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November 2011

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Crikey! We just have to write about Latitude's comments on how difficult it is to clean a boat bottom when using a snorkel as opposed to scuba gear. How do you think any of us keep our bottoms clean? We do it with a snorkel.

I've personally kept the bottom of Toujours, our Amel Mango 53 with a seven-foot draft, incredibly clean since we bought her in '93. Yes, it was hard work. But yes, it was good for me, too.

Alas, we sold our beautiful girl in June, and are now homeless — although living in a small RV. We're looking for something like a Cal 34 to keep in the Sea of Cortez.

Get in the water and get to work!

Tom & Bonnie Steinhoff
ex-Toujours, Amel Mango 53
Incline Village, Nevada

Tom and Bonnie — Almost 20 years of keeping the bottom of a 53-ft-with-seven-foot-draft boat super clean by free diving? Excuse us, but we're mighty impressed. How many other Latitude readers clean their boat bottoms free diving?

On the other hand, you have to admit that there's a bit of difference between your free diving to clean your boat's bottom every month or so, and the Mexican guy who cleans several bottoms a day, every day, for a living. We're impressed with what you did, but this guy is off our graph of impressive.


I have a correction to last month’s Changes in Latitude about Tamara Lee Ann's summer voyage to Hawaii and back. The first words are "Fifteen thousand miles in five weeks . . ."

I’ve covered those tracks a bunch of times, and you are only going to get about 5,000 to 6,000 miles for the trip to Hawaii and back. It must have been a typo.

Sheri Crowe
School of Sailing and Seamanship
Orange Coast College

Sheri — It was indeed a typo, one immediately noticed by Doug Thorne, who submitted the piece. Even more shocking, that wasn't the only typo in the last issue. In the letter from Marianne Wheeler, in which she described hearing "Gregorian monks chanting anytime past 18 knots on the open ocean" aboard a Beneteau 51.5, there was another typo. It was supposed to read "anytime past 8 knots." Bless Marianne's ocean-loving heart, but for once it wasn't our mistake. Although we suppose we should have known better and contacted her for a correction.


I’m a bit late in responding to your request about hearing voices at sea, but well . . . I was at sea. Crewmember Marianne Wheeler responded last month about her recent experiences — Gregorian monks chanting — aboard my Beneteau 51.5, and I can vouch for her Bavarian folk songs — with yodeling, if enough wine is involved.

But to clarify her comments, we did not sail at 18 knots with the Beneteau. I'm pretty sure she meant eight knots. Although I have enjoyed several 200+ mile days with this boat, my top speed to date has been 14.4 knots. I was broad reaching and surfing around Brazil's Cabo Frio at the time. But that was only for a few hours, and I had 30 knots of wind chasing me.

After leaving the boat in Fortaleza for six weeks, and approaching the first days of the southern spring, I then singlehanded from Fortaleza to Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was a total of 2,900 miles, and took me 20 days. Although I never heard voices or saw phantom crew, on occasion I did hear music. And I'm not talking about the wind 'singing' in the rigging, but completely orchestrated radio versions of songs I had no idea I even remembered. It was truly like listening to a CD. I would then find myself humming the songs for hours after 'hearing' them for the first time. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

For those who are curious, I was bringing my boat from the Caribbean to my home in Buenos Aires. I wanted to explore the local waters for a while during the southern spring and summer.

David Kory
Ambassador, Beneteau 51.5
San Francisco / Buenos Aires


In my 35 years of sailing on the big ships, I can recall two instances of t-boning whales. There was another instance of two whales ‘being otherwise engaged’ who swam into the side of our ship. Looking down from the bridge wing, I believe the comment at the time was, “Look at the f--king whales.”

Based on my experience, I seriously doubt that a ship’s speed would have any impact on the number of incidents with whales, as they are, by and large, chance encounters. I think the proposal for a 10-knot speed limit for ships off the coast is just another sop to offer folks who don’t want the ships off their coast — but who still want all the goods that the ships bring for their consumption.

Gary M. Schmidt
Syzygy, Beneteau First 345
Bainbridge Island, WA


Start Sailing Right! is the title of the book my father set in front of me when I was 10 years old. I remember reading the title out loud. I spent that summer in sailing camp at the Inverness YC on Tomales Bay, where I learned to sail a 'bathtub' — an eight-foot El Toro dinghy — in a 20-knot breeze.

I spent the next five summers sailing on Tomales Bay. When I was in the 7th grade, my sister and I purchased a Flying Junior that we christened Sister Ship. While it was my first 'project boat', it was my father's thousandth. My father had found her for us in Latitude, his Bible. He always kept a fresh copy in nearly every room of the house.

My father taught me how to work on the boat and how to race. The Hog Island Race — from the yacht club to Hog Island and back — tested our restoration efforts. I still have the photograph of Sister Ship crossing the finish in front of IYC, the two of us sitting on her stern, soaked and stoked.

After spending my childhood on Tomales Bay, I graduated to high school sailing on San Francisco Bay. My father chaperoned regattas, trailered our FJs, and gave words of encouragement to my team.

At the end of my freshman year, my dad purchased an Olson 30, christening her Daddy O. My sailing team was his crew for the Friday night races out of Tiburon YC. We raced Daddy O through high school, lining our walls with plaques, filling our kitchen with TYC mugs, and earning my father his prized fleece for the H.O. Lind Series.

After college, sunny summers on the boat and the docks were replaced by days in an office illuminated by fluorescent lights. My father had sold Daddy O in hopes of getting a cruising boat more suitable for empty-nesters.

My father, Thomas Simms, unfortunately never got his cruising boat. In October of last year, he lost his brief and courageous battle with brain cancer.

Upon his death, I knew it was my time to keep our family name thriving in the sailing world. So I tailored my father’s XL foulies to fit my frame and networked through the St. Francis YC. I earned the spot for the season on the bow of the J/105 Walloping Swede.

In the July Latitude there was a two-page photo of me, in my father's foulies, on the bow during the Sperry NOOD regatta. I took it as a tribute to him to appear in his Bible.

As I write this story of our sailing journey, I’m surrounded by dad's trophies — first place in the '73 Long Beach to La Paz Race on Barry Berkus' Ericson 46 Warlock; first place in the Cal 20 Nationals on his Buckaroo — and a few of my own.

The '11 racing season closed with the Rolex St. Francis Big Boat Series, my biggest event yet. It was an eye-opening and amazing experience. As long as I'm out on the water, my father’s memory will sail along with me.

Chelsea Simms
San Francisco


I was saddened by the passing of Barbara Campbell in September. I met Barbara in '05 after a re-power to my Ingrid 38 at Nelson's. I took out my anemic Volvo 25-hp and replaced it with a Yanmar 44-hp I had found on eBay. When I walked into Golden State Diesel and saw Barbara, I wondered where the owner was. Upon learning she was "chief cook and bottle washer" of the place, I thought to myself how useless this experience was going to be. Well, don't you know that within 10 minutes, I was over my head with information and direction.

