A little more than 18 years and nine months ago, Latitude‘s Ocean 71 ketch Big O led an intrepid group of 39 boats south to Turtle Bay, Mag Bay and Cabo San Lucas in the first-ever Baja Ha-Ha cruisers’ rally. (See the entry list here.) It was blowing about 22 knots, so none of the America’s Cup boats in San Diego went sailing the day or our start. Since then, roughly 2,500 boats have done the Ha-Ha — with close to 10,000 sailors participating. If you haven’t Ha-Ha’ed yet, you’ll get your chance in late October. Don’t miss it.
Speaking of missing things, we sure miss Big O. While not large or luxurious compared to today’s 71-footers, she was a heck of an ocean-going boat and, in the Caribbean in particular, she was a party boat par excellence. For three years in a row, Joylon ‘Mr. English Harbor’ Byerley pronounced her the "Outstanding Party Boat" at Antigua Sailing Week. It’s an honor we still cherish.
As great a yacht as Big O was, we love our Surfin’ 63 Profligate. There is a lot to be said for sailing flat, in the teens, with dozens of your best friends aboard. But it’s not so much the boat as the event that counts with the Ha-Ha, so we recommend you ‘come with what you got’ to the Baja Ha-Ha starting line at 11 a.m. October 28. (For full details, click here.)
This Saturday’s Maritime Day celebration at Sausalito’s Galilee Harbor honors well over a century of boatbuilding and other ‘working waterfront’ activities on that site, at the foot of Napa Street.
According to local historians, thirty years after the Gold Rush, Italian fishing families could be found there building felucca fishing boats. By the turn of the 20th century, a pier had been build to accommodate both fishing craft and liveaboard barges that were used as vacation getaways by wealthy San Franciscans — and as emergency residences after the Great San Francisco Earthquake in 1906.
During WWII Navy barges were built there in quick succession, while liberty ships were built nearby. In more modern times boatbuilding and repairs continued, with many shipwrights living on-site aboard their vessels. Artists were also attracted to the area.
When developers made a move to transform the area in 1980, residents got political and formed a non-profit corporation to buy the property outright. After 18 years of haggling with various agencies, the tenants received permits to build a legal liveaboard marina specifically aimed at providing low-cost housing to artists and maritime workers — thus preserving one of the last remaining elements of Sausalito’s ‘working waterfront’ tradition.
Current tenants include boat-builders, sailmakers, marine canvas workers, writers, artists, and actors. On Saturday, you can meet many of them, see the results of their talents and help them celebrate Galilee Harbor’s maritime roots.
In addition to exhibits and demonstrations, there’ll be live music all day, dinghy races, good things to eat and drink — including homemade pies — plus a silent auction and flea market. Big fun, and all for free, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more info click here or call (415) 332-8554.
Join The Fun – 2013 Windjammer’s Race – Labor Day Weekend
Sail in the classic late summer romp down the coast from San Francisco to sunny Santa Cruz! Classes for Cruising Boats, Shorthanded and Crewed Racers. New Saturday race-day – Party All Night!
Saturday’s Westpoint Harbor Marina Regatta was co-hosted by Sequoia YC and the eponymous marina in Redwood City, with startline duties provided by Treasure Island YC on the northeast side of TI. Because of the America’s Cup, the course was modified this year to pass two buoys to port near Angel Island’s Pt. Blunt – rather than rounding Alcatraz – before running down the South Bay to the finish at the entrance to Redwood Creek.
SeqYC fleet captain Richard Butts reported that it was a very busy day on the Bay. "The YRA 2nd Half Opener moved to a course south of the Bay Bridge due to the America’s Cup. With over 200 boats entered and a starting sequence which put them in the same area as the Westpoint boats, it made for some interesting sailing. Reportedly some of the YRA boats thought something was not right as the Westpoint boats did not round the first mark of the YRA course." See www.sequoiayc.org for Butts’ complete report and results, and www.yra.org for results from both days of the 2nd Half Opener.
Dick Loomis of Richmond YC, his daughter Kelly, and his Snipe took a road trip to Ashland, Oregon, last week for Rogue YC’s Southern Cascade Regatta on Howard Prairie Lake. They brought home a third place trophy in the Snipe District Championship.
Robert E. Jones and Ken Kelly of Corinthian YC of Seattle and Royal Victoria YC won the Freedom 20 division of Chicago YC’s North American Challenge Cup, which also featured Paralympic class 2.4mR singlehanded boats and Sonar triplehanded boats, on July 26-29.
Kiteboarding sibs Johnny and Erika Heineken from Larkspur have done it again, winning the West Coast Open/Canadian National Championship July 26-28 at Squamish Windsports Society in British Columbia. Johnny placed first overall, while Erika placed ninth overall and first female. "Extra props to Johnny for sailing smart and consistent all thee days," wrote Erika on her blog. "Pretty cool to win this event for the third time with him."
Marin County teenager Romain Screve finished 36th in a 259-boat fleet at the Opti Worlds, hosted by Fraglia Vela Riva in Riva del Garda, Italy, on July 15-26.
Carsen Lenthall of Dana Point YC took first place in Long Beach YC’s Beach to Bay Race on July 25, winning the Jessica Uniack Memorial Perpetual Trophy, sailing in the 64-boat Sabot C3 class. Lasers, CFJs and Optis raced too. The course goes from Shoreline Marina to the yacht club, about five miles.
At the 213-skiff 29er Worlds hosted by Kalovig Sailing Center in Denmark, Dane and Quinn Wilson, brothers from Ojai, are in sixth place in the Gold Flight Finals. The regatta continues until August 2.
Tom Ehman of ACEA and GGYC, Michael Menninger of AYSF, and Nevin Snow of Team USA45, will present a ‘Cupdate’ at Corinthian YC tomorrow night. If you’re not sure who those people are or what those initials mean, you can find out at cyc.org/event/speaker-series. It’s free, but the club needs your RSVP.
Offshore sailors make note: Effective Wednesday, August 1, the US Coast Guard will no longer monitor voice frequency 2182 kHz for International distress and safety. They will also drop 2670 kHz for marine information and weather broadcasts, and they will discontinue monitoring the International Digital Selective Calling (DSC) distress frequency 2187.5 kHz .
"This termination decision was made after a review of Coast Guard medium frequency (MF) communications sites revealed significant antenna and infrastructure support degradation that put the Coast Guard at risk of not being able to receive and respond to calls for assistance on the 2 MHz distress frequencies," said a Coast Guard spokesman.
Radio guru Gordon West responds, "This is actually a good call. Atmospheric noise on 2 MHz causes even the best of radio systems to not hear much beyond 30 miles ground wave, and 30 miles to shore is the typical maximum range of the Coast Guard’s excellent Rescue 21 VHF channel 16 coverage.
"U.S. Coast Guard Communication Stations (COMMSTA) and Communications Area Master Stations (CAMS) will continue their guard of the following High Frequency safety frequencies:
4125.0 kHz 4207.5 kHz
6215.0 kHz 6312.0 kHz
8291.0 kHz 8414.5 kHz
12290.0 kHz 12577.0 kHz
"VHF Channel 16, 156.800 MHz, will CONTINUE to offer the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 fabulous coverage throughout boating areas of the United States from Coast Guard units, on land, at sea, and in the air. VHF Channel 70 will CONTINUE to be the DSC call up channel to the Coast Guard.
"Only Medium Frequency 2 MHz, here in the U.S., is being dropped by the Coast Guard for a continuous radio listening watch.
"Internationally, 2182 kHz remains the International distress and calling channel. It will still be an on scene distress working channel, and will continue to be an authorized calling channel," writes Gordon.