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April 2012

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Thank you for the excellent photos of our Catalina 30 Willin’ that appeared on both the cover and on page 65 of the February issue. The Willin’ crew races in the Corinthian YC, Sausalito YC, and Presidio YC Beer Can races and various other regattas. We are thankful to the race committees of these and other Bay Area clubs who work indefatigably to give us the opportunity to have an enjoyable time with fellow sailors.

Willin’ is not a seriously competitive race boat. Our priority is having a fun, safe and pleasant time on the Bay. This is why you see a double reef in the mainsail in the photo that was taken on a particularly blustery day. I have noted that it's very unusual to see other buoy racers reef their sails. I suppose that most skippers feel that they can always dump their mainsail if the wind picks up, and that it's too difficult to unreef a sail should the wind moderate.

One attribute of Willin’ that you may have noticed ­— despite the concealing sock-monkey hats — is that we have an all-female crew. This aspect of our crew affords me a certain notoriety at the various sailing venues. And now, with Willin’ being the Latitude 38 'cover girl', this notoriety will most assuredly proliferate.

Our crew are also all members of the Got Wind and Water Meet Up group which, very much like Latitude, provides boatowners with a vehicle for connecting with those who are in need of crew.

Thank you again for the cover shot, as you have fulfilled a life-long ambition of mine and of my crew.

Mark Tishler
Willin’, Catalina 30

Mark — We're delighted that you're happy with the cover. We also like your sailing style — even when racing, we feel the real 'winners' are those who have the most fun sharing the experience with friends.


I got a chuckle out of the Honfleur photo confusion — mixing it up with St. Katherine's Dock — in the February 10 'Lectronic, as it reminded me of our time there long ago.

Our first boat was a French-built 26-ft centerboard sloop that my wife and I lived aboard at the Touring Club docks on the Place de la Concorde in Paris in the late '70s. On many evenings we would cast off the docklines, motor down around the Île Saint-Louis, and then back up to the Île de la Cité, where we would dock and send someone up for Vietnamese take-out.

This idyllic routine was cut short when the wake of a passing Bateau Mouches pitched my wife and the laundry into the Seine. So the boat ­— Enfant Terrible — was banished to Deauville where she became our weekend home. But we did have many pleasant sails to neighboring Honfleur, where we would stern tie to the quay and enjoy the ambience of the town.

I do recall one particularly 'celebratory' evening at Honfleur that ended in another unplanned swim. If memory serves me, we had, in French fashion, dined well and drunk well. Our companions for the evening decided that the walk all the way around the basin to where their schooner was moored was too pedestrian. They figured the journey could be much more readily accomplished by taking a shorter, more direct route to their boat. This, of course, was to be done without the benefit of a dinghy.

Before more sober heads could prevail, I was standing on the quay with their clothes in my arms, watching their shiny backsides disappearing in the dark. Shortly thereafter, their distressed and increasingly loud shouts began to wake up everyone in the vicinity, as they echoed off the buildings that form a perfect amphitheater and amplification system for the lovely little harbor. As most of your readers will have guessed, my friends had been unable to board their boat, and weren't hesitant to share this unfortunate circumstance with all and sundry. Rather more sober than when they'd gone into the water, they were dredged out by the time we got around to them, but seemed none the worse for wear.

I enjoyed reading last month's story about Kara Dobers of the San Francisco-based Peterson 44 Magnum, who completed her first circumnavigation earlier this year at the tender age of 7. Our Wylie 65 Saga was one of those 'kid boats'. Our two-year cruise started out with the '98 Ha-Ha when our children were 3, 5 and 9 years old. I concur with almost all the points made in the article. And I would firmly recommend that if anyone has the least inclination to take their family cruising, they are nuts if they don't. There simply aren't any negatives that I can think of that could possibly outweigh the pleasures of family cruising, as was so aptly detailed in the article.

The only qualification I can think of is that you have to start when the kids are young. Each child/family is going to be different, but I think there is a wider window in the 3- to 10-year-old range, which is a period during which kids — or at least our kids — were more tuned to the family unit. The older they get, the more engaged they become with their peers, and breaking free would seem to be more of a negotiation than a parental choice. The flip side of going young is that the kids may or may not retain a lot from their experience. There are obviously some things that are indelible, but for Addie, our youngest — who was featured in Latitude free-climbing Saga's 95-ft mast and 'trick or treating' by dinghy in her princess costume while we were anchored in the San Blas — the memories come more from pictures and family stories than her own authentic recollections.

We came back from cruising 11 years ago, and reintegrating posed challenges for all of us. But none of those challenges in any way offset or negated the experiences that we had together. And I believe those experiences continue to give us a reliable family touchstone. And even though we haven't been to sea as a family recently, we still get along well enough to go messing about in boats — for example on the Russian River last summer.

Matt Stone


Heather and I have recently been sorting through all our sailing memorabilia, and one of the items was a series of articles from Latitude listing the “Some Like It Hot Rally” participants who had registered at the Broken Surfboard Restaurant in Cabo between November '94 and February '95. If I'm not mistaken, you consider the '94 rally to be the first Ha-Ha. I know that not everybody who headed to Mexico that year registered.

Anyway, it got me thinking of where all those people are now. I decided to track down as many of them as I could, so I sent an email to all the addresses I had for the Class of '94-'95. The addresses were many years old and most were no longer valid. But a few responded, and I asked them to forward my message to any of the other cruisers with whom they were still in contact with. So far I've gotten 33 replies.

I also asked folks to send me an update of their adventures, and told them that I'd send out a general update from time to time, including a contact list for all the boats and a newsletter with all the messages I receive — removing any personal information, of course. I'd use a 'blind carbon copy' so the addresses wouldn't get spread around. If anyone saw anyone else on the list with whom they wanted to reconnect with, I told them I would forward that message.

The year 2014 will mark 20 years since we started our journey, so I'm also considering organizing a reunion. Any member of the Class of '94/'95 can reach me at .

Ted Taylor
Tether, Coast 34

Ted — Prior to the Ha-Ha, we had an 'event' of sorts called the Some Like It Hot Rally. There was no starting date or starting line; you simply signed up when you got to Cabo, at which point you got a Some Like It Hot Rally t-shirt and maybe a free cocktail.

