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Closure of Nelson's Forces Boat Exodus

May 3, 2013 – Alameda

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Word on the docks is that Alain Th├ębault's 60-ft foiling trimaran l'Hydroptere, which is hauled at Nelson's in preparation for this summer's assault on the TransPac record, has been given until Monday to find a new homebase. © 2018 Wolfgang Brinck

If you currently have a boat hauled out at Nelson's Marine in Alameda, you may only have a few days to get it out of there before it becomes mired in bureaucratic red tape.

We're sad to report that longtime Alameda boatyard Nelson's Marine has ceased operations in light of pending litigation with the City of Alameda. We're told that the official Sheriff's eviction notice has not been served, but that action is imminent.

Scott Rhoades — a self-described Good Samaritan — and two other volunteers are currently working long hours to alert boat owners of the situation and splash as many vessels as possible before the city officially takes over. After that, boat owners may face substantial bureaucratic headaches to retrieve their property.

"We've been splashing three to eight boats a day," said Rhoades, "and others are going out on trailers." He estimates there are roughly 200 hulls in the compound now. Some are in excellent shape and ready to launch, while others, he predicts, "will never move again." Nelson's has one of the largest dry storage facilities in the Bay Area.

Nelson's is the most prominent marine business on Alameda's Ferry Point. Photo Courtesy Nelson's Marine
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The legal issues behind the seizure are both thorny and complex. The Alamedan, an online news organization, quoted Alameda Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen as saying that, "There’s a slew of issues.” According to The Alamedan, he explained that the eviction action was filed in Alameda County Superior Court in June, and cited numerous code violations that have not been addressed by Nelson's, and that nearly $37,000 in storm water utility fees dating back to 2007 remain unpaid. 

In addition, the Action Alameda News site reports, "Attorneys for the City filed an unlawful detainer action with Alameda County Superior Court on April 21, saying that the marine services company owed $47,659.06 in back rent as of April 5, less a $9,000 check that hadn’t yet cleared. On April 5, the City delivered a five-day notice to quit or pay rent, demanding that Nelson’s either pay the back rent or surrender possession of the site at 1500 Ferry Point."

The law firm Horner and Singer LLP has been contracted by the City as outside counsel for the Nelson's case. When we spoke this morning with Attorney Kevin Montee, lead attorney on the Nelson's matter, he was careful to make the predictable statement that he "cannot comment on pending litigation." However, he did seem sympathetic to the plight of boat owners whose vessels are currently on the property. If you have a boat on site you may call him at (925) 943-6570 to discuss your options.

As this old snapshot confirms, Carl and his father Hal have been associated with the Bay Area boating community for decades. Photo Courtesy Nelson's Marine
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Established in the mid-'80s, Nelson's has been a major institution within the Bay Area marine community. Its founder, the late Hal Nelson, was instrumental in bringing PHRF racing to the Bay, as both he and his son Carl (the firm's current manager) were very passionate about local racing.

Not only is this closure a tragedy for the Nelson family, but it's a sad day when any Bay Area boatyard is forced to shut down operations, as it is all but certain than no new yards will ever open here, given the depth of EPA and BCDC regulations such a proposal would face. Look for more on the Nelson's closure in the June edition of Latitude 38 magazine.

- latitude / andy

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Latitude 38 Crew List

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Marina Vallarta Sold

May 3, 2013 – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Marina Vallarta has been sold and new management have plans for cleaning it up. © 2018 Marina Vallarta

The 400-slip Marina Vallarta, the oldest of all the marinas on Banderas Bay, and by far the one closest to downtown Puerto Vallarta, has been sold. This according to Christian Mancebo, former marina manager at the Marina Riviera Nayarit, who tells us he's the new marina manager at Marina Vallarta.

It's our understanding that the previous owners of the marina had gone into default on their loan years ago and that the marina had been taken over by a bank(s). In any event, the marina, which is surrounded by countless storefronts, went downhill dramatically. Restrooms were reportedly in terrible shape, some docks were falling apart, and the area had a forlorn look to it. It nonetheless remained a popular marina because of its proximity to the airport and downtown Vallarta.

Christian Mancebo, the new marina manager. Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"We have great plans for the marina, rebuilding a part of it and creating a new way of operating it," says Mancebo.

- latitude / richard

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Ad: Pacific Cup Seminar

May 3, 2013 – Berkeley, CA

Pacific Cup Safety at Sea Seminar May 19

© 2018 Pacific Cup Yacht Club /

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Sea Otter Spotted in Estuary

May 3, 2013 – Oakland-Alameda Estuary

Bay Area diver Matt Peterson saw an unusual sight last night on the docks at Alameda Marina last night. "In all my years of working and sailing on the Bay, I've never seen one of these guys here before," he says of the sea otter.

