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November 2016

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Any chance of finding out whether there was a fire extinguisher mounted in the engine compartment of Harry Hazzard's Beneteau 51 Distant Drum that caught fire off Chula Vista? I have always wondered if they really work. I have one in the engine compartment of our Swan 44 Mykonos that is supposed to go off if the engine room reaches a certain temperature.

Myron Eisenzimmer
Mykonos, Swan 44
San Anselmo

Myron — We presume that you're not referring to a normal powder or water fire extinguisher, but rather something like a Fireboy clean-gas fire suppression system that automatically discharges when the engine room reaches 170°.

Harry visited us on Profligate shortly after the fire. He told us that no, his Distant Drum did not have a fire suppression system. The problem on Distant Drum was that the Frers design had the engine located almost just behind the mast, beneath a salon bench, and there wasn't room for a Fireboy.

We think the Fireboys are a great idea. According to the Coast Guard, 90% of boat fires start in the engine room. The mid-October fire on the boat 10 miles offshore from Marina del Rey started in the engine room. So if you have a product like a Fireboy, it goes off automatically; it empties its clean-gas contents in just 10 seconds and leaves no residue. We have them in both of Profligate's engine rooms.

Harry said that the lessons he learned are that boats do need fire suppression systems, and that if you're on a boat, you need a personal EPIRB — they are now reasonably priced — so if you have to jump overboard far from land because of the fire, you have a chance of being rescued. One of the three crew on the boat burning off Marina del Rey decided that he had to jump into the water. Of course, depending on the temperature of the water you're jumping into, and how long it might be before you're rescued, you may want a wetsuit or drysuit, too.


I read with interest Latitude's account of September's Southern California Ta-Ta IV — although I was confused as to where the boats actually anchored at Santa Cruz Island. My wife and I sail to Santa Cruz Island each year with our Ventura-based Bavaria 38, and I can say with certainty that there is no spot known as Prisoner's Cove. And even if there were, it's apparently not where the Ta-Ta fleet went.

The photo captioned 'High above Prisoners with Anacapa in the distance' is only partially correct. True, Anacapa Island is in the distant background, but the photo was taken from high above the anchorage at Scorpion Ranch, evidently atop Cavern Point, with the photographer facing east. Prisoner's Harbor is actually about six nautical miles to the west. Beyond those two prominent rocks in the background at Scorpion is Little Scorpion, a popular anchorage only about 17 miles from Ventura.

There is a pier at Prisoner's Harbor, and it's open, whereas the one at Scorpion Ranch is, as you discovered, closed due to storm damage sustained last winter. Its closure is an inconvenience to many wishing to go ashore there, but it's hardly a reason to criticize the park ranger you encountered whose job includes looking out for the safety of visitors to the park.

An alert about the condition and closure of the pier at Scorpion has been posted on the Channel Islands National Park website since December 2015. But if folks were thinking they were going to Prisoner's Harbor when they actually went to Scorpion, they might be surprised, as well as upset, to find the pier at the location they visited was closed.

Reading your report in the October issue now clarifies an even earlier confusion as to the advertised course of Ta-Ta IV — to perhaps visit Prisoner's en route to Smuggler's Cove, which you do not when sailing from Santa Barbara.

Ray Wilson
King's Gambit, Bavaria 38 Exclusive
Ventura Harbor

Ray — There's an explanation for the mistakes. It's a lame one, to be sure, but we're going with it. The Grand PooBob has been sailing to Santa Cruz Island off and on for nearly 40 years, and has always concentrated on the physical qualities of the anchorages rather than their names. The result is that we always get the names of the anchorages mixed up, to the point where misidentifying them has become a tradition. As participants in the Ta-Ta will attest, the Grand PooBob would frequently get on the radio and ask, and only half in jest, "What's the name of this place again?" It was a bit of a joke, but we suppose it was a bit too much of an inside joke for us to misidentify Scorpion as Prisoner's in the magazine photo caption. No rum for us tonight.

As for the park ranger, we were just having a little fun, and for two reasons. First, we're fed up with 'helicopter government', which looks over every single move everybody makes, even in the semi-wild, and thinks it's doing you good by being so over-protective. And climbing up and down that closed pier wasn't half as dangerous as swimming in the ocean, surfing or scuba diving. A 'Use At Your Own Risk' sign would have been more appropriate than the 'Area Closed' sign. That kind of nanny government makes a sailor long for Mexico.

Reason number two for having a little fun with the ranger is that she, like a lot of young people fresh in positions of authority, might have been more officious than was necessary. A little sense of humor is a great lubricant in all of life — including law enforcement.

Lastly, we also think it's important for overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens to be naughty every now and then.


I read one of Latitude's many responses to questions about Temporary Import Permits (TIPs) for Mexico in last month's edition, and wanted to report that your suggestion to check with ship's agent Victor Barreda in Cabo was a good one. We needed to get the previous owner's TIP for our boat canceled and get a new one. Victor took care of it.

We purchased our boat in Mexico in 2011 before bringing her back to the States. I was not aware that she had an active TIP when we bought her. I learned about it when I applied for a TIP online before the start of last year's Baja Ha-Ha. My request was rejected because the boat already had one. The only advice I got was to try to take care of it at our first port of entry in Mexico.

So we arrived in Cabo with the old TIP and proof of boat ownership, and explained our plight to Victor. He said he'd get our old TIP canceled. When that was done we could apply for a new TIP in La Paz. There is no Banjercito in Cabo, which is why you can't apply for one there.

Victor took care of our paperwork and even delivered the TIP cancelation papers to us at Puerto Los Cabos a week later. In the meantime, we changed our plans and went to Mazatlan instead of La Paz, but still had no problem getting a new TIP at the local Banjercito.

The fact that we did not have a TIP when arriving in Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and Mazatlan was not a problem, as we simply told authorities we were going to get one when we got to either La Paz or Mazatlan. A cruising couple we met in La Cruz told us they had a similar problem, and did the whole transaction themselves — canceling the old TIP and getting the new TIP in Ensenada. It did, however, take them a lot of time and walking around to find the appropriate agencies needed to complete the transactions.

