them; and cats don't lend themselves to typical closed-course racing.


You've written that proper use of the traveller on cruising cats is important for efficient sailing. I can't seem to find much information on sail trim for cruising cats, and wonder if you'd care to share your acquired wisdom about use of the traveller and other tips for getting the most — especially upwind — out of those wonderful beasts.

Howard Torf
Calabra, Leopard 42
Eastern Caribbean

Howard — We'd be happy to share our wisdom on catamaran sail trim, but honestly, we don't think we possess any. Sure, we know the basic stuff that can be found in any sailing book, but beyond that, we're often scratching our heads as to why our cat is going so slow or so fast. Part of the problem might be that Profligate has a huge main and a storm jib-like jib, so she doesn't have the normal slot. But with the cat's 20-ft traveller, we're rarely confident we have the right amount of twist in the main — except in heavy winds when we make the thing as flat as a board. What's more, in light conditions, when the cat's jerky upwind motion, combined with a heavy 28-ft-long aluminum boom, makes a mess out of the laminar flow over the main, we're all but lost at sea.

As you might know, we also have a Leopard 45 catamaran in a yacht management program in the British Virgins. Equipped with an overlapping genoa, a much smaller main than Profligate, plus a short traveller atop what Bob Perry would call the Linguini Strut, she's like an entirely different animal — and another sail trim mystery to us.

So we might as well admit it, most of the time we're unsure of our sail trim. But it's a hell of a lot of fun messing around trying to figure it out.


A few weeks ago some friends and I went sailing aboard the Sausalito-based Beneteau 44 Drama, which is owned by my old pal 'El Pirata' Bob and Linda, his full-time wife. It was a perfect day to be on the water, as it was relatively calm, with just a hint of a zephyr blowing through the Gate. We not only were able to sail along at a decent speed, but also had plenty of sun . . . and rum.

Making it all the more pleasant was the fact that we had three starboard wenches. They were Dede, the red-headed, self-proclaimed social directress who brought out her rainbow parasol to ward off excess rays; Polina, the blonde, who brought along her new beau to soften him up with some new store bought goodies, and Nancy, the brunette — and designated helmsperson for the day.

Contrary to the boat's name, we languished in idle melodrama, characterized by stereotyped characters, exaggerated emotions and language, simplistic morality and conflict — sort of like this letter. But what a great day! We need many more like it.

Khryxz, the bilge coolie
Crew, Drama, Beneteau 44

Khryxz — In these days of extreme fuel prices and 'staycations', what better way to get away from it all than a sail on the Bay than with a bunch of friends? Particularly when one of the friends is kind enough to be the designated helmsperson.

By the way, by referring to Linda as the Pirate's "full-time wife" are you implying that he has one or more 'part-time wives'? And if so, how does that work out?


In regard to the story you posted about a German cruising family being kidnapped off of the northern part of Somalia, the area is of big interest to me, as my wife and I have just been through it on our way to the Red Sea, the Med, and Turkey.

I think there is much hype about piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and it influences peoples' decisions about making this passage as opposed to not making it at all or going around South Africa. Incidents only seem to involve vessels that are too close to the Somalian shore. In this case, the German couple's vessel had gone close enough to take photos of the shore.

There is, in fact, no reason to go or be anywhere near the coast of Somalia, as the Gulf of Aden is generally more than 150 miles wide. Problems with kidnappers or pirates can be avoided by hugging the coast of Yemen, where the chance of an incident is just about zero. In other words, there is no reason to be less then 100 miles off the coast of Somalia!

It seems as though the only stories that make the news are the tales of irresponsible skippers who bring their boats too close to a coast that is well known for such problems. If you examine all the piracy reports, you'll see that none of them have taken place near the coast of Yemen.

In addition, it's also very easy to travel with other boats, as there are always other boats making the same transits. So why travel alone?

Tom and Amy Larson
Sandpiper, Yorktown 35, Baja Ha-Ha Class of '05
Tiburon / Currently in Turkey

Readers — The reports on the kidnapping of the German cruisers off northern Somalia on June 23 have been rife with incorrect information. It was often reported that there had been four cruisers: an older German couple, their son, and a French skipper. However, the respected German newsweekly Der Spiegel has more recently reported that it was actually just a German couple, identified only as Jürgen K., 63, and Sabine M., 51, aboard their yacht Rockall. They were crossing the Gulf of Aden on their way from Egypt to Thailand when they were kidnapped, apparently having 'cut the corner' to shorten the distance to Thailand.

One of the kidnappers claimed the couple were seized for "invading Somalian waters." Right, as if the couple was the vanguard of the Fourth Reich and Somalia is the new Poland. Der Spiegel reported that the couple later were able to talk to relatives in Germany by phone, and diabetes medicine was sent to Somalia for Jurgen. A Somalian tribal leader in the mountains, where the couple are believed to be held, is the go-between, and says the pirates want $2 million in ransom. As for Rockall, she was found washed ashore. There have been no news updates in nearly a month, which sounds ominous, but is actually not unusual in Somalian abduction cases.

With nearly 2,000 miles, Somalia has the longest coastline of any African country, and the entire length is rife with active pirates and kidnappers. Somalia has been in chaos for decades because of the lack of a central government and because of corruption and numbing poverty.

It's estimated that about 100 private yachts transit the 'chute' that is the Gulf of Aden on their way to the Red Sea each year. Experts say that, although Somalian pirates have come to within 50 miles of Yemen, the Yemen side of the Gulf of Aden is far less dangerous. See this month's Changes for evidence that this is indeed the case.

The most high-profile yacht kidnapping case off Somalia in recent times involved the luxury French sailing yacht Le Ponant on April 4. French troops 'rescued' the hostages — after $2 million in ransom was paid. Eight of the 14 pirates were eventually killed, with the other six arrested. Some of the money was recovered.

