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May 2015

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While on a flight from Boston to New York on business last week, I got to talking with the guy in the seat next to me. He told me he lived in San Francisco, and after awhile he started to moan about San Francisco’s problems — the recent influx of so many people, the high cost of housing, terrible traffic, and above all, the difficulty in getting away from the mobs of people.

I lived in San Francisco for much of the 1980s and 1990s, and did a lot of sailing. Even if the City was as crowded back then, sailing was still my much-needed way to escape from crowds and get back in touch with Nature. So I asked my seat neighbor if he sailed. He told me he had when he was younger, but not recently.

I told him I envied him, because after living in San Francisco, my career path has taken me to Seattle, Chicago and most recently Boston. I told him that of the four places that I had lived and sailed, San Francisco had by far the most to offer sailors. San Francisco has the most consistent summer wind, it has the greatest sailing variety, and it has the most spectacular scenery. It also has great places where you can get away for the weekend that are only a couple of hours away. You can also sail year-round, and unless you go out in the ocean, it’s delightful flat-water sailing.

Seattle? No wind, gray skies, and lots of drizzling. Chicago? A short season, not much scenery, and no place to go. The Northeast? Sailing there is great during the three months of summer – if it doesn’t rain — and there are lots of places to go. But just three months of sailing a year?

The way I see it, living aboard a boat and sailing San Francisco Bay would be the solution to most of the guy’s problems. That’s what I plan to do when I retire in about six years. The bottom line is that San Francisco sailors don’t have any idea of how lucky they are.

Martin McCarthy


I'm sure this is unwanted feedback, but I think Latitude is missing the point about the fundamental nature of the America's Cup. It is a design and sailing skills competition. Using MOD70s, as Latitude has suggested, would eliminate the design aspect, totally altering what this race is about.

The America's Cup is a 'fastest around the race course' competition, using the fastest race course sailboats in the world. And sorry, the AC45s are faster than the MOD70s.

Plus, the America's Cup is supposed to be about cutting-edge technology, such as wing sails and foiling.

Sorry, but with the advent of foiling, the MOD70 is 'old news' already. Yes, they can go 40 knots on a beam reach, but they would never come close to competing with the upwind foiling speeds or 'around the race track speeds' of the AC45s.

As a sailor, I'm bummed that the next America's Cup won't be as spectacular to watch as the AC72s were, or the AC62s that were planned, but I really don't get your constant push for MOD70s, which would be as boring to watch as the old 12 Meters.

As for myself and many other sailors, we can't wait to see the world's fastest foiling catamarans duke it out in foiling designs and sailing skill challenge in Bermuda. But all the best, and keep up the great reporting.

Seth Hynes
Honeymoon, Lagoon 380
Mill Valley

Seth — Does anybody know what the America's Cup really is anymore? A huge segment of the sailing population has tuned it out because the last several Cups — except for the last Finals — have been more about bickering billionaires, lawsuits and politics than sailing. And with last month's abrupt dumping of the AC62 design, the image of the America's Cup has swirled further down the commode. Luna Rossa, one of the pitifully few competitors, understandably dropped out as a result of the change in boat design that cost them many millions, so even more sailors who had been America's Cup enthusiasts their entire lives are turning away in disgust. It's a hot mess the likes of which nobody could have anticipated after the brilliant Finals last time on San Francisco Bay.

The America's Cup has not historically been about the "fastest boats around the course." The 12 Meters were never the fastest boats around in their time, nor were the IACC boats when they were used.

As for the notion that the Cup is about design innovation, the AC62s were to have one-design elements, as do the AC45s. MOD70s could be made semi-one-design, too.

We loved the AC72s on San Francisco Bay, but unlike you, we don't believe that foiling is the end-all, be-all of the future of the America's Cup. After all, the top-end speed for the AC72s was something like 49 knots, while Tom Siebel recently told us that his non-foiling MOD70 Orion hit 45 knots on the Bay. When it comes to bigger bang for the buck to attract more entrants, a MOD70 campaign would cost 1/10th of what some teams spent on the last Cup at a loss of just 10% of boat speed. We'd gladly give up four knots of speed to get a dozen more entries. Perhaps the quickest fix to the Cup would be to make it affordable to mere multimillionaires as well as billionaires.

Don't take this the wrong way, but we'd rate your statement that watching MOD70s is as boring as watching 12 Meters as one of the most ridiculous we've ever read. Please flip to the front cover, then tell us if you've ever seen a 12 Meter sailing upwind at 28 knots like that. And maybe ask the guys who were on the windward hull 20 feet above the water if they were bored. They were more likely thrilled as they hung on for dear life.

We spent two hours one afternoon last month chasing Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 Phaedo³ around the Caribbean, as it hit speeds in the middle 30s in just 17 knots of wind. We were on a chase boat with two 450-hp Cadillac outboards, and it was all the boat and our bodies could do to keep up with that sail-powered boat. Boring? You never would have used that word if you'd been on either boat.
We also want to make it clear that we only use the MOD70 as an example of a very inexpensive design — relatively speaking — that would offer the size, speed and incredible thrills that should be part of any America's Cup. If the organizers wanted to do an America's Cup variation of a MOD70, perhaps with foils, that offered similar advantages, we'd be all for that, too.

By the way, there is no such thing as "unwanted feedback." And differing opinions are the most desired feedback of all.

UPDATE: Just before going to press we were informed that the MOD70 Gitane is being outfitted with foils and T-rudders for sailing on foils this summer.


In the Letters section of the March issue of Latitude, there is an image of Liz Clark of the Cal 40 Swell carrying her 40-lb Bruce anchor to reset it. Don Scott expressed concern that the image might have been modified based on his own personal experience carrying anchors — albeit heavier ones — underwater.

The Latitude editor rightly pointed out that submerged objects are 'buoyed' by the weight of the fluid, in this case saltwater, that they are submerged in. He then went on to make a noble estimate at the underwater weight of the anchor.

Below you will find the calculations to describe the actual submerged weight.

First, some constants:
• The density of water is 62.4 lbs per cubic foot (lb/cf). (Note: this density is at 23? Celsius).

• The density of carbon steel is 490 lbs per cubic foot.

First, let's calculate the volume of the anchor in cubic feet. The volume of an anchor equals the weight of anchor/density of carbon steel.

Second, let's calculate the buoyant effect of water, which equals the volume of the anchor times the density of water.

