Latitude home Latitude 38

Back to 'Letters' Index Letters
June 2016

Missing the pictures? See our June 2016 eBook!
Bookmark and Share

I have 1,124 miles to go to finish my great adventure at Bahia Caraquez, Ecuador. That's where I'll meet my wife Debbie after nearly six months of nonstop sailing. The wind is up a little today, but is still very light. At least I can almost sail a direct course to Bahia.

I am, however, running very low on water and can't really make any more. I have received many great suggestions from friends on how to either make more water or reduce my consumption. Here are some of the ideas:

1) Put a four-quart saucepan on the stove, secure a cup in the middle of it, and pour salt water in and around the cup — but not over it. Then place the pot lid upside down on the pan and boil the saltwater. The steam condensing on the lid will run down to the knob and drip into the cup.

2) Either remove the pop-up or drill a hole in the top of the pressure cooker, attach a copper tube to the hole and coil it as a condenser. The steam is cooled and converted to fresh water that runs out of the end of the tube. Plastic tubing could be substituted for copper as long as it doesn't taint the taste of the water.

3) Make a solar still out of a pop or beer can with top cut off. You fill it with seawater, take a two-liter plastic pop bottle with the top still on, and cut a hole in the bottom for the can and roll the bottom of the pop bottle up inside, creating a trough around the inside of the bottle. Then you set it in the sun.

4) Use a hand-operated watermaker to pump the salt-tainted water in my tank through the watermaker to yield fresh water more quickly. Save the discharge water for other uses on the boat.

The first two ideas would require that I have enough propane to boil the water. I'm not sure I do, but as a last resort I'd have to give one of these ideas a go. The watermaker idea is a good one, but my watermaker is refusing to produce any product water from any source at this time.

Some thought was given to trying to get the water out of the hot water tank. But John from the yacht Nakia reminds me that the hot water tank has a backflow preventer on the bottom of it, so the only real way to get the water out of the tank is to remove that backflow device first. So that's a consideration.

I also checked the specifications on my liferaft, and there are supposed to be three liters of 17-year-old water inside the raft. Naturally, I don't really want to inflate the raft at sea unless I absolutely have to.

I'll make it somehow.

The battery in my water salinity tester died, so I had to build a 6-volt battery to replace it. To do that I taped four AA batteries into a bundle, placing every other one's positive end up. Then I soldered two separate parallel bare copper wires onto the bottom of the battery pack, connecting the negative ends of two batteries to the positive ends of the other two batteries, and created two 3-volt batteries. Next, I connected the negative of one 3-volt battery to the positive of the other one, which gave me 6 volts at the two remaining terminals. I soldered the two wires and hooked them up in the salinity meter the way a normal 6-volt battery would be hooked up. And it worked!

I then filled a cup with the salty water from my problematic water tank and was able to measure the salinity. According to my PUR watermaker manual, any product water over 1,500 parts per million should be discarded. My meter read 1,480 parts per million, meaning the water from the tank was still drinkable, but just barely. So I'm drinking coffee with extra sugar for as long as the water in the tank lasts. I'm much relieved to have this additional water, but will have to see how long it lasts.

I'm sailing along nicely now, picking up what is most likely the outer edge of the Humboldt Current. I can see the tradewinds getting closer, and should be into them within 24 hours. Once I pass through the transitional area, where I will be slowed for at least 12 hours, I can get moving again.

Debbie contacted me from Bahia Caraquez, Ecuador, where I started and where I will finish my trip. Many people know that Ecuador was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 16, which killed at least 659 people and injured over 27,000. Much of Bahia Caraquez was damaged or destroyed, so Debbie is sleeping inside a three-person tent in the yard of a friend's house. She reports that many people who lost their homes are sleeping in tents on the streets of Bahia. The big Tia store was opened, but had to close immediately because of looting. There are lots of soldiers on the streets now, however, making things safer.
My running very low on water and the post-earthquake situation in Ecuador reminds me that a while back I mentioned that while hunger is the strongest driving force of humans, few of us have food to last more than a few days. Without food, we humans get desperate and will run just about any risk to get some. I think we should all learn from this and have some basic food on hand. I know it's hard to do when you've never needed to do it and when there has always been a fully stocked store a few blocks away. But when there is a severe natural disaster, be it an earthquake, flood, hurricane or what have you, the food in the local store will be an illusion after just a few days.

I provisioned my Sailors Run with approximately seven months' worth of food for my nonstop circumnavigation. When all the boat lockers were jammed to the top with food, it seemed like a ridiculous amount. But with still over 1,000 miles to go, I have about the same amount of provisions as do the unfortunate people in Ecuador who are trying to recover from the earthquake. It's sobering.

Fortunately for me, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. With so little fresh water I may be getting saltier by the day, but I'm watching the light grow larger and brighter.

Jeff Hartjoy
Sailors Run, Baba 40
South Pacific Ocean

Readers — To remind everyone, after 167 days at sea — and having had to repair his genoa nearly 50 times — Jeff completed a fantastic nonstop solo circumnavigation via the Five Great Capes. He crossed his outbound track just two days short of his 70th birthday, making him the oldest American to accomplish such a feat. And he did it with a Baba 40, a rather ordinary cruising ketch with which he and his wife Debbie had previously done three Baja Ha-Ha's and a lot of cruising.

Before making landfall at his starting point, Ecuador's Bahia Caraquez, Jeff ran very low on food and water, and was presented with a final obstacle: Timing his arrival with the tide so he could sail across the bar that protects the bay's anchorage. Not only that, but the entire area was still recovering from a powerful April 16 earthquake that was followed in late May by two smaller, yet still damaging, quakes.

Jeff arrived just before we went to press, 204 days after setting sail on his history-making trip. Read more about his remarkable journey in this month's
Sightings section.

I know Tom Siebel's MOD70 Orion got all the press for shattering the Newport to Ensenada Race record in an incredible time, but there were other Bay Area sailors who did well in the 'Taco Run'.

Tim Anto, trimmer, and Andrew Rist, driver, both members of Sequoia YC, sailed on the Jeanneau 54 Avanti. There was a total of eight boats in our division, all of which rated +72. The division included several Schock 35s and the S&S 47 Splendor owned by a guy named Dennis Conner.

After getting the door closed on us at the start and having to throw in a turn, we watched as D.C., flying an enormous genoa, and several of the Schocks left us behind in light breeze. But as the wind came up, we got the Jeanneau moving, and slowly clawed our way back into the fleet. One by one we overtook the Schocks, passing the last of them, Uncle Bob, as the chutes started to be hoisted.