But don't think that incident of piracy and kidnapping — which made international headlines — put a stop to such activity. In the July Yachting World, skipper Johan Lillkung of the 88-ft Dolpin reports that there were no less than five piracy incidents off Somalia — in less than 24 hours while he passed offshore. And in early July, Somali pirates freed the German ship Lehman Timber and her crew, who had been hijacked a month before. One of the pirates told reporters that the ship and crew were released after an English-speaking captain paid them $750,000 in cash.

Would we hug the coast of Somalia if we were on our way to or from the Red Sea? No. After all, it's not even one of the garden spots or cultural meccas of the world.


Having just done the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous for Pacific Puddle Jumpers sponsored by Latitude, Tahiti Tourisme, the Port of Papeete, and others, it was great seeing Latitude's Banjo Andy once again. We want to thank Andy and Latitude 38 for putting on the Puddle Jump parties in Puerto Vallarta and Zihua earlier this year, and for getting the Tahiti Tourisme and Port of Papeete folks involved.

The folks from Tahiti Tourisme and the Port of Papeete did a great job in welcoming us cruisers to French Polynesia. What other country does this for cruisers?

Although we could have had more wind for the rally to Moorea, all of the activities seemed to go flawlessly. Both of our grandchildren, who flew in for a visit, enjoyed the activities set up at the various stands at the yacht quay village in downtown Papeete, as well as sports and dancing demonstrations in Moorea. One of the highlights for us was the outrigger canoe races. Yes, we did flip our canoe and came in last — but we all had a great time.

We recognize that it took a lot of work and effort to pull the event off, but it was greatly appreciated.

Jaime & Christine Tate
Morning Light, Hylas 46

Jaime and Christine — Thank you for the very kind words. As we think we were put on earth to help other people have fun with their sailboats, it means a lot to us. We're proud to have come up with the concept of the Pacific Puddle Jump, and to have more or less been the event's steward over the years. We're particularly pleased to have developed an ongoing relationship with Tahiti Tourisme and others in French Polynesia, for, as you'll read in Sightings, it's the relationship between our Banjo Andy and Michel Alcon, Commodore of the Tahiti YC, that is apparently going to result in Puddle Jump participants not having to post bond in French Polynesia in the future. For those not familiar with this complicated, time-consuming, and expensive requirement, it's a really big deal. For specifics on how big a deal, read the following letter that we solicited from Wayne Meretsky of Moonduster in French Polynesia.


I've heard that, thanks to the relationships developed by Banjo Andy of Latitude and the Baja Ha-Ha, and a steward of the Pacific Puddle Jump, next year's Puddle Jumpers might not have to post bond when they arrive in French Polynesia. Wow, that would be amazing! How much would it save? There's no short answer, especially when it comes to dollars and cents, but I'll take a crack at it.

As far as time savings, it likely would save at least two hours — and could be five days if your timing is off just a bit, as the banks keep fickle hours. Get to the bank at the end of the day on a Friday and miss out, you have to wait until Monday. And you have to go to the bank twice, once to post bond, and once to get it back. The people I stood in line with at the bank in Hiva Oa were in line for about 90 minutes.

Regarding money, the savings could be anywhere from a little to a lot. Bond was $1,630 U.S. per person this year. If you're a family of four, you had to put down more than $6,500 dollars! That's refundable, of course, so for some cruisers it's no problem at all. For less affluent cruisers, it can be a very significant barrier. But the real costs are less significant.

The banks accept credit cards for the bond, but the transaction is a cash advance, so if you use a credit card, you get a pretty hefty interest charge. It would be somewhere in the 1.5% per month range, or $25.45 per person if you can manage to pay it off immediately. When your money is refunded, it will be in Polynesian francs, and the banks charge an exchange commission. The lowest commission I've seen is a flat 350 francs — or about $5. Then there's the currency float between the time you arrive and the time you leave. If the dollar drops 10% in those three months, that's $163 out of your pocket. Most cruisers had timing similar to mine, and we actually made money on the float.

For a back-of-the-envelope short answer, I'd say the costs of the bond are two to four hours of time and, in the end, $100 per person as a ballpark, but if you use a credit card, the $100 could easily be $300 if you don't pay it off quickly and the float nails you.

Interestingly, there are no charges for checking in or checking out of French Polynesia. The only fee, other than bond, is to extend one's 30-day, "zero-cost" visa to 90 days. That runs 3,000 francs or about $40. So the bond is a very significant additional cost, even at $100 per person.

Some cruisers avoid paying the bond altogether, by either buying a refundable airline ticket or using an agent in French Polynesia. A refundable ticket is a bit tricky because only a few airlines serve Tahiti. But if you have a ticket in hand when checking in, you can then get the refund immediately. Some did this online and had the cash out for only a day or two.

The various agents will likely be upset if the Puddle Jumpers don't have to post bond next season, as their biggest lure is that, for a flat non-refundable fee of around $100, they'll guarantee your bond. But if you use that service, you must also use the agent to do all check-in/check-out related work, for which they charge about $200. The $300 is pure profit, as there are no costs beyond paying someone to stand in line.

Wayne Meretsky
Moonduster, S&S 47
Alameda / French Polynesia


I enjoyed reading the July issue letters about the top speeds hit by various cruising catamarans, but I prefer monohulls, and am wondering about the top speeds hit by owners of those boats. I realize that families cruising aboard boats such as Cal 40s, Olson 40s, and Santa Cruz 50s — like the ones that have done the Ha-Ha — must have at least hit a number in the high to mid-teens. I'd love to hear about them. In fact, I think it would be fun to hear what kind of speeds people have hit with even more 'cruisy' boats such as Passport 40s, Catalina 42s, Islander Freeport 36s, Beneteaus 473s, Hunter 460s — boats that are more commonly sailed in events such as the Ha-Ha and then really cruised. Of course, if anyone wants to chime in with a top speed from an all-out racing monohull, that would be fun to read about, too.