Third, let's calculate the actual weight of the submerged anchor. The submerged weight of the anchor equals the weight of the (unsubmerged) anchor minus the buoyant effect of water.

The resulting value will give us the actual submerged weight of the anchor to within 1/10th of a pound.

Here we go:
The volume of the submerged anchor = 40 lbs/490 lbs/cf = 0.08163265 cf.

The buoyant effect of water = 0.08163265 cf * 62.4 lb/cf = 5.09 lbs.

The weight of the submerged anchor = 40 lbs - (5.09 lbs) = 34.9 lbs submerged weight.

Please note that no matter how deep the anchor, the buoyant effect of water is the same.

Mark Waters
Greatful Daze, Bruce Roberts OS 38
King Harbor YC, Redondo Beach

Mark — We don't mean to brag, but for philosophy/Russian majors, we think our guess as to the underwater weight of the anchor was pretty darn close.


I was very disappointed that Latitude elected to publish the April issue article by Rick Meyerhoff of Maya about doing laundry in the Caribbean.

We have cruised extensively on our boat in numerous countries, and we have learned much in our travels, including that washing machines — and especially dryers — are luxuries in most places in the world. The energy costs alone are prohibitive. When you do find washers and dryers, it is a treasure. For much of my time in the Caribbean, I used the bucket on the boat to wash, and I hung the clothes in the air to dry.

I also used the facilities in Grenada as Meyerhoff did and was glad to have them. But cruisers need to learn the Golden Rule of Shared Laundry Facilities, which applies everywhere in the world. That rule is Stay With Your Laundry! That's because invariably someone else is waiting to use that machine.

I have folded more strangers' underwear than I want to remember, just so I could put my things in the dryer. When the people who belonged to the clothes returned — although sometimes they never did when I was there — they would give every excuse imaginable: I had to work on my boat, I had to eat lunch, I had to go shopping, etc.

That said, for Meyerhoff to respond by purposely doing something to sabotage someone else's laundry is just unpardonable.

As cruisers, we try very hard to show people that as a group, we are good people. We are often guests in someone else's country. This kind of behavior gives the rest of us a bad name. If someone wants all the amenities of home, they should stay home.

Connie Finneran
Calaloo, Trident 38
Titusville, Florida

Readers — As Jennifer Massaro of the Pacific Seacraft 40 Benevento wrote so knowingly about in the March Changes, getting laundry done is one of the major challenges of the cruising life.

When the Wanderer is aboard
'ti Profligate in the Caribbean, Doña de Mallorca, who was "born to clean," barricades three of the four cabins to deny the Wanderer access so that the sheets and pillow cases won't need cleaning and body hair won't accumulate on the sole. Use a towel after showering on the back of the boat? You must be joking. The Wanderer is allowed one two-ft by three-ft bit of towel per month.

De Mallorca almost never has laundry done ashore in the Caribbean for two reasons. First, it's a pain to take laundry to and from shore. Second, it's expensive. Our musician friend Papagayo reports that it costs him $22 euros — currently about $25 USD — to get the same little load done in St. Barth that only costs him $5 in New York City.

Did you see the item on Costco dress shirts in last month's Cruise Notes? We're going to buy about four more as soon as we get the chance because they are easy to wash in a bucket on the boat, and they air dry with far fewer wrinkles than do even linen shirts. Although de Mallorca loves to clean, she refuses to iron.


My story starts in 1971, when at age 25, and with no money, no boatbuilding skills, and no sailing knowledge, I found a site in Liverpool where I could start building a 33-ft ferrocement sailboat. I launched Sea Loone in 1976 and set sail for the Caribbean. That cruise was not a great success, as I ran out of money, couldn't find work, got dismasted, and just before getting home, got battered by the Fastnet Storm of 1979 that claimed the lives of 18 sailors. We were penniless when we got back to Liverpool.

Since then, I've done three convoluted circumnavigations with the same humble boat over a period of 39 years. When I started out, my boat had paraffin lights and I navigated using a vernier sextant and Norries tables — although I had an unreliable SatNav, too. Now I've got GPS and AIS, the latter being a dream for the singlehanded sailor.

When I started out, Sea Loone's engine was a Lister diesel that I'd taken from a cement mixer. She was first replaced by a cast iron Volvo diesel with a gearbox and alternator. Now my boat has a three-cylinder Yanmar diesel. Sea Loone's solar panels provide reliable electricity, but I still don't have refrigeration. I do, however, have a pressure cooker and lots of Mason jars.

Believe it or not, I've never had Sea Loone in a marina. She's almost always been on the move, and I've never left her for more than a few weeks.
Why have I been cruising since 1976? It's the adventure of arriving in strange places, meeting new people, hearing different languages, and getting to know unusual cultures.

Having to find work, or at least ways to make money, proved to add spice to the mix. I did pile driving in the US and papermaking in Australia, and fabricated mining machinery in South Africa. I've also bought stuff — tagua nuts, rum, Makonda carvings, tapa cloth and Brazilian bikinis — in one place and sold it for a profit in another. I've also made and sold jewelry. All to keep the crew fed and the boat sailing.

It was — and still is — an interesting life that I've really enjoyed. Thinking some people might want to read about it, I've written Round and Round and Round, a 500-page book about my adventures. There are 70 color photos — including a few with tits and bums for the older sailors.

Using my name and the title, you can find and buy the book at Amazon. But if you go to, you can get the first 15 pages for free.

Roy Starkey
Sea Loone, 33-ft ferrocement homebuild
The Oceans of the World

Readers — Starkey is just more proof that there are alternatives to being a cog in the machine, and that money is not the obstacle to the cruising life that many people believe it is.


I attended the 'Documentation Needed When Cruising in Mexico' seminar presented by Diego Fernandez of Baja Naval at the Strictly Sail Boat Show last month in Oakland. My boyfriend, Rob Macfarlane — whom I got together with during the 2009 Baja Ha-Ha — and I were curious about any news. After all, we had both been aboard Rob's Nelson/Marek 45 Tiger Beetle at Baja Naval during the November 2013 'raid' that caused so much trouble for foreign boatowners and for Mexico's reputation. None of the boats at Baja Naval had a problem, but following Latitude's suggestion, Rob later used a Dremel tool to put his boat's hull identification number on the transom of his boat.

