On Monday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude, we asked the West Coast about their weekend. Last Saturday in San Francisco, we had gnarly, gale-force winds offering both glory and carnage for sailors. In response to our query, Kimball Livingston wrote the following subject-line-only email: "We sailed teenagers on Nacras on Saturday. All day." Intrigued, we asked for pictures.
As it turns out, there was a Nacra 15 clinic held at St. Francis Yacht Club last weekend with juniors from around the country. Local boats included sailors Jack Sutter and Charlotte Versavel, as well as Hoel Menard and Cali Salinas.
"As chair of our junior committee," Livingston wrote, "I can say that we are pleased to find that the Nacra 15s are manageable for young teenagers — much more stable than 29ers. Last Saturday’s clinic was sailed in an ebb-tide drubbing with gusts to the high 30s; without that manageability it would have been over in a hurry. Not that it was easy. The only skipper who didn’t capsize was 13-year-old Nick Lovell from New Orleans."
"When the weather moderated on Sunday," Livingston — who is also a St. Francis Staff Commodore — continued, "we sailed the kids under the Golden Gate Bridge and almost out to Point Bonita. Then the coaches lined them up and said, ‘Send it.’"
The US Coast Guard will kick off National Safe Boating Week at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, May 19, with a free Water Safety Fair in Sausalito. The venue is Coast Guard Station Golden Gate in Fort Baker, right below the North Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. Parking is free.
The event will give the public (and the media) an opportunity to meet local first responders and learn about boating safety through demonstrations and discussions. A rescue helicopter demo (scheduled for noon), rescue boat tours, a K-9 explosive-ordnance detection demo, and information about boating safety, radio communications and paddle safety are all on the agenda.
"We’re excited to meet with the community to promote safe and responsible boating heading into the summer," said Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Whitlow, a boatswain’s mate who has helped plan the event for the last four years. "The Bay Area is a beautiful place to enjoy getting out on the water and we want people to get out there and have fun, we just also want them to make it back to shore safely."
Coast Guard personnel will also give away free “If Found” label for owners to stick on their small watercraft. If a board or boat is found, the sticker provides contact information so rescuers can determine if there is an actual emergency, or if the craft is simply adrift.
Earlier this month the Coasties in Astoria, OR, responded to a nighttime collision near Tongue Point, on the Columbia River, that resulted in a damaged sailboat and a boating-under-the-influence charge. A skipper was cited for BUI and negligent operation of a vessel after his boat collided with another sailboat. BUI can include alcohol, marijuana, illicit drugs and prescription drugs.
The CG says that in the Pacific Northwest, 87% of accidents list human behavior factors as a primary cause for the accident. Stats show that 30% of all accidents involve two or more boats, and 60% of accidents are caused by failure to follow navigation rules. Among drowning victims, 83% were not wearing PFDs.
"Most boating accidents can be avoided if boaters follow basic safe boating habits,” said Cmdr. Sean Cashell, response chief, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “Please don’t boat under the influence and be aware of your surroundings and others on the water.”
The CG Public Affairs office reminds all mariners to follow these basics:
- Always wear a life jacket.
- Bring a radio (we’re assuming they mean a VHF, not an AM/FM!)
- Check the weather (again, a VHF radio can be useful).
- You are not alone.
- Stay afloat — of your changing environment.
- If you see something, share something (with nearby mariners).
See www.safeboatingcampaign.com for more on National Safe Boating Week, May 19-25.
While many Bay Area sailors are busy preparing for this summer’s Pacific Cup and the Singlehanded TransPac, it’s easy to forget that there is another race to Hawaii that begins farther up the West Coast. Back for its 27th edition is the Victoria-Maui International Yacht Race, originating in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, and sailing 2,308 miles to the rustic old whaling port of Lahaina on the island of Maui. After a big fleet of 22 yachts took on the “half-century” edition of the race in breeze-on record-setting conditions in 2016, signups are off slightly with just 11 entries for this year’s edition. While the fleet may be smaller this year, it’s still plenty interesting, unique and diverse, ranging from the requisite fleet of racer/cruisers to a TP52 and an old Whitbread/Volvo 60 vying for line honors.
