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We'll See You at the AC World Series

August 22, 2012 – San Francisco Cityfront

NZ down
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

"Man down!" Both the Emirates Team New Zealand and China Team boats took tumbles yesterday -- and higher winds are predicted today. © 2017 Gilles Martin-Raget

If you're ever going to play hookey from work or school in order to follow your passion for sailing, this is the week to do it — assuming, of course, that you're here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Light winds this morning are expected to kick up into the 20- to 25-knot range by the time the America's Cup World Series match racing qualifier schedule begins at 2:05 p.m. today off the Cityfront (through 3:30 p.m.).

venue sf
As you can see there will be turning 'gates' set up at both the windward and leeward ends of the course. © 2017 ACWS

Where's the best place to watch the action? There are many options, including viewing from your own boat outside the perimeter of the racing box; booking a spot on a day charter boat; and watching from the inshore side of the course, anywhere from Crissy Field to the Aquatic Park breakwater/pier. (We're told bleacher tickets are still available for today and tomorrow, but not after.) The heart of spectator excitement will be in the ACWS Village, at the east end of the Marina Green, where you can take in the blow-by-blow action on a huge video screen and hear live commentary (also available on VHF 20). If you love those superimposed first down lines on football broadcasts, you'll be thrilled to see the cutting-edge graphical enhancements developed for the AC by the Bay Area's Stan Honey and others. See Friday's report for complete TV and streaming Internet video notes.

Yesterday Latitude staffers were both out on the water — where we witnessed Emirates Team New Zealand and China Team boats capsize — and in the village, where we and the rest of the crowd were introduced to all eleven skippers.

Laura and Jimmy
Laura Willerton gets personal with Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill at the introductory team presentations yesterday in the Village. Photo Latitude / Donna
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

AC organizers have gone to great lengths to make these contests accessible and exciting for the general (non-sailing) public, as well as to hardcore sailing addicts — with the ultimate goal of making next summer's America's Cup events ready for prime time, in terms of broad-based audience enthusiasm. And as we've noted before, San Francisco is being touted by organizers as the most audience-accessible AC venue ever.

The Bay's typical conditions should provide a greater challenge than almost anywhere else, as noted in many skipper comments yesterday morning: "There couldn’t be a better place to be sailing than San Francisco Bay," said Phil Robertson of China Team. "The wind is fantastic and the boats are extremely exciting to sail in that much pressure; they’re a handful." Ben Ainslie of J.P. Morgan BAR added: "It’ll be slightly chaotic on the start line in 20 knots with 11 boats; I’m sure we’re going to see an amazing spectacle." "We’ve never sailed so much in such strong wind," said Max Sirena of Luna Rossa Swordfish. "It’s going to be tough because the AC45 is a really powerful boat and with the wing you can’t depower it that much."

SF AC village
No matter where you view the races from, you'll want to spend some time in the AC Village on San Francisco's Marina Green. © 2017 ACWS

Racing continues Thursday with two pairs of the match racing quarterfinals and the first two fleet races. That's also America’s Cup World Series Youth Day, a special effort by PG&E and the local sailing industry organization SailSFBay to promote and expand youth sailing. Free of charge and open to all, its activites run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow on the Marina Green. From 2:30-3 p.m. there'll be a high school sailing demo with students sailing up to 20 FJs and 420s.

View the racing lineup at ACWS San Francisco Regatta Format and additional event information at the ACWS San Francisco event page.

- latitude / andy

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Halcyon Damaged on Reef

August 22, 2012 – Zihuatanejo, Mexico


Shannon and Mike left Halcyon on a mooring in Zihua while they returned to the States to work. Photo Courtesy Halcyon
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Mike and Shannon Scott of Florida report that their Formosa 51 ketch Halcyon, which had been left on a mooring in Zihua Bay for hurricane season, went up on a reef last week and has been badly damaged. The couple purchased the boat in La Paz about 18 months ago, and had spent a lot of time preparing her for the trip through the Panama Canal and to the East Coast.

According a Facebook page report by Shannon, the couple arrived in Zihua in May, with their money and visas running out, but with the boat needing to be hauled and have the motor mounts and shaft replaced before they could continue on. Knowing it would be risky, but feeling they had no choice, the couple decided to leave Halcyon on a mooring while they returned to the States to work until January. They purchased a mooring from an individual known to have made a lot of moorings, but unfortunately didn't get to see it before it was put into use. They also hired somebody to watch over their boat.

For reasons unknown, Halcyon broke loose of her mooring last week, drifted onto a reef, and took a pounding. A hole in the hull the size of fist was the least of the damage, as there was also a length-wise crack in the integral keel, and so much water had gotten into the boat that it covered the engine.


Halcyon in better days. Photo Courtesy Halcyon
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

When Michael arrived in Zihua on Friday, he was inundated by a number of people who demanded $2,000 to $3,000 for the work they had done to save the boat. Michael was also told it would cost $6,000 to have the boat, which had already been pulled off the reef, towed to the yard at Ixtapa.

Shannon says that they were unsure if Michael might be held in Mexico until claims against the boat were satisfied, so they consulted a lawyer in La Paz. The lawyer's recommendation was for Michael to leave Mexico immediately — which he has — and to deal with the situation from a distance.