Enough background. During the seminar, Diego raised the same point that was discussed in the April 13 'Good News From Mexico' 'Lectronic — that prior to anyone's buying a boat in the US, the prospective buyer should check if the boat ever had a TIP (Temporary Import Permit), and ensure it's been canceled. That's because a TIP isn't transferable to the new owner, and the new owner can't get a new TIP until the old one is canceled.

If the new owner isn't going to be taking the boat to Mexico, canceling the TIP wouldn't be an immediate issue for him. However, if he wanted to sell the boat seven or eight years down the road, and the prospective buyer found that she still had an active TIP, and the previous owner who had gotten the TIP couldn't be found to cancel it, the sale might go up in smoke.

Diego went on to mention that his warning would extend to boats with TIPs that had expired, but had never been canceled. He said it would be worse to be found with a boat in Mexico with an expired TIP than with no TIP at all, as having an expired TIP would make it look as if you'd imported the boat into Mexico without intending to pay duty.

Diego emphasized that buying a boat with a TIP in Mexico would be a bad idea because it's illegal to sell a boat that has a valid/current TIP. He said that if someone wants to buy a boat in Mexico, he would recommend that the seller check the boat out of Mexico, cancel the TIP, conclude the sale in international waters, then have the new owner get a new TIP online before returning to Mexico. The computer program for applying for a TIP will not process the application if the boat has a current TIP.

How does an owner cancel a TIP? According to an online SAT (Mexican IRS) document, these are the instructions:

"In all cases of canceling a TIP for vehicles, motor homes and sea vessels, the person whose name is on the TIP must go to a CIITEV Module at a border Customs office. He/she must present the vessel (or car or motorhome), the TIP, and the hologram sticker on the TIP, in order to get the cancellation receipt."
I look forward to learning Tere Grossman's findings on the subject.

Kristen Soetebier
Pueo, Santana 22

Kristen — The details and nuances of all this are still a little fuzzy to us, but Diego's main point — don't buy a boat until her Mexican TIP has been canceled — is an excellent one. If someone does, they can be setting themselves up for problems. How can you tell for sure if a boat has a current TIP? We presume you could apply for a new one, and if the application is rejected, it will be because the boat already has a TIP. If you can't get that far into the application to find out, you may have to call or even go to a customs office at the border.

We're confident Tere Grossman would concur with everything that Diego said. We did ask her why a boatowner would cancel a TIP when leaving Mexico if he thought he might return to Mexico a number of years later before the TIP expired, as the TIP is good for unlimited ins and outs. She said it was confusing, and that she was working with the Tourism Department to try to get the law changed so TIPs would self-cancel when they expired. What Mexico really needs is to change the law so that when a new owner applies for and gets a new TIP, the old one is automatically canceled. You can find the details in the new Visiting Mexico by Private Boat, which will be distriburted to all Ha-Ha entries.


I suspect that many Latitude and 'Lectronic readers would also like to have a copy of the "wilder younger sister" Pantaenius Insurance poster that Latitude featured in the March 25 'Lectronic. In fact, I think a bunch of us would like to have larger versions to frame. Perhaps Latitude could use its interpersonal and business skills to convince Pantaenius to release large size posters of the "wilder younger sister," as it surely would promote their brand.

William Rehm
Blue Sovereign, Buizen 48
New Zealand

William — Since anyone who missed that 'Lectronic will have no idea what you are talking about, we're going to re-run the here:

"We stepped up to a portable bar on Quai Charles de Gaulle during a party following one of the St. Barth Bucket races, and were taken by the poster hanging on the back wall. As you can see from the accompanying photo of the poster, it features a sophisticated and haughty blonde woman, her hair up, holding a megayacht in her hand.

"As much as we liked the art, we liked the caption even better: 'No Passion Without Risk.' Surprisingly, the poster was produced by Pantaenius, the big European insurer of yachts. Most US insurance companies would have done a poster of a wrecked boat with a caption that said 'BE CAREFUL ON THE WATER!!!'

"We liked the poster so much we thought about 'keeping it' as a souvenir. We reluctantly decided against it.

"A couple of days later we walked into Le Ship Chandlery in St. Barth and saw the accompanying 7-inch by 4-inch artwork, enclosed in cellophane, by the cash register. As you can see, the artwork was similar to the first, but a little more provocative. In this one, a sophisticated blonde seems to be so stimulated by the sight of a megayacht sailing in her direction that she's — and correct us if we're wrong — about to drop the top of her dress. This is not something the plain and sexless Flo would do in one of the ubiquitous Progressive Insurance ads.

"'Are these for sale or what?' we asked our friend Claudia the cashier.

"'No,' she said, 'those are for cleaning your glasses. They're free.'

"We would have taken two, but there was only one left. We're looking for an appropriate size frame.

"We don't know about you, but we say, 'Vive la différence!'"

Anyway, William, we think you'll be interested in the following letter.


In case Latitude isn't aware, Pantaenius commissioned a series of 12 'There Is No Passion Without Risk' nautical-themed posters as part of their ad campaign. They can be found at If you click on them, they'll get larger.

Did Latitude say something about the woman holding the superyacht as though it were a rifle? The title of that poster is 'Gunshot'.

John Peters
Velero, Union Cutter 32
San Francisco

John — Thanks for the heads- up. Not only does the Pantaenius site have copies of all 12 posters, which are as sophisticated as they are sensual, it also has what we found to be very interesting interviews with Martin Baum, managing director of the Pantaenius Group, the force behind the admittedly provocative campaign, and German illustrator Hinnerk Bodendieck, who created the superb artwork.


I was pleased to note recent interest by Latitude readers in classic wooden yachts — and surprised to see a photo of my classic S&S 52 ketch Finesse pictured in both the February Latitude and a 'Lectronic. She has had a very interesting history that Latitude touched on.

Finesse has spent the last 23 years under my ownership, first working as a charter boat on the East Coast from New England to the Florida Keys and also to the Bahamas. In the mid-1990s, I sailed her to my Koehler Kraft Boatyard in San Diego for a refit. In 2011, she won the coveted Strathmore Cup — first overall, skipper’s weight in champagne — at the McNish Classic at Channel Islands, the biggest of Southern California races for classic yachts.

