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October 2013

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On our way from San Diego to British Columbia in 2010, we sailed into San Francisco Bay and anchored at Aquatic Park. After anchoring, I scanned the beach with binoculars looking for a place to land our dinghy. I noticed an old dory on the beach next to the pier, so I thought, "Hmmmmmm, looks like a good spot." So after rowing in, that's where we left our dinghy. We then hopped onto the pier and noticed all of these beautiful classic wooden vessels.

After spending about two hours casually strolling up and down the pier admiring all the ships, we decided to return to our boat. But when we jumped back down to the beach, we were stopped by two security guards who asked us what we were doing. We explained that we were anchored out in Aquatic Park and had left our dinghy there on the beach. Only then did we learn that we'd been inside the San Francisco Maritime Museum, which is meant to be entered from the street via the front gate after you pay an entry fee. After explaining that our boat, a replica of Joshua Slocum's famous Spray, has a somewhat historical link, the guards agreed with a laugh to allow us to keep our dinghy there for the next two days.

For whatever it's worth, we had a fun and pleasant experience in Aquatic Park, with our dinghy being properly watched over by security guards.

Julius & Suzie Hanak
Emerald Steel, Spray replica
San Diego


At 12:30 p.m. on August 29, we were motorsailing WSW on San Francisco Bay aboard Salcera on starboard tack at 5.5 knots. Oracle Team USA's catamaran had been heading NNW, and then tacked downwind, heading east. They came at us at about 35 knots, and their chase boat was not on station.

Salcera held her course, and within seconds Oracle, also on starboard, was upon us. We watched in silence as she took our stern by just three feet! Such a small distance at such high speed was not corinthian seamanship. Ten feet would have been acceptable, but three feet was negligent. Had either vessel changed course even slightly, Salcera would have been destroyed and crew on both boats would have been killed.

There had been no radio alerts that boats were to clear the area, as there were for the next day. We are excited that the America's Cup came to San Francisco Bay, but we think the Oracle sailors need to be more respectful of others.

Marla Forrest
Salcera, Catalina 34
San Francisco Bay

Marla — If your boat was missed by only three feet, we'd agree that it was too close for safety. On the other hand, we personally would have been thrilled to be on a boat that an AC72 skirted at such a short distance at such a high speed. It's unlikely we'll see the likes of those monsters again anytime soon.


I've learned a lot of things about sailing from reading Latitude 38 and 'Lectronic Latitude. The July 22 'Lectronic article titled What a Great TransPac! not only mentioned a little of overall winner Dorade's colorful history, but also educated me as to the correct pronunciation of her name. I'd always heard people pronounce it as 'Dor-aid', not 'Dor-odd'.

That got me searching the internet for a little history of dorade vents. Lo and behold, this is what Wikipedia had to say about them: "The first appearance of dorade boxes was on the Olin Stephens-designed Dorade, a yacht built in 1929 for ocean racing. As originally built, Dorade's vents led directly below, but this was found to allow water below, and the vents were modified in the early 1930s." How interesting. Now if you can just get people to follow Sterling Hayden's admonishment that a boat's main living ­— and, of course, drinking ­— area, usually found between the port and starboard settees, is a 'saloon' and not a 'salon', which is where one would have one's hair done.

Jon Hafstrom
Sea Horse, Island Packet 35
San Francisco

Jon — We'd always thought it was 'Dor-aid', too, but when we met Fremont owner Matt Brooks at the Voiles de St. Barth in the islands two years ago, he kept referring to her as 'Dor-odd'. He pays the bills and wins the races, so we're pronouncing it the way he does. Of course, if you went to a chandlery and asked for a 'Dor-odd' vent, you'd probably get an odd look.

Just before going to press, we bumped into Matt while watching the America's Cup races. "You can call her 'Dor-odd' as I do, or you can call her' 'Dor-aid', just call me for lunch," he said.

As for saloons and salons, pronunciations and spelling change with time. Most sailors in the United States who use 'saloon' predate the Boomer generation.


I saw the 'Lectronic article about the epic battle between the Tosser — the Wanderer — and the Hoarder — Doña de Mallorca — aboard Profligate. Did you know that in the United Kingdom, 'tosser' more or less means the same thing as 'wanker'.

Nick Burke
Secretary, Laser District 24

Nick — The Wanderette, our second wife, was a bird from London, so we knew that. We deliberately used the term Tosser for the sake of a self-deprecating double entendre we hoped might win a chuckle or two.


We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening on our Catalina 42 last year with the Tosser and the Hoarder after the Tosser gave his presentation at the California YC. Having the two of you aboard was one of our boating highlights. As we mentioned that night, we would soon put our beloved sailboat Breez'n, which we had owned for 18 years, up for sale. She sold in two weeks to a lovely couple from the Richmond YC, where she lives today.

When we'd last hauled her for a bottom job in January of 2012, the lift operator told me Breez'n weighed 29,000 lbs — about 9,000 lbs, or one-third, more than her designed displacement. I nearly fainted. After recovering, I proclaimed that Breez'n was going on a diet. Marci, being a hoarder, had other ideas.

But with the sale of our boat, we had to remove all our gear and stores before the new owners could take over. When Breez'n was hauled for the survey, the operator told me she was down to 24,000 lbs. We'd removed nearly 2½ tons from our boat! I couldn't believe it.

We've since bought a lot up in Poulsbo, which is across Puget Sound from Seattle, where we're building a home. Because the wind is so light and fluky up here, and the currents so strong, we're going to buy — gasp! — a powerboat. Both of us have lived up here before, so we have a idea of what we will be going through during the winter months, but we still intend to go boating year 'round. In fact, I'll be buying a Harbor 20 sailboat by Schock to sail out of Port Madison. She'll be perfect for sailing on the long and pleasant summer evenings.

P.S. We had a wonderful time in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, last November. Doña de Mallorca will like the fact that she's still remembered there after all these years.

Garry & Marci Willis
ex-Breez'n, Catalina 42
Poulsbo, Washington


Tossing versus hoarding is a common battle between the sexes! I identify myself as a Gatherer as opposed to a Hoarder.

Christine Hagen
Avventura, KP-44


Hoarding is the only reason that I would want to get a bigger boat. I'm enrolled in Hoarders Anonymous, but have yet to graduate.

Katie Prather
Miss Teak, Morgan 45
Dana Point


Marina and I go through the same Tosser versus Hoarder battles on our Swan 44 Mykonos. Women must be hoarders because I like to toss.

Myron Eisenzimmer
Mykonos, Swan 44
San Anselmo

Readers — Myron and Marina will be doing their fifth Ha-Ha this month.


In June of 2004, my wife Jennifer and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary by sailing out the Gate for Hawaii — and right into the teeth of a gale. Our boat was a beautiful but slow Vagabond 47 ketch. I've done two Ha-Ha's on trimarans, and will be doing this fall's on our new trimaran, so Latitude probably thought I only dabbled in fast boats.

After Jennifer flew home from Hawaii, four friends and my dad crewed on the trip home. A week from San Francisco, we ran out of water. Part of the reason was that my dad had apparently been taking baths. Yeah, the Vagabond had a tub.

We sailed another week without water and low on rations before we got back to the Bay. A year later I sold the Vagabond to buy a couple of rockets: a Moore 24 and a Corsair 31 trimaran. While taking all our stuff off the Vagabond, I opened a seldom used locker in the cavernous main salon — to find it absolutely packed with bottles of Hawaiian Springs water!