I have used Golden State many times since and never once was it about sales. Barbara always provided a genuine service and had many great suggestions on saving money. I last spoke with her in July about an engine I'm rebuilding on another of my boats. Again, she gave me information I'm sure most dealers wouldn't.

She taught me a serious lesson about judging a business by its gender. I hope Golden State continues in the same spirit Barbara left it.

Martin Wade
Joli' Elle, Ingrid 38


I was sad to learn that Barbara Campbell of Oakland's Golden State Diesel had passed away. I'd like to share my favorite 'Campbell'.

We were attempting to leave Noyo early one morning aboard our Pathfinder diesel-powered Sceptre 36 Solar Coaster. But all of our engine alarms went off — low oil pressure, high water temperature, low alternator output and so forth. I found a diesel mechanic right there in the boatyard, but he was of no help, so I called Barbara on my cellphone and explained the situation.

"Light it off and hold the phone next to it so I can listen," she instructed.

"You've got to be kidding," I replied. But she was serious.

After listening to the Pathfinder rattle and purr as they are wont to do, she said, "You're good to go! Furthermore, if I were you, I'd just pull the sensor wires and forgettaboutit. After all, it's running, it's got oil, you've got water pumping through the exhaust, and for God's sake, it's a diesel!"

Needless to say, we made it back to Santa Cruz — and on and on — from there. Nonetheless, I'll never forget her not-too-soothing "You're good to go!" Farewell Barbara; we're going to miss you.

The AC45s featured in last month's Latitude are fast. But I worked with the Hyannis YC race committee last month when they hosted the Formula 18 (F-18) North American Championships, I can tell you those little cats are also f-a-s-t! Each of the 53 boats in the regatta was equipped with a third-party GPS tracking device — very, very cool technology, allowing graphic boat-by-boat tracking of each leg of each race, speed logs, polars, etc. The winds for the first race were in the mid-20s with gusts to the low 30s. The fastest speed recorded was 22.01 knots.

The top speed, by the way, was posted by Brooks Reed, a former Latitude 38 'Junior Sailor of the Year', who is now studying Ocean Engineering in a PhD program jointly sponsored by MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. I can't wait to see the AC45s and the big cats once they arrive in San Francisco!

Stephen Reed
Solar Coaster, Sceptre 36
Santa Cruz

Stephen — We love diesels and share Barbara's inherent faith in them, but we don't want to leave readers with the impression that warning alarms can be ignored with impunity. We're pretty sure that if you'd told Barbara just the oil pressure alarm had gone off instead of all of the alarms, she would have insisted that you find the source of the problem before carrying on.

Most sailors assume that because diesel engines are heavier and more powerful and can last much longer than gas engines, they are more rugged. But that's not really true. Diesels are much more susceptible to severe damage from even brief periods of overheating than are gas engines. It's also more critical that diesels have maintenance performed according to schedule. So unless you know diesels as Barbara knew diesels, please don't ignore any warning lights.


My wife and I have been coming to Mazatlan since '73, and have been living here as full-time residents for the past six years. We love our life here. In our opinion, the people of Mazatlan are by far the friendliest, most helpful and caring people in Mexico. They go out of their way to help those in need. Mazatlecos are hard-working, and most are honest and trustworthy.

We have seen many changes here over the years. Some good, some not so good. The recent narco gang violence in Mexico has impacted all who live here. But it is not the actual violence, but rather the exaggerated negative publicity that has caused the tourist industry to virtually dry up. Without the money coming in from tourism, it is very difficult for the locals to find work.

We live by the rules we made over the years when we ourselves were tourists: 1) Always be cognizant of activities around you. 2) Although the Plaza Machado and Golden Zone are relatively safe both day and night, be vigilant and travel in pairs, especially at night. 3) No walking on the beach at night.

For all of you in the United States and Canada, please don't be wary of coming to Mexico. This country really hasn't changed that much. The gangs only target one another — much as back in the States.

We feel as safe here in Mazatlan as we did living in the States, if not safer. The big difference between the two countries is the people. The Mexican people are gracious, kind and caring. ¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Mazatlan and relax. We don't live here because we have to, but because we love to.

George & Jackie Krakie
Aimee Sean, Tayana 37
Residents of Marina El Cid


Once again we are hearing that cruisers are being warned against coming to Mazatlan. We've been cruising in Mexico for five years, so we have a pretty good idea of what life is like in this beautiful Mexican city. Marina El Cid is our home base because we believe it is safe not only from bad weather, but also from crime. The people in Mazatlan are friendly and extremely helpful to cruisers.

Peter has spent a lot of time walking the streets in Old Town and the areas where cruisers can obtain boating supplies and equipment from small businesses that are not listed in the local marine guide. It does take some effort to find what you're looking for, but most things are available, and the people you meet along the way are worth the walk. Peter has never had any issues with personal safety. Mazatlan is also an excellent place to have work done on your boat.

We obtained our FM3 visas, which allow us to stay in Mexico for a year at a time rather than the six months you get with a tourist visa. The Immigration office in Mazatlan is the most efficient one we've visited, too. In fact, we were able to get our FM3s ourselves, without having to pay an agent, which is what most people have to do in other cities.

Mazatlan restaurants are terrific, and the cost of living is much less than back in Canada. The Old Market downtown, and the modern supermarkets such as Mega, Soriana, Sam’s Club, Walmart and Ley's have everything a cruiser could require and more. We take the bus to the market, then catch a wonderful pulmonia taxi cab back to the marina for about $5 USD You don't need a car to get things done and enjoy Mazatlan.

If you want to see the Copper Canyon, Mazatlan is a great jumping-off point. The inter-city bus service from Mazatlan is excellent, and you'd be amazed at the comfortable, reclining seats, the free movies and, in some cases, snack service and his-and-hers restrooms.

Christmas in Mazatlan is not to be missed, as the historic Angela Peralta Theatre stages excellent musical and dance programs, making the season truly special for cruisers and their visiting guests. Mazatlan's carnival in February is another don't-miss, the highlight being the big parade, with an audience of thousands. We've never seen one problem at that event.

Our nights out often involve dinner with friends at one of the great restaurants where we can listen to live music. On New Year's Eve we generally do go out to a place where we can dance and party, but most of our entertainment involves exploring the many shops and galleries in Old Town. The weekly Art Walk is great fun, too.

Naturally, we use common sense. We don’t invite trouble by flashing expensive jewelry or lots of cash. Hopefully, our thoughts will encourage others to enjoy some time in our favorite city in Mexico, cruiser-friendly Mazatlan.

Marni & Peter Siddons
2 Pieces of Eight, Beneteau First 42
Vancouver, B.C.


