Randy Boelsems of Quckline holds up one of the nifty self-releasing chain grabs in his right hand and an ultra swivel in his left.
Cruise Notes: "We just read the June Sightings on 'the boys and girls of summer', meaning the folks who sail locally in their 70s and beyond," write Dorothy Taylor and Larry Hirsch of the San Diego-based Hylas 45 Shayna. "We wanted to let you know that there are senior sailors such as ourselves out here cruising, too. We won't admit to how old we are, but we were born in 1929 and 1927. After 14 years of wandering — including across to the Med for several years and then back across the Atlantic again — we're now based out of Mazatlan. However, we haven't ruled out a possible cruise to New Zealand and Australia. We were in Mazatlan for the Thanksgiving festivities last year, then headed south to revisit our favorite spots in Mexico. We were amazed at the growth
of the cruising community since we'd been there last, as Tenacatita Bay and the Barra Lagoon had 50 boats each in January and February. Everyone found places to anchor, but it wasn't like the old days. And we won't even speak of what's been done to La Cruz, what with the big new marina being built and the whole area being covered in condos. We're now in San Diego for the usual offseason family obligations, but we did buy a condo in Mazatlan to use as a base. The condo elevators weren't done when we were down there, and since we find it easier to climb the mast than six flights of stairs, we haven't furnished it or moved in yet. Our message to all: Keep smiling and keep cruising." The number of seniors out cruising — we mean long distance cruising —
might surprise many readers. When Jack van Ommen of the Gig Harbor-based Najad 30 Fleetwood was in Durban, South Africa, he came across a group of five senior singlehanders, two of them who were in their 70s, and two who were on the verge. The oldest, as reported in a previous issue of Latitude, was Georges Prat, 75, of the Bayonne, France-based 39-ft Lerges. He'd lost four fingers on his left hand before he took off cruising, and is now on his second circumnavigation. Then there was Phillippe Blochet of the Brittany-based 35-ft Ar Skerder, who is also on his second circumnavigation. He suffered a stroke in the middle of the South Atlantic during his first time around, but nonetheless didn't see a doctor until back in France. He was put on the beach and took up trailer camping, but after a couple of years developed an irresistible urge to return to the sea. As for singlehander van Ommen, he's getting up in years, too. All he has left to complete his circumnavigation is the passage from Trinidad to Santa Barbara, but he's going to be doing it the long way — to the East Coast, back to the Caribbean, over to Holland for a few years, around the Med, and then back to California. By the time he's done he'll be close to 80. As for the rumor that all sailors become rejuvenated one year for every year spent at sea, Van Ommen is a believer. We'll have a report on his visits to Brazil, French Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad in the next issue. And let's not forget former Northern Californian Pete Passano and his muchtravelled Wittholtz 37 Sea Bear. After sailing across the Pacific, from New Zealand around Cape Horn, and crossing the North Atlantic more times than Born in '27 and '29, Dorothy and Larry, who have been cruising for 14 years, see no reason to stop. A sail to New Zealand is a possibility. 'LECTRONIC/RICHARD
The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.