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April 2018

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Thank you for asking BCDC staff to respond to your Westpoint Harbor editorial published in last month's magazine. However, we still do not understand why your magazine decided not to publish our response last month, alongside your editorial and prior to the March 15 public hearing, given that it would have consumed such a small amount of room in your very large publication.

Unfortunately, Latitude 38 is confused about how BCDC has operated during its 50-year history. BCDC's mission is to minimize fill in the San Francisco Bay and maximize the public's access to the Bay and along its shoreline. The permits BCDC grants to private entities (such as Westpoint Harbor's Mark Sanders) and public agencies (including cities, counties, and park districts) spell out specifically how permit holders are required to provide maximum feasible public access, consistent with the project. These permits ensure that the people of the State of California have access to the Bay in exchange for the State allowing private and public development in and around the Bay.

The BCDC staff provides permit holders with a great deal of assistance as they plan and build projects; we spend countless hours working closely and successfully with permit holders to ensure that public access requirements are met while property rights are respected. BCDC issues violation reports only as a last resort. In the case of Westpoint Harbor, the BCDC staff notified Mr. Sanders almost seven years ago of permit violations and then waited six years before issuing a violation report. Why the delay? During that period, the BCDC staff met with Mr. Sanders and his representatives many times and offered him myriad ways to comply with or amend the permit that he originally signed 14 years ago. He declined every opportunity to do so.

Permits are a kind of contract. Simply put, Mr. Sanders hasn't fulfilled his part of the bargain. That is why BCDC's Enforcement Committee has recommended a proposed order that requires Mr. Sanders to abide by his signed agreement and pay a large penalty.

The violations have nothing to do with how Mr. Sanders promotes clean boating, is committed to the harbor's tenants, and operates the marina in what appears to be an environmentally sound manner. Instead, Mr. Sanders has broken his contract by refusing to provide over a quarter-million square feet of public access areas and specified public access improvements that he promised to provide when he signed his permit. Public access to the shoreline is the benefit that the public receives while Mr. Sanders earns revenue from operating his marina. Mr. Sanders also has failed to comply with a number of permit conditions intended to prevent or minimize adverse impacts to wildlife, including endangered species found in the adjacent national wildlife refuge, which were imposed in response to comments by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Only after learning that the BCDC staff would bring his violations to the Commission's Enforcement Committee did Mr. Sanders finally agree to open all required public access areas. Yet, while that occurred in early July 2017 — eight years after the deadline established by the permit — Mr. Sanders continues to restrict public access by pedestrians to the guest docks, which are a required public access improvement in a dedicated public access area. Similarly, as recently as a few weeks ago, BCDC received a complaint from a member of the boating public who was told by someone at the Harbor, in violation of the permit, that the public boat launch ramp, another required public access improvement in a dedicated public access area, was not for use free of charge by kayakers.

Just as important, the site as it exists now is not what existed when the enforcement case commenced, or even as recently as a year ago. The public access areas and improvements were required to be completed in fall 2009, commensurate with the phased construction and occupancy of the marina. Until July 2017, the main entrance to the site was posted with multiple signs that read "Members and Guests Only," a second pedestrian access point was blocked by a fence, and Mr. Sanders maintained numerous "Restricted Access" signs at various locations around the site that effectively prohibited public access to the Bay.

Even today, the public shoreline trails are narrower than required by the permit. Until July 2017, long segments of the public paths were closed and overgrown with weeds. Other ancillary public access improvements also were missing. Combined, this noncompliance leads the public to believe that the Bay shoreline is simply not accessible — the opposite of the permit's intent. Just as important, required natural resource protections, such as visual habitat barriers and mitigation for shorebird roost habitat and wetlands, are not fully in place.

The upshot of the problem is that Mr. Sanders has materially benefited from the private gains of his marina while not fulfilling his promises to the State of California to provide the public access to, and enjoyment of, the shoreline. Should BCDC simply ignore his willful violations of the permit that he signed? Would the public want BCDC to look away if, for example, the San Francisco Giants closed the BCDC-mandated wide walkway around AT&T Park, or if access to the magnificent restored Hamilton Field wetlands in Marin County was closed?

Finally, for the sake of clarity, I should note that both BCDC and the Regional Water Quality Control Board are appealing the decision of the Superior Court judge in Solano County in the Point Buckler case. Also, Latitude 38 should be careful about cherry-picking out of context a relatively minor issue from among the large-scale public access violations in the Scott's Restaurant enforcement case; that is comparable to stating that a large sailboat is not seaworthy due to some peeling varnish.

BCDC has helped open up hundreds of miles of public access along the Bay. A vast majority of that access has been created through the fine work of BCDC permit holders who have honored their commitments. It's too bad that one recalcitrant permit holder has thumbed his nose at the public for so long and has caused BCDC to use the legal system to remedy his noncompliance with state law.

Larry Goldzband
Executive Director
Bay Conservation and Development Commission

Readers — This letter is a response to our editorial in the March issue, and our original intention was to include it in that same issue. However, given the 20 years this marina project has been underway, we felt we were rushing the process and subtracting other content to squeeze this letter in at deadline.

