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April 2015

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Latitude seems to be very selective regarding which sailing fools rescued by the Coast Guard it chooses to pan and which it chooses to sensationalize. Take, for example, the rescue of Australians Reg and Jason McGlashan, 38 and 65 respectively, who sailed into a February storm off Nantucket on a newly acquired $10,000 sloop they hoped would make it home to Port Macquarie in as little as six weeks. How is that different from the manifestly unsafe voyage of James 'Hot Rod' Lane's homebuilt 65-ft catamaran Flyin' Hawaiian, which Latitude seemed to salute in at least one edition of 'Lectronic, even though they also had to be rescued by the Coast Guard?

I can't recall the name of the singlehander Latitude wrote about a while back who is attempting to circumnavigate in a Moore 24, or some such vessel, but he is another good example of an equally misguided fool. If he hasn't required help yet, it's only because of good fortune.

Where do you draw the line between someone with an indomitable spirit for adventure — that I agree with Latitude in saluting — and the reckless fool who dreams of an adventure that he is totally unprepared for, and whom the public has to pay to rescue?

I love Latitude, and I love the stories of adventure and accomplishment. But I also spend a huge amount of time on the water around San Francisco Bay, as well as having done 50,000 sea miles up and down the West Coast. I am constantly amazed at some of the folly I both see and read about.

For instance, just last weekend I happened across a fellow who had just purchased a 47-ft boat. He'd never set foot on a boat before in his life, at least to the best of my knowledge. And while I know he intends to take some 'lessons' from a captain he has hired, some marketing wizard, hot boat salesman — or maybe magazine publisher — convinced him that he merely needed to step aboard and set out on his dream voyage. It is really scary out there, amigo.

Dane Faber
WAFI, Vagabond 38

Dane — Want a perfect illustration of how hard it is to draw that line between an "indomitable spirit" and a "reckless fool"? Which of the 'misguided fools' in your letter has accomplished the following:

1) Sailed east around the world with just two stops aboard the Ericson 37 Egregious.

2) Did a second circumnavigation aboard the 18-ft open boat Drascombe Luggers Chidiock Tichborne I and II, and the 36-ft sloop Resurgam. (He had to use two of the 18-footers because the first was taken from him when he was imprisoned as a spy in Saudi Arabia.)

3) Did a third circumnavigation aboard the 36-ft sloop Resurgam.

4) Did a fourth circumnavigation with Resurgam and The Hawke of Tuonela, a Heritage 37 sloop. (He had to buy Hawke to replace Resurgam after the latter went down off Florida and he had to float and swim for 26 hours and 125 miles in the Gulf Stream.)

5) Did a fifth circumnavigation with Tuonela.

6) Is attempting a sixth circumnavigation with a boat he told Latitude "is like the Queen Elizabeth II compared to the 18-ft open boats."

This 'reckless fool' would be Webb Chiles with the Moore 24 Gannett. Now in his 70s and with failing eyesight, he did all but a few miles of the five circumnavigations singlehanded. (Although, off the subject, we find it impossible not to mention that Chiles has also been married more times than he's circumnavigated. The marriages were to Mary, Lynne, Suzanne, Suzanne again, Jill, and currently Carol.)

If Chiles were French, we believe he'd be a national hero. We suppose the reason he's not more celebrated in the United States is that what he's accomplished is so unusual, and has been done with such ordinary boats, that it's hard for most sailors — ourselves included — to fully appreciate his accomplishments.

Nonetheless, when we interviewed Chiles about 18 months ago in San Diego as he was preparing Gannett for a possible circumnavigation, how appropriate would it have been for us — or anybody else — to caution him about the dangers of his proposed voyage or try to stop him?

While on the surface it may seem as though it would be difficult to distinguish between his voyages and the three 'foolish' voyages mentioned above, we think it would be relatively easy. The McGlashans and the Lane family were taking off at the 'wrong' time of year, and were new to what they intended to do. We wouldn't have had any problem with the Coast Guard declaring either of those voyages to be 'manifestly unsafe', particularly the one featuring the Flyin' Hawaiian, which we doubt any marine surveyor would have approved for use on the open ocean.

It's true that Managing Editor Andy Turpin gave something of a tepid salute to the Lanes in a Sightings piece. We suspect it was because he'd sort of come to know Lane personally, and didn't want to come across as having stabbed him in the back. Having not met Lane, the Publisher/Wanderer believes he could have given a more realistic assessment.

As for someone buying a 47-footer as their first boat, we don't have a problem with it — as long as they get the proper education and training. We base this opinion on having known many sailors whose first boat was over 40 feet, and who went on to make long and successful cruises.


I've got a 'whatever happened to?' question. I'm trying to remember the name of and find out what happened to a well-known San Francisco sailor/juggler. The name Jesse or Jessie keeps popping into my mind. I remember that he cruised on a small boat, and would make a few bucks juggling and doing most anything to entertain people.

Jim Cox
Don't Have a Boat, but I Charter in the Northwest a Lot
Beaverton, Oregon

Jim — We presume you're referring to Ray Jason, who did lots of cruising aboard his Farallon 29 Aventura, and also juggled at 49er games and other places. In fact, back in 1994 he taught the Wanderer and his kids to juggle when we had our Ocean 71 Big O anchored off Fantasy Island in Costa Rica.

You'll be happy to learn that Jason, who did a stint running charter cats out of Key West, is still cruising aboard Aventura, most recently along the Caribbean coast of Mexico.

"I live aboard my beautiful sailboat," he writes, "and wander the wide waters as an itinerant philosopher. My life is simple, free and joyous. My life motto is as follows: 'Help many. Harm none. Be amazed!'"

The simple life can be a very good one, and it sounds as though Ray is doing just great. You can email him at


Now that the main span of the old Bay Bridge has been completely removed, it would seem that the safest way to transit beneath the span would be through the large open section just east of Yerba Buena Island. However, during the week of March 5, a patrol boat continued to block the larger opening, and directed us to sail through a narrow passage to the east — which put us directly beneath a portion of the old bridge that is actively being demolished. Is there some logic to this?

I must admit my interest in this was piqued when a knowledgeable source told me that the officers on the patrol boat are receiving overtime pay for this duty.

Jim Conger
Oakland YC

Jim — It seems logical that it would be less dangerous to transit an area with nothing overhead but blue sky as opposed to an area that was beneath a demolition area, but surely the government, which always has the interests of citizens as its highest priority, knows something we don't.


Years ago, when I was exchanging boat cards with fellow sailors, a Brit chastised me for the 's/v' in front of my boat name.