During my 23 years of owning Finesse, I have kept her fully functional — although her aesthetics have certainly fallen by the wayside. The reason for this is that I spent much of my time doing a complete restoration of Sally, my other classic wooden beauty. She's a 59-ft Burgess-designed 10 Meter that was built by Abeking & Rasmussen in 1928. Now that Sally is out winning trophies again, Finesse will get spruced up and will soon be back in fine form and working.

Unfortunately, most stories about classic wooden boats don't turn out so well. But I'm glad to share these success stories, and can prove that love affairs with classic wooden boats don't have to end in heartbreak and splinters. Many of the beloved classics have been — or can be — given a new life, and with even more strength and vitality than when they were launched.

Wooden boat enthusiasts such as myself have much to look forward to. In the last few months we have seen a huge resurgence of business, especially for the classics. Not only is our shed currently full, but there is a wait list. One of the yachts on the list is a beautiful 1904 yawl that has a fascinating Southern California past. She will undergo a complete Koehler Kraft reconstruction.

We have been fortunate in the opportunity to reconstruct a couple of dozen old beauties over the past two decades to a condition where they sail better than when they were new. I am still amazed — even as a second-generation boatbuilder and sailor — at just how well these rebuilt classics perform. I would encourage readers who love sailing to experience the joy and thrill of sailing a rebuilt classic. But be warned, it's addicting.

Latitude readers are always welcome to stop by Koehler Kraft on Shelter Island — or, or our Facebook page — to see what we have going on. If you like boats, it's always interesting.

By the way, the 25th Annual San Diego Wooden Boat Festival, a Father's Day tradition, will be held at Koehler Kraft June 20-21. The yard, shed and marina will be packed with wooden boats of all shapes and sizes, from the newest to the oldest boats around. There will be lots of hands-on exhibits and demonstrations. In addition to a good time messing about with boats on Shelter Island, there will be food and music.

Speaking of music, the San Diego Jazz Concert Band, in which I play, has been around for about 40 years. We play at Koehler Kraft every other Wednesday evening. (Check our Facebook page for exceptions.) Bring something to sit on, something to sip on and a blanket to stay warm, and enjoy music in a truly unique setting.

C.F. Koehler
Koehler Kraft Company
San Diego

Readers — For those in the area, the Koehler Kraft yard, the Wooden Boat Festival, and the jazz band music nights are all well worth the time.


"You could sail this boat to Hawaii tomorrow."

That's what the surveyor said to me 16 months ago when I was considering buying the Cheoy Lee Offshore 40 Dorothy. I purchased the vessel in Mexico with the intention of cruising the Sea of Cortez and points south.

After three months of preparation, I crossed the Sea to La Paz, and only then discovered that three of the six chainplates on the mizzen mast were broken. The breaks were from crevice corrosion, fracturing or a combination of both. It was obvious from the rust that they had been broken for a long while. I spent a lot of time and money replacing all fourteen chainplates on the yawl rig. I also belatedly discovered that both my water tanks leaked, and that the pump needed to be replaced.

This same surveyor recommended a technician to fix my radar display unit. The tech held onto the unit for over two months — then announced he couldn't do the repair. And he never returned it. The 'sailmaker' referred by the surveyor replaced the hanks on my No.1 genoa with the wrong size bolt rope. A competent sailmaker later told me that the workmanship was substandard.

I phoned the surveyor in May and reminded him that he had never sent me a copy of the survey. A few weeks later, I sent him an email pointing out I was unable to get insurance without the document. I never heard back from him, but I thought of him frequently while riding out Hurricane Odile in La Paz. I ultimately had to get another survey.

Many people with little or no experience other than owning a boat call themselves surveyors. Others claim years of experience fixing boats, but have no other qualifications. The only way I know cruisers can protect themselves when getting a professional evaluation of a vessel is to check all the surveyor's qualifications. Fortunately, there are two organizations that screen and qualify individuals: the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) designates the Accredited Marine Surveyor (AMS); and the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) gives the Certified Marine Surveyor (CMS) designation. Candidates for these designations are required to have five years' apprentice experience or a combination of experience and specialized education, pass a written exam, take continuing education classes, abide by standards and a code of ethics, and have a qualified sponsor. Both organizations require their members to have liability insurance.

Cruisers should check a prospective surveyor's business card for SAMS/AMS or NAMS/CMS designations. Membership can be quickly verified at the organizations' web sites. With some individuals, it's necessary to get the survey document 'in hand' before paying for it.

Mark Wheeles
Dorothy, Cheoy Lee Offshore 40
Sea of Cortez

Mark — Sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience. We not only second your advice when it comes to hiring a surveyor, we'd go further: ask for copies of previous surveys and recent references before selecting a surveyor. Furthermore, we can't recall ever paying for a survey without first seeing it and discussing the results with the surveyor.


I'm sad to report that at around 1:30 a.m. on April 7 there were some brazen thefts in the Stone Island (Isla de la Piedra) anchorage just to the south of Mazatlan. When we woke up in the morning to listen to the cruisers' net, I went outside to fire up our Honda EU2000i generator. Unfortunately, it wasn't on the cockpit seat where we had left it the night before.

We also had our 8-ft Walker Bay dinghy hauled out of the water and tied to the rail with the 4-hp Johnson outboard, gas can and oars. All but the dinghy were stolen. The thieves also attempted to take our 1973 6-hp Johnson outboard that was stored on the stern rail. They were unsuccessful because it has a broken motor mount handle that requires a wrench to loosen. The thieves also took my two-year-old son's favorite flip flops from the dinghy. He was not happy about it!
We consider ourselves lucky that our boat wasn't entered, and that we slept through the theft. Based on conversations with Mazatlan cruisers, it's been about 18 months since a theft was reported from the Stone Island anchorage, and it was about seven years ago that any stolen items were recovered. We're hoping to get our stuff back, but not counting on it.

Despite the theft, we still love cruising Mexico and are excited about continuing on up into the Sea of Cortez later this month. Until then, we'll be locking our stuff up better and keeping our companionway locked at night to help prevent theft aboard.

P.S. We love Latitude and 'Lectronic, too

Nate, Natalie & Sully Kraft
Astraea, Cheoy Lee 41
Currently Cruising Mexico

Readers — The following letter is from the other boat that was a victim at Stone Island.


At 1:30 a.m. on April 9, our sailboat Mis Gale was boarded and our dinghy and outboard stolen at the Stone Island anchorage just south of the old harbor at Mazatlan. The dinghy had been on the archway about six feet above the water. We heard the thieves when they cut the lines holding up the dinghy.

