From The Boathouse: Join me on cruise to Alaska


Wondering what to do in September after the summer ends? Then join me on a post-summer cruise to Alaska for a week of great food and helping to solve a murder mystery.

CRN, the station that syndicates my radio show, is giving listeners a chance to meet its radio personalities aboard Princess Cruises' Star Princess.

The luxury liner will depart from Seattle on Sept. 9, and immediately point her bow northerly, climbing the latitudes to Alaska. Stops are scheduled in several ports such as Ketchikan, Juneau, the Tracy Arm fjord, Skagway, and Victoria in British Columbia before returning to Seattle.

"I am looking forward to cruising to Alaska on our CRN Mystery Cruise with all of our listeners and Capt. Mike Whitehead of 'Boathouse Radio,'" said Michael J. Horn, president and chief executive of CRN Digital Talk.

He continued, "It is always good to have a spare captain along on your cruise!"

I should give a disclaimer that although my radio show is broadcasted on CRN, I am not receiving any special considerations for mentioning this cruise. I just think that this will be a cruise of a lifetime and I know that my wife is looking forward to a week of pampered luxury.

I am looking forward to the great murder mystery, meeting other radio personalities and listeners, eating great food, and my favorite activity of lounging on the Lido Deck.

I want to help those who cannot remember the direction of latitude lines versus longitude lines on a chart, especially because I mentioned latitude in my second paragraph and I constantly receive emails inquiring about the directions for "Lat" and "Longs." I will help you with a mnemonic tip, which I teach my boating students.

All you have to do is to recall that latitude sounds like "ladder" and you climb up or down the rungs of a ladder, thus latitude lines are circles about the Earth. Latitude measurements begin at around the Equator (zero degree latitude), which is the longest distance on the circumference of the Earth.

Hence, latitude lines are circling the globe horizontally, and therefore, longitude are lines that go from pole to pole. Oh, pole to pole is the North Pole to the South Pole or the South Pole to the North Pole for any landlubbers. Now you can impress your friends at yacht club.

Tip of the week is a reminder of all sailors that the 77th annual Flight of the Lasers is closing in fast on my radar screen. This race covers most of Newport Harbor, and the old-timers will remember the race the Flight of the Snowbirds, then known in the early 1970s as the Flight of the Kites, and now the Flight of the Lasers.

The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce's Commodores Club, of which I am a proud member, organizes the race along with the Newport Harbor Yacht Club that provides the Jim Webster committee boat, plus the venue for the awards ceremony.

I will miss this year's Flight of the Lasers as I will be racing that weekend a mile high up in our local mountains aboard a C-Scow from the Lake Arrowhead Yacht Club.

However, my tip to the racers in this year's event is to precruise the race course to see where the dredging operations are underway that will change how you plan your race strategy. Remember, the tugs, scows, dredging equipment and dredging workboats have the right of way, so do not play chicken with these operators.

The race is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. July 22, and sailors of all ages and skill levels should sign up soon. The best reason to participate is that the race is free, and online registration is posted on the Newport Beach Chamber's website under the events calendar.

The starting line is located off Balboa Island's shore just east of the Balboa Pavilion, where the racers will head west up the channel to the large turning basin to round course marker 1 by the anchorage. Passing to port, the racers will turn heading for marker U off the Lido Isle Yacht Club and then begin the long sail to marker Z in the small turning basin by Lido Village.

And don't forget: Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, "Capt. Mike Whitehead's Boathouse Radio Show," broadcasting coast to coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network every Saturday at noon, and replayed at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

You can find the station listings, cable TV channels, live streaming on the Internet, and apps to listen to the show for your iPhone, BlackBerry, iPod Touch, Android Palm, and Windows Mobile at

Safe voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to

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