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July 2017

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All yacht clubs have pluses and minuses. I have visited all of the five yacht clubs cited by as the "most exclusive" in the United States. In order, they are the New York YC, the St. Francis YC, the San Francisco YC, the San Diego YC and the Carolina YC. All are world class in their location and operation.

Having said that, I have been a member of Tahoe YC, Corinthian YC, Santa Cruz YC and South Beach YC. Presently, my wife Barbara and I are members of St. Francis YC.

I find that it is always a pleasure to be part of the St. Francis YC. They have a professional racing staff, an incredible race schedule, great food, a terrific bar and, of course, a killer location. I know some people have the impression that the club is stuffy and unwelcoming, but that rep is inaccurate.

By the way, I found the Louis Vuitton races to be damn entertaining.

Chuck Cunningham
St. Francis YC

Chuck — As we pointed out in the June 5 'Lectronic item, lists such as the 'most exclusive yacht club' are ridiculous, especially when compiled by a financial site such as that knows nothing about sailing. That said, we agree with your assessment of the St. Francis YC. They do a great job and they are welcoming. — rs


You want exclusivity? Try getting into the Nantucket YC, which is only open in the summer. I'm told it's gorgeous, but they don't have reciprocity with anyone.

David Demarest
Frayed Not, Vanguard 15
San Anselmo

David — The beautiful Nantucket YC actually does have reciprocity with two yacht clubs, the Edgartown and Royal Bermuda YCs. But you can imagine how heartbroken we were to learn that "guest passes and day memberships are not available."

Nantucket is, of course, known as the summer playground of Democratic Party presidents and the incredibly wealthy — Wendy Schmidt, for example, who didn't get into sailing until later in life. But now she owns and has completely rebuilt the 55-ft Santana, which, at different times had been owned by Humphrey Bogart and Paul and Chrissy Kaplan of KKMI. And the beautiful Swan 80 Selene, which has regularly kicked ass with style at the Voiles de St. Barth. But, to the Wanderer's mind, her really special sailboat is the 172-ft Hoek-designed, Royal Huisman-built ketch Elfje. That's as beautiful a yacht as there is in the world. The Daily Mail reports that Wendy also owns Oasis, a motoryacht that they say cost $75 million.

Where does all that money come from? She's 'married' to Eric Schmidt, honcho of Google. We could say more, but Latitude isn't that kind of magazine. Anyway, you get that kind of money, you get that kind of yacht club and exclusivity. Yawn.

This is not to say that Nantucket, year-round population of 10,000, summertime population of 50,000, isn't home to some terrific down-to-earth folks. Take Jim Green, who did three circumnavigations on a Meter boat meant for daysailing, and left Panama on his last one with just $150. Or Scotty di Basio, skipper of the schooner Juno, with wife Lila and kids Ethan and Owen. They don't come from money, so they built their own small house, grow their own fruit and veggies, raise chickens — and go sailing almost every afternoon. World-class people. — rs


I think the McAvoy YC of Bay Point has a lot going for it. Consider this review from Yelp:

"Filthy pit from hell. This is the ugliest, dirtiest-looking yacht harbor in the San Francisco Bay region. If you drive through this little yacht harbor you're almost certain to get a flat tire. The marina is chock-full of derelict boats and other shards of rusty metal. There is a small café which might well be a decent little place, but the surroundings are so uninviting that I wouldn't dare stop."

Other than inexpensive rum and true women who aren't dull companions, what more could you ask for?

John Dukat
Critical Mass, Mancebo 24
Point Richmond

John — It's our understanding that McAvoy YC allows day privileges for members of the Nantucket YC. — rs


How about a list of the most welcoming and friendly yacht clubs? In that case, I nominate my club, the Hawaii YC.

Rich Smith
Honolulu, HI

Rich — We haven't been to the Hawaii YC in years, but we spent a lot of time in the club in the days of the Pan Am Clipper Cup and the Kenwood Cup. What a great and welcoming club! We also had nothing but great experiences at the club across the Ala Wai Canal from you, the Waikiki YC. Mahalo. — rs


I recently became a member of the new R2AK YC. It got me into the San Francisco YC no problem, when my Bay Area Multihull Association card would not! Every member of the R2AK YC is a Vice Commodore.

Mark Eastham
Ma's Rover, F-31R

Mark — The R2AK YC is out to stir things up. Membership in their club is just $10 so, as they say, "even you can afford to be part of the joke."

This is how they explain membership: "Have you ever become an Internet-ordained minister of the Church of Universal Life? This is kinda like that, but with boats. Fill out the form, give us ten bucks, and you're not only in, you're a Vice Commodore. Print out your own damned card, buy any R2AKYC gear you like. You're entitled, you are a Vice Commodore after all."

We say good on them — although at some point mocking everything might start to wear thin.

As for getting stiffed for having just a BAMA card, the same thing has happened to a member of the San Francisco YC. Thanks to Dave Allen of the legendary Hollard 40 Imp, the Wanderer was an honorary member of the San Francisco YC in the early 1980s. The membership didn't count for anything at the San Diego YC, however, as the woman at the front desk said the San Francisco YC wasn't on her list of reciprocal clubs. It was all a mistake, of course, but if the yacht club wasn't on the list, the woman at the desk wasn't letting you in.

The San Diego YC, by the way, is easily one of the best and most welcoming clubs in the country. — rs


Latitude should have a category for the Most Unknown YC in the Bay Area. I think the Marin YC would be at the top of the list. I have many friends who are lifelong mariners on the Bay who have never heard of the club. In fact, I had sailed or motored up the San Rafael Canal to avoid the fog 20+ times, and driven by the club on the way to China Camp or McNears Beach 50+ times, but never noticed it. I would wager the Wanderer has never been here.

