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September 2018

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First time I sobbed whilst reading 'Lectronic Latitude. I'm so happy for Jim and Joy Carey that the boat survived, and even happier that they survived. Feeling grateful to the US Coast Guard and to the Gods of the Seas. I wish the Careys many more years of sailing aboard Kelaerin.
Connie Skoog
Just switched from a Freedom sailboat to a trawler
California Delta

One should never second-guess decisions made in a storm situation. The fact that the skipper sustained an injury is certainly cause to consider rescue, though I could certainly identify with Joy and her dedication to Kelaerin.
I know that sea conditions can vary wildly, and the seas could have been so steep and close together to make heaving too difficult — though their boat looks heavy enough to be able to do that more ably than a lighter vessel. The other strategy would involve towing a drogue, which many cruising boats are outfitted with. Sails or anchors can also serve to keep a boat stern to the sea and further reduce speed. My experience has taught me, through many an error, that slowing the boat as much as possible reduces damage and allows one time to assess situations with less anxiety.
I'm thrilled to hear the boat has been rescued and wish the captain and first mate well.
Tom Carr
Bluebird, Mirror Offshore 19
Santa Cruz

I have read about this kind of outcome before, more than once. The crew leaves the boat, and the boat survives on its own. No one steering, no one working the sails or motor.
What it means, I am not sure . . . but it does seem boats can take more punishment than the crew. They are fortunate to be able to finish their circumnavigation, if they wish.
Matt Nelson

The Careys are members of the Corinthian Yacht Club of Bellingham, and they spoke at our last meeting.
One of the things not mentioned is the steering. According to Jim, the steering pedestal bolts had all sheared off. When they abandoned Kalaerin, the steering still worked, but you had to hold the pedestal up with one hand and steer with the other.
No liferaft, no dinghy, one VHF radio, no bilge pumps, and you could lose steering at any moment. Yeah, time to get off.
Erik Greene

It would be really hard to abandon a boat still afloat and sailing.
Michael Scott

Anyone Monday-morning-quarterbacking about these people and their unfortunate situation should be shunned by fellow sailors. How about some Corinthian spirit and wishing them well? They've been through enough. (Delete the trolls!)
Karrie Sutton Selakovic

It's not always trolls, but just sailors who think it couldn't happen to them for some reason.
Ian Patrick Hughes

Wow, I'm surprised that those guys would abandon her. Quite capable sailors and vessel. (I have not read [about the rescue]; where can I find it?; found it, thanks).
Denis Kennedy

Goes to show ya maybe you shouldn't comment till you know the whole story. Pretty easy to judge people when you weren't in their situation. Seriously, I think they did the right thing and so does the Coast Guard!
Jennifer Ihlen

It is hard to comment from outside, but to me it looks as if they underestimated the weather situation and had not prepared the boat for heavy seas (picture of loose items in the cabin, open companionway). On such long journeys, in my opinion, it is a must to carry either a drogue or a parachute anchor. In the video, you can see the boat taking waves either sideways or behind.
Luckily, we never had to deploy ours, even during a max wind in South Africa of 50 knots. No fun! I know the feeling of losing your steering, and, at the same time, an engine!
Ralph Gutzmer

Goes to prove, generally the vessel is stronger than the people.
Phil Walker

Anyone who's sailed the California, Oregon or Washington coasts knows it can be one of the roughest stretches of water that even circumnavigators might encounter. Glad they are safe and that the boat made it too!
Trent Watkins

1) If you are going to cross oceans, you have to expect that you will sooner or later find yourself in conditions where there is a very high chance that the boat will be knocked and pooped by a following wave.
2) You should have a hatchboard and hatch-cover locking mechanism installed and in use when sailing in such conditions so water doesn't flood down below when the inevitable happens.
3) Bail manually with a bucket like a madman when your bilge pumps get clogged because you were too stupid, inexperienced, unprepared, or lazy to do it in the first place and now your cabin is flooded.
4) It might be better to keep your liferaft down below so it doesn't get ripped off your deck, though this could be debatable.
5) If it's a well-found boat, it can probably handle the conditions better than you can hold out in them.
6) I'm sure there are more.
Peter Kacandes

We've been terrified and at risk in 60-knot winds . . . at a dock, let alone in high seas. While trying to save our boat in the middle of the night, the captain became hypothermic and had a finger crushed before the dock lines snapped. Totally understand how quickly a wonderful cruise turns life-threatening. Thank you heroes of the Coast Guard.
Carol Ann-David Faith

We saw the boat being towed in. Its hull is unscathed. Amazing luck. USCG were extremely professional in towing the boat. Evidently, there is no Vessel Assist in Fort Bragg, just the USCG. They have a tiny base and two surf boats. These ladies and gentlemen are life savers on the North Coast.
Kit Stycket

Is it too soon to honestly discuss the mistakes they made, based on their own report, so that others can learn from their travails? Asking for a friend.
Peter Kacandes

The crew are OK and that is the most important thing. It's very easy for folks who have no idea what it was like to comment later from the armchair.
SV Mist