I'm at Captain Lynn Campbell's 100th birthday celebration here on Bainbridge Island, Washington, where I met up with ex-Bay Area sailors and Mexico cruisers Bob and Bonnie Fraik of the Santa Cruz 52 Impulse. They say hello.

Capt. Campbell was an early tour boat skipper in Seattle, who eventually sold his business to a larger tour company. Anyway, his 100th was a Champagne event complete with bagpipes, a drive-by of an Argosy tour boat with whistle blasts — and even a girl popping out of a cake! Capt. Campbell has many friends here.

Ray Catlette
Bainbridge Island, WA

Ray — Congratulations to Capt. Campbell on hitting the century mark and hello to old friends Bob and Bonnie. But a girl pops out of a cake and you don't even get a photo. And you call yourself a sailor?!


Talking about boat partnerships, I’ve been in a great one — thanks to the Classy Classifieds — for seven years now. But based on his short letter in the August 22 edition of 'Lectronic Latitude, I would have some reservations about going into a partnership with Peter O'Connor. I strongly suggest that he do many sails with his prospective partner(s) so each person can see how the other sails and treats the boat. Each can learn from the other. The new partner can see how Peter wants the boat cleaned up and put away. Most of all, they can build trust. I sail with my partners a lot.

Once Peter trusts his new partner, he needs to quit blaming. It doesn’t matter how the gooseneck broke, it simply broke. The sail simply ripped. Shit happens on a boat. The new partner won’t last long if he/she is being questioned or blamed for everything that breaks. Treat new partners as co-owners, have them build emotional equity in the boat, and they’ll stay around a long time. But if you treat them like renters, they’ll feel free to leave at any time.

Absolutely build a balance in the boat account based on set monthly payments from each partner. Be clear what that covers. The haulout and scheduled expenses should be covered by the monthly payment. But will the non-equity partner have to pull money out of pocket for unusual expenses such as new rigging, engine problems or other items that go beyond what’s in the boat account?

Then come the related issues of boat usage and time spent working on the boat. I feel that a partner who sails a lot should also do a proportional amount of work on the boat. A partner who rarely sails but always pays the bills shouldn’t have to spend too much time working on the boat. In our partnership we have scheduled ‘partner work days’, where we all show up and work on the boat together. We get a lot done and drink some beer — it’s much better than working on the boat alone.

Here’s an interesting question: Which type of partner is more desirable, one who sails a lot and maintains the boat, or one who never sails but pays the bills? Personally, I think more boats die of neglect than overuse, so I would prefer the active partner. Someone like Peter would probably want the opposite.

P.S. Thank you, Latitude, for a great, great magazine.

Paul Miller
Addiction, Newport 30
Emery Cove Marina


Another way to divide up partnership time on a boat is to choose the beginning of a week, then alternate each weekend. The next year the other owner starts with one week, then alternates again. That way each owner gets the boat for the Fourth of July every other year. I do like the idea of the checking account/slush fund. Very ingenious.

Tom Anderson
Nonpareil, C&C 32
Marblehead, MA


I had a quarter share of a partnership in a boat for three years. Our group researched and purchased the boat together, and we had a detailed contract that we pulled off the web. We split costs fairly, and drafted a use calender 12 months in advance, making sure the weekends and long weekends were evenly split. Once a month, all four owners met at the marina, took everything out of the boat, wiped her down, and conducted inspection and maintenance. Then once a year, we’d haul the boat in a do-it-yourself yard to pressure wash the hull and paint the bottom.

The joy was that all partners became very good friends, and even tended to sail together most of the time. You always needed an extra hand. There was a dedicated amount of dues money that went into an account, so that repairs could be paid for if something broke on your weekend. Non-emergency repairs over $100 had to be approved by the ownership and were split evenly. If anybody damaged something because of carelessness, they had to pay for it.

We had a simple checklist for returning the boat after use. She was always returned to her mooring with full tanks of fuel and water. The galley and head had to be cleaned. Failure to meet the simple standards resulted in fines for twice the cost of the fuel if the tank hadn’t been refilled, and a ‘wine penalty’ for failure to clean. The wine penalty was a bottle for each of the other owners, the type and brand having been specified in the contract. Marina fees were paid in advance in full at the beginning of every quarter.

Sale of a share had to be approved by all the other owners. If an honest effort to sell the share was made by an owner and the remaining owners did not approve of the sale, the remaining owners would agree to buy the share, therefore not leaving someone in an untenable position.

Finally, there was a ‘spirit’ clause, which outlined the intent of the group, and stressed the importance of personal communications, adult attitudes, and the safe conduct and security of each other’s investment. The spirit was in the enjoyment of sailing plus the camaraderie of boat ownership. It was the spirit that framed the conduct of the group, and it really worked out well.

I was an American in a foreign country when we purchased the boat. The memories of those three years are some of the fondest of my life. After many adventures, we are all still the closest of friends, even though we have all drifted around the world. The boat partnership was the only way any of us could have afforded to own a boat.

If you can find a group of like-minded people, a partnership should be enjoyable for all.

Kelley Fulton
ex-One Life, Triton 24
Formerly Sydney, Australia
Currently Folsom


I once read in Latitude that in order to work, a boat partnership should be between old friends, and that each partner must be somewhat affluent. I tried to put a partnership together on my Beneteau 40, but I couldn’t find anyone willing to put up the required amount of cash. I finally sold her in December, after three years on the market. Cheers.

Larry Watkins
ex-Moondance, Beneteau OC 400
Long Beach

Larry — The letters we’ve gotten on the subject would seem to dispel the notion that members of a successful partnership must be old friends. But we take it as a given that you want to avoid partnerships in which members would have a hard time paying their share of the bills.


I was fortunate to go out on the Bay on Saturday, October 8, for Fleet Week and to watch the Blue Angels perform their magic. We found our spot at the end of the security zone next to the Jeremiah O'Brien, one of only two remaining fully functional Liberty ships out of the 2,710 built during World War II. We were drifting with the engine on near many other boats and correcting our position once in a while as needed.

Everything was great except for a few idiots who were actually trying to sail through all those stationary boats, creating chaos and making everyone nervous. There was one guy on a big old Columbia sailing with only the main up who totally lost control of the boat and missed us by just a couple of feet. What is it that makes these jerks feel compelled to create potential crashes?

Marc Johnstone
Ragnar, Catalina 36

Marc — It's impossible to guess at their motivation but there could be any number of explanations, valid and otherwise. For example, if they lost the use of their engine, they may have been forced to sail. Of course they also could have simply been trying to show off a little. But it's also possible that their comfort zone is much smaller than yours. Sailors with lots of racing experience think nothing of passing within 10 feet of other boats while at speed, and continuously monitoring the courses and possible abrupt course changes of a dozen or more other boats in close proximity. Non-racers think this is complete insanity, of course, and prefer much larger comfort zones. Then again, maybe those folks just wanted to go sailing.