John Johnson
Las Vegas

John — Great idea! What about it monohull cruisers, what's been your top speed, even if during a burst sailing down a wave off Pt. Conception or Cabo Corrientes? And what about you racers?

Having already featured this letter in 'Lectronic, we got a number of responses, but because of the volume of letters this month, and because there are likely to be some great monohull bursts in the Pacific Cup that's going on as we write this, we're going to hold all the responses until the September issue.


My old Catana 431 catamaran Thanks Larry, now Paul Biery's New Focus, did some surfing in the mid-20s when I owned her. However, I was more impressed by our making the 1,000-mile passage from Puerto Rico to Panama — with the autopilot driving the entire time — in just 120 hours. That's an average speed of 199 miles a day.

I was with Biery on the delivery sail down the coast of California after he bought the cat from me. We saw wind and waves as big as any I'd seen during my passages from Canet, France, to Hawaii, and while I recall 20-ft seas, I don't recall seeing the "white seas" that Paul did. But white knuckles, yes!

Dean Daniels
Sleeping Dragon, Hobie 33
Northern California

Readers — As we write this reply, Daniels and his Hobie 33 are racing in the Pacific Cup, and are currently first in the nine-boat Division D, and even better, first overall in the 61-boat fleet. Some folks say that once you sail a catamaran you'll never go back to a monohull. Well, Daniels is proof that there are some exceptions.


The 45th running of the TransTahoe Race was held under smokey skies on July 11-13. After a four-hour plus delay, a brisk 10- to 20-knot breeze came up. The wind held for the entire — albeit abbreviated — course, which ran from a start off the Tahoe YC to Eagle Rock, to the Tahoe Research Buoy #4 off Dollar Point, and back to the start. As it turned out Dick Ferris' J/125 August Ice took line and overall honors, with Gary Redelberger's Farr 36 Racer X taking second.

But there was more than just racing action on the course, as those of us aboard the J/145 Pleiades, hosting a partial reunion of the Jeanneau 43DS Tomatillo crew from the Banderas Bay Regatta, observed an interesting sight during the Division I start. Jim Courcier's Tahoe Cruz, a chartered Santa Cruz 50 on a day-cruise, was hosting a bachlorette party onboard when his brother Rich Courcier's Farr 36 Wicked abruptly changed course and headed in their vicinity. The reason is that several of the bachelorettes had decided to 'flash' — what's become of young women this days?! — the crew of Wicked, which naturally got the attention and response of the Farr 36's helmsman and crew. Their radical course change, not to mention the loss of the male crew's concentration, had a detrimental affect on Wicked's start. To be honest, Pleiades smoked 'em.

John Corda of Wicked would later protest the incident — although it was at the bar of the Tahoe YC and on a cocktail napkin rather than in the protest room, so it was pretty informal. Corda claimed the distraction was a violation of what he called the Rule Double Aught, and diagrammed as O)(O. During the incident, other racing boats petitioned the gals on Tahoe Cruz for 'undress', as opposed to 'redress'. Unfortunately, they were denied by the ladies.

Overall, the race was a great success, as what started out looking to be a bust turned out to be a fine time for all. And to spice things up, during the awards ceremony, the Windjammer YC of South Lake Tahoe announced they'd be reviving the North/South Challenge, an event to be held later this year.

Jim Casey
Tomatillo, Jeanneau 43DS
Lake Tahoe / Punta Mita, Mexico

Jim — Your letter would have been much more effective had you included some photos.


With the high price of diesel — it costs some powerboat friends well over $1,000 each time they have to fill their tanks — there have been reports of thieves siphoning diesel from boat tanks. As a result, the Southern California chandlery where I work now stocks a number of locking deck fill caps.

Several of my co-workers and I were discussing the problem, and we decided we've come up with a better — and less expensive — solution. Boatowners should just switch the caps to their diesel and holding tanks in the hope that such thieves would put their siphon hose into the wrongly marked tank, and then suck hard. A picture of that would be priceless!

Mystery Chandlery Employee
Long Beach


As I recall, many years ago Latitude had an article about the steps involved in buying a sailboat, which included a sample of a buyer's offer contract. Is that still available in your archives? I'm interested in purchasing a boat listed in the Classy Classifieds from a private party and want to draft such a contract to present to the owner.

Portia Polner
Planet Earth

Portia — It's been so long since we ran such an article that we can't find a copy of a sample contract. However, it wouldn't be difficult to create one of your own based on a contract borrowed from a broker, found on the internet, or gleaned from Nolo Press.

For the record, the boat buying process usually goes like this: You make an offer on a boat, most commonly contingent on a sea trial, a survey, and, if necessary, obtaining financing. If your offer is accepted, you put some earnest money in trust, then go for a sea trial. If the sea trial is acceptable, you move on to the next step, which is having the boat hauled for a survey. As the buyer, you pay to have the boat hauled and for the survey. While the boat is still out of the water, you may want to modify your offer based on what, if anything, needs to be repaired. If you and the owner are able to work out any deficiencies in the survey, either by you lowering your offer or he/she making repairs, then you make sure you've got your financing lined up. Usually a buyer arranges financing at the beginning, but most lenders won't give final approval until they've seen the boat survey. Once you've taken care of that contingency, it's time to take a deep breath, sign on the dotted line — and start enjoying your boat.

So beyond the basics of the contract — listing the type, year, serial number of the boat, all the gear that goes on it, and so forth — the important thing is to make sure your contingencies are in place. For if they aren't, you may find yourself forced into either buying a boat you don't want or losing your earnest money.


It's a pleasure for me to write Latitude, the best magazine in the world!

