January 8, 2016

Big Wave Day

Triple-overhead swell stacks up along the Sharp Park area in Pacifica.

© 2016 Erik Simonson

The pro surfers at Mavericks may have been delighted with yesterday’s 40-ft waves, but the huge surf that pounded the California coast in the wake of the most recent El Niño-enhanced storm prompted the closure of the Pacifica Pier, San Francisco’s Fort Point, and King Harbor Yacht Club in Redondo Beach, doubtless among other venues.

Keith Hemstreet posted this video from King Harbor YC:

Laura Priest, the office manager at KHYC, reports: "We had no real damage, just a little bit of the blacktop breaking up. We closed the club to be cautious. The road was closed too. We’re open today."

The esplanade just north of the Pacifica Pier goes into deep rinse cycle during Thursday’s powerful wave demonstration.

© Erik Simonson

The following video, posted by Mila Zinkova, shows the Pacifica Pier, with some souls braving the waves past the barricade signs.

KPIX reporter/videographer Don Ford, who is also a local racing sailor, accompanied Coast Guard Station Golden Gate out to the Potato Patch. The Coasties took advantage of the conditions for big-wave rescue training.

SF Boat Show Moved to April

Following the recent march of storms and surging waters even inside San Francisco Bay, the National Marine Manufacturers Association last night made the tough decision to postpone the Progressive Insurance San Francisco Boat Show. Originally scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend on January 15-18, the show will instead come to Pier 48 and McCovey Cove on April 28-May 1.

The S.F. Boat Show builds temporary docks in McCovey Cove, adjacent to AT&T Park. The Giants will be at home through April 27, but then away for the dates of the show.

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The sea state in McCovey Cove has been too rough, creating concerns for damage to the boats and safety for the show-goers. "El Niño is wreaking havoc on the Bay Area, as you are likely aware, and as a result, is forcing us to change our plans for the San Francisco Boat Show," writes NMMA’s vice president, Dave Geoffroy. "In addition to preventing construction of our docks and creating unsafe conditions at our in-water location, El Niño-related weather is prohibiting us from producing the boat show you have come to expect, while jeopardizing the amount of attendees we are likely to see. The new dates are a much more ideal time for a boat show in Northern California."

Indeed, the S.F. show will come three weeks after Strictly Sail Pacific on April 7-10 (which will be held in Richmond instead of Oakland for the first time). The NMMA was fortunate to get a window of dates that were available within the baseball season.

Waterfront Developer Seeks Input

In November, when preliminary plans were proposed that would drastically change the layout and character of Alameda Marina, it created a furor of protest and outrage among many local boaters.

The many sailors who currently dry-sail their boats out of Alameda Marina feel particularly threatened by the move to redevelop the property.  

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Yesterday, Bill Poland, a major shareholder in the marina’s ownership, explained his position on redevelopment of the property in an op-ed piece in the Contra Costa Times, and reached out to the boating community for input. "I became part-owner in Pacific Shops Inc. (PSI) in 2006," explains Poland, "joining the Svendsen family in buying the property from John Bentzen with the express intention from Day One to redevelop it with a mix of waterfront uses… On behalf of PSI, Svend and Sean Svendsen signed a new tidelands lease with the city in May 2012, requiring a master plan for demolition and/or replacement and/or comprehensive rehabilitation of existing improvements on the property and for construction of a new, higher-value project."

Poland further explains, "Our agreement with the city includes conditions to make an initial $10 million investment, including a mixed-use commercial and residential project, by 2020… The lease extension and financial investment cannot be sustained under the current marina and boatyard business model. Working within the current zoning for the property, a mixed-use development project is the only financially viable plan to restore and redevelop the property."

Poland encourages boaters and other interested parties to visit the marina’s website for additional info on potential development plans, and he encourages feedback via the site’s email portal. So if this is a hot-button issue for you, don’t miss your chance to chime in.

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