Latitude Nation — It's only natural to do a post-mortem following a disaster or accident at sea, and natural to ask yourself, "What would I have done?" More often than not, people from the safety of shore — or from the safety of social media — question the actions of sailors who were in the thick of it and making life-and-death decisions. And from those warm, dry perches, we can all list off what people should have done. They should have been more prepared for the weather, they should have had a drogue, they should have had better pumps, etc. It's easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback, an armchair sailor, and to assert that we would have done better,
We're not saying that some analysis isn't valuable — as sailors, we're always taking note of things that can go wrong at sea for our own education. What is seamanship if not a process of preparing yourself for a series of worst-case scenarios? Seamanship is about making mistakes, learning from them, and trying to mitigate future gaffes. (Joy Carey had originally said that after being knocked down and taking on water, their paperback books turned to pulp and completely blocked all bilge pumps. Needless to say, we may be wary of a large library of cheap books — and other items that might become flotsam if the boat is flooded — when preparing our boat for a long passage through rough waters.)
Analysis for the sake of self-enlightenment is important. Analysis for the sake of saying, "They screwed up. I would have stayed with the boat," is simply ridiculous.
We spoke with Joy Carey by phone while she and her husband Jim were in Fort Bragg cleaning Kalaerin and going through all of her systems. "I figured people would second-guess getting off the boat," Joy told us. "You sit there and say to yourself 'I would never get off.' I knew that would happen; some of the comments have been downright snarky, but I don't read that stuff. I refuse to read to all of the comments; that's the world we live in with the social media." Joy said she was told about statements saying she and Jim were too old, or said that they got too tired to handle the situation (the Careys are in their early 70s). "Jim is a career merchant marine. He's been in 100-mph winds and 50-ft seas off the Gulf of Alaska — and that's not an exaggeration. It wasn't a lack of knowledge." Joy said that she couldn't believe people "who were thousands of miles away" would make assertions about what she and Jim should have done.
We cannot imagine the heart-wrenching and spur-of-the-moment decision the Careys had to make. Joy reminded us that they originally wanted a dewatering pump, but the Coast Guard rescue swimmer quickly talked them into abandoning ship. Try to put yourself there: As a helicopter running precariously low on fuel hovers overhead, you have to make a decision about your life, your home of 17 years, your money, your memories and everything you own — the cornerstones of your existence and your existence itself — in less than five minutes. For all the social-media commentary out there about whether the couple should have left the boat, no one in the world could have possibly agonized over that choice more than the Careys themselves.
As much as we prepare, as much bad weather as we've seen, and as many times as we've sailed away from scary situations, the ocean can school us at any time. Some of you out there might have been through worse weather and come out smelling like a rose, but are you really prepared to tell someone else what they should or shouldn't have done?
We can all sit in front of our screens, see a picture of what looks like a well-found sailboat, and say to ourselves, "Well that boat looks fine. Why would they have abandoned it? I wouldn't have abandoned it." But actually being out there is a totally different story.

My 23-year-old son has recently moved to Palo Alto to work at Tesla, and I've suggested he try to get involved in beer can racing. He has no boat and no club membership, but some sailing experience. Are you able to provide me with any info as to whom he might contact?
Jud Virtue

Jud — We've always said that beer cans are a great way to get connected to sailing anywhere. Your son can see all the Bay Area Beer Can series here: We also hold two crew parties each year with the next one coming up on September 5 at Spaulding Marine Center in Sausalito. And let's not forget our Crew List, which can be found at — just click on 'Crew List & Party'.
And finally, because your son is in the South Bay, we'd like to enthusiastically recommend the Sequoia Yacht Club in Redwood City. Sequoia is one of the most active clubs on the Peninsula and has a solid beer can series that's always looking to bring in new people. They're also a lot of fun to hang out with.

Regarding the July 25 'Lectronic Latitude ["Kudos"], you may already know this, but 11th Hour Racing was a pioneer in working to change the culture many years ago. They used as 'ambassadors' elite offshore, Olympic and AC sailors to work with grand prix racing programs to eliminate the single-use water bottle. It was very slow going at first, but eventually they hit a tipping point and more Grand Prix racers than not had programs in place to eliminate the single-use water bottle — 11th Hour also set up sustainable racing programs for regattas and individual campaigns, such as the Vineyard Cup, Atlantic Cup, Land Rover BAR, etc; 11th Hour is funded by the Schmidt Family Foundation. Wendy Schmidt — one of the namesakes of the Schmidt Ocean Institute — is the power behind it.
These racers initially thought any departure from their model of 'hydration with the least amount of distraction from racing possible' model was sacrosanct. But, with highly successful and credible colleagues of theirs working with them and advising them on how to do this without compromising their competitiveness or enjoyment of racing, grand prix racers are among the biggest proponents of green alternatives to the single-use bottles.
Locally, there's a relatively grassroots partnership:, which is headed by two perennial leaders in the J/24 class, Tim Healy and John Mollicone. Finally, on the non-racing, not-for-profit program side, they grant money to a ton of environmental cleanup and education programs.
Even without partnership, all the boats with which I've been associated follow the basic premises of keeping single-use plastic to a minimum and preventing any debris from entering the water column while racing. They are the J/111 Double Digit from South Beach Harbor, the J/24 Rail to Rail from Berkeley, and the IOD Cedric from Berkeley. These protocols were all inspired by 11th Hour.
Rich Jepsen

