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August 2016

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I've read every issue of Latitude for many years and have always been amazed by the many reports from around the world sent in by West Coast sailors. The reports come from Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, Sri Lanka, Croatia, New Zealand, the South Pacific — the list goes on and on. It's incredible the adventures that all these people have.

I love reading the reports, but the thing I love even more is sailing on our San Francisco Bay and up the Delta for a couple of weeks each summer. I haven't sailed in any foreign countries. I haven't even sailed in Southern California. But I'm just fine with limiting my sailing to on the Bay and up the Delta.

One thing I like about my kind of sailing is that it's so easy. I live in Lafayette and keep my boat in Berkeley. So even with the Bay Area's traffic, it doesn't take me that long to get to my boat. I don't have to sail thousands of miles. I don't have to go through airports and sit in planes for 12 hours to get to a charter boat in another part of the world.

Since I keep my boat in Berkeley, I rarely have to go far to find wind on summer afternoons. And I think that's true pretty much wherever anybody keeps their boat on the Bay. Based what I've read, there are lots of places in the world — Mexico and the Med to name two — where the wind is inconsistent at best.
The Bay also provides a tremendous amount of sailing variety. Strong winds, light winds, ebb currents and flood currents, fog — plenty of challenges.

Most people who cruise in foreign waters have to deal with at least some unpleasant sea conditions. Even after all these years of sailing I still tend toward getting seasick when I venture outside the Gate. Which is why I rarely do it. I don't feel the need to, because between the Bay and the Delta, all my sailing needs are met.

And at the end of each sailing day — at least when I'm not in the Delta — it's only a quick drive home to a hot shower, something on the tube, and a great night's sleep in my own bed. I don't have to worry about whether the watermaker stopped working, whether the anchor will hold, or any of that stuff.

I'm not be the most adventurous sailor in the world. I'll leave that to the Jack van Ommens and Jeanne Socrates of the world. But I venture to say that I'm one of the most content sailors.

By the way, I've had the same 32-ft boat for 28 years and have never raced. I just like how the boat moves with the wind. It seems to erase all my petty troubles. And since I've owned the same boat for all these years, it's actually inexpensive recreation.

In addition to not being the most adventurous sailor, I'm also not the most outgoing, which is why I prefer to remain anonymous.

J.D.'s Boat, 32-ft sloop

J.D. — You should not only feel content, you should feel lucky, because if you're just going to sail one place, there aren't many places better than San Francisco Bay. As you mentioned, there is always wind in the summer, you experience a variety of conditions, and the season is as long as you want it to be.

I think — no, I know — that I'm in love . . . with the gal on the cover of the July issue of Latitude.

She's my dream girl. The way she so casually stands on the bowsprit. The way her reddish-blonde hair — the same color as the boat's wooden masts — blows in the breeze. The way she so casually stands on the bowsprit. Her wacky short shorts over her leggings-like 'foul weather gear'. The way she so casually stands on the bowsprit. Her sleeveless black PFD. The way she so casually stands on the bowsprit. The fact that she wears a watch — which I find so sexy. The way she so casually stands on the bowsprit. I hope I'm not so smitten that I'm repeating myself.

If she really likes sailing, as she appears to, I could buy a boat and get back into sailing. Do you think I have a chance with her?

By the way, I'm 73 going on 29. Fortunately, I don't believe age differences should stand in the way of true love. I hope she feels the same way.

Please, tell me I have a chance.

Name Withheld by Publisher's Discretion
San Francisco Bay

NWBPD — You always have a chance . . . in your dreams.

We have to agree with you, the cover gal looks fetching in that cover photo by Erik Simonson. And we agree, much of it is because of the insouciant way that she stands on that bowsprit, seemingly unconcerned at the obvious precarious nature of being on the bowsprit. But be careful up there, darling, be careful.

As I write this letter, there is a thrilling battle for first-to-finish honors in this year's 23-boat Singlehanded TransPac. According to this morning's 'Lectronic, young Jirí Šenkyrík on his ancient Olson 30 Kato is leading Chris Cartwright on his nearly new J/88 by about 10 miles with about 80 miles to go to the palm trees. It could be a photo finish between the 27-year-old and the 50-year-old.
Thanks to the great SSS website, I've been able to follow the rest of the fleet, too. I'm more of a racer/cruiser boat kind of guy, so I've been keeping tabs on the middle-of-the-fleet boats, too, not just the leaders.

I was in my early 20s when the first Singlehanded TransPac was held in 1978, and it was a very exciting time to be a sailor. It was a very different sailing world back then. Singlehanding was relatively new and rather controversial. As I remember, longtime and much-respected sailmaker Peter Sutter was completely against it, thinking somebody would get killed. He wasn't the only one who held that belief, as the warm-up event the year before, the first Singlehanded Farallones, was held in gale conditions. Only about 10 of the 50 or so starters finished.

I always thought I would do a Singlehanded TransPac, but life events always seemed to get in the way. When I was young, I was dumber than I am now, and thus spent some time as a guest at Club Fed for helping import some herb — which will no doubt shortly become legal in about every state in the Union. Of course, if it hadn't been illegal, importing it wouldn't have been so potentially lucrative. Anyway, that federal residency pretty much took care of my 20s.
I got further removed from sailing in my early 30s when I fell in love with a woman who didn't care for sailing at all. Then we had a daughter. Things went sour between my wife and me, and we got divorced. So I was in my early 40s and broke. Shared custody meant that I had a little bit of free time to sail on other people's boats. Once my daughter got a little older, I chartered a boat to go sailing with her on the Bay a couple of times. She loved it.

Then I was in my 50s and still doing construction work. The years of manual labor were really starting to take a toll on my bones and muscles. I did manage to get a crew position for the Baja Ha-Ha a few years ago, and loved it. Man, being out on the big ocean was fantastic, and I loved being able to pace our boat — not that she was very fast — with others in the fleet.

So now I'm in my early 60s and fearing that my sailing life — especially my opportunity to do a Singlehanded TransPac — is slipping away. I don't have a lot of money, I don't even have a boat, and I'm older and beginning to doubt myself. Doing a Singlehanded TransPac now seems like such a tall mountain to climb.

I know the publisher was around for the first Singlehanded TransPac and wonder if he remembers Norton Smith, having sailed his Santa Cruz 27 to Hanalei Bay, running up the steps to the Club Med, which is where the finish line was. Or that the only female entry, Amy Boyer, would be pulled from organizer George Sigler's boat the day before the start because he got cold feet about her maybe getting killed.