We finally caught up with and passed D.C. and Splendor around sunset as we both passed the Coronado Islands to port. At that point it was breeze-Marina di Ragusa on with some pretty treacherous and tightly packed swells from aft. We were seeing consistent 10-12 knots of boatspeed, with owner Jim Labarge clocking a 14.5 during one extended surf. We had a couple of round-ups and one round-down, but from conversations in Ensenada after the finish, we seem to have come off reasonably unscathed in this category.

A well-timed jibe put us on the layline for Ensenada, and our six knots of boatspeed in the Bahia Todos Santos seemed to be a crawl after the crazy run down the coast. We even had a sail change in the last mile to hold off the Olson 40 Buena Vista that was tracking us down.

Once all the math was done, we on Avanti had PHRF G and the City of Ensenada trophy. Ours was the 9th PHRF boat overall, and our time would have won 6 out of the 10 PHRF divisions. The only non-planing boat to beat us was Cheerio II, Dick McNish's gorgeous 1931 wooden yawl. Hats off to him and his crew.

If that weren't enough, we stopped in Avalon on the way home to ride out a gale. It turns out that when the ferries aren't running and the gale has scared everyone else away, Avalon is a lovely, quiet little place. We enjoyed having it to ourselves.

It's going to be hard to top this year's N2E.

Andrew Rist
BigAir, Open 5.70
Redwood City

Andrew — Congratulations. D.C. is never going to hear the end of your beating him from us.

Terrific report, too.
Latitude obviously doesn't have the staff to cover every race, so we encourage anyone with an even remotely significant story to toot their own horn in the pages of Latitude.

I really like the Delta in the off season because there is almost nobody around. It's so peaceful that you can't believe you're in California. And most of the few people around are really nice. I think that's a function of LPPSM — Less People Per Square Mile.

I have to imagine that the Delta was a much nicer place to live back in the days when it supported large herds of deer and tule elk, to say nothing of lots of grizzly bears. Personally, I wouldn't mind if jet skiers were hunted to extinction instead of that having happened to the grizzlies. In fact, it would be all right with me if the grizzlies were still around and got to hunt the damned jet-skiers.

If all the people who normally bring their boats to the Delta during the summer, as well as all the first-timers planning to come up, would like to do me a big favor, it would be to stay on San Francisco Bay — or wherever else they'd be coming from — and leave the Delta to me and my friends. And this goes double for all you wankers with Jet Skis.

I understand that this would not be in the best interests of businesses that rely on income from boatowners, but how about putting people — such as myself — before profits for this one summer? I hope I'm not asking for too much.

Bill the Brick
No Name Sloop, Custom 37
Slough to Slough

Bill — Given the 'it's all about me' times we're living in, we don't think your request is that unusual. It's going to be ignored, of course, but there was no harm in your asking.

Here are some fun facts for those who, to your dismay, will be sailing up to the Delta this summer:

The Delta consists of 57 reclaimed islands and tracts, surrounded by 1,100 miles of levees. Most of the original levees were built in the 1860s by Chinese labor. There are 700 miles of waterways in the Delta, much of them navigable.

The Delta began to form 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age when global sea levels were 300 feet lower than they are today. The Delta region was a river valley. When sea levels rose again — because of human-induced climate change? — the ocean water backed up through the Carquinez Strait into the Central Valley. The combination of the narrow strait and tidal action pushing inland dramatically slowed the current of these rivers and forced them to drop sediment. The early Delta was composed of shifting channels, sand dunes, alluvial fans and floodplains that underwent constant fluctuation because the sea level was rising almost one inch per year.

Eventually the rate of sea-level rise slackened, allowing wetland plants to take hold in the Delta, trapping sediment. The growth and decay of the plants began to form the peat deposits that make up the Delta islands. The Delta pretty much stabilized to what it is today about 2,500 years ago.

Geologically speaking, the Delta is not a true river delta, but rather an inverted delta, because the sediment is progressively accumulating inland instead of farther downstream and out to sea. The only other delta located so far inland from the sea is the Pearl River Delta in China.

Much of the Delta region sits below sea level, which is why some people call it 'California's Holland'. It would be more properly nicknamed 'California's Netherlands', as much of what is below sea level in the Netherlands is found outside of the Holland region of the Netherlands.

How good are drones for assessing the hazards posed by coral reefs in places such as the Marquesas? I'll let readers judge from the accompanying two photos that I took shortly after Debbie and I arrived in the Marquesas after completing our Pacific Puddle Jump aboard Moonshadow.

The first photo is what things looked like from on deck at Anse Hakapaa, one of three small bays that are part of the larger Baie du Controleur on the southwest corner of Nuku Hiva. All the water in the area looks perfect for diving into, driving the boat around in, and anchoring.

But from the drone's view, as seen in the second photo, it's obvious that things weren't as wide open as they appeared from on deck.

Since the water was 55 feet deep and we needed to put out about 220 feet of chain, given Moonshadow's 62-ft length we needed to swing on a radius of 275 feet to keep from hitting the coral. Once we got the hook down, I went aloft with the drone to see how things looked. As you can see, Moonshadow's anchor hit a bullseye in this one-boat anchorage, so we could sleep soundly.

Since I'm on the subject of the Marquesas, I may as well report that the small town of Atuona on the island of Hiva Oa is one of two ports of entry in the Marquesas. By the looks of things, it's the one most cruisers choose. According to George Backhus, the previous owner of Moonshadow, who sailed 70,000 miles on her, Hiva Oa's Bay of Virgins is "the most beautiful anchorage you'll ever visit."

However, Hanavave on Fatu Hiva would actually be the best place to check in, because it's the most windward island in the Marquesas, and who wants to beat back to weather to see islands you sailed past? The trouble is, if you go to Fatu Hiva first, you could be in trouble because there is no place to check in there. Our research indicated that the consequences of visiting Fatu Hiva prior to properly checking into the Marquesas ranges from nothing — "they looked the other way"— to fines of up to $2,000.

Debbie and I decided we have better use for two grand, so we checked in at Atuona, Hiva Oa, got some fuel, did an island tour, then headed back upwind to Fatu Hiva.

For those who do the right thing by checking in with the authorities before moving on, the contrast between Atuona and Hanavave couldn't be more stark. You wouldn't swim in the brown water at Atuona — even if you didn't know there are sharks there. And both the bow and stern anchor came up covered in brown mud.

