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Oracle's New Wing Arrives in the Bay

January 9, 2013 – Pier 80, San Francisco

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Oracle Team USA's new wing sail was delivered by truck yesterday after taking a tour of South Bay (the Bay Bridge has size and weight restrictions). © 2018 Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

After the devastating capsize October 17 that destroyed USA 17's wing sail, Team Oracle have been busy repairing the boat and readying her for a new wing. A second wing, build in New Zealand, was already in the works, so the timeline for its completion was bumped up. The 131-ft tall miracle of modern technology was delivered to San Francisco's Pier 80 yesterday after arriving by ship in Oakland.

The wing was put on a ship in New Zealand on December 23 and arrived in Oakland yesterday. © 2018 Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

“The guys have done a fantastic job to get the wing built, and it will go together very quickly. You’ll see it out on the water in early February,” said Jimmy Spithill. “We’re really excited to get out there again and, from a sailing point of view, sort of reward those who put all of the work in to get the boat ready again.”

In other AC news, Team New Zealand's CEO Grant Dalton dropped a bombshell in late December when he announced that, instead of sending his crack AC team to any AC World Series events this spring — which he called "distractions" from the Louis Vuitton Cup and the AC Finals — he'll be sending his youth team to sail the AC45s. The Examiner's Chuck Lantz wrote up a very insightful piece on Dalton's decision, but the short of it is that Dalton doesn't want his pro team distracted and worn out by messing around in the AC45s when they should be preparing for the big event in the 72s. 

That news was followed up by the AC Event Authority's announcement on Monday that they "will no longer pursue plans to host a regatta in New York," instead focusing on a "Summer of Sailing" on San Francisco Bay, starting with the Louis Vuitton Cup on July 4. ACEA CEO Stephen Barclay noted that the already scheduled (and partially paid for) ACWS event in Naples, Italy, in April is still on the calendar, but that "our number one priority has to be the events scheduled for San Francisco this summer." It's unclear how much influence Dalton's decision had on Barclay's announcement, but we suspect it may have been substantial.

- latitude / ladonna

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Stamm Retires from Vendée Globe

January 9, 2013 – South Pacific

Bernard Stamm has retired from the Vendée Globe for the third time. © 2018 Bernard Stamm / Cheminées Poujoulat

For three long days, Bernard Stamm has been running his IMOCA 60 Cheminées Poujoulat on emergency energy rations after a UFO disabled both of his hydrogenerators. He was able to contact his shore team only once a day to determine a plan of action, which ended up with his friend Unaï Basurko — a Basque sailor who happened to be in Ushuaia — delivering diesel to Stamm after his Cape Horn rounding hours ago. Shortly thereafter, Stamm notified race organizers that he was officially retiring from the race.

Now with the ability to charge his batteries, Stamm can once again run all of his instruments, including his autopilot, which he had to make due without . . . in the Southern Ocean! (He reports having caught only five hours of sleep in the last three days.) He's intent on continuing on to Les Sables d'Olonne at top speed to finish with the rest of the fleet.

"The entire Cheminées Poujoulat team wishes to wholeheartedly thank Unaï Basurko and the Pakea Bizcaïa crew for their precious help and their response in these difficult moments," read a press release from Stamm's team. "The competition outcome may not be the one we all expected, but their generosity gave this sailors’ story a very strong human dimension."


- latitude / ladonna

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Ad: NorthStar Marine Insurance

January 9, 2013 – Walnut Creek

NorthStar Marine Insurance

© 2018 NorthStar Insurance /

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Maserati Sailing at Record-Setting Pace

January 9, 2013 – The Atlantic Ocean

Giovanni Soldini broke his first international sailing record at 23. But despite a lifetime of achievements he's probably most famous for rescuing Isabelle Autissier in the Southern Ocean during the 1998-99 Around Alone race. © 2018 Tommaso Ausili / Maserati

With any luck, Italian sailing legend Giovanni Soldini will be paying a visit to San Francisco Bay before March 1 — via the most difficult route we can think of. He and an international crew of eight men left New York on New Year’s Eve day aboard the VOR 70 Maserati on a nonstop, 13,000-mile sprint that will take them south to Cape Horn, then north to the Golden Gate. Their goal is to break the Clipper Challenge Cup record of 57d, 3h, 2m, set in 1998 by Yves Parlier and his crew aboard Aquitaine Innovations. Previous to a flurry of new records and failed attempts between the mid-’80s and late ‘90s, the record set by the famous three-master Flying Cloud (89d, 8h) in 1854 stood for more than 130 years.

