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Fast on Port, Too

June 5, 2013 – Banderas Bay, Mexico

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Yup, just as fast on port tack. © 2018 MOD S.A. / Yvan Zedda

From time to time we get funny mail. For example, yesterday we got one, the gist of which was, "I saw the Monday 'Lectronic video of the MOD70 Orion sailing at 30 plus knots on Banderas Bay while on starboard tack. Is she as fast on port tack?"

We'll let the following video answer that curious question.

The trimaran was sailing in the high 20s and low 30s in the video. Notice how it wasn't particularly windy.

By the way, Orion left Marina Riviera Nayarit a couple of days ago, which means she should comfortably make it to the San Diego YC guest dock for sundowners on Friday, and be at Clipper Yacht Harbor in Sausalito a few days after that.

- latitude / richard

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

June 5, 2013 – California

Last week we immersed ourselves in Made in Santa Cruz Race Week, so today we'll play catch up with other races from the past two weekends.

Tom Akin's Meanie shortly after the Knox start of the Spinnaker Cup. © 2018 Leslie Richter /

Tom Akin of San Francisco YC and his crew on the Southern Cross 52 Meanie broke the Spinnaker Cup record on May 24 for the fastest time from SF Bay to Monterey, with a finish time of 6:43:33. "The previous record was set by Bill Turpin’s R/P 75 Akela in 2010, with a time of 7:11:06, and I understand that was the shorter course," said Anne McCormack of SFYC. "This year’s race was sent on Course 2, around Golden Gate Main Ship Channel Buoy 8 before heading down to Monterey." See complete results at

Terry Klaus's lovely schooner Brigadoon sailed in May 25's Master Mariners Regatta. © 2018 John Skoriak

The grandest regatta of Memorial Day Weekend is Saturday's Master Mariners, with a start on the Cityfront, a Bay tour finishing in Clipper Cove, and a post-race raft-up and party at Encinal YC. We'll have much more in the July issue of Latitude 38.

Berky Sutton with the US Sailing Zucker Perpetual Trophy for the Area J semifinals. It's not his trophy, but maybe someday it will be. © 2018 Rich Roberts

Charlie Buckingham in Lasers and Matt Struble in A-Class catamarans each won all seven of their races in Alamitos Bay YC's annual Memorial Day Regatta  in Long Beach. Standing in for Buckingham at the awards ceremony was William 'Berky' Sutton IV, age 12, from Richmond YC. Berky chose to sail his Laser Radial on the much tougher ocean course rather than the protected inside course. "I learned not to rock a lot," he said, "and to have fun…and to just enjoy being 12 years old." Lawson Willard of StFYC/SFYC won the Radial Ocean division. See

Meanwhile, other trailer-sailors headed in the opposite direction, north to the Whiskeytown Memorial Regatta on the lake of the same name west of Redding. This year's 49th edition enjoyed temperatures into the 80s and light breeze. See results at And so we leave Memorial Day Weekend behind for now and move on to the first weekend of June.

Woodies at the mark
This mark held a magnetic attraction for wooden boats on Saturday. © 2018 Chris Ray /

On Friday-Sunday St. Francis YC hosted a Woodies Invitational. "IODs, Knarrs, Folkboats and Birds came out to play and, as the photos attest, some did not successfully adjust to the heavy flood tide at the windward mark," commented photographer Chris Ray. 

Criminal Mischief
The 'Criminals' made a quick getaway in the Duxship race. © 2018 Erik Simonson /

Chip Megeath's R/P 45 Criminal Mischief was first to finish the OYRA Duxship on Saturday, which sends ocean racers up to the Duxbury Reef buoy south of Bolinas, around the Lightship, and back to San Francisco. See for the results in all divisions.

Aboard Margaux
Melissa Davids usually sails on her Hylas 47 Pura Vida. She was excited to race on Patrick Hind-Smith's Morgan 382 Margaux and wouldn't let go of the wheel on the windward leg. She steered a perfect course: one tack from Berkeley to Alcatraz. © 2018 Patrick Hind-Smith

Berkeley YC's fleet captain, Patrick Hind-Smith, was stoked after the first Tri-Island Pursuit Race. "I could not have wished for a better day for the kickoff of our new series. Steady winds of 15-18 for the starts built to 25 across The Slot as the fleet made their way to Alcatraz, choosing between a port or starboard rounding. Some equipment failures and breakage led to some early retirements, however we saw a very closely bunched fleet off the race deck at the finish. Jim Carpenter drove down from Oregon to compete." Carpenter sailed the Catalina 27 Windhorse.

Lillian, Monica and Fred
Lillian Chou, Monica Ebert, and Fred Soelter racing aboard the J/29 Smokin' J. © 2018 Mark Bettis

Mark Bettis sailed his J/29 Smokin' J in Coyote Point YC's Merton Yolles Memorial Race and reports moderate winds at the start, building to the typical summer afternoon 25 knots by the finish of the 16-mile course.