Fatu Hiva is an easy afternoon sail on a close reach or, worst case, a motorsail upwind. But whatever the case, the 40-mile trip is so worth it, as the stunning scenery of the Bay of Virgins is a jaw-dropper. It's more like a Hollywood movie set for the next making of King Kong than something real. As soon as we got there we had to take a swim. And then get the drone up there!

While much is the same in the Marquesas as it was 45 years ago, some things have changed. When I first arrived on a tug, there was only one boat at Taiohie Bay, Nuku Hiva, the 57-ft schooner Fairwinds under the command of Omer Darr. When we arrived this year, there were 56 boats in the same bay!

John and Debbie Rogers
Moonshadow, Deerfoot 62
San Diego

Reading Tin Soldier's April issue story about doing the 2007 Baja Ha-Ha reminded me of our fond memories of the event and that boat and her crew. We were sailing the Hunter 35.5 Delight, and completed the trip to Cabo without the benefit of an engine because the starter would not engage. We also had two other problems from Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria. Our wheel steering went out, so we had to use an arm rather than a cable to control the rudder. And our head got plugged up, making for honey-bucket time.

A great Australian sailing family helped us out with the steering when they came out in their tender with a Honda generator to charge our batteries, which our non-starting engine couldn't. Thinking outside the box, the Aussie said all we needed to do to fix the steering was to reverse the rudder arm — and it worked.

Now the part of the story about Tin Soldier. When we left Cabo San Lucas for La Paz, we still didn't have a motor. So we sailed when we could, but mostly just waited for wind. I think it took us three days to cover the 135 miles or so.

About two hours out of La Paz we were becalmed under a brilliant sun. It had to have been over 100°. Tin Soldier came along and offered us a tow. Not only did she tow us to our marina, she helped us get into our slip!

Fair winds to the crew of Tin Soldier!

Jerry Ward, Crew
Delight, Hunter 35.5
La Paz, Mexico

Jerry — We always like to hear about great Ha-Ha-related memories. We expect there will be a lot of them this year, for in the first three weeks since the first sign-ups were allowed, more than 90 paid entries were received. Based on the early sign-ups, it could be a big fleet.

Other than what doesn't need to be said — watch the wind, the sea state, the tides and so forth — do you have any advice for someone exiting the Bay for the first time? My plan is to leave July 1 for a night at Drake's Bay and a night at Bodega Bay, then turn south past the Farallones to Half Moon Bay on my way at a leisurely pace to San Diego.

Rick Huff
Fourplay, Cal 2-25
San Diego

Rick — Assuming that you're a relatively new sailor, the first bit of advice is that you make sure you know what you're getting into. A lot of folks who have sailed from San Francisco to New Zealand report that the 225 miles from San Francisco to Pt. Conception have been the roughest part of their entire trip. The Tzortzis family on the Lagoon 470 Family Circus, currently headed back to the South Pacific from New Zealand, is the most recent. And a few months ago Ken and Katie Stuber of the Sausalito-based Bristol 32 Sand Dollar told us their passage from San Francisco to Pt. Conception was about the roughest they've had — and they've been out for eight years and have sailed most of the way around the world.

So our first bit of advice is for you to make at least a couple of short trips outside the Gate — maybe just five miles — so that you at least have some idea of what you might be getting into and how much different the ocean is from the Bay.

The second bit of advice is to make sure your boat is ready. About 30 years ago on a whim we bought one of the original Cal 25s — not a Cal 2-25 like yours — which was about 30 years old at the time. We put her on a trailer, drove her to Mexico, and threw her into the water at Puerto Escondido. We hardly paid anything for the boat, so we didn't bother getting a survey or checking her out very thoroughly. As a result, we were hardly surprised when one of the swages on the split backstay failed about a week into the cruise. It was a miracle that we didn't lose the mast. Given the fact that your boat is more than 30 years old, make sure your rigging is up to date and up to snuff.

Fog is another issue you have to be concerned about. If you can't see 100 feet in front of you, what's your strategy for not getting run down? For most sailors without radar, it's staying close to shore. But you need some kind of plan.

What do you do in case of an emergency? Do you have a liferaft or a dinghy you could survive in for a few hours if you had to take to it in rough seas? If not, you have to realize that you're running a considerable risk. We're not saying that we wouldn't necessarily not run the risk of making such a trip without a raft or good dinghy, but we'd understand that we were taking that risk.

We're going to assume that you're going to have a least some kind of device — be it an EPIRB, a Spot Messenger or a DeLorme Messenger — in case you find yourself in an emergency situation. Again, you don't have to have one, but you have to understand the risk you'd be taking by not having one.

Please understand that our intent is not to blow your plan out of the water. In fact, if you want some encouragement, when we started
Latitude in 1977 there was an organization called MORA, the Midget Ocean Racing Association, that used to run an annual race from San Francisco to Southern California — and sometimes Ensenada. The boats had to be less than 30 feet long. It's hard to believe, but people actually raced boats as small as Cal 20s, Columbia 22s, Ranger 23s and 26s, and the like to Southern California. One year it blew 40 knots off Central California and a lot of participants saw Jesus or some other apparitions. Keep in mind most of these sailors had quite a bit of experience sailing their small boats in the ocean. And they didn't have half the safety gear that is available now. Sort of like the way professional hockey players never used to wear helmets.

There was also a guy from Hayward who, about 10 years ago, fixed up a production boat similar to yours and cruised her all the way to Canada without a problem. He wrote a book about it, although we can't remember the title. So it's true that people have made lots of long passages, including circumnavigations, in boats as small as 25 feet. So it certainly can be done.

The one thing you've got going for you is that weather forecasts have become more accurate in recent years for up to two to three days out. If you can find a window when it's only blowing 10 to 15 knots down to Conception, you should be all right — assuming that your boat is in decent condition. But in July, you may not get a window like that for weeks. And there's always the chance that it will blow 30, not the forecast 15 knots, in which case the force of the wind will be four times as strong, not twice as strong. So be ready.

Lastly, if the coastal forecast for July 1 is 25 to 30 knots, be smart and postpone your departure until the winds are lighter. Good luck.

I read with interest the May 13 'Lectronic about Robin Stout of Mermaid getting a black eye from a monkey's fist thrown by an employee of the Panama Canal.

Based on my experience, a half-inch nut in the center of a monkey's fist gives it a bit of extra weight so you can throw it much farther than one without a nut. But for safety reasons the fist is supposed to be thrown to the side and beyond the recipient, not at them. In fact, any line, even one without a fist, should be thrown beyond the person on the dock. Once the line is beside the recipient, he can step on it and then safely pick it up.

