You’d think that whatever controls the weather might have felt inclined to reward the 322 boats that showed up Saturday for the Singlehanded Sailing Society’s Three Bridge Fiasco with a reasonably nice day. Well, you’d be correct. Although it looked at first like it might be a long, gray day without much prospect for breeze, Saturday turned out to be sunny and, depending on where you were and when, breezy.
The big strategic call, as always, is which direction to go — counter-clockwise, clockwise or Red Rock first. As it turned out, the counter-clockwise option proved the most popular, with boats which got to the Central Bay quickly getting a massive assist from the flood that dominated the course for the first part of the day. Heading to Blackaller first didn’t work out so well for most of the boats that tried, as they ended up sitting in a massive hole near the mark, in a cut-off countercurrent. We heard of boats taking up to 2.5 hours to round Blackaller from the starting line.
Scott Easom’s Moore 24 Eight Ball came out atop a Top Ten that reads like a Who’s Who of Northern California sailors and boats, finishing at 2:41 p.m. George Lythcott’s Express 27 Taz!! was the top singlehanded entry, finishing just before 4 p.m. We’ll have a complete round-up with lots of photos in the March issue of Latitude 38. In the meantime, the provisional results have gone up at the Society’s website. Make sure you give them a looking-over as occasionally some things get mis-recorded during a race this chaotic; if you find any discrepancies you can report them here.
Just seven days after leaving Marina del Rey in a bid to become the youngest solo circumnavigator, Abby Sunderland announced on Saturday that she’s bound for Cabo San Lucas. In her blog, she noted that the charging system aboard her Open 40 Wild Eyes isn’t keeping up with her power needs, and that she’s running out of fuel for her alternators. Two wind generators, five solar panels and two alternators can’t keep up with her energy usage? Is this girl emailing and watching movies all day? That’s a silly question — she is 16, after all. Perhaps instead of adding more batteries and fuel, Abby’s "team" should teach her some energy-saving techniques instead. Nah, that might put a damper on her social life.
All ribbing aside, this "miscalculation" is serious cause for concern. If her team couldn’t figure out her basic energy needs before her departure, what else was miscalculated, neglected, or just plain forgotten in the rush to get her out the door?
Meanwhile, Jessica Watson — who seems to be getting by quite nicely on two measly solar panels (one of which was damaged during her 180-degree knockdown), one wind gen and a little engine — is less than 2,000 miles from the Cape of Good Hope aboard her seemingly better-prepared S&S 34 Ella’s Pink Lady.
The differences between the two wannabe record breakers continues to mount. As noted in the February issue of Latitude, while Abby’s blog postings are about what one might expect from a 16-year-old, Jess writes with a surprising maturity. We even opined that if she doesn’t make a career as a sailor, she could as a writer. Lo and behold, it was announced on Friday — long after the issue went to press — that her book Around the World will be released Down Under in August!
If you did last year’s Ha-Ha and happened to be around the Cabo fuel dock on Sunday morning, you may have noticed a big motoryacht. This would have been Apoise, the 220-ft Lürssen — as good as a pedigree as you can get — taking on who knows how many tons of fuel. It turns out she’s about to go under the gavel — on behalf the auctioneer who took possession of her when she was launched in ’06. The owner makes it sound as if he commissioned the boat and all that, but we think the story is more picturesque. After all, who ever heard of an auctioneer paying retail?
The February issue of Latitude 38 is on news stands today, packed with useful information, illustrative photos and all the departments you’ve come to love. It has feature stories on cruising with kids for the short term, what to do when seaman "Otto" goes haywire, and an interview with the Bay Area’s Stan Honey — out crunching weather data in the North Atlantic aboard Franck Cammas’ 105-ft trimaran Groupama 3 as we write.
You also don’t want to forget to pick up a copy of the 2010 Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Master Schedule, which is just about the most complete racing resource for your area and beyond, available online at the link above, and most places you find Latitude 38.