- latitude / richard

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August 22, 2012 – Santa Catalina Island


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l'Hydroptere Makes the Bay

August 22, 2012 – San Francisco Bay

If you haven't been out catching the practice sessions for the AC Worlds this week, you may have missed more than just the AC45s flitting — and flipping — around San Francisco Bay. The 60-ft French foiling tri l'Hydroptere DCNS sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge in the wee hours of Wednesday morning to spend a little time in a place where they might actually find some wind. Skipper Alain Thébault and his crew have been frustrated by a lack of the blowy stuff in L.A. as they wait for a weather window to make their attempt on the L.A.-to-Honolulu TransPac record.


l'Hydroptere DCNS decided to pop into the Bay to watch the AC World Series, and finally get to enjoy a little West Coast sailing. She'll be moored off Corinthian YC until she returns to Long Beach for her record attempt. © 2017 Thomas Lesage

"Deprived of wind so far in our bid to take off for Hawaii, we needed to trial the boat during a delivery spanning several days and it was the perfect moment to head up to San Francisco," said Thébault. "You can picture yourself flying under Golden Gate Bridge and it’s a bit of a childhood dream come true here. As we await the awaking of the wind god on the route to Hawaii, we’ll endeavor to create some very fine images here."

Jacques Vincent, the boat's co-skipper, reported that the delivery north was a typical summer bash. "We left Long Beach under in very sunny conditions and almost no wind. When we entered North California, the weather changed radically with up to 30 knots of wind and tough sea conditions, we were battling upwind for two days, the boat proved again its seaworthiness." The crew spent the time testing everything onboard, including the complex technical systems, in preparation for their record assault.

During her stay on the Bay, l'Hydroptere will be hosted by Corinthian YC, but don't expect this miracle of modern technology to hang around too long. As Vincent pointed out, "at the slightest hint of a favorable weather window to Honolulu, we’ll drop back down to position ourselves at Long Beach.”

- latitude / ladonna

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Racing Wrap-Up

August 22, 2012 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

Melges 20
Skip Shapiro's Melges 20 Makaira at SFYC's Melges Race Week. © 2017 Erik Simonson / www.pressure-drop.us

Over the weekend, San Francisco YC hosted a combined Summer Keel and Melges Race Week. Melges 20s and 24s, J/105s and 120s, and Express 37s all mustered up classes for five one design races on the Berkeley Circle. We'll have the story in Racing Sheet in the September issue of Latitude 38. Melges Race Week was a prelude to the Melges 24 North Americans, tomorrow through Sunday. The 21 entries include three from Europe. See melges24na.com and www.sfyc.org.

Cal 20
A somewhat older 20-ft one design class had their championships in Long Beach over the weekend. This is Dennis Palmieri's Waka Waka, which took first place in the Consolation Series. © 2017 Rick Roberts / www.lbyc.org

In seven races over August 17-19, Alamitos Bay YC members Mark and Bruce Golison on Bandini Mountain won the 29-boat Cal 20 Class Championship, hosted by Long Beach YC. The first Cal 20 was built in 1961, and this was the design's 51st championship regatta. The Cal 20 Junior Class Championship follows on Saturday the 25th. Entries are open through Friday, and the cost is only $30. See www.cal20.com and www.lbyc.org.

Mark and Bruce Golison
Brothers Mark and Bruce Golison are the new Cal 20 champions, a title they also won in 2003 and 2004. © 2017 Rick Roberts / www.lbyc.org

After an amazing 105 races sailed over three days (how'd they do that?), St. Francis YC emerged the repeat winner of the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Invitational Trophy on August 17-19. The Hinman Masters was hosted by New York YC in Newport, RI, with teams representing 10 clubs in a three-on-three format in Sonars. A classic southerly breeze built on Friday, followed by a wet and cool Saturday with a moderate, shifting northerly. Sunday began with a light northerly which died early in the afternoon. The three crews sailing for StFYC were Chris Raab, Thomas Iseler, David Kelly, and Sean Svendsen; Craig Healy, Elisabeth Collins, John Collins, and Tom Ducharme; and Russ Silvestri, Joseph McCoy, Kurt Wessells, and Mario Yovkov. See nyyc.org/hinman-masters-aug17-19.

The Columbia River Gorge, known for nukin' summer conditions, has seen its fair share of light air this season. The notorious 42-mile Doubled Damned, hosted by Hood River YC, looked downright angelic (though air temps were hotter than Hades). Richmond YC's Bill Erkelens won the regatta with his wickedly fast Wylie Wabbit Jack.

Laser Radials
The Laser Radial fleet in the windy second day of racing in the U.S. Youth Championships on the Gorge. © 2017 Jan Anderson / www.janpix.smugmug.com

The U.S. Youth Sailing Championship last week got two days of heavy air and two of light to non-existent air. Columbia Gorge Racing Association of Cascade Locks, OR, hosted this last big national youth championship of the summer. On the last day, the Lasers, Laser Radial and Club 420s completed one race each, and the 29ers never got off the starting line. Mitchell Kiss won the Laser Radials class, Greg Martinez the standard Lasers, Max Simmons and Riley Legault the Club 420s, and Scott Buckstaff and James Moody (of SFYC) the 29ers. One Bay Area parent told us that his son had hoped to compete in the 29er class — but school had already started! For complete details, see http://championships.ussailing.org/Youth/US_Youth_Champs.htm.

- latitude / chris

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