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Who Are Those Guys?

February 15, 2012 – San Francisco Bay

Oracle Cat
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Jimmy Spithill and his men in black are back on the Bay. We encourage you to get out an have a look. But if you must cross their bows' trajectory, don't underestimate their speed. © 2018 Guilain Grenier / Oracle Racing

With two AC45 wingsail cats seen blasting across San Francisco Bay yesterday, we were reminded of Paul Newman's famous line during his role as Butch Cassidy: "Who are those guys?" No doubt that's precisely what many non-sailors were asking as they watched the ultralight cats blast across the Central Bay at double the speed of typical daysailers.

“It’s good to be back in town and get back into sailing," said Oracle Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill. He and his teammates will be putting their twin cats through their paces for training purposes through Friday, February 24. And a second two-week session is also being planned as a lead-up to the America's Cup World Series event slated to take place on the Bay August 11-19, 2012. (The Louis Vuitton Challenger Series and America's Cup 34 will hit Bay waters in the summer of 2013 aboard revolutionary 72-ft cats.)

The team celebrated their return to the Bay Area by holding a little celebration at the Hi Dive in The City. As an incentive to get folks to join them, Russell Coutts announced on his Facebook page that the first person to ask him for a ride on an AC 45 would get one. It was an offer one Bay sailor took very seriously.

Tom Watson owns the bright pink Pearson Triton Darwind, and is the man behind the popular Pink Boat Regatta that was held at CYC in October. Watson is planning a circumnavigation aboard Darwind and hopes to raise at least $1 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation while doing it. When he caught wind of Coutts's offer, he immediately camped out in front of the Hi Dive so he could be first in line to meet Coutts — 30 hours before the event!

Tom Watson was a man with a mission when he heard Russell Coutts was offering up a ride on an AC 45. © 2018 Larry Cheng

Watson documented the entire 30 hours — plus the goings-on during the party — on his own Facebook page. "It was a fantastic event," he told us today. "Oracle Racing really knows how to throw a party. Everyone was there and they're really approachable — it proves that sailors are the best people!"

Local news crews went down to document Watson's granting of a free ride by Coutts. Photo Courtesy The Pink Boat
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC /

While the details are still being worked out between Watson and Oracle Racing, Watson's goal in braving 30 hours on the streets of San Francisco — including when a crazy lady screamed and farted at him when he wished her a good morning — was to ultimately auction off the AC 45 ride to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. We'll bring you those details as soon as they're available, but in the meantime you can find out more about Watson's efforts at

- latitude / andy & ld

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

February 15, 2012 – San Francisco Bay

J/120 Mr. Magoo
Steve Madeira's Mr. Magoo leads the J/120 fleet on a run under spectacular skies. © 2018 Jeff Zarwell / RegattaPRO

The last day of racing in RegattaPRO's Winter One Design series, on Saturday, February 11, began with a postponement, as the wind held its breath before shifting around to the west and settling in at 6-9 knots. The flooding current kept the seas flat, and everyone behaved, with no protests and no spinnaker shrimping. "There were lots of place changes during the course of the first J/105 race," said PRO Jeff Zarwell, "with Jam Session taking the line. In the second race, the J/105 start got a freebie on what should have been at least three boats 'On Course Side' at the pin end, but due to an OCS flag issue (not visible) they got the free ride."

"A big thank you to Sausalito Yacht Club for again helping out on this event," added Jeff. "It has made it much easier on me to put on a good regatta with their help."

Winning the series were: Grace Dances, J/120; Wonder, J/105; Personal Puff, Megles 24; and Always Friday, Antrim 27. For complete results, see

Express 27 start
The pin end was crowded for the Berkeley Midwinters Express 27 start. © 2018 Joe Boone /

Berkeley YC's Midwinter series enjoyed two days of fine weather. They also started Saturday with a postponement, and then threw in a second postponement to square up the line, as the first two divisions had been piling up at the pin end of the start.

Santana 22 'Mad Max'
Megan Dwyer's Santana 22 sailed as Mad Max on Saturday, and London Calling on Sunday. Love the paint job! © 2018 Joe Boone /

"Sunday dawned with a threat," said Race Chair Bobbi Tosse. "The weatherman warned of rain and heavy wind. However, he was a little vague about the exact arrival time. At start time, it was very, very light, and again unsettled about direction. We settled on a course that went to the south, but about halfway into the race, the promised strong westerly appeared and many of the legs became fast reaches."

The series finishes up with a Champion of Champions Race on February 26. To see all the results, go to

Folkboat Galante
Otto Schreier sails his Folkboat Galante out of Paradise Cay Marina. © 2018 /

Tiburon YC's race on Saturday in the North Bay enjoyed a steady southerly. Although the wind direction held, the velocity started to die toward the end of the race. Principal Race Officer Rob Hutchinson sent the mixed fleet of spinnaker and non-spinnaker boats south to a windward mark, north past the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge on a beam reach, and back to the start-finish line on a one-tack beat. Two trimarans, both sailing singlehanded in their own division, had a more triangular course. This three-part series has one more race to go, on March 10. For info, see

- latitude / chris

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Get the Scoop on Islands of the Bay

February 15, 2012 – Corithian YC, Tiburon

"Did you know that there are 48 Islands in San Francisco Bay?" asks photojournalist James Martin. "Each one has a distinct flavor complete with unique wildlife and views." If that subject peaks your interest, we suggest you attend Martin's slide show and lecture tonight at the Tiburon's Corinthian YC (doors 6:30 p.m.; show at 7). 

A pro photojournalist and adventure traveler for more than 20 years, Martin's insights are drawn from his background in forestry, geology and environmental studies. The club requests RSVPs to (415) 435-4771. In addition to conventional retailers, you can oder the book at Martin's website.

- latitude / andy

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Flirty or Filthy?

February 15, 2012 – Kingston, Jamaica

Tanya's look tell us. © 2018 Rick Meyerhoff

Well, we're rarely at a loss for words, but we just can't put our finger on the correct adjective for this woman's expression. Maybe you readers can help.

The photo was taken by Rick Meyerhoff of the Sausalito-based LaFitte 44 Maya, who recently completed a trip from Panama to the Eastern Caribbean, which meant he was battling trades for about 1,500 miles across the Caribbean Sea. He went via Jamaica, where he stopped at Port Antonio's Errol Flynn Marina. That's where he met Tanya. He describes her as "awesome," but didn't explain exactly what he meant. We assume that he meant she was just a really friendly, funny and playful person in a way that only some laughter-loving Jamaicans can be.

We know a few readers might have a fit about the woman's expression, but down in the Caribbean, where people aren't as uptight as they are in the States, sex is joked about a lot. That is, almost constantly.

To us, this is far more salacious, as well as subversive. © 2018 Sports Illustrated

To our mind, what's really filthy is the cover of this year's Sports Illustrated 'Swimsuit Issue'. While it's obvious Tania was joking around, Time/Life is presenting cover girl Kate Upton — her 19-year-old breasts pouring out of her top and her pubic area just barely covered, while she's smiling like the nice girl next door — as a serious role model of health and vitality that young girls and women should aspire to. Right. If you're a photographer, you'll notice that the shot was taken, as many recent swimsuit issues photos have been, at crotch level, forcing the viewer to focus attention on the young woman's pubic area. Very slick, very subtle — and we think extremely nasty in a subversive way.

- latitude / richard

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