I was at the Richmond Yacht Club recently and noticed that they have switched over to paper drink straws — they seem to be decent enough quality to last through a full cocktail.
Sean Reynolds
Planet Latitude

Rich — Thanks for pointing out the important work done by 11th Hour Racing, who, with their Vestas/11th Hour Racing campaign, worked with a company called Bluewater during the Volvo Ocean Race stop in Cape Town, South Africa, last year. Bluewater offered almost 8,500 gallons of drinking water with "no impact on municipal water supply," and "500,000 plastic bottles avoided during the stopover," according to a Facebook post. (It should also be noted that the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco banned the dreaded single use water bottles).
Locally, Richmond Yacht Club is doing great work leading the way with small (but deeply impactful) measures such as paper straws and water fountains where you can refill reusable water bottles.
Sean — We agree, paper straws are "decent enough," and get the job done. You just have to drink your drink kinda fast.

Seriously? There are sailors who still think climate change, more appropriately called climate crisis, may not be happening, and that it doesn't pose a threat to organized human life? Wow, this must be a reflection of the power of our corporate media to distract and misinform.
Just two days ago it was reported that Antarctica is melting at a rate three times faster than a decade ago. Greenland lost an estimated one trillion tons of ice between 2011 and 2014. Both of these contributors to sea-level rise are just one aspect of a much bigger phenomenon.
Sea-level rise might not seem like much of an issue to those living in the Bay Area, but if you were one of the millions who live in the low-lying areas of Bangladesh, you'd be a lot more concerned. Think global conflicts and mass human migrations are a problem now? Just wait until low-lying areas around the world start to become inundated.
Here's what Noam Chomsky had to say on the issue a year and a half ago: "As for climate change, it's by now widely accepted by the scientific community that we have entered a new geological era, the Anthropocene, in which the Earth's climate is being radically modified by human action, creating a very different planet — one that may not be able to sustain organized human life in anything like a form we would want to tolerate. There is good reason to believe that we have already entered the Sixth Extinction, a period of destruction of species on a massive scale, comparable to the Fifth Extinction 65 million years ago, when three-quarters of the species on earth were destroyed, apparently by a huge asteroid. Atmospheric CO2 is rising at a rate unprecedented in the geological record since 55 million years ago. There is concern — to quote a statement by 150 distinguished scientists — that 'global warming, amplified by feedbacks from polar ice melt, methane release from permafrost, and extensive fires, may become irreversible,' with catastrophic consequences for life on Earth, humans included — and not in the distant future."
It is an astonishing fact about the current era that in the most powerful country in world history, with a high level of education and privilege, one of the two political parties virtually denies the well-established facts about anthropogenic climate change. In the Primary debates for the 2016 election, every single Republican candidate was a climate-change denier, with one exception, John Kasich — the "rational moderate" — who said it may be happening but we shouldn't do anything about it. For a long time, the media have downplayed the issue. The euphoric reports on US fossil fuel production, energy independence and so on, rarely even mention the fact that these triumphs accelerate the race to disaster.
The US is to an unusual extent a business-run society, where short-term concerns of profit and market share displace rational planning. The US is also unusual in the enormous scale of religious fundamentalism; the impact on our understanding of the world is extraordinary. In national polls, almost half of those surveyed have reported that they believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, and that man shares no common ancestor with the ape.
It's concerning that there are so many who have doubts about something that should be headline news every day. But then that's the power of what former Guardian journalist Jonathan Cook calls the Great Western Narrative, which has been developed and refined over centuries to preserve a tiny elite's privileges and expand its power and ability to accumulate wealth.
As Cook concludes in a recent blog piece: "Our planet and our children's futures depend on us liberating ourselves, seeing the ghosts in the machine for what they truly are. We have to begin rebuilding our societies on the basis that we share a common humanity. That other humans are not our enemies, only those who wish to enslave us to their power."
J. Vincent
Saltana, Robb 35
San Francisco

It's called experience.
In the 1970s the scientists, geologists, economists and other experts told us that all the oil and gasoline would already be gone . . . today. That prediction proved to be spectacularly wrong. I give climate change about an 80% chance of being what the "mainstream" scientists and experts say it is. Based on experience.
Matt Nelson
Southern California

