July 29, 2016

August Latitude Out Today

On the August cover, the super-maxi Rio100 blasts toward the Pac Cup finish at Kaneohe, Oahu, shaving nearly three days off the previous benchmark. This and several other awesome aerials that appear in our recap were shot by Hawaiian photographer Lauren Easley.

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Although we wrapped up our August issue less then three days ago, we’re happy to report that freshly printed magazines are being distributed today throughout the Greater Bay Area and will arrive in SoCal, Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest in a few days. The issue is also readable and/or downloadable (free) right now via our official website

The quick turnaround by our printer means the news inside is as up-to-date as possible. The best illustration of that fact is in our Pacific Cup coverage (S.F. to Oahu), complete with a race overview, breakdown by divisions and lots of awesome photography. The issue also features an in-depth report on the Singlehanded TransPac to Kauai, with anecdotes and highlights from participants.

For you armchair cruisers with a South Pacific voyage on your ‘someday list’, we offer a tantalizing report on the 11th annual Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous. Meanwhile, Max Ebb reports on the joys of small boat exploring in the Delta.  

Elsewhere in the August mag you’ll find our usual mix of sailing news from the Bay Area and beyond, including our hot-topic Letters section, our Sightings news section, The Racing Sheet, World of Chartering and Changes in Latitudes. So grab yourself a copy (or pull it up online), find a shady spot, and soak in all the latest news and insights from the Latitude 38 team.

Comanche Crushes Atlantic Record

Seen here smokin’ across the Atlantic in a near-perfect weather window, Comanche has earned another prestigious spot in the record books.  

© 2016 Yann Riou

Just a week after Rio100 broke Mari Cha IV‘s Hawaii race record in the Pacific Cup race, another record formerly held by the famous 139-foot yacht has also fallen — this time in the Atlantic Ocean. Jim and Kristy Clarke’s 100-foot VPLP-designed super-maxi Comanche has knocked more than 1 day and 3 hours off of Mari Cha IV‘s west-to-east transatlantic record for monohulls, dropping the reference time to an astounding 5 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes 25 seconds. As has become the norm for the all-conquering American-owned and American-built racing yacht, Bay Area native Stan Honey was calling the shots as navigator. He put the boat in the right place at the right time to benefit from the best possible conditions on the leading edge of a low-pressure system. 

Navigation guru Stan Honey checks his data belowdecks.

© Yann Riou

Having been on standby for much of the summer, and nearly leaving on three separate occasions, the team decided to pull the trigger and depart New York in the late afternoon on July 22 to make the most of the promising weather window. Once they got out to sea, conditions did prove ideal, with strong breeze from a good angle and flat seas: perfect record breaking conditions. The world-class crew of 17 sailors had several fill-ins, as key crew members, including skipper Ken Read and helmsman Jimmy Spithill, were in England for an America’s Cup obligation. Even without them, the crew sailed the boat flawlessly and reportedly encountered no equipment failures and very little drama along the way. At 12:19:41 UTC on July 28, Comanche passed Lizard Point (UK) to complete the 2,880-nautical-mile route and claim the record. (To become official, the new benchmark must be ratified by World Sailing Speed Record Council.)

Even without Read and Spithill, the record-breaking team contained a who’s who of sailing superstars.

© 2016 Yann Riou

Navigator Stan Honey explains the magic of the weather window that allowed them to smash the record by not just hours, but more than a day, "There are only about two weather windows a year where a monohull can make it all the way across the Atlantic in one system, and we found one of them. Beating this record by more than a day is above my expectations and I am delighted."

The power-reaching conditions and transatlantic record-setting scenario are almost exactly what Comanche was built for. With this record, she has now taken line honors in every race entered but one: her first Sydney Hobart. But she now holds a Sydney Hobart line-honors victory (2015), the 24-hour monohull speed record and four ocean records.

What better way to start a Southern California group cruise than with dinner on the beach at the Santa Barbara YC?  latitude/Richard
©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC Due to a software glitch, the SoCal Ta-Ta website has been telling applicants that all 50 slots have been taken.
San Francisco Bay Area sailors have been thrilled by more than our fair share of humpback whale sightings this year, but Julia Smith, Marianne Armand and Debbie Fehr had a close cetacean encounter of another kind on July 23.