Now the general manager of the club, I can tell you that we have a lot of things on our 27-acre facility: 110 slips, a clubhouse, a pool, three tennis courts, a bocce ball court, and a huge lawn where dogs are allowed to roam.

The club hosts cruise-ins from many different yacht clubs, and they are always surprised at how quiet and peaceful it is on Beale Island, where we are located.
The Marin YC is looking for new members, and building a small-boat sailing program, so we would love to see more families take part as either Social Members (no boat) or Regular Members (with boat). Slips are available to rent or buy, and we have dry storage for small boats, kayaks and SUPs. It would be nice if more people knew about the club, and I would welcome calls from anyone interested in getting into sailing.

Chris McKay
Marin YC, San Rafael

Chris — As is the case with you before you became general manager, the Wanderer has driven or boated past the Marin YC many times, but never stopped in. Among other things, we know the club has some of the warmest weather of any yacht club on the Bay.

Just about every yacht club is eager for new members these days. They have a lot to offer, so don't be afraid to make an inquiry. — rs


I'm hoping that Latitude can direct me to a resource of world-cruising routes. I am looking for a simple chart or map with information, such as what months people sail certain routes, such as cruisers departing the West Coast of the Americas between February and June for the Marquesas and French Polynesia. I know I could look on crew websites, but I am hoping for a resource that I can use to be in the right place at the right time to spontaneously meet a boatowner on the docks to crew for him.

Ian Stevenson
Santa Barbara

Ian — It's not a simple chart or map, but Jimmy Cornell has long published World Cruising Routes, a book that might come closest to what you're looking for. Nonetheless, we think we can distill the information for the best times and places to meet owners looking for crew:

1) West Coast of the Americas, particularly Puerto Vallarta and Panama, in February and March, for boats headed to the South Pacific or down to Central America and Panama.

2) Tahiti in June or July, as Pacific Puddle Jump crew — and sometimes wives — have often returned home.

3) Tonga and Fiji in October just before boats need to get to New Zealand. This is not a pleasure passage, however.

4) The Canary Islands in November just before the start of the ARC and other transatlantic rallies.

5) St. Lucia in mid-December, as ARC crews return home after a transatlantic crossing and owners need crew for parts or all of the Caribbean season.

6) St. Martin and Antigua in late April and early May for boats headed across the Atlantic or up to the Northeast. English Harbour, Antigua, is the best spot to be, particularly during the Classic Regatta in mid-April or Sailing Week in early May. There are lots of opportunities, and often on big boats.

7) The Baja Ha-Ha in San Diego at the end of October. Get your name on the
Crew List now.

There's also Cape Town for the South Atlantic crossing and Thailand just before the Indian Ocean crossing. But it's a long way to either of those places and there aren't as many boats concentrated in one spot.

Obviously there is a possibility that you can find a crew position in a lot of other places, but the ones above have the greatest number of boats in the smallest area.

The thing about crew positions is it's all about networking. At the end of any of the passages mentioned above, you'll know about a whole host of crewing opportunities. Once you get a foot in the crewing door, it swings wide open for sailing virtually anywhere in the world.

Good luck. And don't forget to write. — rs


My favorite Latitude article was from about 1980. It was a primer on how to do the Farallones Race written by Dee Smith, who went on to race in the America's Cup. He laid out a plan based on the prevailing weather conditions.

I then purchased a Merit 25 with a trailer at the Cow Palace Boat Show, and had Pineapple build her sails. I entered the crewed Farallones Race, and, following Dee's primer, rounded the Rock with 40-footers. I won my division and took third overall out of 103 boats. Now that's putting the written word to practical use.

I loved sailing out to the Farallones. I did the Singlehanded, Doublehanded and crewed Farallones almost every year.

I owned two different Merit 25s that I loved to take offshore. The 1980 version was named Half Fast, and later in the '80s I bought one that had been owned by Mike DeVries and renamed her Double Agent. Those were great little MORA (Midget Ocean Racing Association) boats.

I also did four or five San Francisco to San Diego races with the Merit. Those were fun races, too. All you had to do was keep the dirt on the left, the setting sun on the right, and you'd show up at the San Diego YC three, four or five days later.

Ron Landmann
Minden, NV

Ron — It seems hard to believe, but back in the heyday of MORA people would race boats such as Cal 20s and Columbia 22s — not designed or built for offshore racing — down to San Diego and even Ensenada. We remember one year when it blew 40 knots off Central California. More than a few sailors were sure they were going to die.

By the way, Dee competed in sailing in the Paralympic Games last year, and is right now competing in the Para Worlds in Germany. He also continues to race on hot racing machines on the East Coast. — rs


In the discussion about T-Mobile's lousy customer policies, I'm surprised nobody mentioned Project Fi, Google's mobile service. It looks just about perfect for cruisers.

You sign up for Project Fi directly with Google, but behind the scenes it automatically switches between existing cellular networks and open Wi-Fi.

This allows Google to offer truly international coverage — currently in 135 countries — with no roaming fees. The prices are good, and billing is sensible: a flat $20/month for each line, plus $10/month per GB of data. And you only pay for what data you use!

The one caveat is that Project Fi only works with a small selection of Android phones, so you can't just pop the SIM into any old phone. This is because the fancy network-switching code is part of the Android phone's operating system.
We've used Project Fi with great success in the United States and Europe. We haven't used it in Mexico or Central America yet, but we're taking two Project Fi phones with us when we head south this fall on our new Outbound 46!

Full disclosure: I, John, work for a division of Alphabet, Google's parent company, but I have nothing to do with Project Fi — other than being a happy customer.

John and Michelle Zeratsky
Formerly Aegea, Sabre 38
Now Outbound 46
San Francisco

John — To be fair, as Marek Nowicki pointed out in a long letter on the subject last month, T-Mobile is actually the least bad of the US telecom companies for cruisers.

