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SIGHTINGS perspective

matt rutherford's latest mission Two years ago Annapolis-based sailor Matt Rutherford, then 31, made headlines when he successfully completed the first-ever singlehanded circumnavigation of the Americas. Late last month, after mastering a few last-minute technical challenges, he and his partner, Nicole Trenholm, set sail from Oakland on a new mission: continued on outside column of next sightings page Page 82 •

Latitude 38

• May, 2014

tember, Mongo cruised down to San Diego before jumping off to Hawaii in March. After romping across the Alenuihaha Channel from Hawaii to Maui, Mongo dismasted off a lee shore just after leaving Kahului Harbor. When a lower shroud failed, the mast buckled in two and came crashing down to leeward. It was the first time that Mongo and I had needed an engine in the previous 3,000 miles. Fortunately, I was able to set an anchor in 50 feet of water with 18 knots of onshore breeze, and 9 to 11 feet of surf pounding behind me. Securing the rig to the boat, I was towed back into port an hour later by the Coast Guard, unfortunately losing the rig overboard in the process and having to cut it away to avoid hull damage. I'm currently undergoing an ultra-lowbudget guerrilla-style re-rig while moored out in Maui. But Mongo will ride again and continue on her journey to Australia,

On the morning before their departure, Matt and Nicole broke away from their last-minute preparations to strike a pose aboard their brand new Schock Harbor 29 'Sakura'.

MIKE SCHECK / SCANMAR

COURTESY MEXICAN GOVERNMENT

mexico — continued Especially if we get a decal to go with it. Just to remind everyone, TIPs only cost about $50. In the world of cruising, that’s dirt cheap. Something else that might make foreign boat owners more confident about going to Mexico is a letter to appear in the May issue by Carol Parker of the San Diego-based Dashew 64 motor yacht Avatar. Parker and her husband are understandably very unhappy with Mexico, because SAT impounded their boat for four months after — as you’ll read — the AGACE agents couldn’t find the boat’s HIN number even though it was right where it was supposed to be. They didn’t even ask the captain, who was right there with them, where it was. Parker says that the impounding ruined their cruising plans, which included visiting their grandkids on the East Coast, and that they’ll never take their boat to, or spend money in, Mexico ever again. But she did make one very interesting point: She said A sample of a new TIP receipt. The bar code that she and her husband didn’t which should make tracing transactions easier. have to pay any fines, levies, fees or anything like that, nor did anyone ever put their hand out or suggest that a bribe would help. This lends credence to our belief that this entire nonsense wasn’t a case of the PRI party getting in power and trying to extract money from Americans in any way they could, but suggests it was merely a case of a well-meaning bureaucracy coming up with and executing a really, really stupid plan, with agents who didn’t know what they were doing. Further complicating the problem was the fact that when a ‘file’ is opened up on a boat in Mexico, it has to be ‘closed’ via some complicated and time-consuming process. That’s the ‘procedure’, and in Mexico, procedures have to be followed. The files just can’t be thrown out the window. There are two other things that also give us confidence. First, all the harbormasters of the marinas that got ‘raided’ have become very tight friends with harbormasters at marinas that didn’t get raided, and have thus shared information about what AGACE seemed to want and need. So as you’ll read in another May issue letter, Mexican harbormasters now feel much better prepared for any future visits by AGACE. Similarly, AGACE agents clearly had no idea what they were doing in the first raids, to the extent that they even had to be given diagrams showing where the bow of a boat was. Because of all the problems and terrible publicity, the AGACE administrators and agents have gotten an education. Because of 'procedures,' they weren’t able to resolve a lot of boat problems in days instead of months, but we doubt they are going to make those same mistakes in the future. The bottom line for us at Latitude is that we now feel more confident than we have since the AGACE raids in late November in Americans’ ability to bring their boats to Mexico and, assuming they have all the necessary documents, not have any problems. Just like the good old days of pre-November. — richard

Profile for Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Latitude 38 May 2014  

The May 2014 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 May 2014  

The May 2014 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.