I started calling the port captain on channel 16 while the bandits were still beside the boat. I called them 10 times in English and Spanish, but they never responded. Mind you, the port captain's office was only five minutes from us by boat.

Finally we went to channel 22, where Mike of Tortue answered. He went to 16 and was able to reach the port captain. But by this time the bandits had a 20-minute head start. But the port captain didn't send anybody to our boat anyway, and we've yet to have any official come to our boat.

Although it took us two days, we finally got a report filed with the port captain. The port captain tried to send us to the police, but the police had sent us to him. He also tried to send us to the other port captain, but the other port captain sent us back.

The cruising nets didn't seem to want to talk about this incident either. For example, a friend had a very hard time getting it out on the cruiser net in Puerto Vallarta. It's as if nobody wants anybody to say anything that might make Mexico look bad. This is foolish, as the only way we cruisers can help other cruisers is by making everyone aware of such threats. Then each cruiser can make up his/her mind about whether to visit a given place. Cruisers in the Caribbean can be well informed of security issues via the Caribbean Safety & Security Net and other local nets.

We've been cruising for 14 years — 11 in the Caribbean and three on the Pacific Coast — and understand that there are criminals in all countries. But in the places we've been before — and particularly Venezuela, four years; Colombia, two years; and Panama, two years — law enforcement would respond to reports of thefts. The thing we find most disturbing in Mexico is the authorities' lack of response.

Elmer Gustafson
Mis Gale, CSY 44
Tarpon Springs, Florida

Elmer — We're sorry about the incident. If it brings you any solace, the citizens of Oakland and San Francisco also complain that their police departments won't respond to calls for help unless somebody is being physically assaulted.

We've been aware of the Caribbean Security & Safety Net for a long time and think it's a great thing. While many incidents don't get reported, there is a long list of incidents — something like 86 for the last year — and they give readers a good idea of the kinds of threats there are and where they are prevalent. The reason there hasn't been a Mexican Cruisers' Security & Safety Net is that there aren't anywhere near as many cruisers as in the Caribbean, and there haven't been anywhere near as many incidents.

Like you, we believe that cruisers deserve to know if an area has a history of crime so they can make intelligent decisions about whether to visit. Cover-ups and withholding bad news is completely irresponsible. We at
Latitude will publish all reports of cruiser-related crime in Mexico — and everywhere else.


My husband and I were visiting Nome, Alaska for the finish of the Iditarod sled dog race. When exploring outside town, we saw masts in the distance. Not expecting to see sailing vessels in remote western Alaska, we naturally had to investigate.

After first driving through a yard of gold dredges, we came upon the beautiful schooner Gitana on the hard. We speculated on what kind of adventure must have brought such a lovely boat to such a remote yard. Later that very night, we read the August 22, 2014 'Lectronic story about Mike Johnson's attempt on the Northwest Passage. I suddenly recalled reading that story months ago, and how the passage would be completed in Nome. How exciting to have happened upon his boat!

You never know what you will find when curiosity leads you to go find the boat that goes with those masts you see in the distance. Especially in unlikely places.

Christine & Christopher Jette
Corinna, Allied Princess
Anchorage, Alaska / Brisbane, California

Christine and Christopher — It's a rare boatyard that's not home to some really interesting stories.


I believe Louis Jordan's story about being dismasted and drifting for 66 days off the Carolina coast in his dismasted Alberg 35.

Christopher Karo
Ed Radin

Readers — Neither Karo or Radin penned the above letter, but it paraphrases their belief — as well as that of a minority of those who responded to Latitude's query. To make sure everyone understands what they are referring to, we're reprinting the article we wrote in the April 8 'Lectronic.

"Louis Jordan, 37, is the novice sailor who claims he spent 66 days at sea aboard his dismasted Alberg 35 before being spotted by a German ship and then being rescued by the Coast Guard off the coast of North Carolina. The Coast Guard team that rescued him did something unusual by calling the survivor's story into question.

"'We don't have any reason to believe anything he told the media is false,' said Coast Guard spokesman Nate Littlejohn. 'However, we don't know for a fact he was out at sea for 66 days. All we know is his family reported him missing on 29 January.'

"There are three things that initially made us at
Latitude skeptical. First, the repeated reports from numerous sources — including the normally reputable BBC — saying, 'A German tanker spotted him [Jordan] sitting atop his 35-ft boat’s overturned hull 200 miles off the North Carolina coast.' There is no way that a full-keel Alberg 35 is going to continue floating some 60 days after she turned over. She’s going to the bottom, and in a lot less than 60 minutes. The ultimate explanation for this is that there was a miscommunication between whoever was on the German ship and news sources, and the news sources didn’t know enough about boats to follow up on the impossibility of an Alberg floating upside down for more than two months.

"The second thing that makes us skeptical is that Jordan was found in the Gulf Stream not that far from where he was supposedly dismasted. The Gulf Stream moves at 3-5 knots, and after 60 days should have put him and his boat off Ireland. On the other hand, he could have just been at the edge of the Gulf Stream, which has lots of back eddies.

"The third thing that made us dubious is that the weather from January 6 until when he was rescued 66 days later was anything but pleasant in the area where he was ultimately found. The Coasties who rescued him repeatedly said how surprised they were at what good shape he was in. Indeed, he'd apparently lost something like 60 lbs — pounds he needed to lose.

"On the other hand, Jordan apparently made no monetary or credit card transactions during the period he was supposedly lost at sea. Nobody reported having seen him during that time. And if the story is false, what did he do, hide out for a couple of months, then deliberately go out in treacherous weather and dismast his boat?

"Others have survived long periods at sea. Mexican fisherman Jose Salvador Alvarenga ended up in the Marshall Islands 6,000 miles to the west of where he'd taken off in Mexico 440 days before to do coastal fishing. His story was given more credence in 2006 when Mexican shark fisherman Jesus Vidana and his crew spent 270 days drifting from Mexico to those same Marshall Islands.

The one case nobody doubts is that of US sailor Steven Callahan who, in 1982, drifted across the Atlantic for 75 days after a whale had sunk his sloop Napoleon Solo."


I don't believe Jordan.