Paul Martson
Orange, Contour 34 trimaran
Pierpont Performance Sailing


My biggest fear during our South Pacific cruise was that we'd run out of toilet paper, which would have been gross. My husband Mike moaned every time I came home from the store with another case of toilet paper. I justified it by explaining how handy it would be when something was rattling in the middle of the night — just stuff a roll of toilet paper in the rattle area.

When we finally got back to Redondo from Hawaii, Mike removed all the rolls of TP that were still on the boat. It was then that we learned we'd crossed the Pacific and back with 88 rolls of unused toilet paper.

Robin Stout
Mermaid, Aleutian 51
Redondo Beach / La Cruz, Mexico


My father purchased an Alberg 35 sloop new in 1965, and I have been in charge of her since 1996. When I took over, I figured that I would need whatever Dad had needed on the boat. But over the years I have learned differently, as I have removed 40-lb anchors, gallons and gallons of booze — in the 1960s nobody wanted to be caught short of booze — 60 lbs of stainless bolts and nuts, and the oddest of all, six rusty and swollen half-gallon cans of Campbell's soup. Bless those folks at Campbell's for using such good cans, as half gallons of clam chowder all over the inside of a lazarette would have been awful.

When I asked my father why he'd put all the soup on the boat, he replied, "Just in case we have to abandon the homeland." Go figure. These days it's a couple of MREs for emergency food. Old habits die hard, especially these days.

Molly Pruyn
Alberg 35
Richmond YC


It's been a few years since our family stopped in Malaysia during our circumnavigation, but digging around in our boat recently, I found several tins of curried tuna and tinned ham that we'd bought there. But the Tosser on Profligate may want to keep two of the five dinghy anchors he discovered, as a dinghy anchor was the only thing we had stolen during our circumnavigation.

Emma Mather
Blue Sky, DownEast 45
Redondo Beach


Some women, for example me, are Tossers, while some men, including my partner Craig Shaw, are Hoarders. Go Tossers, go! But just remember to hide the garbage, because the Hoarders always check.

Jane Roy
Adios, Columbia 43
Portland, Oregon


I'm with Doña the Hoarder. I say it's better to have something and not need it than to not have something you need. How are you going to fix things without spare parts?

Craig Shaw
Adios, Columbia 43
Portland, Oregon

Craig — Carrying critical spare parts that can't easily be obtained while cruising is one thing, de Mallorca's hiding 75 lbs of pasta aboard Profligate is another.


I always knew there was a reason that my husband Rob and Doña de Mallorca got along so well. I had to toss about 50 lbs of moldy rice and beans when I moved aboard! And you should see how many broken screwdrivers he has tucked away — "Just in case." We needed a bigger boat just to store all the crap we'll never use.

LaDonna Bubak
Gazelle, Wauquiez Centurion 47
San Rafael


As I recall, my 'Mango Man' Wayne and I helped impose a similar diet on Profligate years ago. We're now doing the same on our Hughes 45 cat Capricorn Cat. If we don't use something in three months, it goes on the dock for someone else.

Mango Man is the Hoarder, I am the Tosser. But only yesterday Jim Milski, who just circumnavigated with his Schionning 49 cat Sea Level, found a muffler and some dinghy wheels in the dumpster at our Sierra Point Marina in Brisbane. "You gotta have these," Jim said to the Mango Man. And the Mango Man put them on our boat. It's an ongoing battle for me.

Carol Baggerly
Capricorn Cat, Hughes 45


I could not agree more with Latitude's response to the letter by Hayden Brown, whose 70-ft schooner Aldebaran sank, with many people aboard, after hitting the Richmond Breakwater. Brown subsequently pleaded for succor.

After one of last year's AC World Series races, Brown and Aldebaran nearly ran me down on my 30-ft sloop Adagio. I had been proceeding under sail on starboard toward the Cityfront when Aldebaran approached under power off my port bow. Yet Brown refused to yield, as was required of him by the Rules of the Road.

I think that the view George Hale expressed in his August letter, that Brown coming a cropper was karma, is correct. That, plus the fact Brown took so many people sailing while not having insurance, speaks volumes.

Jon Price
Tiburon YC

Readers — We received several angry phone calls from a woman who accused us of "hitting a man in his 70s when he's down." We understand her point of view. We also sympathize with Brown, whose boat sank as a result of her being driven onto the jetty, probably ending his sailing days. And we sympathize with Brown's wife, who subsequently suffered an injury that required her to be hospitalized. However, we think these possible considerations are negated by the evidence that Brown's angry encounter with George Hale was not an isolated incident.

In addition to the letter from Jon Price above, another Latitude reader wrote us about a similar incident with Brown and Aldebaran last October. The man and two friends were sailing his small sailboat near the Richmond Jetty, when they say Aldebaran, under power and with many people aboard, approached. Despite being required to yield, Brown and Aldebaran reportedly missed hitting the small sailboat by what the skipper on another boat nearby estimated to be about one foot.

We're told that Brown had been driving Aldebaran, and after the near miss he screamed at the people on the other boat. He then left the schooner's helm to sit down on the boat's stern, arms defiantly folded over his chest. According to the owner, it was about 10 seconds before anyone took the helm of the schooner.

One of those on the small boat was a retired harbormaster, who advised the owner to report the incident to the local harbormaster. The owner didn't, but says he now regrets it.

About a week later, the owner says he was driving to Brickyard Cove with another friend, when he saw Brown working on Aldebaran at a private dock. The owner went to talk to Brown, and explained that he'd been on the boat Aldebaran almost ran down. Brown is said to have demanded to know if the man had come to fight or come to sue. When Brown saw that he had a friend with him, he asked if he'd been brought along to beat up Brown. The friend was 70 years old.

There is a place for sympathy, but when we receive a minimum of three reports in a year of someone with a much larger boat apparently endangering much smaller boats in separate incidents, while almost proudly admitting to having no insurance, we don't believe we can ignore it.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt in any of the incidents. We wish Brown good luck in trying to sell his salvaged boat and moving to Florida, and we hope his wife recovers quickly.


I brought the current Latitude 38 to our good mate Bob Mackie when we visited him and Annie Brennan aboard their canal yacht Nellie, which is moored in Paris. As always, he was enjoying it thoroughly — until he read Jim and Kent Milski's disparaging comments about the food in Australia. Given that the food on Nellie was as good as, if not better than, everything we ate while in Paris, I have to sympathize. Not only are Aussies Bob and Annie some of the best cooks ever — which is one of the reasons we are thrilled that they are going to do the Baja Ha-Ha with us aboard our sailboat Compañera this fall! — but with my six-plus months of traveling in Australia, I have to agree with Bob that the comment was pure rubbish!

P.S. Love your magazine!

Susan Flieder
San Diego


I have just read the interview with Jim and Kent Milski with interest. One point he made put a little stone in my deck shoe, and prompts my reply. His vast and sweeping statement "Of course even the best Aussie food isn't very good" took my breath away. In my experience, even the worst Aussie food is better than the unhealthy, fat-laden food in the United States.

Another small point. Yes, the Aussie dollar is high now, but when I did a circumnavigation in 2001, the Aussie dollar bought 52 cents U.S. So Jim and Kent, your timing, as well as your taste buds, have been a little off.