We did last year's Baja Ha-Ha and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for doing such a great job!

Rich and Margaret Ciolino
Ecco Bella, Island Packet 35
Santa Barbara

Rich — Good old Mexico: you never know what to expect. For quite some time officials have assured us that arriving in Mexico on a boat without a current TIP was a big no-no that could have major unpleasant consequences. And that if you didn't have both the old TIP and the last exit zarpe from Mexico, you weren't going to be able to get a new TIP. But as you have learned, officials can sometimes be flexible.

We're glad things worked out for you and the other couple, and hope it will work out for others. Nonetheless, we highly recommend that everyone get a TIP for their boat — they are easy to get online, only cost about $50, and are good for 10 years — before heading into Mexican waters. We also suggest that nobody purchase a boat until the owner has canceled the boat's TIP or is willing to stipulate that the boat doesn't have a current TIP.

Update: While it didn't come in time for last month's issue, and is effectively too late for this month's issue, we received the following press release from the Association of Mexican Tourism Marinas:

"Due to the recent difficulties in the process of canceling Temporary Import Permits at the Banjercito office in the port of Ensenada, our Association approached Customs authorities in Mexico City in the effort to simplify the cancellation process. We understand this problem has worried many boat owners planning to visit Mexico, as they find themselves unable to cancel an existing TIP issued to a previous owner. To alleviate this situation, Customs officials will be at the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles on October 27 and 28 exclusively to cancel Temporary Import Permits.

"Boatowners wanting to cancel an outstanding TIP are encouraged to be at the Banjercito window between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. with the original vessel documentation and their passport. We are working hard on this matter and will not stop until we get a resolution. We truly appreciation your patience and trust."

That's a remarkable outreach by Mexico.


I wanted to share some information that might be useful for other boatowners heading south from San Francisco Bay or other parts north. We had decided to make Morro Bay one of our stops on our southbound passage to San Diego. After some great sailing and spectacular weather, we arrived in Morro Bay at dawn and dropped anchor.

As members of Berkeley Yacht Club, we thought it would be nice to visit the Morro Bay YC, meet some members, and hopefully make use of their facilities to freshen up. We have been hosts many times for sailors visiting from other clubs, and have also been guests at clubs up and down the Pacific Coast. The experiences were always great.

When we approached the Morro Bay YC, a member pointed us to a member who "handles visitors." The woman, Lynn, quickly and curtly informed us that Morro Bay YC does not offer reciprocal privileges to members of other yacht clubs, even though she did say that they are a member of PICYA (Pacific Interclub Yachting Association). We found her attitude to be pretty rude, including a statement about the club not giving "freebies."

Sadly, we would probably welcome her and any other member of Morro Bay YC into our club, with a big welcome, quick tour, access to any needed facilities, and probably even buy them a drink at our bar. Oh well.

Morro Bay is great, but don't plan on reciprocal access to the Morro Bay YC.

George Durden
Epiphany, Jeanneau 45.2

Readers — This letter, which appeared in the October 10 'Lectronic, set off a firestorm of responses. To be honest, some of it was probably Latitude's fault, as we suggested that the 'welcome mat' wasn't out at the Morro Bay YC, a club long known for outstanding hospitality. As we wrote in the October 12 'Lectronic, it would have been more accurate had we written that the Morro Bay YC doesn't have the 'unlimited welcome mat' out, as they can't offer slips to everyone, and they do charge for reciprocal slips.

In any event, it raised a number of issues, as you'll be able to see from the following letters.

Before we get to them, we should note that according to the bylaws of the PICYA, no club is required to offer 'reciprocal privileges'. To complicate things even further, the Morro Bay YC hasn't been a member of the PICYA in many years, and is actually a member of the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA).


We must write in defense of the Morro Bay YC, where we spent a pleasant three days in September. Lynn Meissen, the club's port captain, was very welcoming and accommodating to us, even going so far as to allow us to stay in the red member's zone because the two visitor spots at the dock were full. There is a self-check-in/pay station, and we got a key to the showers from Lynn. The rates were very reasonable.

The Morro Bay YC is a small, volunteer-run club. During the week we were there, the only time the club was open was for Friday happy hour.

Mr. Durden was outraged when he arrived without calling ahead, and discovered that the club charges for the use of its dock. Yet in his own neighborhood, he would not be welcome to drop in and dine at the St. Francis YC, for example, because they have a 50-mile guest privilege exclusion. Some yacht clubs don't have guest slips at all. Others require a letter of introduction from your home club. Each yacht club sets its policies based on its particular situation.

We are members of the San Jose Sailing Club which, although 'merely' a paper club, continues to win PICYA Club of the Year. As we are a paper club, we do not expect reciprocal privileges from other clubs, but we are pleased when other clubs do indeed welcome us. We always call ahead to find out the policies of a club. Some are fun and friendly to all, while others are more concerned with maintaining status.

On our way down from the Bay, we have been welcomed so far at the yacht clubs in Half Moon Bay, Morro Bay and Channel Islands Harbor. In the week before the Ha-Ha, we'll be at Coronado Cays and Point Loma yacht clubs.

Diane Grieman and Tony Bishop
Dolce, Cape Dory 33
Redwood City

Readers — At this point, you might think that maybe Durden is a bad guy and it's all his fault. But we also got the following letter:


We stayed at the Morro Bay YC for two nights, and it did meet our needs in a most pleasant environment — once we got past the port captain's total lack of charm and her inclination to go off on an angry tirade.

We got up at 5:30 a.m. to start the 12-hour run to Santa Barbara. The port captain also got up to yell at me for being a bad guy in all sorts of ways. Her list was long and surprising to me.