"You Americans are so pretentious," said he. "A vessel is a ship. Your boat is a yacht!"

Silly me! I thought calling our boat a yacht would have been pretentious. But nobody puts 's/b' in front of their boat name.

Queen Emma, our Oyster 45, is still enjoying the Eastern Caribbean, and we're currently cruising beautiful Antigua. Queen Emma's homeport is Berkeley, but in all our years of owning her she's never been there.

Susie Bowman
Queen Emma, Oyster 45
Berkeley / Currently in Antigua

Susie — Having once been married to a Brit, we know that they can be soooo proper. Sometimes we think the older ones at least are compensating for the fact that in the last 100 years they've gone from the largest empire in the history of the world — a quarter of the earth's land and a fifth of the world's population — to something of an also-ran.

Be that as it may, according to the Cambridge (England) unabridged dictionary, a yacht is "a boat with sails and sometimes an engine, used for either racing or travelling or for pleasure. Thus your Oyster 45 is a yacht, as are our Olson 30 and our Surfin' 63 catamaran Profligate.

While all recreational sailboats are 'yachts', we never hear anyone refer to them as such. Most Americans at least refer to "my boat" instead, precisely because it sounds so much less, not more, pretentious.

There is nothing improper about using 's/v', as it's the abbreviation used by the U.S. Coast Guard to distinguish sailing vessels from other types of vessels.


I agree with Capt. Landmann's comments about the guy who complained about the Ha-Ha. The way I see it, working on the holding tank of my last boat at the dock was more enjoyable than anything I did when I wasn't floating.

Whenever we invited guests to go sailing, the first condition for them was to leave their watches ashore and forget about any appointments because we never had any idea when we'd get back to shore. And we never had any complaints.

Sometimes my wife would get antsy while I was working on the boat and demand that we go out sailing. "No problem," I'd tell her, "just holler down so I know when I need to tack my tools."

P.S. I've done three Ha-Ha's — if you count the pre-Ha-Ha one aboard the Chrismans' Nordic 40 Wild Goose against Latitude's Ocean 71 Big O.

P.P.S. I used to keep the C&C 38 Alliance at Sausalito Yacht Harbor, but I'm now boatless until a slip becomes available here in Istanbul.

Brooks Magruder
Istanbul, Turkey

Brooks — Did you not think that inquiring minds would want to know what you're doing in Turkey, and what type of sailing you intend to do there?


With regard to repositioning one's anchor as Liz Clark was shown to be doing, we have employed a similar technique in several locations from Cooper Island and Jost van Dyke in the British Virgins, where there is a mix of sand and grass, to Isla Isabela between Mazatlan and Punta Mita.

I am getting older and slower, so I can only reposition the anchor in about 20 feet of water. However, just last weekend I took a cool free-diving class from the Mexican free-diving champion Alejandro Lemus here in Zihuatanejo. Maybe that will help me in my next eco anchoring effort!

By the way, we — my wife Heather and I, and the five kids — are having a great time on our Lagoon 470 Family Circus and are digging life. We are over four months into our cruise since the Ha-Ha and have really been enjoying Mexico. We will Puddle Jump from La Cruz next month, and while a tad anxious about the crossing, are super excited about the South Pacific.

All five kids are doing well and constantly entertain themselves — and us. We had a great dance party in the cockpit last night that spilled onto the trampolines out front. We even had a 'doing the Worm dance contest', which is definitely more appropriate for the younger and more flexible crowd. Heather, however, made an impressive effort, which I captured on blackmail-worthy video.

Thanks once again to Latitude for all the inspiration it's given us.

Chris Tzortzis and Family
Family Circus, Lagoon 470
San Francisco


What about another SoCal Ta-Ta, a Ha-Ha style rally from Santa Barbara to Catalina, this year? Will there be one?

Kevin Belcastro
Toucan, Tanton 43
San Francisco

Readers — In the March 5 'Lectronic we asked for expressions of interest in another Ta-Ta, and in the next few hours got a bunch of positive responses such as those that appear below. They convinced us that a third SoCal for September 13 to 19 is in order.

"Count me in for the 2015 Ta-Ta," wrote Greg Carter, "except that this year the little F-27 Origami will stay home while my new F-36 trimaran should be making her maiden voyage to Southern California for the Ta-Ta and then the Baja Ha-Ha. My new trimaran is not very photogenic yet, what with fairing splotches all over. But the exterior build is done, the interior is 75% done, the sails have been ordered, and the rig, engine and hardware have been installed and then removed for painting. I just need to cross the finish line."

"We did the first two Ta-Ta's and had great times," wrote Pat McCormick of the Alamitos Bay-based Beneteau 440 St. Somewhere. "You can count us in."

"We're not only in, we've already purchased our reggae outfits for the costumes-mandatory Ta-Ta Kick-off Party and awards ceremony," report John and Gilly Foy of the Alameda/Punta Mita-based Catalina 42 Destiny.

"Hell yes, I'm in," advises Wayne Wright.

"I'm interested as long as the Ta-Ta is not the same week as Labor Day, since I need to be in Catalina then," writes Philip Kumpis, who did the 2009 Ha-Ha aboard the Valiant 40 Sabbatical. Good news Philip, as this year's Ta-Ta will start the weekend after Labor Day weekend.

"Debbie and I on the Lagoon 380 Beach Access want to do another Ta-Ta this year," writes Glenn Twitchell, "but can we please get burgees this time?" Yes, Ta-Ta burgees — if not battle flags — will be included in this year's entry fee.

"We missed the last Ta-Ta due to scheduling issues, but definitely want to give it a try this year," writes Bob Schilling of Tuckernuck. "And we think the $275 per boat entry fee is reasonable for a week-long event."

"I've already taken off work September 3-14 to do the Ta-Ta, so you can most likely count me in," reports Jeff Kennett. Santa Barbara Yacht Harbor would not allow us to reserve berths for Labor Day Weekend, so this year's dates are September 13-19, although through the Ta-Ta you'll be able to reserve a berth in Santa Barbara for both the 12th and 13th.

"My wife and I are seriously interested in the Ta-Ta, but we would need special dispensation for our Lyle Hess-designed Balboa 26, as she's not the requisite 27 feet," writes Scott Arnold. "But we've already sailed her to Santa Cruz and Catalina Islands. And when my father owned her, he used to trailer her to Florida and cruise her in the Bahamas. We can have a survey done, if necessary." No survey necessary, as you've been awarded dispensation.