I'm the sole reporter at the Martinez News-Gazette, the local paper in Martinez for the past 150 years. A news item in the Loose Lips section of the July issue caught my eye for several reasons. First, we were the ones to break the story that Joe DiMaggio's old Chris Craft Joltin' Joe was "rotting away in a warehouse." What happened is that Lorena Castillo, our intrepid photographer, was working on another story about the Willows Theater Company's new facility when she told the unaware theater staff that the dilapidated boat was not a prop left over from an impoverished production of Show Boat, but a historic artifact. We printed a story about the discovery in the May 29 issue, and did a follow-up two days later. The San Francisco Chronicle printed their version on June 14, but since we don't have a website — I know!!! — we didn't get credit for the scoop.

Happily, as I reported in the July 5 edition of the Gazette, the Sons of Italy, a local fraternal organization, got together and pledged to the city to facilitate the restoration. They are spearheading a fund-raising campaign and assembling a team of shipwrights and supplies. They also consulted with the folks at Chris Craft to get the original 1949 specs, and plan to refurbish the boat down to the last precise detail. The campaign will be sanctioned at an upcoming City Council meeting.

"Hopefully we can take better care of the Joltin’ Joe this time around," said Public Works Director Dave Scola, who is looking forward to the restoration. He also told me the city is considering where the renovated boat — within a protective enclosure — will be placed on display. I'll keep you posted.

But I have a question on another matter. I returned to the Bay Area in May after a couple of years spent on a '64 Chris Craft Constellation on Lake Union in Seattle, and got a good deal on a Catalina 30 from some friends who were going through a divorce. I planned to move her to the Martinez Marina and live aboard near my new workplace. Well, the first day on the job, my editor and I went to see the harbormaster. After the introduction, the harbormaster asked me the length of my boat. When I said 30 feet, he replied, "Oh, we have a rule here that your boat must be at least 35 feet in order to live aboard." He then handed me a booklet from Almar, which is the company that operates the Martinez Marina, and left.

On our way out, another customer who had overheard our conversation said, "More importantly, what's your draft?" I later learned that when the tide is out, there is often only three feet of water in the marina. The city keeps promising to dredge — although I’m wondering why Almar isn’t responsible for dredging — but no one at City Hall can give me an exact date.

Anyway, I read through the Almar booklet, and nowhere in it does it state that people can only live on boats that are 35 feet or longer. My question to you is whether you have ever heard such a rule. Or do you think, as I suspect, that as soon as the harbormaster learned I’m a reporter, he made the length requirement up because he didn’t want someone closely examining the apparently abysmal affairs of the marina? Regardless, in the coming months I’ll be writing extensively about the Martinez Marina, and forward any juicy findings to you.

P.S. Thank you for the umpteen hours blissfully lost between the covers of Latitude.

Greta Mart
Pearl, Catalina 30

Greta — Thank you for the very kind words.

No, we don't think the harbormaster was trying to stick it to you, the only reporter at the local newspaper. After all, former President Clinton was just the latest of many who channeled Mark Twain with the remark, "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel." As such, the last thing the harbormaster would want is for a curious sort, like a reporter, to poke around and discover there are others living on 30-ft boats. After all, that would lead to unflattering headlines such as: "Martinez Marina Management Company Discriminates Against Martinez's Top Female Journalist!"

We can't say that we've heard of a 30-foot liveaboard rule before, but we've heard of marina rules in that vein, and have generally been able to see some justification for them. We've also seen some ingenuous — albeit expensive — ways to comply with such rules. For example, when Alamitos Bay Marina in Long Beach told Jennifer Sanders that her then 60-ft Coco Kai wasn't eligible for a 65-ft slip because it was too short, she added a five-foot bowsprit.

Slips that don't have enough water for boats at low tide are a chronic and widespread problem all over San Francisco Bay and the Delta. If you want to see a really dramatic example, visit the Port Sonoma Marina where Highway 37 crosses the Petaluma River. Countless berths have been reclaimed by nature, so only a few of the original berths remain usable. In many other marinas, a percentage of berths can only be used by powerboats because there isn't enough water for keels.

Before you assume that Almar is responsible for dredging in Martinez, we suggest you do some more research. We'd be surprised if any marina management company would be foolish enough to allow themselves to be put on the hook for dredging. Then you should do an article about the mountain of problems associated with getting any dredging done in Northern California. Everest is a dung hill by comparison. The public hearings, the environmental impact reports — it goes on and on and on. Give the folks at the Vallejo Municipal Marina a call and they can tell you all about it. But be careful, such research might induce you to become a card-carrying member of the Ayn Rand Society.


With regard to the Sailing Benchmarks piece in the June issue, Ferdinand Magellan was not the first man to circumnavigate. Embarking on naval expansion in the 15th century, the Ming Dynasty dispatched spectacular armadas, manned by 30,000 men, into the Indian Ocean. They crushed Malay pirates and overwhelmed kings. Eventually, envoys and tribute streamed to the Dragon Throne from as many as 70 states, and Chinese goods filled Asian and African marts.

Before it was over, the Imperial Navy had 3,100 warships, 400 armed transports, and 250 treasure ships that were 300 feet long and 150 feet wide. No European power had anything to rival it. These armadas sailed around the world from 1421-1423 on a special mission to bring all lands into the tribute system of the Third Emperor.

Chinese pilots had the compass and sky charts some 1,000 years ago. They had sailing directions. They knew how to check latitude by measuring the altitude of stars. They reckoned longitude by noting the number of watches at an elapsed a given speed. They measured time by the burning of incense sticks, and estimated speed from the time it took the ship to pass a floating object. Their junks could sail closer to the wind than any Arab or European ship of the day.

All this and more can be found in 1421, a book by Gavin Menzies.