The greenhouse effect was first discovered by Joseph Fourier almost 200 years ago when he found that the Earth was substantially warmer than it should be based on solar radiation. John Tyndale discovered the role of carbon dioxide and water vapor some years later, and, around 1890, Svante Arrhenius calculated that doubling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would raise temperatures by about 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit, which he thought was a good idea, being in Sweden.
This goes back a long way.
You can look at a spectral plot of incoming and outgoing energy and it is immediately clear what is going on, since the energy has to balance and this occurs by raising the temperature of the Earth till it does.
As to human action, a couple of examples are worth noting:
I was underway in Duluth/Superior Harbor last summer and passed astern of the Paul R. Tregurtha, the largest bulker [bulk carrier freighter] on the lakes. She was loaded to her marks with 63,000 long tons of coal bound for a power plant in Indiana where it would be burned in 18 hours. (She was one of several ships on a five-day rotation.)
Most recent data is that the world burned enough coal in a year to cover Central Park in New York City almost a mile deep.
Each human's action on the environment may be small, but there are an awful lot of us. However, in addition to decarbonizing energy, it is possible that there are ways to use the oceans that may safely sequester carbon as another part of the solution. For California, one way is to restore kelp forests (via sea otter restoration). You can donate to this effort on your state income tax. It's something you otter do.
Chris Barry
Planet Earth

If you don't think the climate is changing you either need to take a physics class or go back to your textbooks. I remember learning about the greenhouse effect 40 years ago in physics 101. The concepts we learned then are coming home to roost aggressively, and there are too many people who are ignorant of the facts that CO2 levels are at an all-time high, and this is thanks to fossil-fuel consumption.
These people are getting in the way of the meaningful change we need in order to save the planet, not for us, but for our kids and grandkids. Ask yourself: What if you are wrong on your position about climate change? If it's not true and we do something, we might just make the Earth a better place. If it is true and we do nothing then our fate is sadly sealed.
Scientifically yours,
Mark Helm
Nalani, Beneteau 373
Shelter Island, San Diego

Mark and Chris — Thanks for pointing out that the concept of global warming is nothing new.
The New York Times Magazine just ran a piece titled: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change. As early as 1979, there were the workings of a global treaty to curb carbon emissions. The idea began to gel at the "first World Climate Conference in Geneva, when scientists from 50 nations agreed unanimously that it was 'urgently necessary' to act," wrote George Steinmetz. "Ten years later, the first major diplomatic meeting to approve the framework for a binding treaty was called in the Netherlands. Delegates from more than 60 nations attended. Among scientists and world leaders, the sentiment was unanimous: Action had to be taken, and the United States would need to lead. It didn't."
Steinmetz went on to say that the main scientific questions about global warming were understood in 1979, and had been "settled beyond debate, and as the 1980s began, attention turned from diagnosis of the problem to refinement of the predicted consequences. Compared with string theory and genetic engineering, the 'greenhouse effect' — a metaphor dating to the early 1900s — was ancient history, described in any Introduction to Biology textbook. Nor was the basic science especially complicated. It could be reduced to a simple axiom: The more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the warmer the planet."

Climate change happens. Man is not a significant factor.
We are a zit on the butt of the Earth. Get over it!
Steve Bondelid
Flexible Flyer, Dragonfly 1000
Whidbey Island, WA

Steve — We couldn't disagree more.
Existentially, sure, humankind occupies a tiny sliver of the universe, and, depending on your philosophy, humanity's significance in that universe is debatable. And yes, in a trillion trillion trillion years, as the universe continues to expand and ultimately cools and loses energy, it will lose the ability to create stars or planets, and all existence will likely come to an end. Great news, right? Life is meaningless! So let's drink a case of single-use plastic water bottles and feed them to baby seals, right?
Yes, we are a blip, a flash, a zit, but that certainly doesn't mean we don't have an impact, right now, on the planet we occupy. Just look at marine pollution. In 2001, we sailed from Hawaii to California following that year's Transpac, where we experienced nearly three days of trash in the water around us. No, it was not a "floating island," the way that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been described by some, but it was steady and unrelenting, and that was nearly 20 years ago.
Humankind's impact on this world can be seen right now. It is tangible, at times ugly and brutal, and it matters to us now, and to those who will come after us.

I believe the data that says the climate is warming and I believe man is causing it. And I believe this will have large and sometimes devastating effects on some of our delicate ecosystems.
I understand that scientists can have a valid hypothesis that the weather and climate data might not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the atmosphere is warming due to man's activity. Science says we should never jump to conclusions. And scientists should not advocate, or at least, if they are going to advocate, they should announce that they are switching out of science mode and into advocacy mode. Science works on hypotheses and works to prove the hypotheses, and is ongoing. In our world of news stories that come alive quickly and get replaced quickly, answers and closure are mistaken for being "smart."
Climate change either is or isn't — right now. But science and furthering understanding take patience. One bit of data (from NASA) that, to me, seems quite compelling, is that the CO2 level in the atmosphere is 25% higher (that's a lot!) than it has been in 400,000 years. Almost all scientists agree on this data, and the effects that higher CO2 could have on atmospheric and ocean temperatures. (Yes, I did say "could have.") The effect that these higher temperatures have on all the extremely complex ecosystems on the planet is a much more complicated issue and can be debated for a long time.
But some things are sobering. Hypothesis: Higher atmospheric CO2 and higher ocean temperatures will lead to high acid levels in the ocean, which can be devastating to ecosystems. Measured results: higher ocean acidity in many locations and some devastated ecosystems. Data supports the hypotheses.
Can we afford to deny the possibility when, by the time enough evidence is collected to convince everyone, it may be too late to reverse the effects?
Tony Hoff
Kuewa, Islander 44
San Rafael

