June 1, 2012

Volvo Race Pours into Lisbon

Fireworks go off as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Brit Ian Walker, finishes first on Leg 7 from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal, during the Volvo Ocean Race.

© 2012 Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race shuffle has officially begun with last night’s Leg 7 win by Abu Dhabi Racing. This traverse of the Atlantic from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal, had so many chutes and ladders it caused a mix-up in the overall standings with the past dominate leader Telefónica bounced to second and Groupama moving into first place.

The finish in Lisbon was bittersweet for Abu Dhabi, as it was there that they had to repair the boat after dismasting in the first few hours on the first leg from Alicante, Spain, to Cape Town, South Africa, at the start of the race, causing much disappointment for the team. The finish was tight for all the boats but Abu Dhabi had the pressure on them for the last few days. "It’s incredible," said skipper Ian Walker. "Do you think you can make the last 10 miles of a race any harder than that? It’s one of the most amazing experiences of my sailing career, that’s for sure. Mentally, I’m exhausted."

The Abu Dhabi crew celebrate their finish.

© 2012 Ian Roman / Volvo Ocean Race

Groupama came back from last place to second two days ago with brilliant navigation and determination. "It came down to the wire, and we certainly had our ups and downs, but we are very happy," said Groupama skipper Franck Cammas. "It was a good operation for us!" The French do know their way around the Atlantic.

Puma Ocean Racing finished third, which keeps them in contention for the overall lead, 12 points behind new leader Groupama. All the boats finished within five hours of each other after 3,500 miles of racing. Next up are the Lisbon pro-am and in-port races on June 8 and 9, and then off to Lorient, France, on June 10 via the Azores as a turning mark. This will be a challenging course with the Bay of Biscay surely ready to show the fleet some surprises. It ain’t over yet as the top spot overall is still up for grabs with only 21 points separating the top four boats. See www.volvooceanrace.com, and stay tuned for more updates when racing continues.

SB 623 Banning Copper Paint Shelved

When Senator Christine Kehoe initially submitted SB 623 — legislation that would eventually ban copper-based bottom paint — last year, Latitude cautiously supported it, even though we’re not overly fond of government intrusion in people’s lives. But a revised version of the bill added so many caveats and loopholes — or maybe they should be called sinkholes — that we considered it a lame-duck piece of legislation and "a complete waste of the legislature’s valuable time."

It seems Senator Kehoe agreed with us. Earlier this week, she shelved the legislation for the time being so that unfinished studies could offer quantifiable scientific data with which to refine the legislation. She also hopes to incorporate the federal EPA’s method to gauge copper levels and a pending state determination of the safe levels of low-leach copper paints. "It makes sense to defer the bill until some of these essential items are completed in 2013," Kehoe said.

Since Kehoe’s term is ending, the ultimate fate of the bill remains to be seen.

Full Moon Reading Material

The June edition of Latitude 38 has just rolled off the presses and is now being distributed all along the West Coast — just in time for weekend reading. So pick up a copy at your favorite marine business and check out all the latest sailing news from the Bay Area and beyond. Read it in an easy chair, read it in the bath tub, read it while sailing — heck, you could even read it by the light of the nearly full moon. 

The June issue of Latitude 38 is ready to read, either from your local distributor or online!

latitude/Annie
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As you can see by perusing our weekend racing preview below, there’s a great variety of on-the-water competition slated for this weekend. But if you flip to the calendar section of the mag you’ll see that there’s also all sorts of non-race nautical fun scheduled, from a Chantey Sing-a-Long aboard the square-rigger Balclutha at Hyde St. Pier (Saturday) to free sailing at Pier 40 (Sunday) courtesy of BAADS. Check it out and have some fun. You undoubtedly deserve it.

Sign Up For SoCal Ta-Ta (as in ‘Goodbye’) Today

Starting today at noon we’ll be taking sign-ups for the first ever SoCal Ta-Ta, a week-long Southern California version of the Baja Ha-Ha that will see a fleet of no more than 50 boats rally from Santa Barbara to Two Harbors, Catalina, with stops at Santa Cruz Island, Paradise Cove, King Harbor in Redondo Beach, and Two Harbors. After reading the Notice of Event at the bottom of this page, interested parties can sign up by going to the event’s website.