Please withhold my name, as my daughter might somehow come across this letter and I don't want to remind her of what a dummy her dad had been in his 20s.

Name Withheld Because of My Mistake in My 20s

NW — We clearly remember how controversial the first Singlehanded TransPac was, and how it went down. We got to Hanalei Bay to cover the race a little after Norton Smith did with his Santa Cruz 27 Solitaire, and later went sailing with him and some locals on Solitaire. The first race was a close one, as Norton only nipped Jim Gannon on the Freya 39 Golden Egg by 12 minutes, with Skip Allan on his Wylie 27 Wildflower not much farther back.

Yes, we also remember Amy Boyer being pulled from Siegler's Freya 39 at the last minute, and being replaced by Bill Collins, an African-American school administrator from Berkeley. This was back in the days before electronic navigation, and Bill sailed right past Kauai. We remember being under the tree on the beach with the other skippers when they pretty much collectively resigned themselves to the fact that Bill had gone overboard or otherwise died.
Then he showed up.

Norton Smith went on to build the Wylie 20 American Express, which he used to win both legs of the first-ever Mini-Transat from England to Antigua. A shunned Amy Boyer scraped together enough money to buy a Wilderness 21 and ship Little Rascal to England. She also completed that first Mini-Transat, got the boat to California, and raced her in the next Singlehanded TransPac. She did really well, too. Jim Gannon parlayed his boat's success into selling a good number of Freya 39s that he built in Petaluma. Collins got another boat and slowly cruised her to the Caribbean, where he became a BBQ king on the waterfront of St. Thomas.

Yeah, those were the days.

But cheer up, as a lot of guys in their mid- to late 60s have done Singlehanded TransPacs. Ken 'the General' Roper did most of his 13 Singlehanded TransPacs after age 60. And lots have done the race with small and/or simple boats. Both Able Sugar, a Santana 22, and Caballo Blanco, a Cal 28, for example, were among the 22 boats that finished the first Singlehanded TransPac. And since then others have made it to Hawaii, including a Golden Gate 24, Moore 24s, International Folkboats, Santa Cruz 27s, and Olson 30s. You could pick up one of those for a song, and if you're frugal, not spend that much money equipping one. Remember, the SSS motto is "sail the boat you have." After all, you sure don't want to try to beat Stan Honey's monohull record of 11 days 11 hours with his Cal 40 Illusion. With that trip the world's greatest navigator — he holds countless major international records — bested all previous Cal 40 race times to Hawaii, and there had been over 100 of them.

And just imagine how great it would be to sail across the finish line at Hanalei and have your proud daughter waiting on the beach. Good luck!

I can't believe the video by Steve Waterloo that appeared in the July 15 'Lectronic, the one showing the thieves stealing the 250-hp Yamaha and the 9-hp Yamaha kicker from his powerboat at the dry storage facility at Alameda Marina. I looked it up and the manufacturer's recommended price for a 250 is over $25,000, not counting installation.

The audacity of the thieves! And the stupidity of them, as the license plate numbers of both the vehicles were clearly recorded in the video!

I guess the one redeeming quality of what appears to be the bald-headed, sorry ass, thieving white ringleader is that he's not a racist. For from all appearances, he hires minorities to help him. Although in all fairness, he's probably told them that it's his boat and motors, so they may not have known. But given this is Northern California, the apparent ringleader will probably get a suspended sentence because he's a minority employer or something.

According to the report, one of the suspects is under arrest. But I'll wager he and his associates — if they ever get caught — will soon be released to steal again and again. Which is why this East Bay outboard motor theft problem has been going on for years and years, and which is why it will probably continue to go on for years and years. And which is why cars keep getting broken into in San Francisco at an incredible rate. I'm embarrassed by American society.

Aaron Jenkins
The Delta

The accompanying photos were taken at Coyote Point Marina in San Mateo. I left the marina on Sunday, and when I returned July 5, 2016, I noticed a sailboat sunk just south of the main channel.

Boating accidents are not a laughing matter, but when I saw the mast sticking out of the water next to the sign "Danger-Submerged Rocks Shallow Area-Keep Out," I just had to chuckle.

I will say that when a sailboat leaves the marina and gets just past the jetty, (see the jetty at a 45° angle at top of the Google photo), the wind and the current can really surprise a novice sailor. I'm not sure that is what caused this particular accident, but it's possible.

Spencer Covey
Lani Kai, Grand Banks 46
San Mateo

As someone who is cruising the Delta this summer, I was very interested to read the June issue article titled "Ten Tips for Delta Cruising." Lots of excellent tips, many thanks.

However, as someone who's spent a lot of time working in laboratories, I have to take issue with one of the suggestions. Tip 9 was to put dry ice in your icebox as a substitute for refrigeration. When dry ice evaporates — it actually sublimes — meaning it becomes gaseous carbon dioxide. This is heavier than air and will fill the boat from the bottom up.

Depending on the size of the block and the size of the boat — smaller boats are the ones less likely to have refrigeration — this gaseous carbon dioxide could fill to above the level of settees and berths.

Most labs do not allow dry ice to be transported in elevators because they are fully enclosed spaces, which means there would be the potential for 'game over'.

Josh Wittenberg
Sababa, Baba 30

Josh — Several Internet sources confirm that dry ice indeed turns to carbon dioxide gas, which although not toxic, changes the chemistry of the air to lower the amount of oxygen necessary for humans. According to the sources we read, it's not a problem in well-ventilated areas, but the lower parts of small sailboat cabins, where heavier-than-air carbon dioxide collects, are not well ventilated. So thanks for the heads-up.

Dry ice is still fine to use — as long as it's kept in a cooler that is kept outdoors.

During the Master Mariners Regatta on May 28 there was a collision between the 65-ft Seaward and my 36-ft Papoose. It resulted in my boat's being dismasted.

I feel incredibly lucky that nobody was seriously hurt or worse. Masts can be replaced; lives can't. As far as we know, there was only minor damage to Papoose's hull.

Seaward has apologized and expressed their regret for this unfortunate accident. I very much appreciate it. Their insurance surveyor has a great reputation for being knowledgeable and fair, and has been nothing but a pleasure to work with. All parties share the goal of getting Papoose repaired and back out on the Bay soon.

Here's how the accident happened. Having tacked over a minute before, Papoose was on a course to Blackaller Buoy, her next mark, on a heading of 152° going about 6 knots. Seaward was headed to Blossom Rock, her next mark, at a heading of 120° at 9.5 knots. She had just rounded Yellow Bluff. Both boats were on starboard tack.