"We’d love to enter our new sail training/charter boat Vanishing Girl in the Ta-Ta," write Paul and Jared of Pierpont Performance Sailing, both of whom have done Ta-Ta's before. "And yes, this will be our first time with a 'monomaran'.

"We are sailing our Sabre 38 Aegea down to Southern California from San Francisco this summer, and the Ta-Ta would be the perfect centerpiece for our cruise, so we'd love to join," writes John Zeratsky.

"Count us in again for sure!" exclaim Rog and Di of the Catalina 470 Di's Dream, vets from last year.

Given these and other positive responses, how could we not host a Ta-Ta III? See this month's
Sightings for details.


Greetings from Kaneohe Bay, Oahu! I've been in more than my share of boat partnerships — and regretted every one. The failures might primarily be due to the fact that I'm dumber than a box of rocks and take things way too casually.

My hunch is that the Wanderer would probably do fine in a boat partnership. But based on my experience, I'd be leery of getting involved with a close friend. I did it twice, and although I did manage to salvage the friendships, it was tough sledding for awhile.

My current boat is mine, all mine!

John Tebbetts
Ichi Ban, Yamaha 33
Kaneohe Bay, Oahu

Readers — The subject of boat partnerships came up as a result of the publisher's Leopard 45 cat coming out of the yacht management program on August 1. One of the possible options was/is to seek a 50% partner for high-season use of the boat from November to February. It's something the publisher might consider, but since we've secured an off-season berth behind a friend's house in Antigua, where 'ti's engines and systems will be operated on a weekly basis, there is no urgency to change the status quo.

Nonetheless, we received a number of other interesting letters on partnerships, both those that were successful and those that weren't. Some letters appear below; others will appear next month.


I own an Alerion Express 38 yawl with my brother Thomas, brother-in-law Geoff, and a longtime friend Rick. All are experienced sailors, and all of us have spent time together on vacations, building homes, and drinking wine. The partnership allows us to own a much nicer boat and to keep her in much nicer condition than if we tried to do it individually.

We don't have an official partnership agreement. The boat is entirely in my name, and we split expenses evenly. The big expenditures are discussed before the money is spent. Boat expenses are about $18,000 per year, or perhaps 12% of the value of the boat. The big expenses are the slip in Santa Cruz, the varnish work, dive services, and the amortized costs of haulouts.

We generally daysail the boat, and sail with the other partners. But some of the best times are working on projects together. Rick and I, for example, just installed a Jabsco electric head.

Chuck Hawley
Surprise, Alerion Express 38
Santa Cruz

Readers — Chuck Hawley worked for West Marine for decades and, among other things, was their technical expert.


My buddy Rimas and I are in our fourth decade of owning boats together. We started in the late 1980s with a 17-ft aluminum skiff that we used for diving and camping adventures at and around Catalina. We quickly realized that a boat with six inches of freeboard that is carrying two divers, six tanks, and camping gear is not big enough for the Catalina Channel on blustery afternoons. So we moved up to the Silverton Mainship 34 Hydrophillic and took her to all the coastal islands.

But we both had dreams of going even farther, so in 2003 we purchased the 35-ft catamaran Kat Atomic. We took her as far as Mexico. In 2008 we chartered a Sunsail Lagoon 410 in the BVIs and fell in love with the boat. So after saying goodbye to our little cat in 2014, we purchased a well-used 2006 Lagoon 410 from a third-tier charter fleet in the Bahamas. It required adding another partner for us to be able to afford her, but she is ours. We were able to keep her in the charter fleet — shudder! — for the required year, and are now making arrangements to bring her back to SoCal. She's paying her bills in charter and is helping us save up funds for the trip to California.

Our wife and girlfriend, respectively, have been very understanding. His lady isn’t comfortable on boats, while mine loves them. This last boat will be our retirement boat — where have you heard that before? Our dreams are to cruise Mexico and the Pacific after we say adios to the rat race.

That is four boats we’ve owned together, and I couldn't have afforded any of the last three without a partner.

Why have our partnerships been successful? I’m good at mechanical and electrical. Rimas excels in woodworking and fabrication. He catches fish while I can fillet like nobody’s business. He’s a good cook while I am a demon dishwasher. Neither of us tries to do it all, but rather what we each know best. This approach keeps us using the boat together. And if significant others and friends and family come along, so much the better!

Patrick Shuss
O'Mer, Lagoon 410
Currently in Nassau, Bahamas


I've been in two 50/50 partnerships, and crewed on two boats that were in partnerships. All four worked. With no majority owner, you either agree or you don't.

In my two partnerships, and the other two, the partners were also good friends, so the schedule was loose and forgiving. If something broke as a result of normal wear and tear, both partners paid. If something broke because someone did something stupid, it was on the person who broke it.

I think the boats benefitted from extra eyes, too.

Brad Belleville
Intermission, Hawkfarm


I am writing Latitude because the publisher is one of the most knowledgeable people regarding marine and marine legal matters. And I love Latitude.

A friend and I are forming a partnership to buy a Ranger 23 to race and play around on the Bay. We are looking for a legal contract to bind this partnership. Is there a database for this type of document?

We all love lawyers — when we need them. But they can easily cost as much as a used Ranger 23. One friend who was involved in a four-way partnership was good enough to share his contract with us. But much of it doesn't pertain to a simple two-way split. Any suggestions?

Steve Cosbey
San Francisco

Steve — Our first suggestion is to refrain from believing that Latitude has any expertise when it comes to marine legal matters. We know a little bit, just enough to get into trouble.

Our second suggestion is to read the following letter from attorney Linda Newland.


Sailors thinking about partnerships might be interested in reading a very useful older guide I have used in preparing yacht co-ownership agreements for people sharing a boat. It has an extensive layman's discussion of a proposed contractual agreement, clause by clause. Even if one doesn't use the suggested sections in their entirety, the discussion and consideration of them is very informative, and may be useful in deciding if co-ownership is for you.

Although the Yachtsman's Legal Guide to Co-Ownership by Dexter and Paula Odin was published in 1981, it is available used on Amazon.

Linda Newland
Port Townsend, Washington

Readers — Linda Newland is a lawyer, and a veteran of the Singlehanded TransPac and a singlehanded passage to Japan.


Having delivered lots of multihulls, I liked Latitude's article on the dismasting and (apparent) disappearance of Gunboat 55 hull #1 Rainmaker. It seems that many experienced monohull sailors have trouble understanding the loadings on a boats that don't heel. I wish there were some easy way to teach the difference, but carbon fiber is no replacement for common sense.