The first Baja Ha-Ha, on the other hand, took place in the fall of '94, and was an organized event with specific starting times and places for each of the three legs. Forty boats signed up. The start was, as it has been ever since, off San Diego. The funny thing is that it was too windy for the America's Cup boats to sail that day, but not too windy for the intrepid Ha-Ha fleet. There were two stops, at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria, before the finish in Cabo, so that hasn't changed over the years. The Broken Surfboard taqueria catered the awards party at what is the now the site of some giant hotel, and just about everybody got food poisoning.

If memory serves us, that was the first year we included all the Ha-Ha entries in the Some Like It Hot Rally list. If anybody wants to see a list of all the Some Like It Hot Rally boats from '94-95, they should visit the March 26 'Lectronic.

The early 'Some Like It Hot' and Ha-Ha years were so long ago, yet in many ways they seem like just yesterday. We're glad you're thinking about organizing a reunion, and will be happy to publicize it.


Signing up for the first Baja Ha-Ha in '94 set the only cruising deadline we've never regretted. We still wear our faded "Some Like It Hot" t-shirts with pride.

Over a 14-year period, we enjoyed 11 years of cruising our DownEast 38 Dulcinea along Mexico's Pacific Coast and another three years along the East Coast, in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.

So please, sign us up for the proposed SoCal Ha-Ha! We think it's a great idea, and we would be willing volunteers in whatever capacity with which you might need help.
We want to thank Latitude for being a source of cruising inspiration for us in the '80s, and a springboard to our starting to realize our cruising dreams in '94.

John & Janice Barker
Dulcinea, DownEast 38
Long Beach

John and Janice — You know how to make us feel great. Thanks.

The two places we really needed to find cooperation for a SoCal Ha-Ha were Santa Barbara, where it will start, and Redondo Beach, the Thursday-night stop before the fleet takes off for Catalina. We somehow assumed that both places would have a long list of reasons that such an event wouldn't be right for their harbors. But on the contrary, we got very positive feedback from both of them. We're proposing a schedule of September 9-16, and are now in the process of giving the Santa Barbara and Redondo harbor staffs the opportunity to review our plans and make sure the dates won't conflict with something else going on.

We're also very cognizant that for the last bunch of years Mike Leneman has held a mid-September Summer Splash event for multihulls from Marina del Rey to Catalina and back on that last weekend, and that this year it would be on the same weekend that we're proposing for the SoCal Ha-Ha. Not wanting to horn in on somebody's existing event, we asked Mike if it would be a problem. His response was, "No problem. I'm pretty casual about the whole thing, and if together we can make it a bigger event, so much the better."

We hope to have a final announcement about the Inaugural SoCal Ha-Ha by April 15, and hope that you'll become a part of SoCal Ha-Ha history, too.


I just re-read — again — the publisher's piece on the America's Cup in the February Latitude. On the third re-reading of that article, I still find it to be one of the best and most humorous pieces that has graced your pages. "The Friends of Bedbugs and Mosquitoes," personified by Aaron Peskin, indeed! Is the "Friends of BB&M" of your invention? No matter if it is or is not, my compliments on your fine journalism.

Steve Katzman
South Lake Tahoe

Steve — We're glad you enjoyed it. Our idea was to take a more casual and detached look at the America's Cup and all the political arm-wrestling associated with it. As for the "Friends of Bedbugs and Mosquitoes", yes, we came up with that specific term, but using silly exaggerations to emphasize a point is a common journalistic technique. Mark Twain was pretty good at it.


When you mentioned that the price of West Marine stock had nearly doubled in the last six months, you asked if anybody got in on the ride. I did. About two years ago I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal that said Geoff Eisenberg, the president of West Marine, was buying West Marine stock. And at the market price, not some option price. I thought that was a good sign, so I bought at $6.

Mark H.
Planet Earth

Mark — West Marine stock has been going up and down like the bow of a heavy cruising boat sailing out the Gate during a strong ebb. If you bought West Marine at 6, it must have been in '09. It had a great run up to 13 by the middle of '10, plunged to about 8 in late '11, but has since taken off like one of the rocket flares they sell to 14.

While at the Le Select patio bar in the Caribbean, we were surprised to hear our name called by George Eisenberg, Geoff's brother and our insurance guy. We pumped George for insider information on West Marine, figuring that if it's legal for members of Congress and their staffs to trade on inside information, we should be able to get in on a little stealing, too. Alas, "West Marine has been riding a wave of improving consumer confidence," was all that George would say.


I'm writing in response to Gordo Klenk's February letter asking for comments on composting heads. My 25-ft boat never had a pump-hoses-and-holding tank system in her, so when I put in a Nature's Head brand composter two years ago, it was a big step up from a bucket. But I've never been a fan of the liquid septic system approach on boats anyway. After all, I've used many different types of normal marine heads on other boats, and I've listened to the tales of woe from the boat owners. Also, I can always smell the head the second I enter a boat that has a normal type of marine toilet. So it was a no-brainer for me to give the composter a try.

The advantages listed by the manufacturers of composting toilets are many, just as Gordo said. And at this point, I have to say his claims are accurate.

By the time our composting head was part of the boat, I'd spent about $1,000. That's more than I think it should cost, but it works exactly as advertised. Other advantages are that it doesn't weigh much and is dead simple. It's easy to service when the time comes — the end product goes into the woods or garden — and I can undo two hand-tight bolts and lift it out of the boat in 30 seconds flat.

I slightly modified our unit's two levers to fit it into the small space available in Tom Thumb. The head has a computer fan that ventilates the odor to a mushroom vent on deck, and I wired that to run either on the boat's 12-volt system or on shore power.

Gordo wants to know about the smell. I almost never smell anything, inside or outside the saloon. There is a little smell that comes out of the vent on deck, and you might smell it if you're sitting in the cockpit directly downwind from it. But it's not the shit smell that one might expect. This odor is a very small issue.

The composting head actually takes some getting used to, as you're not using water to wash away every trace of excrement. This requires some care, but it's no big deal. By comparison, we're amazed at all the trouble most people go to with their holding tank and pump systems.