So far, Soldini’s record attempt appears to be going well, with Maserati now approaching the Equator. The sole American on Soldini’s team, Ryan Breymaier, reported this morning: “So we blasted straight through the tradewinds in good time. It was not your typical downwind slide like in the ARC brochure; more of a firehose reach as we crossed at a 90 degree angle.

“As I write this, we are about 160 miles from the equator. We just sailed directly out of perfect 20-knot trades into a 25-knot squall with a 40-degree forward windshift. Boris [Herrmann] says 'Oh s**t, welcome to the doldrums.' And he was right. The wind now fluctuates between 9 and 14, but at least we have one thing going for us: there is still wind.”

Breymaier went on to report that GRIB files currently show no wind holes ahead, so they may squeak through the equatorial doldrums without coming to a grinding stop. And the long-term forecast looks favorable also. “It’s looking good though, with no major stoppages before the Falklands, just a super wet boat.” 

A rough estimate made by the Latitude 38 supercomputer tells us that Maserati is currently moving at a record-setting pace. That said, they still have 10,000 cold, wet miles left to go.

wet night on maserati
Much of the NY-to-SF route is likely to be cold, wet, and nasty. But what an adventure! © 2018 Ryan Breymaier

Whenever they arrive, though, we expect the Bay Area sailing community will give Soldini and crew a very warm welcome, as was the case when Isabelle Autissier broke the record in 1994, and when Parlier broke it four years later.

- latitude / andy

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

January 9, 2013 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

Spirit of Elvis
Lewis Lanier's Santana 35 Spirit of Elvis is sailing in the GGYC Midwinters. © 2018 /

Both Golden Gate YC and Sausalito YC continued their midwinter series on San Francisco Bay last weekend. Both made do with about 3-8 knots of wind, on an ebb changing to flood. With a light breeze out of the east, Saturday's GGYC race had a backward start (west to east along the Cityfont). The rain mostly held off for GGYC's fleets, except for the stragglers, and SYC's race on Sunday was entirely spared. If you were out sailing on Sunday, as the SYC racers were, you might have noticed a big swell running and waves breaking on the City side of the Gate. With the wind out of the north, SYC's race committee got the race off on time with a downwind start to Blackaller Buoy off the beach in San Francisco, returning to Knox west of Angel Island, then a short downwind leg to the finish near Little Harding. You can see who's ahead in each series at and

Grey Ghost
Doug Grant's Hanse 342 Grey Ghost is sailing in SYC's Midwinters. Sausalito always manages to look pretty. © 2018 /

"Dreary… that sums up Saturday's Tiny Robbins Midwinter Race #3 here in the North Bay," writes Gordon Smith of Vallejo YC. "Race day conditions were marginal at best. Visibility was on the poor side." The tide and wind were perfect, however, and the rain held off until after the last boat had crossed the finish line. The last finisher, with a big smile on his face, shouted at the race committee, “Hey, I did it! I beat the rain!”

Red Thistle
A happy Thistle is a fast Thistle. © 2018 Richmond YC

Richmond YC also reports a gloomy setting for their Small Boat Midwinters on Sunday. El Toro sailor Gordie Nash said it was a day of light, shifty breeze. "The wind rarely got above six knots, and that was in the puffs," he commented. Nick Burke of the Laser fleet said they had four once-around races in a 3- to 8-knot northwesterly out on the Southampton course. Understanding the current out there, which mostly ran from the weather mark to the leeward mark, was crucial for a strong finish. The long list of results from this first race day of the series can be found at

Rose Bowl Regatta
Charleston (right) leads Stanford and Fordham at the last mark. © 2018 Rich Roberts

At the Rose Bowl Regatta in Long Beach, Point Loma High School's varsity team (from San Diego) won the high school Gold class, and St. Francis of Woodside won the Silver division. In the College division, Stanford came from behind to top second place Charleston. The final results can be viewed at

Less than 24 hours after the online entry system opened, the maximum limit of 300 boats had registered for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Rolex Fastnet Race. This sets a new record previously held by the last race in 2011, when the limit was reached after 10 days. Kind of reminds us of the Delta Doo Dah!

Have you seen the 2013 Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Schedule yet? It's online in both eBook and html formats, and the index page features our latest 'Sailor(s) of the Month'.

Calendar covers
Onboard or online, this 100-page booklet is a handy reference guide for racers all year long. Photo Latitude / Annie
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / chris

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