Gary Hoover
Tradewind Yachting
Big Island, Hawaii

Gary — According to the skipper of Rainmaker, who had done 30,000 miles on various Gunboat catamarans, the relatively new cat was hit by a sudden estimated 70-knot gust that created such a whiteout that the crew couldn't see the storm sail even though it was just a few feet in front of their eyes. And the gust brought the carbon mast down. Within a minute or so, the wind was down to a reasonable 45 knots and the visibility had improved dramatically. In the skipper's opinion, the estimated 70-knot gust/microburst was just a freak occurrence.

Regardless, the dismasting crushed the cat's house, which led to one engine's being knocked out and the other being unreliable. As if that weren't bad enough, the cat and a large ship attempting to rescue the crew collided, and the cat came within feet of being chopped up by the ship's massive prop. With the weather expected to deteriorate even further, and the cat at the extreme limit of a Coast Guard helicopter's range, Rainmaker was abandoned and the five crew rescued by a Coast Guard swimmer and chopper.

The big mystery is what happened to Rainmaker. Although the obvious damage wasn't enough to sink her, a search by potential salvors in boats and by air, hired by the owner, revealed debris but no cat. Curious.

If there was a lack of 'common sense', in our opinion it was being 200 miles off Hatteras at that time of year more than the amount of sail the three pros, owner and owner's son had up at the time. Most West Coast sailors have no idea how much more difficult and dangerous it is to get from the East Coast to the tropics than from the West Coast to the tropics.


We agree with the Wanderer's complaints about the newer Navionics software, finding the software we just downloaded to our Nexus tablet to be mostly useless. In fact, I'd describe it as a child's toy.

For example, if you want to enter waypoints at specific lat/long positions, then navigate to them, you can't. Waypoints can be created only while creating a route, and then you 'tap' the screen. You cannot specify the lat/long, and you can't even tell what lat/long you tapped on. Useless for us.

Another example: If you have a route and you want to insert a waypoint to bypass a rock or a point of land, you can't. It just can't be done.

Yet another example: You want to delete a waypoint in a route? You can't. Oh, you can start deleting waypoints from the end back to where you want to make a change, then start forward again, but that's a joke.

My last example is when you search for a lat/long position, then save it as a 'favorite'. If you then want to navigate to it, you can't. You can't even display the name you just gave to that spot.

Navionics seems to have done a good job of integrating Twitter and Facebook, and they have received a lot of fluffy, gushing reviews — but not from sailors and navigators such as ourselves. In my opinion, the Navionics software for Android is not a serious tool. If anyone has solutions to these issues, I'd love to hear them.

Fred Roswold
Wings, Serendipity 43
Seattle / Puerto Vallarta

Readers — Even if Navionics has solutions for Roswold's questions, the fact that he even has them would suggest to us that they have a problem that seriously needs addressing. After all, Roswold has been sailing around the world for the last 19 years. If their software isn't intuitive to someone with his experience, it's going to be even more oblique to less experienced sailors.


Oh yes, I agree with the Wanderer that newer electronic chart software is often less user-friendly than the old stuff. In fact, after purchasing Garmin's newer GPS 72, which I found to have a less usable track feature and an inscrutable menu, I had my old Garmin handheld GPSs rebuilt.

Jon Doornink
Seadream, Morgan Out Island 37
La Paz, BCS Mexico


Companies needlessly 'upgrade' software all the time. The techies responsible for those so-called upgrades need to keep doing this in order to justify their jobs, and the companies can sell the software for more money because it's supposedly better. (Usually it's not.) So everyone is happy except for the customers. The only limitation is that the needless upgrades can't make the software too dysfunctional or people will stop buying it — unless there's a monopoly and people have to buy that brand. I realize that this doesn't directly respond to your issues with Navionics, but it's my opinion about all these constant upgrades to everything.

Jeff Hoffman
San Francisco

Jeff — We wouldn't say that the Navionics upgrade is needless because it provides a lot more information than previous versions. Our complaint is that a combination of the complexity and new information makes it much less user-friendly for the most basic stuff. At the very least, we think they need to have an online Dummies Guide to Navionics.


Unfortunately, 'keep it simple' is not a concept programmers and application designers understand. More is better to them, and in some cases it may be true. However, when it comes to navigation, if I can't do the basics in a quick and simple way, I would rather revert to analog methods. When I'm on watch at 3 a.m., I want to know where I am, where I've been, and where I'm going. I don't want my head down, messing about with recalcitrant electronics or confusing software. I want it up doing what it is there for.

Even on the most sophisticated vessels I've served on, we always had the habit of pricking a paper chart at least once every watch, as an overreliance on electronics can bring about a lack of situational awareness — which has brought more than one vessel to grief.

Great work, Latitude 38, as I could live without electronic charts, but I'm not sure I would want to live without Latitude.

Paul Guthrie
Brunswick Heads, Australia


I'm absolutely with the Wanderer on this. And the new tides and currents function — once my favorite aspect of the Navionics program — is a major step backward as well. The little strip of info at the bottom is too small on the phone version, at least for eyes older than 30 years. It's a bit better on the iPad, but I still miss the full-page pop-out of the old 'ware.

Then again, if this ain't a 'First World Problem', I don't know what is. These charts are stunningly accurate, affordable, and reliable next to what we were all using just a few years ago.

Burke Stancill
Dreamer Be, Cascade 42
Piers Island, B.C., where charts bloody well matter


I use the Navionics navigation app through iNavX and like it a lot. On the top right there is a sprocket, and when opened, it allows you to change your position setting to "center, offset or none." If you choose 'none', it won't return you to your position when you are looking at other areas. This should solve one of the Wanderer's problems with the app.

That said, I have to agree with the Wanderer that the 'touch the screen' process to measure a distance between two points is inconsistent — to say the least. I wonder if he's using Navionics through iNavX on his iPad like me. It's the least expensive navigation platform around.

I have a mooring in Matauwhi Bay next to Russell, New Zealand, which is a lovely area. But right now I'm sailing to Auckland from the Bay of Islands, and will stop at the Great Barrier Island, which is amazing. This is my second season slummin' in Kiwiland and I love it here. But I'll head to Fiji in May and continue on to Vanuatu and New Caledonia before heading to Sydney in November. Life is good!

I started out with the 2012 Ha-Ha. You might remember me as the guy who, at one point, kicked his girlfriend and her seven suitcases off his boat. Then I did the 2013 Puddle Jump.

P.S. Both my sons are graduating, including Sean from the publisher's alma mater, UCSB. Life is good!