On the Saturday of Fleet Week, I took my Potter 14 out with a friend to indulge in the event. What a perfect day! Even with the forecast calling for 5-10 knots, we reefed, so were not surprised by the nice 10- to 20-knot breeze we saw. After we motorsailed through a washing machine flood off Angel Island, we entered the spin cycle of boat wakes approaching Alcatraz. It was my friend's first Blue Angel show and Pottering experience — he wasn't disappointed.

He noticed we were the smallest boat out there . . . until I looked at my photos later saw this guy and his 'old lady' trolling in the lee of Alcatraz in his aluminum boat in the midst of everything. Oblivious! Then when the huge fleet of spectators scattered after the finale, a container ship just had to get in on the action. We had a great time weaving through the crowd under main only (with motor running in neutral just in case). The sail back to Richmond was blissful.

Goose Gossman
Gale, West Wight Potter 14


My wife and I were drifting with the throngs of Fleet Week partiers on the windward side of Alcatraz last month, and happened to notice a rudder making two knots toward the Gate. We maneuvered into position for our first man overboard drill aboard Firefly, our newly purchased 46-ft Fountaine Pajot Bahia. With deft precision, my lovely wife pulled the pickle from the brine and secured it aboard. The rudder was most definitely broken free to starboard due to overstress. Whoever lost it was most likely headed north on a reach aboard a 42-or-so-ft boat. If this sounds at all familiar, please drop me an email.

We would love to reunite the wayward rudder and its captain.

Chris Hatch
Firefly, Fountaine Pajot 46


On Sunday, October 9, the Blue Angels had tried to do a show but it was cancelled early because, well, you can see why. All the spectator boats scattered for their home ports. We were heading south on the east side of Angel Island, and directly into them. Everyone survived but it was like a scene from a bad movie!

Spencer Nassar
Ultimate Cypher, Hunter 410
San Francisco


I know that Puerto Vallarta is the center of the universe for mainland Mexico in the minds of Latitude, but I have no idea where you got your information for 'Lectronic about the effects of Hurricane Jova on other areas of the mainland. Rest assured Barra de Navidad and Melaque were not spared by Jova.

I live in Santiago just to the north of Manzanillo, and we had tremendous flooding — as did Melaque and Barra. In fact, there were a number of oceanfront restaurants that were destroyed in Barra. And down here in Mazanillo, there were more than 11 inches of rain in 24 hours.

So while Puerto Vallarta was spared, it was never threatened either.

For the record, I sailed down here from Long Beach aboard my Valiant 40 SolMate in '03. I sold her in '07 and, two owners later, I believe she's on the East Coast. As for myself, I live in Santiago,, and I can't imagine living anywhere else. I did my annual three-week visit to the States in August, and while there all I could think of was how much excess there is. I couldn't wait to return to my simple life in Mexico.

If you get this far south this season with Profligate, give me a shout, as I monitor 22. I normally have a couple of parties a season at my house, where I invite everyone from the anchorages.

Stan Burnett
ex-SolMate, Valiant 40
Santiago, Mexico

Stan — We're sorry if our 'Lectronic report disappointed you or came across as insensitive, but the truth is that Puerto Vallarta and the Banderas Bay area are the center of the mainland Mexico sailing universe, particularly in the late summer when there are no cruisers on the Gold Coast. And according to the National Hurricane Center, at different times both P.V. and Banderas Bay were seriously threatened by tropical storm- and even hurricane-force winds.

Perhaps we've covered so many hurricanes and storms over the years that we've become a little callous, but the extensive flooding at Barra and Manzanillo was both what was forecast and what we expected. Yes, photos show several of the waterfront restaurants — not the sturdiest structures to begin with — undermined. Trust us, if there had been a serious storm surge and the hurricane surf had been directed at Barra, not one of those beachfront restaurants would have survived. And had there been really strong hurricane-force winds, the full palms you see in the post-hurricane photos would have been denuded.

Eleven inches of rain in 24 hours is admittedly a lot, and there was tremendous flooding. Two years ago Puerto Vallarta got 24 inches of rain in 24 hours, which brought down entire hillsides, knocked out the main highway bridge, and created tremendous flooding. But in just weeks, the resourceful and hard-working Mexicans had cleared most of the debris, reworked the traffic on the remaining highway bridge, and with the sun out, visitors could hardly tell anything had ever happened.

It was our point — and is our firm belief — that when the mainland cruising season really gets going in mid-December, cruisers are going to be hard-pressed to find that much difference in Barra from last year. As for the marina in Barra, we've yet to be able to reach the harbormaster as we write this, but we'll bet you a nickel there was little damage and they were ready to welcome guests soon after, and will be completely ready for the season. As a result, we certainly haven't changed our plans about visiting the Gold Coast in January. In fact, the best thing cruisers can do to help the Barra area recover is visit and patronize the businesses of the wonderful folks there.


We own a Tayana 55 sailboat with a centerboard. After refitting her, we decided to head north to Alaska. During that trip, we found that, in swells or heavy chop, water would come up the tube that houses the centerboard cable, not only leaving water in the bilge, but spraying it on the engine. We were able to stop it with towels and plastic bags. After a more careful inspections, it appears that there used to be a protective housing around the winch and motor. We're trying to locate someone who owns a sistership who might be willing to send us photos of their housing around the winch and motor so we can fabricate a new one. Any help would be appreciated.

We will be wintering in Bellingham, WA. People can email me.

Michael Cronin
The Jessica E, Tayana 55
San Francisco / Wintering in Bellingham, WA


I'm am not sure if you've seen the accompanying art work, or would even like it, but it's one of my favorites. I saw the original hanging in the Hopkins-Carter Marine store in Miami, Florida, and told my girlfriend about it just before we started on our circumnavigation in '88. When we returned four years later, she remembered it for my 50th birthday, and tried to buy it. But they wouldn't sell it! However, they did allow her to have a copy made, and it now hangs in our home in the Sierra Foothills, a long way from the sea.

I believe the artist's name is Farrell McClure. I hope your readers appreciate it as much as I do.

For the record, Barbara and I started our trip from Miami in '85 on the Amel 36 Kirk Saravah, and sailed to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. We then sailed back to Texas and had the boat trucked to Sausalito, as Barbara's dad needed help with his business. We left again in '88, sailing first to Hawaii and then doing the Milk Run around the world via Australia and South Africa (where I was born and have family) and arrived back in San Francisco in '92.

David Morgan & Barbara Dresslar
Saravah, Amel Kirk 36

David and Barbara — We'd seen the cartoon before and loved it for the humor and the over-the-top cartoonish art. According to Wikipedia, the artist was Darrell McClure, who was born in Ukiah in 1903. He later moved to San Francisco with his family, where he went to art school at night and got his first professional gigs at age 14. He studied at the California School of Fine Arts, but also worked in logging camps and as a sailor on commercial vessels, eventually landing in New York City.

