February 9, 2018

Boats on the Beach

When settlers first arrived on the shores of New England a few hundred years ago, they said lobsters were so plentiful they’d just wash up on the beach after a storm. They were so cheap they were considered junk food (of course they never conceived of how bad junk food could get a few hundred years later). Today, there might be even better deals washing up on the beaches. 

Steve Damm, a local small boat sailor and member and instructor at Tradewinds Sailing Center, sent us a few shots of boats washed up on Point Pinole and, like the boat we saw washed up near McNears Beach last week, it remains a mystery as to how they got there. We’ve seen news stories of dolphins and whales that beach themselves, possibly after Navy sonar testing, but somehow we don’t think that’s the cause of these three recent beachings.

If you were looking to negotiate a good deal on this boat, you might suggest that the jib looks like it needs replacing.

© 2018 Steve Damm

Shortly after Steve sent the photos, we received a press release from the state of California announcing the availability of $4.25 million in funding for local public agencies to help keep California waterways safe and clean. Nice timing. 

The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) will now accept your grant application for the disposal of any abandoned and unwanted vessels with more than $4 million available from the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund. Applications are being accepted from February 1 through April 30, 2018. 

While this money is meant to alleviate these eyesores, it isn’t enough funding to polish the teak and bring them back to life. But, just maybe, like the lobsters on the East Coast, some may just find that some of what’s washed up isn’t so bad.

If you’re negotiating for this bargain, we’d like to point out that she appears to be riding a little low in the water. Possible issue with the bilge pump? 

© 2018 Steve Damm

After shooting the photos a few weeks ago, Steve reports that the vessel on the beach was removed on January 31 (the blue/super moon day) during a 7.4-plus tide, with the help of a very powerful powerboat and a lot of determination. The vessel near the old pier wasn’t so lucky. She now has a huge hole in her hull and continues to break apart.

You can learn more about the program here.

Volvo Ocean Race Happenings

In the wake of the Volvo Ocean Race’s tragic entrance into Hong Kong, the fleet has now been temporarily reduced to just six yachts, with Danish/American entry Vestas/11th Hour Racing having been shipped to New Zealand for repairs. Aside from the collision upon arrival in Hong Kong, the leg managed to engage the public to a level not seen at other stopovers. With China’s massive population being thirsty for a new experience, well over a million viewers reportedly tuned in to watch live in-port racing during the stopover in Guangzhou. In Hong Kong, the fleet also raced around the island and conducted more pro-am and in-port racing to make the most of the double-city stopover.

Vestas hauled out for repairs.

© 2018 Volvo Ocean Race

Sailing out of Hong Kong in the late morning on Wednesday, February 7, the fleet is set to endure another supremely tactical and challenging leg defined by how well teams can negotiate the north-south transit of the doldrums, where Leg 5 winner Scallywag made their decisive move for victory. Team AkzoNobel was able to claim an early lead upon departure from Hong Kong’s picturesque Victoria Harbour, sailing in flat water using the Volvo 65’s massive Code Zero reaching sail.

Leading the fleet out of Hong Kong at the start of Leg 6, AkzoNobel takes a puff.

© 2018 Pedro Martinez / Volvo Ocean Race

Offshore however, conditions have become significantly more challenging and intense, with teams bashing their way upwind across the Luzon Strait into the North Pacific to make easting before they can point their bows south toward New Zealand. With what is forecast to be a long beat that will eventually free up to quick reaching conditions, the fleet is currently led by a revamped Team Brunel, which has notably brought America’s Cup-winning helmsman Peter Burling back into the fold.

Team Brunel was leading Leg 6 as of this morning.

© Volvo Ocean Race

This will the 11th time that the Volvo Ocean Race has sailed into New Zealand and the 10th time it’s made its way to ‘the City of Sails’, making Auckland somewhat of a home for the race. With Kiwi sailors spread throughout the fleet and plenty of New Zealand influence onboard the yachts — from their Farr design to their Southern Spars masts and rigging — Auckland is one of the most important stopovers, from a maintenance and personnel standpoint. It is at the Auckland stopover that the boats will be completely torn apart for their full service at what is effectively the halfway point of the race, and the last stop before the race’s most challenging leg around Cape Horn.

Vestas/11th Hour Racing’s boat has been put on a container ship to Auckland and is currently well ahead of the fleet. A new bow section is being built at Persico Marine in Italy to be installed in Auckland, and the team is working hard around the clock to pull off a logistical miracle and miss just one leg before returning for the Southern Ocean leg. Details regarding Vestas’ collision with a fishing boat near Hong Kong — which left a fisherman dead — have been decidedly hard to come by, as the team, the Volvo Ocean Race organization and the authorities are all remaining tight-lipped about any firm updates regarding potential criminal or legal investigations.

As the fleet makes its way east before heading south, Hong Kong entry Scallywag and Dutch entry AkzoNobel have taken a tactical flyer and tacked north of the fleet. All six yachts are now on roughly the same heading, sailing northeast to put themselves in position for the long fetch across the South Pacific to New Zealand. As always, you can follow the race at www.volvooceanrace.com or download the app onto your mobile device. Stay tuned as we continue to post updates on the race as the fleet nears Auckland.

Playing Hooky? Who Needs Weekends?

It’s been a terrible winter for skiing but pretty sweet for sailing. Driving out of San Francisco on Wednesday we noticed a few boats were ‘playing hooky’ and snagging a little hump-day sailing. Or maybe they were finally bolting south. The foolish ones were those of us on shore.

It’s been like this almost every day for weeks. This is how to enjoy it best.

latitude/John
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC
The weekend’s ahead so you won’t need to play hooky to enjoy a day like this.

latitude/John
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It’s looking like an ideal weekend for sailing in East Bay events like the BAYS Winter Series #3 for youth hosted by the Encinal Yacht Club on the Estuary, hitting the Midwinters on Lake Merritt in Oakland, or joining Berkeley YC’s Midwinters or Island YC’s Island Days. For the rest of us, a sail over to Angel Island for a hike to the top would only improve upon the views shown above. 

Check out other events for this weekend and the rest of the month in the 2018 YRA Sailing Calendar.

On January 23, a 7.9 earthquake pulsed from the Gulf of Alaska, and triggered a tsunami warning in San Francisco Bay in the middle of the night.