While we were in St. Barth this winter, friends reported they used Project Fi and were very satisfied with it. They, of course, had the correct Android phone. We love the idea that you only get charged for the amount of data you use.

But keeping up with communication and data possibilities is a nightmare, as telecoms are forever changing their prices and policies, and entirely new possible solutions, such as Project Fi, become available.

How much of a nightmare is it? T-Mobile threatened to cut off Doña de Mallorca's telephone service because she was supposedly "living" rather than "roaming" outside the United States. Why T-Mobile didn't similarly threaten the Wanderer is a mystery, because he was at least as big an offender and for a longer period of time.

A solution was found temporarily by picking up a Travel Wifi modem at Charles de Gaulle Airport in France. At about $6.50 a day, it's not cheap, but both de Mallorca and the Wanderer must have reliable high-speed Internet for work. Armed with Travel Wifi, we've not only gotten great Internet access 95% of the time in France, we've been able to make dirt-cheap phone calls all over the world using either Whatsapp or Skype on Travel Wifi's Internet connection.

But the nightmare gets darker. Since de Mallorca is going to visit Portugal and Morocco while the Wanderer and his daughter are going to cruise the Loire Valley — and keep the Travel Wifi — de Mallorca needed another phone and data source. She got an 80-euro Android phone — the cheapest one with 4G, as 4G capability is necessary for the phone and data program she signed up for to work. One caveat: In order to get a French phone, she was supposed to have a French address and a French credit card. She gave her address as the Arsenal Marina in Paris, and because she bought the phone from a little kiosk instead of a big store, they didn't dun her credit card because it was from the US. But the year before she tried the same thing and was turned down.

De Mallorca now needs and has four phones. Project Fi sounds great, so we suppose she'll be up to five phones before long. It almost — but not really — makes you long for the simple days when Ma Bell was your only choice.
If anybody comes across the latest and greatest data and phone plan for cruisers in Mexico, we'd like to hear about it. — rs


Why does Latitude persist in calling hurricanes 'sudden'? There is nothing sudden about them, as they take over a week to form. So responsible sailors watch for them.

Latitude's persistence in calling these beautiful and often deadly formations 'sudden' occurrences shows your lack of prep and responsibility as a sailor. Please accept my scolding as being friendly.

Zee Hag
Planet Earth

Zee — We don't "persistently" refer to tropical storms and hurricanes as 'sudden' because we know that most of the time they are not. As the Grand Poobah of the Baja Ha-Ha, it gives us a lot of comfort to know that most Eastern Pacific tropical storms start south of Acapulco, so, in the highly unlikely event of there being one late in the season, we would have plenty of warning. Usually five days or more. We particularly like Passage Weather, because their model tends to overemphasize even the possibility of tropical storms forming.

However, we can think of two occasions when hurricanes could have been described as "sudden." We were aboard our Ocean 71 Big O in Antigua one June in the 1990s, when we woke to see everybody in Falmouth Harbour weighing anchor and taking off. We turned on the VHF to find out why, and heard Jol 'The Voice of Antigua' Byerly warn everyone that there was a Category 1 hurricane just 64 miles away. There had been no indication of anything the day before. Of course, weather forecasting tools then were primitive by modern standards.

But also take the case of Gonzalo in October 2014 in the Lesser Antilles. He didn't start out as a tropical depression in the eastern Atlantic as most Caribbean hurricanes do, but popped up a day east of St. Barth on his way to rapidly becoming a Category 4 hurricane. The boat owners in St. Barth tend to be smart and responsible, as they've been dealing with hurricanes all their lives. Yet some 50 boats on the tiny island were lost to Gonzalo. "Surprise" is the word all our friends used to describe what happened.

So while we agree that most tropical storms aren't sudden, they can form more quickly than most people think, and sometimes farther along traditional hurricane paths than normal. — rs


In the June 7 'Lectronic Latitude, it was reported that SailMail founders Jim Corenman and Stan Honey are suggesting that sailors might want to write the FCC to object to the agency's intention to prevent Icom from selling any more of their popular Icom M802 SSBs.

I'd like to know in what way the Icom M802 marine SSB radio is no longer compliant with FCC regulations.

By the way, because I was curious, I requested a quote for a Furuno FS-1575. It lists for $8,000 and requires 24 volts. The quote was $7,162. And, did I mention, it requires 24 volts? Probably suitable for a 120-ft commercial fishing boat, but it seems unnecessarily military for a recreational sailboat where an Icom M802 will do very well thank you.

Chris Doutre, KC9AD
True North, Beneteau 331
Birch Bay, WA

Chris — Just so everybody knows what we're talking about, we're reprinting an abridged version of the 'Lectronic item below. Following that, we'll print Stan's response to your excellent question.
The 'Lectronic piece:

"Stan Honey, in addition to being probably the world's best navigator, is the guy who created the incredible graphics that for the first time in history made sense of the America's Cup and other races. The Bay Area resident also loves cruising Mexico with his Cal 40 Illusion. Jim Corenman, originally from the Bay Area, is a radio and weather expert who did a circumnavigation with the Schumacher 50 Heart of Gold a number of years ago.

"Jim and Stan, who have altruistically given so much to sailing over the years, are the ones who created SailMail, which revolutionized communication for cruisers, particularly when cruisers are far from land. So when they speak, it's worth listening. These two sailing greats have no commercial interest in Icom radios, but are asking you to help them try to keep the Icom M802 legally for sale in the United States until it can be upgraded to meet new requirements.

"The FCC regulations covering HF SSB DSC radios have evolved in such a way that Icom is no longer permitted to sell the M802 SSB,' the two write, 'which is the only remaining marine SSB sold in the United States that is affordable and reasonable to install on a sailboat.