P.S. The fire extinguisher next to the composter in the photo is for salsa lovers.

John Boye
Tom Thumb, Havsfidra 25
Brookings, OR


If I'm not mistaken, I first met the publisher of Latitude when he was selling boats and I was looking at buying an Islander 36 before Latitude came to be. I've collected all of the issues from the get-go, and have enjoyed every one. (By the way, Latitude has very few typos, even compared to the Wall Street Journal.)

I remember that the early issues of Latitude had a Boat of the Month feature, with photos and information on popular classes and/or production boats. The information went far beyond what the brochures had to offer, with photos, a walk-through, a description of special features, and occasionally a deck plan of the belowdecks spaces. I do not recall any comparisons to other sailboats, but these features certainly made for interesting reading, particularly to those of us who were shopping for boats. I'm not sure whether I'm writing this to necessarily answer Don Little's February letter, in which he asked why you didn't do boat reviews, but I felt compelled to respond.

Granted, those were substantially different sailing times, with Southern California companies building huge numbers of fiberglass sailboats. I bought one, a "pre-osmotic blistering" '74 Coronado 35 designed by Bill Tripp. I enjoyed sailing her for many years in the Bay and Delta, as well as on a coastal 'bluewater' cruise to Carmel. My crew was my wife and occasionally my brother.

I particularly enjoyed charging across the Bay in near-gale- or gale-force winds. I had the regular heavy main and 110% headsail, as well as a 75% jib, but also a lighter main and cruising spinnaker for lighter air. As the boat was a CCA (Cruising Club of America) design, she was predominantly stabilized by ballast rather than hull form, and we were thus able to ghost along in mere zephyrs.

Later, after many production boat manufacturers had gone out of business, smaller companies started producing rather specialized boats made of esoteric materials, focusing on the newer racing rule and performance, and consequently costing more money. In short, I'm saying that there are so many boats to choose from nowadays that it would be very difficult to compare them.

Dmitri De Denko
Euphoria, Coronado 35
St. Francis YC

Dmitri — We think you're right on the difficulty of comparing boats, as there are so many different types of sailboats built for so many different conditions.

We indeed sold Islanders and Coronados prior to founding
Latitude 38. Selling boats drove us out of our mind, because many times potential buyers were complete novices, and would tell us they were having a hard time deciding between the nautical equivalent of a Porsche and a Greyhound bus. Then, too, the deciding factor in a boat purchase was very often whether the wife of the potential buyer thought a boats's curtains were cute or not.

The Boat of the Month features from the early days of
Latitude were four pages long, and about half the space was taken up by photos. We're not sure we had all the detail that you remember in each one, but we're glad you remember them fondly.

We noticed that you used the word 'gale'. Because people frequently misuse it and associated terms, we thought we'd go over the proper definitions. A 'near gale' is 31 to 38 knots. A 'full gale' is 39 to 46 knots. A 'strong gale' is 47 to 54 knots. A 'whole gale' is 56 to 63 knots. Any kind of gale is a whole lot of wind. Anything over a 'near gale' is pretty rare on the Bay.


If I'd been one the sailors who found the bale of pot floating off the coast of Del Mar, such as the ones you mentioned in March 2's 'Lectronic, I would have left it and hoped nobody killed me for being near it. I started with pot at age 11 and finished at 28. I'm now 53 and have access to an unlimited supply of killer weed from a friend up north. But I'm looking for a job, so I wouldn't touch any of it even if I wanted to.

Fortunately, most kids these days are so smart that they know better than to smoke pot. Pot is for older folks with failing health.

Brad Smith
Hobie 18
Santa Cruz


I did a little research and found out that dispensaries in L.A. pay $4,500/lb for high-grade pot, while dispensaries in San Francisco will pay $3,500/lb. So in L.A., a 25-lb bale would have been worth about $112,500. I guess somebody with a medical marijuana card could have sold the bale to a dispensary. For $112,500, it might be worth the time to get a card or find somebody with one to help with the sale. That amount would buy a nice boat, but I'm not sure it would be worth the risk.

Grant D.

Grant — We're troubled by the disparity in prices for pot in California. If what you say is true, why wouldn't someone buy pot low from dispensaries in San Francisco and sell high — sorry about the pun — to dispensaries in L.A.? He/she could make big profits without having to go to the bother and risk of smuggling.

Also, you'd need more than just a medical marijuana card to sell pot to a dispensary. The cards — easily obtained by anyone over 18 — allow the patient to carry no more than 8 oz of Maui Wowie. But an Orange County Court of Appeal just made buying the sticky stuff even more difficult. Early last month, the court said that Lake Forest's attempt to ban dispensaries was illegal but ruled that such clinics must grow the pot themselves, effectively putting the entire industry out of business. The issue is expected to be heard by the California Supreme Court.


If it were me, I'd take one, maybe two, hits. If I found myself sailing to Hawaii or the South Seas, I'd keep the bale and continue on. But if, after smoking several joints, I found myself continuing on to my original destination, totally aware of all my body parts, I'd do what the two gentlemen did and call the Coast Guard.

John Terry
Best Day Ever, Hylas 45.5
Park City, UT


I lived in New York for a long time, and those of us who survived learned to leave the dope to the dope dealers. It's safer.

Bob Schilling
Tuckernuck, Cherubini 44
Long Beach


A friend of mine found the same thing while we were boardsailing in Baja. We divided it up and had some fun. But it was scary at first.

Steve C.


Rather than take any of the options Latitude listed, I'd have tossed the bale back over the side. I don't need no Coasties getting into my business, and I definitely don't need no narcos getting into it either. Besides, these days pot just makes me paranoid — and probably with good reason.

P.S. We're currently in Mazatlan, four months into our second year in Mexico.

Steve & Lulu Yoder
Siempre Sabado, Westsail 28
Newport, OR


Great question! Back in the day, I would have smoked most of it and marketed or given the rest of it away to friends. "Peace and love" was real in those days. I’m in recovery now, but even if I still partook, in this day and age of nanny cams and GPS bugs, I'd still call the Coast Guard. If, on the other hand, it were a bale of cash rather than pot, it would be more of a moral-versus-paranoid dilemma for me.