Peter Passano
Sea Bear, 39-ft Cutter

Readers — Peter has a lot of experience on which to base his advice. Nine years ago, when he was a mere lad of 77, he was awarded the prestigious Blue Water Medal by the Cruising Club of America. It was based on his having, at the time, sailed Sea Bear 125,000 ocean miles, many of them singlehanded. Peter built the boat on the shore of a Marin County creek with his then-partner Bob van Blaricom.

The best heaving line I've seen to date was 100 feet of bright fluorescent green line that had a red rubber ball in the middle of the fist. This gave it plenty of weight, but was not capable of inflicting the kind of injury Robin Stout suffered.

Brad Belleville
Encore!, Beneteau First 32

When I was a young man many year ago, I was an 'ordinary' for Chevron Shipping, sailing the West Coast circuit for summers to fund my college education — and thirst for beer. During that time I became skilled at throwing the line ashore, both to Standard wharves and tanker stations, where the target was usually a rather small platform.

Normally the shore parties were wise enough to stand by waiting for the line and avoided the obvious hazard of our weighted 'fist'. However, one fairly dark night I tossed the line to the dock just as members of the shore crew approached from their shed. They were obviously recovering from a nap, and stood dead center looking up into the lights. The monkey's fist came hurtling out of the dark sky and unfortunately hit one of the fellows on the forehead. He dropped unconscious on the dock.

The mate on duty on the ship immediately ordered me to the engine room until we had unloaded and departed the next day. It turns out that the whole shore crew was looking for me the entire time we were there, hoping to exact some revenge.

I later learned that the man had fortunately survived with just a minor injury.

But I was just doing my job, you know.

John McNeill
Rocketeer, Contessa 43
Marina del Rey

A few years ago the company I was working for sold some equipment to a customer who was building a boat as a test platform for some military tech they were developing. I went along on the sea trials to commission our equipment.

Everything went smoothly until we got back to the dock, at which point I watched in horror as our customer's resident boat 'expert' — I think he had a wakeboard boat — proceeded to granny-knot a one-inch anchor-chain shackle to the end of each dockline. I then watched in more horror as he twirled each one like David's sling, and launched the line, just missing the ear of the handler on the dock with the big anchor chain shackle. If there had been a boat on the other side of the finger, the shackle would have gone right through a cabin window — if not the topside.

I'd been provided a copy of the operating manual he'd compiled for the boat, and that night I opened it up and read it. Sure enough, step one under 'Docking Preparation' was "Tie shackles to dock lines."

A weighted monkey's fist would have been a major safety improvement to the big shackles at the ends of those lines.

Name Withheld by Request
Northern California

I've never hit anyone with a monkey's fist or been hit with one. But both my father and I have made a proper monkey's fist. Have you?

You would be surprised at the focus it takes to make one. If you're like me and don't have the time for a lot of fine rope work start with a 'soft shackle'. That alone will keep you amused for a while.

Brad Smith
Hobie 10
Santa Cruz

Brad — We've never been very good at tying knots, but for kicks we decided to give a monkey's fist a go. It must have been first-timer's luck or easy-to-follow directions from a book, but we found it to be relatively easy knot to tie.

I wanted to do a bit of cruising in the Channel Islands this summer with my San Francisco Bay-based boat, but can't take time away from work until a project gets finished in late August. Is this too late to head south? And, realistically, how much time do you think I need to enjoy such an adventure?

Eric Sullivan
Freedom III, Pearson 36

Eric — September is not only a great time to head south, along with August it's probably the best month of the year. If you've never lived in Southern California, you may not have heard of the 'June Gloom' that sometimes continues right into July. It's generally gray and gloomy on the coast, while it's clear and sunny just a few miles inland. The wind tends to be lighter then, too.

Historically, August, September and October are the best weather months for cruising in Southern California. There is less fog, better wind, and often the warmest air and water temperatures. Plus all the kiddies are back in school.
If you're going to go to the effort of sailing all the way to Southern California and back, we'd submit that two weeks is the absolute minimum you need to really enjoy yourself. It's 240 miles from the Lightbucket to Cojo, the first really nice Southern California anchorage. At five knots, that's two full days. Even though it might be a little grueling, we'd recommend doing it in one shot. After all, your goal is to get to Southern California waters.

That would leave you 12 days. If you're a Type-A sailor, you might want to try to get as far south as Catalina, but we don't think it would be worth the extra effort. After all, between Cojo and San Miguel and Santa Rosa islands (if they aren't too windy), Santa Cruz Island, and the city of Santa Barbara, there is plenty to enjoy. We'd recommend one night — or two if you're tired from the trip down — at Cojo, one night at San Miguel, one night at Santa Rosa, four nights at Santa Cruz Island, and two nights in Santa Barbara.

Shoot, that's two weeks right there and your boat is still in Southern California. The solution? If you can get an extra week off, deliver your boat home yourself. At that time of year the winds are usually lighter than in the spring and the height of summer, which is good. But you still may have to duck in at places like Morro Bay, Monterey and Santa Cruz. The very best solution? Hire somebody to deliver the boat home, someone with a flexible enough schedule to be able to wait for a proper weather window.

Such a trip requires a lot of effort, but as cruising in Southern California is completely different than in Northern California, it's well worth it. By the way, depending on how much time you have and your schedule, you might want to join the Southern California Ta-Ta, which goes from Santa Barbara to Catalina with stops at Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands Harbor and Paradise Cove. It runs from September 11 to 17, and has been a blast for the first three years. But almost all the slots are taken, so don't wait.

On April 25 I was headed out to New Zealand's Bay of Islands while Webb Chiles was inbound for Opua in the Bay of Islands. So I took a few photos. And I took a few more the morning he departed for Australia. It was a clear and still morning, and he hoisted the main on his Moore 24 Gannet and slipped his mooring at the first hint of a breeze on the beginning of the ebb. No muss, no fuss, no fanfare. For all the world it looked at though he was a daysailer going out on a casual outing. Only more relaxed.

John Tebbetts
Ichi Ban, Yamaha 33
Vava'u/Tacoma, WA

John — Thanks for the photos. As we report in this month's Cruise Notes, Chiles made it to Australia and has probably already departed for Cape York, Darwin, and then 6,000-mile- distant South Africa. Webb has done so many unusual things with sailboats that a lot of people wonder if he's a little daft. Having met him prior to the start of his circumnavigation, we think he's a very intelligent guy who simply marches to the beat of his own drum. We wish him luck on the rest of his sixth — yes, sixth — circumnavigation.