Michael Bowe
Patanjali, Catalina 42
New Zealand

Michael — The Wanderer does use Navionics through iNavX on an iPad. Thanks for the helpful tip, but we still prefer the less sophisticated earlier Navionics app because it did what it promised, something we can't make the newer version do.

We certainly do remember you and the unpleasant situation between you and your (former) girlfriend with seven suitcases.


In John Larsen's March issue letter about hitting a rock near Punta Mita with his Westsail 42 Danika, he mentioned that after nearly 40 years, he was nearly done building her.

I had been under the impression that Westsail 42s, like the one once owned by legendary CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, were production boats. Was Mr. Larson referring to some other boat he built? A clarification would be greatly appreciated.

Peter Hartmann
Ahaluna, 52-ft Michel DeRidder sloop
Ensenada, Mexico

Peter — Westsail built 28s, 32s, 42s and 43s. Many of them — in fact, we think a majority of them — were kit boats. This often included the hull, deck, some bulkheads and maybe the engine. The final results were all over the spectrum of quality. A number of manufacturers, including at different times, Islander and Columbia, also offered some of their boats as kits. Attempting to complete a boat from a hull and deck was fairly common in the 1970s and 1980s. These days people seem to have a much better idea of just how long, hard and expensive such a process really is, and what better deals can be had in used boats that were professionally built.

For what it's worth, Cronkite, "America's most trusted man" the anchor for the CBS Evening News when that was the country's primary source of news, didn't start sailing until his 50s. But once he started, he really took to it. Walter started with a Westsail 42 in the early 1970s, moved up to a custom Sunward in the 1980s, then to a Camper & Nicholson 60 in the 1990s, and finally a Hinckley 64 ketch in the early 2000s. All of them were named Wyntje. And that's the way it was.


I crew on our F-31 trimaran Tumbleweed, which has a 42-ft rotating mast that tops out at 48-ft above the water. Yes, I'm the one who has gone up and down that sucker to unfoul lines, raise flags, you name it. I'm not afraid of heights, but that doesn't keep me from clinging onto the mast and spreaders as I'm being hoisted.

There's something about me — I am 5'11" and 145 lbs — the halyard, and the bosun's chair that make it seem as if it's not possible to do, but being at the mercy of my very strong, steady, trustworthy captain, it's actually fun.

We've been cruising the Bahamas for the winter. There has been tons of wind, which means lots of reasons to go aloft.

Tricia Sandstorm
Tumbleweed, Corsair F-31
Seattle, Washington

Readers — This is the latest in a string of letters about women sailors who go 'up and down' — meaning either go up masts and/or dive down on bottoms, that we've been delighted to publish. We'll have more next month.


My wife Annette does not want to toot her own horn about being an 'up and down woman', so I'll have to do it for her. She painted the spreader tips soon after we launched our catamaran Rum Doxy in Thailand. I would have done it myself, but I didn't as yet trust the rig and thought it might be dangerous.

Annette also jumps in and cleans the bottom pretty regularly. She doesn't seem to mind — except when she gets covered by skeleton shrimp.

Not only does she go up the mast and dive on the bottom, but she is our chief fiberglass laminator and grinder — as well as painter.

Mike Reed
Rum Doxy, Custom 46' cat
Santa Barbara


I was always going aloft in my younger days. From 1986 to 1989, I crewed on the Naval Academy’s offshore boats. These boats were used hard, so every Monday was maintenance day. Since I was about the lightest crew at the time, I would be the one going up. One of the pit guys who winched me up told me that he preferred that I go up because I would climb most of the way on my own. There weren't many women on the boats, so who knows, he may have just been liking the opportunity to look up my shorts.

As I was usually the only woman aboard, it was always expected that I would do the maintenance on the head, too. That's a job I have gladly relinquished to my husband on our boat. But I also did — and still enjoy — taking apart, cleaning, and putting together the winches, which is normally a blue job."

As for 'going down', the only time I was 'up' for it was when we were in La Paz and the water was warm. These days it's either a blue job or we pay to have someone else do it.

I love Latitude online! And I've already blocked out the calendar for the next Ta-Ta!

Julie McShea
Always, Seawind 1160
Lihue, Hawaii

Readers — We were curious as to what kind of boats were being raced at the Naval Academy in the late 1980s. Julie responded as follows:

"At that time, the Naval Academy raced a mixture of donated boats. They also had a fleet of Luders 44 yawls that were raced in one series in the fall and used by the midshipmen for summer training. The now-aging Navy 44s were just coming in as I was going out. I also raced on a New York 36 and a Swan 42 (maybe a 46), as well as Seahawk, the last IOR boat the Navy raced. I also crewed Rattlesnake, a 68-ft sloop, for my summer training.

"Back then, I didn't pay much attention to the different types of boats I was sailing on because I'd grown up in Missouri and had never sailed before. I just wanted to go sailing on any boat with good crew."

Just a note to Julie and everyone else interested in the SoCal Ta-Ta III. Because of Labor Day, this year's dates have been changed to September 13-19.


I'd like to tell an 'up the mast story' on behalf of my wife, Bridget. We were married in the early 1980s, which was about the time I'd gotten my first captain's license, and we regularly chartered a Catalina 30 for weekends. We would take a paying group out one day, and have the boat for ourselves both nights and the second day.

One morning, we sailed halfway up the Petaluma River, and were returning to the Bay with the ebb. We were making short rough tacks in the narrow channel into steep two- to three-foot wind-against-current chop when the main halyard broke. After securing the mainsail, we motored and got nowhere fast in considerable discomfort. It didn't take long to recognize the danger of being driven out of the channel into the mud, something that was possible without a main, as we were well out into that shallow part of San Pablo Bay.

The choices were to run back into the river, which would make for a very late return of the boat to Alameda, or reconnect the halyard where we were. A thorough search of Magee's locker yielded no bosun's chair. At the time, my wife, who is still a slender, delicate creature, was not known as a sportswoman-adventurer type, but she was game. So I fashioned a chair out of some bow lines, tied her in, and up she went.

The upper knot on her 'bosun's chair' two-blocked at the masthead, leaving her outstretched hand about a foot below the broken halyard. For a few tense minutes, she made me aware that I should have made the knot lower, and that she was not particularly excited with my suggestion for her to come down so that I could retie it and send her back up. As I did my best to keep the boat in the channel and moving with as little motion as possible, Bridget somehow did the impossible. With her feet pressed firmly against the swinging mast, she lunged and made the grab. We've lived happily ever after.