Brian Beers
Calisto, Catalina 30
Santa Cruz


Keeping the bale seems as if it would be bad karma, as there is probably a direct link between the bale and narco violence and killings in Mexico. I'd call the Coast Guard because I wouldn't have anything to think about the next day. If it were a bale of money, it would be harder to make the call.

Stephen Estes
Portland, Oregon

Readers — We received many responses to the 'what would you do with the bale?' question. The previous letters are representative of the responses.


On February 6, my wife Jane and I — along with Richard Fadling, our crewmember on the '97 Ha-Ha; Steve Halsey, a former water polo player friend of mine at UC Davis whom I hadn't seen in 40 years; and his wife Heather — departed Boca de Tomatlan for a beautiful hike along the south side of Banderas Bay to a beach called Quimixto. About 1½ miles into the hike, I stepped on a sand-covered rock that caused my feet to slip out from under me. I fell, hitting my head on the rock, and continued to slide 15 feet down an embankment covered with rocks. I came to a stop only when I got tangled in jungle growth. Had I fallen another two feet, I'd have gone off a 50-ft drop to a rock quarry on the beach below. The injuries incurred in this unexpected part of my trip are as follows: three fractures to my skull, concussion, unconsciousness for 10 minutes, bleeding from head, nose and arms, hyperextended neck, fractured clavicle and fractured ribs.

At this point, the only way to get me help was to get me 15 feet up and out of the ravine, and carry me the 1½ miles back to the car, then drive to the hospital. Realizing that this was going to be a difficult, if not impossible, task, Steve and Heather began giving me first aid while Jane and Richard went ahead on the trail to try to find help.

After having gone 50 yards down the trail, which led them to a beach, Jane and Richard came upon five middle-aged Mexican workers. When Jane explained what had happened and that I needed help, the Mexicans, without hesitation, dropped their tools and grabbed a tarp to carry me and a chair in case it would be needed to get me down to the beach. They then ran to my side and pulled me out of the ravine and up to the trail. Then they carried me the 50 yards to where they had a panga. During this time, Pia and Martin, a couple from Argentina, saw we were in trouble, fashioned a sling from Pia's sarong to immobilize my arm and shoulder, and assisted in the carry. After a 30-minute panga ride back to Boca, and another 30-minute ride to the emergency room, I received excellent medical care from a doctor who had been waiting for my arrival. When I offered the Mexican workers payment for their help — without which I might have died given the loss of blood — they refused it.

We live six months a year on our boat in Mexico, and we see, hear about, or experience Mexicans selflessly helping others on a daily basis. In our world, it's been such things as a 14-year-old boy carrying groceries to the bus for Jane and not accepting a tip; a young girl on the bus getting up so Jane could sit down; an 80-year-old man, obviously very poor, offering us bus fare when he thought we had none. The stories of the kindness of the people of Mexico go on and on.

Having lived in Mexico six months a year for 15 years, Jane and I have found that while Mexico does have problems — as do all countries — the Mexican people are some of the warmest, most caring, giving and fun-loving people we have ever had the pleasure of living with. We are proud to call them our friends and neighbors, and we will continue to return yearly.

My heartfelt thanks to the five Mexicans who most likely saved my life!

Jerry Hinsdale
Dilly Dally, Catalina 36
Marina Riviera Nayarit


Comments on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl Kate Upton? It's obvious her suit is way too small. She must have found it on her parents' boat, a leftover from when she was 8, and had to wear it because her latest suit was lost overboard. Or something like that.

Holly Scott
Mahalo, Cal 40
Alamitos Bay

Holly — On the other hand, Upton was wearing more on the cover than some women wear to Sunday afternoon lunches at Nikki Beach in St. Barth. Must be a cultural thing.


The February letter blaming America's woes on the bikini, and your response blaming it on lust for money, are both incorrect. In fact, I have long known that the use of frost-free freezers (FFF) is the root of America's decline. Frost-free freezers' hitting the mass market in the '60s is as likely a villain as any other conspiracy. Besides, I never trusted that Frigidaire outfit anyway.

For me, the real appeal of Latitude is your ability to make your work seem fun, and fun seem important. Keep it up — but don't trust your freezer!

Tom Evans
Tappan Zee, Coast 34
Bellingham, WA


While cruising in Borneo 11 years ago, we crossed paths with the inimitable Harry Heckel of the Norfolk, VA-based Dreadnought 32 Idle Queen. Eighty-five at the time, he was in the process of completing the second of his three circumnavigations. To prove that triple circumnavigators in their 90s haven't lost their senses of humor, I am sharing a joke Harry just sent to me:

A Florida couple, both well into their 80s, went to a sex therapist's office.

"What can I do for you?" the doctor asked.

"Will you watch us have sexual intercourse?" the man responded.

The doctor raised both eyebrows, but he was so amazed that such an elderly couple was asking for sexual advice that he agreed.

When the couple finished, the doctor said, "There's absolutely nothing wrong with the way you have intercourse." He thanked them for coming, charged them $50, and wished them good luck.

Nonetheless, the couple returned the next week, asking the sex therapist to watch again. The therapist was a bit puzzled, but he agreed.

The same thing happened several weeks in a row. The couple made an appointment, had intercourse with no problem, paid the doctor, then left.

Finally, after five or six weeks of the routine, the doctor said, "I'm sorry, but I have to ask. Just what are you trying to find out?"

The old man said, "We're not trying to find out anything. She's married and we can't go to her house. I'm married and we can't go to my house. The Holiday Inn charges $98. The Hilton charges $139. We do it here in front of you for $50, and I get $43 back from Medicare!"

Kirk McGeorge
Gallivanter, Hylas 49
St. Thomas

Readers — If you're interested in getting your joke published in Latitude, all you have to do is circumnavigate three times as Harry did. For poetry, it's six singlehanded circumnavigations.


Because of financial hardships in his family, my father dropped out of school to take over full management of a small farm in Michigan . . . when he was eight years old.

Maturity is a state of mind and has little to do with the date on the birth certificate. Having done a little singlehanding myself, and having personally experienced the gamut of physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges that arise when sailing a small boat hundreds of miles offshore, I compliment Laura Dekker on what she's done. I see her as a more desirable role model than some of her listless peers, who hang out at the mall, punching their iPhones, complaining that "life is a drag because there's nothing to do."