Fred Lowe
Lee Finn
Rod Remington

Readers — While Fred, Lee and Rod didn't write the above letter, it paraphrases their sentiment — and that of the majority of others who responded to Latitude about the matter.

What follows are some letters with more detailed reasons that the authors do or don't believe Jordan.


Pants on fire! Nobody with a "broken right shoulder" or "fractured right collar bone" can walk around with his backpack hanging from his right shoulder.

Bob Willmann
Viva!, Casamance 47 cat
Golden, Colorado


I believe Jordan, but I'm curious about the fact that he seemed so healthy after having suffered a self-described "broken shoulder."

Bill Sikich
Island Drifter, Victoria motorsailer
Seattle, Washington

Bob and Bill — We think there is a simple explanation for the "broken shoulder." Jordan isn't a doctor and had no idea what kind of injury he had.


I've lost count of the number of times I've crossed the Gulf Stream between the US and the Bahamas somewhere between Florida and North Carolina. Latitude is correct about there being eddies in the Gulf Stream, but the idea that a boat adrift could hold position off the Carolina coast for two months and not move on toward Ireland is not credible.

Tom Boynton
Traverse City, Michigan (summer)
Somewhere in the Bahamas (winter)
Valentino, PDQ34 Powercat

Tom — See this month's Sightings for proof positive that a boat can be abandoned in the Gulf Stream and end up more than 100 miles to the south over a month later.


I watched a CNN news piece on Jordan, and my immediate thought was that the story was nonsense. He didn't strike me as a man who had been at sea for two months in very cold conditions.

Nonetheless, greetings from the Tungsten Explorer Sixth Generation Drill Ship 48 miles off of Pointe Noire in the Congo! When the publisher of Latitude and I last talked, I was doing boat deliveries from Puerto Vallarta to San Diego. I now hold a Master Unlimited, Dynamic Positioning Officer Unlimited ticket and am working off Africa.

Captain David Hare
Currently off Africa


I will take the sailor's word until I see credible evidence to disprove it. The truth can be stranger than fiction.

Fran Stateler
Melati, Pearson 365

Fran — Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. We're reminded of the time one winter about 20 years ago when six seniors were thrown into frigid Sonoma County ocean waters after their open fishing boat capsized. The Coast Guard eventually rescued them, but according to survival tables, all the elderly gentlemen should have died of hypothermia hours before. The men attributed their survival to taking turns talking about their families rather than worrying about death. It was an incredible story that should have been the subject of scientific research.


For me, the most compelling evidence that Jordan is telling the truth is that he lost 50 lbs in 66 days. Not even Jenny Craig promises such great results.

Jon Hafstrom
Sea Horse, Island Packet 35
San Francisco


Why would Jordan fake it? Would it be worth losing his boat for such a stunt?
P.S. Even though I'm living in Redding 200 miles from my boat in San Francisco Bay, I still dream about the super time Linda and I had on the 2008 Baja Ha-Ha! Keep up the great work.

Scott Brear
Samantha, Nauticat 38
San Francisco / Redding


I don't believe Jordan, but I don't believe the Coasties either.

"We don't have any reason to believe anything he told the media is false," was an outright Coast Guard lie. Or a legal B.S. line to prepare to go after Jordan for the cost of the rescue. Either they had a reason to believe his story was false or they should have shut up.

Latitude praises the Coast Guard bureaucracy more than they deserve. I can tell you a whopper of a story of their incompetence.

Roy Wessbecher
Breta, Columbia 34 Mk II
Brookings, Oregon

Roy — The ultra low-budget circumnavigation you did with a series of female backpackers on your $10,000 Columbia 34 Mk II Breta remains one of our all-time favorites, but we don't understand your point of view here. We think the Coast Guard was telling the truth. They had no hard evidence that contradicted Jordan's story, but he seemed unusually healthy for having been at sea so long. As for your thinking they were prepping to go after Jordan for the cost of the rescue, we're not aware of the Coast Guard's ever trying to be reimbursed for the expense of rescues.

Latitude doesn't praise the Coast Guard bureaucracy; we praise the fantastic job done by the Coast Guard SAR folks. Which is not to say they have never made a mistake, but overall they have a phenomenal record. As for the Coastie bureaucracy, we've taken them on a number of times over the years, most famously for the 'Zero Intelligence' program they instituted a number of years ago.


We checked-in at the Chiapas Marina in southern Mexico on March 6 when delivering a Spirit 50 north to Cabo. In my opinion Chiapas has improved quite a bit since it first opened. Back then the port captain's inspection included a request for "coffee" — which we later discovered meant a bribe. In addition, the paperwork cha-cha included long trips to the distant airport. During our last stop everything was above board, as best I could tell, and the official offices were only a short distance away.

Both Enrique and Memo at the Chiapas Marina were very friendly and helpful. They arranged for a driver to take me to the Guatemala border — about 50 minutes away — to get a TIP. But here is where we had a hassle.

The problem was that the name on the vessel's US document didn't exactly match the owner's name on the copy of his passport — the document didn't have a middle name. As a result, the Banjercito officials at the border refused to issue a TIP, which caused us problems in trying to get an exit zarpe. It was a Catch 22 situation. Thanks to Memo's good relationship with the port captain, we were able to leave without a zarpe.

Since we didn't get a TIP until later, there's not much to report. However, I would encourage everyone to make sure that the name on the boat owner's passport exactly matches the name on the boat document. And to perhaps get the TIP online before getting to Mexico.

Arnstein Mustad
San Francisco

Arnstein — Good advice on making sure that the names on the various documents are exactly the same. Bureaucrats love to make major problems over minor errors. Getting a TIP online before a boat gets to Mexico is also excellent advice.

Why would the Chiapas port captain think you needed a zarpe if you were headed north to another domestic port in Mexico? Maybe he was so used to southbound boats leaving the country needing a zarpe that he assumed northbound boats bound for domestic ports should have them, too.


We passed through Puerto Chiapas in January on our way to the Panama Canal. All went smoothly for us. The marina was a real pleasure, and the staff treated us royally, chauffeuring us around in the staff vehicle and holding our hands through the formalities at the government offices.

Although it was unspoken and unwritten, we nonetheless got the impression that the head guy at Aduana liked to do things his own way — and not necessarily according to the rules. Perhaps it's best if we don't say more.

