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Rolex Big Boat Series Jams

September 12, 2011 – San Francisco Bay

Farr 400
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

We started off Friday's 'Lectronic with a photo of this boat ripping along. Saturday threw a little too much power to the fleet. © 2018 Sharon Green /

After a gorgeous opening day, the St. Francis YC's Rolex Big Boat Series only got better through the weekend. On Friday the fleet was treated to yet another day with breeze to the low 20s, albeit with more fog. With upper-level moisture moving into the area later that night, it was anyone's guess what Saturday would bring.

Double Trouble
Andy Costello's J/125 Double Trouble smashes downwind en route to a dominant win in IRC C. © 2018 Dave Keane /

There weren't many people guessing there'd be breeze from the high 20s to the low 30s, but that's exactly what showed for the 80 or so boats in the fleet. With a ripping ebb fueling a steep chop, the Bay became a carnage factory, claiming gear and sails. There was enough carnage that we even got a little desentisized to it. The conditions were such that the Farr 30s only sailed one race that day and many boats were in full-on survival mode in what was one of the most epic days of the year.

Getting a TP 52 to haul the mail requires fanatical hiking like that supplied by pushpit rider Chris Baxter aboard Mayhem. © 2018 Sharon Green /

Sunday proved to be the perfect coda for the weekend with sun and breeze into the low 20s for the Bay tour and the three bouy races for the Farr 30s. By the time the boats were arriving back at the dock, some close contests had been settled.

Farr wipeout
Not a good look, but one that a lot of the fleet wore throughout the weekend. © 2018 Dave Keane /

In the Farr 30s, Santa Barbara's Deneen Demourkas prevailed to take her first Farr 30 world championship on her ninth attempt. Trailing Jim Richardson's Barking Mad by four points in the penultimate race, Demourkas' Groovederci was leading with Richardson a couple of places back. At the bottom of the final run, Richardson fouled another boat and had to do a penalty turn, dropping to tenth and handing Demourkas a four-point lead going into the final race. Demourkas sailed an awesome final race to take the win.

Criminal Mischief
Chip Megeath's R/P 45 Criminal Mischief aerates the Bay. © 2018 Dave Keane /

IRC A was a landslide for Jim Swartz' TP 52 Vesper, which proved to be the class of the eight-boat division despite being pushed hard all week by Ashley Wolfe's TP 52 Mayhem. IRC B proved to be a hell of a battle between Brad Copper's Tripp 43 TNT and Sy Kleinman's Schumacher 54 Swiftsure II, with the former taking the honors by only two points. Andy Costello's Double Trouble was the only straight-bullets winner, taking IRC C — a.k.a. the Fast 40s — with blazing downwind speed and solid crew work. Don Payan's J/120 Dayenu took IRC D by a 16-point margin.

Deneen Demourkas
Deneen Demourkas and her crew on Groovederci took their first Farr 30 World Championship, reveling in the gnarly conditions. © 2018 Sharon Green /

Scooter Simmons wrapped up a season championship in the J/105 Fleet #1 by running away with the division for his first RBBS win with his crew on Blackhawk. Chance's Barry Lewis had built enough of a lead that all he and his crew had to do was keep it close on Sunday to win the J/120 division, which they did. Kame Richards notched his third-straight RBBS win with Golden Moon in the Express 37 fleet.

August Ice
Richard Ferris' J/125 August Ice came down from Tahoe for the blast-around fun. © 2018 Sharon Green /

We'll have a lot more in the October issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / rg

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Another Cruiser Death in Gulf of Aden

September 12, 2011 – Yemen

According to multiple international news sources, French cruiser Christian Colombo, 55, was killed and his body tossed overboard late last week during an altercation with pirates in the Gulf of Aden. His wife, Evelyne, was rescued from her Somali captors after a multinational effort tracked down the alleged assailants and overtook their vessel, aboard which Mrs. Colombo was being held captive.

Tribal Kat, seen here in '08, was on her way to Thailand. Photo Courtesy Tribal Kat
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The couple's catamaran Tribal Kat was found adrift and unmanned Thursday in waters off of Yemen by a German warship which had responded to a mayday broadcast during the attack. The EU Atalanta Naval Command center activated additional international resources. On Saturday the French frigate Surcouf detected a suspect vessel and the Spanish warship SPS Galacia chased it down, disabled its engine and took seven alleged pirates captive. It was only after boarding the boat that they realized Mrs. Colombo was aboard. She was unharmed.

Longtime sailor Christian Colombo was a veteran of the French Navy and had set at least one catamaran speed record in years past. Unlike most cruisers who have been attacked while traveling westbound toward the Red Sea, the Colombos were heading east, from the Gulf into the Indian Ocean, intent on visiting Thailand.

According to the watchdog group Ecoterra, at least 50 vessels and 528 crew are being held captive by Somali pirates despite a substantial effort to patrol the region by international naval resources.