Robert Mackie
Nellie Dick, Dutch Barge
Paris, France


I would like to have written more often in the past because I've been cruising for 25 years, but I didn't pay attention in school. This letter is so long that I guess it could qualify as a rant, but I want everyone to 'be real' about what it costs to own a boat and go cruising. I've read reports in Latitude about how inexpensive it can be to cruise, and how little this guy or that couple spent per month. But what people include or don't include as part of the 'cost of cruising' is so subjective that it's not really the true cost. I don't think this helps cruisers who are just starting out.

I'm a 50-year-old who is cruising my third boat, a 1977 Tayana 37. I left Fiji in 2006, and have been surfing in Indonesia as much as I can handle for part of each year. I spend the rest of the year in Thailand and Malaysia. My boat is pretty close to the bottom of the scale when it comes to boats that I see cruising the oceans, but let me run down my expenses to show everybody what it has cost me.

I paid $53,000 for my Tayana when I bought her in Fiji in 2005. My first refit in Fiji cost a little less than $35,000. The chainplates were $1,000; rigging $5,000; sails $6,000; SSB $2,000; new thru hulls $1,000; a small autopilot $1,000; refrigeration $2,000; toilet $500; dinghy $2,500; two outboards $3,500; anchor windlass and chain $2,500; EPIRB $1,000; two-month haulout $1,500; paint job $2,000.

I later sailed to Australia, where I spent $30,000 on an additional refit. Twenty-five thousand of it was for a new diesel, prop and shaft, as the originals were 33 years old and had died before Darwin. A big autopilot and radar were another $5,000.

I then reached Thailand, where I spent nearly $50,000 on my third refit. It was $4,000 for self-tailing winches; $2,500 for roller furling, jib cars and track; $1,000 for new stainless; $7,000 for all new exterior teak; $5,000 for refrigeration; $2,500 for a stove with oven; $1,500 for an alternator and regulator; $500 for an electrical panel; $1,000 for solar panels; $1,000 for batteries; $1,000 for an inverter; $3,000 for 10 coats of varnish for the entire inside and outside of the boat; $1,000 for painting the deck; $3,000 for Treadmaster for the deck; $1,000 for a television, DVD and stereo; $500 for a chartplotter; $5,000 for another cheap paint job; $5,000 for various things such as epoxy, bottom paints, thinners and stuff; $3,000 for a five-month haulout, and $2,000 for an apartment for five months.

I did all my own work except for the engine installation and stainless. I did a lot of wood repairs inside, such as five new bulkheads and some cosmetic stuff. Now my boat looks good and is in good working order. She is not a show boat, but she's my pride, and I like to be ready to sail anywhere at any time.

So my budget for the boat, refits and cruising for the last eight years has come to a total of $330,000. Broken down, that's $175,000 for the boat and refits, $90,000 in maintenance, gear replacements and haulouts, and $65,000 in food and diesel. It does not include medical costs and that of plane tickets home to visit family. So my eight-year cruise has cost over $41,000 a year. I expect that my boat is currently worth $100,000 if I wanted to sell her. So if I sold my boat today, my cost would have been just under $29,000 a year. I would be surprised if you can poke a stick in my figures, because as I said, I'm a budget cruiser all the way.

Since my last refit in 2007, I have spent average $15,000 a year replacing gear failures. I'm now on my second refrigerator, second windlass, and third autopilot. In addition, I spend about $6,000 a year for food and $2,000 a year for diesel.

That said, I'm not complaining, and I'm happy with my life. Depending on how you want to calculate it, I spend either $29,000 or $41,000 a year to surf waves that others pay $6,000 to surf for just 10 days. I've been getting to surf epic waves most of the year, and haven't worked a job in over five years. The latter is not by total choice on my part, as there have been legal and logistical issues. So while I'm not complaining, I think it's important that people know what it really costs to go cruising.

I understand that it's possible to cruise in parts of Mexico — and other places — for much less. I cruised Mexico for three years on a $10,000 boat and spent another $10,000 while I was there. But that was with a very basic boat that had 30-year-old sails, no windlass, no sounder, and just a handheld GPS, rowing dinghy and liferaft. But when you cross an ocean, you're in a different environment.

With regard to the guy who said he cruised the Med for $700 a month, I would not want to be in a blow on his boat after five years of cruising, that's for sure. I bet the boat smells too. In fact, he might just be the guy anchored way away from the rest of us here in Phuket right now.

I love Latitude, that it's online, that you know your stuff, and that it's staffed by surfers.

Kevin Whitegon
Helena, Tayana 37
Phuket, Thailand

Kevin — Thanks for the kind words, although we have to admit that we're more SUP-ers these days than we are surfers. But we've still got the stoke — at least in 80-degree water.

You couldn't be more correct than when you say the cost of cruising is hard to pin down because of the variables. The main variables are usually the cost and condition of one's boat going in, how extensively the boat is equipped and the condition of the existing gear, how good a person is at maintaining and repairing stuff, and what part of the world one is cruising in and at what speed.

While it's vague concept, when most people talk about the 'cost of cruising', we think they are referring to the average monthly expenses after they have the boat and have equipped her to take off. Calculated that way, your cost of cruising would be about $24,000 a year, $15,000 of it being for gear and maintenance. That strikes us as reasonable amount for a singlehander, but certainly not low-budget.

The thing that strikes us about your expenditures is that you seem to have paid a lot of money for a boat that you seemingly needed to rebuild immediately from not much more than a hull and mast. The engine was ancient, five bulkheads needed to be replaced, the chainplates were bad, she didn't have a dinghy or outboard, and she didn't have a windlass, SSB, refrigeration, roller furling, or self-tailing winches. With all due respect, it seems as though you paid $55,000 for a monumental fixer-upper.

Had you had the $175,000 you've ultimately spent on your boat, you could have bought the best Tayana 37 in the world, wouldn't have had to do any work on her, and would have had $50,000 to $75,000 left over. Few sailors appreciate the amount of time and money it takes to restore a fixer-upper. We suggest making one's very best estimate, then multiplying the time and money by four. Seriously. While it costs more money upfront, in the long run it's almost always less expensive to buy a boat that is already well equipped with relatively modern equipment.

The one thing almost all cruisers tell us is that they spend what they have. For example, Ben Doolittle of Sacramento just completed a two-year cruise from the Ha-Ha to Annapolis with his wife Molly and sons Mickey and RJ aboard the Catalina 38 Knee Deep. "While we probably spent an average of $3,750 a month," Ben says, "there were months when we only had $2,000 come in, and we lived on that. On months when we had $6,000 come in, we somehow managed to spend all that, too. You spend what you have."

Well, not everybody does. Take Jake van Ommen of the Gig Harbor-based Nadja 29 Fleetwood. When he left Santa Barbara for Thailand in early 2006, he had $200 to his name and the promise of $1,700 a month from Social Security — nothing else. He's since cruised more than 40,000 miles to more than 40 countries. And while we're not sure if he's still doing it, for the first three or four years he, having once gone bankrupt, religiously put $1,000 of the monthly $1,700 in the bank each month. Somehow he was able to live on a total of $700 a month, and he didn't feel deprived at all. By the way, he recently left Holland for Colombia, where he'll begin exploring South America.

The guy who spent $700 a month while cruising in the Med a few years back was Mike Harker of the Manhattan Beach-based Hunter 466 Wanderlust. Mike was a quiet and meticulous guy who kept his boat clean as a whistle and all her systems in perfect running order. He'd just taken delivery of Wanderlust when he singlehanded her across to the Med. Although Mike owned a triplex on the water in Manhattan Beach, he was thrifty by nature. For example, he ate lots of Costco canned chicken because he wanted to, not because it was all that he could afford. He rarely stayed in marinas, and his only dining extravagance ashore was a cup of coffee each morning when he'd people-watch and do his socializing. Mike later took delivery of the new Hunter 49 Wanderer III, and singlehanded her around the world in 11 months.