Moore 24s
"Pull up and park" at the finish of the first Moore 24 race on Sunday. © 2018 /

The pièce de résistance at Made in Santa Cruz Race Week was the Moore 24 and Santa Cruz 27 Nationals Friday through Sunday. Unlike the previous weekend, the wind was light and pulled a 180 on Friday and Saturday, shifting from the prevailing westerly to an easterly during the racing, and to a southerly on Sunday. A mild but confused swell made for lumpy conditions, causing spinnaker collapses in the light air. But judging by the level of joy back at Santa Cruz YC, you would have thought it was the most exciting racing ever. We'll have complete coverage in the July issue of Latitude 38.

Santa Cruz 27 start
The start of the final Santa Cruz 27 Nationals race on Sunday. © 2018 /

The forecast for Saturday's Delta Ditch Run calls for temperatures in the triple digits and 10-25 knots of wind. Sign-ups close today – don't be left out! Go to

- latitude / chris

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Ad: NorthStar Marine Insurance

June 5, 2013 – Walnut Creek

NorthStar Marine Insurance

© 2018 NorthStar Insurance /

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Boom Boom on Beach House

June 5, 2013 – Nambia, Africa

April wasn't the best month for Scott Stolnitz of the Marina del Rey-based Switch 51 Beach House.

"Our trip from Cape Town to Nambia turned out to be a 72-hour motorboat ride. But it was calm and we could see all the other vessels on AIS. Our plan was to stop in the sleepy mining town of Luderitz, refuel, then head to Walvis Bay 235 miles further north. From there we would visit the famous Sossesviev Sand Dunes.

The Big Daddy Dune in Namibia. We didn't make it to the top. © 2018 Scott Stolnitz

"After a short stop at Luderitz, we took off for Walvis. Soon all hell broke loose. First, the hydraulic steering failed while sailing almost dead downwind. In retrospect, this was due to a technician in Cape Town who improperly bled the hydraulic system. Once the steering failed, we attempted a manual course correction, but the steering was now so loose that the boat couldn't be controlled. We did an accidental gybe, and when the boom came across it broke our traveler system, the preventer system, and most importantly, sheared the back bearing right off the boom. So that was that.

The dunes were surprisingly slippery. © 2018 Scott Stolnitz

"The drama of the moment was that it was blowing 25 knots and building. The main had to come down. Since we couldn't roll it into the boom as we normally do, it had to be lowered onto the deck. As the boat was unmanageable due to the steering failure, half of the big main blew off the boat twice. The sail weighs about 200 pounds. Amazingly, Nikki and I were able to maneuver the boat so the wind would start to blow the main back onboard. After a 90-minute struggle, with the wind blowing 30 knots, we got the sail back on the boat. At this point, the hydraulic steering seemed to rehabilitate itself as a result of an air bubble finally working it's way through the system. We re-arrived at Luderitz at around 8pm and promptly went to bed. It had been quite a day!

"Weather was becoming a potential issue, as winter is coming to the Southern Hemisphere. Fortunately, we lucked out and instead of having to blast into headwinds were blessedly able to motor 72 hours back to Cape Town. Once there, we were able to assess the full damage. The boom was broken or bent in three places. The back end and bearing, the front yolk, and the mid support all had to be replaced. Parts were ordered from Forespar in California. The really good news was that Southern Spars, the largest mast manufacturer in the southern hemisphere, is in Cape Town. They were able to perfectly straighten our mandrel! If necessary, they could have made a new one right here. We also got a newly designed mid boom roller guide section, support, and a repaired mandrel. We also got a new rear plate and outer bearing. The new bearing is much thicker and the welds are on both the inside and the back of the plate. This bearing would not have sheared off if it was as repaired. The traveller system was upgraded to a Harken system.

"What we lacked confidence in most was the hydraulic steering system, and that took about five iterations to resolve. First, it was determined that air in the system is what caused the failure. Second, Meridian Technologies took over and really went over the system. They made custom pistons for our steering rams and used a “gas/liquid” seal. Not only did they get the steering completely tight (responsive), but they managed to fix the rudder synchronization issue as well. Next, the boys from Associated Rigging took over and did a great job of repairing the boom — it's 300 pounds! — and re-installing it. A new Tylaska main halyard shackle was installed, which has completely eliminated the twist in our 2:1 main halyard.  This shackle is twice the strength of the previous one which bent in the 'boom, boom, boom, boom' debacle.

"With the repairs done, we headed back to Luderitz in preparation for sailing across the South Atlantic."

Latitude note: Our 63-ft catamaran Profligate was originally equipped with hydraulic steering for the two helm stations and two rudders. Somehow we survived two trips to Mexico and back, but the steering was a disaster. The rudders would 'pizza pie' or 'snow plow'; the wheels would turn with no rudder response; and the hydraulic fluid would regularly erupt from the pumps. Unable to get the problem solved, we moved to the Mambo bevel box and rod system, now sold by Lewmar. We know hydraulics work on many boats, but because we were unable to get our system to work, going to the Mambo was the best thing we ever did. If nothing else, the cat now has two potentially independent steering systems.

- latitude / richard

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