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USA 17 to Fly Again

November 7, 2012 – McCovey Cove, San Francisco Bay

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Some of the flotsam from USA 17 has been repurposed into a "flying" machine. © 2018 Oracle Team USA / Guilain Grenier

Chronicle staff writer Will Kane reported yesterday that Oracle Team USA is making metaphorical lemonade out of the shattered remains of their 72-ft America's Cup contender USA 17, which pitchpoled last month during training, destroying its $2 million wing sail. The team's Shannon Falcone came up with the hare-brained scheme after watching a video about the Red Bull Flugtag coming up this Saturday. Flugtag is a ridiculous — and we mean that in the best possible way — event in which nerds and wannabes attempt to fly in human-powered 'planes' over McCovey Cove. The contraption that makes it the farthest wins. Fortunately for spectators, most are designed to fail in the most spectacular ways possible.

Which is exactly what Spirit of 17 will do. “We’re gonna pitchpole right off the [30-ft] platform,” Falcone told Kane. "So everybody will have a replay of what happened when the big boat crashed." Team captain Jimmy Spithill said if he wasn't a judge for the free event, he'd be right alongside Falcone to take the dive.

Shannon Falcone (right) and Jimmy Spithill confer on the Spirit of 17's rig. © 2018 Lea Suzuki /The Chronicle

The effort came after the entry deadline so the team will not be competing for the top prize, but 33 other teams will be launching themselves into McCovey Cove on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. (viewing starts at 11 a.m.). First place winners receive a day of sky diving while those who take second get to sail with Oracle Team USA. Guess which prize we'd be competing for!

- latitude / ladonna

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

November 7, 2012 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

"Hey, where's the wind?!" asks the crew of John Clauser's 1D-48 Bodacious+. © 2018 /

The first installment of Golden Gate YC's 2012-2013 Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta on Saturday waited for wind for almost three hours. A fluky easterly fluttered flags at the scheduled start time, 11:30 a.m., and so the Race Committee postponed, figuring the westerly would fill in. And it did, but not until 2:15 p.m.!

Knarr caught on the leeward mark
Mark Dahm's Knarr Benino caught the leeward mark during the long postponement and got some assistance from the mark set boat. © 2018 /

The RC promptly dropped the postponement flag, and finally the four PHRF divisions and three one design fleets were off on a windward-leeward course around inflatable marks in 5-8 knots of wind from the 'right' direction. The Knarrs and Folkboats went once around; everyone else went twice, and all the boats that stuck around to start were able to finish before the 5 p.m. deadline. To see who won, go to

Finally, Frank Morrow's IMX-38 Hawkeye is off on a beat to the Bridge. Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Sausalito YC was pleasantly surprised to be able to complete their midwinter race on Sunday after a one-hour postponement. "We actually got off our first race (of five) on Sunday," remarked Race Chair Dave Borton. "This was winter racing at its best. Light, steady breezes filled in from the west. Even with the light flood, most boats went left to find a little more pressure. Everyone eased slowly off the line but made it to the weather mark with minimum difficulty. There were some excellent mark roundings — and a few roundings that gave the mark plenty of room. But that’s the way to use the lighter conditions to get new crew up to speed with their skill improvement." Check out the results at

Maybe we're just lucky, but whenever we race on the Estuary, the air always seems to move on the water enough to get a proper race in. That was the case on Sunday, when Alameda's Island YC hosted the Jack & Jill + 1, a ménage à trois for women skippers. Seven entries in two divisions started right on time and enjoyed a blissful though competitive day of sailing. Go to for results. This race concludes Latitude 38's unofficial women's circuit. If you skippered a boat in two or more of these events, get in touch by Friday, and you could be crowned Queen of the Women's Circuit!

Jack & Jill + 1
The Moore 24 Snafu, skippered by Angela Robrock, leaves Dire Straits, Faster Faster and Ghost behind at the leeward mark in the Jack & Jill + 1. © 2018 /

The top 18 men and 18 women singlehanded college sailors from around the country raced Friday-Sunday at the US Sailing Center-Long Beach for the LaserPerformance/ICSA Singlehanded Nationals off of the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach. Juan Maegli, sailing for the College of Charleston, clinched the regatta after the first race of the day and enjoyed a stress-free afternoon. Erika Reineke of Boston College won the regatta Saturday but continued to show her skill Sunday.

Erika Reineke
Erika Reineke of Boston College leads the fleet of sailors to the finish line during the ICSA/LaserPerformance Singlehanded Championship in Long Beach. © 2018 Glennon Stratton

Nevin Snow of San Diego, sailing for Georgetown, said, “It’s great to be back in Southern California. The weather is way better here and I’ve been sailing well.” He finished his first collegiate national championship regatta tied for seventh with another freshman San Diegan, Olin Paine of Fordham.

While sailors on the West Coast were enjoying record-high November temperatures, those on the East Coast competed in much colder, windier conditions. The Kennedy Cup, ICSA's Big Boat National Championship sailed in Navy 44s, was held on Chesapeake Bay Friday-Sunday in up to 30 knots of wind. Cal Maritime Academy took advantage of their familiarity with big winds to grab second place. But the hosting school, the U.S. Naval Academy, won five of seven races, and so will represent the U.S. at the Student Yachting World Cup in France in 2013.

- latitude / chris

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Vote Latitude 38

November 7, 2012 – Mill Valley, CA

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Practice Makes Near Perfect

November 7, 2012 – At a Costco Near You

On the same weekend for 19 of the last 20 years, the Poobah has ventured into a San Diego Costco to provision Profligate, the Ha-Ha mothership. And each year members of the crew would take a stab at guessing the final total. The Poobah doesn't want to brag, but this year he guessed $1,740, which you can see is a mere $5 from the total. Not bad. But you get better with practice.

Vonnie and her coworker did the best job of any Costco team of packing up nearly $1,800 worth of food. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

What really wasn't bad was Vonnie, a 20-year Costco vet, and her sidekick, a two-year vet, whose name we didn't catch, who boxed all our goodies far better than any Costco team before. And that's saying something. Boy, did their packing make our life easier.

Our provisioning cost of $1,745.75 for 12 people for two weeks is much lower than in previous years. We used to take most of the crew into Costco, and everybody went 'off list', throwing countless extras onto the carts. As a result, the totals used to be  $2,200-2,400 — and our having leftover food that lasted for months. Indeed, some lasted until we got back to California at the end of the season.

What nobody — ourselves included — seems to be able to accept is that there's plenty of food in Mexico.

- latitude / richard

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The Mystery of Beautiful Sunrises

November 7, 2012 – San Francisco Bay

© 2018 Linda Buday

Jack and Linda Buday captured this beautiful sunrise on October 20 from their Marina Village-based Hunter 40 Mind Designs. The Bay has never been a stranger to gorgeous skies at sunrise and sunset, but it seems to us that, lately, sunrises in particular have been especially photo-worthy. We'd love to hear from some meteorological experts as to why they (the sunrises, not the experts) have been so stunning for the last couple of weeks.

- latitude / ladonna

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