While we think most cruising couples spend between $25,000 and $50,000 a year, there are certainly those who spend way over $100,000 a year because they can, and those who spend under $10,000 a year because that's all they have. Our friend Jim Green of Martha's Vineyard took off from Panama on the start of his third circumnavigation aboard his 10 Meter Tango II with $150. "Don't worry," he told his new girlfriend, "we'll find a wreck or something and make a little money." And they did.

In a July 2011 Sightings piece, Cindy Holmes and Faith Tamerin of the Berkeley-based Vanguard 32 Carmen Miranda stated, "The only way for women with no real money to see all the things they want to see in the world is by cruising boat. Two women can cruise the world on $500 to $600 a month." Mind you, they spent the last nine years of their circumnavigation in the Med, going up the canals of Europe — a berth in Paris was $25/night — and over to Ipswich, England, where they used the boat as a very cheap hotel and restaurant for two years.


The publisher of Latitude asked us if we'd be willing to share what it's been costing us to cruise for the last 14 years. It seems to vary depending on the amount of money available to us. But the average for the last five years has been about $1,500 per month. That's allowed both of us to fly home once a year to visit family and do basic maintenance on our Baba 40. In the five years prior to that, we got by on $800 per month, which included basic maintenance, but only allowed one of us to fly home each year. We do have some investments that allow us to dump an additional $5,000 into the boat every five years for new sails and rigging, as we need to keep Sailors' Run in top shape.

We're enjoying the America's Cup racing on the Bay, but can't wait for the start of what will be our third Ha-Ha.

Jeff & Debbie Hartjoy
Sailors' Run, Baba 40
Longbranch, WA

Readers — Just so nobody is mistaken, the Hartjoys don't just sit in an uninhabited anchorage in the Sea of Cortez and call it cruising. After doing their first Ha-Ha in 1999, they spent seven years sailing to and around the South Pacific. After doing their second Ha-Ha in 2006, they sailed down the west coast of South America, after which Jeff singlehanded around Cape Horn. Since then they've sailed up to the Caribbean, back to the Pacific, and up to California. These folks are so full of life, we can't wait to see them in San Diego at the start of this year's Ha-Ha.

It's people such as Jeff and Debbie — and there are many more — who are proof positive that it's possible to cruise very actively on a modest budget. We'll remind everyone that $1,500 a month, which is $18,000 a year, isn't much more than $15,500, which is considered to be the poverty level for two in the 48 contiguous states. In Alaska, it's $19,380, or more than what the Hartjoys spend to cruise.


I recently read the following blog at

"California trying to fleece former property taxpayers. We'd sold the house and cars, and left nothing in California but a post office box. When we left our slip in San Pedro, we made sure the harbormaster signed us out as having departed. Despite all this, we still got a personal property tax bill for our boat from Los Angeles County.

"When we called up the Assessor's Office to tell them that we were not in California at any time during 2013, they insisted that we show proof of continuous slip occupancy in Mexico. Say what?! When we pointed out that we spent many days out at sea and many days out at anchor, they couldn't grasp the concept, and still insisted that we had to show receipts. Then they insisted that the Coast Guard records showed us still being in Los Angeles because our boat's hailing port is Los Angeles. Somehow the onus is on us to show proof that we were not in California rather than them showing that we were.

"Yes, you could say that we are livid. We assume they will try the same stunt next year. I used to feel good about our paying taxes, but now I wish we'd tried to shirk them as we're assumed to be doing anyway. Idiots!"

A friend of mine wrote the blog, not I. But as I will be leaving Los Angeles myself to go cruising in a couple of years, I want to know what I can do to prevent being caught in the same situation. What can a sailor do to ensure that the county is legally obligated to release a boat from their tax rolls? Is this a common problem for California boats going abroad?

I can't help but wonder if somebody in the County Assessor's Office is making things up. Are there other counties in the state that require a boater to provide proof of continual slip occupation in Mexico to release the boat from the county tax rolls?

Mike Crews
Valinor, Ericson 32-300
San Pedro

Mike — Assessors in the various counties of California interpret the personal property tax laws differently. Some counties don't require any proof that you've left the county with your boat, while others demand to see extensive proof. We don't have statistics to back it up, but our understanding is that Los Angeles County is one of the most demanding and least understanding counties.

There are two solutions. The first is to contact your County Assessor and ask what the county's policy is. The downside of this is that such policies are subject to change when counties need money badly — which is, more and more, all the time. A permanent solution, one favored by many cruisers, is to sever all ties with the county and the state of California by taking up residence, so to speak, via a mail forwarding service in a more tax-friendly and understanding state.

One such service popular with cruisers, full-time RV travelers, merchant seamen, traveling nurses and such is St. Brendan's Isle Mail Forwarding in Green Cove Springs, Florida. As the company website states, "For many of our more than 4,000 clients, Florida is an ideal state to establish residency and register vehicles. Florida has no state income tax, and tag registration is very economical. As part of our mail forwarding services, we can provide the necessary forms and instructions for these important administrative matters. In addition, we can provide assistance with these other administrative matters such as Florida voter registration, Florida driver's license, renewal of Coast Guard vessel documentation and more."

Once you dump your California post office box and can demonstrate to your former county and the state that you're registered to vote in another state, have a drivers license in another state, and get all your credit card and other bills in another state, it's easy to get them off your back. The important thing is to work with a mail forwarding agency that provides you with a street address, because if California just sees a P.O. box number in another state, they are going to consider it bogus. The typical mail service for cruisers costs about $14 a month, and you should check their website for all the many benefits. There are other mail forwarding companies in other tax-friendly states that offer similar services, so you may want to do a little comparison shopping.

By the way, the motto of the L.A. County Tax Assessor is 'Valuing People and Property'. What a joke, as a more accurate motto would be 'Corruption Is Us'. For example, on October 17, 2012, Los Angeles County Tax Assessor John Noguez, the head honcho, a Mexican-American whose birth name was Juan Renaldo Rodriguez but who has also used the aliases Juan R. Noguez, John R. Noguez, and Juan Reynaldo Rodriguez Noguez, was arrested on 44 counts of conspiracy, bribery and corruption. Bail was set at $1.36 million. Key conspirators Mark McNeil, Noguez's chief appraiser, and Ramin Salari, a campaign contributor, old friend, and Arizona tax consultant, also were arrested. Between February and September 2010, Noguez allegedly accepted $185,000 in bribes from Salari and used his influence to greatly lower the appraised property values for Salari's clients, saving them millions of dollars in property taxes.

During a warranted search of Noguez's Huntington Park home — he had previously been mayor — investigators purportedly found a list of about 20 of Salari's clients seeking significant reductions in their property assessments. Almost all of the requests were honored. Among the properties to receive illegal tax cuts were those owned by Douglas Emmett Inc., whose chief executive, Jordan Kaplan, and wife were — and this will come as a real surprise — Noguez's top campaign contributors. In Noguez's first year in office, 23 tax reductions were granted to Douglas Emmett Inc. For instance, Kaplan's $21.5 million home in Pacific Palisades received a tax break of $198,000. Most other big tax cuts went to — big surprise again — other high-end properties on the affluent Westside.

