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SIGHTINGS puddle jumpers prepare to pounce This month, in marinas and anchorages from Southern California to Ecuador, sailors of all stripes aboard a wide variety of boats are preparing to make the Pacific Puddle Jump passage to the sun-kissed isles of French Polynesia. As regular readers know, the Puddle Jump is best described as an annual migration rather than a conventional rally, because its fleet members head west independently from various West Coast ports anytime between late February and early June. Depending on where they begin, the nonstop passage will be between 3,000 and 4,000 miles, with the first possible landfall typically being in the remote Marquesas Islands — the easternmost of French Polynesia's five archipelagos. A quick look at the still-expanding fleet list (www.pacificpuddlejump.com) reveals entries from 12 different countries so far. The jump.com smallest is Mike Martin's Bayfield 32 Nanatuk, out of Whitehorse, in Canada's Yukon Territory. And the largest is Lowell Potiker's San Diego-based Hylas 70 Runaway. As in years past, the two most popular jumping-off points will be Balboa, on the Pacific side of Panama, continued on outside column of next sightings page

A traditional Polynesian pirogue glides across Moorea's tranquil lagoon. The 2019 fleet of Pacific Puddle Jumpers will soon share these turquoise waters.

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Latitude 38

• March, 2019

once around It's over. Well, sort of. The 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe Race was full of drama, dropouts, and an indomitable, near-impossible-totouch leader and ultimate winner. And there are still three boats out there — after 235 days of racing, as of this writing — slowly making their way to the finish line in Les Sables-d'Olonne, France. Jean-Luc Van Den Heede sailed into first place on January 29. Second-place finisher Mark Slats was about a day and a half behind — but that doesn't really tell the story of how it went down. Seasoned French sailor VDH had a dominant performance, at one point leading Slats by over 2,000 miles. It wasn't until Van Den Heede pitchpoled west of Cape Horn that the Golden Globe became a race again. Af-

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Latitude 38 March 2019  

The March 2019 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 March 2019  

The March 2019 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.