June 9, 2017

Cupdate: BAR Brexits, Artemis In the Finals

The Swedes are in and the Brits are out. Artemis came back to defeat SoftBank Team Japan 5 races to 3, while Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing was no match for the lightning-fast Kiwis.

The Louis Vuitton Finals between Team Emirates New Zealand and Artemis Racing starts tomorrow, 10 a.m. Bermuda time. 

Artemis chalked up a sailing hat trick on Thursday, taking all three races from Team Japan and coming back from a 3 to 1 deficit to take the lead in the series and force a final day of racing.

Today in Bermuda, SoftBank skipper Dean Barker took a quick lead at the start, but couldn’t hold off the Swedish momentum for long. Artemis helmsman Nathan Outteridge kept it close on the first run, then made the pass on the upwind leg, according to an America’s Cup press release. "As Artemis Racing tacked at the edge of the race course, Barker was required to keep clear. SoftBank Team Japan made a late tack that left the boat in a vulnerable position and Outteridge pounced. Barker kept clear, but was pushed to a standstill, head to wind, while Artemis Racing sped off into the lead and into the Louis Vuitton Challenger Playoff Finals." 

On Thursday, in the first race after their epic wipeout earlier this week, it looked as if Team Emirates New Zealand might not be 100%. At the start of race five, the Kiwis were well behind BAR at the start, and 24 seconds behind at the first mark. But team New Zealand slowly reeled the Brits in, and about halfway up the fifth leg (going to weather), forced port-tacking Land Rover to duck and relinquish their lead. 

Land Rover BAR managed to take the next race, but finally went down to what seemed like a significantly faster boat. A press release said that Land Rover will be back in the next installment of the America’s Cup, keeping the #bringthecuphome campaign alive. 

Calif. Offshore Race Week Recap

Flying a big genoa in light morning breeze, Dave MacEwen’s SC52 Lucky Duck ducks in close to the Sausalito headlands after starting the Spinnaker Cup on May 27.

latitude/Chris
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Racers who competed in every leg of the second annual California Offshore Race Week got exactly what the brochure advertised: 600 miles of offshore racing down the California coast encountering everything from light air to champagne conditions to heavy-air downwind sailing. Combining the efforts of five yacht clubs in four ports, CORW appears to be the shot in the arm that the nearly dead Coastal Cup needed to survive.

After three legs of competition, it was a clean sweep of the podium for Santa Cruz Yachts, with a 50, a 52 and a 70 dominating the overall standings. Current J/70 world champion Joel Ronning’s SC70 Catapult landed just one point clear of Dave MacEwen’s SC52 Lucky Duck and John Shulze’s SC50 Horizon to claim overall honors. Lucky Duck claimed second in a tiebreaker over Horizon.

Working the coffee grinder on the SC70 Catapult.

© 2017 Joseph Pohl / Catapult

CORW encompasses three very different offshore legs, each one progressively longer than the last. On Saturday, May 27, a healthy fleet of 38 yachts took on the 88-mile Spinnaker Cup from San Francisco Bay to Monterey. The fleet beat out the Gate before reaching down the coast and eventually setting spinnakers for the long downwind slide to Monterey. First to finish was Bill Lee’s modified and re-fit 68-ft sled Merlin, which showed plenty of pace with her bigger rig and heavier TP52 keel, to finish in 9 hours, 34 minutes, 59 seconds. Edward Marez’s SC70 Buona Sera and Ronning’s Catapult finished just minutes behind Merlin, but corrected out far ahead to claim first and second in division. Other division winners included Howard Turner’s J/111 Symmetry, Shulze’s Horizon and Rodney Pimentel’s Cal 40 Azure.

Merlin, looking magical as she sailed out the Gate.