"Icom has requested a waiver from the FCC to allow them to continue to sell the M802 until they are able to introduce a new radio that meets the new FCC regulations. The FCC is requesting input from mariners on whether they should grant Icom this waiver.

"Our thoughts are that the M802 is the only remaining marine SSB that is affordable and reasonable to install on a recreational vessel. The M802 implements DSC, which now that the USCG — and most other international SAR authorities — no longer monitor voice channels, is the only reasonable way to summon help in an emergency via an SSB. So we recommend that the FCC grant Icom a waiver so that they can continue to sell the M802."

The following is Stan's response as to why the M802 is no longer compliant with FCC regulations:

"The M802 is a 10-year-old design that met and still meets the FCC DSC requirements that were in place when it was designed and approved by the FCC for sale in the United States. Since then the FCC added Annex 4 to the DSC requirements, which adds requirements like displaying the time since your last DSC message, and giving you an option to re-send a DSC message.

"The M802 is still a very good radio, and works fine with DSC to do the things that sailors want — like sending a DSC distress call or calling one another via DSC. Icom has requested a waiver from the FCC to allow them to continue to sell the M802 until they get a new radio designed and in production. We think they should get it, and over 100 SailMail users have submitted comments to the FCC in support." — rs


Seventeen years ago we bought the Fraser 36 cutter Telitha, which was then at Marina Real in San Carlos, Mexico. Ever since then, we've always kept her either at the Marina Real docks on lovely Algodones Bay or on the hard in the marina. Obviously we love the area.

One of the things we've always enjoyed doing is riding our bikes four miles into town for exercise. One of the bikes we've been riding this season was a 2016 Trek mountain bike, valued at about $3,000.

Joe recently chained the bike to one of the stands while we left to run an errand. We came back too late to get it back into the locked yard. When we returned the next morning, the bike was gone.

We reported the theft to Isabel and Maricela in the Marina Real office, and they jumped into action, getting everyone involved. The bike was back the next day!
We have the whole Marina Real staff to thank, particularly Isabel and Maricela, but also all of the staff working on the docks and in the yard who helped to find the bike and return it to us. Among them are Miguel, Enrique, Pedro, Alfredo, Arturo, Raul and any others whom we may have overlooked.

Thank you again, Marina Real, for proving that Mexico is a safe and compassionate place to stay. We are again impressed by the lovely people of Mexico, and wanted to share our story so that everyone knows that there is no better place in the world than the beautiful Sea of Cortez to keep and sail your boat.

Kitty and Joe Franzetti
Telitha, Fraser 36
Taos, NM

Readers — Thefts of valuable items in poor communities are rarely a secret. No matter if somebody is unexpectedly in possession of a new-to-them outboard, inflatable, drone, camera, bicycle or the like, it sticks out like a sore thumb, and locals know something is funky. If the word gets out, pressure from locals often sees that those items are returned.

We're not saying it happened in this case, but in Third World countries authorities can also apply the kind of pressure that isn't allowed in the United States to get stolen items returned. — rs


We did the Baja Ha-Ha in 2010 with our Irwin 37 Lady Ann, and ended up living on the south coast of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Not many cruisers make it down this far, and those who do are headed down to or up from Central America. The main reason they stop is for a weather window to cross Golfo de Tehuantepec. If they are headed up the coast, they are delighted to have another major obstacle behind them and need to make good on the deals they made with God.

But I had a thought. For crews who are headed back to the States and have seen all the Mexico they want, and aren't looking forward to the Baja Bash, how about a different type of 'Clipper Route'?

I'm thinking of leaving Huatulco a few days before a Tehuantepec'er. The port captain will help by issuing a zarpe even if you aren't leaving for a couple of days, so you can pick your timing. In the first day the crew can get used to the boat's motion, find a corner they can wedge themselves into, and wait for the wind.

Based on wind-prediction websites, the flow from a Tehuantepec'er is generally to the west. If someone wanted a little more of a dead-downwind romp, they could head a few degrees left. If they wanted less wind, they could head a few degrees to the right.

Most Tehuantepec'er events blow themselves out in three to five days. By then a boat would have a huge chunk of westing completed, be able trim to the close reach that is more typical of the Clipper Route, and actually be headed more north than west.

I suppose an analogous route would be on the north side of a Papagayo.

Do you know anyone who started a Clipper Route to the States from either place? Do you have any thoughts on the plan?

Joel and Vivian Hoyt
Lady Ann, Irwin 37
Huatulco, Mexico/Kent, WA

Joel and Vivian — We don't know of anybody who has started a Clipper Route by putting themselves in front of a Tehuantepec'er. Based on the experiences of people who have been caught in Tehauntepec'ers, we couldn't countenance it. Multihull designer Richard Woods, for example, got caught in one and ended up abandoning his catamaran. We know of two other couples who sold their boats almost immediately after getting caught in a 'Pec'er. And from mid-May until the end of October, this is the birthplace of tropical storms and hurricanes.

Getting westing from Oaxaca is important, of course, as when going from Huatulco to Los Angeles a boat will be traveling as far west as she will be going north. But we'd get at least as far north as Acapulco before attempting a Clipper Route, and preferably as far northwest as Puerto Vallarta. The stretch between Huatulco and Puerto Vallarta isn't really that much of a bash, and you have the advantage of being able to anchor to rest just about anytime you want. — rs


With regard to the 'Lectronic item about most marine diesels going bad at about 4,000 hours, well short of their expected life span of 10,000 to 14,000 hours, we bought our 2000 Hallberg-Rassy 36 in December 2011 with 800 hours on the Volvo diesel. I was concerned about the diesel's health because she had so few hours.

