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Biting the Hand That Feeds You?

August 14, 2013 – Loch Lomond Marina


(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

James Lane's dream cruise to Hawaii has taken several unplanned turns since his home-built cat was launched. The latest incident landed him in jail. Meanwhile the 65-ft cat lies stuck in the mud of San Rafael Bay. Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The construction of James 'Hot Rod' Lane's 65-ft catamaran Flyin' Hawaiian was one of the more bizarre efforts in the annals of Bay Area boatbuilding — right alongside Tin Can and Plastiki. But the boat's story recently became even more bizarre.

As reported in the July edition of Latitude 38, Lane, 52, and his son Michael Johnson, 28, completed the exhaustive three-year construction project on the grounds of San Rafael's Loch Lomond Marina in late May. Much to the surprise of the project's many detractors, the massive home-designed-and-built cat floated nicely on her lines when launched, earning the father-son team a measure of respect from casual observers of the build. Some of them had been certain the plywood-and-two-by-four-constructed vessel would break apart as soon as it hit the water.

But euphoria over the successful launch faded shortly after the pair finally left the shelter of the quiet North Bay marina. After being towed by the marina's launch to an open-water anchorage near the Marin Islands, the engineless cat eventually dragged anchor (or drifted during a practice sail) into the an area of rocky outcroppings along the North Marin shoreline called The Sisters. Quickly responding to Lane's mayday, Coast Guard assets kept the unwieldy cat from being destroyed on the rocks and towed her to an open roadstead off McNear's Beach. A few days later she turned up in shoal waters south of the San Rafael Channel, apparently aground, about a mile from Loch Lomand Marina facilities.

Monday, Lane reportedly became enraged at Harbormaster Pat Lopez, because his marina gate/head keys had been deactivated, and he was informed that marina personnel could not offer him any further assistance. The argument escalated into a knock-down tussle, during which Lane bit into Lopez' thumb, lacerating it "almost to the bone" (according to the Marin IJ). A bystander broke up the fight, and police soon arrived. While Lopez went to the hospital for stitches, Lane was taken to jail after police ran his stats and found a failure-to-appear warrant concerning a vehicular issue. He is currently being held on $11,000 bail, while felony assault charges are being considered by the Marin County DA.

As if the basic facts of this story are not troubling enough, it should be noted that Lopez, known for being fair-minded and big-hearted — especially for a harbormaster — bent over backwards to help Lane and Johnson throughout their three-year residency. They had previously been turned away from the only other build sites with launch ramps wide enough to accommodate the Flyin' Hawaiian. As Oscar Wilde once said, "No good deed goes unpunished."  

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th


Boater Rescues Dog from Bay

August 14, 2013 – San Francisco Bay


Did your dog fall overboard? Adam Cohen pulled this black lab-pit bull mix from San Francisco Bay on his way home from work on Monday. © 2017 Adam Cohen

Imagine scooting across the Bay on your windsurfer and spotting a pooch swimming around a couple miles from shore. That's what happened Monday afternoon when a gaggle of windsurfers helped keep said pup afloat until Berkeley's Adam Cohen came along to offer assistance. 


Five windsurfers miraculously spotted the dog a couple miles off Berkeley and kept her afloat. © 2017 Adam Cohen

Cohen told the Chronicle he was commuting home in his 22-ft inflatable when he saw five downed windsurfers. Thinking they might be in trouble, he headed their way only to find them trying to keep the dog on one of their boards while asking the Coast Guard to come rescue her. He brought the shivering canine aboard and took her to his home, where she recovered quickly from her ordeal.


Who says only cats have nine lives? © 2017 Adam Cohen

At last word, Cohen had plans to take the lucky dog to the Humane Society to see if she had a microchip, but his wife had already fallen in love. Lucky dog, indeed!

- latitude / ladonna

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August 14, 2013 – Cyberspace


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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

August 14, 2013 – North America

We're catching up after being on vacation for a couple weeks, so today's wrap-up is as epic as the racing has been.

Vamonos, BridgeRunner and Ma's Rover
The Sig 45 Vamonos!, SL33 BridgeRunner and F-31 Ma's Rover sailed in the 2nd Half Opener. © 2017 Fred Fago

Movin' and groovin' with the Summer of Racing, YRA's Second Half Opener was held on the South Bay on the last weekend of July. "Saturday's race toured the South Bay and finished at Encinal YC," said Fred Fago of EYC. "The first boat to finish was Bodacious+, and the multihull BridgeRunner had the shortest elapsed time." Sunday's course was a windward-leeward of 8 or 12 miles depending on division. "The multihull Vamonos had the shortest elapsed time for the 12-mile course: 59m, 17s." Complete results from recent YRA races, including August 3's YRA Series #3, August 4's WBRA Knox races and August 10's OYRA SF Approach can be found at www.yra.org.