Charlie Ellery, U.S.M.M. ret.
Gusto, Islander 30
Anchorage A-3, Buoy A2, San Diego

Charlie — Not everyone — particularly not scientists — buy into Menzies's hypothesis. One reason is his personal shortcomings. For example, in the early editions of his books he curiously claimed that he'd been born in China. He's since admitted he was actually born in London, and has corrected his original claim in later editions of his book. He also claimed that, as the Commander of the submarine HMS Rorqual between '68 and '70, he sailed the same routes as Magellan and Captain Cook. Many critics question this, but one thing not in question is that Menzies and one of his subordinates were found to be responsible for an incident in which the Rorqual rammed — and punched a hole in — the USS Endurance, a U.S. mine sweeper that happened to be tied up to a pier in the Philippines. Then there's the matter of his being declared a vexatious litigant — one who brings legal action solely to harass or subdue an adversary — by Her Majesty's Court Service in '96. It's not easy to be declared such.

However, most experts aren't buying Menzies' theory for scientific reasons. Dr. Stephen Davies, Museum Director at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum wrote, " . . . the technical absurdity of supposing that the largest ships in the Treasure Fleets could have been of the size is too often supposed. The proposed behemoths fail almost any test naval architecture can come up with for assessing their navigability. They almost certainly could not have been built with the available 15th-century Chinese technology. And had they been, for similar reasons, it is improbable that they could have successfully been launched."

If you'd like to read countless other recognized experts rip into Menzies' evidence, visit

Although Menzies' book was described by one expert as an "entertaining amateur detective novel masquerading as revisionist history that may well prove to be the Pittdown Man of literature, and should only be classified as fiction," nobody should feel sorry for him. After all, the book landed the author a $750,000 book contract, one of the largest ever in the history field.


First, let me say thanks to Latitude 38 for being an excellent forum on the cruising lifestyle. Every issue I read increases my knowledge, and therefore my competency, on my boat.

Your recent article on how to reduce one’s carbon footprint is timely, and I would like to share our experience, particularly with solar power. Prior to participating in the '06 Ha-Ha, my brother Bruce and I cruised our Beneteau 38 Far Fetched in the Pacific Northwest for three years. As part of our preparation for cruising in Mexico, we took several steps to become more energy independent. First, we looked at reducing our power consumption, and second, we installed solar panels to provide the amount of energy we deemed necessary to live on. To be specific, we addressed our daily electrical needs, leaving propane for cooking and gas for the dinghy as items we could deal with on route.

Before heading to Mexico, we added LED lighting to the cabins and installed an LED anchor light at the masthead to reduce energy consumption. LED lights use dramatically less power than traditional lights. In addition, we used 4-inch computer fans — which are very efficient — for air circulation in the sleeping quarters.

After our first season in Mexico, we made more improvements. We increased insulation in our refrigerator/freezer and added a more efficient compressor. We also installed a more efficient controller — a Blue Sky — for our solar panels.

In May of '06, we installed four 65-watt solar panels — two on our hard dodger and two on a frame at the stern — to charge our 480 amp-hour battery bank. The stern panels can be pivoted fore and aft. In ideal conditions, our 260-watts of solar panels put out 16 amps an hour. By the way, according to the controller manufacturer, it's important to allow for good airflow around the solar panels, as trapped air can heat up and make them less efficient.

So how did this all work out and what did we learn? We had enough power not only to meet our hourly needs during daylight hours when the solar panels were working, but were also able to recover what we'd used the night before. We learned that significant charging started about 9:30 a.m. and ended around 5 p.m. But on a typical day, we'd have made up for the previous night's deficiency by 2 or 3 p.m. When I looked at the solar controller’s 'amp hours used' display first thing in the morning, most mornings it was down between 45 to 65 amp hours. But by mid afternoon, the batteries were all charged up again.

There were variations, of course. The time of year and cloud cover affected the efficiency of our solar panels. We made less energy during the shorter winter days, but the cooler winter temperatures also meant our refrigeration had to be on less. And refrigeration was by far the biggest electrical drain we had.

We lived what we consider to be a normal cruising lifestyle. We made ice and kept the food in our reefer cool, we often watched a movie for several hours on the computer in the evenings, sent emails by SailMail daily, made water as required, and participated in the VHF and SSB nets.

We do carry a 2,000-watt Honda gas generator as a backup, but the only time it saw service was during extended periods of cloudy weather. But that only happened twice last season. In other words, solar works!

What next? I want to add LED navigation lights so we'll use less energy on night passages this coming season, and am considering another solar panel to help on those cloudy days.

In Latitude's article on a smaller carbon footprint on boat, you mentioned motoring less — which is something we heartily endorse. We still have a long way to go, however, to keep up with friend Randy Ramirez, who did the '06 Ha-Ha aboard his Flicka 30 Dulcinea. For, after filling his tank prior to the Ha-Ha start in San Diego, he didn't fill it again until he hauled out at Marina Seca in San Carlos — six months later! And when he did take on more diesel, it was less than one gallon!

Steve Albert
Far Fetched, Beneteau Oceanis 390
Grant's Pass, OR

Steve — We finally got two of our four 85-watt solar panels installed on Profligate, and we couldn't agree with you more — solar really does work! Whether on a mooring at Newport Beach or on the hook at Catalina, we've only rarely had to use the engine to charge the batteries, and only for short periods of time. And the batteries haven't run way down like they used to. It's wonderful. In fact, periodically checking the battery controller to see how early in the afternoon the battery banks have gotten topped off has become a source of daily entertainment. We've yet to switch to the LED for the cabin, navigation, and masthead lights, but are eagerly looking forward to doing that, too, as well as getting the other two solar panels hooked up. When that happens, we'll really be juiced up.

As you might imagine, we certainly don't miss the noise and smell of having to run Profligate's diesels for anything other than propulsion. Speaking of propulsion, we did a little test, and found that, while we can power efficiently at 8.7 knots under two engines at lower rpms, we can shut one down, run it at the same rpm, and still maintain 80% of our speed. So in most situations, running two engines doesn't make environmental or economic sense.

