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SIGHTINGS sailstice june 18 charter-boat excursions and seminars to the big bash at Encinal YC in Alameda. Plan to arrive at EYC by boat or by car. Parking is free, and so is admission. Once there, you can pose for a picture with the America's Cup, listen to live music and a presentation by Tucker Thompson, build a cardboard boat, or take the PFD Pool Plunge. Small boats will race on the Estuary, and classics such as the 1891 scow schooner Alma will line the guest dock. Gosling's rum is a sponsor, so we'd imagine there'll be some drinks available, and food too, of course. Speakers will include Latitude's own continued in middle column of next sightings page

SPREAD & INSET COURTESY RICHMOND YACHT CLUB JUNIOR PROGRAM

Spread: Kids learn to sail in El Toros, Optis and C420s at Richmond YC's junior program. Inset: Young 'uns go for a ride on a Zim C420 off Richmond Harbor.

continued on outside column of next sightings page June, 2016 •

Latitude 38

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DIETMAR PETUTSCHNIG

how to get back from the so pac Countless sailors have longtime dreams of exploring the South Pacific islands under sail. But relatively few actually act on those fantasies, partly due to the conundrum of how to get back home again without sailing all the way around the world. After all, prevailing winds and currents are westbound, and distances are great. It's 3,000 miles from the Mexican mainland to Tahiti and another 1,800 to Fiji. That's where Dietmar and Suzanne Petutschnig of the San Diego-based Lagoon 440 cat Carinthia were last spring when — after seven years of cruising — they decided it was time to return home to California. We've touched on Carinthia's homeward journey in Cruise Notes, but when we caught up with Dietmar last month we asked him to flesh out the details of his 5,300-mile trip to San Francisco, as we suspect that other cruisers may want to follow in his Between each leg of Dietmar's delivery to the West Coast, he and wake. (Suzanne his crew spent time seeing the sights. In Pago Pago they were wisely opted to thrilled by traditional Polynesian canoe races. make the upwind journey via a jetliner.) After brainstorming with a South African sailor who also intended to head east, Dietmar mapped out a creative four-step route back to the West Coast that allowed him to sail or motorsail at least part of the time. By contrast, the idea of simply retracing his outbound route, bashing against headwinds and current for 5,000 miles, would have been truly masochistic. Dietmar waited at Suva, Fiji, until a low-pressure system passed, causing the wind to clock to the south, then "jumped on the back of the lifting low" and set a course for Pago Pago, in American Samoa — a distance of 675 miles. After eight days of sailing and motorsailing, he and his crew arrived in that American territory, and fueled up on the cheapest diesel in the South Pacific. The second leg, 1,250 miles to Christmas Island, in the island nation of Kiribati, took about nine days. Again, they waited for the wind to clock south before departing, but ultimately did a lot of motoring through the hot, muggy, single-digit latitudes of the doldrums. Christmas lies at 2°N — yeah, a hot, sticky place, but interesting nonetheless. The port there, ironically named London, is another great place to fuel up, as it supplies the international fishing fleets that ply those waters. They say the most dangerous thing a cruiser can do is try to stick to a schedule. But one of Dietmar's crew had an important event to attend, so this time they did not wait for the wind to clock south before beginning the 1,150-mile leg — almost due north — to Oahu, Hawaii. "The wind was from 30 to 60° off our bow the whole trip," recalls Dietmar, and headseas were often 12-15 feet, but they were long-period swells, perhaps 15 seconds apart, so it was doable." Not comfortable, but doable. At one point Dietmar had to tie himself onto the helm seat to keep from being launched. But after a somewhat punishing 11 days, they arrived safely without damaging the boat. It was early July when Carinthia made landfall at Oahu, and the imminent arrival of the Transpac fleet was hotly anticipated. At Kaneohe Dietmar learned that on their return trip to the mainland many of the race boats would participate in a research project called The Mega Expedition, where each boat traveled east along a specific latitude through the so-called North Pacific Garbage Patch, periodi-

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Latitude 38 June 2016  

The June 2016 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 June 2016  

The June 2016 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.