ALAMEDA'S FINEST SLIPS
Francisco waterfront — except that it's 20 degrees warmer and there aren't any homeless people. ⇑⇓PIRACY PROFITABLE FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES I read your editorial response in the June issue expressing surprise that governments of the world allow piracy, such as that which happens off Somalia, to continue. I hate to be such a cynic, but piracy will not end near Somalia because it’s so profitable — for maritime insurance companies. All insurance companies now assess a surcharge for commercial shipping that transits the area. The total income to the insurers for those surcharges has been more than $30 million in the past year. The total payouts for ransoms, cost of negotiators and so forth? Less than $1 million. These kinds of numbers would warm an actuary’s heart, wouldn’t you say? Dean Koutzoukis Yorba Linda
OPEN HOUSuEst in Aug
Dean — We’re probably even more cynical than you are, but just because there hasn’t been a major claim yet doesn’t mean there won’t be one in the future. After all, it’s entirely possible that some pirates will sometime show they ‘mean business’ by destroying a tanker carrying $100 million in oil. In that case, the insurance companies would be $70 million in the red. Risk assessment is a tricky business. Whether it’s more profitable in the long run than other endeavors — such as piracy — is unclear.
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• August, 2009
COURTESY STEVE BATES
⇑⇓TWENTY-SIX YEARS AGO IN THE LIGHTBUCKET A few years ago a guy — I can’t remember who — gave me a great photo that shows ‘old school’ sailing. It was taken during the ‘83 Lightship Race, when it was blowing up to 46 knots, the Bonita Bar was breaking, and the waves were really big. I was crew aboard a Santa Cruz 27, and we were sailing with a single reef in the main and a #4 jib. After sailing through a breaking wave at Bonita, we rounded the Lightbucket, put up a #3, and still did 16 knots with a reef in the main! We didn’t wear PFDs Old school sailing in the Gulf of the back then, but we Farallones. did wear harnesses. I must be getting nostalgic — it does seem that much of that ‘old school’ sailing was done in less-than-perfect conditions and, God knows, less-than-perfect boats. It’s hard to explain to younger sailors. Steve Bates Wind Blown Hare, Wylie Wabbit Richmond YC Steve — There certainly was some wild ‘old school’ sailing in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. We can remember when people used to race small boats — such as Cal 20s, Coronado 25s and Ranger 26s — in the Midget Ocean Racing Association’s long distance races from San Francisco to San Diego and even Ensenada. Even for those who weren’t on drugs — and some of the crews were — it was a mystical experience when the wind got over 30 knots and the seas started to break. But we hope you’re not disparaging the SC 27, a design
The August 2009 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.