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"Conduct Unbecoming a Member of St. Francis YC"

October 12, 2012 – San Francisco


(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Heartfelt thanks and a ride aboard Energy Team wasn't enough for Todd Tholke. © 2017 ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

We've gotten overwhelming reader response to the Wednesday 'Lectronic report that San Francisco sailor Todd Tholke has had Energy Team's AC 45 catamaran 'arrested' over a salvage claim. The catamaran apparently broke free of her mooring in San Francisco in the wee hours of the calm night of September 30. Tholke spotted it, got his 14-ft Boston Whaler, and by himself towed the cat to Treasure Island. The French thought a little publicity and a ride on their boat in the World Series would be thanks enough. Tholke's lawyer says his client is thinking more along the lines of $200,000 or more.

The overwhelming Latitude reader response to Tholke's $200,000 claim has been outrage. A good number of readers wondered why Tholke didn't simply contact the Coast Guard, who could have easily contacted the America's Cup folks or the French team, who were certainly better equipped to effect a safe salvage. A good number of readers said that had they been in Tholke's shoes, they wouldn't have dreamed of asking anything for towing the wayward cat to safety, that it was a sailor's obligation, and that they would have been thrilled for the 15 minutes of fame and a ride on the cat. Many others have said that it would make sense if Tholke were compensated along the lines of what it would have cost Vessel Assist to have towed the cat back to port. Only a couple thought $200,000 was a justifiable claim, and one of them only because he thought the legal battle was going to cost the French about that much.

Who is Todd Tholke? As we reported on Wednesday, some time ago he identified himself to the San Francisco Bay Guardian as a street musician who lives on his sailboat. “I work on the docks and I’ve been living aboard my sailboat for fifteen years,” Tholke told the Guardian. “That’s how I supplement my lifestyle as a songwriter and musician in San Francisco. I live on a boat.”

But Tholke also might be the only San Francisco street musician who is also a member of the venerable St. Francis YC, one of the most revered and celebrated yacht clubs in the world. If you think St. Francis members are pleased that a fellow member is demanding $200,000 for the 'salvage' of Energy Team, you'd be wrong. Indeed, a very reliable source at the St. Francis YC has told Latitude that a letter is being composed and will be sent to the flag officers of the club asking that Todd Tholke come before the flag officers for "conduct unbecoming a member of the St. Francis Yacht Club."

- latitude / richard

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New items in Our Chandlery

Classy Deadline the 15th


Weekend Racing Preview

October 12, 2012 – San Francisco Bay Area

After last weekend's insane schedule of no less than 16 area races coupled with the America's Cup World Series and Fleet Week, this weekend's racing scene is comparatively mellow, but no less eye-catching. As noted in last Friday's Racing Preview, tomorrow's Jessica Cup will give spectators quite a show with big woodies strutting their stuff, while smaller boats battle it out in the Albert T. Simpson, Joe Logan and Calvin Paige Regattas over Saturday and Sunday. All of them are hosted by St. Francis YC.

San Francisco YC hosts the Fall Classic, a Knarr, Bird, Folkboat and IOD invitational over the weekend and should be a great photo op for those out on the water. Another reason to take your good camera with you sailing on Sunday is the retina-searing 2nd Annual Pink Boat Regatta, hosted by Corinthian YC. Entered boats compete not only for first place, but also for the highly coveted 'Pinkest Boat' award. And the crews aren't afraid to get inventive with their uniforms!


Seattle's inaugural Pink Boat Regatta earned $36,000. Can this weekend's edition on San Francisco Bay beat our northern neighbors? Photo Courtesy Pink Boat Regatta
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The ladies will also be rocking the helm on Saturday in Tiburon YC's women's skippers race, the Joan Storer Regatta. And last but not least, the Vanguard 15 Tomales Bay Fleet Championship runs both days at Inverness YC. More than 20 races for up to 30 boats should keep racers from getting into too much trouble afterward. Bay Area Lasers are invited to join as well.

- latitude / ladonna

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Ad: Intrepid Landing & Driscoll's Boat Yard

October 12, 2012 – San Diego

Intrepid Landing: Lowest-Priced, Most Convenient Ha-Ha Berthing in San Diego. 