Sam Vahey
Between boats
Brookings, OR

Sam — You're a dear friend of more than 30 years and two Singlehanded TransPacs, but if 'management' means "the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively," the notion that an eight-year-old could do it strains our credulity to the max.

We're able to admire what each of the youth circumnavigators has done, while not forgetting Cyndi Lauper's '84 hit 'Money Changes Everything'. Fame and bucks have been part of the mix of youth circumnavigations ever since Robin Lee Graham did it with Dove back in 1970 — although it's sometimes been the parents who have been the prime movers behind the youth attempts, or at least have been the ones who made them possible. Opinions differ, but until someone can reasonably be expected to fully understand the risk-reward equation of doing something such as singlehanding around the world or climbing Mt. Everest, we don't support such efforts.


I wanted to add a note to your long 'Lectronic piece about San Francisco wrestling with the idea of whether a slip should go with a boat when the boat is sold, and how Monterey handles that issue.

I keep a Catalina 22 in the municipal marina in Monterey. Even if someone pays 50% more in slip fees to jump ahead of everyone on the waiting list, I think it's still a good deal for them. After all, I pay about the same for my slip — at the normal rate — as I paid 20 years ago at G Dock at Ventura West Marina. Admittedly, Ventura West was a better facility for liveaboards, and I think at least half the boats on G dock were liveaboards, but even at 150% of the normal berth rate, Monterey is likely still less expensive than other marinas.

Tom LeDuc
Kolohe, Catalina 22

Tom — You have a good point, although there's an 'apples and oranges' quality to your comparing marinas in different areas with different circumstances. And also remember that anyone willing to pay 1.5 times the normal rate to jump to the top of the list is stuck with whatever boat is in the slip for two years. That's a long time.

For those who missed it, you can find the entire piece in the February 22 edition of 'Lectronic Latitude.


I suspect that a fair number of the berths in San Francisco's West Marina are occupied by boats owned by lawyers, such as their spokesman Bruce Munro, who will do damn near anything to protect their sweetheart of a deal. The group is whining that if San Francisco goes ahead with the proposal that slips won't be able to go with boats when they are sold, they won't be able to recoup the inflated prices that they paid for some junker of a boat in order to get a berth within walking distance of the Grill Room at the St. Francis YC. And they're whining that they won't be able to make a profit sub-leasing their slip for some astronomical rate when they're summering up at Tinsley Island.

Well, so what? The berth they are leasing is public property. When they paid an inflated price in order to get a berth, they took a gamble, and now it's coming up snake eyes. They should get over it, because there shouldn't be private gain from public property.

Nick Salvador
Finn, USA 1109

Nick — While we can empathize with the slipholders' argument that what's proposed is a sudden reversal of longstanding — albeit unstated — policy, we philosophically agree that there shouldn't private gain from having the right to a slip in a public marina.

For the record, when Santa Barbara and Newport Beach considered eliminating private gain from public berths/moorings, a combination of the threats of lawsuits and a sense of what they considered to be fair play resulted in a modification, rather than an outright reversal, of the previous policy. At both places the public now gets a share of the profit made from the 'sale' of the right to a slip.


The February issue Max Ebb was his best ever!

Doug Royer
Sudden Impulse, Catalina 27

Doug — That's saying a lot, because Max has been writing them for 32 years.


For passagemaking forecasts, I considered a complete set of Pilot Charts, which depict average conditions worldwide by the month, to be invaluable. But my voyaging was done in the '80s and early '90s, when many of the technological advances available today didn't exist.

Capt. Doug Owen
Anakalia, Grand Banks 42
San Francisco

Readers — As stated on the Maritime Safety Information website, "Pilot Charts depict averages in prevailing winds and currents, air and sea temperatures, wave heights, ice limits, visibility, barometric pressure, and weather conditions at different times of the year. The information used to compile these averages was obtained from oceanographic and meteorologic observations over many decades during the late 18th and 19th centuries. The Atlas of Pilot Charts set is comprised of five volumes, each covering a specific geographic region. Each volume is an atlas of 12 pilot charts, each depicting the observed conditions for a particular month of any given year." For sailors planning a long voyage or a long cruise, we think Pilot Charts provide a valuable historical context not available in GRIB files.


When it comes to weather forecasts, the big question is whether you can access the internet, and if so, at what speed. I like, and is great for graphics if you are sailing in an area they cover.

But if you are using Iridium or some other slow and expensive way to access the internet, I recommend It's a free downloadable application, and through it you can select any area on the planet, as large or small as you need, easily and graphically. You can also select whether to include wind, pressure and/or rain forecasts, how long a forecast you need (1, 3, 5 days, etc.), the frequency of info (every 3, 6, 24 hours, etc.), and whether you need data accuracy for every degree or half-degree. You do all this offline. When you and your Iridium are ready, one click downloads the GRIB files directly through their application, so there is no need to open a browser or log on to anything. What all this flexibility means is that you can download just what you need very quickly — usually in less than a minute via Iridium.

I have used these GRIB files from the North Pacific to the South Atlantic, and have been very pleased with their accuracy and reliability.

David Kory
Ambassador, Beneteau 51.5
San Francisco Bay / Currently in Uruguay


Some of the weather sources I've used are: 1) Although primarily a surfer site, it has good info on wind and wave predictions. 2) has more localized forecasts, which are sometimes helpful inshore. If I'm not mistaken, standard GRIB files use 60-mile sections. 3) lets you pick anywhere on the planet and gives you the raw GRIB. They have a free viewer that can be downloaded from their site. I like this since it gives the data without the glitz, which means the files are small and it's great when you have limited or slow internet access. Plus, you don't need to stay connected to keep the images coming.

Bill Lilly
Moontide, Lagoon 470
Newport Beach


I did the '09 Ha-Ha on my Cape George 40 Rachel S, and after spending the winter in La Paz and the Sea of Cortez, sailed back home to Washington via Hawaii. I didn't have an SSB radio, but I did have an Iridium satphone. The phone worked great, and the sound quality was better than some cell connections I've had.