Dudley and Jean King
Stormy Weather, Hatteras LRC48
Seattle, WA


As the Commodore of the Morro Bay YC, I'd like to thank Latitude for its balanced response, in its October 12 'Lectronic Latitude response, to the issue of yacht club members staying at our docks.

We at the Morro Bay YC try to be welcoming hosts to all of our guests. I'm not sure how many guest boats are accommodated at other clubs each year, but our small and volunteer club hosted 250 boats in the last calendar year.

Sometimes, especially in the late summer and fall when lots of boats are headed south, it can get pretty busy and all of our guest moorings as well as our dock will be full. Our policy for guests is on the club web page. We do not offer any free nights for members of other clubs. I'm told that our rates are very reasonable. We also do not restrict access to the club to just members of other clubs. Everyone is welcome.

Morro Bay YC is an all-volunteer club. That means that our port captain, a liveaboard in our harbor, volunteers her time. I think most of the time she deals with the job with aplomb, and, as commodore, I am very grateful for her countless hours of service to the club. I think sometimes, when multiple people are looking for something from our volunteer port captain, the responsibilities can get overwhelming and she'd really rather go sailing.

Todd Hansen
Commodore, Morro Bay YC
Morro Bay

Readers — After thinking about the matter more, we decided that the fault isn't that of the port captain at the Morro Bay YC, or George, or even Latitude, but whoever came up with the term 'reciprocal privileges'. The next letter and response will explain.


I belong to three yacht clubs and each one has different reciprocity rules. Reciprocal privileges are one of the most rewarding parts of membership. However, they are not rights, as the clubs offering them need to accommodate their own members and calendars first. And reciprocal doesn't mean the berthing is free.

On the West Coast we are blessed that most of the clubs keep it very casual and loose. Many other areas have strict rules and require letters of introduction in advance.

I've averaged about two stops a year at the Morro Bay YC for the last 10 years. Morro Bay YC gets a lot of traffic and they seem to go out of their way to accommodate as many boats as they can. Each time I have 'guested' there, I signed in and was given a key to the gate and showers, and was invited in for drinks and food when they were open. Morro Bay YC seems to have a very reasonable fee structure and reasonable time limits from my experience.

Mike Priest
Carry On

Readers — We think our old friend Mike has inadvertently hit upon the real source of the problem, which is the term 'reciprocal privileges'. Based on his experience with yacht clubs, Mike knows that 'reciprocal privileges' are, for practical purposes, not a 'right'. The problem is that the very definition of 'privilege' is 'a special right'.

Similarly, when something is 'reciprocal', it is 'bearing on two parties equally'. So just as 265° is not a true reciprocal of 90°, it's not really 'reciprocal' if one club gives visitors free berthing and the other doesn't have berthing or charges for it.

But we're not trying to confuse theory with reality, as we know that in the real world different clubs have very different facilities and very different demands on those facilities, so it's never really going to be reciprocal.

So we think it's high time that the Pacific InterClub Yachting Association and the Southern California Yachting Association dump the term 'reciprocal privileges', because it's misleading and leads to misunderstandings and hard feelings.
We'll have a lot more letters on yacht clubs in the December 1 Latitude.


The former owner of the Peterson One Tonner Kentucky Woman asked what happened to her after she was abandoned south of Half Moon Bay a while back. The skipper, whom I call 'Shawn Twin', told me that neither he nor the Coast Guard opened any seacocks, nor did they put a beacon on her. So she could still be floating out there.

The skipper was a very good sailor who sailed Kentucky Woman all around the Pillar Point Area. But in my opinion he was an idiot for going out in gale conditions.

Kerry B. Davis
Pulsar, Cal 29
Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay

Kerry — We doubt that Kentucky Woman is still floating out there. She was taking on water when the Coast Guard chopper showed up to take the skipper off, and there was no reason to believe that stopped in the rough conditions. We have no doubt that she's on the bottom now.


There has been some discussion about marinas without security gates, and how few of them there are. Alamitos Bay Marina in Long Beach doesn't have any security gates, but for an unusual reason. When the new berths were being put in, the tenants asked to not have security gates.

Bill Gaffaney
Wayward Wind, Catalina 42
Long Beach

Bill — Although we have no proof, we suspect that most thieves who steal valuable stuff from boats arrive and depart by water, in which case security gates offer no protection.

Now that we think of it, the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor in Honolulu is another marina where not all berths are protected by security gates.


We read the September 23 'Lectronic about the Wanderer's adventures with his Force 10 stove, which had a broiler and an oven that were problematic, and some knob issues. It sounded familiar.

Our 2001 Force 10 three-burner stove had no ignitors, the valves were upside down thanks to someone's tinkering, then one of the crew forced the oven valve to a mismarked 'off' position, knocking the oven out of commission. So we figured it was time for a new stove.

West Marine got a new Force 10 stove to their Monterey Express store. The stove came in a box that looked as though it had been sent around the world, which seems to be the norm. But the contents were intact.

The new Force 10 is certainly different from the old one. But not necessarily in a good way. For example, the burner grates on the previous stove lifted up and held in place, so you could clean the stove top. A new 'feature' allows you to remove the grate, creating a 5-pound missile to rocket around the salon.

In addition, the metal on the stove seems to be thinner. The oven burner, for example, seems like a thin-walled tube à la a Weber gas grill, the kind that last two years, instead of the cast burner in the old stove. In addition, there is no oven- door gasket, so the control panel gets so hot that it can't be touched in the course of cooking one lasagna. This probably means an abbreviated lifespan for all the plastic bits like the ignitor button.

If I were the Wanderer, I might dig in and see if I could find someone to rebuild his original Force 10.

Michael and Lisa Britt
Footloose, Catana 471
Roy, NM

Michael — The Wanderer now has the original Force 10 stove, in mostly working condition, for sale because he bought another stove rather than recondition the old one. We did this because we have a lot of enthusiatic cooks on Profligate during the Baja Ha-Ha, and you want to keep your crew happy with good equipment.