He took a job at King Features Syndicate in New York in '23, and became a contributor to Yachting in '24. From '30 to '66, he worked on the nationally syndicated comic strip Little Annie Rooney. McClure served in the Coast Guard during World War II. In the '50s, the widower remarried, and with his new family sailed their yacht from Fort Lauderdale to Connecticut. The family later relocated to San Francisco, where he spent time sailing and painting, before retiring to Talmadge.

McClure's paintings and drawings are in galleries, private collections and museums, including the Maritime Museum in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. McClure never lost his love of the sea, living at times on his 45-foot yacht Small Wonder while illustrating for Yachting.

We never had the pleasure of meeting McClure, but we're sure there are some old hands around who did.


The September 26 'Lectronic story about extremely low medical costs for expats in Panama reminded me of the complaints we heard from native-born Panamanians when we visited there for two weeks in April. The locals we heard from complained that their government is subsidizing foreign investment on the backs of the ordinary people, who must provide goods and services at a discount to the expats. The subject first arose when we asked about gated communities we saw in the mountains.

A cab driver in Boquete and a water taxi operator in Bocas del Toro told us the same thing: Panama is trying to become the next Costa Rica, so it has offered these incentives to lure primarily U.S. and Canadian citizens. While I cannot speak to the accuracy of their beliefs on the subject, the handful of people who raised the subject with us were consistent in their concern that the out-of-towners are getting a free ride.

Brian Johnson
Sazon, CT 38 Fast

Brian — Just so everybody can know what we're talking about, we've reprinted that 'Lectronic in this month's Changes.

But a "free ride?" Correct us if we're wrong, but we think the Panamanian government is telling Americans and Canadians, "Come get your hip replaced here because we can do it as well as in the States or Canada, and at a fraction of the cost." To the best of our knowledge, they aren't making Panamanian doctors perform surgeries at below cost or at lower prices than they would charge the locals. Nor do we think they are making cab drivers or water taxi drivers charge tourists less. In fact, just the opposite is almost always true.

Medical tourism tends to bring huge bucks as well as better medical skills and equipment to areas that otherwise wouldn't get them. We think that's a good thing. The devil can be in the details, of course. If medical tourism interfered with normal medical care in Panama — such as it is — we'd be against it. But we don't think that's going to be the case.

When it comes to attracting new residents, which country do you think is smarter: Panama, which is going out of its way to attract legal, educated and affluent new residents, or the United States, which has thrown its doors open to an unlimited number of uneducated poor who are in desperate need of money, food, jobs, housing and education?

As for Panama trying to become more like Costa Rica, what would be wrong with that? As you'll read in this month's Changes from Zeppelin, Costa Rica has a lot of things going for it.


I was wondering if you have an archive of photos from the Master Mariners Races in the early '80s. I'm looking for a photo — any photo — of the 62-ft staysail schooner Sleeping Dragon. She wasn't an official entry, but I remember seeing a two-page spread of her in Latitude showing her in all her glory.

I grew up aboard Sleeping Dragon many years ago. Her owner, Capt. Bud Setnik, my father, has long since passed away, and so, it is my understanding, has the schooner. It seems that I'm the only one left with fond memories of Sleeping Dragon literally sailing circles around the Rendezvous, mooning Senator Gary Hart, who was lunching at the Spinnaker Restaurant, and having other such fun.

I realize that it may be a pain to try to find a photograph, but I would be eternally grateful for any photos you might have of the old girl. In fact, I would be more than happy to sort through any old prints that you might have.

P.S. Thanks for all the years of great reading.

Micah Sean Setnik
Norpac Yacht and Ship Brokerage
Pt. Richmond

Micah — While we don't have a bunch of prints lying around, we do have an archive with more than half a million negatives. We covered every Master Mariner's Regatta that we can remember — back in the day some of them were wild! — so there's a good chance we have a negative of Sleeping Dragon. The negatives are all in binders, and in somewhat reasonable order. Call in advance to arrange a time, and you can look through them.


Goodbye. Just a note to point out that when the Ha-Ha (or any other) boats arrive in Mexico, they will be "entering," not "clearing in," as you often write. When they depart Mexico, they will be "clearing."

I know it's a small point, and I also know that languages change. Some of my American friends insist on calling the saloon the salon. Because they are good people, I try desperately not to be embarrassed for them. What's next, larboard and starboard?


Peter M. Heiberg
Scaramouche, Palmer Johnson 49
Victoria, B.C.

Peter — You couldn't be more correct, and you couldn't have made your point in a more humorous fashion. We're still rolling around on the floor laughing at the "Goodbye" start to your letter.

But we have an excuse. When attending the great university over in Berkeley so many years ago, we briefly and inexplicably became enthralled with Ordinary Language philosophy, the idea of which is that many traditional metaphysical and epistemological problems are only illusions brought on by misunderstandings about language.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, a giant in the theory of language, described his work as bringing "words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use." His idea — unlike that of the Analytic philosophers who preceded him — was that there is nothing wrong with ordinary language as it stands, and if we pay close attention to language in its normal use, many philosophical problems "dissolve" and therefore need not be solved at all. It was Wittgenstein who gave us the famous dictum "the meaning is the use," which is why he's such a revered household name.

Given the fact that it's long been normal for sailors to use the word 'clearing' when entering a country, and we all understand what they mean by it, we're not going to be any more embarrassed by our non-Analytic usage than any other person who went to Berkeley is about anything else.


The sociopolitical references that so frequently find their way into Latitude's responses to letters from readers reminds me of how Bay Area-universal are both the aging '60s Berkeley dogmas and the assumption of their universality. Mercifully, sailing is typically pleasantly apolitical — even if somewhat elitist after all.

Don van Siclen
San Francisco

Don — If you briefly summarized our sociopolitical references or dogmas from the '60s, as you perceive them, perhaps we and our readers could better understand the point you're trying to make.

"Pleasantly apolitical — even if somewhat elitist"? What next, a pregnant woman who is still somewhat a virgin?


For a long time I had intermittent trouble with my Raytheon autopilot. There were gold tabs on the unit itself, but the cables had ordinary tinned lugs. Rewiring the cables with gold-plated lugs solved my autopilot problems.

If anyone is interested, Orchard Supply Hardware stocks a line of gold-plated crimp lugs made by CalTerm of El Cajon. The 0.110-inch female spade lugs are stock #65623. The 0.187-inch female spade lugs are stock #65624.

Bob Wilson
Bobcat, Crowther 38

Robert — Thanks for the heads-up. About 18 months ago, we reported that the Autohelm 6000 autopilot on Profligate goes berserk for the first hour or so of operation. Then, it inexplicably settles down to work perfectly — until the next time we turn it on. We're working on a couple of potential fixes this month. If they don't pan out, we're taking your information down to Orchard Supply and buying some gold-plated lugs.


