SIGHTINGS navigator Scott Piper of the J/160 Pipe Dream IX even said their biggest obstacle was breakage,” he noted. On April 25, his words proved true for Sunderland when it was announced on her blog (soloround.blogspot.com) soloround.blogspot.com) that soloround.blogspot.com she would be pulling into Cape Town, South Africa, to deal with a serious autopilot problem. As her Open 40, Wild Eyes, doesn’t have a windvane, Abby is dependent on her autopilots to steer the boat. Unfortunately, her main unit died some time ago and the back-up has been temperamental, at best. “It would be foolish and irresponsible for me to keep going with my equipment not working well,” her continued in middle column of next sightings page
arctic wanderer — cont’d done so singlehanded. If he’s anxious about the trip, it’s not because he’s afraid to be alone in one of the most remote and inhospitable regions on earth, but because he’s still waiting to receive permission from Russian authorities to pass through their waters. Having worked as a merchant mariner most of his adult life, Ramos is not some wide-eyed dreamer who’s way out of his depth (as some previous Arctic wanderers have been). In 1990, he singlehanded his first boat, a vintage 30-ft ketch, from Bodega Bay to Alaska. Shortly afterward he hatched the idea to sail ‘round the pole. He bought this boat — which is double-welded with 5/32-inch steel — in 2000 and, when he got laid off in ‘04, he saw it as the perfect excuse to put his polar plans into action. Arctic Wanderer set off from Seward, Alaska in May ‘05, and has been working her way Gary Ramos took this self-portrait after a twothrough the far north ever since. One memorable moment came in the middle mile walk at -10°F. of a dark, nasty night near Hershall Island. With three reefs in the main, Ramos was below when Arctic Wanderer plowed right into an ice floe that hadn’t shown up on radar. Despite some damage, he took note of the lessons learned and carried on. Another standout memory came in ‘08 while traveling near Devon Island in the northernmost latitudes he’s seen so far. While below fiddling with his stove, he heard an unusual splashing sound at the stern. Turned out it was a huge polar bear who was determined to climb aboard. We’ll be keeping tabs on Ramos during the coming months, so we can give you reports on his latest adventures. — andy
bridal boatyard blues Hawaii is the land of fantasy, and could you think of anything more fantastic than a Japanese wedding outfit running the old Ala Wai Marine Boatyard — which has been closed for two years — and the old Texaco Fuel Dock, both of which are at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor in Honolulu? Reg White, who has been living at the Ala Wai for more than 20 years, swears that's what is slated to happen when Japanese company, Honey Bee, and the state finally come to terms on the lease they've been trying to hammer out for 30 months. If all goes according to plan, Honey Bee would run the old boatyard to a maximum of five boats at a time, about half the yard's capacity. On the other half of the property, they would conduct weddings in a new chapel supported by various on-site wedding-related shops. What woman could resist getting married next to the groom's hauled-out boat? Perhaps in Tyvek suits covered in ground fiberglass? It's bizarre, but no more bizarre than the old fuel dock becoming the site of another Honey Bee wedding chapel — while still pumping fuel for marina tenants. The other big news in Honolulu is that there are two bills — HB2582 and HB2741 — which, if they pass, would dramatically increase the cost of living aboard at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and at Ke’ehi Harbor. Bruce Lenheit is one of those who would be dramatically affected. In a widely distributed letter, he says he currently pays $607 a month for his mooring fees and liveaboard permit, plus $300 a year for parking. If either bill is passed, he would soon have to pay $1,399.20 a month, an increase of 130%. By 2014, he would have to pay $2,020.80 per month, or an increase of 231% over the current rate. Noting that he's previously lived aboard in California, Mexico and Hawaii, he said he paid $100 extra to live aboard at a first-class macontinued on outside column of next sightings page May, 2010 •
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COURTESY ARCTIC WANDERER
in cape town
The May 2010 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.