Chuck Hawley's May 2016 issue article on prioritizing safety spending was very good. It neglected, however, one vital and relatively inexpensive item that no shorthanded crew should be without — Watch Commander from

For around $200 you can guarantee that no one will sleep past your designated time interval to conduct a visual scan of the horizon, check of the radar, etc. If you set the interval for, say, a 20-minute interval, after 20 minutes elapses without a reset, Watch Commander starts to beep to remind you. The initial beeping is about as loud as the seat belt indicator on your car. If the beeping doesn't prompt a reset in a minute or two, a siren — which will wake everybody aboard as well as everybody within miles — goes off.

The US Sailing report on the loss of the Aegean and her entire crew during the 2012 Newport to Ensenada Race concluded that an "inadequate lookout was likely the proximal cause of the accident."

Reading the entire report, one is left with the impression that as the vessel motored on autopilot through a waypoint before North Coronado Island, the single crewmember on watch had fallen asleep. Having at least two crew on watch in the middle of the night, the report said, would be best. But if there are fewer than three onboard that can't be done. In such cases I believe a device such as Watch Commander is the best alternative.

By the way, I have no connection with this product and don't know anybody associated with it. I simply bought one and use it on every solo or shorthanded excursion. I would no longer consider doing anything longer than a daysail without one.

Lee Johnson
Morning Star, Valiant 32
Scottsdale, AZ

Lee — In most respects the Watch Commander is like a glorified egg timer, but specifically designed and built for the job. We know of people who have bought the product and swear by it. We also know of a number of sailors who have driven their boats onto the shore because they didn't wake up when they thought they would. And sometimes they died because of it.

I am the owner of the late Mark Rudiger's Carlsen 29 Shadowfax, the boat he raced in the 1984 Singlehanded TransPac. I would like some help in getting in touch with his widow, Lori Rudiger. For if she has any interest, I'd like her to see how carefully I have maintained Mark's former wood boat, and also get a better account of the boat's sailing history. Lori contacted me a few years ago, and I would like to get in touch with her again.

Dennis Casey
Shadowfax, Carlsen 29
San Pedro

Dennis — We'll alert Lori that you're trying to contact her.

The person who might be at least as interested in Shadowfax is Kay Rudiger, Mark's first wife. A couple of weeks after he completed the Singlehanded TransPac, he and Kay took off for New Zealand from the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. We know, because we just happened to be walking by and waved a 'bon voyage' to them. Although it was something like 30 years ago, we remember the moment as though it were yesterday.

For those relatively new to sailing, Rudiger, a Marin County product, was an excellent navigator back in the day before there weren't so many electronic aids. He was the navigator of the winning boat in several Transpacs and the navigator for Paul Cayard when they won the Around the World Race.

I've enjoyed the Wanderer's writings about canal boating in Europe. I previously chartered a 27-ft canal boat in the Burgundy region of France and absolutely loved it — even with having to go through all the locks. At the end of each day we'd nudge up to shore near a castle or some cows, drive some stakes into the ground, and voilà!

Since the Wanderer, like many Latitude readers, is slowing down a bit — and as you know, the canals are very slow — why not add a section to Latitude for Old Timers on the Really Dark Side? (Going to multihulls is just going to the plain old Dark Side.) You could dedicate a section of your terrific magazine to include powerboats, be they in the States or the canals of Europe. My guess is there would be many who would welcome this addition to Latitude without feeling the essence of the magazine was being diminished.

Stuart Kiehl
Former Multihull Cruiser and Racer
Even Kiehl, Scand Baltic 29

Stuart — It just so happened that we received your letter while on the Wanderer's 42-ft Majestic Dalat on the Seine River at Vernon, not far from Claude Monet's famous garden at Giverny.

Latitude has been the Wanderer's art project rather than a business since we started it 40 years ago, we asked ourselves if an artist like Monet would have added something, perhaps an amusement park, to his garden to make it more attractive to people who were more interested in action than his art. We decided that Monet wouldn't have done anything like that, so as long as the Wanderer is the owner/publisher, we're not going to modify the sailing 'essence' of the magazine. After all, it's not as though there is enough editorial space for sailing as it is.

If this sounds a bit hypocritical because we spend close to three months a year on our canal boat, it's not really, because canal boating in Europe isn't really about boating. It's mostly about having a great way to enjoy the incredibly rich European history and culture. As you point out, getting around on a canal boat is incredibly slow. And it can be surprisingly tedious because sometimes the canals are very narrow and winding, and there are an incredible number of locks. We're not saying that canal boating isn't a blast, because it is, but it's not because of the 'boating' part per se.

The good news is that if anyone wants to read about the Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca's adventure on the canals and rivers of Europe, the Wanderer writes very long posts on the Richard Spindler Facebook page.

My husband John and I always knew that we would eventually go cruising, having both dreamed about it our entire lives. Now that we're out here, we've been learning just how life-changing cruising can be.

We began our life as cruisers last year after quitting our jobs, selling our more racy boat, and purchasing a new-to-us more cruisy boat — and just two months before we started our cruising with last year's Baja Ha-Ha.

Once we started cruising, we began to miss the kind of adrenaline rushes we used to get during our 40+ years of racing in Southern California. So even though we had days filled with snorkeling, stand-up paddle-boarding, kayaking, fishing, swimming, swinging in hammocks pretending to read, hiking, meeting a multitude of great new friends — and let's not forget the endless list of repairs and projects — we found ourselves missing the energy expenditure and adrenaline rush that came with racing. We needed a substitute.

That's how we came up with the Cove Clean-up Cup Challenge. During our fifth month as new cruisers in Mexico, we found ourselves at Ensenada Carrizal, a pristine cove just north of Manzanillo, with maybe six other cruising boats. Everyone was pretty quiet, staying to themselves.

From aboard our boats in the cove, the shore looked beautiful — although a bit foreboding, what with the steep face, lots of rocks, and little or no sand. But when John and Daniel McCoy went ashore, they discovered that the beach wasn't as pristine as it looked from a distance. In fact, it was covered with a blanket of plastic trash. Much of it had been washed ashore during recent storms, and some of it was literally imbedded into the land.

