Snakes on a Boat??

Ok. I’ve seen a lot of things around the docks, but this was new to me. One morning last week, instructors headed down to the boats to get the ready for the day… you know, the usual preparations: open the hatch-boards and let the boats air out. Setup the horseshoe rings. Dry the spinnakers. Check the lifejackets. Ice in the cooler. And coax the snakes out of the rigging…

Hold on, say what?

I was in the Bay Area when Josh and Eugenie relayed that apparently a critter had slithered it’s way up to what it felt was a safe perch. I really thought they had been working in the sun far too long, but they sent me this photo:

Yep, that’s a snake in the rigging of our J/80. Now this isn’t your run-of-the-mill garden snake… we’re talking boa here. So this critter managed to slide all the way down the dock, onto a boat, and up the rig?? Pretty tough snake. I’ll be proud wearing his hide on my belt. Whoa! Back off, just kidding of course… our trusty faithful staff and the great folks at Paradise Village managed to get the reptile out of the standing rigging and made sure the snake was returned to it’s natural habitat (the golf course). Easy, just kidding again… man, can’t anybody take a joke these days?

Not sure what the snake was doing up there… Josh mounted some theory about the snake making the mistake that it was discontinuous rigging and was just going aloft to take a couple turns off the D2s… or some such nonsense (but it WAS light the next day… hmmm…..). But then again, maybe this whole thing was a practical joke…. does anybody know what Jeff was up to that night???

Ok, and if that wasn’t crazy enough, our good friend Jim sent us these pictures of a waterspout taken from the deck of his Punta Mita condo the same week:

In all my years down here, I have never seen anything like that!

We had some strange days (weather wise) down here towards the latter part of last year, but wow, Mother Nature is making up for it. I seriously couldn’t dream of better sailing conditions than we are having now!

Learn to Sail courses happening all the time.
Intermediate and Basic Cruising classes running regularly.
Race Week in January.
MEXORC Regatta in early March.
Banderas Bay Regatta and Clinic in mid-March.

Time for some seriously good sailing…

All the best,

Wayne Zittel and the J World Team

Playing For The Other Team

So I met this guy the other night who claimed he saved a whale earlier in the day… hah! Oh how the stories fly after a cerveza or two at the bars in Mexico. Really, this guy – we’ll call him ‘Pete’ – said that he alone, wielding a knife, cut one of the beasts free of a net in which it had become ensnared.

Right. And I walked on the moon, paddled into Waimea before anyone knew about it, and surfed my Westsail 32 at 20+ knots…

“No, really, it happened… it’s on YouTube,” that ‘Pete’ told me. So the next day, at an idle moment, curiosity got the best of me and click click click, and whadda’ ya know… there in the great digital library, in the bastion of truth, was the proof that ‘Pete’ was a whale lover. I know there was something about that guy that I didn’t like… I mean, really, sympathy for the boat-killers??? (for those of you who don’t know, see here for the full story).

Ok, seriously, pretty cool. Whales abound in Puerto Vallarta, and it gets to the point where we don’t think twice when we see them. But kudos to Pete and company. Not only did they notice that the whale wasn’t moving, but they checked it out and saw that it was stuck in a net. And apparently the net was anchored and/or caught on the bottom, so the whale wasn’t going anywhere, and seemed to be having a hard time just getting to the surface to get air.
So ‘Pete’ goes out there in this little blow up boat and floats right over the whale cutting it free. Pretty cool to see it swim away in the video, and must have felt good to the whole rescue team. I wish I could remember the boat name (that cerveza thing again), but it was something appropriate, like “Cutting Loose” or “Breaking Free” (apologies in advance to the skipper and crew, because I am sure I butchered the name, but it’s ‘Pete’s’ fault. I’m not sure why, but it is).
Cheers everyone,
Wayne Zittel and the J World Team

A Happy New Year Indeed….

Hello everyone… we’ve been quite busy down here in our Puerto Vallarta sailing Paradise over the holiday season, and we hope it was equally enjoyable for all of you. I wanted to take a moment to touch base since we have a whole series of great events coming up…

In January and Februrary we have numerous Learn-to-Sail courses, Performance Cruising classes, and Cruising opportunities. If the winter blues have set in, the wonderfully sunny Banderas Bay – boasting spectacular wildlife, scenery, and (of course) sailing – provides a perfect getaway. Flights are short (a touch over three hours from San Francisco, for example), and there are great room rates this time of year.

The week of February 15 we have a solid racing week taking shape. Come down and sharpen your blade for the 2010 season while all your fleet members are getting rusty!

Saturday February 27th the biennial MEXORC kicks in. This week long racing event is popular amongst the US based boats which race down from California in February, the local boats in PV, and the strong racing fleet in Acapulco. Everyone converges on Banderas Bay for a mix of windward/leeward and distance races. J/World will be racing a J/130 in the event, with three coaches aboard. You can click here for more info if you are interested, but you had better act quickly since we only have one or two spaces left!

Then on March 14 our annual Racing Clinic / Banderas Bay Regatta begins. We host a three day clinic aboard our J/80s, then each boat races in the event with one of our coaches aboard. All the participants rotate thru all the positions aboard, and the 3:1 student to instructor ratio guarantees everyone a lot of personal attention. Click here for more info.
So that’s most of the news for now… but stay tuned as we expect to be making a big announcement in the next week or two! There has been a lot happening at J World, the best Sailing School in America, about which we are truly excited…
So take a break and come get your sailing fix…
Wayne Zittel and the J World Team