Noguez, who is still married to Lilliana Guerrero, a woman who is openly gay — not that there's anything wrong with it — spent from October to March in an isolation cell in the Los Angeles County Jail waiting to raise $1.6 million in bail. Most of it came from a single individual. Noguez is on a leave of absence, which means he still collects his salary of $197,000 a year while facing as much as 30 years in prison.

Had the author of the blog made a significant enough 'campaign contribution' to Noguez, we doubt the Assessor's office would have bothered him.

How to get rid of corruption in California? 1) Because they are 'public servants', all government officials and employees accused of crimes against and/or abuses of taxpayers should be presumed guilty, not innocent, until they prove themselves innocent. If they are clean, it should be easy enough for them to do. 2) Erect guillotines in front of every city hall. 3) Use the guillotines. Corruption is the cancer of the world and must be stopped.


The editors of Latitude 38 have more or less gone on record in favor of rousting Oakland's boat community — the liveaboards who have anchored their boats in the Oakland Estuary near Union Park. The fact that it seems the editors ­— from what they have to say about Oakland — wouldn't set foot here hasn't stopped them from condemning the liveaboards as a bunch of thieves or whatever.

Being a long-time resident of Oakland, and one who enjoys all the down-to-earth people who live around me, I actually took the time to go out and interview one of the people who live in that community. Below is a link to the interview I did. Maybe at least those with a sense of humanity who look at it will come away with the understanding that these are real live human beings, not just some label like 'thief', whose lives will be turned upside down if they are kicked out of here.

The video can be seen at:

John Reimann
Y-Knot, Catalina 36

John — It's nice of you to tell us we what we believe, "more or less," but thanks, we can speak for ourselves. And more precisely, too. 1) We believe in anchoring out and living aboard where appropriate. We do it all the time in California and Mexico, and all over the Caribbean. A long time ago, Oracle's Larry Ellison was so poor he lived aboard a sailboat in the Berkeley Marina — until he had to sell his boat to be able to buy food. 2) We agree with laws requiring boats to be registered with the state or documented. 3) We agree with laws requiring boatowners to follow prescribed safety requirements for their boats and that the vessels should be navigable. 4) We agree with laws requiring boatowners to have their boats comply with environmental regulations. 5) We believe that there has historically been a strong correlation in California and other places between authorities' not enforcing 2, 3 and 4, and surrounding communities becoming hotbeds of crime. Can we make it any clearer than that?

We went to the Oakland/East Bay Socialist Group website you suggested and watched the video interview with Mike West. We urge Latitude readers to do the same. It was Mr. West, the gentleman who was being interviewed, not us, who said, "One of the biggest problems is that there is a lot of theft that goes on out here [Union Park area] and in the marinas." He mentioned that there was an organized group of people who steal outboard motors, and that he ran into a guy in Tahoe who had 10 nice outboards in the back of his van, for sale, cash only. West also said that some of the residents of the community have to "scrape or steal" for a living. And that some previously sold pot. "That's what I did," West says. "Mostly in the carnival business. That's the one job I've gone back to. Like a good carnie, I spent all my money cruising the world."

Based on the video, West looks like a nice guy. If he adhered to 1, 3 and 4 above, and didn't steal our stuff, it would probably be fun sharing an anchorage with him. Although we'd ask him to please not smoke when he came onto our boat.

According to West, the State Lands Commission notified anchor-outs near Union Park that they are trespassing, and are subject to arrest as of September 27. West predicted that the Alameda County Sheriff would take everyone off their boats, declare the boats abandoned, then charge the owners for towing and storing their boats. "Big Brother plus," he calls it.

Your contention is that the anchor-outs are getting kicked out because the "big real estate interests that run Oakland," in conjunction with the Chinese, want to develop the 'Oakland Riviera'. You're probably right. Personally speaking, we think development and gentrification of Oakland are the only things that have a chance of actually helping the truly needy get the assistance they need. Poor people stealing mostly from other poor people is an inefficient and unsustainable economic model.


I’ve recently returned from an offshore passagemaking class, where I had my students practice celestial navigation skills they'd learned earlier in the year. It’s one thing to learn in a classroom with some dockside practice taking and reducing sights, and an entirely different experience applying celestial navigation on a small boat in challenging seas.

My students often ask me: “Why do I need to know celestial navigation when GPS units are so readily available and economical?” I respond by telling my story of navigating in the 1992 Pacific Cup race to Hawaii. Just for the fun of it, I was practicing my celestial navigation every day. I guess I was a bit of a pest, asking people to take notes for me, to record times, and even to move so I could get a better view of the sky. Four days into our trip, the skipper dropped his only GPS unit. It was the early days of GPS, so the units were quite pricey, and most boats didn't have three or four as they do today — and the batteries came out. We took out the manual, but after several hours we still couldn't get the GPS to work. As a result, I was instantly promoted from Pest to Assistant Navigator, and no one complained again about my carrying on with celestial navigation.

I used a sextant to navigate in the '94 running of the Pacific Cup, and won t'the West Marine/Henry Lloyd Pacific Cup Navigator’s Trophy.

There are many scenarios in which GPS just might not be available. Yes, some of those scenarios are unlikely, but if you were making an ocean passage, wouldn't you like to have a back-up method of navigation?

A fellow sailor has told me that using celestial navigation is like relying on a Model T for transportation. He may be right, but I personally take great joy in being able to maintain an old vehicle without having to pay someone else to do it. Unfortunately, when I look under the hood of a new automobile these days, it is pretty clear that for any major problems, it's going to have to go to the mechanic or electronic technician. It’s the self-reliant part of doing things that has always been attractive to me, and isn't sailing a sport where self-reliance is key? After all, if we are merely interested in getting from Point A to Point B, there are many more efficient means of transportation.

In the offshore passagemaking class, it was fun to see the delight in my students' eyes when their celestial observations agreed with our recorded DR and GPS positions. Even though we had 10 or more GPS units aboard our vessel, it was the celestial navigation that proved to be the most fun way to navigate.

Captain Craig Walker
Lead Instructor, Tradewinds Sailing School
San Francisco

Capt. Craig — We admire those who are into the Zen of celestial, but even when making passages we just don't have that kind of time. That's why, no matter if we're offshore in the Caribbean or doing a Baja Bash, we navigate by iPad.


I'm hoping that someone can point me in the right direction, as I'm trying to learn basic celestial navigation for its own sake, and in case I ever get to sail farther offshore than Catalina.

I think the School of Sailing & Seamanship at Orange Coast College in Newport Beach has a good in-depth celestial navigation course, but it's too far away for me to attend. Are there any other in-depth study programs or classes in San Diego that would help me grasp celestial faster than I'm currently doing by reading books?

The main reason I've heard for navigating with celestial in tandem with GPS is in case your boat is struck by lightning and your GPS turns to goo. But I think there is another reason, as doing celestial would require that I maintain good timekeeping. Most affordable chronometers are digital, and would suffer the same fate as the GPS in the case of lightning. So I'm wondering if I could keep a second digital chronometer in a Faraday cage (steel box) and expect it to survive a lightning strike. Is my only foolproof option to purchase, for thousands of dollars, a mechanical chronometer such as an Omega or Rolex? Is there a modern mechanical ship's chronometer made by anyone for this purpose?

David Lovato
Tardis, Catalina 27
San Diego

David — Historically, the fastest way to learn celestial is by setting sail with a sextant, a timepiece, an instruction book, and the necessary tables. Once sailors get lost, they tend to be better able to focus on the process of learning celestial.