Nonetheless, it served us faithfully from Seattle around Vancouver Island, down to Mexico, out to Hawaii and back, and up to Haida Gwaii. Then, having put 1,800 more hours on it, we had a minor rear camshaft seal repair done at North Island Boat in Anacortes, which turned into a major camshaft timing project.

Just 1.1 hours after that project was completed, while on our way to Kingston, Washington, in small-craft-warning conditions, and with our sails at the sailmaker's loft for the winter, the engine made a small 'pop' sound followed by total silence. It had been the sound of our camshaft shattering into four pieces, marking the end of what had been our faithful Volvo MD-22P.

We are now the happy owners of a brand-new Volvo D2-55.

The folks at Hallberg-Rassy told us that marine diesels don't usually wear out; they rust away. I wish ours had had the chance to do the latter.

Gregg Brickner
True North, Hallberg-Rassy 36
Anacortes, WA


We have 4,500 hours on the 1998 Volvo Penta diesel and saildrive in our Swan 44 Mykonos, and it consumes about one quart of oil about every 30 hours. It has burned this amount of oil since day one when it was new. Concerned, we contacted Volvo. They told us that burning a quart of oil every 30 hours was within their tolerances as a percentage of diesel consumed. We change the oil every 100 hours. When we had an oil analysis done last year, everything checked out fine.

Myron Eisenzimmer
Mykonos, Swan 44
San Geronimo


Our Cal 40 Green Buffalo, which turned 50 this year, still has her original Perkins 4-107. Despite a few oil drips now and then from notoriously leaky British gaskets on the valve cover, oil pan and timing-chain cover, she uses near zero oil.

Most every even-numbered year, the diesel gets run for 60-100 hours nonstop as we motor across the Pacific High on the way back from Hawaii after the Pacific Cup.

My wife Mary would really like a quieter and smoother-
running new Yanmar, as the Perkins sounds like — and pretty much is — a farm-tractor engine. Indeed, it's impossible to hold a conversation in the cabin when the diesel is running due to the noise. But you gotta love the 'white noise' it produces when the boat is banging through the waves or the crew on deck is working out.

How many hours on our Perkins? It's hard to know as the engine meter was broken for a decade. My best guess is 10,000 or so. With my putting an average of maybe 200 hours a year on her, if she makes it to 14,000 hours, she just might outlive me!

Jim Quanci
Green Buffalo, Cal 40
Point Richmond

Jim — Ah, the Buffalo. We have fond memories of racing against her in Beer Can races off Sausalito in the early 1970s. — rs


The original Perkins 4-236 on our Westsail 42 only had 787 hours when she needed everything outside the block, except the rack, replaced. Why? Corrosion failures.

The oil cooler, heat exchanger, fuel pump(s), seawater pump, freshwater pump, exhaust riser and hoses were all bad. The engine had just sat too long with no help before we got to her. Now she runs sweet and cool, with no leaks.
However, she'll soon be replaced with an Electric Yacht QT-40 electric motor. We estimate 2,450 pounds will be replaced by a 150-pound motor and 800 pounds of batteries — unless we can afford the lighter ones.

We can't imagine staying with diesel when there are so many good choices for electric.

Barry and Samantha Spanier
Cornelia, Westsail 42 #24
Lahaina, HI

Barry and Samantha — We think you're a little off on the weight differential between your old power plant and the new one. According to Perkins, the 4-236, with a transmission, weighs about 1,150 pounds, which isn't that much more than the 950-pound system you'll be replacing it with.

It's probably just us, but it seems like a lot of time and money to replace a "sweet and cool" running diesel with another kind of power plant. What's the cost differential?

But corrosion truly is a diesel wounder and killer. This bothers us, because the easy-access placement of the Yanmars in the Wanderer's catamaran Profligate is such that they are exposed to lots of salt air. They have about 5,500 hours on them, but we're pretty sure they aren't going to run as long as they should because of corrosion. The same Yanmars on our Leopard 45 catamaran 'ti Profligate in the Caribbean both have more than 10,000 hours, but thanks to their placement under the berths in the aft cabins they have no corrosion and look brand-new. Of course, having a diesel under your bunk does have drawbacks, too.

Completely off the subject, Neil Young and Crazy Horse recorded almost all of the 1979 Rust Never Sleeps album at the Boarding House in San Francisco. Maybe you were there after having sailed the Bay earlier in the day. — rs


It would look as though I'm sitting pretty, what with the apparent low hours on the 1988 Universal M40 diesel on my boat. It has zero hours on it! Upon further investigation, I'm apparently one of the — surprisingly not-so-rare folks — who owns a boat that doesn't have an hour meter.

It's amazing to me that someone would go to the trouble of installing a diesel without an hour meter. My diesel is now nearly 30 years old and I just installed her first hour meter.

Bass Sears
Turnstone, Nimble 20
Hailey, ID

Bass — We're reminded of the fact that early Volkswagen Beetles didn't even have fuel gauges. When you ran out of fuel, you kicked a little lever with your foot and got another 20 miles or so. — rs


One diesel story that should be told is that of the World War II Navy surplus 671 Gray Marine — General Motors 'Jimmy' — two-stroke diesels that are still running nearly three quarters of a century after they were made. Some have well over 30,000 hours on the clock without an overhaul.

The Navy 671s were called "one trip" engines because they were put in LCVP landing craft. In actuality, they ended up lasting far, far longer than the supposedly more long-lasting Buda diesels put in Navy motor launches and captain's gigs.

The commercial fishing fleet still has many World War II 671 Jimmys operating but no Budas that I am aware of. The 671s are noisy and sloppy, and all seep oil. But they are dirt-simple and ultra-reliable. There is no injection pump, just cam-actuated plunger injectors. No electronics, and once started the engine needs no electricity.