Seaward was to windward of Papoose and overtaking her. Papoose properly maintained her course and speed. Seaward intended to cross astern of Papoose, but misjudged, and hit Papoose just a couple of inches forward of the transom on the windward rail. Seaward's bowsprit caught Papoose's backstay, causing her mast to come down. Pieces of spruce rained down on both boats. Seaward's bowsprit then broke from the tug of Papoose's backstay.

The above information is supported by GPS tracks, witness statements, photographs, and Papoose's NMEA log. Data on Seaward's course and speed are from them.

I pretty much just race Papoose in the Tuesday SPYC Beer Can races and maintain her. I have done well and win most of my races. While it is not a high-level series, it is fun and gets me together with my friends who are crew.

Beyond that, I design custom marine electronics and software for my own use and others who are interested. Sailing is pretty much my life, so this accident was particularly upsetting.

Allen Edwards
Papoose, L-36

This is my perspective on the collision between the 65-ft schooner Seaward and Papoose that took place during the Master Mariners Regatta. As we on Seaward came around Yellow Bluff and were heading for Blossom Rock, I was watching Elizabeth Muir as she was coming up across our path, but way ahead of us.

Then all of the sudden Papoose came up on our port side at a pretty good clip. "What are we going to do?" I thought to myself. After all, she was the leeward boat. I decided to follow her downwind, knowing that if we went too fast we would run into her. So I had to wait a little to get farther up in the process.

Seaward was doing 9.5 knots, so it wasn't as if I could make a quick move. Finally, I thought I had it nailed in that I could slip just behind her. But it appeared to me that she came up briefly at that moment, slowing her down just enough so that I couldn't maneuver clear of her.

I didn't want to turn down too early and then go into Papoose, because given the angle if I turned early, I'd sail right through him.

As a result, we hit Papoose. It was an unfortunate accident, and I'm not trying to put a lot of blame anyplace for anything. We run these courses really close, and this was a sort of a small boat in a crossing situation in the race course — which probably sets up problems when you also have big boats involved.

We met with the guys from Papoose and talked it over. We wanted to make sure that he would get his coverage because he should get his boat fixed. We fixed our own vessel fairly quickly. We were able to make a bowsprit and get a couple of wires and put it all back together. He's got a bigger problem.

We offered to make a new mast for him if he's interested, but the owner wasn't sure where he wanted to go. I think we sort of left it as the idea of putting any specific blame on anything is probably not the right way to go.

It was one of those days out there. I've got my view on it, he's got his. These things get a little complicated sometimes. And sometimes you get in difficult situations.

There was no protest hearing, as the owner of Papoose withdrew his protest after we talked. To have a protest you have to have one boat that finishes.

I don't want to get into any kind of contentious thing. I'd just like to amiably say, "Oh yeah, these things happen."

Alan Olson
Seaward, 62-ft schooner

Readers — We didn't see the incident described in the last two letters, but over the last 32 years we've done a lot of not-so-serious racing on big boats. First with our Ocean 71 Big O, and for the last 20 years with our 63-ft catamaran Profligate.

We haven't hit any other boats with either of them, but we've learned three valuable lessons, the first from experience and the second and third from observation:

1) 'A stitch in time saves nine' when it comes to avoiding potentially dangerous situations. With a bigger and faster boat, there is a much larger matrix of boats that you have to keep tabs on and prepare to avoid — even if you could claim rights. In almost all situations, you can eliminate big problems by taking minor action early. 2) No pickle dish is worth the risk of a collision, so try to resist elevated testosterone levels in order to always maintain an adequate buffer. 3) Size matters. It's rarely the end of the world if two Etchells have contact, but the likelihood of injury and greater collision expense goes up exponentially when the boats are measured in tons.

In your parting shots in the June issue, there was a brief discussion about the beheading of Canadian cruiser John Ridsdel, one of three cruisers who had been kidnapped by Islamic militants from Ocean View Marina in the Philippines last year.

We have been cruising in Asia and I remember reading about his capture in a news article. I tried to verify my recollection of the facts, but was unable to find references, so I'll just go with what I recall. The article stated that the kidnappers first went to a boat in the marina on Samal Island, Philippines, with the intent of kidnapping the occupants. The occupants put up a struggle and apparently made quite a ruckus. That's when John Ridsdel and the others walked out on the pier to see what was going on. The kidnappers realized that taking their intended victims was going to be a struggle, so they quit them and grabbed Ridsdel and the others. As I said, this is how I remember it.

As we know, the result of going with the kidnappers turned out poorly, as two of the kidnapped cruisers were killed.

I had a career in law enforcement, and we were taught to never surrender. Regardless of the circumstances, it is better to be left battered and bleeding on the street than to be executed in a remote field somewhere. I think we as cruisers should think about this incident, and make a commitment to never willingly go with kidnappers. As long as you have a means to resist, do it.

Kidnappings can happen anywhere, and incidents like this seem to be happening more frequently. My suggestion is to think this over, discuss it with your partner and crew, and when the shit hits the fan, fight like hell.

Donald Bryden
Quetzalcoatl, Brewer 45
Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia

Donald — The kidnappers initially tried to grab an American cruiser and his Japanese-American wife, who wisely — at least in retrospect — jumped into the water. Only then did the kidnappers move on to the other victims, at least one of whom, the marina manager, came to see what the commotion was all about and try to help. No good deed goes unpunished.

To resist or not resist? We Googled expert advice, and half seem to think you resist as best you can, and half say you shouldn't. It's a hard call that no doubt depends largely on the circumstances.

I'm writing in regards to the letter that appeared in the July Latitude titled "Cruising With Seven and a Dog on a J/24." There were two errors, one in the letter and one in your response.

My husband Howard and I were anchored in the Marquesas when Carlos Aragón sailed in from Mexico on his 14-ft Finn. We assumed he'd been out for a daysail instead of a 107-day crossing.

Carlos stopped by our boat and asked where he should land, and I gave him directions to the pier! Anyway, he never went farther than the Marquesas.

In regards to your answer, Webb Chiles, a close friend of ours, never completed a circumnavigation on the two Chidiock Tichbournes he owned. As I recall, he made it most of the way around but stopped in the Canary Islands. By the way, we're following his progress with Gannet, the Moore 24 he's in the process of sailing around via the Southern Ocean.