From time to time the Maritime Museum in San Diego gives a 12-week course in celestial navigation, which includes a sail aboard the tall ship Californian to hone those skills at sea. This year's course ended in June, but they'll probably be giving another one soon. It's a rather long course that includes a lot of history, so you might ask around for more bare-bones instruction.

It's possible that a lightning strike could wipe out a GPS — as well as all your other electronics. But if you have the GPS units spread around the boat — on Profligate we have one in each nav station, one above the owner's bunk, and navigation apps in both our iPhone and iPad — it would be pretty hard for lightning to knock them all out. If we get in a lot of lightning, we might wrap a couple in foil and put them in different places around the boat. We're confident that at least a couple of them would still work.

Naturally all six of our GPS units come with very accurate clocks, as does our VHF radio. So we'd only get a Rolex or Omega to impress a woman.


Please cover Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Storm Manuel in depth. I've been doing detailed charting of both the Pacific and Caribbean sides of Mexico and Central America for an upcoming trip next year. Once you head south of the Sea of Cortez, and especially south of Mexico, there are relatively few ports on either the Pacific or the Caribbean side and even fewer marinas, and many of the 'ports' in the chart books are simply a long pier for piping fuel or where local fishermen pull their boats ashore. Not ports in the U.S. expectation sense of the word.

There are some coves in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, and many coves in Costa Rica that I'd anchor in if the seas were flat, but the idea of picking one from the chart book or even my Google Earth snapshots, with pending hurricane landfall, sounds rather unwise. Having only ridden out one hurricane in Key West back in '86 — and it turned out to be a dud — I am inclined to say head for deep water far from shore. But I'd like to hear what your instinct says before the fact, then in hindsight as the news comes in, about how people actually fared.

By the way, in cases like this, it would be great if sailing sites had a 'Breaking News' area so people could get an idea how their cruising friends are doing.

John Wiesendanger
Pillar of Autumn, Hunter 40

John — There's a one word answer to your last suggestion: Facebook.

It's unclear to us why you, a mariner, are making such a big deal out of Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Storm Manuel. Ingrid was a mild Category 1 hurricane that started and ended in the Gulf of Mexico, where few cruising boats ever go. Manuel was a mere tropical storm that started at the latitude of the border with Guatemala, then made landfall near Manzanillo. While Manuel reformed to the northwest of Cabo, and temporarily had forecasters predicting a landfall at La Paz, it went 180 degrees in the other direction and dissipated over the mainland. The only cruising boats that might have been affected, and we doubt it, were at Grand Marina in Navidad, which offers excellent protection.

The big danger and destruction from both Ingrid and Manuel came from Biblical amounts of rainfall and resultant flooding. Manuel was forecast to bring 15 inches of rain in most areas, and 25 inches in others. Ingrid about the same. Landslides from each storm killed at least 20 people and many more are missing. Such landslides are as much a fact of life in those parts of Mexico as earthquakes are in California.

For the record, so far this season the Eastern Pacific, mostly meaning Mexico, has already seen nine tropical storms and six hurricanes. This is about average, and there'll be more before the season is over.

Avoiding tropical storms in Mexico isn't that difficult for mariners. Most boatowners simply take their boats out of Mexico or secure them in relatively well protected marinas at places such as Barra, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo, La Paz, Puerto Escondido or Guaymas. Barra was hit by a tropical storm a few years ago, but the boats in the marina and the canals did fine. Vallarta, thanks to tall mountains and a turn in the coast, has never been hit by a hurricane. Mazatlan hasn't been hit in years. Cabo and La Paz get hit every couple of years, but usually not directly enough to cause severe damage. The boats at the marina in Cabo have withstood a couple of 100-knot direct hits. Puerto Escondido and Guaymas get whacked from time to time, even though they are far to the north, and some untended boats have been destroyed.

Tropical storms and hurricanes are extreme weather events that mariners should avoid at all costs. Nonetheless, it's not too hard to figure the odds of getting hit in the places mentioned, and it's low enough that you can get insurance for your boat in all of them during hurricane season.

If you're going to be cruising on the Pacific Coast of Central America, avoiding tropical storms and hurricanes is easy. They are virtually nonexistent in the winter, which is basically from early November through May 15. From May 16 through October, stay either north of Turtle Bay or south of Guatemala. Costa Rica almost never has tropical storms. We think they got their first one in history last year, while Panama never gets them. If you want to be on the east coast of Central America during the hurricane season, you either stay in Panama or go up the Rio Dulce in Guatemala.

That said, we assume you know that the only time you have tropical storms and hurricanes is when it's very hot and humid, which is why most cruisers either take their boats out of hurricane zones or secure them and head to more pleasant weather.

Head for deep water if a tropical storm or hurricane threatens? Not us. Even tropical storms are worthy of fear and great respect. Boats are easier to replace than lives.

If it's any comfort, there are tens of thousands of people who have cruised from California to Mexico and Central America, and Panama to Cuba. The anchorages and ports of refuge are sufficient and known to everyone, as is the part of the year when you need to be particularly aware of possible major weather events.


I wonder if the America's Superyacht Regatta races are on video, and if so, where. I had difficulty finding the start times on the America's Cup website, so I contacted Hillary, the logistics person. She said the times "should be on the website." I know they should be, but I couldn't find them.

I saw some of these behemoths as I crossed the Bay Bridge on September 9, but couldn't get the info on the start times until it was too late. I wanted to see the clouds of sail these guys put up, and watch them race around the Bay. I suppose others would have liked to do the same.

Norm Allendorph
Yipe Yipe, Frers 40

Norm — Let's face it, the Superyacht Regatta was a super bust. The organizers didn't attract enough boats, maybe because San Francisco is so far from the waters of the Caribbean and Med where these boats like to play, maybe because San Francisco lacks the facilities to accommodate them, or maybe because the America's Cup folks wanted so much money from participants. It didn't help that the regatta organizers didn't provide timely information before or after the alleged event. Bummer. The accompanying photo shows what it should have looked like.


Thanks for elaborating on Cambodia's "troubled past," as Andrey Mantula — who was promoting Cambodia's first yacht marina — so blithely put it. How could anyone forget the ultra-vivid images of the Killing Fields?

Greg Dorland
Escapade, Catana 52
Lake Tahoe


I read with great interest the reference to the Morgan 40 Impossible Dream that was commissioned by Roy Disney. I am the current owner of Impossible Dream, which is now moored in Port Townsend, Washington. I would like to report the boat is alive and well sailing in the Northwest. She spent the better part of last year's sailing season in Southeast Alaska, and has just returned from a short jaunt in the San Juan Islands. The boat has maintained her name since Roy gave it to her in 1970. I believe the name was a result of the successful completion of the full-length animated feature film Fantasia, which many thought couldn't be done.

Tom McDowell
Impossible Dream, Morgan 40
Port Townsend


Your September Sightings article on the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center referred to it as the last remaining wooden boatyard in California. Don't overlook one of your faithful advertisers, the well-respected Makela Boatworks, which has been doing business in Fort Bragg since 1947. I speak from personal experience as to the quality of their work, and the honesty and humility of Howard, the current owner and son/nephew of the original Makela Brothers. Issue #171 of Wooden Boat had a great story on the history of the yard.

In the ad for the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center, they refer to themselves as the only "nonprofit" wooden boatyard in California.