We do want to give the BCDC space to help us all understand this complex process. The note above was accompanied by the comment, "I can't begin to tell you how to run your periodical, and I learned a long time ago that people who buy ink by the barrel usually have more resources than any organization in which I have been part." While Latitude 38 probably buys more ink than most, we're quite sure our "resources" are much smaller than the 40-plus people, 40-plus commissioners and the $8 million budget that the BCDC wields.

While we clearly want to see facilities like Westpoint Harbor continue to thrive and provide sailing opportunities to the public, we don't see Westpoint as having any fundamental conflicts with the BCDC's founding goals of encouraging responsible use for future generations and maximum public access. We're sure the more than 5,000 people who signed a petition in support of Westpoint Harbor did so because they believe the marina has done just that, by transforming a waste zone and turning it into a model marina.

Despite general agreement on the BCDC's founding goals, the fact that a public agency has so many members of the public petitioning against it suggests that something is wrong. We've talked to many people about the BCDC, and are pressed to find anyone who wants to go on record for fear of what they've called "retribution." While we may buy ink by the barrel, we don't have an army of lawyers or the ability to enforce an idea, regardless of how passionately we think it's right.

Did we "cherry pick" the documents? Well, sure. As everyone knows, public agency documents and 'legal briefs' (classic oxymoron) are anything but brief. In fact, the papers exchanged by Westpoint Harbor and BCDC lawyers over the past 20 years probably exceed the pages of Latitude printed in that time, so there's plenty to cherry pick. We simply believe that an agency mandated to keep the Bay clean should not concern itself with the color and shape of tables, period. We believe that dealing with such minutia reflects the overbearing nature of an agency that has lost its focus. But if any of our readers feel shortchanged by not being able to read the rest of the many complaints filed by the BCDC, we're not trying to hide anything. Like all public agencies, they have gigabytes of additional reading on their website,

No human, agency or marina is perfect, but we try to step back from the details to see how the debates impact our view that increased public access on a clean Bay is a good thing. The support received by Westpoint Harbor suggests they've added to and not subtracted from those goals. The miles of shoreline pathways added with the BCDC's support have certainly increased the ability of people to walk near and have views of the Bay, but they don't provide public access to the thing itself. The only things that access the water are marinas, launch ramps and beaches.

While we take issue with the current state of affairs, we still think the BCDC and other public agencies have made a great contribution to improving the Bay Area over the past few decades. But that initial progress has become a burden to the people trying to survive the bureaucracy's expanded self-defined goals and powers. — ja

We always pick up trash; it's a great time to practice seapersonship! We now keep a net and a boathook handy, and have doubled our fender collection and heaps of balloons. Once we managed to wrestle aboard a kid's plastic slide, steps, slide and all. Recently we found a six-gallon tank full of gasoline on its way through Raccoon Strait. That took two of us to land. We would love to see more boaters getting in on the action. For the earth.
Jan Passion
Hokahey, Seawind 1000

My philosophy is to pick up a piece of trash every single day, so that if a paper plate flies over the side while I'm anchored in Aquatic Park (like it did this Saturday) I will be 364 pieces ahead of the game. Funny but true, the plate that caught the wind was owned by a non-sailor not as attuned to the wind.

Lisa Bullett
On Air, Beneteau 31
San Francisco
(Living on a powerboat, sailing on a sailboat)

Bummer balloons
I picked up two Mylar balloons between San Diego and Two Harbors.

Craig Moyle
Concordia, Cape North 43
Guaymas, Mexico/Carmichael

A close friend gets his exercise on the Bay and levee by picking up trash in his kayak. He goes prepared to get the easy stuff down in Fremont, because almost "everything" that falls off a boat in the main part of the Bay ends up between Hayward and Fremont. I've helped him off and on for a few years until he gets aggressive and starts pulling in truck tires and tree trunks (a bit much for my back and age).

My friend Brian got me back into sailing on his Catalina 27 Louisa, until he sold her. Now I reciprocate with my old 'plastic classic'. You should see him load up a mountain bike.

Patrick Arndt.
Sinaloa, Islander 30-2

I found the best thing to use as an MOB drill is a baseball cap. It floats just long enough to simulate a drowning, unconscious crewmember. If you take too long it's a goner. It's also just about as difficult to see as a person's head in the water. As a note, if you use a Giants' cap you will get back to it much quicker than if you use a Dodgers' cap.

Barry 'Baz' Foster
Boat Sadly Sold
Planet Latitude

Barry — As we discussed in December's Letters, we think that sailors can't practice their MOBs enough. We think that taking any opportunity to think on your feet, react to an unplanned situation, and circle back for whatever piece of flotsam that's fallen in the water are invaluable exercises in seamanship. as well as ocean stewardship. Our motto is (or just became): Keep crap out of the Bay whenever you can! — th

I found the use of the word "chicks" in your February 26 'Lectronic Latitude article/headline pejorative and disrespectful.

Ray Kuhn
Planet Earth

Ray — No contempt, disrespect or any other negative connotation was intended by either the writer or the editor of that piece, who are both female and clearly comfortable with the term. (Readers — Ray is also a woman.)