As always, there is a bit of a story here. We initially went to the nearby West Marine Super Store in San Diego, and, lo and behold, they had the Force 10 three-burner stove we were looking for right there on the shelf. The Wanderer called Force 10 in Canada to find out if the trim from his old stove could be used as trim on the new stove, because the trim was all that held the old non-gimballed stove in place for 19 years. The installation wasn't as drawn up in the manual, but it had worked perfectly, and we could pop the stove in and out in seconds. Alas, nobody at Force 10 answered the phone during working hours, and nobody called back for days.

In the interim, we took another look at the stove in West Marine and noticed that there was an unsightly dimple in the stainless on the front. The Wanderer isn't very persnickety, but a big dimple on a $1,500 stove seemed a little much.

The next thing the Wanderer knew, he was ordering the 'Mercedes of marine stoves', the Dickinson-built three-burner Mediterranean stove from Defender Industries in Connecticut, because they were having a big special on them. Even with the discount, it was going to cost $300 more than the Force 10, what with its having first been shipped from British Columbia to Connecticut, and then shipped from Connecticut to San Diego. But anything for the crew.

Doña de Mallorca isn't completely enamored with the Dickinson stove, as she thinks it looks more 'commercial' than 'modern'. And for her, looks are the most important thing in a stove, because she doesn't cook. But we think she'll come around.

While the Wanderer hasn't used the stove or broiler yet, he likes the looks of the stove and notes that the main burner seems to generate much more heat than did the one on the Force 10. The bigger problem was that while the new stove fit in the space of the old stove, there was nothing to support it, because the trim package on the Dickinson isn't strong enough to support the nearly 100-lb stove. So it probably cost another $500 to get the stove opening reconfigured for the new stove. What boatowners won't do for their crew.


When I was a kid, other kids used to tease me about my dimples, while grown-ups thought they were cute! I would have asked West Marine for a $250 'freight damage' discount on the Force 10 model you wanted that they had in stock — and learned to love the dimple.

Our new-to-us Newport 30 has an alcohol stove/oven that appears to have gone unused for many years. I haven't been brave enough to try it yet. For now we'll be using a propane canister-fueled Coleman Fold-N-Go stove on the cockpit table.

Bill Crowley
Erewhon, Newport 30

Bill — What we really should have done was recondition the old stove and spent the money we saved on plane tickets to South America or something like that. But you live and you learn. As for the dimple, it was really going to annoy us.


I just read the 'Lectronic on the problems with Profligate's Force 10 stove, and it reminded us of our problems. I thought one of the burner valves on our Force 10 had gone bad, as it was nearly impossible to turn it without stripping the knob. I managed to order a part from Force 10, but it was the wrong one. My bad. Having taken the top off the stove and having had a look, there is no way I could have pulled any of those valves anyway, as they're connected with solid tubing under the deck with zero clearance.

With an $80 part in hand that I couldn't use or return due to freight and restocking charges, I decided to clean the bad valve. And when I did, everything started to work! It seems that over the years grease had gotten into the valve and was binding it up. I can't remember what I used to clean it up, but probably 409 or something similar. Other than taking the knob off, I didn't disassemble the valve at all.

P.S. See you on the Ha-Ha.

Mike Scheck
No Worries, Jeanneau 45 Sun Odyssey

Readers — Perhaps because of the marine environment, boat stoves seem to need more maintenance than those in homes. As such, it's probably a good idea to follow the recommendations of manufacturers, most of whom recommend giving everything a good cleaning every year. We suspect that a good cleaning might well have been all that was needed to get Profligate's Force 10 into proper working order again. But our crew was in the mood for a new stove, and we thought a bright and shiny new one might distract them from the hard work they had to look forward to on the Ha-Ha.


I have to disagree with the letter in October's Latitude 38 complaining about too many AIS targets. It's no worse than what you would see on radar if you were relying on it — and sometimes even more reliable in low-visibility conditions given the poor radar target presented by small boats. And obviously, no combination of electronic aids eliminates the need for a set of eyeballs scanning the water.

One of the great advantages of having my AIS turned on is the availability of DSC to call a specific boat if there is a potential course conflict. There is little likelihood of my missing an incoming DSC call — the alarm is quite loud. Personal and anecdotal evidence suggest that boats are more likely to answer a DSC call than a 'boat on my starboard bow' hail.

In some cases turning off the AIS is inconvenient. My Icom MA-500TR also contains a GPS receiver. There is no way to turn off the AIS broadcast without losing the GPS. This has obvious disadvantages for those using chart plotters for navigation.

Ralph Lewis
Planet Earth

Ralph — The points you make are good ones, but when sailing on San Francisco Bay in good weather we don't see the need to have small boats transmitting their AIS information all the time. But then 'less clutter' is one of the goals of our life.


I read about the return to the Pacific of the Bruce King-designed 76-ft sloop Free Spirit with keen interest. I was In Marina del Rey in 1979 when she was being built. After completion, she made a trip through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean. After sailing in the Caribbean for a while, I was hired in April 981 to navigate her from St. Thomas in the US Virgins to Antigua, the ABC Islands, San Blas, back through the Canal, and up to Marina del Rey.

This was back in the day of having to rely on sextants and radar for navigating, and obviously cloudy, hazy and foggy weather made it difficult to get good sights. Free Spirit was a good sailing and motoring yacht, so we could pretty much rely on making 200 miles a day. That made navigating in those pre-GPS days even more difficult.

I did some day charters on Free Spirit out of Marina del Rey in July 1981. I fact-checked that time because I remembered we took rock 'n roller Stevie Nicks on a charter with her friends and played her new solo album released July 27, 1981.

I lost track of Free Spirit after that, so it sounds as though she must have gone back through the Canal again to the Caribbean and Europe.

I'd love to talk about the boat with current owner Scott Rhoades, so please publish my email address: .