Don Furber
Calliope, Ericson 36C
Eureka / Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Don — Thanks for the correction, and our apologies to Howard and the folks at Makela Boatworks. Our boats are plastic, but we respect that 'wood is good'.


I'm responding to the letter from the folks on Sojourn seeking info on Tim Nielson from the Bodega Bay-based Alberg 37 Jazz. I spoke to him via phone in California after the loss of his boat. He told me that he'd been motorsailing and had his autopilot set for Matanchen Bay/San Blas. Three hours later, he woke up lying on the cabin sole, a large bump on his head and a sizeable bruise on his hip. His boat was in the surf 15 miles north of San Blas, the motor no longer running.

He got his passport and wallet, and swam through the surf to the beach. After he walked a spell, a dirt biker picked him up and took him to a village, from where he was taken to the hospital in San Blas. He spent a day in the hospital as they ruled out heart attack and stroke, and he had no signs of a concussion. He was delayed another day dealing with the Port Captain about leaving the boat on the beach. When he returned to Jazz the next day, she'd been stripped.

Tim was in good spirits when I spoke to him, in good health, and was going back to work to buy another boat. I wish him luck, and hope to see him back down in La Cruz, Mexico, again soon.

Nikk White
Balance, Baba 30
Portland / La Cruz


You had to print a letter about dogs. Isn't your inbox full enough? As a liveaboard with a dog, I feel compelled to respond to some of the complaints in Mr. Name Withheld By Request's letter. I both challenge him and agree with him.

The author mentions "pristine docks" being ruined by dogs. That's a good one. I saw a pristine dock once. It was at Isle Royale National Park in the middle of Lake Superior. There wasn't a spot of dust on it, or poop from dogs or birds. There was no electricity, water, people or roads either. Here in the Bay Area, my boat has been boarded or pooped on by dogs, cats, gulls, tweety birds, rats, herons, raccoons, mice, and the dreaded two-legged 'rat'. Most docks have rat highways — a.k.a. electrical and plumbing conduits. A dog with a good nose can follow them. We also have skunks, but they are rarely on the dock. And even without the boaters these docks are not pristine.

Mr. By Request's solution of punishing pet owners by making them pay a monthly fee won't work. It's done in a few marinas around here already, and that doesn't make them better nor lower the number of pets. And I doubt the money goes to marina improvement. Besides, the pet owners will pay it. Owning a dog is expensive. My vet bill this week was $125 for an ear infection, and that was one of the lowest bills ever.

But I do sympathize with the poop problem. Pet owners need to be responsible. I once had a liveaboard neighbor who had a cat that used my Cal 25 for a poop box. The owner of the cat always agreed to clean up after her cat, but she never did. The harbormaster finally did something about the situation, but many won't get involved. As a result, I have seen docks where everybody with a dog just lets their pooches poop on the dock. Nobody cleans it up, so it becomes stinky and unsanitary and there are flies all around. It seems to be all right with all of them, but it's not a place I would choose to keep my boat.

As a dog owner speaking to other dog owners, please listen up. If your dog is broken, fix him/her by using techniques from the Dog Whisperer. They work. For the rest of you with undamaged animals, the AKC has a K9 good citizenship program.

Name withheld by Request II
Perhaps the same big marina somewhere

NWBRII — It's true the word 'pristine' is overused, thanks primarily to certain environmental groups who describe anything short of a toxic waste dump as 'pristine'. Nonetheless, we think everyone knows the author was talking about reasonably clean docks. While there may be many different ways to soil docks, is it not fair to say the most offensive kind of dock desecration is dog poop?

As for your claim that additional fees for having pets in marinas won't lower their number, how do you know that? Maybe if there were no fee, there would be twice as many pets. And if the pet fee were $1,000 a month, we don't think there would be many pets at all.

As we've written before, we're neutral on pets. We know they are the key to the happiness and emotional well-being of many people, and think that's great. Well, great as long as the owners clean up the poop in public places and on other peoples' property, and that the owners understand any contact between the pet and strangers should be initiated by the stranger. What's with pet owners who think the time to control their dogs is after the dog has slobbered all over somebody? How would they feel if a stranger came up and gave them an unwanted slobber?

We're also a little confused by growing sense of entitlement felt by dog owners in California. Last Friday we were at Fior d'Italia at the San Remo Hotel in San Francisco with friends from the Caribbean, and customers brought not one, but two medium-sized dogs into the bar. While they only had one short barking fit, they made themselves easy to trip over and took up much of the room under the tables usually used by human legs and feet. The next day we watched the America's Cup at the 2 A.M. Club, Mill Valley's only dive bar, with a guy from the Artemis syndicate. Another guy came in with the biggest Great Dane in the world, who merrily made himself comfortable right in the middle of a main walkway. The dog's owner was typically oblivious to the obstacle the friendly beast made. To top it off, the next day we were in Mill Valley's secular temple, the big Whole Food Store, when a girl, about 10, came in with her dog, and obliviously pranced around with the dog as though it were the family home. What next, dog walkers bringing their horde with them to doctor's appointments?


I'd like to respond to the August issue letter regarding getting boats from one coast of the United States to the other. The Latitude editor did an admirable job of explaining the pros and cons of various delivery methods, and it's certainly true that trucking a boat is still the most cost-effective option in the vast majority of cases. I'm very pleased that Latitude mentioned the cost-saving concept of connecting with an existing load, so that trailers don't travel empty. This is beneficial to the customer (saves money), the trucking company (saves money/lost time), and the environment (reduces unnecessary fuel consumption).

It can be difficult, however, to find these deals, which can easily save the boat owner 30% or more. To that end, we at San Diego Boat Movers have established an online tool to easily connect boat owners with empty trailers that are available in their area. We also have a user-friendly quoting tool so it's much easier to get an idea of the cost up front. Please feel free to share this with your readers:

Connecting Loads:

Free Quotes:

Leland Parsons
San Diego Boat Movers
Delivering boats nationwide since the dawn of time


Latitude wanted to know where and when people had beached their boats so they could work on the bottom without having to pay for a haulout. In the early days — meaning 1984 to 1992 — of my 40-ft cat Minette, we used to beach her in the shallow lagoon behind Ballast Point at Cat Harbor, Catalina. We'd place the boat in the tiny bay, put plywood down on the mucky sea-floor, then some milk crates, and wait for the tide to drop. We'd quickly clean, dry and paint the bottom before the tide came back in.

We went to do it again several years later, but were quickly kicked out by the Island Company, which claimed jurisdiction over all the waters "inside Cat Harbor."

Mike Leneman
Multi Marine
Marina del Rey

Mike — We're not going to mention any boat names, but we know that at least one large catamaran put her fixed keels on the hard to do work both at a popular island off the coast of California and on a beach in San Diego this summer. The owner was probably able to get away with it because he was just working on thru-hulls and not sanding and painting the bottom.

To illustrate an example of beaching a multihull, the accompanying shot is of Thor Temme's Kauai-based 44-ft cat- rigged trimaran ketch Meshach. If we remember correctly, the photo was taken about four years ago near Isla Partida in the Sea of Cortez. As all the islands are part of a national park, it's unclear what rangers would think about it, although as long as there was no pollution, they probably wouldn't mind.

