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Jack van Ommen continues to amaze with his remarkable small boat — and even smaller budget cruise to some of the more unusual cruising destinations in the world. Three of the four photos above are from Romania, while the center bottom is from Istanbul.

I spent a month getting from Sulina to Istanbul, which is where I made my return to Asia after my 2,000-mile west-to-east crossing of Europe. Istanbul is an incredible city! I plan to continue south to my winter moorage near Marmaris early next week. Next April I'll begin to cross the Med, and by late fall will exit the Strait of Gibraltar in anticipation of crossing the Atlantic to South America. But I'm a vagabond, retired and free, so nothing is written in stone. So I might make a right turn into the Rhone River and head north for another year in northwestern Europe. Yes, my roots and my French friends may pull me back for another dance in France and beyond." Van Ommen, who started his magnificent cruise from San Francisco Bay in '05, would be a member of Latitude's Cruising Hall of Fame — if we only had such a thing. He's done — and continues to do — so much unusual cruising with his little boat, and on a budget of about $750 a month. Brilliant! French cruiser Christian Colombo,

55, was killed and his body tossed overboard in early September during an altercation with pirates aboard his 56-ft catamaran Tribal Kat in the Gulf of Aden. Evelyne, his wife, was rescued after a multinational effort tracked down the seven alleged assailants and overtook their vessel. It was only after boarding the pirate vessel that Evelyne was discovered unharmed. A veteran of the French Navy and a longtime sailor, Colombo had set at least one catamaran speed record. Unlike most cruisers, who have been attacked while traveling westbound toward the Red Sea, the Colombos were heading east, from the Gulf into the Indian Ocean, intending to visit Thailand. In contrast to the terrible fate of Colombo, we are happy to report that all members of the Johansen family of the Kalundborg, Denmark-based Dynamic 43 Ing, were recently released by their Somali cap-

tors. Unconfirmed reports suggest their insurance company paid a ransom that ran into the millions. Jan, his wife Birgit, and three children — sons Rune and Hjalte, and daughter Naja — had been held captive since February 24 of this year. At one point it was reported that pirates proposed to set the family free if they would allow 13-year -old Naja to marry a pirate chiefSomali pirates tain. A California cruiser aren't fun like film who came through the pirates. Too bad. same waters at the same time as Ing was captured is Roger Hayward of the Long Beach-based Catalina/Morgan 440 La Palapa. "I remember the Ing incident well," says Hayward, "as we were traveling toward the Red Sea in February when both Quest and then Ing where taken by pirates. [Quest is the Marina del Rey-based Davidson 58 whose owners, Scott and Jean Adams, and their Seattle crew, Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay, were murdered by pirates.] In fact, Ing was less than 100 miles from our miniconvoy of three boats — one of which had lost her propeller — when she was pirated. It's a long story, but it was a very stressful night of sailing in formation with no lights until we finally made our rendezvous with a U.S. destroyer the next morning." The irony is that prior to the pirating of the nearby vessels, La Palapa had been enjoying one of her best sails ever. She is now safely in the Med, where Roger has recently discovered that he can catch up with Latitude by downloading eBooks from our site. He plans to cross the Atlantic in November with Karli Moulston, his ladyfriend, who went through pirate waters with him. Karli and Roger aboard Roger's Long Beachbased 'La Palapa'. The two, and their two buddyboats, were close when 'Ing' was seized. LA PALAPA

PHIOTOS COURTESY FLEETWOOD

IN LATITUDES

Profile for Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Latitude 38 Oct. 2011  

The October 2011 eBook issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 Oct. 2011  

The October 2011 eBook issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.