In response to "Anonymous" in the August issue's Letters:
Sure, climate has changed before, ice caps have melted in the past. You'd better tell the 50,000 or so climate scientists, since they didn't know that (sarcasm). I doubt you know much about how the climate changed in the past. Let me enlighten you:
Saying that the climate has changed before tells us zero about whether humans are now warming the planet. That is just a nonsense denier sound bite, promoted to fool people.
Guess what was a major player in ending every glacial period: carbon dioxide. Glacial periods come and go when Milankovitch cycles trigger those changes in climate (changes in Earth's orbit and the angle of the Earth's axial tilt with respect to the orbital plane — the obliquity of the ecliptic).
But those Milankovitch cycles are not strong enough to melt ice sheets and warm the world to interglacial conditions on their own. Feedbacks that kick in after the initial warming are what do most of the warming. And CO2 is a major player as a feedback. But now humans are directly pumping CO2 into the atmosphere at the rate of 34 billion tons a year. So CO2 is acting as a climate forcing, not a feedback. That CO2 warms the atmosphere and how it does it have been known since 1859. There is no question about that.
It's been estimated that human emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are nearly three times as strong as radiative climate forcing, as those Milankovitch cycles. According to the Shakun et al data, approximately 7% of the overall glacial-interglacial global temperature increase occurred before the CO2 rise, whereas 93% of the global warming followed the CO2 increase.
As soon as a denier brings up Al Gore, rest assured they know next to nothing about the science, which is 150 years old. Al Gore did not invent it. And he has nothing to do with the research agreed on by virtually every major professional science organization in the world and every major university in the world. At least 97% of climate scientists agree on Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), despite the lies deniers tell about that. Here are some observed fingerprints of AGW:
Rising tropopause
Less oxygen in the atmosphere
Nights warming faster than days
Shrinking thermosphere
Cooling stratosphere
More fossil-fuel carbon in corals (carbon isotopes)
Less heat escaping to space
More heat returning to Earth
Those are all fingerprints of enhanced greenhouse effect and not of any natural climate forcing. If it were the sun, both the troposphere and the stratosphere would warm, days would warm more than nights, and tropical areas would warm more than the poles. All the opposite of what is observed. The Milankovitch cycles would have the planet cooling slowly.
Richard Mercer
Mage Wind, Pearson Triton
San Rafael

Readers — As sailors we're conservative by nature. We tend to reef early, check the weather forecast before setting sail, and monitor gauges to conserve the limited water, fuel and amp hours in our storage systems. We tend to go slower the first time we enter a new harbor, and respect the knowledge shared by those with more sea miles than ourselves. Doesn't every sailor love the moment they shut off the engine or the days they never have to run it at all? Can you imagine the global 'aaaaaah' moment when all the smokestacks and exhaust pipes go quiet and the planet is powered by silent, clean, renewable energy?
As we sail through space into an unknown future on our tiny planet Earth with its growing crew of seven billion, we believe the lessons of sailing will serve us all well.
By coincidence, this month San Francisco will host the Global Action Climate Summit from September 12-14. Learn more at

I just wanted to give SF Bay sailors a heads-up that the $10 fee for overnight anchoring at Aquatic Cove has gone into effect. That probably explains why I was the only visiting boat on a July Saturday night.
If you look at their reservation site (, it appears that you are supposed to anchor in specific reserved spots (much like a campsite). Good luck enforcing that, especially during Fleet Week. So now that the park is getting anchoring fees, why not give us a dinghy dock or a safe/secure beach area to use dawn to dusk?
Dave Biggs
Runnin' Late, Cal 35
Coyote Point Marina, San Mateo


All Is Lost is my favorite disaster-at-sea movie — but for an unusual, probably unique reason.
The boat in the movie was the same model Cal 39 that I singlehanded to Hawaii in 1980. Luckily, I never hit a container. But there were a couple of 'moments': Once when I was motoring at a little over six knots, lost steering, and hit a stationary object (rock rip-rap), and once when I was relying on my reverse gear to stop my forward 6-knot wind-powered motion and hit a dock.
In neither instance was there any damage to the boat. The angle of the bow is such that in a collision with a stationary object at or near the waterline, the boat will ride over the object (until stopped by the steel keel). For the Cal 39 in All Is Lost to have been damaged by the container, it would have to have been just the right (wrong?) circumstances of the bow dropping from a wave at the same time that the container was rising. Cal 39s are overbuilt — they'd have to be to have lived through 37 years of me.
Sam Crabtree
Catch The Wind, Cal 39?
(I sold the boat in 2015) ?
Livingston, TX