When contributing editor LaDonna Bubak wrote the headline "Calling All Sailing Chicks" we're sure it was just a sassy comment made between women. What happens or is spoken between sailors on boats is often very different than what we'd likely put in print. However, Latitude 38 always strives to reflect what's actually happening in the world of sailing, which, naturally, is broadly diversified, rather than trying to find language acceptable to all sailors.
Admittedly, it's easy for things said in print to feel out of context, and possibly out of touch. In a conversation, you can identify the speakers, and their tone and level of wit and/or sarcasm. Consider an exchange where a woman jokingly says, "You dudes are such slobs," to which a man retorts, "Oh yeah, you chicks are so uptight!" But the headline "Chicks Are Uptight" would be understandably offensive.

We try to let the voice of the author come through and not impose a social screen. We trust readers will have the space in their lives to listen to all the views. We're glad you care, Ray, and glad you wrote. It's likely if we had retitled LaDonna's story "Calling All Sailor Ladies," she wouldn't have liked the edit and we never would have heard from you. Choosing words carefully is important and all people deserve respect, but, like at the 'roast' of an honored guest, a few sparkly words can add some zest to an otherwise dull monologue. — ja

Are the Max Ebb articles online? I did not find it in 'Lectronic Latitude. His (whoever he is: Richard Spindler?) articles are great.

Ron Kallen
Planet Ocean

Ron — Every issue of Latitude back to May 2007 is online. Go to — Archives and scroll down.
Richard Spindler is not Max, but Mr. Ebb's identity is still a bit of an open secret that we're keeping on the down low. — th

Regarding the boat left adrift as reported in the February 14 'Lectronic Latitude identified as a Cal 2-30, I'd say a 2-29 on account of the transom. The 2-30 has a 'reverse' transom; the 2-29 nearly vertical. My family sailed a 2-30, racing in Kaneohe and around Oahu, as well as cruising to Molokai, Lanai and Maui over the nine years we had the Nalu.
I've long wondered if the Coast Guard couldn't leave a radar reflector on vessels left adrift, unless they're sure of sinking.

Mahalo nui loa for your fine publication (and Happy Valentine's Day).

Jim Nash

Readers — We used the (very useful) Sailboat Data website,, in an attempt to ID the unfortunate Cal. When Jim called our attention to the shape of the transom, we went back and looked again, and we agree that she looks more like a Cal 29 than a 30.

Regarding radar reflectors, we posed that question to Layne Carter, a Search and Rescue (SAR) specialist with the Coast Guard in Alameda. He said "We do not use radar reflectors as a general practice. It is ultimately the responsibility of the owner to mark and salvage the vessel. However, we do issue a broadcast notice to mariners for all hazards to navigation we become aware of. Obviously not all owners are able to mark or salvage their vessels and of course we often are unable to even locate an owner for many abandoned and adrift vessels. We try to mark vessels as 'OK' when safe to do so, but that is generally to prevent false alerts.

"On a case by case basis, we will mark a vessel with a satellite tracking device we use to validate drift during SAR cases, but that depends on the situation (if the unit on scene involved in the rescue has the device onboard, and if they can safely attach it to the vessel)." — cw/ja

I just called National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) and they clarified their vessel documentation procedure. First, they confirmed that my boat certificate does not expire until March 31 (which I knew and is what precipitated my call) and is not expired as the Maritime Documentation Center (MDC) informed me by letter.

The NVDC stated that MDC is a third-party agency (not US Coast Guard-related) providing this service, so it cannot be classified as a scam per se, although I would disagree. In my case, MDC sent me my notice about three to four weeks prior to the one NVDC said they would send out, which was 45 days prior to expiration. Secondly, the NVDC fee is the same as last year ($26) and less than the MDC 'service' charge of $70.

It would be helpful to inform people that this is another case of someone making a business out of providing an unneeded service normally provided adequately by legal entities. I have come across this as well when renewing my FCC permits and Ham licenses. Subscribers need to be made aware of third-party attempts to obtain inflated fees; some owners may choose to no longer document their boat due to the much higher cost. The bottom line is that we don't need these businesses increasing our boat operating costs.

Mike Hirko
Tayana, Vancouver 42
Gig Harbor, WA

I received an 'official' renewal notice in the mail the other day and I was puzzled as I had renewed for multiple years just last year. I called the Coast Guard Documentation Center, and while they stopped short of calling this a scam, it sure seems like one to me. The Maritime Documentation Center (MDC) has nothing to do with the USCG; in fact, Congress never approved multiple-year renewals. Evidently there are a handful of these outfits posing as affiliates of the Coast Guard, and they are not. They collect your money and then who knows what happens from there. I would like to pass on my experience so others may avoid it.

Mark Nolfi
Janina, Hans Christian 33

Mike and Mark — As it turns out, the Coast Guard has called this a scam. In an October 2017 article titled "Boater beware: Vessel documentation fraud lurks online," the Coast Guard News said, "A new scam is targeting boat owners looking to save a little time online, but it's costing them hundreds of dollars: websites offering documentation renewal services for a fee." While the article never mentioned any websites by name, it stated that "the US Coast Guard's National Vessel Documentation Center is the only authorized entity to issue Certificates of Documentation required for vessels engaged in commercial trade and optional for vessels weighing five or more net tons engaged in recreational use and activities."

