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Massive Turnout for AC World Series

May 18, 2012 – Venice, Italy

Prada in Venice
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Prada wins the day with a victory for both Italian boats. © 2018 Ellen Hoke

"I'm surprised that the cheers of the Italian fans didn't wake up every sailing fan in San Francisco," says roving reporter Ellen Hoke. She's in Venice, Italy this week to take in the palpable excitement of the AC World Series event there, where each of Italy's Luna Rosa (Prada) teams took a first in today's races.

venice canal
Even on a slow day, Venice streets bustle with tourism. But we've never seen crowds like this before. San Francisco could take a lesson from the organization and fan enthusiasm seen in the ancient city. © 2018 Ellen Hoke

As you can see above, the spectator turnout has been phenomenal. If you've ever had the good fortune to visit that unique, culturally rich city, you'll appreciate the magic of the venue: Today's races ran between the island of Lido, the basin San Marco and Punta della Dogana, with the finish line placed off St. Mark’s Square — the most famous plaza in the centuries-old city. According to AC organizers, "The boundaries were so tight that crews were tacking or jibing every 30 to 90 seconds it seemed at times."

"How I do describe today?" ponders Ellen. "Great weather. Great racing. Great fans — and a great backdrop!

American fans
Not all the fans were cheering for Prada. This group of American supporters did all they could to make their enthusiasm known. © 2018 Ellen Hoke

"Watching the sailing here is incredible, mostly because the fans just love it.  Each time a Prada boat would go by, the fans would go wild, cheering, sounding horns, anything to make noise for their team. They lined the shore for the entire course — today was the 'inside course' which meant that they were sailing right up to St. Mark's Square. And if Italian fans couldn't find room on the shore, then the they were on the water, as there have been over 2,000 permits issued to spectator boats for this race. If that wasn't enough, there was a floating grand stand where fans were right at the 50-yard line for the racing."

hang on
Team China almost takes a nasty spill. Now you know why they wear crash helmets. © 2018 ellen

Meanwhile, the AC organization announced a major youth sailing initiative yesterday in both Venice and San Francisco, in cooperation with title sponsor Red Bull: “I think the Red Bull Youth America's Cup is one of the most exciting developments in the America’s Cup in a very long time,” says Oracle Team USA skipper James Spithill. Having become the AC's youngest winning skipper with his 2010 victory, he's the ideal spokesman for the innovation scheme.

The idea is to create a program that will create a "clear pathway towards competing" in AC events. Beginning this summer, young adults (19-23) can apply to be team members for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, to be raced aboard AC45s in San Francisco Bay in August/September 2013, coinciding with the 34th America's Cup finals. Stay tuned for more details.

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Opening Day on South Bay

May 18, 2012 – South San Francisco Bay

Opening Day on the South Bay will feature a fun decorated boat parade tomorrow morning. © 2018 Robin Weber

Celebrations for the South Bay Opening Day start tonight at Coyote Point YC with a dinner, but really get rolling tomorrow at 11 a.m. with a decorated boat parade — this year's theme is "Rockin' and Rollin' on the South Bay" — and a blessing of the fleet from the observation deck of the Port of Redwood City. Spectators get to vote for their favorite entry to win the Spectators' Choice Award. The Coasties will have a cutter on site for tours, and exhibits will be set up in the Port's parking lot. The always-friendly Sequoia YC will host breakfast and lunch that day, then Peninsula YC will offer dinner and drinks that night. The next morning, South Bay YC gets in on the hosting action with a Gin Fizz Brunch. All boats are invited to join the parade. See for details.

- latitude / ladonna

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Business Classies Rock!

May 18, 2012 – Mill Valley

"Just an FYI, my little bitty Business Ad got me work from ORACLE RACING. That's right! The guys from OR saw my ad in Latitude 38 when they were here in the Bay Area a few months ago, and they asked for some help with boat lettering for their AC45s. They were great to work for and it was a wonderful experience. Latitude 38 rocks!" – Sue Rosenof, AlphaboatGraphics

Boat Lettering ad circled
Sue's Business Ad in Latitude 38 got Oracle Racing's attention.
Photo Latitude / Annie
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC /

Click here to place your Business Ad, or any ad in our Classy Classifieds, but don't procrastinate — the deadline for the June issue of Latitude 38 is today at 5:00 p.m.!

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Weekend Racing Preview

May 18, 2012 – Northern California and Beyond

IRC start at Stone Cup
The Stone Cup has been replaced on StFYC's schedule by the Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta. This is an IRC start. Photo Latitude / JR
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Local racers have a full range of options this weekend. If you sail a J/105, J/120 or IRC-rated boat, chances are you'll find yourself tearing up the San Francisco Cityfront in St. Francis YC's Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta. If you get your pleasure on a somewhat smaller boat (Etchells, Express 27, J/24, Knarr, IOD, or Open 5.70), you may find yourself running circles around the Berkeley Circle in San Francisco YC's Elite Keel. Trailer sailors, hitch your wagons and head to the Central Valley for Lake Yosemite Sailing Association's Annual Regatta.

Saturday's one-day events include the first installment of the YRA's series for HDA and ODCA divisions, and the third installment of their WBRA series. Club Nautique's American Armed Forces Cup Regatta enters its fourth year, while widening its scope to include more entries, more military personnel, more civilian support, and veterans. Saturday races on Monterey Bay include Santa Cruz YC's Spring One Design #2 and Elkhorn YC's 25-mile Otter Cup.

Are you a woman whose husband or boyfriend is leaving you behind to race in one of the above? This weekend holds opportunity for you as well at the Corinthian YC's Women's Sailing Seminar, with classroom and on-the-water training. Kids get in on the action too at BAYS Regatta #1, hosted by Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation at Sequoia YC in Redwood City.

For more races and other sailing events this beautiful weekend, see our Calendar. And just how beautiful will it be? Sunny skies and light westerly breezes are forecast for San Francisco Bay on Saturday, with maybe a bit more wind on Sunday. The forecast is similar for Monterey Bay, but with patchy fog in the morning. See

Alma at the Master Mariners Regatta
Two National Park Service entries sailed in last year's Master Mariners Regatta: the 1891 scow schooner Alma, and Bear Boat #1, Merry Bear, built in 1939. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Planning to race on Memorial Day weekend and haven't signed up yet? Register by Wednesday, May 23, for May 25's Spinnaker Cup. You can still mail in your form for the Whiskeytown Memorial Regatta or enter in person the afternoon of Friday the 25th (no online registration). Sign-ups for May 26's Master Mariners Regatta are closed.

While recreational sailors are enjoying local races, the 10 Clipper Round the World crews are playing tactics in fickle winds on their way through the Caribbean, en route from Panama to New York in Race 11. Gold Coast Australia had been leading and just won a scoring gate, only to be passed by Visit Finland. The 68-ft boats are currently sailing through the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti. See

- latitude / chris

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