Mark Meltzer
San Francisco

Readers — More letters on marine diesels next month. — rs


We have a Perkins 4-108 in our 1979 Cal 39 MkII, and it runs great. It puts out a little smoke if it has sat for a long time, but otherwise it starts right up every time. It has 2,000 hours on it, and I change the oil every 100 hours or six months. Usually six months comes first.

I am 'guilty' of basically using the engine to get out of the slip, and can't wait to turn it off. That being said, I don't just let it idle either.

Part of me would love a nice new efficient diesel, but until this one fails catastrophically, I don't see any reason to mess around with it.

Cal 39 MkII


After 34 years and untold hours, we replaced the Yanmar on our 1981 Newport 30 with an electric engine.

We have eight 105-amp-hour batteries that give us a 12-mile range at 4 knots. We use our diesel for less that a mile when we go out for daysails on the Bay, so it works out great. Overnights at Angel Island are no problem as long as we are conservative with battery use.

As we sail, the prop turns and recharges the batteries. The electric engine works like a charm on our 9,000-lb boat.

Craig Russell
Addiction, Newport 30


The Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca spend part of their summer plying the boulevards of Paris and canals of France on their canal boat. After restoring my Brown 31 Searunner trimaran En Pointe, then sailing her across the Pacific and to Thailand, I found a powerboat that I liked in California. I now live aboard her in a marina on Brannan Island in the Delta. Eventually I plan on moving to Pier 39 in San Francisco.

Tom Van Dyke
ex-En Pointe, Searunner 31
Brannan Island

Tom — While it's true that Paris has the Pantheon, the Grand Palais, the St. Germain, the great roundabouts, the Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Ile St. Louis, the Marais and other attractions, it really can't compare, can it, with the history, architecture and cosmopolitan residents of Delta hotspots such as Antioch, Locke and Isleton? So why are the Wanderer and de Mallorca in France? It comes down to money. The cost of living is lower in France.

Right now, we're on the stunning Briare Canal, and for the last week our average berthing cost has been about $2 a night. We don't know what it is with the French, but there are a number of stops with water and electricity for free. In addition, you can stop almost anywhere on the canal for a night or five, for free.

Restaurant food on the canals is reasonable. The accompanying photo is of last night's plat in Châtillion-Coligny. It was delicious, with tender and juicy turkey, and was only $10. Lots of nice people to talk to, also. Prices are higher in Paris, but not much higher.

Seriously, while we've had a lot of fun on the Delta waterways, we prefer the canals of the Marne and the Loire Valley. It's not just the 5 mph speed limit and the absence of jet skis, but the incredible never-ending forests, fields and flowers. It's like traveling through a gigantic manicured garden. Further, you never see any trash. And there is nothing wrong with stumbling upon a spectacular chateau every now and then.

We were born in Berkeley, grew up in various parts of Oakland, and moved to Marin when we were 21, where we later raised a family. We sailed the Bay, the Delta and the California coast for the better part of 40 years. Talk about a charmed life! If we could do it all over again, we wouldn't change anything.
Now that we're older and the kids are grown, there are two things we want to see as little of as we can: traffic and fog. So we split our winter between sailing in the Caribbean and sailing in Mexico, where there is no traffic or fog. We spend fall aboard Profligate west of the Pacific Coast Highway between San Diego and Santa Barbara. We spend the summer on the canal boat either in Paris, which is arguably the greatest city in the world, or on the canals, which are close to the epitome of beauty and tranquility. Did we mention something about a charmed life?

For those sailors who are at the stage of life when they have the freedom to travel, and who are looking to do something with the six months they don't cruise in Mexico or the Caribbean, we have previously suggested getting a canal boat in Europe. Now in our third season on the canals of Europe, we see no reason to change that recommendation. On the whole, we think it's less expensive than spending the six months roaming the West in an RV, and exponentially more interesting.

If we had to choose, we'd always take the sailboat in the tropics over a canal boat in Europe, but for most sailors it's not impossible to have both.

Having a canal boat in Europe just got cheaper. Because the European Union countries are cracking down on the 90-day limit Americans can spend in European Union countries without leaving for 90 days, it makes sense to split the cost of a boat with a friend, with each of you getting half the season on the boat in Europe. So for as little as $10,000 each for the boat and $750 a year for off-season berthing and insurance, you're good to go.

One unusual downside to canal cruising in France: It considers itself to be a country at war. So in Paris you'll see countless young men and women with automatic weapons, and even soldiers pretending to be homeless to infiltrate possible attackers. And marinas have "What to do in case of a terrorist attack" posters. Really. — rs


Butt ugly what they've done to Two Harbors with the Harbor Sands cabanas and lounge chairs for hire. Two Harbors used to be one of very few places in Southern California where I enjoyed going with my boat. Now all they need is a six-lane freeway to connect Avalon and Two Harbors. I'm canceling my plans to go there this fall. I prefer to remember it as it was.

Lee Perry
Patience, Westsail 32
Brookings, OR


Just when I thought I was missing the beauty of the West End of Catalina, it disappears. No need for me to yearn for a visit to Two Harbors.

Dave Albert
Serenity, Catalina 43
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico/Formerly Oceanside


I have wanted to go back to Two Harbors for a long time, as it's been about 12 years since I've taken my family to my favorite cove. But after seeing the photos of the new Harbor Sands, we'll be going to Emerald Bay.

Chris Juhasz


If the creation of the Harbor Sands keeps the mooring fees down at Two Harbors, I say what the hell.

Don Shirley
Dyslexia, Shamrock 29
Alamitos Bay

Don — Finally, a mariner who isn't necessarily against Harbor Sands. — rs


Last month's Loose Lips mentioned a trifoiler sailboat, the Caltri 27 that was built circa 2001. But prior to that, Dr. Robert H. Cannon, previously head of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department at Stanford University, now the Charles Lee Powell Professor Emeritus of Aeronautics and Astronautics, lent his talents to the design of a hydrofoil sailboat in the early 1950s. At the time, he was with the Baker Manufacturing Company in Evansville, Wisconsin. As part of his doctoral thesis, he designed a 16-ft single-hull sailboat with vee foils, mainsail only, and one-man crew.