But the Coast Guard also said that while not officially recognized, these documentation services are technically legal, though the documents they provide are not recognized as 'official'.

"The NVDC is aware there are commercial entities that offer to manage the certification and renewal process on behalf of vessel owners for a fee. The Coast Guard does not endorse any of these companies, and the companies do not operate on behalf of the Coast Guard in any way. The services they provide are legal, but the certificates issued are not deemed in compliance.

The article also said that boaters using these websites can often spend almost three times the standard fee, "and Coast Guard boarding officers will not accept their vessel's documentation as valid." (The article can be found at

Thanks for bringing this to our readers' attention. We will bring you more about this issue in an upcoming edition of 'Lectronic Latitude. — th

Here's a photo my wife Lori took from our front lawn of Kaneohe Yacht Club's 'Second Sunday' race on February 11. It was a stellar winter day on Kaneohe Bay with a light northerly blowing across the course. This monthly Sunday fun race series is held during the winter months when the days are too short to run the Thursday evening 'Happy Hour' races.

Bill Leary
Moku pe'a,
Beneteau 351
Oahu, HI

Bill— Perfect timing. Your photo showed up last month just in time for us to use it in the Sightings story in our March issue, which had some hard-headed facts about sailors and coral from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, located on the pictured Coconut Island. Pacific Cup racers will be finishing here at the end of July. — th

Saturday, February 10, had the best wind we've had in months. We sailed out of Richardson Bay for our second sail of the day at around 2 p.m. and enjoyed three solid hours of 12- to 16-knot winds, keeping us sailing at 6+ knots the entire time. We even hit a new under-sail max of 8.4 knots (at slack tide). You know it's a good day when your friends can call you without setting a plan and know you'll all be on the water.

Audrey and Garrett Ruhland
ThisLdu, Rafiki 35

Garrett and Audrey — Thanks for your note. We're glad you're enjoying your new-to-you Rafiki. As you know, we just happen to be running a story on you in the current Sightings section. Congrats on your new liveaboard status at Sausalito Yacht Harbor! — th

Local sailor Carl Goodfriend (left) joined by longtime friend Max Hallberg enjoy the relief of a freshly placed reef. Sunday, February 11, was 'breezy' indeed. Max, just off the plane from London, was very happy to take in the view of the skyline — particularly from the lee!
The boat, an '87 Dehler 34, is incredibly speedy and was as happy as a kite while reaching over the heavy ebb that afternoon. Wow! Val Taft is the owner, and I just signed on as partner. In fact this was our first sail on her.
Thanks for all the hours I've spent leafing through the pages over the years.

Steve Goodfriend
Private Reserve, Dehler 34
South Beach Harbor
San Francisco

I believe the trimaran [anchored in Aquatic Park, which we reported on in a March 7 'Lectorinic] is a 31-ft Brown Searunner. The guy has to go; he will ruin it for the rest of us. I expect if you move the boat he will just move it back.

Steve Haas
Tesa, Catalina 42
San Jose

What amazes me about this is that the day after this story appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, they ran a story about an artist who touched up a "street portrait" in Aquatic Park. The artist was immediately arrested and slapped with a fairly significant fine for "graffiti."

Let me see if I have it right: Touch up a street painting and get arrested and slapped with a large fine. Anchor for three months in Aquatic Cove, block a swimming lane, and dump raw sewage into the cove and "we're working on it."

Lu Abel
Indulgence, Canadian Sailcraft

Why is this any different than parking your vehicle in a tow-away zone? First you get ticketed by the SFPD, then, if you persist, you can expect to be towed and impounded. Why is this not subject to the same treatment? The police have craft capable of towing, and harbors where impound could be effected and subject to appropriate fees and fines.

John McNeill
Roadrunner, Wylie 17
San Francisco Bay

First, let's assume that Pennington is actually a disabled veteran. There are many veterans, disabled or not, homeless and on the streets. I feel that Pennington is at least not contributing to that problem; however, that doesn't excuse him from creating other problems. It does seem strange that he was allowed to anchor for more than 100 days and no one from the National Park Service notified him that he was in violation of the permitting rules — unless that fact was omitted from your article.

If a sailor is new to an anchorage, the "as many sailors know" adage doesn't work. And, by the way, swimmers vandalizing his boat by writing on it — in places that Pennington couldn't see unless he looked over the side — I would think is an arresting offense as well.

The lack of a marine sanitation system is unconscionable as any sailor should know. Maybe some local veterans' organization could start a GoFundMe project to buy and install a Type I MSD for Pennington so he could continue to live free and not have to join the too-numerous disabled vets in jail or on the streets. Not only that, if he is jailed, what's to become of his boat? Would he lose that, too, as well as the freedom he helped protect? Come on, San Francisco veterans, answer the call!

Ron Harben
Puka Kai, Fantasia 35
Morro Bay

1) Mr. Pennington should have the benefit of all the resources we have on the Bay to find a place for his trimaran. The BCDC has a lot of money, as do a lot of other agencies. It would be a happy ending if we could find a side slip for him and his boat with pump-out facilities and raise some money to put a holding tank on his boat. Disabled veterans deserve some help.

