CHANGES With reports this month from Manu Rere on almost being lost on a reef in the Marquesas; from Tawodi about an unusual and spectacular circumnavigation; from Geja on another season of great times in the Med; from Southern Belle on family fun in the San Blas Islands; from Dolphin on a 'clipper ship' route home from Mexico; from Sailors Run on life in Buenos Aires; from Destiny on health care in Mexico; and Cruise Notes. Manu Rere — 38-ft Homebuilt Cat Glenn Tieman I Almost Lost My Cat (Los Angeles) Since it costs $25 for three hours of internet time in French Polynesia, my message is going to be short. I arrived in the Marquesas more than three months ago after a great passage from Central America. A Papagayo meant I started in very steep seas, but it was followed by a week of light-air sailing. I hove to in the lee of Clipperton Atoll, a pretty desolate place, to enjoy the boiling sea life and After saving his earthy scent of guano. cat, Glenn had rea- From Clipperton to the son to smile. equator I had excessive wind and fast sailing. I towed a tire drogue for several days, which kept things tight and safe. During a calm period south of the equator, I launched my canoe and took a swim to clean the bottom along the wormshoe. After clearing into the Marquesas, I sailed to Tahuata, where people gave me lots of fruit. The locals were friendly — although not as intimate as at some of the other places I've been to. I enjoyed great hiking in the jungle mountains and swimming in the clear waters. But one night a young man came aboard my boat. Threatening me with a knife and a spear gun, he stole my laptop. The mayor knew who he was and reported it to the gendarme in nearby Hiva Oa. But the case awaits a judge from Tahiti, so
The intrepid Glenn Tieman stands on one hull of the 38-ft cat he built for $14,000. He nearly lost her on the coral of French Polynesia.
I'll never get my laptop back. I'm now in the Tuamotus, enjoying the psychedelic-colored lagoons and drumming and dancing practice at night. But it was here that I almost lost my cat. The night I arrived, I hung offshore awaiting dawn, within sight of the lights of the village. But I misjudged how close I was to shore. Suddenly Manu Rere was bouncing off the concrete-like ridges of dead coral, than slammed to a stop with her bow up at an angle of 20 degrees. As she continued to pound and grind against the coral, I ran to the bow with a bamboo pole and frantically tried to push off. Unfortunately, the bamboo went into a gap in the jagged coral. Having put all my weight behind the thrust, I went overboard! Even though my cat was grinding on coral just 18 inches beneath the surface, I fell into deep water. "God, I'm going to lose my boat!" I thought to myself. But then I managed to climb onto a block of coral and began pushing my cat toward open water. I managed to get the bow around, then, using the bamboo pole, pushed her from the stern out to sea. Finally, I unsheeted the mizzen, which was aback, and ghosted back out to deeper water. The saving grace was that it had been very calm for a week, so the sea was nearly flat. Usually, there would have been eight to 10-foot seas slamming into the coral, which certainly would have destroyed my boat. But as it turned out, Manu Rere suffered no penetration of the fiberglass to the wood or other significant damage. Life, too, has its jagged ridges and unforeseen depths these days. — glenn 07/04/09
Tawodi — Custom 39 Stephen Mann Kathleen Torres Around In Eight Months (San Diego) When it comes to circumnavigations, Stephen Mann and Kathleen Torres' just-completed sail around the world has to rank as one of the more unusual — and difficult. It wasn't a race, yet it was certainly no pleasure cruise either. Inspired by a wild notion Mann had while returning home from the '00 Singlehanded TransPac, the two sailed what basically was a Vendee Globe route — a long
dash down to the very rough and cold Southern Ocean, around the bottom of the world via the five great capes, then a long dash back up to their San Diego starting point. But rather than sailing the course in a Vendee Open 60, which is very expensive but can often stay up with many of the more powerful fronts that sweep the Southern Ocean, they took Mann's home, a 39-ft Westerly-built sloop that he has so thoroughly modified that neither the designer or builder would recognize her. Not only did the two choose a strange course for a non-racing circumnavigation, but they covered the 24,000-course — which actually required sailing an additional 4,000 miles — at a dizzying pace. Most circumnavigations take three years, but they finished in just eight months and five days. About 75% of the time was spent sailing, with the other 25% resting or touring. The following is a leg-by-leg account of their trip in case any of you readers want to follow in their wake:
The August 2009 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.