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Weekend (and Weekday) Racing

April 6, 2012 – San Francisco Bay

Corinthian Race at Southampton
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

A light air rounding of the Southampton Shoals platform in last year's SSS Corinthian Race. Photo Latitude / Rob
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The big regatta this Saturday will be the Singlehanded Sailing Society's Corinthian Race, a San Francisco Bay tour beginning and ending at Corinthian YC in Tiburon. And we do mean big – 133 boats signed up! (Entries closed on Wednesday night.) Other races tomorrow include Richmond YC's Spring Tune-Up Race, the first event in their members' championship series; Sequoia YC's Summer #1; and Coyote Point YC's Andy Byrd Memorial Race. It's a relatively light weekend, comparatively speaking, since Easter's this Sunday.

But we've reached that time of year when you no longer need wait for the weekend to go yacht racing. You don't even need a 'yacht'. Svendsen's Thursday Night Races for Lasers and Vanguard 15s out of Treasure Island Sailing Center started last night, and St. Francis YC's Windsurfing and Kiteboarding series both start next week. Actual 'yachts' have lots of beer can race series from which to choose. Berkeley YC's Friday series begins tonight. If you like lots of wind, South Beach YC's Friday night series is a good choice; that begins on April 20. Corinthian YC's popular Friday night series begins the same evening. Not all beer cans are on Friday nights – as a matter of fact, you can race five nights a week if you really want to. For a comprehensive list, see Latitude 38's Beer Can page.

Friday Night Racing
A casual Friday night race shakes off the cares of the week. Here, Sarah Arndt, Michelle Slade and Robin Reynolds relax while racing on a Ranger 33. Photo Latitude / John
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Don't have a boat or a board? Beer cans are a great place to begin your career as race crew. We'll have more on beer can racing, and how you can get involved, in the May issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / chris

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Socrates and Rutherford Updates

April 6, 2012 – Hobart, Tasmania

Solitude is what many sailors seek when they take to the water, but some seek it more than others. Jeanne Socrates, the British granny who is making her way to Victoria, B.C. before starting her third attempt at a nonstop solo circumnavigation, is one of them. Readers will remember that Socrates' Najad 380 Nereida was damaged while rounding Cape Horn in her last nonstop effort, and she spent the next year hunkered down in Cape Town, South Africa. She left Cape Town on February 7 and, after 56 days at sea alone, safely pulled into Hobart, Tasmania on April 1.

Jeanne Socrates after her arrival in Hobart, Tasmania last Sunday. © 2018 Leigh Winburn / The Mercury

"We had a fast overnight sail towards the southeast cape in rough seas and winds to 36 knots," Socrates wrote of her last day at sea. "We were often right on the edge but just managed to keep going — and what a great welcome soon after dawn! Sailing nicely, in less strong conditions, with Mewstone and Maatsuyker Islands in sight ahead, patches of blue sky above, rain well away in the distance— and a big school of large dolphins speeding toward the boat, to leap in twos and threes out of the water close by, to greet me to Tasmania and Australia! This is what landfall is all about — exhilarating. Couldn't ask for better!"

Matt Rutherford has had his share of very difficult moments aboard St. Brendan during his circumnavigation of the American continent. Photo Courtesy St. Brendan
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Meanwhile, Annapolis sailor Matt Rutherford — who's celebrating his 31st birthday today — is just days away from completing his record-setting nonstop solo circumnavigation of the Americas aboard his Albin Vega 27 St. Brendan. Rutherford left Annapolis on June 11, traversed the Northwest Passage, sailed down the west coast of the continent, turned the corner at Cape Horn and is now a couple hundred miles off the Carolina coast.

He's expected to arrive in time for a party in his honor on April 14 at the National Sailing Hall of Fame dock in Annapolis, but as he noted in today's blog post, "All in all I have no idea when I’ll get back. There is a low that will be coming off Hatteras in a few days that might become a gale. If it does it will be northerly and will probably push me backwards for 50-60 miles. Even if it doesn’t become a gale its going be hard going north against the wind. The long term forecast could change but right now it’s pretty bad. This trip will end when Poseidon says it will end and not a day sooner."

Both Socrates and Rutherford are trying to raise funds for charities close to their hearts: Marie Curie Cancer Care and Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, respectively. Click the links above to donate to their causes, then check out each sailor's blog — Nereida's and St. Brendan's — but don't do it till you have some serious time to kill, because once you start, you won't want to stop.

- latitude / ladonna

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Strictly Sail Discounts

April 6, 2012 – Oakland, CA

Strictly Sail Pacific Discounts

© 2018 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC

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April Sailing Fools

April 6, 2012 – St. Barth and Antigua

The full-throttle sailing times keep on coming in the Caribbean for locals and visitors alike, including many sailors from Northern California and elsewhere on the West Coast. First there was the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, then the St. Barth Bucket, then the St. Thomas Rolex, then the BVI Spring Regatta, and today we're into the third of four days of racing in the Voiles de St. Barth. And for anyone who can survive this week, the action moves down to Antigua for the Classic Regatta and Antigua Sailing Week. Only the strong survive, for if the racing doesn't get you, the partying certainly will.

