September 23, 2011

Acrobat Update

We want to remind you again about a series of upcoming performances by a charming family of sailor/acrobats who have just arrived in the Bay. They are slowly making their way around the world aboard their bright-yellow sloop, La Loupoite, and replenishing their cruising kitty along the way by passing the hat at free public performances. 

If it seems like we’re over-hyping their talents — we’ve reported on them twice before in ‘Lectronic Latitude — it’s because their approach to aerial acrobatics is completely unique and we think they’re terrific: They use their mast and rigging to achieve gymnastic stunts rather than the circus tent accessories they were trained on. Check out their website’s photos and you’ll see what we mean.

Scheduled Bay Area shows begin tomorrow:

  • Sept 24 & 25: KKMI, Sausalito, 2 p.m. "The Sailors"; 4 p.m. "Between Wing and Islands"
  • Oct 1 & 2: Encinal YC, Alameda, 11 a.m. "The Sailors"; 1 p.m. "Between Wing and Islands"
  • Oct 8 & 9: Treasure Island YC, 3 p.m. "The Sailors"; 5 p.m. "Between Wing and Island"
  • Oct 14, 15, & 16: South Beach YC, S.F., see website for show times

Eight Bells for Rudy Choy

Renowned catamaran designer Rudy Choy passed away on September 13 in Honolulu. He was 88 years old.

In 1947, Choy, along with mentor Alfred Kumalee and Woody Brown, created the first modern catamaran in Hawaii. A decade later, Choy and Kumalee joined forces with Warren Seaman to form Southern California’s C/S/K Catamarans, one of the best known cat builders of the era. The firm saw great success during the ’60s, building such well-known racing cats as Aikane, Pattycat II, Seasmoke, and Aikane X5, which smashed the TransPac speed record in ’89 when she arrived in Honolulu in just 6 days, 22 hours.

Thanks to Choy’s vision and determination, his name will be forever linked with the modern catamaran movement. He is survived by his son Barry, who took the helm from his dad by creating Choydesign, a luxury catamaran design firm.

We Say, “The More the Merrier”

Here at Baja Ha-Ha World Headquarters, our attitude toward our Mexico rally has always been "the more the merrier." We think our 750-mile, San Diego-to-Cabo San Lucas cruise is so much fun, and provides such a great introduction to the cruising life, that we hate to turn away anyone simply because they missed the official entry deadline (which was September 10).

Last year’s fleet leaves remote Bahia Santa Maria early in the morning under brilliant, sunny skies.

latitude/Andy
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

So if you still want to get in on the fun, it’s not too late. The deadline has been extended until Monday night, September 26, at midnight, and it only takes a few minutes to complete the online registration process. After that it may still be possible to get in, but you may have to bribe the Rally Committee with a couple of cases of Negra Modelo — your boat name may not make it onto the official event t-shirts and your bios may not make it into the event program, but you’ll still enjoy all other fleet benefits.

By the way, we’ve heard from a variety of entrants who are working their way down the coast from B.C. and the Pacific Northwest who report being thrilled with the 50% discount at Almar Marinas (a longtime sponsor). With a typical savings of $30/night, the overall benefit might even cover the entire rally entry fee.

Emma Gets Ready to Send It

La Rochelle, France, is where all the Mini Transat action is until Sunday. The Bay’s Emma Creighton will be one of the 78 starters.

© 2011 Classe Mini

The biennial Mini Transat starts from La Rochelle, France on Sunday, and the Bay Area will have its adopted own, Emma Creighton among the 78 starters. Creighton, who doublehanded her all-carbon, high-tech Simon Rogers-designed prototype Mini Pocket Rocket in last year’s Pac Cup, will be joined by 32 other proto sailors for the solo crossing from La Rochelle to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, via Funchal, Madeira. Of course, a Mini Transat is hard enough on its own — 4,200 miles across the Pot au Noir with only a VHF radio and race-provided weather on a 21-ft boat with a massive sailplan. But being a French race, there are language and cultural barriers that crop up with everything from logistics to things as mundane as the race program, which listed her name as Emma "Freighting" at one point.

Emma Creighton will be tackling a big challenge in a small boat starting Sunday.

latitude/Rob
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The latter may perhaps have been a happy accident, given that Creighton — much as we suspect every skipper in the race plans to do — will be "sending it" as fast as possible through the complex course that’s interrupted by two archipelagos — the Canary and Cape Verde Islands — before the sailors even reach the ITCZ. So Creighton, a native of Maine, will have her work cut out for her for what will probably be as long as a month aboard her 1,700-lb boat with its canting keel.

The course for the Mini Transat is far from straightforward.

© Classe Mini

In the 34-year history of the Mini Transat, only two other American women have completed the race. Amy Boyer, who called the Bay Area home at the time, sailed the ’79 race in a Wilderness 21 after sailing in the ’78 Singlehanded TransPac. That year was the first, and to this day only, time an American has won the Mini Transat. Norton Smith, formerly of Mill Valley, sailed the Tom Wylie-designed American Express — the first water-ballasted Mini ever — to the honors a year after winning the same Singlehanded TransPac that Boyer sailed in.

You can follow Creighton’s progress to this point on her well-written blog, but once the race starts, it will be lights-out for media communications — the race rules strictly prohibit the use of any type of equipment that can communicate at a range suffcient for her to post updates. Thankfully, the race has a good website — as far as French-run races go, it probably has the best English translation — where you can find a tracker, updates and analysis.

Though no one knows for sure what the long-term effects of the Cosco Busan oil spill on San Francisco Bay will be, it appears the recent $44.4 million civil settlement between local, state and federal officials and Fleet Management Ltd, the owners of the ill-fated oil tanker, has brought the legal wrangling to a close.
While moored at Catalina’s Cherry Cove a weekend ago, the crews of Miss Teak, Destiny and Serendipity — all of whom spent the last winter cruising Mexico as far south as Zihua and as far north as Puerto Escondido — got into a conversation with three gentlemen in a large inflatable who reported they were going to do this year’s FUBAR (Fleet Underway To Baja Rally).