Speaking of the cost of running boats, the owner of a Bertram 43 powerboat told us that, when operating the boat at the most economic cruising speed, it still costs him in excess of $750 in fuel to make the trip from Newport Beach to Catalina and back. No wonder fewer powerboats are making weekend trips to the Island. Even if sailors had to motor the entire way, they probably wouldn't burn 1/10th the amount of fuel making the same trip. It would take longer, of course, but what's the rush when you're on the water? And if there is wind, both the savings and the fun will go way up.


They say that the two happiest days in a sailor’s life are the day he buys his boat and the day he sells his boat.

I understand the part about being happy buying my Stevens 50 Julia, but I don’t agree about being happy when it came time to sell her. And so yesterday was indeed a sad day, as I signed the papers turning Julia over to her new owners. I walked away with lots of emotions going through my head — sadness, appreciation, the closing of an era, and relief.

Julia was much more than a boat to me. She was my home for six years, my direction, my oasis in 40 different countries, and carried me safely around the world. I appreciate everything about her design, construction, comfort, and handling — especially in big seas!

But I'm also relieved for, among other things, I can now pay off her mortgage, and when something breaks it will be the new owner's problem.

But most of all, I'm sad. The circumnavigation is over, for now my ocean sailing days are over, and Julia will no longer be a part of my life.

I do remember the day she showed up in the Bay Area on a delivery truck. I looked up at her and thought, "Oh my god, what have I gotten into now!?"

I remember the christening ceremony, and how happy my mother Julia was to see her name on the side of the boat.

I remember staring at her from ashore as she lay at anchor in turquoise waters of the South Pacific thinking, "She is so beautiful!"

I remember pounding through a gale in the Red Sea, thanking her for being built so well.

I remember hitting a rock off the Greek island of Mykonos thinking that I was going to lose her.

I remember all of the lessons I learned from Julia, what a wonderful home she was, how frustrating she was, and all the good times we had together.

I feel as though I have lost a good friend. Farewell Julia, you will live in my heart forever.

Larry Jacobson
ex-Julia, Stevens 50
San Francisco

Larry — We've always thought the saying should have been, "The two happiest days in a boatowner's life are the day he buys his boat and the day he sells his boat — assuming he's already taken delivery of an even better boat."

In the old days, boatowners of means didn't sell their boats. They kept them until they could no longer use them or died, and then they had them burned or sunk. For example, Brit T.B. Davis relentlessly campaigned the magnificent 1910 150-ft Herreshoff schooner Westward in the '20 and '30s against the finest fleets of large yachts ever assembled. But when he died, his instrucitons were to have the schooner scuttled in the English Channel. Of course, boats were largely made of wood in those days, and people seem to develop stronger bonds with one-off wood boats than fiberglass production boats. Then, too, if you had your boat scuttled today, your estate would be subject to massive fines for environmental reasons.


We'd like to report on our recent unhappy experience with Servicio 'El Gordo, Jr' at Turtle Bay on the Pacific Coast of Baja. We ordered exactly 90 gallons of diesel to be delivered by panga to our boat. A delivery slip was presented to us for 337 liters or 90 gallons. A factor of 3.75 on the fuel dock’s liter counter had been used to make the 90-gallon claim. The correct factor of 3.7854 yields 89.03 gallons.

After taking on the fuel, we checked our Tank Tender and determined that we'd actually been delivered significantly less than claimed. Doing the calculations, we determined that we had been delivered 82.55 gallons, not 89.03 gallons. That's a difference of 6.48 gallons or 7.3%. Having used our Tank Tender for some 13 years, we know it to be accurate.

We brought the discrepancy to the attention of Sr. Enrique Gerardo Castro, the owner. He steadfastly maintained that his fuel dock counter was 100% accurate. We took one of our standard 5-gallon/20 liter diesel jugs to his fuel dock and loaded it with exactly 20 liters — as measured by his fuel dock counter. It filled to 1.5 inches short of the 20-liter mark cast into our fuel jug.

We brought this evidence to the attention of Sr. Castro upon his return to his fuel dock. There was no apology. In fact, he got angry and didn't want to discuss our findings. Our impression was that our findings were not news to him. We asked whether or not his counter would be recalibrated. He responded that he was tired of talking about it. Later we saw a large motoryacht refueled. The counter had still not been recalibrated.

A few days earlier, friends of ours had made two trips to the fuel dock with fuel jugs. In all cases, their fuel jugs had been under filled yet they were charged as though the jugs had been filled to capacity. Our friends felt that this was definitely done in an attempt to deceive them.

The four hex bolts that secure the cover of the fuel counter are special, as they are drilled through the flats. After calibration, a wire would have been run through those holes and a seal affixed. The wire and the seal were missing on El Gordo Jr's counter and, judging from the dirt, they had been missing for a long time.

Having made our case, we were charged for the amount of fuel that we calculated had been delivered. This was done grudgingly with an extremely bad attitude. The diesel price quoted to us was in dollars per gallon. Preparing our gallon bill with their factor would have us being charged for more fuel than we actually received.

We are not the only ones who have recognized problems with this fuel dock. Two cruising guides that we have seen contain warnings about doing business there. A competitor to this fuel dock has established itself in Bahia Tortuga. This competitor has taken away a good share of the business. Satisfied customers do not seek out competitors and make them successful.

If anyone wishes to use the El Gordo, Jr. service, we would suggest that you first give their counter the jug test. You will then know how much fuel you will actually be buying when they say 20 liters. Then again, you could try the competition. Forewarned is fore armed!