P.S. We are now preparing our Swan 61 Hasty Heart for our 18th winter cruising to Mexico, where we'll be chartering between Puerto Vallarta and Barra de Navidad.

Rick Pearce
Hasty Heart, Swan 61
San Francisco Bay


We're writing in response to Greg Dorland's letter about the problems Schengen Area regulations pose for American cruisers wanting to cruise Europe with their boats.

There are two issues. The first is that Americans can't stay in Schengen Area countries — which means almost all of Europe — for more than 90 days without leaving for at least 90 days. The second issue is that you can't keep your boat in Schengen Area countries for more than 18 months without paying VAT, which is very expensive.

The second problem is actually relatively easy to solve. Our Lagoon 440 Joy of Tahoe, which we took delivery of in Texas in 2006 and have since cruised to England and Europe, has been in Cartagena, southern Spain, since October. We made the short trip from Gibraltar to Marina Smir, Morocco for two days to get the boat's VAT clock reset for another 18 months. It wasn't a problem, although we had to insist that the Moroccan officials stamp the correct documents. By the way, our 'VAT clock' could be set at up to 24 months if we put her in bond with a Solicitud de Precintar, which means we could live aboard her but not move her.

The problem with humans being able to stay for more than 90 days without having to leave for 90 days is seemingly a very difficult one. However, everyone we have talked to here who has actually cruised in Schengen Area countries for a long time has advised us to simply ignore the 90-day limit and just go about our cruising! One American couple has spent the last 10 years in the Med doing exactly that. Several Australians have done the same.

That said, we got around the Schengen problem by applying for and getting a 'long-stay visa' from the French, which takes care of our Schengen situation.

Anyway, after our visit to Morocco, we continued on to Cartagena, where we have joined about 30 other boats from all over the world for the winter. A number of long-term cruisers told us that Cartagena was the best choice. There is a lot of evidence to support that opinion. The streets are alive with locals on promenade, and outdoor restaurants are four to a block. Delicious tapas are to be had everywhere, and restaurant prices are very reasonable. Cartagena is a great walking town, starting right from the marina gate. Last night was the Cartagena Jazz Fest, and we could hear jazz great Branford Marsalis as well as the popular fusion band Snarky Puppy play not 200 feet from us.

It's true that Cartagena is a stop for big cruise ships, which is never a good thing. But it doesn't have a beach, so it wasn't overbuilt with condos. On the other hand, we're finding that red Spanish table wine may be better for the price than what you get in France.

We are currently arranging for berthing in the South of France for the summer. It's doable and, depending on what you require, somewhat affordable.

By the way, if any cruisers in Europe are looking for low rates, a worldwide German consolidator is highly recommended by our German/Austrian neighbors on a Prout cat. Their rates are as low as two euros a day in the offseason! Visit

Walt & Joy Weis Kass
Joy of Tahoe, Lagoon 44
Port Cartagena, Murcia, Spain

Readers — We don't know enough about the situation in Schengen Area countries to recommend blowing off the 90-day rule, particularly since the penalty can potentially be extreme — never being allowed in Schengen Area countries again in your life! According to Lonely Planet, officials in countries such as Spain and Greece are much more lax — this is hardly news — in enforcing laws than are those in Germany and Austria.

To read more about the Kass's adventure — they don't consider themselves to be hardened sailors — see the September and October 2014


Like the Wanderer's old piece of line, I suspect I have a similar collection of boat stuff that I don't want to let go of. The one that comes to mind most prominently, since it gets used regularly, is the Omega PFD that I bought in 1978 for sailing/racing the Fireball dinghy I then owned. The still-visible bloodstains elicit memories of my nose being a victim of a rather impressive spinnaker jibe/trapeze pitchpole capsize about halfway between Alcatraz and the St. Francis YC during their Spring Dinghy Regatta.
I even have pictures of me in said PFD from 1979 and as recently as 2013, so it's been used for well over 30 years. The PFD is still mostly yellow, but I'm a bit grayer now.

Dave Cohan
Tahu Le'a, Morris 46
Redwood City


My Chief Engineer, Scupper, a 14-year-old tabby, is younger than my oldest spring line. If I’m still solvent when Scupper passes into cat heaven, I’ll consider replacing the spring.

John S Farnworth
Bashful, Hunter 46LE


My wife and I have a special winch handle that came with the first sailboat we bought 20 years ago. We found it buried in a pile of moldy lines in a waterlogged bunk. The winch handle is heavy, doesn't float, has zero ergonomics, and doesn’t even fit very well in most winches. However, when you flip it over, the inscription on the bottom reads: Made in Alviso by Hippies. These hippies may have made thousands of these handles, and as far as I know every sailor on the Bay might own one. But despite its uselessness on our modern racing boat, we’ll never get rid of it. It’s just way too cool.

Jim & Alison Jackson
Skippy M'lew, Capri 18
Santa Cruz

Jim and Alison — We'd forgotten all about those. We can't imagine what Alviso is like these days, being so close to Silicon Valley, but back in the 1970s it was the center of lots of do-it-yourself boatbuilding.


Just yesterday I went to my Pearson Ariel #256 Catwalk at Morro Bay to get rid of old sheets, docklines, pieces of short line and such. When I was done, I hadn't thrown anything away. I may need some of it sometime!

Bob & Holly Gosnell
Catwalk, Pearson Ariel
Morro Bay


The only battered and frayed bit aboard my schooner Mayan is the skipper. Thank heavens the Admiral, my lovely wife, has chosen not to toss that bit of equipment, despite its obvious wear.

Right now Mayan is a mess, but we're hoping to have her ready to go by the end of March, at which time we'll sail her north to Santa Cruz. Having failed at retirement for the third time, I'm working full time again, which may mean I'll have to get some friends to bring Mayan north.

Beau Vrolyk
Mayan, 59-ft Alden schooner
Santa Cruz

Readers — Mayan is, of course, the 59-ft Alden centerboard schooner built in 1947 that musician David Crosby owned for so many years.


Have you seen the average sailor's garage? That’s where everything ends up before it finally leaves our hands. It's hard to throw something away when you think it might have another use.

Greg Clausen
Free Spirit, Beneteau 390

Greg — The fact that we paid so much for some items makes it even more difficult to throw them away.


The Wanderer should wash his stiff docklines with fabric softener.

Rich Palmer
ex-Balzaphire, Islander 28
South Beach Marina

Rich — Doña de Mallorca has done that numerous times. But you can only go to that well so many times.