I called my dad every day when sailing from Cabo to Hilo, and then from Oahu to the San Juan Islands, and he would check Passage Weather for me. I was amazed at how accurate their wind predictions were. I was so thankful for their website that I actually donated some money to them.

P.S. I had such a great time doing the Ha-Ha on my own boat that I did it again in '10 with Craig Shaw aboard his Portland-based Columbia 43 Adios. I had serious Ha-Ha withdrawals when I couldn't make it last fall. But I did meet a wonderful woman on another boat during the '10 Ha-Ha, and I'm glad to report that we've been happily annoying each other ever since. Thanks for everything!

Patrick Orleman
Rachel S, Cape George 40
Marin County / San Juan Islands


I've gotten excellent forecasts and route planning using Commander's Weather. And it's relatively cheap.

Stacey Dobson
Shaka, Blackwatch 26
Dana Point

Readers — For information's sake, the Ha-Ha uses Commander's Weather forecasts. We had one reader complain about a weather forecast from Commander's Weather when sailing to the Caribbean from the Northeast last fall. Everyone has to remember that weather forecasts are just that, not weather guarantees. The same thing happened when all the forecasters missed Tropical Storm Cyril that hit the boats in Tonga, something you can read about in this month's Changes.


He may not look very interested — actually, he's enthralled — but I'm sure that someday Gavin Morgan Talman, my grandson, will someday love Latitude as much as I do. And I'm sure that he will love sailing as well. After all, he is the great-great-great-grandson of Hugh Morgan Angelman. Gavin's already been lake sailing on our Capri, and seems to be a natural.

I wish Gavin could have had the opportunity to learn, as I did, from Hugh, who in addition to being my great-grandfather, was my mentor. The best times I can remember as a kid were sitting on his knee while sailing his Sea Rover — the second Sea Witch design he built — to Catalina every summer. Those were the days.

My wife Nicki and I did the '07 Ha-Ha as crew for David and Karie Albert aboard their Oceanside-based Catalina 42 Mk II Serenity, and it was such a great experience! We hope to do it again soon, maybe when we get our next 'big boat'. Meanwhile, I try to get my cruising fix every month from your great magazine.

Hugh Talman
Sweet 16, Capri 14
Grass Valley

Hugh — Younger readers may not know that Hugh Angelman, born in the Texas Plains in 1886, was a pioneering yachtsman on the West Coast. In addition to racing, Hugh was a relentless Southern California coastal cruiser, often with his wife Leslie, whom he married when she was just 15 years of age. Starting from nothing, Hugh and a partner created Wilmington Boat Works which, through many ups and downs, lasted for decades. Angelman's most famous design is the Sea Witch, a 35-ft gaff ketch.


I was amazed to see Nadejda, our new-to-us 65-ft Colin Archer sailboat, described in Latitude as part of a letter titled 'The Sound of Two Grown Men Giggling'. I've actually been trying to ferret out information to piece together Nadejda's history, but haven't found much. So reading a bit that I didn't know about was very exciting.

Last spring my husband and I sold our house in order to travel to Napa to buy Nadejda. We spent the summer sailing her north, and now live aboard with our children. We are working toward more of a cruising life away from the dock, but there are some systems that need attention and some repairs that need to be taken care of. It's a little tricky getting the work done while we live aboard.

But I would love to hear from any of Nadejda's previous owners and hear where she's been. They can email me at .

Molly Strait
Nadejda, Colin Archer 65
Pacific Northwest


I can't answer your question about the motoring range of an Olson 30 on a tank of gas, but I'm wondering if the full photo sequence of the Olson 30 Hoot's round-down is on a URL somewhere. My buddy Dave Carrel and I were on the boat — Speedy Gonazales or maybe it was still Bottom Line — right behind Hoot in that race. It must have been in '96 or '97. Anyway, I'm living and sailing in Singapore now, and recently told the story about that race and Hoot's round-down. I would love to have photographic evidence that I'm not telling a tale.

I keep up with the sailing scene via 'Lectronic, but it's making me somewhat homesick.

Paul McKeon

Paul — You can find the four-photo sequence shot by the late Donald Hilbun on the February 4, 2005 'Lectronic. That'll show 'em.


The Wanderer — possibly needing to motor La Gamelle some or all of the way through the lees of the tall islands of Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe on the way from Martinique to St. Barth — wondered how far a 5-hp Honda could drive an Olson 30 on a six-gallon tank of gas. I'd say he could get 15 miles to the gallon or a total of 90 miles. For more range, he could carry more fuel.

Fred H. Lowe
Too Much Fun, Endeavour 42
Kemah, TX


My guesstimate is .1 gallon/hour/horsepower while at speed, speed being 5 knots. Six gallons gets you 12 hours or 60 miles.

Bill Rathbun
Rhumbline, Islander 30 Mk II


A 5-hp outboard on an Olson 30 should burn .3 to .5 gallon of fuel per hour, depending on whether you run it full-throttle or at cruising speed. So a typical six-gallon tank should conservatively give you 12 hours of motoring. I don't know how fast an Olson 30 would motor, but probably six knots at full throttle. So that would be 72 miles at full throttle. If you throttle back to five knots, you can probably get 90 miles out of a tank. Naturally, these calculations go out the window if you have strong seas and headwinds, as I assume that you'd be sailing in those conditions.

If La Gamelle were my boat and I were making the trip, I’d find a second jerry jug for gas, as it would be cheap insurance.

Evan Gatehouse
Naval Architect, Riverside Marine
Newstead, Queensland, Australia

Evan — Thanks for the calculations. The easterly trades in the Lesser Antilles are so consistent — it's never calm here — that we're confident one tank of fuel will be more than enough to get us by the lees of the mountainous islands of Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe. Chances are more than 90% that it's going to be a close to a broad reach the entire way.


It's not an answer to your fuel question, but maybe motoring to the windward side of Martinique and riding the blow from Africa would be faster and save you some fuel.

Mike Moen
Blow'n Away, Sabre 402

Mike — That's an interesting idea, but La Gamelle hasn't been shaken down since her mast was restepped by strangers following her being trucked across the United States. We prefer to shake her down in the fluky lees of Martinique rather than on the reef-stewn and inhospitable windward coasts of Martinique and Dominica. Particularly since the Olson doesn't have a depthsounder other than a line tied to a winch handle.

