Now in its fourth year, the annual Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous begins today, with a fleet of at least 53 boats — several more than organizers had set as their max capacity. With the goal of instilling visiting cruisers with a genuine appreciation of Polynesian cultural traditions, the Rendezvous welcomes so-called Pacific Puddle Jumpers with three days of free festivities that include a blessing of the fleet by a local chief, a cocktail party where they’ll share toasts with the mayor of Papeete, the head of Tahiti Tourisme and the director of the Port Authority, a sailing rally to Moorea’s spectacular Upunohu Bay and a full day of beach games and traditional entertainment.
With boats arriving this year from California, Mexico, Panama, Ecuador and Chile, the Rendezvous also serves as a chance for like-minded cruisers — who may have ‘met’ in recent months via radio waves — to finally meet in the flesh. We can’t think of another government anywhere that welcomes cruisers like this — and we’re sure glad we’re here to cover it!
Stay tuned for a recap and photos next week, then look for our complete report in the July edition of Latitude 38. The magazine is proud to be a partner in the Rendezvous, which will take place the same weekend next year. Cruisers heading south this fall who may eventually sail to the South Pacific should plan to attend our Pacific Puddle Jump seminar, at 6 p.m., Saturday, October 24, at West Marine in San Diego (1250 Rosecrans) — the day before the Baja Ha-Ha rally kickoff party.
Robert Plant and John Shampain’s Hobie 33 Still Crazy looks to have crushed the rest of the Wednesday starters, and we’ve got to belive the Thursday starters as well, after finishing the Encinal YC’s Coastal Cup around 7 a.m. this morning.
"They were totally jazzed and said they had a great race," said Encinal YC’s Charles Hodgkins. "They may have first place."
Still Crazy‘s closest competition looks to be Steve Carroll’s Express 27 Tule Fog, which looks to have escaped the big Catalina Eddy that appears to have smothered the entire fleet. If the race’s tracker is accurate, all the boats between the western Channel Islands and Catalina are beating in a less-than-10-knot southeasterly. We can’t guarantee that, because there seems to have been some irregularites in the tracking system. For instance, four boats haven’t shown up at all on the tracker, and in some cases, the boats’ transponders have been polled at different intervals, some over two hours apart.
Hodgkins said that, so far, there have been three retirements. Douglas Storkovich’s Andrews 56 Delicate Balance dropped out with unspecified equipment failure, while Steve Stroub’s SC 37 Tiburon ran out of spinnakers, and Andy Costello’s J/125 Double Trouble suffered a broken rudder. Double Trouble navigator Jeff Thorpe elaborated:
"We were side by side with [Per Peterson’s Andrews 68] Alchemy about 40 miles off Monterey. We went by [Bob Barton’s Andrews 56] Cipango like they were standing still, while doing a consistent 22-24 knots of boatspeed in 30 knots of wind. We had just peeled to the 1.5 oz and the boat got really squirrelly and hard to drive. We wiped out and, when we looked over, we were left with a 12-inch nub of the rudder. The post was still there, the core and skins just snapped off."
With just that stub of a rudder, the storm jib and motor, the Double Trouble crew were able to fetch Monterey in 30 knots of breeze at 110 degrees true.
"We’re very fortunate we had that little sliver of rudder," Thorpe said. "If we’d gotten past Monterey, there’s no way we would have been able to get back upwind. We would have been dragging sheets and probably ended up at Port San Luis."
Stroub’s Tiburon was also having a great race when, after a short stretch, they were left with only a .5 oz kite to get them all the way down to Catalina. "The boat was lit up, and it was really fun to drive," said crewmember Rusty Canada. "We were sailing with the A5 in 25-30 knots with boatspeed in the low 20’s and never below 15. We had to peel from the A5 down to the A4 because the breeze went behind us. With the weight on the bow, we wiped out with both kites hoisted and full. We were able to get that one sorted, but a little while later, we wiped out again and ripped the A4, so we put the A5 back up. A little later we wiped out again and the spin sheet shackle blew off the clew. It’s too bad. We were having a great time — chewing up the Farr 40, right on our predicted track, even beating our numbers slightly. We missed out on the perfect race."
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It’s a good thing this is the longest weekend of the year as there are so many things going on that you’ll be busy for every minute of it. Summer Sailstice is, of course, the premier event for the weekend, which we detailed in Wednesday’s ‘Lectronic. Bay Area sailors are encouraged to cruise in to Treasure Island’s Clipper Cove for the festivities, but what about all those derelicts taking up so much of the anchorage?
Mirian Saez, Director of Operations for the island, reports that one sunken boat and a couple barely floating derelicts were removed from the cove yesterday to make room for this weekend. "After we removed the boats," Saez said, "a couple others moved out on their own." Saez was also delighted to let us know that the Treasure Island Bar & Grill received their liquor license this week and that boaters are welcome to dock for free at the marina while patronizing the Grill — just call (415) 627-9060 to have someone from the Grill open the gate.
Up in Novato, the Marin Power Squadron will be celebrating 50 years of providing quality education to the boating public. Saturday’s party will run from 2-5:30 p.m. at their headquarters at 789 Hamilton Parkway, and will feature the special presentation ‘The Bay and Beyond: What’s Wet in ’09’ by San Francisco Chronicle Yachting Editor Kimball Livingston. Dr. Rocker and the Backtones will provide the live music, and a cool ‘fin’ ($5) will get you BBQ and soft drinks (beer and wine will be available for purchase).
The National Park Service will offer three fee-free weekends this summer at parks nationwide, including 12 in California. The first is this weekend (July 18-19 and August 15-16 are the others) so plan on hitting some of the Northern California parks on the list, such as Muir Woods National Monument, John Muir National Historic Site, Whiskeytown Unit National Recreation Area or San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.
Father’s Day is Sunday, so don’t forget to take Dad for a nice daysail. Round up the kids for an exploration of China Camp, Tomales Bay or Angel Island before the state makes good on their threat to close these well-loved parks. Pop into one of the Bay’s many boat-in restaurants for a quick bite and a little atmosphere. Get your anchor muddy. Whatever else you do this weekend, make it a priority to get your boat out of the slip. You won’t regret it.