When John returned to the boat, the amount of trash he'd seen in this gorgeous cove was bumming him out. So the next day he and I went ashore and spent several hours gathering trash. It was hard work in the tropical sun, but it also provided us with the kind of challenge and satisfaction we used to get from racing. It was almost as if we were on a very tough weather leg of a race and the weather mark was nowhere in sight. We'd soon filled four trash bags, but there was still lots more trash, and we hadn't covered even half the 'course'.

That night we invited the crews from the other boats in the cove over for a sunset raft-up. Everyone showed up, and before long we were asked what we'd been doing on the beach that afternoon. We told them, and invited them to join us the following day to finish the job.

So the next day Ian and Lesley McCallum of Fandango, Marcus and Cyndi of Rebecca, and Daniel McCoy joined John and me ashore. The additional help made the clean-up go a lot faster — and made it a lot more fun. In all, we collected 30 bags of trash. Pat and Melodie of Starshine arrived after all the trash collecting had been completed and wanted to get involved, so they volunteered to take a few bags on their own boat for proper disposal in port.

You're always learning when you cruise. We learned how problematic single-use plastic items can be, and we learned that a group clean-up can be rewarding and a lot of fun. After all, we not only left a cove renewed to its natural pristine state, but we also made some great new friends. We're inviting all other cruisers to start their own Beach Clean-Up Challenge.

Julie King
Myla, Moody 44
Long Beach

Readers — Everyone needs a purpose in life, even while cruising. Many cruisers, most of whom grew up leading goal-oriented lives in the First World, find it by helping people in Third World countries to live cleaner and healthier lives.

I bought my first boat, an Ericson 32, about a year ago and am in the process of becoming a better sailor. After some daysails, my first big adventure was an overnight trip to Santa Cruz Island from my home port of Channel Islands. I felt like a bird leaving the nest for the first time, but it was great.

This summer I plan to sail to Catalina, and would like your advice about where to go there. I've heard that the two primary places, Avalon and Two Harbors, are very different.

Christian Artes
Windgo, Ericson 32
Channel Islands Harbor

Christian — Avalon and Two Harbors are about as different as can be. Avalon is the big city and is crowded during the summer and fall, particularly on weekends, with day-trippers off ferries. Avalon has lots of restaurants and bars, the Casino, golf, a zip line, rental golf carts for touring, and many more 'attractions'. The city of Avalon runs the mooring facility. The harbor staff are very friendly and helpful, but there are times when every mooring is taken. You can anchor out to the east or west of Avalon, but both places are quite deep and you can roll your brains out from the combination of swell and boat wakes. Seriously, it can be absolutely horrible.

The Isthmus, aka Two Harbors, is tiny by comparison to Avalon and has but one restaurant and bar, and a general store. That's it. But not only can you BBQ on the beach for free, it's one of the few beaches in California where you can drink your own alcohol. While you can rent bikes and SUPs, and learn to scuba, Two Harbors doesn't have nearly as many activities as Avalon. It's also much more boating- and backpacking-centric.

Two Harbors has lots of moorings and will almost always have one for a 32-ft boat. As is the case with Avalon, it's possible to anchor near Two Harbors, but in most places the water is very deep, it's often rolly, and you have to keep an eye on your boat.

While all mariners should visit Avalon at least once, unless you're really into bright lights and crowds, you'd probably prefer Two Harbors. If you really want to anchor out, White's, a few miles to the west of Avalon, is the best place. There are no services there, and while you can dinghy to Avalon and back, it's a long ride and a back-breaker if the afternoon wind chop has come up.

But as both are new destinations for you, you can't go wrong with either one. By the way, if you're a Type-A person, there is decent Internet access on the moorings at Avalon, on the moorings nearest the pier at Two Harbors, and at some places at White's.

We're operating on the assumption that the Yanmar SD cone clutches have somehow not all cured themselves into perpetuity, and thus offer the following help to owners of boats with those transmissions.

The suggestion is to Google "Draft SD50 Cone Repair procedure Draft Rev1.docx," which will take you to a portal, There readers will find a 3 MB file showing them how to try to effect repairs. Depending on the severity of the problem, the cone clutch can either be lapped successfully, or have to be replaced. In either case, it can apparently be done by a cruiser with average mechanical skills.

A gentleman named Nigel Davis wrote about his experiences with the SD50 cone clutches on his Lagoon 400 catamaran. His starboard SD clutch started slipping after 500 hours. The local Yanmar agent in Hong Kong fixed it by re-shimming the cone clutch — as opposed to the much more common solution of lapping of the cone. That cone clutch is still running fine after 400 hours.

He then took his catamaran to the Philippines, at which point the port cone clutch started to slip, which was after 900 hours of use. "I was about as far away from help as I have ever been," he wrote. "Operating on one engine is not too bad once you get the hang of it, but I recommend everybody practice before they need to do it, especially maneuvering in tight spaces at slow speeds."

He reported that, using the instructions that a number of Lagoon owners have posted on various sites, he was easily able to remove the clutch himself in only about 30 minutes. But he was unable to undo the top nut on the clutch unit.

"You need a 27-mm socket and some way to hold the spline still without damaging it," he reported. "Others have used aluminium strips in a large vise in lieu of Yanmar's special tool. This technique did not work for me, as the spline slipped in the vise and cut the aluminium even when the vise was done up very, very tight. In the end I brought the clutch back home to Hong Kong, where the dealer fitted a new cone and re-shimmed it. He says lapping is not a long-term fix."

The Internet instructions say to "use a 27-mm spline socket available from Sears" to hold the spline. However, Nigel was unable to find a suitable spline socket, either locally or on any international websites. Nigel asked the Yanmar dealer what he used to hold the spline, and the agent said he uses a part from a trashed saildrive that the spline fits into. Apparently the Yanmar special tool is too expensive for even the dealer.

By the way, the best cone clutch repair instructions I've found were those that seemed to actually be issued by Yanmar on These have more detail than those put together by fellow owners, although all help.

I hope this helps.

Joy Weis Kass and Walt Kass
Joy of Tahoe, Lagoon 440
Currently at Marina di Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

Joy and Walt — Thanks for forwarding those additional instructions from Yanmar and for Nigel's comments.

Latitude readers may remember that we — actually our crew Dino — did most of such a repair on both of Profligate's cone clutches about 18 months ago. We also went on a wild goose chase in search of the recommended 27-mm socket that was supposedly available at Sears and everywhere else. We not only couldn't find one in Mexico, we couldn't find one in Colorado either. We later found out that we didn't need one.