2) Aquatic Park is a jewel that should not be sullied. Raw human sewage into that Park, no matter what the tides do, is a public health hazard. (Disclosure: I have swum many times in the past 20 years in Aquatic Park). This is a public park. What would the City of San Francisco do if someone was dropping excrement in Dolores Park or Golden Gate Park? (Don't ask.)

3) It is disheartening to find that despite multiple clear-cut law infractions, the policing agencies, notably the National Park Service, cannot actually enforce their laws. It is a sad commentary on the state of law enforcement that rules don't apparently matter. And we have to go to a federal court to decide whether someone can violate the rules of the Park.

Let us hope the City of San Francisco and the National Park Service can resolve this issue quickly for a change.

Bruce Adornato
Mary Shaw, Sabre 42
San Francisco

The man can die for his country, but as soon as he wants to toss anchor for a country he is willing to die for, he gets harassed by swimmers, the harbor patrol and the Coast Guard. Maybe he should fight those people instead of foreigners that are innocent of constant red tape and bullshit. One storm pollutes the Bay beyond comprehension with millions of gallons of waste that man cannot contain. Just say no to all authority because there is no authority.

John Retzlaff
Unbound, Pearson Triton

How is this different from the 50-plus boats anchored in Richardson Bay? He is supposed to have a permit, but Richardson Bay is supposed to be a 48-hour anchorage, and boats have been there for years. They cause visual as well as actual pollution (I have actually seen people dumping buckets of sewage). Richardson Bay used to be full of eel grass 30 years ago — an important habitat for juvenile fish of many species. It's now a dead zone for fish.

However the BCDC, Richardson Bay Regional Agency, and Marin County Supervisor Kate Sears have all failed to do their job on this issue, which is contentious. They don't want to deal with it. But they still should do their job and protect Richardson Bay.

So why pick on this one guy? Either open up the entirety of San Francisco Bay to everyone to anchor wherever they want — and subsequently do whatever they want with their sewage, etc. — or apply the rules to everyone and protect the Bay. Picking on this one guy seems silly when you have 50 times as many boats doing the same thing just five miles away.

Raymond Bonneau
B.J., Ericson 35

Readers — It still confounds us how this could remain such a complicated issue. Despite (or perhaps because of) all the overlapping regulatory agencies, no one appears to know what to do. This has been the case on Richardson Bay for decades. The vast majority of sailors are pretty fastidious about holding tanks and numerous other rules and regs that govern their behavior. A guy like Pennington can make you think, why bother?

Not long ago there were numerous anchor-outs who were overstaying their welcome in Clipper Cove, but somehow — and after much angst and effort — that cove was cleaned up and room was made for those who now take advantage of the space for weekend cruising.

The same problem existed on the Oakland Estuary, where there were almost 40 anchor-outs overstaying their welcome, with many flushing directly into the Bay and causing other problems. We talked to Brock de Lappe, harbormaster at Oakland Marina, who was lead organizer for the Estuary Coalition, a group of harbormasters and East Bay enforcement agencies who were able to crack down and clear out the offending vessels. But it wasn't easy. Brock described many meetings with government agencies, trips to Sacramento, a couple of years, and — get this — $7 million to eventually clean up the problem back in 2013. Since then, due to the ongoing diligence of the Oakland and Alameda Marine patrols, illegal anchor-outs have stayed clear of the Estuary.

In a world where many want to see regulations dismantled, a small case like Pennigton's can suddenly make everyone a believer in regulation, but none of the governing agencies seem to have the tools to enforce said regs.

We support those living the simple life at sea, but we also think people should respect the norms of the society they're inhabiting. Pennington has his boat anchored especially close to shore and in the traditional (and extremely popular) lanes used by swimmers. Why not just anchor a little farther out? Yes, this means a longer paddle to shore, but it's a small inconvenience and a large gesture to his neighbors. (Imagine if the traditional anchor field for boats was suddenly inundated with swimmers. Not cool.)

And then there's dumping of shit. Many readers pointed out that local municipal sewage runoff routinely exceeds any amount that might come from a few boats, and, sure, we've all taken a pee in the Bay. But it's absurd for any boater to blatantly, openly dump a bucket full of waste into a still cove full of swimmers. Again, come on. It's just bad manners. We feel for Pennington and respect his service, but we think everyone should do their best to respect those around them.

Ron Harben — we don't know how or when Pennington was notified about Aquatic Park Cove's policies. We assume that like every boater, this was something he had to figure out. But we agree with you in that we'd like to see this resolved amicably. What if there was a kumbaya moment, where swimmers helped wash off the graffiti, Pennington agreed to move to another marina, the various law enforcement agencies cut him some slack (or Veterans Affairs paid for his stay), and everyone got what they wanted? — ja/th

Although I ride my own bike, I can tell you that LimeBike is present at most Puget Sound marinas and seems to be very popular. Wear your helmet — not everyone on the road is as alert as you are.