The route the SoCal Ta-Ta will take.

latitude/Annie
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As reported earlier, the itinerary will be as follows:

Sept. 9 — Skipper’s Meeting / Potluck on Leadbetter Beach near the harbor

Sept. 10 — Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island, 25 miles

Sept. 11 — Lay day, Santa Cruz Island, hike and socialize

Sept. 12 — Santa Cruz Island to Paradise Cove, 38 miles

Sept. 13 — Paradise Cove to King Harbor, Redondo Beach, 22 miles

Sept. 14 — King Harbor to Two Harbors, Catalina, 23 miles

Sept. 15 — Lay day, Two Harbors, Catalina

Sept. 16 — "Ta-ta" from Two Harbors to your homeport

There will be semi-organized Ta-Ta social events in Santa Barbara on the 9th, at the King Harbor on the 13th, and Two Harbors on the 14th and 15th.

Ta-Ta Entry Update (3 p.m.):

Because of space limitations in King Harbor, the maximum number of boats we can accommodate in this year’s Ta-Ta is 50. For what it’s worth, 10 of those 50 slots were spoken for within the first three hours. We’re not trying to pressure anyone, but if you want a slot, you probably don’t want to wait too long to sign up.

The Notice of Event :

EVENT: The SoCal Ta-Ta is the cruiser rally from Santa Barbara to Two Harbors, Catalina, with stops at Santa Cruz Island, Paradise Cove and Redondo Beach. A ‘cruiser rally’ means that participants can use their engines, although sailing is always encouraged when there is sufficient wind. The legs are approximately 25 miles, 40 miles, 20 miles, and 20 miles. When you sign up for the Ta-Ta, you get the opportunity to have an adventure — not a guarantee of happiness. Because of space limitations in Redondo Beach, the fleet will be limited to 50 boats.

RULES: The Ta-Ta will be governed by the 2009-2012 Racing Rules of Sailing (downloadable for free here) except as amended by the Grand Poobah of the Ta-Ta. All entries must comply with 72 COLREGS, meet Category 2 Offshore Sailing Regulations, fly a radar reflector for the duration of the rally, have a working VHF radio with channels 16, 68 and 78, and an EPIRB (these can be rented). Because the fleet will cross potentially foggy shipping channels several times, all boats must carry an operating radar and/or AIS receiver.

ELIGIBLE BOATS: In order to qualify without special dispensation from the Ta-Ta Rally Committee, entries must be more than 27 feet in length, need to have been designed, built and maintained for rigorous offshore sailing, and must be able to maintain an average speed of 5 knots under sail and/or engine. The Ta-Ta does not inspect boats or safety gear, nor does it evaluate the suitability of crew. That is entirely the responsibility of the Person In Charge.

RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PERSON IN CHARGE: As per Category 2 Offshore Sailing Regulations, the safety of the boat and her crew is the sole and inescapable responsibility of the Person in Charge, who must do his/her best to ensure that the yacht is fully found, thoroughly seaworthy and manned by an experienced crew who have undergone appropriate training and are physically fit to face bad weather. The Person in Charge must be satisfied as to the soundness of the hulls, spars, rigging, sails and all gear. He/she must ensure that all safety equipment is properly maintained and stowed, and that the crew know where it is kept and how it is to be used.

It is also the sole and inescapable responsibility of the Person in Charge to decide whether to start and/or continue any leg of the Ta-Ta.

CREW: The minimum number of crew is two. At least two members of every crew must be in excellent physical condition and physically able to meet any challenge that the sea might put up. It is the responsibility of each crew member to decide whether the boat they plan to sail on, and her skipper, are appropriate for the Ta-Ta. If a potential crew is not qualified to make that decision, it is their responsibility to hire a marine surveyor to make a professional judgment for them. As stated before, the Ta-Ta Rally Committee does not inspect boats, boat gear, or safety gear, nor do they evaluate the qualifications of skippers or crew.

CAUTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: Entrants are reminded that the waters between mainland Southern California and the Channel Islands expose mariners to all the perils of the sea. While not common, the region is potentially subject to extremely adverse weather capable of overwhelming even the best designed and built yachts. Participants are also reminded that they cannot assume that the skippers or crews are professionals or even particularly experienced ocean sailors.