Susan & Howard Wormsley
Boatless in San Diego

Susan — Thanks for the corrections. Carlos and Webb, two true sailors whose achievements almost defy belief.

This reminds us of the time we were honeymooning on a Moorings 445 at Bora Bora after one of our marriages, when we saw a guy anchored nearby on a 23-ft boat somewhat similar to a J/24. The singlehander's name was Thomas Grammatikos, and he was three years out of Greece on what he expected would be a six-year circumnavigation. Despite the fact that his boat was painted canary yellow and named Conqueror, he'd given up checking into countries after Panama. He said it was two much of a pain and nobody really cared. Thomas had an onboard shell collection with 2,500 specimens. He also had a round dinghy he paddled with a single oar.

Latitude salutes small-boat cruisers!

It's been awhile now, but I burned almost no fuel when I sailed my Pearson Ariel 26 Uhuru from Ventura to Australia. That was from November 1981 to April 1985.

When the wind died I could either wait or row with a sculling oar, as my 'swear by it or swear at it' Seagull 3-hp engine wasn't up to moving Uhuru.

For those interested in small-boat cruising, here's a recap of the trip and what I did to modify my boat.

From Ventura we sailed down the coast of Baja, stopping off along the way until we came to Cabo San Lucas. From Cabo we harbor-hopped to Acapulco. From Acapulco we sailed 34 days — the longest passage — to the Marquesas. We spent several months there.

As this was long before the advent of GPS, we navigated with my trusty sextant, using the planets, stars, moon and the sun.

From the Marquesas, we sailed to the Tuamotus and spent some time at Ahe. These atolls are no taller than the palm trees and the currents are very tricky, so as we got close I couldn't figure out why I couldn't see them. Then I remembered that the Polynesians knew that birds fly to land at dusk. It was about dusk and I noticed birds heading in one direction. Climbing the mast, I looked in that direction and saw land! Visibility was also poor in 'the dangerous archipelago', so those birds were a godsend.

After the Tuamotus we sailed to Tahiti and the Society Islands. We spent six months there dodging hurricanes. Hurricanes are quite rare in French Polynesia, but not that year, as they had their most destructive hurricanes in history. But it was awesome watching those waterfalls coming off the peaks and going straight up into the clouds.

We spent some time attending a few Tahitian weddings. In fact, the Chief of Urafara on Moorea wanted me to stay there and marry his daughter. But I kept going.

From the Society Islands we sailed to Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. The pass wasn't much wider than Uhuru was long. It was here that I used another Polynesian technique to spot land. You find the lagoon by looking at the reflection of it in the clouds above. It works.

While we did sail everywhere we went, I just used about five gallons of gas in the Seagull to propel the Avon inflatable.

After Aitutaki we sailed to Niue, a big rock in the middle of nowhere. That's where we met the famous John Guzzwell of Trekka fame. He befriended us when we got to New Zealand.

From Niue we sailed on to American Samoa, which had the filthiest harbor I have ever seen. At this point Uhuru was soaking wet on the inside from the constant beating into the trades and the leaking around the forward hatch.

After a stop in Western Samoa we had some lovely sailing in the protected waters of the Vava'u Group of Tonga. It was gray and the wind was honking from aft as we continued on to Fiji. The gray made it hard to use the sextant, but our navigation was still always right on the money.

I did a yacht delivery from Fiji to New Zealand, and then flew right back to Uhuru to sail her to New Zealand's Bay of Islands. The boat spent six months there while I went backpacking to see the rest of New Zealand. Wow, what a country!
While putting in a dogleg near Norfolk Island on the way to Brisbane, Uhuru was rolled almost 360 degrees, causing a lot of damage. I was wishing I was on a 747 when that happened.

After a few weeks in Brisbane, I delivered a 90-ft steel schooner to Sydney. It was a clear spring morning when we sailed into Sydney Harbour, and quite memorable. I left Uhuru in Brisbane and toured the East Coast of Australia by

That's it in a nutshell, as I sold Uhuru in Australia. I flew to the US and spent a few months here on my way to the International Boatbuilding Training Center in England to learn how to build wooden yachts from boat plans. The course also included constructing the interiors. My instructor was a joiner for the Queen of England!

Here's what I did to beef up my small boat before sailing her across the big ocean.

First, I built a much stronger mast step, with eye-bolts to the extremely beefy mast supports. The mast strongback was replaced with solid teak (or Honduran mahogany). It must have been two inches by 10 inches from the sole to the deck.

The chainplates were replaced and put outside the hull.

The rudder shaft and support system were totally rebuilt with stainless.

The foredeck was reinforced with stringers inside because the balsa core had
A delaminated. I used a foam core for the delamination repair.

I added a manual Simpson Lawrence windlass with 100 feet of 3/8-inch chain with a CQR.

My sail inventory consisted of a storm trysail, a storm jib, a 120% genoa, a mainsail, and my favorite, a cruising chute for those frequent light-air days. The self-steering was with an Aries windvane, the premier device in its day. I did have a Ham radio, but never did get it to transmit properly.

I got my electrical power from a wind/water generator until I bought a solar panel in Tahiti. The panels were very expensive back then, so fortunately the French government subsidized them for the islanders. I didn't need the wind/water generator after that.

Uhuru's only means of propulsion was the wind on the sails. The 3-hp Seagull with five gallons of gas was for the dinghy only. When you don't have an engine, you get good at sailing your boat. When I was living in Ventura, I would sail Uhuru backward out of the slip and then off on a reach. It didn't matter where I had to 'park' her, I could do it under sail.

Tony Benado

In a recent issue, the publisher of Latitude asked who has sailed across the Pacific without using any fuel. My girlfriend Anna Behrens and I didn't exactly sail across the Pacific, but we recently sailed our Atkins 28 double-ender from San Francisco to Cape Cod. We couldn't really use fuel except for cooking because we didn't have an engine.

As most sailors might know, you can't sail through the Panama Canal. Getting a tow through the Canal seemed like an expensive hassle, so we headed west from Panama on a very long loop into the very empty South Pacific. Fifty-two days later we arrived at Valdiva, Chile. From there we went south and through the Beagle Channel to reach the Atlantic and the Falkland Islands before heading back north up the Atlantic Ocean.

Our Valdiva passage wasn't actually the longest leg of our trip, as it took us 55
days to get from Uruguay to Antigua.

Ben Pedersen-Wedlock
Inga, Atkins 28
San Francisco/Cape Cod

We had a near-miss June 13-14 while transiting the Panama Canal from the Pacific side to the Caribbean side with Sereno II, a Hunter 39 that continued south after last year's Baja Ha-Ha.