Adrift was one of the best sea disaster films I have seen. The reality and intensity of the storm was well portrayed without too much computer-generated imagery. It was a personal film with a surreal outcome — and a true story! I recommend viewing this film for all lovers and adventurers of the sea.
Rick Whiting
Hope Floats, floating home

A bit of trivia for you: Rhapsody has a bit part in Adrift; there is an impromptu race and she is the blue-hulled ketch they happen to meet somewhere.
Rhapsody is a Herreshoff Nereia ketch. We were in the 2012 Baja Ha-Ha and the 2014 Puddle Jump. The movie was shot in Fiji, but we haven't seen it.
Alan and Laura Dwan
Rhapsody, Herreshoff Nereia ketch
Currently in Fiji; about to return to California

I haven't seen this movie yet but I thought you might like to know that Hazana — the boat in the original story — is still in the Ala Wai yacht harbor in Honolulu! She is a Hallberg-Rassy 44 and has been totally restored.
Glenn Shinn
Grendel, Moore 24
Santa Cruz

I know you were asking for opinions about movies, but I'm reminded about one of my favorite sailing books: Capsized: The True Story of Four Men Adrift for 119 Days. I was first attracted to it because I own a trimaran, but what makes the book great is that it's not so much about four men lost at sea on an overturned trimaran as it is about the people themselves, and how they interact with each other and their situation. They could have been trapped on an island and it would have been just as good a book.
People often say it is the plot that makes a good book or movie. However, if you don't care about the characters, you don't care what happens to them. Capsized made me care about the characters.
Bruce Balan
Migration, Cross 46 Trimaran
Currently in SoCal

My wife and I have always loved Almost Too Late: The True Story of a Father and His Three Children Shipwrecked Off the Coast of Wintry Alaska. (It makes us feel cold whenever we re-read it!) There's also Four Against the Arctic: Shipwrecked for Six Years at the Top of the World. The book is spellbinding.
My all-time favorite survival-at-sea story is that of Ernest Shackleton's failed Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Caroline Alexander's Endurance is perhaps the best treatment. Unequaled!
Paul Brogger
Tenino, WA

It's a monohull, but that hull will not be in the water much. Foiling is everywhere, so the most athletic of us can take the next step in technical development.
How many crew are needed to sail these water bugs? Will they have leg-actuated grinders? I thought the goal was to develop a one design that could be built and re-used in future Cups. I have mixed emotions to say the least. At the very least they should extend the entry deadline unless it is a done deal. The Louis Vuitton Cup used to be as entertaining as the final regatta — maybe more so. The team racing in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup was maybe the best of all.
Charles L. Cunningham
San Saggio, Catalina 400

The AC75 looks like an ugly insect. The America's Cup should be about more than speed.
Mark Wheeles
Dorthy, Cheoy Lee
Currently lying La Paz, BCS, Mexico

I will say it again. These boats will have scow bows. It's the only thing that makes sense.
Barry Spanier
Cornelia, Westsail 42
Lahaina, HI

I crew for a variety of skippers in boats 30- to 50-ft in length, both one design and PHRF.
I like the technological advancements that America's Cup competition brings. I do wonder if foiling is something that will trickle down to the weekend racer or cruiser.
Doug Phillipson
San Diego

In my opinion, the 'boats' coming up and the ones in the last AC are toys. Hydraulics, pedalers instead of crew, no bowmen, no halyard and sheet tenders, no real sails or sailors except the captain and navigator, etc. They're fast, foiling, maybe occasionally exciting, short-course spectator-friendly toys.
This 76-year-old mossback wants to bring back the magnificent Js! And why not? They are real racing sailboats — from the restored originals to the new ones — with an active class association, regular racing, and a tangible link to over 100 years of AC racing to today and into the future. The Js are spectacular to watch, with real crews doing real sailing, and they're actually capable of sailing to the races on their own bottoms if they need to. They're no more expensive than designing, building and testing the new toys — and the list goes on.
No transition such as this is easy, but we know the AC has been fought for as much in the courthouse as on the race course throughout its history. And the Js are already actively racing — against each other and in open races. New ones are being designed and built regularly, and millions of sailors all over the world can identify with boats that look like theirs and use essentially the same strategies and tactics they do on the race course. It's time.
Jerry B. Shell
Planet Earth

It seems to me that this subject for a caption contest is inappropriate. I'm looking at the picture of a boat hard aground, at least in serious jeopardy, possibly a total loss. If it were my boat, this would be a really big problem. Making a joke out of it is in poor taste. Laughing at another person's problems seems mean-spirited. I hope that we can all do better. Yes, I do have a sense of humor; this just doesn't seem right.
Scotty Correa-Mickel
Rosa Nautica, Catalina 400
Santa Cruz