This aerial of Intrepid Landing was taken about a month before the finishing touches were put on.
© 2017 Intrepid Marina / www.intrepidlanding.com

We're at the foot of Shelter Island right next to everything you need. It's less than 250 feet to the San Diego Marine Exchange chandlery, Rig Works riggers, Driscoll's Boat Yard, and popular cruiser bar/restaurants such as Fiddler's Green, the Brigantine, and Pt. Loma Seafoods. Our marina is two blocks from the West Marine Super Store where the Baja Ha-Ha Kick-Off Party will be held, Downwind Marine, Pacific Offshore Rigging, various sailmakers, canvas makers and other marine service providers.

Not only do we have the best location in town, thanks to our pre-Grand Opening Special, we've got the best deal in town — 75 cents/foot on a weekly basis. We're 25% less than the Police Dock. Daily rates, too. Call Mike Benedict at (619) 226-2500.

Driscoll's Boat Works: Ready For Last-Minute Ha-Ha Haul-Outs 


Driscoll's Boat Works can service everything from average cruising boats to megayachts.
© 2017 Driscoll's Boat Works / www.driscollinc.com

We love the Ha-Ha! If you need a pre-Mexico bottom job — or an emergency haulout — we'll take care of you, and at special Ha-Ha rates. We're easy to find from the water, too. Just look for Profligate, the Ha-Ha mothership, at our end-tie which is her San Diego home. Call Chuck Driscoll at (619) 226-2500.

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To Go Into the Sea or Not?

October 12, 2012 – Mexico


Most people think of Baja as almost nothing but desert. And it is. But there are exceptions, such as the intense greenery found around Mulege. Photo Courtesy Larikan
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

When folks get ready to do the Ha-Ha, they often wonder if they should go up into the Sea of Cortez right after the finish in Cabo, of if they should wait until late spring when the water warms up again.

We think there are two considerations. First, are you still going to be in Mexico in the spring, or will you have departed for Central America or French Polynesia? If it's the latter, we definitely urge you to at least make the 120-mile dash up to Espiritu Santa and Isla Partida, if not La Paz, too. Unless the Northers have started early, the water will still be warm and you'll be able to see natural beauty the likes of which can't be found anywhere else in the world.


The Sea is a great place for frugal cruisers, as there aren't many restaurants, and the Sea can be your fish market. Gabby holds up the catch of the day. Photo Courtesy Larikan
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The second consideration is whether you're a hard-charging cruiser or a poke-along cruiser. If you're the former, by all means head up into the Sea right after the end of the Ha-Ha — Northers willing, of course — until the water cools down. If, on the other hand, you like to take things slow, you might head over to the mainland after the Ha-Ha, saving the entire Sea of Cortez for when you head up there in April.


Don't like fish? Well, how about shellfish? Verdo picked up this meal during his morning swim. Photo Courtesy Larikan
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The best months in the Sea are generally May and June, when the water has warmed up but the daytime air temperatures haven't gotten out of hand.

A little over a year ago, Gabriella and Peter 'Verdo' Verdon, who have run big yachts all over the world and who worked for both the Alinghi and Oracle America's Cup campaigns in Valencia — and are friends of Doña de Mallorca's from her days on yachts in the Med — sold their home in Queensland and came to California in search of a cruising boat. Much to their surprise, they chose a production boat, a Catalina 42 that had already done one circumnavigation and therefore had much of the cruising gear they were looking for. They christened her Larakin.


You don't see road signs like this in the States very often. Baja is all about creatures that know how to survive in the desert. Photo Courtesy Larikan
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While Gabby and Verdo can't wait to get back to remote places in the South Pacific such as the Solomon Islands, after a winter on the Mexican mainland, they headed into the Sea of Cortez and have been loving it. So no matter when you visit the Sea — right after the Ha-Ha or in the spring — don't miss it.


If there is a place with more colorful sunsets than the Sea, we haven't been there. Photo Courtesy Larikan
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / richard

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Ad: Northern California Boat Fest

October 12, 2012 – Marina Village, Alameda, CA


100s of 'Sale Boats of the Day'

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