Bill Skitch
Island Drifter, 25-ft Motorsailor
Seattle, WA

I tried LimeBike a couple of times and liked it. There were a few around our office complex that I rode to get lunch. Then I started noticing clusters of LimeBikes at marinas around the Bay Area: Oyster Point, Brisbane, Alameda, etc. (but LimeBike is not in San Francisco or Marin). How perfect for when you need to cruise to the store! The bikes even have baskets.

Tim Dick
Palo Alto/Honolulu, HI

Bill and Tim — We enjoyed discovering the new LimeBike sharing service in Alameda. -There are some fantastic folding bikes out there, but even the best model can be a challenge to fit aboard a modest-sized cruiser (and, if you're anchored out, a bike in an inflatable dinghy is not a fun option). Services like LimeBike give cruisers who want a little exercise when they explore their destination an easy and inexpensive option. — ja

A friend of mine has been brave enough to buy a 69-ft steel sloop built in Holland in 1939. Apparently, it raced with some success in San Francisco Bay in the '50s, at the time named Jonathan Swift. My friend would very much like to learn anything about his boat's time in the Bay Area, and I am hoping that some of your readers either remember those days or could pass my query on to somehow who does. I can be reached at

Dave Reed
Bacarat, Peterson 34
Pender Island, BC

Dave— Great to hear from you again (we used to race against Dave's always-formidable Peterson 34 Bacarat in the early part of the new millennium). Dave reports that for the past 11 years he's been enjoying life with Bacarat on Pender Island among the beautiful Gulf Islands of British Columbia. The sea salt must run in the DNA, as Dave also says his daughter will be back in Sausalito for spring break to volunteer on the Matthew Turner.

We hope one of our readers can help Dave's friend with some memories of Jonathan Swift sailing on the Bay. If she was built in Holland in 1939, that's right before Hitler invaded (in 1940). Surely she's got many stories to tell. — ja


Zamazaan was indeed literally put out to pasture during her Southern California drug incident. I was a supervisor with the City of Newport Beach at the facility where Zam was dry-stored after being confiscated. Poor girl, it wasn't her fault. I was the person to show Zam to the Weghorns for inspection prior to their bidding on and winning her. I'm glad the winning continues; thanks for the flashback.

Ron McClure
Iris, S2-8.0
Dana Point

In the late 1980s and early 1990s Dorade belonged to Four Winds Camp on Orcas Island. The camp used her to cruise around the San Juan Islands with as many as 15 campers. Both my kids sailed on her over several years. The camp sold her and replaced her with a purpose-built vessel.

Bill Mittendorf
Love, Newport 33

I never thought much of Moore 24s — the bow of a Santa Cruz 27 is wet and dangerous enough for me. Over the years, I have read of the exploits of Moore 24s and still didn't come around to liking them.

But when someone like Webb Chiles sails one, there is no longer any doubt they have their place in history. There are a lot of big names in sailing, but to my way of thinking, few of them can put a stamp of approval on a boat like Webb Chiles.

Brad Smith
Formerly Snow Goose, Hobie 18
Santa Cruz

Brad — We couldn't agree with you more. Webb Chiles is one of a kind. We spoke to him recently and hope to do an in-depth interview upon the conclusion of his current circumnavigation. — th

We just picked up the March Latitude and you asked for comments on the depth of Ayala Cove. We would be thrilled if it were dredged, but as of February 3-5, there was no evidence of dredging that we could tell. We draw 6.5+ feet, and we're limited to three sets of buoys. We only spend the night on plus-tide days. Even then, at low tide, we are often a bit in the mud. We arrive and leave at +3-ft or greater to be safe. We have been going there since 1973 when we bought our first California boat, and have watched it get more and more shallow over the years.

Angel Island is such a treasure, we find it very frustrating to see boaters use the buoys and skip out without paying.

PS: Our boat, Cappuccino, is a Baja Ha-Ha vet from 2001, and we stayed in Mexico until the summer of 2003. Latitude 38 wrote an article about the trials and tribulation of shipping her home and the trucking company losing her for a couple of weeks on the hard in Tucson.

Mary Lou Oliver
Cappuccino, Ericson 38

Mary Lou — We're looking into the dredging situation around the Bay, and will have more information in the coming weeks. Spoiler alert: Congress doesn't want to spend the money. — th

Aloha, guys. Don't know who to send this to now that Banjo Andy and the Wanderer have flown the coop. I'm sure you've seen this: "Couple who sold everything to sail around the world lost it all when their boat sank after just two days at sea."
It's all over the Hawaii mainstream news. I was a little shocked it wasn't in 'Lectronic. Just in case, here's the story (many more links can be found by googling "couple lost sailboat.") Would love to know more about it. Twenty-eight feet? Around the world? I suppose it's been done in less, but not by rookies. Best to everyone.

Mark Joiner

Mark — We were reluctant to write anything about this for two reasons: 1.) These weren't West Coast sailors. 2.) We don't necessarily want to jump on the Mainstream Media bandwagon and cover every boat that sinks. We made the decision to post the story (that you shared with us) on our Facebook page.

What follows below are some of the responses. — th

Why on earth is this story getting so much attention? It was a stunt!

Gennyfer Santel

Maybe some sailing classes first? Just sayin'.