Scotty — You bring up a fair point with this month's Caption Contest(!) (in Loose Lips on page 60), but we don't feel as if we're laughing at anyone's problems, or being mean-spirited.
We've never tried to "define" the World Famous Latitude Caption Contest(!) but in the year-ish that we've been doing it, the picture has typically been something a little wacky, and with some degree of calamity, be it torn sails, Persons Overboard, collision situations, etc. We're not trying to make fun of anyone's misfortune, especially because if anyone is likely to run aground, blow up a spinnaker, take a knockdown, or fall off the boat, it would probably be us.
And people love to come up with captions. We have been overwhelmed with the responses. It seems to bring out people's creativity, tapping into the breadth of their own sailing mishaps, knowledge and movie quotes.
One of the most common captions for this month's contest was "If you haven't run aground, you haven't been around," and "Oops." Of the more than 200 entries this month, no one disparaged the owner of the vessel. (One person did note the fender still hanging over the side as an indicator of skill level, a topic that we discussed at length last month.)
We certainly hope that if the owner of this vessel had happened to see this picture, they would not have taken offense, and would have offered up a good caption!

I recently completed a circumnavigation spanning 18 months on my Little Harbor 51 named 3/4 Time. I departed from and returned to Norfolk, VA, singlehanding the majority of the voyage, but do not qualify for as a singlehander since I had another individual onboard for three legs.
On my return, as a reader of your magazine, I felt it logical that my voyage be included in your list of circumnavigators, but then noted the stated focus of your website is to only include West Coast sailors. On viewing your list (366 entries), I see 50 listed from locations other than the West Coast, including several international sailors as well.
Since a circumnavigation is a unique accomplishment, I think there's value in establishing a common site to note the accomplishment (could that be Latitude 38?), but also appreciate the level of effort for anyone trying to become 'the' authority on the topic. It's not reasonable that you devote the time to validate every submittal, nor is it reasonable that you research all prior circumnavigators back to the days of Magellan. I only suggest that entries be accepted regardless of the point of origin.
My question is whether I qualify for entry in your list (since it already contains non-West Coast sailors). If so, please add me. I'd like to think that, with the international coverage your magazine currently enjoys, you would accept entries from other than the West Coast circumnavigators.
John Bouma
3/4 Time, Little Harbor 51
Chesapeake, VA

John — First off, congratulations! We salute your accomplishment! Unfortunately, the only acknowledgment of it by Latitude will likely be right here, right now.
Then again, maybe not.
When we first got the idea of publishing a West Coast Circumnavigators' List back in the early 2000s, it was one of those fun brainstorms where everyone in the office started throwing out names of boats and people. After the initial furor and a rough list, we realized there would have to be some parameters. So as stated back then — and now: "This list is meant to note boats or people who have 1) left from and returned to US West Coast ports or Hawaii on their circumnavigations; or 2) West Coast or Hawaii-based sailors who have done circumnavigations starting and ending in non-West Coast ports.
And races count. So although the round-the-world races that Paul Cayard, John Kostecki and Bruce Schwab participated in did not start or end on the West Coast (or even in the US), those gentlemen were residents of the West Coast at the time, which qualifies them for inclusion.
Have we bent the rules? Absolutely. For example, Harry Heckel didn't leave from a West Coast port, nor was he, technically, a "West Coaster." He was born in California but spent his career in New York and lived out his final years in Virginia. But at age 89, he became the oldest circumnavigator, ever. We figured that was worth honorary mention.
While most rules are bendable — especially those we make up ourselves — not all are made to be broken. While we acknowledge the amazing achievement that any circumnavigation most certainly is, including everyone from everywhere would simply be unmanageable. Even if we didn't start from the beginning, with the ragtag remains of Magellan's fleet that limped back into Spain in 1522 — where and when would you start? Cook? Slocum? Chichester?
There are lists and clubs that celebrate all circumnavigations. Some have pretty stringent rules — according to Guinness, for a shot at a record, a circumnavigation must include reaching at least two antipodean spots (spots opposite each other on the globe), and exceed the circumference of the Earth at the equator (24,900 miles). In our list, as long as you're on a sailboat, we don't care if you do the 'manly' thing around the Great Capes; opt for the comparatively easier, shorter route through the canals; or take two years or 20 to get it done. But we do care that you either start and end at some West Coast or Hawaiian port, or that you yourself are from the West Coast. Unless you're older than 89.
After all this, we've decided to start adding names of other circumavigators under 'Congratulations to Other Circumnavigators' when time allows. You and Magellan are the first ones on it. PS: You can see our current West Coast Circumnavigators' List at:


On Saturday, July 21, I was teaching ASA Basic Keelboat, out of Tradewinds Sailing School in the inner harbor basin of Richmond Harbor. We were close-hauled on port tack heading for Ford Point. A sailboat, with no sails up, was motoring out at about 5 knots; it was at about 45 degrees off the starboard bow with steady bearing and decreasing range.
When it got to about 200 yards and did not change course or speed, I gave it five short blasts. No response. When it was about 50 yards out, I yelled, "We are sailing." The skipper replied: "We are a sailboat too," and turned sharply to port (toward my boat) and passed astern. I wish I had taken a photo or gotten the name. The moral of the story is: Assume the other boat does not know the Rules of the Road. The three students on my boat learned a valuable lesson. My thanks to the other boat for the demonstration of what not to do.
Capt. David Hammer
Hammer Time, Catalina 42
Marina Bay, Richmond

