Forecasters sent out warnings on Friday, and Bay Area sailors prepared for the possibility of a very blustery Saturday afternoon. In fact, the warnings were so dire that the OYRA made the decision to cancel the Farallones Race, while the St. Francis Yacht Club was making contingency plans for kiteboarding’s Hydrofoil Pro Tour on the Cityfront. The reality turned out much differently.
The Washed Up Yacht Club found conditions perfect for another gorgeous, trouble-free summer cruise and raft-up in Clipper Cove, with about 45 boats tucked up in a star pattern (and a dance "floor"). They too were making contingency plans and setting extra anchors in case the breezes appeared and upset carefully-laid plans.
James Dilworth attended aboard his Santana 22 Pip saying, "A thoroughly impressive event given the number of folks attending. There must have been 50 boats rafted up in a giant circle, and a floating-dance platform in the middle. They were monitoring 69 the whole time and guiding new boats into the circle. My crew all want to go back next month!"
The St. Francis Hydrofoil World Tour had four solidly windy days with three short- course races and a long-distance race scheduled for Saturday. We spoke to a tired Johnny Heineken, who reported, "Saturday’s long-distance race from St. Francis to the Berkeley Pier and back was a tricky one, with a northerly in the East Bay, a westerly on the Cityfront and a hole in between. I had to swim a while in the hole until the ebb took me out to the westerly and I was able to relaunch and finish, but not many were able to get through it." Johnny came in second to kiteboard world champion Nico Parlier and just ahead of last year’s Pro Tour winner Guy Bridge.
Over at the Corinthian Yacht Club the Women’s Sailing Seminar was going with plans to take 50 less-experienced women sailors on the Bay. Plans to include reefing became unnecessary as the conditions remained pleasant across most of the Bay.
Of course, offshore and on ridgetops, the winds did really whip up, so perhaps it was best not to have done the Farallones race. And luckily for the rest of us not looking for nuking conditions, both Saturday and Sunday were great days to sail on the Bay.
Thirty-seven teams are poised in Port Townsend for the start of the fourth annual Race to Alaska (R2AK), which kicks off on Thursday. ‘Eclectic’ doesn’t even come close to describing the fleet.
With the main rules for the 750-mile northerly trek from Port Townsend to Ketchikan being "No motor, no support," anything else goes. And anything else is going. There are seven muscle-only-powered entries, including one SUP (standup paddleboard), several kayaks, and a rigless Farrier trimaran powered by oars and a pedal-driven prop. Two entries include a couple of hybrids — what we’d call ‘sail assisted’ human-powered craft: a Hobie Mirage and an interesting 19-ft boat called an Angus Rowcruiser. The latter is coming all the way from Connecticut — and is racing in the R2AK for the third time.
As far as real sailboats, that too is a hodgepodge. What we’d call the ‘serious boats’ include several Corsair trimarans, a couple of Olson 30s, a J/88, a 34-ft racing proa, a Melges 24, a Santa Cruz 27, and last year’s solo record-setter, Team PT Watercraft’s Gougeon 32 catamaran, which completed the course in 9 days, 6 hours. (The all-out course record is 3 days, 20 hours and change, set in 2016 by Team Maddog, a 32-ft cat with three crew.)
Rounding out the fleet are beach cats, daysailers, trailer sailers, an old 1970’s IOR battlewagon, and the grande dame, Team Ziska’s 38-ft (52 LOA with the bowsprit) Morecambe Bay Prawner, which is just what it sounds like: a 12-ton, engineless, wooden gaff cutter built in 1903.
Pretty much all the sailboats — including the prawner — have been outfitted with some sort of oar or pedal-power arrangement to keep them moving when the wind goes away.
Most teams are homeported in the Pacific Northwest, but others come from all over, including South Carolina, Ohio, Idaho, Florida, New York, Colorado, Wisconsin and as far away as France. The sole California entry this year is Team Dreamcatcher’s Olson 30 from Piedmont. Lawrence Olsen, Michael Donovan, Brian Garber and Lukas Bridgeman will sail/row the little sled.
The R2AK is raced in two stages, one little and one big. On June 14, the fleet will take off from Port Townsend for the short 40-mile Leg 1 crossing to Victoria. At high noon on June 17, they’ll start the big leg — 710 miles up the Inside Passage to Ketchikan.
First boat in gets $10,000. Second, a set of steak knives. Everyone else gets the satisfaction of surviving. For the rest of the story (including some of the most hysterical bios we’ve ever read), and to follow the race, go to www.r2ak.com.
Bay Area sailor Terry Betts picked up a copy of the May issue of Latitude 38 at the Marina Bay harbormaster building in Richmond, only to find a loose card falling out with a photo of Crissy Fields stating, ‘Your Lucky Day.’ That’s right, by picking up a fortuitous copy of Latitude, Terry’s got a ‘Tude hat headed his way.
Look for Terry sporting his new hat while sailing his 1994 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37.1 TerryB out of Marina Bay.
For the past several months, our printer has been randomly tucking a couple of ‘Lucky Day’ notices into copies of Latitude (think of it like the Golden Ticket in Willy Wonka without all the weirdness). By the way, there’s still one ‘Golden Ticket’ out there in the June issues, and there’ll be a whole new round coming in the July issue, which will hit our distributors‘ newsstands on June 29. Oh yeah, and if you’re in the Alameda area, you can now pick up a copy when you visit Faction Brewing on Alameda Point. So go grab a cold beer and a hot copy of Latitude, kick back, and enjoy the West Coast’s premier sailing magazine.