© Erik Simonson

After a day to recuperate in Monterey, 16 teams departed on the Coastal Cup,  204 miles down the coast to Santa Barbara. A race renowned for its gear-busting, heavy-air downwind conditions, this year’s race delivered in a big way. Once out of Monterey Bay and into the northwesterly pressure offshore, the fleet shot off like a rocket down the BIg Sur coast with many posting high numbers in nuking breeze and steep seas. The breeze shut down in the early morning hours of Tuesday, giving a big advantage to the fastest boats, notably Ronning and crew, who claimed line honors, completing the course in just 14 hours, 44 minutes, 21 seconds. One of the biggest stories of the Coastal Cup leg was that of the Moore 24 Snafu’s dismasting and the eventual Coast Guard rescue of both crewmembers, which we wrote about last Wednesday.

Snafu dismasted west of Morro Bay.

© US Coast Guard

After another day to recuperate in Santa Barbara, the SoCal 300, now in its third running, drew 27 boats for light-air sailing off Santa Barbara before a nuking run down the Channel Islands and a lighter finish off San Diego. Making her offshore debut, Frank Slootman’s new Pac52 Invisible Hand showed impressive pace in a wide range of conditions to claim monohull line honors, the Division A win and the overall win. The other big winner was H.L. Enloe’s ORMA 60 trimaran Mighty Merloe, which led the fleet around the course to take an hour off her own course record from last year, finishing the 240 miles in 22 hours, 9 minutes, 18 seconds.

Full results can be found here, and we’ll have more in-depth coverage in the July issue of Latitude 38.

Delta Ditch Run Forecast

Are we fired up for tomorrow’s Delta Ditch Run? Heck yeah!

latitude/Chris
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The San Francisco Bay and Delta region heads into the weekend with unsettled weather. What will this mean for the 138 crews signed up to race or cruise from Richmond to Stockton in tomorrow’s Delta Ditch Run? We asked Mike Dvorak of Sail Tactics.

"Winds for the Delta Ditch Run tomorrow should be more than adequate, as a low-pressure system aloft will bring breezy and gusty conditions to the Bay Area," predicts Dvorak. "With the exception of some wind shadowing from the coastal mountains early in the race, conditions should be ripe for a quick race. The most strategic part of the race will likely be right after the start. A building flood and patchy winds on the shortest route are co-located on the east side of San Pablo Bay (SPB), according to the Sail Tactics Outlook wind and tide forecasts, making going farther out into SPB up to the Pinole Shoal Channel boundary for better breeze potentially a good strategy. The rest of the day should be breezy with winds in the mid- to high teens, gusting into the 20s. As always, our fresh SPB/Carquinez Strait/West Delta wind forecast out tomorrow morning by 8:30 a.m. will have the most accurate forecast for your race."

Mike Dvorak believes that "Better pressure may be found on a slightly longer course in San Pablo Bay, as winds are often light near Pinole Point due to upwind interactions from the land."

© Sail Tactics

The 27th Delta Ditch Run includes 19 Delta Doo Dah entries — DDR is an official DDD event. Though many racers are often in a rush to pack up and beat feet back to their homeports, we recommend sticking around for the Saturday night party at Stockton Sailing Club and more goings-on — including awards — on Sunday. Registration is closed for the Ditch Run, but you can still enter the Doo Dah.

Women Take the Tiller

The Half Moon Bay Yacht Club Women’s Sailing Program hosted its second Take the Tiller Workshop on June 3 to resounding acclaim.

Take the Tiller’s on-the-water portion made use of HMBYC’s fleet of Cal 20s.

© Kara Hugglestone

The day began with an inspiring video about the Magenta Project, the offshoot of Team SCA, the only all-female team in the 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s longest and most grueling yacht race.

Next up was a dynamic improv session with Ann Swanberg of LifePlays Improv & Team Building. Through a series of fun and enlightening group exercises, we learned the power of presence and awareness, of others and ourselves. We learned to trust our compass (aka our body and instincts) and to make sure our skipper (aka our mind) is clear and supportive and so much more. Many attendees said it was their favorite part of the workshop.