Then he designed the Monitor, a 26-ft sloop that reached speeds of 30 knots. The US Navy sponsored this program in hopes of obtaining foil data without propeller and strut complications. The Baker Company also designed and tested hydrofoil powerboats for the Navy.

The Monitor used ladder foils on beams on either side of the single hull, a ladder foil for the rudder, and a conventional main and jib. Some roll control was achieved through differential in-flight adjustment of foil angles and foil depth. Heel angle and rear-foil trim adjustment were through a mechanical linkage to the mast. Steering was achieved by rotation of the rear foil.

The cockpit looked like a biplane cockpit, with helmsman and crew sitting side by side, with controls similar to an aircraft's. It took about 13 knots of wind to get the boat to foil, but in 1956 it achieved a speed of 30.4 knots. This was a fully flying sailboat, as the hull was about 30 inches out of the water while in flight.

The two flying sailboats are described in an article titled The Flying Sailboat that appeared in the August 1957 Research Reviews, Office of Naval Research.
Dr. Cannon was also going to design a wingsail for the foilers, but concentrated on the foils first. He went on to other things before he got to wingsails.

I was fortunate enough, while my wife was his secretary, to view a film in Dr. Cannon's office showing the Monitor. She flew past a conventional keel sailboat with its scuppers underwater.

In the mid 1960s, Dr. Cannon persuaded the Baker Company to ship the Monitor to Lake Tahoe and San Francisco Bay for demonstration flights. Unless the Baker company has gotten rid of them, the boats are likely still in storage in the company's warehouse.

Dr. Cannon was appointed Assistant Secretary for Research with the Department of Transportation in 1972, then later designed a satellite to test Einstein's theory of relativity.

Ernie Mendez
Quiet Times, Cal 46 III
San Jose


It seems that this has been an unusually rough season for Baja Bashes, as the weather all over the Pacific has been rough. My guy Jerry left Bahia Santa Maria on our Sabre 426 Kingfisher, thinking he might get to Turtle Bay next. But with the weather window shutting down, a delivery skipper suggested he stop at Asuncion Bay. What a great solution!

Many people know of 'Sirena' on the VHF, which is Canadian Shari Bondi and her husband Juan Arce Marron. What some don't know is they do not monitor the VHF this late in the season.

This couple is very helpful to cruisers. They will take you to the Pemex to get fuel. Pemex fuel is half the price vendors charge at Turtle Bay, although there are nominal fees associated with getting it. There are also restaurants within walking distance. Cruisers desiring to get off the boat for a night can stay at Juan and Shari's La Bufadora, The Blowhole, for a whopping $30 per night. A great view of the ocean and breakfast are included.

Asuncion is a very safe anchorage in prevailing winds, with good holding and reasonable protection even when it's blowing hard from the NNW. The thermal-driven breeze does come up every afternoon, but usually dies down in the evening.

Shari and Juan's phone numbers are not correct in the cruising guides. The correct ones are +52 1 615-161-6682 and (619) 906-8438, and the correct email is .

Allison Lehman
Kingfisher, Sabre 426
Point Richmond

Allison — Thanks for the update.

A few years back Doña de Mallorca and the Wanderer were doublehanding Profligate on the Baja Bash. We're hardcore on deliveries, not wanting to stop unless we're forced to. But we were about 60 miles south of Turtle Bay and 10 miles south of Asuncion when the afternoon breeze and chop really kicked up. As much as it was against our delivery principles, we pulled into Asuncion for the night. We didn't go ashore, but we did get a great rest. When we took off shortly after sunrise the next morning, there wasn't a zephyr and the sea was flat.

Another nice thing about Asuncion is that it's pretty much on the rhumbline between Bahia Santa Maria and Turtle Bay, so you're not adding a lot of extra distance by stopping there.

A lot of bashers avoid any stops along the 'Middle Reach' of Baja — between Bahia Santa Maria and Turtle Bay — because of the extra mileage. But it's not that many more miles. For example, if you stop at San Juanico, aka Scorpion Bay, it's 250 miles as opposed to the 230-mile straight shot. But San Juanico is a great stop, particularly if you like to surf. It has no fewer than six points, with waves ideal for everything from beginners to experts.

We know you've heard it before, but the best advice the Wanderer has for bashing is: 1) Give yourself plenty of time. 2) Wait until the wind is less than 15 knots, then go as long and as fast as you can. 3) Summer tends to offer longer and better weather windows than does spring. — rs


Being a former Summer of Love, switched-on, ex-hippie, the Wanderer probably already knows that Windfola is an auspicious name for a gutsy, solo, female sailor's boat. I'm referring to Elana Connor's Sabre 34, which was referred to in the June Sightings.

Windfola was the name given by JRR Tolkein to the horse ridden by Éowyn of Rohan from Dunharrow to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where she and Meriadoc Brandybuck confronted and defeated the Witch King of Angmar, Chief of the Nazgûl.

In response to the Witch King's challenge, "No living man may hinder me," she uttered the famous line; "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman." She then promptly dispatched him by driving her sword into the front of his helmet, after Merry's blade stabbed him in the leg, distracting him.

Is it only me, or is there something prophetic in the fact that her boat is a 'Sabre' 34? With all those omens going for her, I'd be wary of crossing her bows in a match race!

Mark Walker
Kempsey, NSW, Australia

Mark — The Wanderer did not realize that Windfola was an auspicious name for Ms. Connor's boat because he, in what might be a character defect, has no more interest in fantasy literature than he does in poetry. We like life straight up, but if Elana likes it, we've got no problem with the name. — rs


What is the best way to return a boat from Cabo to Long Beach or the Bay Area? Is it a ship like DYT or something? Would the Wanderer put a boat of his on a ship?

