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SIGHTINGS hits — cont’d Although the numbers differ from year to year, sinkers and drifters in Richardson Bay are so common during winter, it’s almost a holiday tradition to cruise Blackie’s and check out the latest derelict. But the unusually high number of wayward boats so far this year got us to wondering how common this problem is at other harbors up and down the coast. So we made a few calls. In Santa Barbara, Harbor Operations Manager Mick Kronman reported five boats ashore in one storm, bringing the total to 80 in the past five years. In Newport Beach, a 40-ft sailboat anchored inside the breakwater adjacent to the Wedge. Despite repeated warnings from the Harbor Patrol that this was dangerous, the owner didn’t move the boat. The storm smashed it against the jetty and sank it. In Channel Islands Harbor (Ventura), no boats washed up. Interestingly, Channel Islands has no mooring fields or anchorages — just slips. Winds to 60 mph in Morro Bay sank at least 12 skiffs and drove three sailboats (one a catamaran) and one motorboat onto the beach. All had broken off moorings and all were refloated. In almost every one of the above cases, taxpayer dollars were used to raise, remove and dispose of the boat. Abandoned or derelict vessels are a growing problem in the state’s waterways. We’ll explore this problem — and possible solutions — in depth in an upcoming issue.

mystery man overboard

list short of skippering an America’s Cup boat, you can find it here. This Crew List, which also ran last month, is easy to use. First, find the form that most closely matches your wishes and desires. For example, if you’ve recently started sailing and want to get as much quality experience as you can in the shortest possible time, send in a “Want to Crew on a Racing Boat” form. If you’re a boat owner taking off for far horizons but need crew, send in a “Looking for Cruising Crew” form. You get the picture. Once we receive the Crew List forms (and the $7 advertising fee; don’t forget those), we’ll compile them into two Crew List articles. The first one, in March, will deal only with those interested in racing, as boats will need to firm up crew by then for the upcoming season. In April, we’ll run the Cruising, Co-Chartering, Daysailing and Boat-Swapping Crew Lists. By ‘running’, we mean we’ll publish, and post on our website, each of the

Seems like people were falling off boats all over the place last month. And they weren’t all far out at sea. Larkspur Ferry skipper Colin McDermott was on his way to the City on the morning of Sunday, January 8, when one of his regular passengers reported seeing a man in the water. McDermott turned around and, sure enough, in among the debris of spring runoff, about a half mile off Angel Island’s Point Blunt, was a man waving his arms. “He was dressed in black clothes and a blue vest, so he was very hard to see,” says McDermott. Fortunately, the ‘blue’ part was a flotation vest. The ferry pulled alongside, threw the man a lifering, and the crew pulled him in to the boarding ladder. He was able to climb the lr under his own power. McDermott called the Coast Guard to report the incident, and continued his run into the City. John Doe — nobody ever thought to ask his name — was wrapped in blankets, given some hot coffee and brought to the wheelhouse. He said he’d been sailing singlehanded when the boom hit him in the head and knocked him off the boat around 8 a.m. He had been in the water for about two hours, and had seen several boats go by, but when he waved at them, they just waved back and continued on. (His boat was later recovered in Richardson Bay.) On approach to the Ferry Building, the Coast Guard at first denied McDermott’s request to land. When he told them he had recovered a person in the water, they allowed him into the dock, and the Coasties came aboard. Then confusion reigned for a few moments when John Doe said, no, he hadn’t fallen off a pier, he had fallen off a boat. Turns out there was another person in the water who had fallen off a pier, and the Coasties thought that’s who McDermott had picked up! They resumed their search for that fellow, but unfortunately did not find him. Sadly, his body was spotted several days later — by a ferry boat. Odder still, a person aboard the Larkspur ferry at the time that John Doe was rescued represented themselves to McDermott as “a reporter with Latitude 38.” This person apparently interviewed both him and the Coast Guard about the incident. All fine and good (we could use the help), except the phantom reporter never ‘filed’ his story. Geez, good help is so hard to find these days. We wouldn’t have known about the incident at all except another ferry captain friend called to make sure we had all the information we needed. And for a moment, more confusion reigned: “What? Huh? Somebody got picked up . . . ?”

continued middle of next sightings page

February, 2006 •

Latitude 38

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Profile for Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Latitude 38 February 2006  

The April 2006 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 February 2006  

The April 2006 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.