Kris & Sandra Hartford
Nomotos, Simpson 417
Edmonton, Alberta

Kris and Sandra — For as long as we've been publishing Latitude — which is over 30 years now — we've heard reports of mariners paying for more fuel than they actually received at Turtle Bay. Way back then, most of the people buying fuel were delivery skippers, and the discrepancies often seemed to be laughed off as somewhat of a comradely and inconsequential conspiracy between the delivery skippers and the fuel sellers, both of whom perceived their jobs to be harder and less lucrative than that of the owner of the boat. We don't claim to be experts on the subject, but it seems that trying to short fuel customers at Turtle Bay has become something of a humorous tradition. Depending on one's nature, and whether or not one ends up ultimately paying the bill, people seem to have different reactions. As long as we only get screwed a little bit, we generally don't get too worked up about it. Doña de Mallorca, on the other hand, goes ballistic.

What bothers us a lot more are the dock fees that some places charge when you tie up to buy diesel. The price of diesel is fixed by the Mexican government, but when you get your fuel bill, it's often much more than whatever amount you purchased times the mandated priced per gallon. The extra is a berthing or dock fee you get charged while taking on fuel. The automobile analogy would be if you pulled into your local filling station, pumped in 10 gallons at $5 dollars a gallon, and were given a bill for $60, the extra $10 being a 'parking' fee while you pumped the gas. That sticks in our craw.


I don't know if you want any more info on Baja Bashes, but too bad, 'cause you're gonna get excerpts from my log.

Part One, The Baja Bash, Cabo to San Diego: We just made it back to the 'Land of No', aka the United States, today. We still need to get back to Monterey, but with Baja behind us, I'm hoping that the bashing eases up the rest of the way. We had a fair mixture of bumps, winds, swells, and more recently, lots of fog. At some point along the way, we had some waves break over our port side, filling the cockpit, but hooray for self-draining cockpits that actually work. It then got so foggy that we had the navigation lights on day and night — but some days were nice and clear, and reminded us of the Mexican cruising grounds that we left behind. We were even able to sail a good portion of the Cabo to San Diego trip, such as to Cedros Island. By the way, that island was beautiful, and the conditions glassed off once we got in its shadow. At that point, we were escorted by Pacific white-sided dolphins all the way into the anchorage. We even got to touch the dolphins, which was awesome. We had fog for about as far as the eye could see — which was about 40 feet — when we left to continue north the next day. And through all last night and this morning, as we closed on San Diego, it was calm as calm could be.

Part Two, The California Bash, San Diego to Monterey: After leaving behind Catalina, and the site of the tragic helicopter crash, we ventured north. We would make three more stops between there and Monterey, usually just for a couple of hours to have dinner and catch a little sleep. The weather was nice as we came upon the Harmony oil platform just north of Conception, where we had time to enjoy a pair of humpbacks toying with us. I made my way to the bow, camera in hand, and waited for the two whales to surface. We were idling along, and I saw a light-colored shape under the boat. I thought we were lucking out and going to be seeing some Risso's again. I got more excited as they moved from under the keel to in front of the bow and the things took shape. Ha! It was only when a humpback surfaced I realized the white 'things' were its flippers.

The other exciting moment was after the two fluked again, and we were getting pushed along by an increasing wind. We heard a chuff from behind us, and turned to see something terrifying. Less than 15 feet from our stern was a tail, 12 to 15 feet high, sticking straight out of the water, that ended with what looked to be a 20-ft wide fluke! With one slap we could have been in some serious trouble, but the gentle giant decided to dive instead. The whales kept surfacing next to us, even when we tried to give them plenty of space, so maybe our new bottom paint was a turn-on for them.

After a winter in Mexico, the coast of California was seriously foggy and cold, especially at night. After one particularly wet and cold day, poor David's feet refused to warm up. So as soon as we got the anchor down, we warmed up some water to restore some feeling.

There was a welcoming committee for us when we finally made it back to Monterey — two humpbacks breeching, lob-tailing, and flipper-slapping in the bay. It appeared our journey was humpback themed. It was also great to see the furry faces of the sea otters again. I found a photogenic floating fuzz ball in the midst of sleep. I bet most folks don't know that otters snore, and that they also have some sharp teeth!

It's always nice to be back, but my guy David Addleman and I can't wait to get back 'home' to Mexico. Hopefully, we'll be able to make it for the Ha-Ha this year. We're looking forward to more new and exciting experiences — preferably foulie free!

Heather Corsaro
Eupsychia, Cal 36

Readers — Since writing the Bash report, David and Heather have signed up for the Ha-Ha as entry #38.


I crewed on a Baja Bash from April 2 to April 19 on a Cal 34. That's longer than the four to five days some people have reported, but they motored, silly! We, on the other hand, sailed for 263 hours, motored for just 57 hours, and we hove to for 18 hours.

The Cal 34 was not the most sophisticated cruising boat. For example, she only had a 34-gallon fuel tank — we took on 10 more gallons at Turtle Bay and a little bit more at Ensenada. We had no intention — nor even the remote possibility — of rhumblining it, and there was no way we could have gleefully burned 350 gallons of diesel up the deserted but splendid Baja coast. We wanted to sail the coast and experience wind and seas on the nose.

Of course, the Cal only had a 60-gallon water tank. We ran out of water just north of Turtle Bay.

We started from San Jose del Cabo, and were to quickly learn that Cabo Falso would not be particularly kind to us. We followed the advice of Bash Baja Guide's Jim Elfers and headed 12 miles offshore, but it was still a difficult rounding. From there on, we encountered mostly 16- to 25-knot winds that gusted to 30 knots, and fairly lumpy seas of 8 to 10 feet. We often had a reefed or double-reefed mainsail, and sometimes we reefed the headsail. On a couple of occasions we had calm seas.

We scheduled stops at Man 'O War Cove — hoping for freshly caught fish, but alas, everyone seemed to be in San Carlos — and Turtle Bay for said refueling. We made unscheduled stops for refuge and refreshing at Laguna San Ignacio/Abreojos and Bahia San Quintin. Oh, and we hove to for 18 hours in order to let the wind and seas lay down a little.

On two occasions we got weather reports on the fly — once again, ours was not a sophisticated boat — from commercial boats advising us of 17- to 19-knot winds for the next 24-36 hours, and from a couple of boats anchored in San Quintin. This gave us the green light to set off for Ensenada.