In '08, I purchased a new Raymarine C70 radar unit. The cable from the radar dome to the display has not been removed since it was first installed, and the unit has been kept in the cockpit under a canvas cover.

I recently had to remove the cable connection from the display to refeed the radar cable to the dome, which I now have mounted on a radar arch. When I went to reconnect the display cable, I noticed that the 1/16-inch thick, raised gray-plastic connection guide at the back of the display unit was broken/missing, and would not align the 13-pin connection properly. To make matters worse, the pin connection hole is set deep within a plastic housing, making it impossible to view the proper alignment. The only option for me was to blindly try to align the 13 pins onto the 13-pin receptor by feeling for the proper alignment. After several dozen frustrating attempts to align the pin-to-cable connection, two pins broke off.

I took my display unit to my local marine repair shop. I was told they were familiar with the problem, but that it's impossible to repair since the display pin connector is directly wired onto a motherboard, and would thus be very expensive. I called another marine electronic repair outfit and the service guy just laughed when he heard what happened. "There is no repair when pins are broken," he said, "but you might send the unit directly to Raymarine in Merrimack, New Hampshire, where their repair services are located." He also warned me that I would be better off just buying another display unit.

I phoned Raymarine, and to my surprise, Linda in tech support said she was familiar with the problem. She didn't have any suggestions about how to replace the broken gray alignment guide, so alignment would still remain a problem. And replacing the two missing pins was going to cost over $320.

I sent my display unit to Raymarine so they could look at it themselves. It's been almost a month, and I've gotten no response. So I currently don't have radar, and can see no solutions other than to pay for the cost of the repair or purchase another unit. I'm not very happy about it. I think they need to design this part of their radars better, and I think they need better customer service.

If anyone else has had a similar problem, or an alternative solution, please contact me.

Jim Barden
Martes, Iroquois 32 Cat
Marina del Rey

Jim — Have you tried gold-plated lugs? Just kidding.


I want to personally thank Latitude for publishing the letter from my wife, Jean Garst, in the September issue, as well as for your own comments about the USS Liberty incident and about my voyage to pay tribute to those who died in the attack on their vessel.

I am back home in Texas now, with my Freya 39 Liberty tucked away on the hard in Turkey. I expect to return next May if nothing pressing intervenes. At that time I will decide whether to go to the site of the attack on the Liberty once more, before sailing home.

Like the publisher of Latitude, I vividly remember being at the Berkeley campus in '64. I was not an active participant in the demonstrations then, but I always admired what those young people were trying to do and, to a large degree, succeeded in doing.

By the way, I am very happy with my Freya 39, a sistership to what the publisher once owned. As far as the boat went, we had no serious problems of any kind.

Larry Toenjes
Liberty, Freja 39
Galveston, TX

Larry — You'll no doubt be interested in the following responses we received to the account of your adventure.


While I like what Larry Toenjes is trying to do with regard to the USS Liberty incident in 1967 by sailing his Freya 39 Liberty across the Atlantic and across the Med, I can set a few facts straight for him.

I was a Damage Control Petty Officer aboard the carrier USS Saratoga CVA-60 at the time. We had just left a bay near Spain for the Eastern Med after relieving the carrier USS Roosevelt CVA-42 for our six-month Med Cruise. Those of us in R Division slept in the fantail area over the prop shafts, and one night we heard the four 20-ft diameter props wind up faster than we'd ever heard them run. It was followed by the captain on the 1MC announcing, as best as I can recall, "The USS Liberty has been attacked in the Eastern Med [we were in the Western Med]. Our jets can't get there and return. I have launched a squadron of propeller planes to counter-attack for this reason. We are proceeding at flank speed in convoy to the area with all liberty ports cancelled until further notice."

When dawn broke, I went up to the hanger deck and looked out to see what looked like a shot out of the television show Victory at Sea. All around us were navy ships hauling butt in the same direction as we were. Shortly thereafter Israel apologized for the incident — there are news articles to confirm this.

At the time of the incident, the Roosevelt was on her way back to Mayport, FL, which was our homeport also. So, 1) The two carriers I mention were not "nearby"; and 2) the Saratoga did not launch a rescue flight, but initially an attack flight. When viewed in this light, I hardly think the men on the USS Liberty were abandoned by the U.S.

In my opinion, in the 'old days' society didn't make such a big deal out of such incidents, at least compared to today, though 'government bashing' is always fashionable to some. And while I'll admit our system is not perfect, you can try to fix it or leave for greener pastures. Personally, I think we all should concentrate our efforts on reducing the nation's unemployment problem, for all the obvious reasons.

Mike Sands
Planet Earth


My summer was ruined after I spent it reading Body of Secrets by James Bamford. In the chapter called 'Blood', the whole USS Liberty story is finally told in detail, thanks to documents released as a result of the Freedom of Information Act.

The National Security Agency was spying during the Six-Day War in '67 to see if the Soviets were helping the Egyptians. Indeed, I saw the USS Liberty in Rota, Spain, prior to the attack on her, and noticed all the antennas and dishes on the superstructure.

What was missing in the article was why the USS Liberty was attacked. The NSA intercepted and relayed Hebrew to translators on U-2 spy planes overhead to the headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The orders to kill all prisoners of war at the El Arish prison camp in the desert, and to bury them and leave no traces, was no longer a secret and the Liberty paid dearly when Israel learned of this. An ally meant to help us monitor transmissions out of the Soviet Union now became our attacker. While deadly accurate in their attack, the Israelis were unable to sink the ship as they intended, which would have removed all evidence of the transmissions.

It was an election year, so President Johnson didn't want to rile the powerful Israel lobby. He had the crew sequestered, and threatened to court martial any of the crewmembers who dared to speak the truth about the incident. Medals of Honor were later awarded to the captain and crew, but it was kept out of the press and public notice. According to Bamford, that was a first.

As a Navy vet who saw this ship weeks before the incident, and wondered "what the hell kind of ship this was," I now know the answer 44 years later, thanks to the release of formerly classified information.

I want to thank Larry Toenjes for his compassion, and for his bravery in standing up to the powerful Israeli government. Hopefully the truth will set us free, and Toenjes will not share the fate of the Liberty crew, who are now gone, but not forgotten.

Steve Rudzinski
Santa Cruz


When it comes to disputes between American service providers in foreign countries such as Mexico, I think I know the reason that they come about. I say this based on having lived and traveled abroad for most of my life, and cruised aboard my self-completed 20-ton Westsail 41 ketch Sirius for nearly 20 years and 80,000 miles. I found that the basic problem was the fact that too many Americans — particularly those from the United States — found it difficult to be anything but ‘Ugly Americans’ when in foreign lands. And when they go into business, they become abrasive, self-assured and fallaciously superior even — or particularly — when dealing or competing with each other. It tends to spoil what otherwise might have been nice places, or a nice day in the life of a traveler. By the way, I say this having not cruised in Mexico since the late ‘80s.