UPDATE: Shortly before this issue went to press, we arrived in St. Barth having used less than two gallons. We'll have a complete report on the adventure — and that's just what it was — in the next issue.


Latitude asked for examples of readers' being surprised by their boats' showing up in photos taken by others, movies and the like. When I looked at Google Earth, I always wondered why I could never find Talion at her dock on the Columbia River in Northeast Portland. Then someone pointed out the attached photo of Talion anchored on the Willamette River in downtown Portland for the annual Blues Festival. You can see what a popular event it is.

Patsy Verhoeven
Talion, Gulfstar 50
La Paz, Mexico


In the '80s I co-owned the Folkboat US107 that appears in the foreground of the cover photo of the Marin phonebook. She was berthed at the San Francisco Marina at the time of the Loma Prieta quake.

P.S. Although I'm now landlocked in Michigan, I still enjoy 'Lectronic Latitude.

John Minnich
Mason, MI


A picture of my old Cabo Rico 38 Sanderling at Hart's Cut in Trinidad can be seen on Google Earth. I was told about it by fellow cruisers in South Africa.

John Anderton
ex-Sanderling, Cabo Rico 38
Vancouver, WA


Our Hazardous Waste, complete with pink spinnaker, can be seen in the movie Heartbreak Kid, starring Ben Stiller. We heard about the shot from one of our kids who, ironically, saw it in Japan. My two partners and I bought copies of an otherwise so-so movie.

Chuck Cihak
Hazardous Waste, J/105
St. Francis YC


I haven't found any satellite images of my Laser so far, but in October of '09 I took the attached photo of my wife resting on her kayak on the Russian River. I was sitting on my yellow Laird Hamilton SUP board at the time. I later came across a Google Earth image of us taken from who knows how far up in the air.

Dennis Olson
Santa Rosa


After an eight-year, 31,000-mile trip, I sold my Vagabond 47 Windsong in Spain in '05. When I recently looked at the Google Earth photos of Port Vall in Barcelona, Spain, there she was! You can still see 'Windsong, San Francisco' on the boom.

John O'Connor
Sonrisa, Cabo Rico 38

Readers — We had many other readers who wrote in to report that their boats had been the subject of 'candid cameras', but we didn't have room to publish them all.


The first article that comes to mind from the first 34 years of Latitude is the one called '50 Ways to Screw the Chute'. Perhaps because we've done all 50, plus a few twice, just to make sure we did it wrong the first time.

I also think you guys did a reprint of the great Gary Mull article from Bay & Delta Yachtsman titled 'Return to Alcatraz'. That was such a perfect spoof, but in our racing days we could almost swear that Alcatraz moved to block us no matter what direction we were trying to go. That would surely be worth running again.

Candy Morganson
Infidel, Swan 44

Readers — For those who took up sailing in recent years, Gary Mull was an Alameda-, and then Oakland-based naval architect who designed a number of the best production boats that were built in Southern California, including the venerable Santana 22. His biggest design was the late Jake Wood's 82-ft Sorcery which, during the Clipper Cup Series of the mid-80s, could lay claim to being among the fastest maxis in the world. Mull died way too young.


In the March Cruise Notes, Jim Green of Martha's Vineyard complained that a 68-year-old sailor such as himself couldn't get a "little extra" in Social Security checks for having a two-year-old daughter. Please tell the guy who has done three circumnavigations with the "submarine-like" 47-ft 10-Meter Tango II that he can get a little extra. All he has to do is sign his daughter up. The custodial parent will receive an amount that is half of what he gets, and this goes on until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school.

Ivan Lund
Bella, 2655 Bayliner
Jacksonville, OR

Ivan — If you're right about this — we're not familiar with Social Security benefits — who knows, Jim might go around a fourth time. 


I'm a huge fan of Latitude 38. I've worked at a few magazines, and have a lot of respect for what you pull off every month, especially in this craptastic economy. I read it cover to cover every month, even though the last time I was on a boat was six years ago.

As a reader now for three years, I've noticed a few trends in Letters. I think that the way you answer the same question for the umpteenth time is very gracious. You're way nicer about it than I could stand to be. So I thought you might enjoy this 'Letter to the Editor' template:

Dear Editor of Latitude 38,

I (choose one)
__just got back from singlehanding around the globe, beam seas the whole way.
__am a longtime reader, and this is my first letter.
__do not approve of your shenanigans.

I'm writing because I (choose one)
__want to know what in God's name you could possibly think is so terrific about child prostitution!
__think you're being far too hard on poor, hapless Abby Sunderland.
__think you're not being hard enough on that moron Abby Sunderland or her child-abusing parents.
__would like to triumphantly point out that on page 37, you refer to what is clearly a square-rigged ketch as a "kick-ass pork tamale feast at this year's Ha-Ha."
__want to kick your ass for saying people should take responsibility for themselves and get some experience before endangering themselves and others.
__think you're being far too hard on poor, hapless Norm Goldie.

Signed, Name Withheld By Request

Name Withheld By Request


Regarding your memoir-in-progress, as mentioned in a response to a letter last month, please, please, please do not title it with a date of either 3-4-12 or 4-3-12 as you are apparently planning.

Life is a torrent of information wherein modern readers need all the help they can get to cut through the clutter. I'm reminded of a favorite submarine movie, K19: The Widowmaker, whose producer lamented his poor choice of title, which he blamed in part for the movie's poor reception. I'm also reminded of Latin American cities whose principal streets are assigned important historical dates.

Numbers aren't good book or movie titles. Sure, George Orwell's 1984 was a hit, but I bet sales fell starting in '85. Take the movie Das Boot. Everybody knows that Germans are bad-ass war mongers. In the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, police doubt fire was caused by an arsonist. Vladimir Nabakov's book Lolita, which was all about teen shenanigans, is regarded by many as the best overall novel of modern times. Darkness at Noon is the totalitarian reply to 'let there be light'. 3:10 to Yuma — there's nothing like bus and train schedules for movie titles. Ulysses is historical and obtuse, so attempt it at your peril. Latitude 38? Ten symbols could not say more.