I am a proud member of Latitude's 'Over 30 Club', as I have owned my Pearson 26 for 39 years this October. But I'm thinking there may be another fun 'club' for Latitude readers. How many of you out there have been married on your boat?

My wife Rose and I were married aboard Midnattsolen 10 years ago this April. The ceremony took place at the dock of Discovery Bay Yacht Harbor.

Our friends Jim and Jeanie Long were married aboard their first Oasis back in 1986 at Fortman Marina. After the wedding they spent three years cruising the Sea of Cortez. They have since moved on to a larger boat, a Lancer 39 motorsailer, and have been cruising both sides of Mexico and Central America. They currently are in Puerto Escondido, and yes, Jim did ride out Hurricane Odile there.

I hope those of you who were married on your boats had as great a wedding as we did and will join the club.

Bill & Rose Grummel
Midnattsolen, Pearson 26

Readers — Since Bill and Rose's letter above appeared in 'Lectronic, we've received a number of responses. Several of them follow.


Alene and I were married aboard our Cross 46 trimaran Migration in 2009 at Minerva Reef, which many know is a semi-submerged reef in the middle of nowhere between Fiji and New Zealand. The ceremony was absolutely wonderful.

I’d planned on proposing to Alene there — which I did via a message in a bottle that I threw into the water ahead of the boat so she’d find it. But I never thought we'd get married two days later.

Bruce Balan & Alene Rice
Migration, Cross 46 trimaran
Palo Alto / Thailand


My wife, Wendy, and I were married by Doug Vann aboard his Rhodes Bounty II Tiare while she was anchored off the west coast of Molokai on June 11, 1988. Ten years later we were remarried by Doug aboard his new boat, the Farr 44 Tiare, while she was anchored in the same cove. After 26 years, we're still happily married.

Bruce Pine

Bruce — Congratulations! And thanks for remembering Doug Vann. We sailed on both his boats. He was a great guy.


I think the club should be for those who married on their boat and are still married. Those whose marriages did not make it should not be included. I am one of those whose marriages didn't make it, and I don't want to be included. Thanks for printing this letter.

Arthur Hein
Lake Tahoe North Shore

Arthur — Well, that knocks the Wanderer out of the club.


With regard to Danika hitting a pinnacle rock to the northwest of Punta Mita, it's true that the rocks aren't shown on many charts, However, they show up nicely on Google Earth — as shown in the attached screen shot.

This view was made using Coastal Explorer, and the chartlet shown came via the Chartaid program written by longtime Sea of Cortez cruiser Bill Stockton of True Love. I highly recommend this program to anyone cruising in waters where the available charts are at all suspect.

Jim Hassberger
Kanga, Valiant 40 #278
Lying Mazatlan

Jim — Thanks for the recommendation. That said, if we're not mistaken, the rocks seen in Google Earth break all the time and are thus pretty easy to see. We think the pinnacle Danika hit is in the general area, but not part of that group.


I live in south Texas, where we have bad mold issues like those in the Caribbean and other tropical areas. I sail a Laser 28 and have had problems with mold. I then bought a small ozone generator, and have it hooked to a timer so it doesn't run all the time. It got rid of all existing mold and has prevented any new mold from forming. It also keeps out paper wasps. It's the best $300 I ever spent.

Ben Youngblood
San Antonio, Texas


For the mold you mentioned on the Olson 30 La Gamelle in the Caribbean — and other boats in tropical areas — you might want to try one of the tea tree oil products. You just place the opened container in the area to be treated, and the fumes kill the mold and mildew spores. I've been using the tea tree oil products for years. You can get them from TRAC Ecological at

Tom Collins
Misty Sea, Bertram 46
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


I loved the feature on Playmate/cruiser Elizabeth Ostrander — and like the fact that she was not dressed in all of the bullshit that US Sailing wants to make us sailors wear when we go to sea. Elizabeth's look represented a good marketing strategy for the sailing industry — that sailing is fun! Pedal down and vang off!

Jonathan 'Birdman' Livingston
Punk Dolphin, Wylie 38
Pt. Richmond

Readers — When we asked the Birdman, a very experienced and successful Bay and offshore racer, for details on the US Sailing edict, he responded as follows:

"If you want to race in the ocean, the new rules mandate that you wear a PFD at all times, and as of this year, the PFD would have to include a jockstrap. This is straight from the Ocean Yacht Racing Association website, which got it from the US Sailing ISAF special regulations section. Last year some boats even got protested and DSQ'd because of PFDs.

"There is more, but I don't think that the remaining regulations prevent anybody from sailing or racing with a bikini on. Nonetheless, there is a big price tag for all the electronic bells and whistles one now needs."


I enjoyed the Letters editor's long and information-packed editorial response to a letter about Spike Africa. Spike and actor Sterling Hayden certainly made a colorful pair up and down the Sausalito waterfront during the 1970s.

A small piece the editor left out about Spike was the time when he owned a restaurant. It was located at Mariner Square in Alameda, and I believe it was called Spike Africa's. There was, over the entryway, a picture of Spike reclining in the nude a la the famous Burt Reynolds centerfold in Cosmopolitan magazine of that era. Spike was a bit more conservative than Burt, as he was wearing his captain’s hat. Spike took great pleasure in greeting guests — and watching the ladies do a double-take when they realized their host was none other than the subject of the portrait — complete with his signature hat.

(The restaurant eventually failed, as do most restaurants, and the site later became the first Chevy's.)

I also have a memory of Spike and his wife Red that long predates that. They were at a small luncheon at a house on Balboa Island in Southern California when I was about 12 and my brother was about 9. It was a warm day and we were all outside in the garden. Spike had his shirt off and was lying back in a lawn chair catching the rays. He had two small sparrows tattooed on his chest, and he took great pleasure in flexing his pectoral muscles, making the birds on them jump while he tweeted a bird sound. My brother and I were fascinated by this remarkable performance. We asked for more until Red told him to knock it off because lunch was ready.

Dave Case
Old Geezer Adventurer

Readers — Why is it that single women always seem to be attracted to 'characters', but as soon as they marry them, they try to 'de-characterize' them?


Is anybody else sick of all the white racing boats with nothing but white chutes? It was cool for a while but, like a lot of things, it got stale. So I was glad to read in the March 18 ‘Lectronic that at least some J/105 sailors are putting color in their sails. Personally, I think it would be great if every boat had to have custom colored spinnakers. Sort of like racing colors for race horses.

P.S. I’m doing my part as I have pink sails for my Hobie Cat. Now all I need is water in Central California lakes.