Earl Gale
ex-Sirius, Westsail 41
Now living ashore in Malaysia


I just finished reading the Wanderer's Baja Bash story in the September issue and would like to comment. I’ve been traveling Baja for about as long as the Wanderer, meaning since the '70s. A lot of things have changed on the peninsula since then. I've spent the majority of my time in La Paz and points farther north, as I prefer the isolation of the islands north of that city. When I finally visited Cabo again after 30 years, I was blown away!

The accompanying photo is one that I took in December of '77 as we were flying out of the area after a fishing trip. The streets were dirt and the Hacienda Hotel — now gone — was the only big hotel. When I returned this year for more fishing, I actually got a chance to walk around Cabo a bit. "Wow!" is all that I can say. After the insanity of the cruise ships, Jet Skis and basic tourism at Cabo, I’ll be keeping my butt in La Paz and points north.

P.S. Please keep up the great work -— my sanity depends on it.

Curt Simpson
Palm Desert

Curt — Thanks for the kind words. But how is this for irony? While Los Cabos has changed more than any place we've been in the last 30 years, the rest of Baja — with one or two exceptions — has probably changed as little as any place we've been. No matter if you're on the Pacific Coast or heading north of La Paz, so much of Baja is just as it's been for thousands of years. We West Coast sailors are lucky to have something that special so close.


We sat in the marina in Port Angeles, Washington, from mid-August until the second week of September watching boats heading south. Some of them were flying burgees for this year's Ha-Ha, and others we knew from the list of Ha-Ha entries.

We departed Washington on September 11, and five days later arrived at Catalina — where we saw Profligate anchored at her familiar spot on Harbor Reef. We only had a couple of hours at Catalina before having to leave for San Diego.

On September 18, we headed down the coast of Baja. The sailing conditions were ideal, with 10 to 20 knots of wind from aft, and 2- to 4-ft seas. However, we were on the 112-ft motoryacht that we run the five months a year that we're not cruising.

By the time we got as far south as Banderas Bay, Hurricane Hilary was building to a Category 4 blow. So we stopped at the Nayarit Riviera Marina in La Cruz.

The folks here at the Marina Riviera Nayarit couldn't have been nicer — and the off-season rates were low. Having taken care of all the maintenance projects, we were approached by the lovely Katarina, who does public relations for the marina. She told us that the marina manager wanted to express his appreciation for our business with an ice cold bottle of Champagne. Does it get any better than that?

September is actually a great time to be here in La Cruz, as things are slow, so there's no waiting for street tacos or a table at Philo's.

P.S. It's amazing how much fun you can have after you retire the first time.

Rob & Linda Jones
Cat 'n About, Gemini 3000
Ha-Ha Class of '04
Whidbey Island, WA

Readers — In mid-October we got the following update from Rob and Linda:

"After leaving La Cruz, we had to wait in Huatulco for a T-pecker to die down. Then it was five days to Panama and our Canal transit. We did a night transit and pulled into the Shelter Bay Marina this morning. Given a good forecast, we should be in Florida soon, after which we'll fly to Cat 'n About in La Paz. We hope everyone has a great Ha-Ha, as it's still the most fun thing you can do while not using intimate body parts."


My dilemma is that I want to purchase a Wharram 30 catamaran, but she’s located on the coast of Mexico’s state of Oaxaca. Given her location, and the fact that I live in Dallas, my options are to either have her shipped to Dallas or sail her back. Given the level of violence in Mexico, what would you consider to be the best option? If it’s sailing, what time of year would be best to transit the Canal and come up the Gulf of Mexico? If shipping, can you recommend any companies?

Bob Thornberry
Dallas, TX

Bob — Hiring a company to truck the cat would almost surely cost far more than the boat is worth, as would bringing her through the Canal and up the Gulf of Mexico.

It seems to us the only halfway economical option would be to find a truck and trailer and drive the cat back to Texas yourself. That’s assuming, of course, she’s one of the Wharram 30s where the hulls can be detached for trailering. As long as you don't fill the hulls with drugs, we don't think you need to worry about violence in Mexico.


With a lot of folks just heading to Mexico — and a few about to head back home — now might be a good time to share my thoughts on a Baja Bash. There is a lot of advice out there, and there are several different approaches to a Bash depending on your time limitations, experience and cruising style. But I agree with Harry Hazzard of the San Diego-based Beneteau Idylle 51 Distant Drum, who has done a lot of them, and who wrote in the August issue that you'll only have a bad Bash if you make it one.

After five months of leisurely singlehanding in the Sea of Cortez, I knew I was going to be in a different world once I rounded Cabo Falso and started my Bash. My only prior longer-range upwind sail had been a shakedown cruise from Redondo Beach to the Bay Area last summer. My plan for the Baja coast was to put safety and relative comfort first by sailing within my level of experience and endurance. That meant pulling into anchorages along the way, resting when I needed to, and carefully picking my weather windows.

I had the luxury of time, only needing to get north before the start of the hurricane season. I quickly learned that bashing into big waves and seas slowed my boat considerably, and resulted in longer passages and greater fuel consumption.

During my Bash I was fortunate to travel with two different groups of cruisers who were also doing the Bash. One was the group that Hazzard encountered in Turtle Bay. Their collective experience was remarkable, yet they were all modest about their sailing accomplishments. Despite the many adverse conditions they must have encountered circumnavigating and singlehanding to Hawaii, they all took Baja seriously. It gave me great confidence to share weather info with them, plan strategy, and keep in touch on the radio after we left.

While in the Sea of Cortez, I expected to meet cruisers and gather for sundowners and potlucks. And, of course, that happened a lot. But I hadn't expected to meet and bond with so many people on the Bash, all of whom were focused on the same goal, and all of whom were willing to help in any way they could. Cruising sailors are truly a remarkable community.

The result of my 'slow with lots of stops' approach to the Bash was the opportunity to visit a number of interesting and remote towns that I had blown past on the way south last fall. For example, the crew of six other boats and I waited in San Juanico, behind Punta Pequeña (Scorpion Bay), for four days waiting for a weather window. It's not only a good anchorage in northwesterly winds, but it's also a world-class surf spot. There was no Pemex station or bank, but we all enjoyed 10-peso tacos and beers at a restaurant/bar where we all met in the afternoon for drinks and to connect to the internet. Those days were among the highlights of my entire cruise!

Most of the legs of my Bash were uneventful, but there were some exciting moments. There was a big swell running, which resulted in surf as high as 15 feet crashing into the air off the many reefs surrounding Abreojos — a truly elemental kind of place. My plans to beach my dinghy and go ashore were quickly altered when I got close enough to realize that the waves breaking on shore were six feet!