My wife and I were two of the four requisite "line handlers" on deck, who received the monkey's-fist ends of heaving lines from the canal workers atop the locks. We then put the ends of the 125-ft-long, one-inch diameter lines on cleats. The other ends of the lines were put over bollards on the side of the canal, bollards that were nearly as high as the top of Sereno's mast.

The chamber of the 100-year-old locks — not the new bigger ones ­— is 1,000 feet long and 110 feet wide. Our yacht, like most, was expected to use the four 125-ft lines to position herself 'center-chamber' ahead of the enormous cargo ship that was to fill the lock to the stern of us. Once in place, deck line handlers take in or ease their lines as the water rises or falls in the lock.

As part of the $2,200 cost of transit, the Canal Authority places an Advisor on your boat. The Advisor's role is apparently to instruct the skipper and crew and — most importantly — communicate and coordinate with those operating the locks. This seemed to work well until our sixth and final lock, when we down-locked from Gatun Lake to the level of the Caribbean Sea.

As we slowly motored into the final lock chamber, the four canal employees on the top of the lock walked forward, trailing their heaving lines that were already
attached to the bights on our heavy mooring lines. From my position on the bow, I soon noticed that our speed down the chamber was accelerating without any increase in our engine rpms. Within moments I noticed that we were being
carried forward on a 6-7 knot current, headed directly toward the closed lock and tugboat at the far end of the chamber! The line walkers on the side of the lock broke into a jog to keep up with our boat speed, but didn't reach the bollards on which they were to secure the lines in time.

In desperation, our skipper threw the transmission into reverse and gunned the engine. More than anything, this produced a large cloud of black diesel smoke and thrust our stern to the port side of the lock and toward the rough cement wall. Our boat was clearly out of control, hurtling stern-first toward the wall. While the sides of the boat were well protected by the rented globe fenders, the stern of the boat — where the dinghy with its motor hung from its davits — was completely unprotected.

Only at the last moment did a worker on the top of the lock manage to secure our starboard aft mooring line to a bollard. Our boat's stern crew threw two turns on the aft winch, and because they were near the bitter end of the 125-ft line, held on for dear life. As it was, the 125-ft line was stretched from near-mast height across the 110-ft chamber. We were saved, but it had become close.
How did this situation come about? The four electric locomotive 'mules' had begun pulling the cargo ship forward toward us in the lock chamber before we were secured to the bollards. The movement of the cargo ship, which filled the lock chamber from side to side, generated the intense current that accelerated our movement down the chamber, causing us to lose control of the boat.
I regret to report that while this was going on, our Canal Advisor in the cockpit was unaware of what was going on — and reluctant to interrupt a personal conversation that he was having on his cellphone. It was not until the skipper shouted at him to help the crew to restrain the mooring line that he seemed to take notice and reach for his walkie-talkie.

As the sideways careening of our stern was arrested only feet from the rough chamber wall and we regained control of the boat using the four mooring lines now over their bollards, the skipper of the tugboat toward which we had been flying got on his hailer and said:

"Nice catch, guys!”

This experience leads me to two observations. First, when transiting the locks it is key to remain aware of the big picture of what is happening — and force your Advisor to do the same. A timely intervention from the Advisor to those handling the cargo ship as well as line handlers on the lock itself might have prevented this sketchy situation from developing.

Second, there seems to be no procedure for accountability on the part of the Advisors. While the Advisor who took us through the up-locking on the Pacific side seemed competent, the Advisor put on board for the down-locking displayed little knowledge of the effect of wind and current on sailboats, nor was he attentive to the operation of the locks and the requisite coordination of the actors involved.

As soon as a pilot boat retrieved the Advisor from our boat, the skipper ordered shots of tequila all around. Believe me, we were ready! Besides the stress, we were all drenched to the skin from the 16-knot squall that had pelted us with tropical rain from the time we approached the locks. But we were relieved and grateful to have completed our transit without damage or injury. We had successfully stitched the Ditch and made it to the Caribbean.

Richard Schaper
Ebenezer III, Hunter 39

Richard — It's always been our understanding, and experience, that when going down the last down lock on either side of the Canal, there is strong current trying to push your boat into the end of the lock. It's also our experience that the Canal employees walking your boat lines along the top of the lock are indifferent to a 'stitch in time saves nine' philosophy that would prevent dangerous situations from developing. We suspect they might even secretly enjoy boat crews' having to deal with a little chaos and near-disaster.

We never put much faith in the Canal Advisors or any other person put on our boats to assist. It's our belief that if it's your boat, you have to be completely in charge. A good Advisor or pilot can give you important information, but only a foolish skipper gives up control of his boat.

I was just enjoying the latest Latitude and read the Wanderer's Changes piece about his AB inflatable and Yamaha 15 outboard. Here are my thoughts:

1) Like the Wanderer, I consider it a matter of faith to untie my dinghy from the boat or dock before trying to start the outboard. My outboard hasn't let me down yet. But I don't recommend it to others.

2) Tohatsu makes great outboards in the small sizes we cruisers use, and the small-to-medium-size outboards charterboats use. As it turns out, many outboards with other brand names — such as Nissans and quite a few Mercurys — including my 25-hp Sea Pro model — are actually Tohatsu outboards with different branding. So they and parts for them are not as uncommon as the Wanderer thinks. I've had several Tohatsu outboards and loved them.

3) Like the Wanderer, I'm not sure what I'll do for a dinghy/outboard when the time comes for me to leave the charter business. It's true that a 12-ft dinghy is big, but it offers more than just greater size. For example, except in perfect conditions, a 12-footer is much drier than a 10-footer. The ride is also better if you do happen to have a few friends aboard.

Another favorite dinghy of mine was a 10-ft Avon with an inflatable floor. It was lightning-fast with an 8-hp engine, and very dry because it was so light. But the inflatable floor — made of PVC rather than Hypalon like the rest of the dinghy — was a nightmare. Although it was comfortable to sleep on.

So I'm thinking that when the time comes, I'll go with another 12-footer, but will probably downsize from a 25-hp to an 18- or maybe even a 15-hp. And I would go for either another Tohatsu, in one of its many guises, or a Yamaha.

Tim Schaff
Jet Stream, Leopard 45
Tortola, British Virgin Islands

I met my Canadian wife in Cabo San Lucas 32 years ago while I was there to deliver the Choate 40 Rodeo Drive back to L.A. after a Cabo Race. We now live in Ensenada, where we built our house 23 years ago.