That said, a month or two ago Robin Kirkcaldie of the Santa Barbara-based Red Witch II careened his Bounty II on a beach in the northern Sea of Cortez. In that part of the Sea, there's hardly anybody to mind anything. By using the word careened, we indeed mean to indicate that Red Witch II is a monohull. If things weren't properly stowed, it could be a real mess inside, as she was probably heeled over more than 45 degrees. Oddly enough, the last monohull we can remember being intentionally careened was Max and Vera Zenobi's Sausalito-based Bounty II Maverick. That was about 30 years ago on the Pacific Coast of Panama, where tides can run 15 feet or more.


After a half-decade of not being able to sail due to nasty vertigo from Meniere's disease, I've finally gotten things sufficiently under control to consider going sailing again. When I couldn't go on or even near my boat, I quit picking up Latitudes because reading them made not being able to sail even more painful. So I hadn't looked at an issue until July.

As I was reading that issue, I came across a discussion of whether there was a preferred way to reef a cat. So I was reading the question and the response, and wondering what in the world these folks were thinking. Center the main on a cat going downwind instead of chicken gybing? And then I realized that the cat under discussion isn't a catboat, but a catamaran. The only thing catboats and catamarans have in common is the need to reef early and often.

I wish there were more catboat and una rig sailors on San Francisco Bay, so we owners could hang out and talk about the joy of sailing the best inshore boats in the world. Our Nala has three reef points and generally leaves the dock with the first reef in, since no reefs is generally the cat rig version of flying a big light air genoa.

Nadja Adolf
Nala, Seaward 23 (una rig)

Nadja — Since you weren't reading Latitude last October, you probably didn't know that Doña de Mallorca was laid low for 24 hours during the middle of the SoCal Ta-Ta by a severe case of vertigo. We had no idea it was such a wicked malady. Fortunately, it seems to have been an isolated incident in her case. We hope yours is truly under control.


Seeing the article on reefing reminded us of a certain person in the Seattle area who took a 34-ft Gemini 105 cat out in big winds — reportedly 70 knots. The boat flipped when, according to rumor, the mainsheet wasn't released fast enough.

We've owned our 'little kitten', a 1986 sistership to the Gemini that flipped, for 20 years. Before we left the Seattle area in 2004 to do the Ha-Ha and cruise full-time, we installed a simple quick-release on the mainsheet block. It's a last resort that thankfully we've never had to use.

While cruising in the Galapagos, we once got hit by a big squall that made dropping the main quite trying, and required a lot of muscle. With a main the size of the main on Profligate, I'm sure it would be a much bigger problem.

We've learned that you don't need Batt Cars on a catamaran to reef, you just need a paranoid wife such as mine who makes me reef way early. Reefing early also makes for a happy marriage, and we get to keep cruising.

Rob & Linda Jones
Cat 'n About, Gemini 3000
La Paz, Mexico


Having read the September 11 'Lectronic, I have to ask: Do you really not understand why most local fans are rooting for Emirates Team New Zealand? It isn't cheering for the underdog. New Zealand is never an underdog. It's all about Ellison's hubris, bad decisions, and several PR disasters.

Ellison has made the America's Cup a billionaire's playground more than ever before. His choice of boat design has taken it out of the realm of fantasy for us mortal sailors. He has made it so expensive to compete that, out of a dozen entries in the 2012 World Series, only four could afford to compete for the Cup itself. That is a killer for spectator interest. Then we had the Artemis disaster, followed by the Louis Vuitton Cup, in which all it took to win was for a boat to cross the finish line. Add to that the ridiculous wind cancellations, blacked-out TV and YouTube broadcasts and Oracle's cheating, and it's hard to imagine how anyone could root for Ellison's team.

The boats are technological marvels and exciting to watch. The regatta is a complete fiasco.

Elan Caspi

Elan — We understand what you're saying, and should note that you wrote it before the Cup Finals, which have been a smash. We'd also point out that it's not at all uncommon for fans to detest the owner of a team while loving the team itself.


The losers in the AC45 'cheating scandal' are the jury. Nobody has shown how much difference, if any, these enhancements made. In fact, the so-called "enhancements" are insignificant. Show us the difference in the results that resulted from the addition of these enhancements.

The two-race penalty was too severe and really tarnished an already tarnished America's Cup. If New Zealand wins by just two races, there will be an asterisk after their victory noting the penalty against Oracle. The penalty does not fit the crime, which was committed in a previous series. I suspect most sailors, no matter who they are rooting for, will be rooting for an even playing field as AC 34 begins.

Patrick McCormick
St. Somewhere, Beneteau 440
Alamitos Bay

Readers — This letter was written before the start of the Cup Finals, which turned out to be such a great success.


As the saying goes in motor sports racing, "If you can't beat 'em, cheat 'em. It's our job to cheat, it's their job to catch us."

This is what happens when yacht racing tries to emulate NASCAR. It's all about the money now.

Bob White
Scotts Valley

Bob — When we were young and naive, we liked to think that sailors were a cut above, and valued sportsmanship and fair play above all. Over time, we learned that there were those so intent on winning that they'd spend lots of money to 'bend' the rules. Such as taking boats up to Stockton to get an IOR certificate because being measured in fresh water resulted in a better rating than when measured in salt water. Or soaking all the halyards in water to make the boat a little less stable. These were relatively minor bendings of the rule. Then Dee Smith, one of the most sought-after international sailors to ever come out of Northern California, told us about the time many years ago that he was crewing on a boat in the SORC — then the most prestigious racing series in the United States — when they were becalmed and turned on the engine. Appalled beyond belief, Smith got off the boat as soon as they reached the dock and never spoke with the rest of the crew again.

That's the thing about yacht racing; it's only as good as the integrity of the participants. Sure you can have checks, but if somebody wants to cheat, there will be opportunities. The thing that disturbs us is that if Oracle or some rogue member of the Oracle team made those illegal changes to the AC45s, what other and more effective illegal changes might they have made?

We realize that in many sports, trying to cheat without getting caught is considered to be part of the game. But we like to continue to like to think that yacht racing is different.


Bloody cheats. Of course, Oracle management knew about the changes to the AC45s. Now we'll have to put up with the whining that is sure to follow Oracle's losing the Cup.

Cheating, for heaven's sake, oh please.

James Baker
Telegraph, Morgan 382
Lahaina, HI

James — What you 'know' and what you can prove are two different things, aren't they?


I have yet to hear what the mechanism is whereby a penalty in a race seemingly unrelated to the actual America's Cup is assessed to an actual America's Cup team. Can you explain to the readers what the connection is between the AC45s and the America's Cup?

Al Fricke
Meridian Passage, Valiant 40
Northern California

Al — The rationale is that the AC45 World Series and America's Cup are part of the same event. If you didn't participate in the World Series, you couldn't participate in the Cup.


I think the Oracle AC45 offense had nothing to do with the America's Cup. The World Series was a separate event invented by Oracle. Personal punishment and fines are fine, but to take two races away in the Cup finals was excessive. There is no direct connection between the two series, which makes it akin to taking points away from a boat racing TransPac because a crewmember used an illegal part on a Laser race.

Bruce Powell
Calou, Jeanneau 47

Bruce — On the surface it seems as though they were different events, but they were actually two parts of the same event.


Just a heads-up. The Master Mariners Regatta is managed by Sausalito YC and has been for decades. I know, as I've been the PRO for the past 10 years, and they had it long before that. The Encinal YC simply hosts the party. If the Sausalito YC could get some credit, I'm sure they would appreciate it.

Jeff Zarwell

Jeff — Thanks for clearing that up, as it's been one of the more popular events on the Bay for many years.



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