Tucson, Arizona


I was in Marina Chiapas while the incident you wrote about in the April 8 edition of 'Lectronic was unfolding. Five or six other boats in the marina had TIP problems, too, although each one was unique. Only the one boat ended up paying a fine.

The language on the back of the TIP does not address the subject of multiple entries and exits. It just says that when the boat leaves the country, the TIP must be turned in. Entry and exit requirements for people are different than for boats, as the former is covered by visa law. So if a person wanted to leave a boat in Puerto Vallarta for 10 years, commuter cruising in the interim, there would absolutely be no problem. But if the same person wanted to sail back and forth from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta each season, there is a potential TIP problem.

Mexico is a Napoleonic law country, so perhaps we are supposed to assume that what is not explicitly permitted is forbidden. Those of us from common law countries might make the opposite incorrect assumption that what is not explicitly forbidden may be permitted.

As for Chiapas versus other ports, what Memo and Enrique said is that the current anti-corruption drive of the Mexican government includes trying to establish uniform interpretation of the laws throughout the country. Their interpretation of the TIP language is along the Napoleonic law interpretation above. If they are correct, then this problem is going to spread like a Southern California brush fire.

Paul & Gayle Sommers
Dragon's Wing, Ganley Snowbird
The World's Oceans

Paul and Gayle — Tere Grossman of the Mexican Marina Owners Association confirms that officials in Mexico City have advised the official in Chiapas that he was wrong. TIPs are good for unlimited entries and exits.

For what it's worth, you completely misunderstand the difference between Napoleonic law and common law. It's an oversimplification, but Napoleonic (Code) law was a set of statutory laws decreed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804 with the goal of establishing clear and understandable laws that would be readily accessible to the ordinary citizens. Common law, on the other hand, is made by judges creating precedents based on statute law passed by legislators. For example, once it was decided that Miranda should have been read his rights, it became the same for all future suspects under common law. That would not have been the case under Napoleonic (codified) law.

While it's an entirely different aspect, another of the big differences between the two legal systems is that under Napoleonic criminal statutes, a defendant is considered guilty until proven innocent, while the opposite is true under common law. Mind you, this is an entirely different concept from 'everything not specifically permitted is forbidden'. That's 'unspoken Cuban law'.


We spent a lot of time at Chiapas, both on the hard and in the water. Memo helped us with the papers and with the officials, and it all went like clockwork. However, we know of two young budget cruisers anchored off Chiapas who got asked for "additional money" to get cleared out of Mexico.

But for us it was a great place.

Ron & Judy Odenheimer
Cetacean, Tayana 37
Seattle, Washington

Readers — Based on the responses we received, nobody has anything but great things to say about Marina Chiapas and its staff. And while taking care of paperwork can be annoying because northbound boats that didn't get a TIP online in advance have to go to the Guatemalan border to get one, most people didn't have significant problems.


I greatly appreciate all the valuable information Latitude has published since I started reading in 1984.

I have a 27-ft trailerable sailboat that I launched at Puertecitos, Mexico around 1990. I have all the documents for my truck, trailer and boat, and my passport, but I never knew anything about Temporary Import Permits (TIPs). I have cleared in at other ports and never had a problem, and coming home was a piece of cake, too.

My question is about the current rules for visiting Mexico by private boat. Do these laws apply to trailerable boats, too?

Harold Anderson
Hannalula, Balboa 27
Grass Valley

Harold — Much has changed in the last 25 years. Temporary Import Permits didn't exist back then, and Mexican officials didn't pay much attention to foreign boats. That's all changed. It doesn't matter what kind of boat you have, if you're a foreigner taking a boat to Mexico, you need to follow the rules by getting a TIP. It only costs about $50 for 10 years, and you can get a TIP online, so there is no reason not to get one.


Some of the recent aerial shots in Latitude and 'Lectronic have been quite impressive. I'm sure that I'm not the only sailor who would like to know more about the drone you used to take them.

First and foremost in my mind are considerations about the noise. If Amazon starts using them to deliver in my neighborhood, will I have to blow them out of the sky with my flare gun?

David Demarest
Burbujas, Vanguard 15 #1004
San Anselmo

David — All our recent shots have been taken with a DJI Phantom Vision 2+ Quadcopter, which ran a little over a grand, and is controlled by our iPhone 6+, which is not included. DJI seems to dominate the 'prosumer' market, and just released an even better version at the same price.

While not the latest and greatest, our year-old Vision 2+ is all we need for magazine work. We'd previously used and crashed two Phantoms that were equipped with GoPro cameras as opposed to the proprietary 14 megapixel DJI camera on our current quad. In our opinion, the Vision 2+ package, which costs less than half as much as the package with the GoPros, is just as good if not better, and certainly so for still photos. Some argue that quads equipped with GoPros take better quality video, but we stopped taking video because it takes forever to edit even short pieces.

With just a little practice, the quads are very easy to fly. We usually launch ours from our boats and fly almost exclusively over water. The most common causes of problems/crashes are launching the quad before it's picked up the six satellites it needs to hover by itself, and batteries running out of juice. There are four different batteries in the system. The former problem results in 'flyaway' quads, the second results in either flyaways or quads dropping from the sky.
Contrary to all warnings, we never land our quad on the ground or on the deck of our boat. We catch it in our hand. It's potentially a little more dangerous for our body, but less dangerous for the quad.

Quads are moderately noisy up close, but we estimate they are somewhat less noisy than a Honda portable generator. They are certainly less noisy than the main on our Olson 30 when we tack in a good breeze.

The laws regarding quads vary from country to country. In the US, you can pretty much fly anywhere to 400 feet in uncrowded areas and away from airports. Actually, the newer quads are programmed so they won't fly over 100 feet up within a mile or two of US airports. When we got to the BVIs there was a big sign coming out of Customs telling quadcopter owners to "fly carefully." In France, and thus in the French West Indies, you need a pilot's license to legally fly quads. If there are any laws restricting the use of quads in Mexico, we don't know about them. Quads are sort of like trees falling in the forest. If nobody hears or sees them, were they really there?

Quads/drones are far too useful to ever go away. But we don't expect to see drones delivering pizza, beer — or windlasses from West Marine — anytime soon.

Before thinking about trying to shoot quads out of the sky, keep two things in mind: 1) They are small and quick, and thus would be hard to hit; and 2) some quad owners have already equipped theirs with missile-like devices.