Rich McCreedy
Intuition, Antrim 27
Kaneohe, Hawaii

Rich — We remember coming downwind to the low-lying San Blas Islands with our Ocean 71 Big O in the pre-GPS days, navigating by radar and DR. Given the torrential rain, the sextant was useless. Given the lightning, nobody wanted to stand at the wheel, let alone between the wheel and engine. Seeing that we survived, they were good times.


Hey, check out this shot of the Micron 66 bottom paint that we had applied to our Hallberg-Rassy 46 Mahina Tiare in Auckland, New Zealand, in April 2014. That was 30,000 miles ago.

If anybody wants to see how the bottom looked after 10,000 miles and 20,000 miles, they can see photos online at

I've been told that Micron 66 isn't available in the European Union. But representatives of International Paints at the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis last month said that Micron 77 is available in the EU but not in the United States, as its active biocide hasn't been cleared by EPA. I have the boatyard in Sweden checking on that.

Micron may be expensive, but to my thinking, any paint that allows you to skip recoating two seasons in a row is a winner!

John Neal
Mahina Tiare, Hallberg-Rassy 46
Friday Harbor, WA

John — We agree that when it comes to painting bottoms, 'less is more' when it comes to the number of times you have to do it. Peter from the La Cruz Shipyard put some 'super paint' on Profligate more than a year ago, and it's still going great, despite the fact that we kept the boat in Marina Riviera Nayarit, which, like all marinas on Banderas Bay, is paradise for barnacles. It certainly helped that we have the bottom cleaned every three weeks.

Anybody else have good luck with bottom paint?


Mark English and I are talking about our next adventure on the Moore 24 ¡Mas! We thought sailing south of the border, perhaps in the Baja Ha-Ha, might be good idea for 2017 or 2018. But when we looked up the minimum length for a boat in the Ha-Ha, it's 27 feet. How strict is the Ha-Ha on the length requirement? We could extend our Moore 24 by adding a three-foot bowsprit, if necessary. Or is this a bad idea?

Ian Rogers
¡Mas!, Moore 24
Point Richmond

Ian — The 27-ft length requirement is not a hard-and-fast rule, as the Grand Poobah has made, and will continue to make, exceptions when he thinks it appropriate. Since you guys raced to Hawaii, you'd be welcomed in the Ha-Ha without any need for a bowsprit.

To our thinking, the downside of taking a Moore 24 to Mexico is that there's not much room inside if you wanted to stay longer and cruise the Sea of Cortez. Based on personal experience, the perfect dirt-cheap boat for cruising in the Sea of Cortez is an Olson 30. Not only do they sail really well in light winds, they are big enough to sleep two in comfort and have a modicum of a galley. And you can put two lawn chairs on the aft deck. It doesn't hurt that you can trailer them home.

The one drawback to the Olson 30 — like the Moore 24 — is the lack of headroom. The 6'4" Wanderer's being stooped over in one surely was a contributing factor to our having to have back surgery. That's why we never go below in the Olson 30 La Gamelle in the Caribbean.


In the editor's response to Mike Kennedy's letter regarding the lack of widespread availability of compressed natural gas (CNG) for cooking on boats, I think you missed what to my mind is the biggest advantage CNG has over propane. It's less dense than air, and thus doesn't collect in bilges and explode. Propane is more than twice as dense as natural gas, and will settle into the bilges, lying in wait for a source of ignition.

You did, however, mention that propane is more explosive than natural gas, with a significantly lower LEL (lower explosive limit).

Gene Bennett
Everett, WA

Gene — What an oversight on our part, as the primary benefit of CNG is that, as you say, it doesn't collect in bilges and wait to explode. Alas, propane is better in almost every respect, providing more heat, being easier to find, and not requiring as heavy a tank.


I started reading Latitude way back, and over the years have written several articles. We sailed our F-31 trimaran Noor to Mexico in the 1997 Baja Ha-Ha. This caused us to buy the Catana 44 catamaran Chesapeake in France in 1998. We cruised her to San Francisco in 2004 and sold her.

Four years later we bought the Catana 471 Toucan Tango in Malaysia. After sailing her up through 'Pirates Alley' near Somalia, we cruised across the Med, then across to the Atlantic. We sold her in St. Lucia.

After going without a boat for several years, we now own the Catana 431 Toucan, and have spent the last two winters in the Caribbean. But we've now had enough of the Caribbean, so we'll either sell her or sail her to Mexico.
By the way, I'll be 80 next year.

We enjoyed the Wanderer's articles on canal boating and may do a bit more of that. We often rented a houseboat near London in the late 1970s.

I noted that you frequently rode the bike you kept on your boat in Paris. I also ride a lot. Six months ago I bought an electric kit for my bike, and I absolutely love it. I paid $595 for the better 3-lb. lithium battery. It does 12 miles at speeds to 20 mph. See

Marvin and Ruth Stark
Toucan, Catana 431

Marvin and Ruth — It's great to hear from you, and learn that the Ha-Ha launched you into many years of cruising.

You're preaching to the choir when it comes to electric bikes. The one we have on Aqua Rosa in France is a Holland-style 'power assist' bike. When you pedal, but only when you pedal, you can get one of three levels of assist. Doña and the Wanderer hadn't ridden in years, yet our first ride on the power-assist bikes was 30 miles on a poder in the Netherlands. This summer we put in at least 200 miles on the bike in the core of Paris. We love that bike!

Yet for down in San Diego, we have a heavily customized — and trashed — manual-only bike. As much as we like electric, we can't bear to part with her.

Bikes — manual or electric — are great on boats. Assuming, of course, you're sailing somewhere you can ride them.


Congratulations to Richard, now the former publisher of Latitude, on giving up the business part of his life by selling Latitude. But I'm glad to hear that he will still be writing, as he gives us a fair view on all sides of any topic.

Dan Lawler
Seaduction, Catalina 42 Mk II
Holladay, UT
Baja Ha-Ha 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014

Dan — I feel like an old guitar player, except I write instead of playing a guitar. So if I go more than a couple of days without writing, I start having serious existential questions. I need a purpose in life, and for decades now my purpose — other than my kids, of course — has been trying to bring a little happiness to the world through writing about sailing and organizing sailing events. Lucky me.