We really appreciate Latitude's good will toward Mexico and the truth that you spread about the country, and mainly about the people.

When we are asked about why we live in Mexico, with an added, "Probably because it is cheaper," we explain that yes, land is certainly less expensive. And the property tax is almost nothing compared to California. But the people of Mexico are the reason we live there.

We felt welcome in Mexico right from the beginning when we bought our lot and started building our house. And we don't live in a gringo compound. In fact, we are the only gringos who live in a little canyon with 10 to 12 other families.

In my 43 years of travel in Mexico, I can honestly say that neither my wife nor I has ever had a serious problem. Quite the contrary, we have found that the Mexican people will bend over backward to help out a stranger — as they have us many times over.

By the way, our travels in Mexico over the years have included not just thousands of miles of coastal deliveries and cruising, but also with a 1972 VW bus, with a motorcycle, and with a camper towing a Hobie Cat. These trips have been up and down Baja and over on the mainland.

By the way, I might be a contender for owning a boat for the longest time. I bought a 35-ft hull from Columbia Yachts during the 1973 oil crisis when the boatbuilders in Southern California were going out of business. Or in the case of Columbia, moving operations to Virginia. The hull was a tooling piece — actually a fiberglass plug to build their mold from. I believe that it is the strongest hull that Columbia ever built. I went on to build a cold-molded trunk cabin with custom modifications to the underbelly. Patience is and will be our only cruising boat. We keep her at Marina Coral, just 10 minutes from our house.

Capt. Mark Philbrick
Patience, Custom Columbia 35
Ensenada, Baja

Captain Mark — While we haven't had any bad incidents in the more than 35 years we've been traveling in Mexico, we attribute at least part of it to the fact that we've used common sense, avoided well-known dangerous areas, and don't dress to exude wealth. It's the same cautious formula we use no matter where we travel in the world, including the United States.

This is certainly not to say there isn't crime in Mexico, because there is. But we certainly aren't any more concerned about our personal safety in Mexico than we are in many parts of the United States.

As for being helped by Mexicans, we think it's sort of a universal truism that no matter where you are in the world, if you need help, you are far more likely to get it from poor people than rich people. But it's even more true in Mexico.

I'm an old California sailor whose insurance company pushed us away well over a decade ago. We have been in Texas, Florida, the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and the Med — with bounces to other spots that called to us.

We are headed back to the Pacific and home. But I have been gone so long that all of my local knowledge is beyond worthless and verging on dangerously out of date. I am looking for guidance. We are headed north from the Panama Canal as soon as we can make the transit. We need a boatyard and most likely dry storage somewhere along the way or in the Bay. We are opening a land base in Hawaii and need our boat safe while we get set up.

Where can our Free Spirit, a beautiful 76-ft cutter with roughly 20 feet of beam, 8.5 feet of draft, and a 100-ft stick comfortably and safely sit while we prepare our grounds and base in Hawaii for our teen sailing program?

Knowing that the Latitude publisher will want to know more about us, here goes:

I'm just another sailor with a story, although I have been running a teen sailing program for 20 years or so, and have a long string of success stories with improved lives. Free Spirit, on the other hand, is a legend. She was built in Costa Mesa and Marina del Rey in 1978/79 as the second-largest Airex-cored boat at the time. She was designed by Bruce King for owner Harlan Lee, who had previously owned a much smaller King-designed Ericson 35 Mk II.

From the mainsheet traveler forward, Free Spirit is a racing maxi but with teak decks, multi-zoned A/C, and a fridge and deep freezer. She has five staterooms, plenty of showers, and all the toys of a sailing megayacht.

From the traveler aft, Free Spirit was 'de-tuned' with a canoe stern to keep her from kicking off on the swells and surfing. This keeps down the need for highly skilled crew to make her a very high-performance family cruiser.

After sailing in Southern California for a little while, Free Spirit left for the Caribbean and then Europe. While in Europe she sailed and chartered, but mostly made herself known by never failing to win a trophy for beauty.

A man from Norway then bought her with the intention of sailing her around the world with his family. So he installed all new rigging, electronics, and much more. It was a $750,000 upgrade. Then they took off with the 2012 ARC across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. According to the stories, his wife left the boat with no desire to return. As a result, the stunning yacht ended up in a little town in Panama where she didn't belong.

I love classics and one-of-a-kind boats. At different times I have owned Monte Livingston's 50-ft Checkmate and his 55-ft Checkmate, as well as the Open 60 Thursday's Child, and the 100-ft schooner that the movie Pirate Radio was made about.

I was looking for another classic for my students to sail and adventure aboard. After a year of no love, Free Spirit, the nautical heroine of this story, was in the wrong place with an out-of-country owner and bad varnish. We swept in with some cash and a dream — and became her new caretakers.

We are now looking to sail our beautiful girl home and set up another land base in the Pacific, where the waters have a darker blue, where the winds call my name, and where the ground swells of the Pacific rock me to sleep despite making the cabinet doors rattle. I miss home.

I will keep Latitude posted from time to time as my business of working with teens comes along. Although as you know, plans and reality rarely match up for long.

Capt. Scott Rhoads
Free Spirit, Bruce King Custom 76

Readers — It was ages ago, but we remember anchoring next to Free Spirit at Catalina when she was relatively new. What a gorgeous yacht with an unusual canoe stern. We bet she is fast, for at 76 ft long and 20 ft wide, she was five feet longer and 2.5 feet wider than our Ocean 71 Big O, which at 90,000 pounds displaced 28,000 pounds more and had less sail area.

As for boatyards on the West Coast, not that much has changed except perhaps for the addition of the La Cruz Shipyard near Puerto Vallarta. They can easily haul a big boat such as yours, as can the familiar yards in California.

I was lucky enough to have some history with Java Head, the 44-ft cutter that was built in 1933 and has now been taken back east for restoration. As such, I can contribute to the request for parts of her history.

Java Head did the 1949 Honolulu Race when owned by Frank Bilek of the Richmond YC, and came in seventh overall. She did the next Transpac under the ownership of her next owner, Elmer Peterson, with Bill Selbach, Sr., as the sailing master and Myron Spaulding as the navigator. They came in fifth overall.

At age 13, I painted Java Head's engine room and was invited to sail on her for Opening Day 1953 with Peterson and the Selbachs.