© 2018 Matt Peterson /

At first Peterson was worried the critter might be injured or ill, but after he snapped this pic, the otter ambled to the edge, jumped in and casually swam away. "Wouldn't it be great if they were reestablishing their range here?" he asks. 

Once prolific on San Francisco Bay, sea otters were hunted to near-extinction on the Bay in a short five-year period in the 19th Century. The good news is that, while the California population of these mammals hasn't exactly rebounded, it is slowly increasing. Unfortunately, sea otters are highly susceptible to a disease spread by cat feces, and lately sharks seem more interested in them than normal for some reason — sharks don't typically eat otters. But a U.S. Geological Survey released last August shows a 1.5% increase in the California population since 2010.

We've only spotted a couple of sea otters on the Bay over the last several years. But we did see a whale in The Slot last weekend. If you catch a snapshot of a sea otter or another marine mammal in Bay waters, we'd love to see it. Send it to LaDonna.

- latitude / ladonna

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Weekend Racing Preview

May 3, 2013 – California and Seattle

Raft-up at VYC
Saturday's Great Vallejo Race will be followed by the Great Vallejo Raft-up. © 2018 /

The 203 crews racing to Vallejo this weekend have their options open again. The Vallejo Municipal Marina was so silted in last year that they couldn't accept keelboats. The city has since dredged part of the harbor, so now Party Circuit entries have the choice of staying for free at Vallejo YC, the center of activity, or at the somewhat quieter marina next door for a fee. Here's the deal: Boats under 50 feet or that have a draft of less than 7 feet are welcome to go to K Dock (closest to VYC), and the Marina will charge $10 for the night. These slips require no pre-planning. Boats over 50 feet or with a draft deeper than 7 feet can call (707) 648-4370 and get a good slip and a gate key at regular visitor rates, starting at $30 a night.

The San Diego Yachting Cup begins today, when the Ton Cup will be sailed in a match race format in J/22s provided by SDYC in La Playa Basin. Fleet racing for the Yachting Cup and San Diego J/105 Championship will follow on Saturday and Sunday. For many more races and sailing events this weekend, check out our Calendar, freshly updated for May.

Besides being a day to munch on tortilla chips and quaff margaritas, Cinco de Mayo is the last day to enter May 25's Master Mariners Regatta. May 10 is the deadline to sign up as a sponsor. All the info is here:

Three collisions in the SSS Round the Rocks Race last weekend resulted in significant damage to five boats, according to SSS Commodore Jim Quanci. Two of the skippers involved have courageously agreed to "bare their souls" about the incidents at the RTR trophy meeting on Wednesday, May 8, at Oakland YC. As part of the Singlehanded Farallones skippers meeting immediately following, naval architect Jim Antrim will address the topic of wave dynamics — how changes in water depth dramatically alter the nature of waves, and how to stay safe when the wind and waves are up. For details, see

Planning to sail in the NOOD in Seattle? Enter by May 10 to avoid the late fee. Here's some extra motivation from Events Manager Jen Davies: "So you think if you've been to one NOOD regatta party, you've been to them all, right? Wrong! We have stepped up the party format and are looking forward to raising a glass with you the weekend of May 17-19 at Corinthian YC at Shilshole. Friday night is NOOD Happy Hour featuring race footage showing in the Sperry Lounge. Rules guru, Dick Rose, will be our guest speaker providing information about the new rule book. The bars will be serving Mt. Gay rum, beer and snacks from Taco Del Mar, followed by a crew dinner. On Saturday, Sperry will be rocking the Sperry Lounge and showing footage of Saturday's racing. Mt. Gay will be treating you to their special Black Barrel Rum for the entire night (which may slow you down on Sunday). All this plus a huge Italian buffet. On Sunday, the Sperry Lounge will be hoppin' again with footage from the day on the water. Mt. Gay and salads and sandwiches will be waiting. Collect your trophy and cheer for the Seattle NOOD Overall Winner — after all, it could be you."

- latitude / chris

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Ad: Sale Boat of the Day

May 3, 2013 – San Diego, CA

Hood Custom 58

Hood Custom 58

© 2018 Emerald Yacht-Ship /

A serious offshore cruiser built at Franz Maas (Holland, 1974) for a very experienced American sailor. Complete refit concluded in 2007. Great Value – $295,000!

Visit the website for extensive pictures, equipment list, and details:
or call Chuck at (262) 681-0600.

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