Taking dinghies through the surf, such as some participants may want to do at Santa Cruz Island, can be dangerous if not deadly, particularly if there is a swell running. Taking a dinghy through the surf is normally so hazardous at Paradise Cove that the Ta-Ta strongly advises against anyone attempting it.

Given these factors, each participant must accept that there are great inherent risks, both on the water and while ashore, when doing the Ta-Ta. Anyone not seeking a high-risk activity, or not willing to accept full responsibility for injury and/or death, is not eligible for entry.

MANAGEMENT:  The rally shall be managed by the Ta-Ta Rally Committee, which shall have the power to interpret the rules, decide protests, and determine which brand of cerveza shall be the ‘official beverage’. The Rally Committee will conduct roll calls and provide weather reports over VHF at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

SLIPS, MOORINGS AND RAFT-UPS: While it may be possible to get a slip in Santa Barbara, King Harbor, and/or a mooring at Two Harbors, all entries should assume they will have to anchor out each night. For this first year at least, entries wanting a slip in Santa Barbara must get one through the Harbor Office, not through the Ta-Ta. Slips will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Entries desiring a slip in King Harbor must get one, if available, through one of the four marinas there, not through the Ta-Ta. Entries wanting a mooring at Two Harbors need to get them through the Harbor Patrol at Two Harbors, not the Ta-Ta. Entries that don’t get a slip in King Harbor must be willing to be part of one of several raft-ups.

DIVISIONS AND HANDICAPS: The Ta-Ta is a ‘nothing serious’ rally-race in which all finishers are winners. Nonetheless, entries will be grouped into divisions, based on the number and type of boats entered. All entries shall compete under the Ta-Ta Handicap System, created — and probably modified during the rally — by the Grand Poobah. While bribes are certainly not discouraged, they may not necessarily have the desired effect. Motoring will be allowed, but with a penalty.

PROTESTS AND PRIZES: Protests must be filed with the Ta-Ta Rally Committee on the dance floor at Two Harbors, Catalina, at midnight on Saturday, September 15, shortly after the awards ceremony. There shall be prizes for every boat that makes it to Two Harbors, but the Ta-Ta is foremost about being safe, having fun sailing, and making new sailing friends — not beating someone or collecting pickle dishes.

YOUR PART:  Everyone who participates in the Ta-Ta will be expected to help out in some way or another, be it assisting with starting a BBQ fire, helping organize a beach party, policing the beach, organizing the raft-up in King Harbor, playing in the Ta-Ta band or whatever. If you don’t have a ‘what can I do to help’ attitude, the Ta-Ta really isn’t the kind of event for you.

THE DETAILS: Specifics regarding the Skippers’ Meeting, the potluck site on the beach in Santa Barbara, the starting and finishing times and lines, the radio protocol, the various social activities, the party sites at Two Harbors, the liability releases and so forth, will be be sent out prior to August 15.

THE ENTRY FEE. The entry fee will be $200. There will, however, be some free swag for the captain and mate.

WHINING AND SNIVELING: Sorry, but neither are allowed on the Ta-Ta.

(A note about the name of the event. SoCal Ta-Ta was selected after concerns that SoCal Ha-Ha would be so easily confused with the Baja Ha-Ha. After considering dozens of other possible names, we decided that Ta-Ta was the best fit, as it’s not only very similar and rhymes with Ha-Ha, it’s also common slang for ‘I’m taking off, see you later.’  To make the meaning clear, the official Ta-Ta shirt will be an image of a couple, no cleavage in sight, waving goodbye from a well, if not overly, equipped sailboat. If you’re got a Bevis & Butthead mentality and would snigger at the sight of a coed in Corvallis wearing a ‘Go Beavers’ T-shirt to an Oregon State football game, we suppose that you might not even notice that the slang for ‘I’m taking off, see you later’, is singular, while the other connotation of the phrase is plural. For the record, ‘Ta-Ta’ shall be the official parting salutation for all event conversations. So "Ta-Ta!" We hope to see you all in Santa Barbara on September 9.)

Moving like an express train that’s behind schedule, the 82-ft M-class sloop Pursuit roared across the Central Bay toward the Blackaller jibe mark.
Bud, the first Eastern Pacific (Mexican) hurricane of the season, had boat owners and/or their watchers stripping boats in Nuevo Vallarta and La Cruz on Friday and Saturday, as it was making a beeline for Banderas Bay.