Elmer sold the boat to my wife Elizabeth and me in 1972. We took the engine out, stopped the leaks, and painted, varnished and generally maintained her. We lived aboard, but were always able to stow gear to sail on the Bay — which we did frequently.

In 1973 Stone Boat Works replaced most of the bulwarks, caprail and cockpit coaming. We re-fastened the deck and recovered the cabin top, while the boatyard reefed out, recaulked and paid out the deck seams.

On one particularly gusty winter day in 1975, Randy Chandler and I short-tacked Java Head — with her new Perkins engine lashed on deck — up the Cutting Canal to the Richmond Boat Works where the engine was later installed. Soon afterwards we sold the Java Head to Ed Schoon.

Victor Segal
Misty, Whitehall 17

Maybe Latitude could help me out. I'm trying to find information and/or images of a 36-ft ketch named Kama that was built (or rebuilt) around 1931 (or 1933) in San Francisco. News stories said it was built by unemployed sailors to thank Lois Jordan for running a soup kitchen in the Embarcadero from January 1931 through February 1933.

Kama later made news for being "lost" after she left San Francisco in July 1933.
But she turned up in San Pedro later that month. Kama went on to sail to Tahiti, and returned to San Francisco in September 1934.

Thanks for whatever light you can shed on this matter.

Steve Minniear

Steve — Sorry, but the name doesn't ring any bells with us. Back then wood boats weren't really expected to last much more than 15 or 20 years, and 1934 was over 70 years ago.

I was recently at a couple of conferences involving small craft (MACC and CPBS) and especially at MACC (which is military/commercial). Most of the boats or the papers involved aluminum construction.

One subject of discussion was the almost complete absence of aluminum sailboats.

Aluminum has become more accessible for military and commercial workboats due to computer numerical cutting, but this hasn't been reflected in most of the recreational boat market. Not in sail and not in power. The question is, why?
Perhaps it is because no one builds aluminum boats into these markets, or perhaps no one in the market wants aluminum boats. I would like to hear any thoughts about this from you and your readers.

Chris Barry
SNAME Small Craft T&R Committee Chair
Annapolis, MD

Chris — We suppose it's probably because it's more cost-effective to build production boats out of fiberglass.

Then, too, it might have something to do with the failure of some aluminum sailboats. A few years ago we ran a story about the cutting up of Leading Lady, a Doug Peterson two-tonner that was one of the more famous racing boats on the Bay in the 1980s. Her hull was disintegrating to the point where they just had to cut her up — something that almost never happens with fiberglass boats.

Then there was the 1999 68-ft Wylie design that was built in aluminum for Dewey and Darlene Hines of the St. Francis YC. As we recall, the two of them doublehanded the boat to Hawaii and Alaska, but were later informed that there had been a problem with the batch of aluminum. According to Tom Wylie, the aluminum manufacturer had to buy the boat back from them — the hull plating was bad. The original builder, Jim Betts, rebuilt the boat a couple of years ago, and it has had a happy second life under a new owner.

Aluminum boats have long been popular in France and to a certain extent in the Netherlands. We don't know why they haven't in the States.

I loved the America's Cup when it was competed for in monohulls, and the catamaran America's Cup in San Francisco was fun to watch. But my interest left when the Cup left for Bermuda. My interest is in the local races and the races to Hawaii. And, of course, the French around-the-world races.

Greg Clausen
Free Spirit, Beneteau Oceanis 390

Readers — Greg's letter is in response to the editor's 'Lectronic Latitude request for reader response on their interest in the upcoming America's Cup. To best understand Greg's letter, and the others that follow, we're publishing the 'Lectronic item again here. For those who have lost interest, it will also help set the scene for next year's event.

"As perhaps only a couple of readers know, the 35th America's Cup is to be held next June in Bermuda. We think it's safe to say that after the fabulous spectacle of the 2013 America's Cup on San Francisco Bay, and Oracle's Cinderella come-from-behind victory, the fact that Oracle and San Francisco could not keep the event on the Bay frittered away a tremendous amount of goodwill and West Coast interest.

"Oracle Team USA will, of course, be the Defender, with Challenges put up by Artemis from Sweden; Land Rover BAR from England; Emirates Team New Zealand from you know where; Groupama Team France, and Softbank Team Japan, featuring former Kiwi skipper Dean Barker.

"The run-up to the America's Cup has been and continues to be the Louis Vuitton World Series, which uses foiling AC45 catamarans. Three of the World Series events — in Oman, New York and Chicago — have already been held. The next one was late in July in Portsmouth, UK, with additional ones later this year in Toulon, France, and Fukuoka, Japan.

"The boats used in 2017 will be box-rule 15-meter (50-ft) foiling wing sail catamarans that are 8.48 meters wide. The Defender is allowed to build two boats, the Challengers just one each. Twenty-five percent of each boat's crew must be sailors from the boat's country.

"The Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs are slated to be held in Bermuda from May 26 to June 17 next year. The America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, will be between Oracle Team USA and the Challenger on June 17-18 and June 24-27. NBC will broadcast coverage in the United States.

"The racing will be held on Bermuda's Great Sound, which is described as a "natural amphitheatre for the race course." The America's Cup Village will be at the Royal Navy Dockyard. The islands of Bermuda cover a total of just 21 square miles — less than half of San Francisco — and have just 60,000 residents. Accommodations for visitors are very limited.

"Those are the facts. Now we have some questions for you.

1) Did you never care about the America's Cup?

2) Did you care about the America's Cup until they switched to catamarans?

3) Did you love the America's Cup on San Francisco Bay but lost all interest since it left?

4) Have you always loved the America's Cup and are you excited about next year's edition?

5) Are you somewhere in between?

We've love to hear your thoughts and just a couple of sentences explaining why you think the way you do."

That ends the item; the following are a few of the many responses we received.

I've followed the America's Cup closely since the 1980s.It's where development of sailing technology takes place. Think riblets, wing keels and foiling. Originally developed to demonstrate the fastest possible delivery times of precious cargos such as tea, the America's Cup has always been about technological development.

On the other hand, the America's Cup is also the oldest trophy in sport, and tradition counts. One tradition is having the winner host the next Cup on their home waters. It's an honor.

There were a lot of great things about the 2013 Cup on San Francicsco Bay: Amazing aerial shots with the world's most beautiful city as a backdrop. Consistent, challenging winds. Amazing spectator access. Fabulous technology. And all the usual America's Cup intrigue. It was all I had wanted for 20 years.
I attended four races in person, and watched others at the Alameda Theater or from the water. I saw them all on TV.

