June 13, 2011

The Bride Wore Blue Socks and TopSiders

The groom and bride aboard their luxurious new Prout 50 catamaran.

latitude/Richard
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As the steward for the La Gamelle Syndicate’s Olson 30 La Gamelle, which is currently berthed at Marina Village in Alameda, we’ve suddenly gained a whole new group of sailing friends in that part of the world. Among them are David and Elena Esser of the new Prout 50 catamaran Tigress, with which La Gamelle shares an end-tie.

We first met David by saying, "We’re glad you have that inflatable hanging down from the back of your cat, because we took the engine off the Olson, so we plan on docking by sailing the bow of our Olson into your inflatable at a 90-degree angle, which will caroom our boat right into her spot on the dock."

"That will be fine," David replied. "By the way," he continued, "Elena and I are getting married next Saturday, and are having the reception aboard. You should come."

As you can tell from the accompanying photo, we did. Everyone was given bright blue boat socks, and Elena proudly wore them with her TopSiders. We think it’s a pretty saucy look. Her socks were monogrammed with the date of June of ’10, because that’s when their boat was scheduled to be launched and they were to be married. Since the boat was a year late in being delivered, they obviously had to postpone the wedding by a year, too.

People say that the ‘apple never falls far from the tree’, but only people who don’t live on hillsides. You see, David is the son of admitted ‘hippie vagabonds’, who 35 years ago would buy one-way tickets to the far corners of the world and drag him along. Instead of falling in the footstops of the parents, David has thrown himself into the internet world, and apparently has been successful at starting several companies. The big cat is his move away from life being all about work.

David has also been successful in gradually introducing Elena to the water and sailing. He had to start with the ultra basics because in the beginning Elena was so afraid of the water that she wouldn’t even walk down a dock. But now she’s happily living aboard, and looking forward to the mast being stepped in a few weeks.

Tigress is actually the couple’s second sailboat. They also have an exact sistership to the Pardey’s 29-ft wood Talesin, right down to the bathtub. If you’re looking for a boat like that, you know who to contact.

Anyway, we’d like all of you to join us in congratulating our new good friends David and Elena on their marriage — and on their new catamaran.

AC 45 Shenanigans in Full Swing

Oracle Racing’s AC 45s have been out there blasting around the Bay, and as the video above shows, it’s been pretty full-on racing for these "little" monsters. This week will be a busy one for the team. This afternoon, they’ll be out and about hopefully wowing local media and dignitaries, and throughout the week they’ll be out strutting their stuff. On Wednesday morning, there will be a press conference to announce the slate of challengers for AC 34, which has got to be one of the most anticipated events of this young Cup cycle.

We were at a design briefing this morining and as a result weren’t able to get the results to do a proper Weekend Racing Wrap-up, so stayed tuned — we’ll get to that on Wednesday.

A-Cup to Promote Local Youth Sailing

For several years now, members of a group called GoSailingSF have been quietly working behind the scenes to increase public awareness of sailing opportunities here in the Bay Area, and ultimately to increase participation in sailing on our local waters. While their meetings are always full of creative ideas and lively discussion — and thus well-worth attending — we want readers to be aware of a special meeting tomorrow (June 14), 4:30-6 p.m. at South Beach YC, which will specifically target ways that local youth sailing organizations can work cooperatively with the America’s Cup event organizers to promote and support young local sailors.

Ariel Ungerleider, Community Outreach Manager for America’s Cup Management, will be the gathering’s featured guest. She’ll make a presentation on aspects of the planning for community outreach that she and her team are working on for AC34. And organizers of current Bay Area youth sailing programs will have an opportunity to introduce their activities to her. We anticipate that this session will spark a strong cooperative effort that will have wide-ranging benefits. 

So if you’re involved with youth sailing locally, this is one meeting you won’t want to miss. Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP, and if you’d like to introduce your organization at the meeting, email here. With help from the A-Cup’s gathering momentum, so hope a wide range of newcomers will be inspired to give sailing a try.

Still Burning from Lack of Response

We don’t want to flog this dead horse any more than necessary, but the story of the Alameda Fire Department doing absolutely nothing to come to the aid of 53-year old Raymond Zack in neck-deep water off Crown Beach on Memorial Day just won’t die. People are still disgusted and angry.

The idle Alameda Police Boat. Frankly, we think the fleet of government boats in the area was beside the point, as the Raymond Zack situation called for a ‘wading’ rescue by firefighters, as per their job description.

latitude/Richard
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Yesterday morning a group gathered on Crown Beach to call attention to the fact that the Alameda Fire Department could and should have done more. A dozen of them demonstrated this by effortlessly wading/swimming out to the spot Zack had been and in the same tide and weather conditions. The swimmers told KGO TV that they proved coming to the man’s assistance would have been easy.

A few people have argued that coming to a large suicidal man’s aid would have been risky to members of the fire department. If he had been violent, which he didn’t appear to be, and if fire fighters had approached him foolishly, that could have been the case. But at the very least, several members of the fire department could have — at zero risk to them — waded out to the half-frozen, unathletic, clothed man, and encouraged him that he had people who loved him and that they were there to help. This was the same technique public safety officials used over the weekend to, at no risk to them, successfully talk a man out of jumping to his death from the Bay Bridge.

Then readers Rich Pipkin and his wife Mary McGrath took the editor of the Alameda Sun around to show him various government resources that they thought could or should have been used. They included the Alameda Fire Boat, "which has been on the hard at Alameda Marina for 10+ years," the Alameda Police Boat on a lift near Mariner Square, plus the Alameda County Sheriff’s Boat — "bought with reportedly more than $1 million in Homeland Security funds." Pipkin says, "I’ve never seen the Sheriff’s boat, which is a RIB, ever leave the dock." But as stated, we believe this was a wading rescue situation, not a boat rescue.

Another angry citizen looked into the job descriptions for various levels in the Alameda Fire Department. In several of them, "water rescues" were very specifically noted as among the required duties.

It will be remembered that one of the Alameda Fire Department’s many, many excuses for why they didn’t at least attempt some kind of assistance is that their funding for rescue swimmer training had run out in ’09. As reported in Friday’s ‘Lectronic, the Contra Costa Times reported that the fire department had actually been given the money for that training, they just hadn’t spent it. The Interim Fire Chief has had no more to say on that allegation than a cigar store indian.

Adrian is the first Mexican hurricane of the season, and according to NOAA, it will likely be followed by at least a half dozen more.
If you’re caught on the wrong side of a wind shift — no matter if you’re a New York Congressman who has been caught sexting an R-rated photo of his ‘junk’ to anonymous women on the internet or the Alameda Fire Department trying to explain why their alpha males refused to get their feet wet to prevent a despondent man from committing a slo-mo suicide off Crown Beach on Memorial Day — the best advice is always the same: If you have to eat shit, take big bites.