Our gloomiest times were off Cabo Falso and during the miserable, grey, windless last hours to San Diego. The latter was compounded by a boarding by the Coast Guard and our discovery that the bilge pumps weren't working, something that required us to bail by hand, at one point with a cut off plastic bottle.

What did we enjoy — nay, learn — from sailing and bashing uphill along the Baja coast? That it's an incredible challenge not experienced by those 'real' cruisers with their vertical Dacron stabilizers who motor it in a few days. That the animal life, though a bit scarce, was fascinating. That there is terrific scenery when we were not so far offshore that we couldn't see it through the haze. How isolated the few communities are, and how basic are the lives of the residents. How clear the starry skies are at night. How well you get on in the joint effort to sail the boat well and safely. How ambivalent and ambiguous watches at night can be. How you manage, against all odds — being bounced around, being heeled over, being damp — the daily tasks of living. And that Ensenada's not so bad — try the food. And finally, that the Ha-Ha is not a sea trial for the Baja Bash!

Or for the California Bash that was in store for this 34-footer to get to Alameda. And therein lie other tales, such as the Channel Islands — phew, what a wind tunnel! Points Conception and Arguello, with their bloody oil rigs — which is where the fuel comes from for the rhumb-runners. Morro Bay and Pt. San Simeon were the windiest and coldest ever. And the glory of our approach to San Francisco Bay on May 16 — when the seas were flat and the temperatures near 100 degrees. Here's to another on-the-nose Bash!

John Paul Watts
Summer Solstice, Tartan 34
San Francisco

John Paul — We salute everyone — such as yourself — who accepts the challenge of doing a Baja Bash — or at least 80% of it — under sail. But we're not sure that it pencils out for everyone. After all, life is very busy these days and, except for those who are retired, it's very difficult — and expensive — to take the extra time necessary to sail up the Baja coast. We also think it makes sense to pick one's challenges. For instance, we can understand those who want to do a typical circumanvigation, where the winds are aft of the beam 80% of the time, because it's the more enjoyable of the two ways. We sort of admire those who insist on sailing upwind around the world, but aren't really impressed by their unnecessary masochism.

Another consideration when deciding whether or not to do the Bash under power is the cost of the wear and tear on the boat, and particularly the sails, when bashing upwind for long periods of time. After all, it's easy to all but destroy a good sail if it's left up just a little too long in too much wind — something that's easy to do during a lengthy Bash with an often-fatigued crew. We'll never forget a big sign that we believe Bill Lee once posted at the nav station of Merlin for the crew that was to deliver the original big sled back to California from Hawaii: "Diesel is cheaper than sails!!!" It was true back in the '80s when diesel was less than $1/gallon, and unfortunately, it's still true today with diesel at nearly $6/gallon.

It's true that Profligate burned about 300 gallons of diesel making her trip up the coast of Baja, and that's a lot of fuel. However, when 'amortized' over the six-plus months that the boat spends in Mexico, during which time hundreds of people are taken out on her, and how little fuel is used down there, and how little fuel is used the other six months of the year in California, we don't think it's unconscionable.

As for your assertion that a Ha-Ha is not a sea trial for a Baja Bash, no, it absolutely isn't. For those looking for something that's likely to be a pleasure sail, that's a good thing, too.


When contacting Latitude for information on cruising the Delta, I was referred to The Cruise of the Laundry Basket, which appeared in the August '02 issue and is still available on your website. The cruise it describes took place in 1948 — the same year we did our first Delta cruise.

It sounded a lot like our cruise, but mine was on a homebuilt 18-ft inboard cabin boat. We usually stayed around Mossdale, Bacon Island, and Mandeville. Sometimes we spent the night on the boat, but if not, we anchored off Bacon and stayed in an abandoned catfish shack on a federal island. My fishing/boating buddy would dip the coffee pot over the side, throw in a handful of grounds, and voila, make coffee on our one-burner Coleman stove. It was always a little muddy, but drinkable — although people probably wouldn't drink it today.

I can't imagine it now, but people would empty their holding tanks or Porta-Pottis overboard and into the river. That's what 'we the people' do, managing to screw up good things when given the chance.

There were times on the San Joaquin above Mossdale when we had to dodge tugs making sugar barge tows to the Spreckels facility in Tracy. They had a canal off the river to bring the barges in to unload. We fished all the way upriver to the Old Fisherman's Club outside of Modesto! During salmon season, we'd keep the boat in a slip there. We also built a duck blind south of Bacon/Mandeville on a federal island, where we could shoot ducks, hunt pheasant and goose, and catch stripers.

At 76, I'm still able to singlehand and sail, and my son comes over from Stockton to sail with me on weekends. I get down for a week or so every month from April to October. It's nice keeping a boat at Antioch, for after driving down from my home in Gold Beach, Oregon, it doesn't matter what the weather is like. If the weather is bad in the Bay, I turn right, and head up river for Korth's Pirate's Lair — where I fished from '48 to '60 — Frank's Tract, and other places. But if the weather is good on the Bay, I'll turn left and head for Glen Cove, Marina Bay, or other places on a two- to three-day sail. We also like San Francisco's South Beach Harbor, as it's close to Delancy Street and good restaurants.

Whenever Latitude readers sail up this way, they'll be welcome at our Chetco Cove YC in Brookings, Oregon. There isn't always somebody in the club, but David at the insurance office in the same complex has the key. The club is a good restroom stop, and the honor bar is always open. Every other weekend from April to October, we have radio controlled sailboat racing, dinghy racing, big boat races in the ocean, and good food in the clubhouse until — well, who knows when? Folks can visit the club on the net at

Thanks for the Delta memories.
Mel & Charlotte Echelberger
S/V Lehigh, M/V High Tide
Gold Beach, Oregon


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