We made repeated attempts at getting the cone clutch assembly apart by putting it into a vise cushioned by aluminum plates. Nothing, not even attempts using a very long extension, worked. Someone later suggested that maybe the nut had been put in place with Lock-Tite. So we heated the nut up to break the Lock-Tite and tried the vise again. The assembly came apart rather easily! The fact that nobody had mentioned the Lock-Tite wasted a day or two of our lives.

As for the agent re-shimming Nigel's cone clutch, perhaps that had been the problem. The tolerances are so tight on each saildrive that they, as we understand it, have to be custom shimmed. Doing something like that is far above our register, so it's lucky that we didn't have to do it.

We and Dino lapped the cone clutches, after which they worked fine. That was 18 months ago, so while it may not be a permanent fix, it's worked that long. We don't mean to disagree with the Yanmar dealer in Hong Kong, but we don't think there is such a thing as a permanent fix on the SD saildrives. Among our semi-solutions is, as ridiculous as this sounds, to shift as seldom as possible.

As for Nigel being able to get the hang of maneuvering with one engine at slow speeds in tight quarters, we need to point out that there is a huge difference in trying to do this on a cat with keels — such as the Lagoons and our Leopard 45
'ti Profligate — and cats with daggerboards such as Profligate. It's quite possible in the former boats, and very, very difficult — if not impossible — in the latter. It also makes a lot of difference which engine goes out.

As far as we're concerned, using the instructions from Yanmar and others, it is quite possible to remove, disassemble, and lap a SD cone clutch assembly. Some cone clutches are too badly damaged to benefit from relapping, in which case you need to replace the $600 part. Other cone clutches can be relapped for further use for an indeterminate amount of time. We recommend that anyone with SD transmissions always carry at least one spare cone clutch.

Larry Ellison poured more than $200 million into his 2013 America's Cup campaign, but at one point Oracle Team USA was down 1-8. New Zealand needed just one more win to take the Cup. Oracle ultimately beat back the odds in what has been called the greatest comeback in the history of sport.

But was it really? The Comeback, my latest book, reveals that Oracle actually won the America's Cup because they broke the rules. They would have lost if they hadn't cheated.

I'm a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the author of the best-selling book The Proving Ground: The Inside Story of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race. In The Comeback, I tell the story of Oracle's remarkable comeback — only to find that the team used a sailing technique that was prohibited under the rules.

New technology and less-than-sportsmanlike behavior have always been part of the mix of the America's Cup, but the competition in San Francisco involved technological advances and misconduct. Some of it was proven, some of it merely alleged, and some would go unnoticed. But it was far more dramatic than anything that had come before.

The Comeback is more than just an exposé, as I also describe a perilous re-engineering of the boat, a crucial crew change, and the kind of superhuman personal effort that sometimes develops with teams that have nothing to lose.
"Oracle's reincarnation was born," I write, "of not just never-say-die determination and unspoken prohibitions on finger pointing and naysaying, but also of an almost reckless willingness to accept risk."

My goal is to give my little book the attention I believe it deserves, and to get the truth out about what happened in San Francisco. Given the complexity of the rules and Oracle's power, that's been difficult.

Bruce Knecht
New York, NY

We recently returned to our boat in Puerto Vallarta by plane, and had brought a spare electric pump along to replace the one that was starting to fail on our boat.

The Mexican customs declaration form everybody has to fill out says that everyone is allowed to bring in up to $500 in duty-free goods. So we didn't list the $191 pump on the form. We got a red light at customs, so they searched our bags and found the pump. The customs woman asked what it was for, and I told her it was for our boat. I showed her our boat's Temporary Import Permit to prove it.

She couldn't have cared less about our TIP and said we owed the Mexican government $534 pesos in duty. When I reminded her that the Customs Declaration form said everybody could bring in $500 worth of goods duty-free, she said that car parts, boat parts, and motorcycle parts are not part of the deal.

We mentioned this to Harbormaster Dick Markie of Paradise Marina, and he said we should have listed the pump on the customs form, but put zero for duty to be paid. If asked about it, Dick said we should tell them that it was for our boat and show them the TIP.

I checked our boat's TIP, which was issued in 2009, and it says nothing about duty being due on boat parts being brought into Mexico. Perhaps the issue was addressed on newer TIPs.

In any event, boatowners beware.

Myron Eisenzimmer
Mykonos, Swan 44
San Anselmo

Myron — The problem is that customs officers in Mexico often don't know what the law is, and that Mexico doesn't do a good job of publicizing the law or when it has been changed.

Before anybody slags Mexico, the exact same thing can be said about both US Agricultural officials and US Customs officials. Sometimes officers in both agencies have been completely clueless about the law.

As for Mexico, we take a big-picture view of the situation. Over the many years — decades, actually — that we've been cruising in Mexico, we've brought tons of stuff down that we probably owed duty on, but were simply waved through by customs officers. In the long run we think we've come out way ahead, so we wouldn't raise a stink about it.

Another reason is that Mexico continues to be such a ridiculous cruising bargain. When we last checked, the peso was 18.71 to the dollar, close to an all-time high. That means you had to pay $29 in duty for the pump. We're with you on the principle involved, but we wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

I'm curious what chartplotter the Wanderer uses for bluewater sailing these days.

I thought that by now there would be an inexpensive plug-in bluewater chart for the whole world. What I've found so far seems to be a not-very-detailed and fragmented chart of the world, showing your position. For details, you have to buy parts of the world.

What are the Wanderer's thoughts?

Robert Melynchuk
Teal, Cal 20
Vancouver, BC

Robert — Our thought is how incredibly better navigation tools are than when we started sailing 50 years ago. Back then it wasn't an option; if you were anywhere you had to have clumsy and expensive paper charts — and lots of them. Lord help you if you were going to do a circumnavigation, although trading and updating them was a great way to make friends.

These days we mainly sail on the West Coast, in Mexico, or in the Eastern Caribbean. For navigating all these waters, we use a single electronic chart of the Caribbean and South America by Navionics. We have it on our iPad and our iPhone.

Obviously it would be impossible to store all the detailed chart information for that entire massive amount of ocean because there isn't enough room on any computer or device. So what they give you is a rough chart of the entire area, and the ability to download a very detailed chart of anywhere within the overall area. It's important to remember, you have to download the detailed charts before you get to those areas, because you can't download them without Internet access.

Navionics charts of huge areas, with the ability to download all the detailed charts in those areas, cost about $50 each. They are an incredible bargain.

