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• December, 2015
rounded, with large surf breaking on the rocks. I think everyone gave them a really wide berth, as you could hear the surf pounding from a quarter mile to windward. Everyone knew it would probably be fatal if you got in trouble to weather of the rocks. I was probably about the 10th to 15th boat to round the islands, but once around rapidly passed everyone but Merlin on the leg to the Gate — although I didn't know that at the time. Despite flying a reefed main and small working jib, Harmony was still well overpowered. But there was nothing I could do about it as I couldn't leave the helm. I had let the sails out so they were feathering some of the time, but the course was almost a run. Harmony pegged her speedo at 18 knots a couple of times surfing down waves. It was definitely more frightening than thrilling, but there were no other alternatives. We still have Harmony in our backyard here in Brisbane, Australia, but she is slowly deteriorating as we haven't used her in 10 years. We purchased the 44-ft trimaran Tevake in Hawaii in 2012 and now use her regularly out of Brisbane. Paul Slivka Tevake, 44-ft trimaran Brisbane, Australia Paul — Thanks for the first-person account of that historic race. The following are the few, the brave, who also completed the first ever Singlehanded Farallones Race, in order of finishing: Merlin, Bill Lee; Harmony, Paul Slivka; Duce II, David Wahle; Elysium, Roger Hall; Wildflower, Skip Allan; Eos, Norton Smith; Blithe Spirit, Dick Mitchell; Ankle Biter, Cliff Stagg; Vicarious, David Jesberg; Pyrrhic Victory, Don Carlson; Champagne, Hall Palmer; Courageous, John Robinson; Jubilation, Don Durant; Killer Whale, Mike Matheasen; and Mambo, Paul Kamen. By the way, we'll have more 'Memories of Merlin' in the January issue of Latitude. ⇑⇓ THE OBAMACARE 'GOTCHA' FOR CRUISERS As things start heating up for the Pacific Puddle Jump, I uncovered a nasty present given to us by the IRS. Most international cruisers don't bother to have Obamacare/ACA health coverage as it provides minimal — or no — coverage outside the United States. But there's a rule that says if you're outside the country for 330 days or more, then you don't have to pay the penalty for not having ACA coverage. For 2016, that's at least $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18. (See www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered as your penalty may be higher). But there's a nasty gotcha in how they determine if you've been out of the country for 330 days. They count all the time that you're between countries as though you were in the United States. (See www.irs.gov/Individuals/InternationalTaxpayers/Foreign-Earned-Income-Exclusion---Physical-Presence-Test Change of Location, Example 2, about two-thirds down the page.) If you're a US citizen at sea for 35 days or more per year, then you've got to pay the penalty or have a useless ACA policy. How they're actually going to enforce this is beyond me. How do they know whether you're at sea? One thought is to use passport entry and exit stamps marking when you're in or out of a foreign country. You take your passport to an IRS audit and they just subtract the time between your entry and exit stamps for each country. If that's more than 330 days you pass. But a bit more thought shows that this won't work. When
The December 2015 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.