There were some times when I wasn't quite as unbiased as I might have been, and I look back on them with embarrassment. But I'll try to do better in the future. I'm also proud of the fact that I often weighed in on controversial or dark subjects when other magazines wouldn't. Taking a stand or being opinionated has never been a weakness with me.

[All the replies to letters about the sale of Latitude are being written in the first person as opposed to the 'royal we', to make it a little less awkward. In addition, these letters and replies are going to be rather self-indulgent, so brace yourself or skip them.]


Great news for Richard Spindler and new Latitude owner John Arndt. The new publisher is one of the good guys.

Norman Davant
Sail California, Alameda

Norman — I think it's great news, too. One of the best things about having bought a home in Tiburon 34 years ago, and a rundown house/office building in Mill Valley 33 years ago, is that over the years I've inadvertently acquired a bit of real estate equity. As a result of the explosion in real estate value in Marin, I was able to publish the magazine for 40 years as an art project rather than a business, and I was able to sell the assets of Latitude to John Arndt with the overwhelming consideration's not being money, but the magazine's continuing service to readers, advertisers and the sailing industry.


Mixed congratulations on Richard's semi-retirement. I've been with him since Volume 1, and hope that the mag survives the change in ownership. Richard's unusual combination of wisdom and general carefree attitude has always been refreshing — even when I disagreed with him.

My memories of his reign included his once-only foray into singlehanded racing, when 'Ricky Sprinkler' and his Freya 39 Contrary to Ordinary whipped everyone's asses in the Lightship Race by coming home on the 'wrong' side of the ebb. That was back in the good old days of the Association of Singlehanders, well before singlehanding was anointed with the balm of acceptance.

Anyhow, these two die-hard cruisers hope that you enjoy the fruits of your undying labours.

Jim and Ann Cate
Insatiable II, Sayer 46
Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia

Jim and Ann — I remember that Lightship Race, although to be honest, I think I only got a second or third. I was new to singlehanding, so when I crossed the finish line in front of the St. Francis YC I didn't really know how to douse the spinnaker. So I just let the halyard fly. The chute dropped into the water, but fortunately didn't get caught in the prop or rudder. The great thing about singlehanding is that you learn fast and well.

My fantasy? Put a single reef in Profligate's main, and with just a small jib and a screacher on a roller furler, do the Singlehanded TransPac. It probably won't happen, but it might.


I've read every issue of Latitude since the first one in 1976. How far Richard and crew have taken us, and what wonderful destinations you have shown us! Fair winds, following seas — and for God's sake, watch out for logs! You'll remember that my Morgan 45 sank in the Caribbean in 2000 after an encounter with a log.

Capt. Ron Landmann
Minden, NV

Capt. Ron — We remember a log passing between Profligate's hulls while we were sailing downwind in the mid-teens about 100 miles off the mouth of Colombia's Rio Magdalena. It was spooky, because the sun was just going down and we were in a 'river' of debris coming out of the mountains of Colombia. We couldn't have been that far from where your boat hit that log and sank.

For the record, I started working on Latitude 38 on July 4, 1976, but the first issue didn't appear until March 1977.


My history with Latitude is that I was at the Cal Sailing Club with Paul Kamen when it was first popular. At the time I had no idea it was a new magazine. And for 40 years it has been my favorite.

In many ways Richard has lived the Walter Mitty life I wish I had lived. But I will always appreciate his generosity sharing it with me and the rest of his readers.

E.J. Koford
Patches, Floating Fourteen
Elk Grove

E.J. — The downside of the 40 years of Latitude is that whenever I was in the Bay Area, which was almost all the time in the first 20 years, I basically lived behind a keyboard in the office. Weekends and holidays were just regular work days, and regular work days were never just eight hours. I remember a Christmas Day when my second wife was so lonely because I was working all day that she actually knocked on my first ex-wife's door seeking consolation and understanding. I guess working that much might have been a factor in my second wife's and my divorcing, too.

Such workaholicism and its downsides were somewhat balanced by the fact that I've basically been free to do whatever I've wanted to do editorially. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of advertisers who have given me editorial grief.

Similarly, I've been free to start numerous sailing events — the Baja Ha-Ha, the SoCal Ta-Ta, Sea of Cortez Sailing Week, the Catnip Cup, Sea of Cortez Sailing Week Revived, Zihua Sail Fest — without having to partner or consult with anyone. Having this freedom was critical, because I don't think I could have otherwise handled the stress.

Despite being so incredibly lucky in all kinds of ways, I still identify with the great line in Joe Walsh's Life's Been Good to Me: "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do."


I have only met Richard a time or two, but I write to wish him well in the next phase of his life. I was lucky to live in Santa Cruz in the 1970s with the likes of George Olson, Bill Lee, Ron Moore, Phil Vandenberg, Chuck Hawley and so many others.

I have raced through, cruised with, curled up with, and ravaged every issue of Latitude 38. I almost flunked out of law school when the arrival of a new issue coincided with a take-home final.

I crewed with my old Portland friend Patsy 'La Reina del Mar' Verhoeven in the South Pacific this June on her Gulfstar 50 Talion, and have done lots of racing off the Pacific Coast, be it on Banderas Bay, in the Big Boat Series, the N2Es, Swiftsures, races to Hawaii, coastal races, and local races for 30 years. I never would have done half of it if I hadn't learned from Latitude. I can't tell you how grateful I am and how much I wish you well. You laid down some good tracks for all of us.

David Paul
Nelly, Martin 24-1
Portland, OR


We are prepping to depart Hawaii for remote portions French Polynesia and wondering if anybody would be willing to donate their old paper charts. We're headed to the northern Tuamotus, but would like to have as many charts as possible onboard for landfalls downwind of the Tuamotus. You never know where you may end up.