And now we have the 2017 America's Cup in Bermuda, as one of the richest men on the planet, and one of the most poorly run cities on the planet, combined to see the Cup leave the best possible venue. Disgusting! If I get any email about the America's Cup, I delete it.

I am angry, disillusioned and feel betrayed. I won't be watching the 2017 America's Cup, and hope that anybody but that greedy SOB Ellison wins.

See you in this fall's Baja Ha-Ha. We're entry #4 with a non-foiling catamaran.

Michael Britt
Footloose, Catana 471
Roy, NM

Being from the United Kingdom, I have cared about the America's Cup since a child. The company my mother worked for was involved with the Lionheart campaign.

The J boats, the 12 Meters, and the IACC formats were all great. Sailing technology evolves, and foiling catamarans align with the "biggest and fastest boats" mentality. At least they did until cost became a factor with the 72s.

The last Cup on San Francisco Bay was terrific, and I watched every race in person. I also watched the World Series on the Bay and traveled to watch it in San Diego.

Politics tend to spoil everything in time. The essence of the Deed of Gift seems to now have revised interpretations that lead to Bermuda's somehow being the home waters of Golden Gate YC! And the S.F. Board of Supervisors seem to not play well with billionaires or members of a perceived elite. It's a loss to San Francisco.

If it's easy to find coverage of the upcoming Cup in Bermuda, I will watch it, but I'll certainly miss the experience of watching it in person from the hills above Crissy Field. It was a lot of fun meeting the same folks up there every day.

I hope the Cup goes back to where it started, and can be reborn based on the original interpretation of the deed. If that happens, we'll see more sailing — and less politicking and trying to turn it into the sailing equivalent of F1 schemed by professional sailors to bankroll their lifestyle!

Simon Shortman
ex-Nemesis, Antrim 27

I'm primarily a cat sailor so I'm biased. But I tell people this: "Catamarans are the most fun to sail, but dinghies are the most fun to race." With cats you have the speed and exhilaration, but you are not up close and personal with your competition as you are in dinghy racing.

It's the same for racing. The foiling and speed of the cats was amazing for a while, but eventually it got old. Two slow keelboats match-racing close together, with fouls, covering, spinnaker tears, and so on, makes for more interesting viewing. Two blazing fast cats that rarely cross bows gets rather boring. I'm hopeful that the smaller cats will help.

I will continue to watch the Cup as always, but wish it were still on San
Francisco Bay.

Mark Rygh
Union City

After watching the duel on the Bay with the 72-ft cats — which was a thrilling surprise to me — I still find myself wishing they would go back to monohull racing. And build the boats out of wood. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I really liked the 12s. As for the Bermuda venue for next year's America's Cup Finals, I'm not impressed.

Fred Waters
Adirondack Guide Boat

I loved the 12 Meters. I love the foiling cats. Wake me up when the racing starts.

Jack Chalais
Hind Sight, Lancer 27
San Francisco

I'd always liked the America's Cup, but less so when they switched to multihulls. And less so when Oracle automated their cat's trim system and the jury didn't rule their mods illegal. And even less so when they left San Francisco behind.

Cheating cats in Bermuda? It's the biggest yawn possible, so I won't be spending a dime to watch it. It's a pity that Ellison ruined what once was a great competition.

I have followed AC racing since the Newport days, went to Auckland in 2000, decided I had to have a boat there for 2003, and bought with partners the Ron Holland 66 Picasso, later renamed Platino, in which we did the 2002-03 Superyacht regatta to Kawau. I also sailed on Dave Thompson's NZL 21 up the middle of the course in 2003 when they called the race for lack of wind. Not.

And, I crewed on NZL 14 in the incredible AC Class regatta with Mary Coleman on San Francisco Bay 10 years ago.

George Brewster
Black Swan, Saga 409

I'm a longtime multihull enthusiast who lost all interest in the America's Cup since it was switched to the ridiculously impractical foiling water toys. I am far more captivated by the heart and human spirit on display in the Race to Alaska.

I do, however, want to thank Larry for providing my humble catamaran with dock space in Lanai for a few nights . . . until they noticed that I was there.

Matt Daniel
Tumbleweed, Outremer 42
Honolulu, HI

I think the Cup has become a crass money grab. Once it got to the point that they were shopping the venue around to the highest bidder it seemed to lose all connection with actual racing.

The jettisoning of the host club and the great San Francisco Bay venue, and the constant changes in the boats, show they care little about the actual racing. If they had bailed on the 72s and stuck with the 45s in 2013, they would have had the 10-15 challengers they promised. If they had stayed with the San Francisco Bay venue and gone with the 45s for the coming round, it would have been an awesome event. And I think it would have gotten them the exposure and money that they apparently want so desperately. As it is, I have no interest.

Stephen Orosz
Marina Bay Yacht Harbor

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being totally jazzed about the upcoming Cup, I'm at 3. For Ellison to spend all that money to win the trophy for the United States, then choose to hold the next Cup on foreign waters was simply stupid. That decision is the reason I won't buy Oracle products.

Craig Moyle
Concordia, Cape North 43

One of the best things about the America's Cup for me was the social aspect — the parties, the friends I made, and the friends that visited from all over. Robin Stout lived with me for a month, and during the Youth America's Cup I had six people camped out on the floor of my two-bedroom condo in Point Richmond. Through the Youth America's Cup I met Ken Read, Annie Gardner, Kimball Livingston, the Wanderer, Doña de Mallorca, and numerous others I can't remember, but people I appreciate. I spent numerous hours inside the Oracle Pier 80 facility, met many of the Oracle team members, and was granted press passes during the actual America's Cup. None of that would have happened had America's Cup 34 not been on San Francisco Bay. I'm not happy about Bermuda.

Kimberly Paternoster
Prudence, Islander Freeport 36
Point Richmond

I always cared about the America's Cup, and liked being able to watch the races from the shore, something that wasn't possible until the event came to San Francisco Bay. I thought the 72 cats beat the slow monohulls for entertainment value. My whole family loved the Cup on San Francisco Bay, including my twin boys, who hadn't been particularly interested before. They became addicted.

They've now lost interest, but not me. Even though I'm 65, I'm still addicted to sailing, be it kiteboarding, windsurfing or sailboat racing. Even on land, I look at the direction of smoke, the direction of flags. When I cross the Rio Vista Bridge I check tidal conditions of the Sacramento River. I've always loved the America's Cup, but I'm not as excited about next year's edition.

Ed Vitrano
Rio Vista



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