Mike Wiltendorf


I'm shopping for a boat for next year's Ha-Ha and to continue on to Nova Scotia. I've been given lots of advice about what would be a suitable craft. The opinions range from "nothing less than a bluewater boat" to "a Hunter would be just fine."

Do you know of any impartial resource for advice on which boat I should buy? I noticed a wide variety of boats in last year's Ha-Ha, but unfortunately don't have experience with most of them. Most of my sailing experience had been with my Ericson 32-2, but even that is somewhat limited. My wife has had enough of the Ericson and wants a boat that is 'done' and only needs minor tweaks.

There is a 1994 Hunter Legend 40.5 for sale locally that I could get for about $65,000, as the owner passed away. She has refrigeration, radar, a dodger, a clean interior and about 1,500 hours on the diesel. But lots of people have a poor opinion of Hunters. Is that warranted?

Rubicon has a Hans Christian 38 Mk II that may go for mid- to high $40s. The interior is pristine but the exterior is weathered. I'm concerned that she'd be slow and wouldn't sail in a light breeze. She has a lot of engine hours, too.

Sanford Bennett
Boat Hunting
Bay Area

Sanford — Generally speaking, a guy asking what boat he should buy is akin to a guy asking what kind of woman he should marry. It all depends what you like. The fact that there were something like 100 different boat designs represented in the last Ha-Ha is evidence of just how many different options/opinions there are.

If somebody put a gun to our head and told us we had to decide how many types of sailboats there were, we'd say there are five: 1) Heavy, full-keel cruising boats, such as Westsails, Hans Christians, and a lot of other boats that were built in Taiwan; 2) Racer/cruisers, such as the Beneteaus, Catalinas, Hunters, Islanders and scores of others; 3) High-performance/race boats, which would include things like J/Boats, Santa Cruzes and Olson 40s; 4) Full-on high-performance race boats; and 5) Multihulls.

We can eliminate #4 because you don't want an all-out racing boat, and #5 because multihulls are out of your budget. We're also going to eliminate #3, because as much as an Olson 40 might make a great 'basics only' cruising boat for a young couple, that doesn't sound like you.

That brings us down to categories #1 and #2. At this point you have to ask yourself what kind of boat turns you on. For the one thing, you don't want to buy a boat that you're not excited about and proud to own.

If you think you might be a Category #1 person, remember that most of boats in this category, particularly those built in Taiwan, have lots of wood, both on the inside and out. Exterior wood in particular takes lots of work to keep looking good. Starting from our first boat in 1977, we've gravitated toward boats that have as little exterior wood as possible, and we haven't regretted it. We'd rather be sailing than woodworking.
If we were you, we'd probably look for something in the racer/cruiser category, as we think they offer the best combination/compromise of comfort and performance. And it's not as if a well-built racer/cruiser isn't up for the kind of weather you can expect on a trip from California to Nova Scotia. If you're not familiar with the conditions, once you get around Pt. Conception, it's going to be mostly light air all the way to Panama. Once you get to the Caribbean, it can be quite breezy up to Florida. Once you head up the East Coast, you can be faced with just about anything. Thanks to modern weather forecasting, if you have time, you can usually avoid most if not all really bad weather.

Are Hunters well-built? We're not experts, but the impression we have is that, a number of years ago, some of them weren't particularly well-built, while newer ones are better-built. It all depended on the model. Mike Harker singlehanded a brand-new Hunter 466 across the Atlantic a few years ago and reported that he only had to replace one lightbulb. He later singlehanded a Hunter 49 around the world with no significant boat problems. Jake and Sharon Howard have been living aboard their Hunter Legend 45 Jake for the last 25+ years, the last eight or so of them cruising in Mexico. Mind you, a long time ago, Beneteaus didn't seem to be particularly well-made either. But that's all changed.

We also think that boat length is important. All things being equal, we'd rather get something that's at least 40 feet long, than something 35 feet or less. This might mean you have to get something from the 1970s or 1980s to fit in your budget. Just off the top of our head, we figure you might be able to find a suitable Valiant 40, Newport 41, C&C 41, Islander Gurney 41, or a Cavalier 39 to name just a few. If you wanted a little more room and/or aft cabin, you might look into something like a Irwin 43, a C&C Landfall 38, a Columbia 45 or a Gulfstar 50. If you were willing to stretch your budget a little bit, you might be able to find a good deal on an older Catalina 42 that needed a little work. But we agree with your wife: avoid boats that need more than a little work.

The names above just scratch the surface of what you might like. There are two more things to remember. First, the real cost of a boat is the difference between what you pay for it and what you sell it for. If you buy a white elephant at a bargain price, you may only be able to sell her for a bargain price — if you can sell her at all. Second, the individual boat is more important than the type of boat. If not properly maintained, even the best-built boat can become all but worthless in a surprisingly short time.

Opinions are like elbows, but those are ours. Happy boat hunting.


Latitude muffed it in its March 18 ‘Lectronic report on entries in the St. Barth Bucket. It’s true there is a yacht named Altair entered, but it’s not the 108-ft topsail schooner, often considered to be one of the great yachts in history, but rather the S&S designed, Derecktor-built 105-ft sloop Altair. What gives?

Nelson Smith
Tortola, British Virgins

Nelson — We’re embarrassed to say that the mistake was almost certainly the result of someone slipping us an afternoon rosé when we didn’t really want one. It’s an occupational hazard in the Caribbean. Nonetheless, it’s a fun mistake, as it gives us an excuse to again print one of our favorite sailing photos and tell the story behind it.

Altair is a 108-ft gaff-rigged topsail schooner that was designed by the legendary Scottish designer William Fife III and built at William Fife & Sons at Fairlie on the Firth of Clyde in 1931. It appears in many lists of the 10 greatest sailing yachts ever.
Anyway, about seven years ago we were in St. Barth over New Year's, as was our friend Bill Lily of the Newport Beach-based Lagoon 470 Moontide. Thanks to Ticonderoga Tom, we were extended the privilege of crewing aboard his historic yacht for the New Year’s Around the Island Race. And we were able to get our friend Bill aboard. We were put on the starboard foresail winch, and spent much of the race on the leeward side, trying to keep deck-washing water from washing our camera case overboard. Altair is a big boat, and we lost track of where Lily was — at least until the final windward leg. When we finally got a chance to look aft, there he was, with his Gabby Hayes hat on, at the helm and nobody else in sight at the back of the boat! We’re still trying to figure out how our friend, unknown to anybody on one of the greatest yachts in the world, managed, in the course of the three-hour race, to find himself alone at the helm.



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