My toughest leg was when I left Cedros Island and headed across Bahia de Vizcaino to Baja. I had a beautiful sail most of the way across, but the wind rapidly picked up to gale force as I approached the mainland about 10 miles south of San Carlos. The current was two to three knots on the nose, and my VMG was minimal. When my bilge pump light came on — and stayed on — things got exciting in a hurry. With darkness coming on and the seas building, I was a little frantic, tearing out gear to check all the thru hulls and other potential sources of leaks. None were found, and I eventually realized the switch was stuck in the 'on' position

It was comforting to be traveling in company with circumnavigators Bob and Glenda Taylor of the 45-ft cold-molded sloop Nero, who were a few miles ahead when I thought my boat was taking on water. Bob acknowledged that we were in the slop, but he calmly talked me through some things, and reported that the winds were down to about 30 knots where they were. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own boats and our own safety, of course, but since there is no rapid Coast Guard response down there, it was nice to have some fellow cruisers that I could count on. After a long, bumpy night, I made San Carlos the next morning and dropped the hook.

Looking back, I would say I did the Bash exactly the way I'd planned to. Unlike Doña de Mallorca, who has delivered Profligate north about a dozen times, I'm not embarrassed that it took me 27 days to get from Cabo to San Diego. There were a lot of very windy days last June when I did my Bash.

I traveled part of the way up the coast of Baja with the Mather family of the Redondo Beach-based DownEast 45 Blue Sky, who had just completed their circumnavigation. Despite their obvious experience, they reported taking 25 days to do the Bash. Maybe if you have done the Bash a few times, have already checked out the towns and anchorages, have plenty of crew, or just have to get back to work or reality fast, it makes sense to plow ahead no matter the weather. I knew of several boats with crew that had to get back to work that set out in weather they would rather not have. For me, the Bash was exhilarating and challenging enough, even waiting for moderate weather. I saw some fascinating places and made many friends, both Mexicans and fellow cruisers. It only made me hungry for more.

Finally, did you hear anything about a 50-ft ketch that went on the rocks just north of Cabo San Lazaro around June 1? I was north of there by then, but heard the report from a boat on the scene on the morning SSB net. Don Anderson was going to put in a call to the Coast Guard, which would probably have coordinated with the Mexican Navy. The next day we learned that the crew had safely made it to shore. Do you know the story of how they came to be on the rocks and how they were rescued?

Kelly Mantis
Simpatico, Cabo Rico 38
Redondo Beach

Kelly — In Doña de Mallorca's defense, she Bashes really hard because time is always of the essence with Profligate, and because she always has crew. Given the choice, she'd much rather take a month to do the Bash, too.

We don't know that anybody has any factual evidence to back it up, but lots of people seemed to think that this year was one of the nastiest Bashing seasons in years.

If it were up to us, we wouldn't Bash until June or July, because we believe that you have a greater chance of more and bigger windows at that time, and the Baja weather isn't so cold. But most people want to be back in California by then.

As for the 50-ft ketch, sorry, but we didn't hear about it.


We're cruisers from Canada transiting through California on our way to Mexico and parts beyond. When we were preparing to leave Canada, the common refrain from British Columbia and Washington cruisers was that they wanted to leave as late as possible in the summer to minimize their time in California because of how expensive it is.

There is some truth to those thoughts. Free anchorages exist but they are less plentiful and farther apart than they are in the Northwest. Plus, many boaters in B.C. have spent a lot of time in remote, wild, beautiful anchorages, so what some of us — ourselves included — want a taste of is California city life.

The question becomes where in California you can spend a substantial amount of time anchored out with access to a fun city.

We found San Francisco to be delightfully easy to visit dirtbagger style. We spent five weeks anchored out for free with easily obtainable permits — we anchored for two separate week-long visits at Aquatic Park and spent three weeks at anchor at Clipper Cove. We bought Muni passes for the month of August after realizing that Clipper Cove is on the Muni, and zipped all over your fair city while at anchor.

In fact, with the welcome we received from various yacht clubs as an offshore, foreign-flagged vessel, we stayed a full seven weeks in San Francisco for $130 USD moorage.

Thank you, San Francisco, for keeping anchorages accessible to cruisers in transit!

Carol Dupuis & Livia Gilstrap
Estrellita 5.10b, Wauquiez Pretorien
Victoria, B.C.


While passing through California waters on our way south, we wonder if our Canadian-registered boat would be subject to California usage tax if she were in a California marina on January 1.

Lee-Ann McKintuck
First Press, Beneteau First 42
Victoria, B.C.

Lee-Ann — Here in California we call it personal property tax. If you're truly passing through as opposed to having your boat take up permanent residence in the state, you have nothing to worry about. Eh?


I saw your call for expressions of interest in participating in a 'So-Cal Ha-Ha' next summer — and think it's a splendid idea. Southern California is such a rich cruising area, and we love to participate in rallies.

A couple of things to think about. One is that the annual St. Francis YC Stag Cruise — which I would never miss — is usually the third weekend of September. You mentioned possibly starting on Labor Day, but it may not be the best time to get into Santa Barbara Harbor. I think it would be great if you could hold it starting just after Labor Day. That means I could probably make it and get the boat back to San Francisco in time for the Stag Cruise, then back down to San Diego in late October because we plan on doing the Ha-Ha again next year.

In any event, count us as 'very interested'.

Doug & Tamara Thorne
Tamara Lee Ann, Celestial 48
San Francisco

Doug and Tamara — We never realized how hardcore you are!


My wife and I would be very interested in participating in your proposed So-Cal Ha-Ha, as you described in the October Latitude. We would also be willing to participate in sharing some of the costs of promoting and organizing such an event.

We moved to Oxnard from the East Coast and bought a Hunter 450 Passage. I passed my 101, 103, and 104 sailing exams, and we are spending most of our free time on the boat — and loving every minute of it! The camaraderie of mariners, in the marinas and out in anchorage, is truly amazing. Let us know if we can assist in any way.

Charles Moyer
Big Sweetie, Hunter 450 Passage


Although I've never done a Ha-Ha — I hope to some day — I'd be up for a So-Cal Ha-Ha to the Channel Islands, Catalina and Newport Beach as vaguely proposed in the last issue.

Stephen Skogerson
Veritas, Cal 27
Coyote Point

Stephen, Charles, and Doug — Thanks for your interest and that of others. We're going to mull over the idea some more in the winter, then make a decision in the spring.


Wylie Design Group's energies in helping sailors race or cruise over the past four decades has, we hope, added to the community's enjoyment of the wind and water. Many of you are not aware of a unique project of ours — the 65-ft cat ketch workboat Derek M. Baylis.

Launched in April '03, it has been fulfilling its mission of education and research with the cleanest possible wake. Our website,, details some of her many accomplishments under our 'Sustainablity' section.

Funding and development of this mission is the biggest challenge of our career. Your support and thoughts are welcome. Please email.

Dave Wahle & Tom Wylie
Wylie Design Group



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