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A Quickie from the Voiles

April 10, 2013 – St. Barth, French West Indies

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Steve Schmidt relentlessly raced his Santa Cruz 70 in fun Caribbean races. Having owned his boat since '91, we wonder if anyone has sailed more miles in a SC70. Photo Latitude / Donna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The fourth St. Barth Voiles is now in full swing, and it is swinging. Monday night the Fabulous Johnson Blues Band played for the opening night party, and they were as advertised — fabulous. And the free canapes were plentiful and delicious.

One great thing about the Voiles is the welcome you get. We don't know how to spell this gal's name, but it's pronounced 'Swa-zeke', a name common in Brittany. Anyway, during the day, she helped us become member of the St. Barth YC. And at night, she served us drinks while doing a happy little dance. Photo Latitude / Donna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

With something like boats -- we still haven't seen the final entry list -- the starting area was crowded. But the weather was perfect. Photo Latitude / Donna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Yesterday's 18-mile first race featured everything from bright sunshine to drippy squalls, with mostly 12 to 17 knots of wind. But most of the day the 65-boat fleet saw ideal Caribbean sailing conditions. Somehow we found ourselves aboard Steve Schmidt's SC 70 Hotel California, Too, the only cruising SC 70 ever made. Oddly enough, we also found ourselves — just about ready for Medicare — on the jib sheet. Yeah, the winches were electric, but still. You gotta love those Santa Cruz boats, because even with a shortened rig they move through the water so sweetly, even without a chute. In fact, Schmidt, who has been cruising the boat — mostly in the Caribbean — since taking delivery new in '91, says about 96% of the times that he's moved the boat, it's been under sail.

You meet the greatest people at the Voiles. Gerry, an artist from Paris, and Alice of St. Barth. Photo Latitude / Donna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Heroina, a Frers-design built for Frers. Photo Latitude / Donna
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Throughout the day, we saw very competitive racing. Yesterday's course went windward around the island, which had some daring skippers closely shaving by rocks and other obstructions. One of the boats we crossed tacks with was the German Frers-designed 76-ft Heroina. Frers had her cold-molded for himself in Argentina a number of years ago, and picked up spare parts from other boats, such as a winged keel from an IACC boat, a mast from a maxi, and so forth. If we get this report done in time, she's going to be our ride for today. In fact, if we don't end this report right now, we'll find ourselves on the beach, so we're outta here.

- latitude / richard

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Ad: Pacific Cup Seminar

April 10, 2013 – Berkeley, CA

Pacific Cup Safety at Sea Seminar May 19

© 2018 Pacific Cup Yacht Club /

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Racing Round-Up

April 10, 2013 – San Francisco Bay and Long Beach

Ficker Cup
Last weekend's Ficker Cup led up to this week's Congressional Cup. This is LBYC's Dustin Durant vs. Japan's Waturu Sakamoto. Taylor Canfield, age 24, of USVI, won the Ficker Cup. © 2018 Rich Roberts

During Day 1 of the Congressional Cup in Long Beach yesterday, Mathieu Richard of France and Briton Ian Williams dealt better with weird conditions than anyone else. By day's end, they shared the lead in their 10-boat international fleet, with four wins and one loss each.

The wind shifted around the clock through the afternoon – first from southeast, stirring up sand on the beach, then turning a hard left with a nor'easter from downtown, and finally to the familiar southwest at 12-18 knots, with gusts to 22 over a choppy course. Scott Dickson is representing the hosting club, Long Beach YC. Williams won the last two Congo Cups. Can he three-peat? The world-class match racing series, sailed in Catalina 37s, continues through Saturday. See

On Thursday night, Lasers and Vanguard 15s began their weekly series out of Treasure Island Sailing Center. A scary forecast might have kept some sailors away, but the stormy weather cleared out in time for the start. "Conditions were great for the first night of the series," said Mike Bishop of the Laser fleet. "Wind was in the low teens and the fog and rain stayed away for the night." The V15s also have team racing on Tuesday nights at TISC.

Encinal YC Twilight Series race
Bill Mohr's J/124 Spirit of Freedom, Kevin Clark's Melges 24 Smokin', and Tony Pohl's Farr 40 Twisted sailed in Class A of EYC's first Twilight Series race. © 2018 Fred Fago

Twenty-two boats took to the Estuary on Friday night for Encinal YC's first Friday night race, while 14 made it out for Berkeley YC's first Friday nighter. "A short course was set to get all boats back in as darkness took over," said BYC's fleet captain, Patrick Hind-Smith. "The days are getting longer and so will the Friday night courses." See results at and Island YC's Friday night races start this week.

Richard Butts' J/105 Melilani, Rick Dalton's Hunter 38 Iowa, and Henry Kleinberg's Express 37 Primordial Sloop start SeqYC's first Summer Series race. © 2018 Tim Petersen

Sequoia YC started their Summer Series on Saturday. "The weather was not very summer-like, with cloudy skies and a light drizzle," said fleet captain Richard Butts. The fleet started with an 8+ knot wind that was more westerly than normal. "Everyone tacked to port as soon as possible and headed out for a long sail toward San Mateo Bridge, taking advantage of nice wind and favorable tide." Once around their windward mark, the boats headed south. "A relatively unknown patch of mud was encountered near where the bridge span meets the causeway," said Butts. "Two of the contending boats ran aground." Mike Reid and Jeff Phillips' Express 27 Magic won the spinnaker division, and Ray Collier's Catalina 320 Linda Carol took first in the non-spinnaker division. Race results are posted at The next Summer Series race is on May 11.

Bullship Race start
The delayed start of Saturday's Bullship Race. Keep your eye on the yellow boat #11500... © 2018 /

It was a damp herd of El Toros that crossed the Gate from Sausalito to San Francisco on Saturday morning after a one-hour postponement to wait for ships and visibility. Gordie Nash went the furthest east, and was least impacted by the new ebb. When asked why he won, Gordie said, “I finished ahead of everyone else.” For complete results and more, see

Bullship podium
The top three Bullship finishers at St. Francis YC's fancy parking lot podium, left to right: Buzz Blackett, second; Gordie Nash, first; Bruce Bradfute, third. © 2018 RYCPhoto

This weekend's Ski/Sail was canceled, but some the Ski/Sailors are organizing a low-key, free local regatta at TISC – minus the skiing – with a barbecue afterward. For more info and to sign up, see We'll have more on the coming weekend's races in our Friday post.

- latitude / chris

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Learning the Multihull Ropes

April 10, 2013 – Oakland YC, Alameda

Sailors, like everyone, are resistant to change. When it was announced that the America's Cup would be sailed in multihulls, monohull lovers the world over voiced their outrage. But after seeing these fantastic machines do things that once only seemed possible in science fiction, many Luddites are changing their minds and becoming interested in sailing in their own multihulls.

Learn what it takes to sail on a multihull such as the all-carbon X40 SmartRecruiters at tonights presentation at OYC. Photo Courtesy SmartRecruiters
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you'd like to learn more about multis, pop on over to Oakland YC tonight for a talk by North Sail's Seadon Wijsen and frequent Latitude contributor Dave Wilhite. "Our talk will focus on four areas of multihull sailing," says Wilhite. "Boat set-up, sail usage, race approach, and the importance of physical conditioning." The presentation, which starts at 7:30 p.m. and scheduled to run about 40 minutes, is free and open to the public. A Q&A session will follow. Click here for directions.

- latitude / ladonna

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