Mark Caplin

One might wanna learn to sail before heading out under such circumstances. Kinda shows the extreme naiveté of millennials.

Vaughn Fischer

That boat never should have left the dock without the proper insurance. What if they'd hit another boat? They have no business going to GoFundMe to clean up this mess.

Charles Cunningham

"Couple quits jobs, has awesome sail around the world for glorious 12 months of joy and relaxation." Hmm, not quite as catchy a headline, is it?

Gregg Giles

When we sailed to New Zealand, they had strict rules for their citizens going offshore; boat and sailor had to be well founded. I think it's time here for the same, and Europe too. Over the last five or six years we have met more of these crazies than we did over the 40 years before sailing the world.

Steve Wrye

All of you just shut up. At least they had a dream. Bunch of trolls you are. You don't need to be judgmental about it.

Patrick Parmentier

Patrick — I don't think any of us are trolls. I'm sure most of us are sailors who understand the risks of sailing to far-off places. This couple just was not ready to go cruising. Just the above-mentioned mistake shows they were not ready. It is the sailor's law never to enter a harbor you do not know at night. You heave-to offshore till daylight, then you enter. Doing what they did put those who rescued them in unneeded danger.

We have always encouraged those new to cruising to do so but to be responsible. Also having only $94 to go cruising in the Caribbean is not responsible. The last time we were there, there were many abandoned boats covered in green moss. Those who abandoned their boats didn't have the funds to continue and left their boats for the locals to deal with at a great cost to the island where they left them.

Steve Wrye

Why would Latitude publish these two scammers? They were fed up with working and are in their early 20s? They were heading to the Caribbean with $94? I live in the Virgin Islands where we have lost over 400 boats; that's not including the BVI. Try covering that story.

The last thing I need in my harbor are two more broke liveaboards in a broke boat. Come to St. John and interview boat owners. You chose to cover and support two basically homeless persons with no money who dreamed of sailing on an unseaworty boat with no experience and endorsed them. Richard Spindler would never have allowed your post when he was at the helm. I am a charter boat owner in the Virgin Islands and we have much bigger problems than the coverage you gave these two. Well established charter boat businesses that have been here for up to 30 years are gone along with the jobs they provided. In St. John, my business is the only CG-inspected vessel to survive. Those young 20-year-olds need to go back to work and not expect free money or publicity from others. My own 2005 Baja Ha-Ha veteran Sandpiper was a complete loss and scrapped and got no attention.

Tom Larson

Readers — To paraphrase a saying, "You can't make all of the people happy all of the time." It's interesting to see what people want to read about, and what they emphatically can't stand to see. To clarify, we don't feel like we "covered" this story, which only made an appearance as a share on Facebook, and now in this subsequent discussion you're reading. While we feel for any person who's lost their boat, we're not too worried about this couple, who are young and have no doubt learned some hard lessons.

We are deeply concerned about boat owners and businesses in the Caribbean, which we covered in last month's issue (see World of Chartering, pages 104-106). These people lost their boats — and in many cases, their homes and everything they owned — to an act of God, rather than a lack of experience and poor decisions.

We believe that no sailor can ever be prepared enough to go to sea. We believe in taking all of the necessary precautions and being as safe as one practically can. Could this couple have been more prepared? Absolutely. Should they have jumped aboard other boats as crew and learned as much as they could? Yes. But we also believe in eventually taking the plunge and untying the docklines. We're not saying this couple was ready — clearly they weren't — but we do believe that after making every effort to be prepared, there's a time to simply go for it.

Is it responsible to go sailing without money? Probably not. We again would like to advocate for maximum preparation, which means having some funds for contingencies, and for feeding yourself. The point that there are too many boats in the Caribbean that now pose environmental (or navigational) hazards is well taken. But we recently had a discussion about Kris Larsen, whose boat the Kehaar has no motor or electricity, while Larsen himself has been famously broke for decades. Larsen and the Kehaar are approaching 100,000 miles as we speak. No, we're not advocating that everyone go cruising without money. But if you're clever, know how to work hard to sustain yourself, and aren't a burden to others, we respect such alternative lifestyles.

Steve — The point about requiring offshore sailors to be licensed has been contentious among our readership, with most people firmly against the idea — though this same readership also called for the sailing community to self-regulate and take it upon themselves to keep the unprepared off the water.
When the bizarre story of the Sea Nymph was in the news last fall, one reader wrote: "We are largely unregulated, and I wish to keep it that way. It is my take that regulations/authorities appear as a reaction to abuse/excess/problems. I believe that these two mariners [aboard the Sea Nymph] should have been told by their sailing community that their plans were unwise in a multitude of ways, and should have been strongly discouraged from leaving. I want to suggest that every experienced sailor who knew of their plans had some community responsibility to actively and strongly discourage them from departing. Ours is a sport best learned in a guild or apprenticeship-like manner, where those with experience pass their knowledge along. Book knowledge and self-taught skills can only take you so far."

