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Sleeping Giant Awakens

March 23, 2009 – South Tower

South Tower Demon
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The Olson 40 Spellbound gets 'demonized' on the way home from the Lightship. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

Some people don’t believe that the South Tower Demon exists. They explain those instant changes in wind direction and velocity — which often cause nearby boats to spin out and momentarily head right toward the tower — by spouting lame ‘facts’ based on supposed real-world physics. Yeah, right.

Most local sailors know better. They are aware of the Demon, and give him due respect as they pass by the South Tower on the way back in from the ocean. But there are always a few who venture too close. Sometimes in the winter you can get away with it. But not during a healthy westerly such as we had this last weekend. Then — as you can see from this photo — he is alive and well and up to his old mischief. For what it’s worth, it’s all in fun. We aren’t aware of any boats that have actually hit the base around the South Tower. But some have gotten pretty darn close. When that happens, right before you go change your underwear, you can sometimes hear what sounds like laughter way up in the girders. How much more proof do you need than that?

- latitude / jr

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Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

17th Annual Banderas Bay Regatta

March 23, 2009 – Banderas Bay, Mexico

Louis and Laura of Hayward, on #13 Cirque, hit the pin end of the line at the start of the first race. The couple, in their second year of cruising in Mexico, scored three bullets. © 2018 Jay Ailworth

The Vallarta YC, guided by Regatta Chairwoman Laurie Ailworth and Race Committee Chairman Mike Danielson, knocked it out of the park with last week's three-race Banderas Bay Regatta for cruisers out of Paradise Marina. With 40 boats, participation was up nearly 30% from the last couple of years, and the event went off as smooth as silk. The wind gods seemed to pick up on the good vibes and provided the best wind for the event in several years. Admittedly, the first day's winds were erratic, as sometimes two boats headed on the same track were on opposite tacks. Conditions for races two and three couldn't have been better, however, with consistent 12-22 knots of wind across the entire bay. A great new twist for the event was a 21-mile distance race for the big boats, providing a fast and scenic tour of the eastern part of Banderas Bay.

Byron Chamberlin's Newport Beach-based 51-ft Rose of Sharon was the only schooner in this year's event. Not only was she beautiful, she was leading her class until she tore her main prior to the start of the third race. © 2018 Jay Ailworth

Winners in the five divisions were as follows: Louis Kruk and Laura Willerton took Class A honors with their true cruising boat, the Hayward-based Beneteau 42S7 Cirque. Not only that, they did it with all bullets. Latitude's Surfin' 63 Profligate nipped Greg Dorland and Debbie McCrorie's Lake Tahoe-based Catana 52 Escapde in the multihull class, which might have been won by David Crowe's San Jose-based M&M 70 Humu-Humu had she not blown out her only chute in the last race. Class C went to Joaquin Bargello's Vallarta-based J/24 Tenza. Class D to Patsy Verhoeven's La Paz-based Gulfstar 50 Talion, which had come 400 miles from La Paz for the event, and which had about a dozen people fly down from Portland to crew. Class E went to Eros, Jody Ward's La Paz-based Lapworth 36. Not only did Jody also sail nearly 400 miles for the event, but he sailed with a crew of local kids. Well done to all!

One of the J/24s in the regatta was never seen after the last race. Some suspect she was gobbled up by Greg Dorland and Debbie McCrorie's Tahoe-based Catana 52 Escapade. © 2018 Jay Ailworth

Patsy Verhoeven and the Portland-based crew of her Gulfstar 50 Talion made the best of traveling so far for the regatta, taking first in class. © 2018 Jay Ailworth

Bob Smith's Vancouver-based 4,000-lb cat Pantera was the fastest boat on the course, having hit 27 knots in practice. But she's a true cruising boat, as Smith has twice singlehanded her from Puerto Vallarta to Vancouver, and has been cruising her in Mexico for years. © 2018 Jay Ailworth

- latitude / rs

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Ad: 30th Doublehanded Farallones Race

March 23, 2009 – To the Rocks and Back

Just one mark!
It's an easy race course with only one mark to round.
© 2018 BAMA /

BAMA's 30th Doublehanded Farallones Race is this Saturday, March 28, and the forecast is for sunny skies and temps in the high 60s. Sailing instructions are online and can be faxed for entry until Friday, March 27, at 8 p.m. After that, deliver the signed entry to the race deck at Golden Gate YC before 7:45 a.m. on race day. Payment can be made online at the BAMA store. Have a great race!

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Weekend Racing Wrap-up

March 23, 2009 – The Bay and Slightly Beyond

crewed lightship
If the turnout for Saturday's Crewed Lightship is any indication, OYRA is looking pretty healthy. Fifty-one boats made the trip to the lightbucket. © 2018 Peter Lyons /

Although it's not technically the season opener, the OYRA Crewed Lightship is the first YRA race of the season and we're hoping that the turnout — 51 boats in eight divisions — bodes well for the year to come. The fastest boat to the lightbucket and back was unsurprisingly Peter Stoneberg's Formula 40 catamaran Shadow which made the trip in just under three-and-a-half hours. The fastest monohull was Andy Costello's J/125 Narrow Escape — remarkably only a little under 14 minutes slower — from PHRO1A, the scratch monohull division which also featured a great mix of fabulous fifties. Five Express 27s sailed one-design and the rest of the PHRF fleets had great turnouts. Results are here.

Express 37s
The Express 37s rumble downhill at Spring One-Design. © 2018 Peter Lyons /

St. Francis YC wrapped up its spring invitationals a day early at Spring One-Design. Sunday brought breeze into the high-30s with enough of a northerly skew to put the course into the shipping lanes, so racing was abandoned. That meant that Saturday's three races ended up being the counters for all three divisions: the Express 37s, J/120s and J/105s. Results for those are here.

- latitude / rg

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