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A Gathering of Geometric Proportions

September 28, 2009 – Alameda, CA

raftup eyc
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

No, it's not one of our fancy Photoshop exercises. Sailors from EYC actually did this. The gap, by the way, was intentional, so dinghies could come and go. Will another club try to outdo them with an even larger raft-up? If so, we want photographic evidence. Photo Courtesy Encinal YC
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you think it's easy to align a fleet of boats in a circular raft-up, think again. As Encinal Yacht Club member Bill Blackburn reports: "A lot of discussions took place around the club about how to pull it off, as no one had done it before. Eventually, our La Cruisidora, Adrienne Rogers, searched the internet and finally came up with a plan.

"Choosing a location was a problem. Our first thought was Angel Island, but the new mooring rules and swift currents would be a problem. Next was Clipper Cove, a lot smoother, but significant tides and sometimes “iffy” bottom would also be a challenge. The solution was a large body of water in the Estuary right across from Marina Village and part of the Estuary Park in Oakland. The bottom was good for anchoring, the tidal influence was minimal, and the only wave action would be from boaters. Since the spot was so close to the club and marinas, anyone could either sail, motor or dinghy over to join the party. We even had a 'to-scale' layout superimposed over a satellite photo of the area  to prove we had the room."

At about 11:30 a.m. last Saturday the "keystone" boat was in place. Mike Gorman’s 64-ft Offshore Wings set a bow and stern anchor facing up the Estuary. They built up the circle from there until all 12 boats were set. On Sunday, "champagne flowed for hours," in celebration of their geometric feat. Will this become an annual tradition? We hope so, but how about 24 boats next year?

- latitude / at

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Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Watson Undeterred by Official Warning

September 28, 2009 – Gold Coast, Australia

The Australian paper The Courier-Mail has reported that the parents of Jessica Watson, the 16-year-old Aussie who wants to become the youngest person to circumnavigate, have received a letter from Maritime Safety Queensland assessing young Watson's skills — and it wasn't pretty. Watson had left the Sunshine Coast on September 8 on a shakedown cruise to Sydney. On her first night out, she was involved in a collision with the 738-ft bulk carrier, Silver Yang, in which her Pepto Bismol-hued S&S 34 Ella's Pink Lady was dismasted but Watson herself was left miraculously uninjured.

In its report, MSQ determined that Watson had spotted the approaching Silver Yang on radar at 2 a.m., then promptly went below to take a nap. She'd noted "a target at about six nautical miles" and "determined the vessel was passing to starboard well clear and not in a crossing situation." Most experienced offshore sailors would have kept an eye on the ship, regardless of its 'projected' course, until it had passed. Instead, around 2:10 a.m., Watson's boat hit and scraped down the side of Silver Yang.

Ella's Pink Lady
Jessica Watson and her family have been officially warned that she should abandon her record quest. © 2018 Tom Forbes

Additionally, the MSQ inspectors found that an alarm on an unspecified piece of electronic safety equipment had not been activated that night. Most radars and AIS units feature proximity alarms, so it's possible that Watson forgot to set hers before going below.

Investigators were also concerned that Watson kept an irregular log, didn't plot her positions on a paper chart or chartplotter, and hadn't developed a sleep management plan for singlehanding.

The agency's official recommendation to the Watsons was that Jessica is simply too young and inexperienced to continue with her record attempt. But the Watson family is undeterred. A statement on her website says "Jessica Watson and her team wish to advise all of her supporters that she remains on track to achieve her goal of being the youngest to sail solo around the world." It goes on to bemoan the leaking of the "confidential" MSQ letter, claims that they "respect all of the maritime authorities and the important role they play in ensuring safety on the sea," and that Ella's Pink Lady will be ready to continue on to Sydney next week.

Read more about the latest crop of young record-breaker-wannabes in the October issue of Latitude, which will hit all the usual spots on Thursday.

- latitude / ld

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Ad: Second Annual SailFest

September 28, 2009 – Sausalito

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Weekend Racing Wrap-up

September 28, 2009 – The Bay

J/24 Nationals
Chris Snow's Bogus took the 2009 J/24 Nationals hosted by San Francisco YC. © 2018 Leslie Richter /

Scoring nothing lower than a fourth, while counting four bullets, San Diego's Chris Snow sailed Bogus to a convincing win at the '09 J/24 Nationals hosted by San Francisco YC this weekend. Snow's 13-point total was less than half that of the second and third place boats; tied with 30 points apiece, Mark Hillman's WIP beat out Anthony Parker's Bangor Packet for the runner-up spot after a countback. Next up was Pat Toole's 3 Big Dogs, while the top local boat was Michael Whitfield's TMC Racing in fifth.

EDIT: Apparently the results posted on the club's website Monday morning were incomplete and didn't include the final day's scores. Snow finished with a 1-1 on Sunday to close out the regatta with six total bullets. Hillman stayed in second while Toole moved up to third. Keith Wittemore's Tundra Rose slipped into the fourth spot while Parker ended up in fifth with TMC Racing remaining the top local boat at sixth.

YRA Season Closer
Synchronicity watches as Lizbeth gets launched down a wave at the YRA Season Closer. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

Corinthian YC hosted the YRA Season Closer this weekend. Marking the final event of the Party Circuit for '09, on Saturday the regatta featured an Island Tour race for the boats on the circuit, while the ODCA boats raced 'round the buoys at Knox. Sunday was all about the 'Crazy Eight' reverse-start pursuit race around Alcatraz and Angel Island in whichever direction you wanted. The results aren't up yet, but with the popularity of the Party Circuit, it takes awhile to get through them all. Check back at the link above for results, and bear in mind that you can find all of the these events and more in the 2009 Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Master Schedule. It's available in both print form and on the web in both html and pdf formats, and includes helpful info such as a chartlet of the YRA marks, tide tables, Yacht Club contact info, and more. It's only good for three more months, but the good news is that there will be another edition for 2010!

- latitude / rg

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Calling All Pirates

September 28, 2009 – Two Harbors, Catalina

My name's Buc and I'm here to...
When dark settles on Two Harbors, grown-up time begins. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you're a pirate, it's time to get out the eyeliner and Johnny Depp up. If you're a wench, it's time to dig out that special boob enhacing bra. That's because Saturday won't just be Buccaneer Day, but the 20th annual Buccaneer's Day at Two Harbors.

While there will be activities during the day for kids of all ages, such as costume contests, games and music, this is primarily an event for adults. Once the sun has gone down, it's overwhelmingly an event for adults who enjoy adult beverages and engaging in much more risque behavior than they do the other 364 days in the year. It's a 'what happens at Buccaneer's Day, stays at Buccaneer's Day' type of event.

Having become notorious over the years, Buccaneer's Day has long been the biggest weekend of the year at Two Harbors. All the moorings will sell out by Saturday night, and maybe even Friday night.  As such, many pirates head over as early as Thursday to get a good spot to anchor and warm up their livers.

Sassy lassies
Sassy lassies of all shapes and sizes spill out of their costumes at Buccaneer's Day. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We've had some great times at Buccaneer's Day over the years, but urge everyone to please, please, please be careful, particularly when dinghying back and forth between the shore and boats. Not every dinghy loaded down with pirates has a designated driver, and not all dinghies have lights. If you end up having to sleep on the beach for safety, you will have become part of a Buccaneer's Day tradition — especially if you have a new friend to keep you warm through the night.

- latitude / rs

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