At the pointy end of the fleet is likely to be Peter McCarthy’s Reichel Pugh-designed TP52 The Shadow II and Chris Stanmore-Major’s new-to-him Whitbread/Volvo 60 Charger. Formerly known as Yamaha and skippered by Ross Field, she won the Volvo 60 class in the 1993-1994 Whitbread Round the World Race. Now in Stanmore-Major’s hands, she has been dusted off and re-fit after a long time in storage to begin embarking on an ambitious regatta and delivery schedule as a pay-to-play charter operation similar to J World’s Santa Cruz 50 Hula Girl or the Clipper Round the World Race.
As is generally the case in the Vic-Maui, the bulk of the fleet comprises of performance cruisers and racer/cruisers in the 40- to 50-ft range. Clayton Craigie’s Beneteau First 40 Anjo is the sole California entry in the race, representing Richmond Yacht Club. She should have her work cut out for her against a couple of Beneteau First 40.7s from Vancouver. The Beneteau contingent is strong in the race, but one of the boats we’re most excited to watch is the J/122E Joyride; a design that both rates and sails brilliantly.
The 27th Victoria-Maui International Yacht Race kicks off with its first start on July 1 in Victoria and concludes with the awards ceremony on July 21 in Lahaina. Follow the race and the fleet at www.vicmaui.org.
Richmond Yacht Club will host the new and improved Lipton Cup on June 15-17. RYC Staff Commodore Dick Loomis explains how the regatta was reimagined:
In the fall of 2016, a small group of commodores got together for lunch at Encinal Yacht Club. The purpose was to discuss high school sailing in the Bay Area. The clubs represented were St. Francis YC, Richmond YC, San Francisco YC and Encinal.
The meeting was very congenial. We all realized that we should be working together to advance our sport. Rather than ‘us’ versus ‘them’, we wanted to become ‘we’. We all agreed that we should meet again. RYC (I was the rep) volunteered to host the next meeting. We weren’t certain what the agenda would be, but we felt it was important to get together occasionally if for no other reason than to foster friendships and fellowship — esprit de corps, if you will.
During that meeting at RYC, I raised the subject of the Lipton Cup. We all agreed it had fallen on hard times, as participation was minimal. The Lipton Cup is a PICYA (Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association) event, but we felt if we offered them help they might agree to a change in format.
Russ Silvestri was sitting to my immediate left, and I turned to him and asked, "What do you think?" Russ replied that he thought RYC should host it using the StFYC J/22s. Make it one design. Nobody goes home. All the teams stay and party together. Have fun events that would encourage teams to get to know their competition. Goofy events like SUP racing. Liar’s dice. A tug-of-war. High tea to honor Sir Thomas Lipton. The possibilities could include a variety of divisions: 60-year-old skippers, women skippers, juniors, age categories. The ideas were flying. We could race the boats from StFYC to RYC on Friday, race on Southampton on Saturday, then race from RYC to StFYC on Sunday. Boat shuttles for the crews could be provided. Spectator boats would be encouraged, as would a cruise-in to RYC.
So, the idea of a combination of distance races and an umpired regatta with masters, open and women’s classes was a group effort. It was designed to draw in a lot of different participants. That was exactly our thinking. We wanted to shake things up a bit.
Everyone at the meeting was really enthusiastic about the possibilities. But, and this was a big but, we were concerned that PICYA would not take kindly to our ideas. But then we all agreed that if they didn’t agree, we’d do it anyway. Turned out PICYA loved the idea!!
It was decided that Russ Silvestri and Kimball Livingston would try to sell the idea to StFYC. I would present it to Richmond YC. Both clubs bought into the idea of a new and improved Lipton Cup, especially if we could get other clubs involved.
We hoped that we could get 10 clubs to join us. In fact, that was the max possible because that is the entire St. Francis J/22 fleet. The J/22 was the boat of choice from the beginning. They are one-design boats all tuned alike with good sails. We wanted the playing field to be as even as possible. We wanted it be a test of the sailors.
Protests: We don’t want any! We thought that on-the-water umpiring was best. This would allow all the crews to get to the social, fun, off-the-water activities. After all, who in their right mind wants to sit in a protest room? We want this event to be fun — and sitting in a protest room isn’t fun.
We will have a post-race evaluation to determine future Lipton Cups. What to do the same? What to do differently? All participating clubs will be asked for their opinions.
We are working with the RYC harbormaster to encourage overnighters. There is limited dock space available, so it is suggested they contact the harbormaster to make arrangements as early as possible. Spectator craft are encouraged.
To quote Kimball, "It’s our boat. Let’s rock it!"