There are differences between sailors, though. Some like to have all the latest electronic gear with all the special doodads. Others prefer simplicity. We attend the latter school, so we don't have a chartplotter on any of our three sailboats.

It's been our experience that the following have been all the electronics that we've needed or wanted: 1) A GPS — or two or three — for boat speed. 2) A depthsounder, which we have on all our boats except the Olson 30. 3) Something to show us the wind direction. For the most part we rely on masthead Windexes rather than electronic instruments. We don't have fully functional windspeed indicators because we don't feel we need an instrument to tell us how hard the wind is blowing, and because it's just something else to maintain and repair. 4) AIS. 5) VHF. 6) Radar. 7) EPIRB. 8) Satellite Messenger. 9) Iridium SatPhone. None of our systems are integrated.

We've seen chartplotters that have every function from weather to engine rpms on them, and they seem to be great. But we're simple folks and frankly have never felt the need. If anybody else would like to weigh in on this topic, we'd love to hear from you.

My wife, two young girls and I were entering Barra Navidad in Colima, Mexico, in 1997 when we bumped over the underwater wave deflector while entering the harbor. The impact dented the lead keel of our Spencer 53 aft-cockpit ketch Amity, and unloaded one of our sliding drawers that faced forward. It was pretty exciting.

We dove on the boat and everything looked fine except for the dent. A few days later we headed south with fresh wind and a following sea. Life was awesome, as we said back then. As night fell the seas had built and we were flying.

About 2 p.m. the bilge alarm/light made it known that we had water in the bilge. I hit the high-volume secondary pump switch and counted the seconds. The pump ran dry after about 25 seconds. That meant there had been a lot of water in the bilge, and that wasn't good.

Flashlight in hand, I pulled a bilge-access panel and spotted a trickle of water coming from the aft end of the boat. It tasted salty. Both girls were sleeping in the aft cabin, and soon a very excited father started tearing the portside bed apart. I needed to get immediate access to the rudder post and steering quadrant. When I could see them, I noticed water coming in from behind the rudder post. This was not possible, as there was nothing but hull from the rudder post to the aft hull edge.

A very focused wife fixed me with a look and one question. Are we sinking? All I could think of was that the force of the impact with the deflector had levered a 'smiley face' crack on the aft end of the hull, allowing the trickle of water. Amity has a large lazarette, and it held a rolled-up 10-ft dinghy, three spare anchors, 500 feet of spooled anchor line, spare chain, tools, oil and fenders. A hoarder's garage. But it all had to come out, and quickly.

I was standing in the hatchway handing everything to my wife, who was stacking it all in the cockpit. Access achieved, it was just me and a Maglite going into the lazarette. It was dry, with no crack, no split — nothing! I sat on the sloping side of the hull and just looked around. Where was the water coming from?

Then a following wave lifted the aft end of the boat, and there it was. A squirt of water, about five ounces, came out of a four-inch cockpit drain hose way down in the dark edge of the lazarette under the cockpit.

The impact with the wave deflector had shifted the spare anchors forward into the old drain hose, causing it to split. When wave pressure lifted the boat, water was pushed into the hose and out the split. I closed the old wheel valve and life was again good. I spent the next two hours repacking the lazarette and assuring myself and my bride that we and the girls were all right.

John Bungo
Amity, Spencer 53
San Diego/Portland, OR

John — That reminds us of the time about 20 years ago when the bilge light came on in our Ocean 71 Big O while on the way from Monaco to Elba. We can't even remember what it was — maybe a worn-through exhaust hose — because our terrific captain, Jim Drake, now of Drake Marine in South San Francisco, found the source of the leak and fixed it.

But you have to watch out for those leaks. Just last month we read a report from the Christian Lauducci family — wife Josie and children Nina, 12, Ellamae 7, and Taj, 3 — on the Sausalito-based Stevens 40 Shawnigan. Their boat suddenly developed a leak whose source they had trouble finding while on the way to Mazatlan. During a stay at a marina in Mazatlan — because of thefts from boats at the south end of the city — the leak became much worse. It soon revealed itself to be a broken thru-hull for the engine-water intake. Because the yard was closed for a long holiday weekend, they had to temporarily stem the leak with a plunger and a bung.

A couple of weeks later, the big fishing boat Maximus, on her way back to San Diego from her winter base at Paradise Marina, developed a leak somewhere that the bilge pumps couldn't keep up with. She sank somewhere near Cedros Island. The crew was rescued by a tug.

You know what's a really good idea? A very clear chart identifying the location and type of every thru-hull on your boat, and posting the chart where everybody can see it. In times of emergency, it can really make hunting down leaks easier and less stressful.

I'm looking for a copy of The Baja Bash by Jim Elfers for when I return to the Bay Area following the this year's Baja Ha-Ha. Where can I get a copy?

Richard LeBlanc
Planet Earth

Richard — Jim Elfer's Baja Bash II is currently being published by Pt. Loma Publishing of San Diego, and is available at most places where cruising guides are sold.

There's lots of good advice in Elfer's book, but to a certain extent much of it has been superseded by today's more accurate weather forecasting. If we wrote such a book, it would consist of about two paragraphs:

Paragraph One: Don't head north of Cabo until you get a good if not great weather window, and when you do, go as hard as you can for as long as the good weather holds. It simply makes no sense to beat the crap out of your boat, your gear, and your crew — unless you're trying to prove something.

Paragraph Two: The least good weather windows tend to be during the months when most cruisers want to head north — March, April, May and maybe June.
Our general advice notwithstanding, there is still lots of good information in Elfer's book.

In the 15 years that I've been building MexiColder fridge systems for boats here in Mazatlan, we've never had a failure of the cooling fans. We actually have had no failures — except for the rare over-anxious cruisers who use an ice pick to 'defrost'.

So when a client of three years called about a problem with his cooling fans, we investigated and found that both fans had seized up. The client was a nuclear physicist who is way smarter than a humble marine engineer such as myself, but we traced the problem down to biodegradable plastic bags. They emit a chemical that, when mixed with dust, gummed everything up.

So I don't care what fridge system you have, don't store your used supermarket bags next to your fridge.

Michael Wilson
Tortue, S&S 47



'Lectronic Latitude | Download the Magazine | Crew List & Party
Calendar | Letters | Changes in Latitudes | Features
Classy Classifieds | Place a Classy Ad | Advertisers' Links | Display Advertising
Links | New Stuff | Subscriptions | Distribution | Contact Us | Home
  The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine.
© 2016 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.