Naturally we'd be happy to pay for the shipping to Maui. We plan to depart around December 1. Yep, it's the beginning of the South Pacific cyclone season. But we want to avoid the crowds.

Kerstin Edwards and Brian Ponzi
Sea Dragon, Celestial 48
Lahaina, HI

Kerstin and Brian — Given how far north and east the Tuamotus are, if you're leaving on December 1, we wouldn't worry too much about tropical cyclones. What we would worry about is November to April's being the hot and rainy season. For example, Takaroa gets almost eight inches of rain in November, December and January. That's more than Lahaina gets in a year. From May to October, the dry season, it gets about half that much a month. And that's still plenty. If you're talking about Tahiti, it rains even more, with an average of 15 rainy days a month.

Given the weather during those months, you won't have to worry about crowds anywhere.


The unusual motor-mount repair that was featured in the 'Fine Line Between Stupidity and Genius' piece in the September 30 'Lectronic looks clever, but I hope the boatowner could get the parts needed, including a replacement rail, before that repair fails.

The problem with using two cut up and welded crescent wrenches as engine mounts is that vibration may cause the wrenches to crack and fail where they have been welded. Ditto for any welds. The weld along the rail will have changed the heat treating of the metal at a critical load-bearing point. It may buckle over time.

In a best-case scenario, the repair would last until the engine could be pulled, the compromised rail replaced, and the correct engine mounts installed. In the worst case, the repair would fail and the engine drop, punching a hole through the hull along with causing other major damage.

'Do it right once' has always been my motto.

Bill Ogilvie
Dragon Lady, Cheoy Lee Clipper 36
San Francisco Bay

Bill — Yours is an excellent motto to live by, but sometimes mariners are faced with situations where they have to make do or do without, and the latter might not be an option. And in emergency situations, much lower rpms would give propulsion, but put much less stress on the 'mounts'. We're not experts, but we don't see the engine free-falling and punching a hole in the bottom of the boat. But we'd have rags ready to put around the stuffing box.


Gotta love fixing things on the fly. But I'd be checking those wrenches often, as they'll loosen from the engine vibrations. Nonetheless, when handed lemons, make lemonade.

Curt Simpson
Palm Desert

Curt — Three sides of the 'mouth' of each wrench are welded to the rail, so there is no way it could open.


I took the accompanying photo in early October 2005 while off Gibraltar bound for Annapolis via Madeira and Bermuda. Readers might remember this was the year that they ran out of names for hurricanes. We discovered that the Sundeer 56 we were delivering had a bent prop shaft, which set up a severe vibration. That resulted in a sheared-off alternator mount and broke an engine mount.

I managed to scrounge up a piece of steel from something I found onboard and laid it on the broken mount, straddling the break. Then I used a C-clamp and two pairs of vise grips to hold it together until we got to Madeira. There we had a proper repair done to the mount and alternator.

We ended up leaving the prop shaft as it was due to lack of time and materials, and took off for Bermuda. We had plenty of fuel, but couldn't use the engine for propulsion due to the shaft. But we were able to charge the batteries. We bobbed around in the North Atlantic for three weeks, chasing puffs, only to enter Town Cut, Bermuda, as a stormnado, a strange, sudden storm that built up to 50 knots, arrived. We tied up at the Customs Dock just in time.

It was a fun trip and a grand adventure.

Walter Waite
Redondo Beach, CA


Yesterday I pulled apart the heat exchanger and filled the freshwater coolant side with water, but found that seven of the 19 copper tubes were leaking on one of the passes. I was considering using JB Weld to plug the holes on both sides, but first asked Alyssa if we had any wood dowels that would fit the tubes. She looked around the galley and handed me a set of bamboo chopsticks that we had bought in Chinatown when we were still back in San Francisco. They happened to fit into the tubes perfectly!

We had enough chopsticks to plug both sides of the seven offending tubes, so I hammered them in and broke them off flush. I filled the coolant side again — and there were no leaks! We reinstalled it the heat exchanger, flushed the cooling system, and ran the engine up to temp. I'm sure there are many mechanics who are cringing as they read it, but thanks to the bamboo chopsticks, the exchanger is holding coolant and not restricting any raw-water flow compared to normal, and the engine temp is staying cool after the thermostat opens.

Only time will tell if our jury-rig bamboo-chopstick repair will hold up. We're just hoping it makes it to Savusavu, Fiji, where we are having a new exchanger coming in from the States.

Lewis Allen and Alyssa Alexopolous
Quixotic, Voyager 43
Redwood City/Fiji


The Perkins 4-107 diesel on my Columbia 43 Adios started overheating as we motored into Turtle Bay during the Baja Ha-Ha three years ago. I had a new thermostat in the engine, but I sure didn't want to unbolt the expansion tank and lose all my antifreeze to get to it. I also didn't want to miss any of the fun on the beach.

Musing it over, I realized that maybe I could reach in through the pressure cap and jam it open with something. To that end, I got a quarter-inch stainless bolt, cut off the threads, and rounded the end. Using needle-nose vise grips, I was able to jam the thermostat open.

The unusual solution worked perfectly clear down to Zihuatanejo, and then all the way back up to Sausalito. While waiting for a weather window in Sausalito, I installed the new thermostat so that my Red Dot cabin heater would work in the colder waters.

I'm look forward to seeing the Poobah, de Mallorca, and all my old friends in this year's Ha-Ha.

Craig Shaw
Adios, Columbia 43
Portland, OR


During the adventures of two Singlehanded TransPacs and five solo Baja Bashes, I have come to appreciate preparation and spare parts. I have dealt with loose motor mounts, such as in the September 30 'Lectronic, which caused the PYI shaft to leak copiously when the engine was put into forward gear. The crew's solution was to sail most of the way.

However, I urge all sailors to carry the following two spares: First, a brass adapter that allows small propane gas canisters designed for BBQs to screw into the main propane tank hose fitting in place of an empty tank.