I enjoyed all the letters about sloppy boaters leaving their fenders over the side while underway. While this is almost universally considered gauche, it is mostly an aesthetic preference. A true nautical faux pas that actually is likely to result in damage is securing fenders to the lifelines or stanchions. That causes unnecessary and constant wear on the lifelines and can apply significant torque to the stanchions.
For years, we made the mistake of tying fenders to the lifelines, and now we have stretched and prematurely worn lifelines on one side and two stanchions that have broken at the base, needing expensive repairs. We've learned that this is a reckless use of important safety equipment. The best option is to purchase a couple of mid-rail cleats for your track or toe rail and secure fenders to hardware intended to support frequent loads. If you must tie onto a stanchion, do so as close to the deck as possible to prevent excess torque. We also stow our fenders before leaving the slip, because backing out is when we've observed the largest forces pulling on fender lines.
Catalina 34
San Francisco

With reference to the Tanker vs. Sailboat situation recently discussed in Latitude 38:
As a pleasure sailor and commercial captain, I can't help but notice one glaring Rule of the Road that pleasure boat sailors (both cruisers and racers) consistently forget to learn. Rule 10 Traffic Separation Schemes, Subparagraph (j). "A vessel of less than 20 meters (any boat whether pleasure or commercial that's less than 65 feet) or a sailing vessel (of any size) shall not impede the safe passage of a power-driven vessel following a traffic lane." (Quoted from an older 1998 copy of the rules, because my current revised copy is on my schooner).
What that rule means to a commercial mariner is simply that all small boats under 65 feet have no right of way. None whatsoever. In their minds, the Rules (COLREGS) only apply to vessels over 20 meters, and everyone else is required by those rules to simply stay out of their way.
So, most readers of Latitude 38 who don't own boats over 65 feet simply have no right of way when inside the traffic separation schemes. And those schemes extend from the high seas through the Golden Gate and clear up to Alcatraz Island. Consequently, most races on the Bay occur right in the separation schemes, which are shown on the official charts, but seriously, what pleasure boater looks at a chart these days? Unfortunately, many 'cartoon' chartplotters also do not show the traffic separation schemes very well.
Finally, to avoid the Tanker vs. Sailboat situation, it is prudent when operating in the vicinity of a traffic scheme to monitor the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) channel (VHF 14 inside the Bay and channel 12 outside the Sea Buoy). The commercial vessels are legally required to report in to VTS as they round each point, and you will have plenty of notice that the big ships are coming your way.
The commercial vessel will be saying, "I am passing Mile Rock," or "I am passing Harding Rock," etc. There are VHF radios available that can monitor up to three channels at once. Further, it is a good idea to monitor VHF 16, 14 and 13 inside the Bay (commercial operators use 13 to talk to each other).
When you are in a traffic separation scheme the tanker skipper may try to contact you on channel 13, but he will most likely not try to contact you on channel 16.
Capt. Alan Hugenot
Schooner Sea Raven
San Francisco Bay

Gaah! You just keep making it worse . . .
John Tebbetts replied [in last month's Letters] with a somewhat lengthy explanation about why your actions [described in a May 16 'Lectronic] when sailing may have been wrong. And you replied: "It's a busy Bay and the 'tonnage rule' suggests we defer to ships and ship captains."
There is no tonnage rule.
There are official Navigation Rules, which do indeed govern who gives way and when. It is not a suggestion, nor is it a matter of deference.
Simply stated, the entire Bay has been designated as restricted waters, meaning large vessels are constrained by their draft and/or restricted in their ability to maneuver. This means if you are in a small sailboat, no matter which direction or tack, you are the give-way vessel and need to keep out of their way.
If you sail by the mythical tonnage rule, and think "He's bigger than me, I better get out of the way," you may actually be making things worse. If you are in fact the stand-on vessel in a crossing situation, it is your responsibility to maintain your course and speed. If the bigger guy is supposed to avoid you, and you drive a course like wet spaghetti, you may end up causing the collision!
I'm currently driving a superyacht in congested waters, but am not restricted by my draft or ability to maneuver, so often find myself avoiding Lasers, J/24s, and scores of other small sailboats.
I would encourage you to read the Navigation Rules book, which is probably already on your boat. Or you can click around a well laid-out, hyperlinked version posted by the Coast Guard here:
Rant over.

David Kory
Ambassador, Beneteau 51.5

David — Good to hear from you. You are correct that we went ahead and muddied the waters again by suggesting there was an actual 'tonnage rule' when , as you point out, no such rule exists. We were again playing it a little loose with the language. Driving on the right in England under the 'American Tourist Rule' could be a lighthearted comment with disastrous results.
All sailors' knowing and following the Rules of the Road will maximize the fun, and minimize the stress and danger. Thanks for the clarification, and hope to see you soon.



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