If there is not currently such a service, would enough expressed interest on the part of boat owners attract a shipping company?

Charles A. Wall
Walnut Creek

Charles — Direct from Cabo, your only real option is to sail/motor the boat back or hire someone else to do it for you. About 30 years ago somebody started a service delivering boats from Cabo to Southern California on a barge. It sounded like a great idea, but as we recall they went bankrupt after the first trip.

Boats are transported on ships all the time. We had our Olson 30 La Gamelle shipped on one of those 'sinking' ships from Port Everglades to Le Marin, Martinique. The only downside was the expense.

It's not uncommon for cruisers to ship their boats from Golfito, Costa Rica, to Ensenada, or from La Paz to Vancouver, British Columbia. Based on the reports we've gotten, they've all been pretty happy.

We don't know if it's the government or the unions, but there seems to be some problem shipping anything but new boats from outside the United States into the United States.

We're not sure what company has been doing the La Paz-to-Vancouver deliveries, because neither DYT nor Seven Star Yacht Transport has it listed on their schedule. Perhaps someone who has recently had their boat delivered can tell us what company shipped their boat. If we're not mistaken, the route is only run once a year in the spring.

Even if you could get 50 boat owners to pay for shipping a year in advance — good luck with that — we're not sure you could get a shipping company to change their route. — rs


My husband Bruce and I agree with the Wanderer that watching the magnificent big classic yachts, and especially the J Class yachts, will be far more interesting than the America's Cup battle of the billionaires with their little high-tech catamarans. We don't even follow the America's Cup anymore.

P.S. We now spend our winters aboard our 44-ft catamaran Isola based out of St. Martin, and even participated in Antigua Sailing Week this year.

Pam Orisek, 100-Ton Master
Isola, 44-ft catamaran
Santa Cruz and St. Martin

Readers — Pam and Bruce's outlook may be influenced by the fact that they "hooked up" aboard the J Class yacht Velsheda 37 years ago. But as soon as the America's Cup is over — possibly before you even get this issue — it will be interesting to see what readers thought about it, and if the Kiwis win it back, what they will choose for the boats to be used in the next Cup.


I know the Wanderer will take a ton of flack about his 'Lectronic piece about dogs. I want to give him a thumbs up for having the guts to tell the truth about so many of the dogs on boats out there and their owners. I like dogs, but won't have one on the boat. Every word in his article was true.

Planet Earth

Sally — We've gotten a lot of response about dogs. The Wanderer wants to make it clear that he is not anti-dog. For example, just a few hours ago a nice dog of some sort approached us next to our docked boat. He stopped about 10 feet away, picked up a stick, and wagging his tail said, "Would you like to play fetch with me?"

We told him we couldn't because we were taking off on a bike ride, and he didn't get mad about it. And his owner observed the whole incident, ready to step in if the dog became a nuisance. We like owners and dogs like that.

Our problem is with the oblivious and/or don't-give-a-damn-how-my-dog-bothers-others owners. The ones who let their pit bulls run loose off leash. The ones who let their dogs yap in the marina all day and night. The ones who don't pick up their dog's crap in the middle of the dock fairway.

Plus, what can you say about dog owners who think that California's Channel Islands (except Catalina) and the islands in the Sea of Cortez that are strictly off-limits to dogs for environmental reasons, are off-limits to all dogs but theirs? — rs


Please forward the names of restaurants in Cabo San Lucas that a cruiser complained about because they wouldn't allow their dog. Because that's where I want to eat. I pretty much stopped going to all of the local brewpubs because they've become overrun with people who have dogs.

That said, it's still a mostly free country, so if pubs and restaurants that allow dogs are successful, then good for them. But I'll spend my time and money elsewhere.

By the way, I have dogs and love them. But I don't take them to restaurants, pubs, hardware stores and the like.

Greg Gibson
Grass Valley


I read the Wanderer's recent comments in 'Lectronic about dogs, and I'm right there with him. Seeing-eye dogs and Wounded Warrior dogs are my exception to the rule. Dogs have their place in life — but in my opinion, it's not in public establishments.

I've stopped spending my money at businesses where irresponsible owners allow dogs in. I literally left one restaurant in the middle of a meal when the staff allowed a 100-lb 'service dog' in. And yes, I paid for my meal.

Costco, Home Depot, Lowes — you name it, they are all allowing so-called 'service dogs' into their stores. I watched a large dog lift its leg on the potato chip aisle in my local Costco. The manager said he couldn't do a thing about it. I no longer buy potato chips at Costco or anything else that is down at dog level.

I was in a store when a dog in a shopping basket snapped at a customer walking by. The guy reflexively swatted the little critter right out of the shopping cart. The dog ran out the front door of the store. I told the lady who owned the dog that she could charge admission for that kind of entertainment.

Dog owners need to understand that not everyone wants to 'experience' their dogs in public.

Curt Simpson
Palm Desert

Curt — Don't get us going on the 'service animal' abuse crap. The Wanderer is embarrassed to say he has more than a few very good friends who admitted paying a couple of hundred dollars to get doctors to sign certificates saying they needed a 'service pet'. "I got a doctor to write one up for me," they laugh. Not so funnee! — rs


The Wanderer said what needed to be said about dogs — and in a way typical of his writing. We laughed as we both read it out loud.

We love dogs and all kinds of animals, but have none as they are too restricting for our lifestyle. Dogs are pack animals and need a leader. Unfortunately most dog owners are not leaders and let their dogs lead them instead. It's sad to see.

Garry and Marci Willis
Breez'n, Catalina 42
Liberty Bay, WA



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