“The improv taught me not to be afraid to make mistakes, which is a good mindset not just for sailing but for life in general. Learning to lose your inhibitions, just to try,” said Half Moon Bay’s Laura Gill.

It was time hit the water for a series of challenges: docking under sail power, ‘Zen’ sailing (sailing with eyes closed), crew-overboard drills, tie-the-knot exercises (circling a boat by only tacking or jibing), reefing while underway, and racing. 

The Zen sailing exercise was extremely popular. “You truly feel with all the other senses. You hear the waves on the boat, feel the wind on your skin, the sun on your face, the heel of the boat, and the pull of the tiller. It’s 360° awareness. And you learn to trust your partner for instructions,” said Cat Reining of San Francisco.

Cat Reining, Nalasa Cutler and Carliane Johnson sailed aboard Minnie.

© Kara Hugglestone

After a series of short races, which proved particularly challenging due to shifty winds clocking as much as 45°, it was time for the cocktail reception and keynote talk by Margie Woods, the sole female skipper in the Singlehanded Sailing Society’s 2016 Singlehanded TransPac

Woods explained why she prefers to sail solo. “It brings me peace and into the present moment. It brings me into myself, which is a very important thing, for myself, for everyone.”

It was both inspiring and moving to have a peek into her personal journey of discovery. Her talent for imagery transported us along. “Bobbing around in a tiny 34-ft sailboat, looking out in awe and knowing that land is 1,000 miles in front of you and 1,000 miles behind you…” It was like we were right there with her.

“This second Take the Tiller was a huge success. I loved the way Ann Swanberg’s improv session stressed being present and trusting yourself and the process, and how Margie Woods ended the program with the same emphasis on being fully herself — present and trusting — during her race. I was impressed with the energy of the women coming off the water and how much the learning and new confidence showed in their whole beings,” said Martha Huddle, chair of Take the Tiller and Women’s Sailing at HMBYC.

The happy crew aboard Cactus Flower: Carol Donoho, Koran Wong, Barbara Von Glahn and Deborah Hirst.

© Kara Hugglestone

Indeed, there is magic happening here. “I’m so empowered. I can walk out there and rig [a Cal 20], and it’s so fun I don’t know why we come in,” said Linda Galindo of Half Moon Bay. “I can take my daughters out sailing and they will see a different woman.”

Sailboat Hits Duxbury Reef

A boat crew from Station Golden Gate assists a 32-ft sailing vessel that was taking on water near the Golden Gate Bridge.  

© 2017 USCG

A sailboat hit a reef off the coast of West Marin on Wednesday and started taking on water while it was returning to San Francisco Bay.

A man and his son were on board a 32-ft sailboat when they ran aground on Duxbury Reef, near Bolinas. They called the Coast Guard at about 4 p.m., when they were nearing the Golden Gate Bridge. The Coast Guard arrived and "assisted the man with dewatering using a portable dewatering pump," a press release said. The lifeboat crew then towed the boat to Travis Marina in Sausalito’s Horseshoe Cove.

The Coast Guard towed the boat into Travis Marina.

© USCG

"We caution mariners to know where the buoys are and what they mean," a Coast Guard officer said. "They mark shoal areas to keep boaters out of dangerous waters."

Team Emirates New Zealand suffered a dramatic wipeout yesterday just before the start of a Semi-Final race against Land Rover BAR — all crew were accounted for and reported safe.
Is the sailboat-friendly Icom IC-M802 SSB an endangered species? © Icom Stan Honey, in addition to being probably the world’s best navigator, is the guy who created the incredible graphics that for the first time in history made sense of the America’s Cup and other races.
 Some of the best of the sailing life lies below the keel. © 2017 Tomorrow is World Oceans Day, which also aligns with this week’s UN Conference on the Oceans.
US Coast Guard station Oahu is seeking information on Sea Nymph, a Morgan 45 that had been sailing south from Oahu to the Marquesas, and is now considered long overdue.