The second, and more critical, involves the VHF radio, system. Many of us carry a spare VHF antenna kit in the clear plastic cylinder with orange caps in case we lose the masthead antenna. One year my built-in VHF quit shortly after I'd begun heading north from Cabo, and I was faced with making the trip with just two handheld VHFs, which have limited range. Fortunately, I had 12-volt chargers for each, as well as the battery packs for standard AA batteries in the ditch bag.

The exquisite piece, however, was a hard-to-find adapter that allowed me to attach the large cable fitting from the masthead antenna to the handheld antenna plug. Thanks to that solution, I never missed the longer range of the defunct built-in VHF.

After a several-year hiatus, this year I am doing the Baja Ha-Ha on the Hylas 56 Manuela. She's quite a quite a step up from my Swan 51 Seabird.

Dr. Lou Freeman
Seabird, Swan 51
San Diego


I don't know if you saw it, but the BoatUS Magazine had a short piece on the publisher of Latitude's bringing so many cruisers down to Mexico over the years. Except they identified the publisher of this magazine and the leader of the Baja Ha-Ha as being the publisher of 'Latitude 48'. What do you think of that?

Jim Gleason
Catalina 22

Jim — We thought it was pretty funny. Lord knows we've made our share of mistakes over the years, so we could empathize with the good folks at BoatUS, who apologized profusely.

For the record, the publisher of this magazine started Latitude 38 in 1976 and published the first issue in early 1977. A year or two later some folks in the Pacific Northwest started a nearly identical publication called Latitude 48. Thinking that it wasn't very original, we, and a restaurant in the Pacific Northwest also named Latitude 48, suggested the magazine change the name. They did, to 48° North, which still has people confusing the two publications and/or thinking they are owned by one company. But onward and upward.


I knew the late Jim Kilroy, international maxi-yacht racing pioneer, slightly. There was one Newport to Ensenada Race where he was building another Kialoa and didn't have a boat. So he crewed for Allen Puckett, who owned the Ericson 46 Blackbird. It was fun seeing them together, and knowing that Kilroy would rather crew for someone else than stay home.

There was also a group called ORCA, the Ocean Racing Club of America, and Kilroy used to come to the board meetings. He was a down-to-earth guy.

Michael Kennedy, Sr.
ex-Audacious, Choate 40
Los Angeles

Michael — It's a coincidence, but Kilroy died last month at age 94, while Puckett died two years ago at age 94. There must be something to sailing that is conducive to long lives.

Puckett, an engineer, was known as 'the father of America's guided missiles', and later became chief executive of Hughes Aircraft. We did our first race to Mexico in 1981 aboard our Freya 39 Contrary to Ordinary, and one of the competitors was Puckett and Blackbird. If we're not mistaken, Kilroy and some other 'sailing eagles' were aboard. We later met Puckett a couple of times. He was a very nice guy.

Our favorite memory of Kilroy was from Antigua. It was after an Antigua Sailing Week race when the weather mark had drifted off-station. Jim and Dee Smith, the latter a sailing pro formerly of the Bay Area, were standing on a porch at Copper & Lumber having a quiet but spirited debate. Kilroy was insisting that he'd gone around where the weather mark should have been, while Dee was going over the math out loud, insisting that it meant Kialoa had to have been going to weather at 11 knots. Kilroy was saying that if that's the speed it would have taken, that's how fast they'd gone. Dee, a mere hired gun on another boat, was politely trying to tell Kilroy he was full of it. Touché! What good times.

Both Puckett and Kilroy left huge marks before departing this vale of tears.


I read with great interest the 'Feeling the Squeeze of Development' piece that appeared in Sightings in the October issue of Latitude. All of us sailors in Richmond have a love of the water and environs, and none of us want a massive development. Elected city officials do want the development and the tax base that comes from it. That is true in all developments in all cities.

Civics 101: You get the government that you deserve. A year before the city officially opened the bids for this plot of land to be developed, a few other sailors and I decided to get out in front of the city and beat them to the punch. I drafted a plan, and had a developer run the numbers, and we would be able to pay the city the $10 million they wanted — but only have 75 units instead of the 325 units that are now being proposed. We did it by keeping things simple.

We published the plan, then tried to circulate it to the various Home Owners Associations (HOAs) in Brickyard Cove as well as at the Richmond YC. We needed huge local support to influence the city council. The Richmond YC was contacted many times, but nobody returned our calls. We were finally told, "The club does not want to play the game of politics in this city." So we got no support from them.

Only two of the four HOAs were interested. The others did not want to get involved in politics. So it was half support.

In the end, the city council ignored our modest development proposal because it lacked support by the very folks who are now suing the developer because they will lose their views. This wouldn't have happened under our plan.

Being part of a city: When you live in a city or have your business in that city, you are a de facto citizen of that city, and it is your choice to either participate in that city and elect the very representatives that will support what you want. Participating in a city and voting is what our democracy is all about. I am on the Design Review Board of the city of Richmond. As a sailor, I understand how this works, so I tried to get the Richmond YC involved for a long time — and got the same negative answer over and over. We had six public meetings, and no representatives of the Richmond YC ever showed up.

My point is that if we as a sailing community do not involve ourselves in the democratic process and be part of the solution, then we become part of the problem. Yes, there is a lawsuit, and the two HOAs and the Richmond YC that did not want to support a more modest plan and play the game of politics early on are the very ones that are now pissing and moaning over what they once had the power to change.

I encourage everyone in the Cove to remember that you are part of the city, and you should get more involved instead of suing. Elect officials who will listen to you, get on planning boards, and make a difference. Make your city work for you. Vote!

Jonathan Livingston
Punk Dolphin, Wylie 38

Jonathan — To play the devil's advocate, we suspect that the city of Richmond potentially has a lot of power over the Richmond YC and could make life very difficult for it. In which case we could understand why they would like to play Switzerland and hope for the best. In retrospect, that might not have been a very good idea.



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