I have been reading Latitude since 1985, and 'Lectronic since it started. I always thought I knew the publisher of those publications, and that the publisher was always the voice of reason. But the March cover shot of an anchorage taken by the publisher's quadcopter made me crazy! I threw that issue in the trash and canceled my subscription to 'Lectronic.

In my opinion it's wrong for people to fly drones in a marina or an anchorage — or any other place where the peace and quiet is ruined by what sounds like angry hornets. It's also wrong on the grounds that it's an invasion of privacy.
I know people like to call these things drones, but they are actually radio-controlled helicopters. When I was a kid, my dad and I built radio-controlled airplanes and flew them at a 'radio control' airport that was far from where the planes would bother anyone.

All right, it's been 24 hours and I've calmed down a bit. I think I'm gonna dig the March issue out of the trash and resubscribe to 'Lectronic. But I still think you ought to have a vote to see what your readers think about them.

By the way, thanks for running the spread shot of our little old Patricia A on pages 74-75 of the January issue.

Mark Miller
Patricia A, Westsail 28
Southern California

Mark — The quadcopters/'drones' that we and most people fly are technically 'unpiloted aerial vehicles' or UAVs. They differ from radio-controlled aircraft in that you can easily program them to take off, go to any number of precise GPS positions, then return to their place of launch — all by themselves.

We're probably biased, but we don't think the noise of the common DJI Phantom is much of an issue. They aren't any noisier than a two-stroke outboard, and once they get a little elevation you can't hear them at all. And it's not as if there is much reason to fly them for an extended period of time.

We think the invasion of privacy concerns are overblown, too. Is it any more an invasion of your privacy than if somebody takes a photo of your boat with a telephoto lens from shore or another boat or the Golden Gate Bridge? In those cases you wouldn't even realize that your photo was being taken. Furthermore, unless somebody buys a much more sophisticated drone with a much more expensive telephoto lens, they're not going to see much detail. Those who think they'll be able to hover a drone over a neighbor's boat to take photos of the beautiful woman sunbathing naked in the cockpit are going to be disappointed. Unless, of course, they are willing to fly their drone so close that the woman could swat it from the air with her hand.

Quadcopters/drones are just technology, and thus can be used for good or evil. Most people don't have any idea of the incredible number of excellent applications they have. For example, a company in the Netherlands has developed a drone that can be used to locate swimmers in distress and drop a lifejacket to them. It's already being used on some beaches in Italy. And as you can see from the accompanying photo, some owners are using their drones to give their pets a broader view of the world.


I'm one of those 'up and down' kind of girls. The accompanying photo was taken by me as I went up the mast of Legacy, the Columbia 52 we owned before we bought our Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow, in San Diego's La Playa Cove. If you look closely, you can see my foot holding on tight. I was up there to retrieve a halyard. I hate it when a halyard goes aloft.

When it comes to cleaning the bottom, my husband John and I have done it the entire three years we've owned Moonshadow — except for one time in San Diego. Cleaning the bottom is great exercise, and once you're done, you feel as though you've really earned your beer.

Deb Monnie Rogers
Moonshadow, Deerfoot 62
San Diego


I know of a number of capable women sailors here in the Islands who do it all, going 'up and down' on boats. As for me, I've been 'up and down' on three boats that are special to me.

I have the pleasure of skippering Scotch Mist II, Santa Cruz 50 hull #22. Not only was she first to finish in the 1982 Vic-Maui Race — a couple of years before I was born — but she was also the first Bill Lee design that was commissioned for charter service.

Since she's a Coast Guard 'inspected vessel', meaning she can carry more than six paying passengers, and because I'm a conservative new captain — three years as mate, 18 months as captain — we're required to go aloft each month to enjoy the view and check for potential problems. We never find any problems because, as an inspected vessel, Mist's mast must be pulled every four years and the shrouds replaced as necessary. But for me, going aloft is a fun chore.
As for 'going down', those of us on Scotch Mist switch it up between keeping the local bottom cleaner employed and occasionally taking the boat out for a short sail, where our all-female crew cleans the bottom — in bikinis — free diving.
All of us who sail on Mist know she's got soul, and we know that the more we put our hands on her, especially in those hard-to-reach places, the more we contribute to her legacy and become one with her.

My boss owns the Olson 30 Oa Oa, which has done multiple doublehanded Pacific Cups (perhaps because her original owner navigated for Matson and she got free rides back to the West Coast). In addition to also having a beautiful, salty soul, Oa Oa is the most fun boat I've ever sailed on. She's rad, too! She got a double spreader rig and an extra deep carbon rudder. So I love to go up and down her, scrubbing and detailing all the way, I do foredeck on her during the local beer cans and regattas. I have to admit my intentions are not purely altruistic, as I'm hoping that if I put in enough sweat equity, my boss might let my husband and me take her out ourselves.

Lastly, but certainly not the least, there is our beloved Allied Princess Three Sheets. She's been in Latitude, as her previous owners, a bunch of young surfer dudes, cruised her through Mexico. My husband outweighs me by nearly 100 lbs and, without self-tailers, can get me to the top much more quickly and easily than I could get him up. Although, for the record, I have winched him up. As for going down to clean the bottom, that somehow became a pink job on our vessel. I often recruit another lady sailor friend to help out, and we each get a side done. Then we do the same on her boat. It really helps that the water in the islands is so warm and clear.

Among the other rad boat chicks out here who do the same things I do are Alice Woods of True Blue, Lila Shaked of Privateer, Iwa Hartman of Kainani, and

Michelle Fallon of Scotch Mist and Oa Oa.
Kerstin Edwards
Sea Dragon, Celestial 48
Lahaina, Hawaii


Growing up as a wild child on a ranch, I climbed trees and mountains, so why wouldn't I climb the masts of the sailboats we've owned? Sometimes I did it just for the fun, other times to get better photographs.

I'm just as likely to clean the boat bottom as clean the dishes, as the former is more fun since it burns off beer calories. On occasion, I can be found getting my hands dirty in the bilge and engine room, too. Why let the boys have all the fun?

I love being an up, down and all-around boat chick, and a fun-loving galley wench.

Lynn Ringseis

Readers – Lynn and her husband John owned and cruised a Catalina 30, and then, after running boats for The Moorings for years, chartered their own Lagoon 410 and later Leopard 43. They've also done numerous Ha-Ha's aboard Profligate.



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