Most of all, we're pretty happy Facebook wasn't around when we were doing foolish things in our 20s. While there are a few scraps of evidence of our behavior, most is in the fading memories of co-conspirators who have plenty to fear from the Internet trolls of today who didn't have an outlet for their angst years ago. — th/ja

Thanks for the postings you are including in both the print and online issues [about news from Barra de Navidad, Mexico]. You are read far and wide and that includes folks who are afloat as well as those with dry feet.

I got an email from some people at anchor in Tenacatita the first night after they saw your Monday, February 12, issue of 'Lectronic Latitude. They are headed in today and want to participate in everything. Also, while Carole and I were walking around town last night we bumped into a group who are out on a 'sail-out' from the Puerto Vallarta Yacht Club. Andy Barrow says they have seen your postings about the Barra Fiesta also. He is already looking to schedule the Barra Fiesta in his program for next year to bring the PV Yacht Club down for the event.

Thanks again for the assistance, and be assured folks are tuned in to you. Keep up the good work.

Pat McIntosh
Encore, Cheoy Lee 35

Pat, Andy and Cruisers — We in turn are grateful to our readers who are 'out there' and who write in to keep us posted with news and cruising experienc es from south of the border. Updates with photos can be sent to Please be sure to sign your reports with your full name, boat name, boat model and hailing port. Muchas gracias. — cw

Regarding the 2018 Pacific Cup story in the February issue, and the last paragraph about Andy Sponseller, please explain how one circumnavigates Washington.

Jim Cox
Longtime subscriber, no boat
Circle Pines, MN

Readers — Andy Sponseller, profiled by Ross Tibbits in the above-mentioned feature, plans to race his Flathead Lake, Montana-based Santa Cruz 27 Low-down in this year's Pacific Cup. Among other items on his bucket list, he cited a "circumnavigation of Washington." Now, we all know that the state of Washington is not an island. So we asked Andy to elaborate.

"Obviously a complete waterborne navigation is not possible," he responded. "With a little trailer work — yes! I am thinking of launching at Olympia, dropping off the trailer in Richland, setting sail from Olympia north, hanging a left at the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, and then another left at the corner (by Neah Bay), down the coast, across the Columbia Bar, through four locks to the Tri Cities (or just take a right on the Snake River to Lewiston which is almost back to Montana) and take out at Richland. Jump over the Cascades on Stevens Pass and relaunch at Everett, then finish the sail back to Olympia. I don't know if the channel will allow a keelboat to Wenatchee."

We wish Andy all the best with his sailing adventures and hope he'll keep in touch. — cw

The February 21 'Lectronic Latitude reported that Fujin had capsized in the Caribbean. Any further news? I know very little about cats that size. How do you right them?

John Hall
Hobie 18

Readers — While sailing in the RORC Caribbean 600 in February, Seattle-based Greg Slyngstad's Bieker 53 catamaran Fujin capsized near Saba Island. It was the first night of the race, and Fujin had covered about 150 miles in high wind and seas. The boat was hit by a big puff of 35-40 knots. Crewmember Brad Baker wrote the following, as posted on the Swiftsure Yachts site, "We did not react quickly enough to ease the mainsheet, traveler and jib, and the boat went over. It happened quickly and the capsize paused when the mast hit the water. Within seconds the leeward shrouds broke and the boat quickly turned turtle.

"The first rescue vessel to arrive was a dive boat from Saba, then a fishing boat. We eventually inflated the liferaft and transferred four at a time from Fujin to the fishing boat. Once all were aboard the fishing boat, a tow line was connected to Fujin and we headed for the safety of a small harbor on Saba. The tow took all night. It was only a little over 2 miles, but with current and wind it was a slow slog to the island. We eventually made it, and I am happy to say that Fujin is on a mooring and planning is well underway for her recovery. Fujin will sail again!"

For more about Fujin, see the team's Facebook page at, and for more about the 600-mile race, see

How do you right a turtled 53-ft cruising cat? We're pretty sure it's more involved than recovering from a Hobie Cat capsize! We contacted Rich Difede of Gold Coast Yachts in St. Croix, builder of Greg Slyngstad's Fujin, to ask how you get a cat like that back on its feet. Rich replied: "Greg brought a crane barge to lift and flip her. She's been moved to Antigua to gut the interior and replace wiring, interior trim, flooring, hydraulics, mast, rig, etc., as needed. The really great news is there were no structural issues." — cw/ja

Make sure you start the race, and remain flexible when it comes to which direction you decide to go. With the 30 minute start-time cutoff, you cannot continue racing if you never actually start the race. Additionally, with the ever-changing conditions, having a plan, and sticking to it, can catch you out.
This is my fourth Multihull Division win in the Three Bridge Fiasco, with two aboard my previous boat, the F-27 Three Sigma, and the third as crew aboard Rich Holden's F-27 Sea Bird. I have only failed to finish one time, in 2014, when we were within a mile of the finish on Mojo at the cutoff time. Only one boat finished that year.

Christopher Harvey
Mojo, F-25C trimaran

Readers — Mojo, sailed by Chris Harvey and Dan Mone, was among only four out of 360 entries that finished the wind-deficient, ebb-plentiful 2018 Three Bridge Fiasco on January 27. Read more about the crazy pursuit race for single- and doublehanders in the March issue of Latitude 38. — cw



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