Where there is high-end sailing, there are beautiful woman. At left, the raging South African beauty Tammy of the Dynamique 62 Impluse, and the lovely Debra, wife of Paul, the skipper of the Gunboat 66 Phaedo. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

And nowhere do they have regatta parties like at St. Barth. In addition to the nightly live music bashes on the quay, two nights ago there was a blowout on Shell Beach for the 600 crew and their best friends, and yesterday afternoon there were big parties at Nikki Beach, La Plage, the Ponderosa, and who knows where else. And that was before last night's scheduled activities. With a full moon tonight after the conclusion of the around-the-island race, it's unlikely anything but the exhaustion of participants will stop it. In truth, it's just too much, even for the kids.

This is just the third year of the Voiles, and they are already talking about having to limit entries. The first year there were something like 28 boats, last year there were 45, and this year there are nearly 70. Luc and Toto, the two St. Barth locals who now put on the event, told us straight out they no longer want charter boats, which make up much of the Heineken fleet. The Voiles organizers see their core as serious racers with serious racing boats. But the organizers do their part, with everything from on-the-water juries, to daily four-color glossy event reviews and updates, to social activities like there is no tomorrow, to the beautiful and safe island itself. Just about every participant — owner and crew — is an ambassador for next year's event.

Matt and Pam of Dorade have started one of the most romantic and adventurous sailing campaigns we've ever heard of. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One of the most interesting entries is Matt and Pam Brook's now San Francisco-based S&S designed 52-ft Dorade, which was built in 1929. A native of Northern California, Matt learned to sail at summer camp in Monterey, then bought the Northstar 500 Quarter Pounder. But the birth of triplets took him out of sailing. Twenty years later, after successes in real estate, first ascents in California and Europe, and a 'wrong way' aviation circumnavigation record, Brooks and his wife have jumped back into sailing with Dorade, a boat with a peerless pedigree. Having won their class in the Heineken and taken the first two races of the Voiles, their next event will be the Newport to Bermuda Race, followed by the TransPac in '13. But that's not all. In '15, they'll be doing the TransAtlantic Race and the Fastnet Race. In other words, they'll be redoing the great races that this great yacht did nearly 80 years ago — in a long boat with just 10 feet of beam. A St. Francis YC member for many years, Matt says he hopes to have St. Francis members as crew for the TransPac run.

Madro (left), looking uncharacteristically happy, with jubilant TP52 Powerplay owner Peter Cunningham, a former J/29 racer on San Francisco Bay. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Another sailor who has made a big move up after racing a small boat on San Francisco Bay is Peter Cunningham. Peter used to race a modest J/29 on the Bay some 15 years ago before moving to the Cayman Islands and selling his business. He's now campaigning the TP52 Powerplay with considerable success, and having a blast doing it. "It just doesn't get any better than this!" he exulted during a Nikki Beach lunch yesterday afternoon. In addition to the racing, he was referring to the countless people dancing on the tables, the models putting on a fashion show, and a woman in a Wonder Woman outfit dinghying to the beach with a big bottle of champagne for him. Having raced Powerplay in the Northeast last summer and in the St. Francis Big Boat Series last fall, Cunningham, Powerplay and crew are headed for racing adventures around the Med this summer.

Of course, crew are important to such efforts, crew such as Jeff Madrigali of Whidbey Island, Washington. A professional sailor, sailing coach, sail salesman and golf fanatic, Madro spent the first 30 years of his life honing his sailing skills on San Francisico Bay. He's still a member of the San Francisco YC and still has many friends in the area. "I'm never happy," Madro jokingly complained to us. "After a couple of days of racing, I can't wait to get home. But after being home for a couple of days, I can't wait to head off on another regatta." Such is the life of a professional sailor.

Dee Smith, who got his sailing chops on San Francisco Bay, is crewing on the new 40-ft Decisions. In a light-air race they pulled away from an old Volvo 70. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Another former Bay sailor on hand is Dee Smith, who moved to Annapolis about 15 years ago and has been involved at the highest levels of racing boats ever since. Dee had a big smile on his face. Then there is Bill Erkelens, who for years worked for Larry Ellison and Larry's America's Cup efforts. Erkelens told us that this time around he's setting up the America's Cup base for Artemis, and that the base will be in . . . Alameda at the old seaplane lagoon and base. He told us a big part of locating the base in Alameda is that the housing for the 100 team members will be significantly less of a problem than in San Francisco. The winner of yesterday's SUP race at Nikki Beach was Shannon Falcone, the great big son of Falmouth (Antigua) Marina owner and Carlo Falcone. A member of the Oracle team, Shannon is so big that he's too big to race on the AC45 cats. But just yesterday he got a call from the Puma entry in the Volvo Around the World Race, saying that he may be needed. Indeed, you can't turn around without bumping into somebody at the highest levels of international sailing.

Shannon Falcone, right, winner of the SUP race and a member of the Oracle team, is one studly dude. He stands next to his dad, Carlo Falcone, who owns both the big marina at Falmouth Harbor and Antigua and the beautiful 80-ft wood ketch Mariella. The fellow at left was another contestant in the SUP race. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The first two editions of the Voiles featured 20 to 25-knot winds and extremely exciting sailing. Alas, the first two races of this year's Voiles have seen winds of mostly less than 10 knots. The fleet is hoping for 12 to 15 today and 15+ for the last race.

- latitude / richard

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