- latitude / at

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Ad: Will the Cup Runneth Us Over?

September 12, 2011 – Pt. Richmond

© 2018 KKMI

To earn a discount at KKMI Pt. Richmond, simply click here and complete this short survey. Your responses will help us understand what to expect in the boatyard during the upcoming America’s Cup events so that we can best serve you and your boat. As a thank you, you will earn a 10% discount off bottom painting packages scheduled to come into the yard before the end of 2011.

© 2018 KKMI /

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Prime Cruising Time in Southern California

September 12, 2011 – Two Harbors, Catalina

Cherry Cove
There are still a few places in Southern California that are clean, quiet and beautiful, as well as free of gangs, graffiti, pollution and corrupt politicians. Cherry Cove, just around the corner from Two Harbors, is one of them. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The good news for those of you who cut a fat hog or were otherwise able to take off early on a leisurely cruise down the California coast prior to sailing into Mexico is that it's prime time in Southern California. We're out at Catalina Island, laying to the hook on Harbor Reef, where yesterday's weather was as nice as we've ever seen it. Temps in the high 70s, winds to 12 knots, pancake seas — and a moon that was either full or darn close to it. Even the lights of evil 'Town', 25 miles to the northeast, kind of made it look pretty. The one downside is the water temp, which is going to remain cold until such time as there is serious global warming.

Fire Danger
The fire danger is still pretty high on Catalina in the fall because it's hot and dry. The hills near Banning House burned earlier in the year when they caught fire from a grass mower. Ironically, the hills were being mowed to prevent fires. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

For those of you headed south to join the few Baja Ha-Ha boats that are already here, we can't recommend the Isthmus highly enough. If you're on a budget, you can easily anchor for free on the backside in Cat Harbor, and a little less easily on the face. Or you can grab a mooring by just calling the friendly harbor staff. If you're looking to get into cruising shape, there is terrific hiking all around the Isthmus area, with some spectacular vistas from the higher peaks. But it can be very hot and dry, so bring plenty of water. There is also plenty of flat water on both sides to practice SUP-ing.

Barbecuing is big at Two Harbors, with plenty of free grills on the beach. If you forget your tongs, they sell them at the little store. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Once you've gotten in all that exercise that feels so good, you can swing by the patio bar/restaurant for a cold beverage and/or food. The spinach salad is a delicious and healthy choice, while the Kobe burger is more of the former and less of the latter. And if there's a game on, it will be on one of the flatscreens. If you spend all week on boat projects or catching up on sleep after a lifetime of work, you can look forward to live music and dancing on weekends. After all, it's prime time.

- latitude / rs

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Boat Work is a Family Affair

September 12, 2011 – Newport, OR

The western view from the Port of Toledo Boat Yard is breathtaking. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Latitude editors aren't out every weekend enjoying their boats on the water, though it may seem like it by reading our reports on the Big Boat Series or weekending at China Camp or cruising Southern California. So what do we do when we're not out sailing? Why, work on boats, of course.

The bottom job for LaDonna was a real family affair, and was finished in just two days. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

This editor spent this past weekend working on her parents' Cascade 36 in lovely and temperate Toledo, Oregon (just up the Yaquina River from Newport). With temps in the high-70s, our Tyvek 'zoot suits' made for sauna-like conditions but the sacrifice was worth not being covered in bottom paint dust at the end of each day. In fact, we highly recommend that anyone working on their boat cover themselves head-to-toe in protective gear — Tyvek suit, goggles, respirator and gloves — not only to expedite clean-up but also to prevent potential reactions to the chemicals in boat products.

This editor took no chances -- nary a speck of flesh was visible during the two days of sanding (using a vacuum to catch the dust), fiberglassing and painting. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Since LaDonna (yes, it's named after me and no, I wasn't a spoiled brat growing up!) has an iron keel, special care had to be taken in prepping it correctly, including some intense grinding and fairing, and a special protective coating to prevent rust and corrosion. Unfortunately, my brother missed the lesson on protective gear and wound up with severely irritated eyes. He was better the next day, but he was just plain lucky he didn't have to go to the hospital to have metal flakes removed from his corneas.

A special protective coating was applied to the boat's iron keel but Bro and Dad should have been wearing respirators for this part, even if there was little dust involved. Tsk tsk. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In the end, it took just two days to complete LaDonna's bottom job, mostly because at least four of us were working on her nonstop for both days. So for your next DIY haulout, take a tip from us: work around the schedules of family and friends who enjoy sailing on your boat so you can get as many as possible to help out. Then supply them with good protective gear, and plenty of food and cold drinks. It may cost a few more bucks than if you do it alone, but the work will go faster and you'll have a lot more fun doing it.

Some might think the eastern view from the yard is 'ugly', but in the morning sun, Toledo's pulp mill had a eerily beautiful quality. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / ld

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