So you've set a date of either 3-4-12 or 4-3-12. We were wondering when.

Sam Burns
Southernaire, Catalina 309

Sam — We're not quite sure what to make of your letter, but note there are no numbers in Das Boot, Mrs. Doubtfire, Lolita, Darkness at Noon or Ulysses.

For the record, we don't intend to make a documentary or book titled 3-4-12 or 4-3-12, nor release anything on those dates. Those numbers merely refer to the fact that there are four three-month periods in a 12-month year. Our working concept is as obtuse as Ulysses, and that's the way we like it, because we haven't started it yet and have no idea when we'll get the time.

You think Lolita is about "teen shenanigans"? It's actually about a middle-aged professor who becomes so obsessed with a 12-year-old girl that he gets sexually involved with her after she becomes his step-daughter.


Latitude is right; the new Italian taxes on all boats in Italy will chase some boats away.

But consider this: If you buy a high-quality 40-ft sailboat in California for $400k, the county where the boat resides will collect something like 1% of the boat's value in local taxes. That works out to around $333 per month — or just about what the Italians are proposing to charge.

Ron Sherwin
Panache, Tartan 4100

Ron — We hadn't thought of that. Do you think it has any bearing on the fact that hundreds upon hundreds of mid-sized boats from California are kept in Mexico, both in the water and on the hard?

By the way, Italian legislators must have gotten a high school lesson in economics, because they have done an about-face, so there will not be any taxes on foreign-based yachts.


I tied up at a slip at Cruiseport Marina in Ensenada at 8 a.m., and 2.5 hours later I had cleared into Mexico. This year I only needed to get a tourist card and fishing license. Two things to note:

1) Jonathan at the Cruiseport Marina office told me there had been some changes at the CIS office, and that things should go more smoothly for mariners wanting to check in to or clear out of Mexico. I told him I'd read in Latitude about an old guy at the Immigration window who seemed to find some sort of problem with everyone's paperwork, problems that would immediately disappear when some pesos were forked over. All Jonathan would say is that there is a new officer at the Immigration window.

2) As I approached the Aduana window, Jonathan said it wasn't necessary because I'd gotten a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) during a previous trip. I countered that a TIP would be required at an airport to fill out the little card stating I didn't have any bones or ag products. Jonathan said that might be the case in some places in Mexico, but not in Ensenada, at least not at that time. "I should have brought more stuff!" I said. But he wasn't amused with that comment. He also refused to accept a tip, and I tried to give it to him at a time and place when nobody would see. So reform continues in Mexico, and one hopes that in another generation the corrupt habits of the past will be history.

By the way, there is a new API boss in La Paz, and the 11 pesos/day fee for anchoring out is actually being enforced. There was also mention of an 80-peso fee to use the channel into La Paz, but I haven't heard of anyone paying it. As is the norm, all this is in flux. But courtesy of the federal government, API has a nice center-console boat, and they are making the rounds in the anchorage to hand out fliers listing prices. The staff are always polite, patient and muy propio.

Edward Skeels
Dos Gatos, O'Day 25

Readers — When cruising in Mexico, our advice is to be flexible and go with the flow. But it's nice to see that, when complaints are made about an apparently corrupt Immigration officer, something is done about it.


Here's our take on those "pinot pooping flies" at the Napa Valley Marina Boatyard.
This pair of lucky Canucks had the very fortunate accident of finding the Napa Valley Marina — complete with 'Pinot (aka grass) flies'. Personally we feel the flies were a small price to pay for:

1) An amazing setting, with rolling vineyard-covered hills as far as the eye could see, and rich and varied bird life from the recovered estuary surrounding the marina. 

2) A boatyard that managed to make being hauled out enjoyable! They have an  incredible team of people, very reasonable prices and great service, and they gave us confidence that our baby was in very capable hands.

'One of California's best kept secrets' is our view of the Napa Valley Marina. We plan to spread the word to every southbound cruising group we know in Canada. It's definitely worth the trip up the Napa River, which is an experience in itself. We do, however, have a warning for our fellow Canadians: Make sure you leave the Napa Valley Marina before you become too soft, because it's just so darn nice here!

As for the itty bitty flies, they sure weren't very feisty, perhaps because they were drunk from the fumes of the grapes fermenting in the nearby vineyards. Besides, we felt they washed down easily, even with a few splashes of plonk. Even Two Buck Chuck would probably suffice. Or if you're like us, you could just spray them with water while sipping a nice, chilled local chardonnay, then watch them float away while pondering just how darn lucky you are. Eh?

Lee-Ann & Henry McKintuck 
Caffeine, Beneteau First 42
En route south
Victoria, Canada


I want to thank Simon Winer of the Express 27 Gruntled for his feedback, via his letter in last month's Latitude, on the Three Bridge Fiasco awards meeting. I was offered the opportunity to respond in the same issue, but I was on vacation and missed the publication deadline.

Simon is probably right; the scolding over violations of restricted areas went on too long. I've heard that from others, too. I'll try to rein in that sort of thing. All I can say in our defense is that we — the race committee and past officers — have been getting really frustrated with the continued flagrant and widespread flouting of our carefully-written race rules. By the way, have you ever studied Corinthian pottery? Beautiful stuff.

Yes, it would be a good idea to call the crew's name as well as the skipper's at the awards. We will try to do that in the future. The skipper always could have dragged his crew up to the stage with him to get his award. I've done it myself.

Doubling up on trophies isn't going to happen any time soon, unless Simon or someone else can help me locate a cheaper source of trophies. That "$5 trophy" that you and Bart sawed in half cost us nearly $40, and that was after shopping around and getting a quantity discount for buying 63 of them. I would have liked to go bigger for our first-place trophies, but obviously that would have bumped our cost up even higher. Seriously, if you know of any cheap trophy shops, I'd love to get their names.

I'm sorry if Simon found our entry fee to be "freeeeeaaaaking" high. Two or three years ago it was $15 higher, which I think was out of line. Anyway, our fee structure is designed to encourage membership. For another $70 over what you paid for the Three Bridge, you can race the rest of our races this year — except the Singlehanded TransPac — for free. How about it?

Max Crittenden
Commodore, Singlehanded Sailing Society



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