International Canoe trophies
International Canoe trophy winners, left to right: David Clark, Del Olsen, Willy Clark and John Kells. The Challenge Cup Del won dates from 1886. © 2017 Ask Del

Del Olsen of Richmond YC took a 6,770-mile road trip to win the International Canoe North American Championship at Sugar Island on the St. Lawrence River near Kingston, Ontario, on July 21-26. "I eked out a win, not having won a single race," said Olsen. "You could say old age and treachery prevailed, but it sure was a treat to sail against the kids of competitors from years ago." The World Championship will be held at RYC on September 7-15, 2014.

International 110s
International 110s are double-ended keelboats designed in 1939 by C. Raymond Hunt. Inverness YC is home to several that race regularly on Tomales Bay. © 2017 Jim Laws

Inverness YC hosted the 20-boat, seven-race International 110 Class Championship on pastoral Tomales Bay August 5-9. Sailors from the Midwest and East Coast showed up — but the wind didn't. "Tomales Bay is known for its big summer breezes, comparable to those of San Francisco Bay," wrote Doug Molitor. "But the wind stayed in the light-to-moderate range, disappointing the expectations of the fleet for a high-wind West Coast regatta." First place went to Ross Weene and Eli Slater on Ragtime from Bristol, RI.

For the third year in a row, teams from St. Francis YC and Southern YC (of New Orleans) battled each other in the final race for the Hinman Masters Trophy hosted by NYYC on August 2-4. Congratulations to the winning team of Russ Silvestri, Craig Healy, Chris Raab, Thomas Iseler, David Kelly, Sean Svendsen, Elisabeth Collins, John Collins, Tom Ducharme, Joseph McCoy, Kurt Wessels and Mario Yovkov.

Led by Dylan DiMarchi of Waikiki YC, Hawaiian sailors took the top seven positions in the senior division of the El Toro Nationals held on Oahu. Class president Gordie Nash was the top finisher from the Mainland. "After seven days straight sailing, it is possible to get good at handling and racing the little El Toro," said Nash. "The real eye opener was that the El Toro can provide a good platform for the youth sailor-in-training and the very good young adult, as well as the 'mature' senior." Kiana Heitzman, from the host club, Kaneohe YC, won the Junior Gold Fleet, and Tyler Masuyama of Waikiki YC won the Silver Fleet. The seniors sailed August 5-8, but the juniors had to finish up on August 7 because school started on the 8th in Hawaii!

San Francisco YC youth had a good showing in the Chubb U.S. Junior Sailing Championships for the Sears, Bemis and Smythe Trophies, winning in both the doublehanded (420, Kristopher Swanson/Ron Alexander) and triplehanded (Sonar, Jack Barton/Sammy Shea/Alex Moody) classes. Jackson Wagner and Mark Power of Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation also put in a good showing, finishing fourth in 420s. The regatta was co-hosted by Houston YC and Texas Corinthian YC on August 5-9.

This week's U.S. Youth Championship blasted off to a high wind start yesterday on Corpus Christi Bay. SF Bay Area Radial sailor Lola Bushnell found the conditions similar to the San Francisco area, especially the chop. "Hiking all day in these conditions helps your endurance. This is what I’m good at, but this fleet is so big and I’m sailing against talented young men too.” The regatta continues through Friday.

Flying Dutchmen
The 'podium' at the Flying Dutchman North Americans. Clockwise from left: Mike Mezaros, Gerhard Panushka, Ondrej Lehecka, Buzz Ballenger, Zhenya Kirueshkin, and Kurt Hemmingsen. © 2017 Duane Ehringer

Santa Cruzer Buzz Ballenger and crew Kurt Hemmingsen are the new North American Flying Dutchman champions, having prevailed in the Columbia Gorge One Design Regatta (aka C-GOD), hosted by Columbia Gorge Racing Association on August 2-4. "Beautiful vistas, warm, fresh water, easy launches and setup areas, tight racing, awesome food and beer, amazing trophies, and, most of all, consistent decent winds," was how Peter Carr of Seattle described the regatta. "The difference in speed was less and less noticeable between boats as racing continued, where in the end seconds dictated finishing order. All the participants said they would absolutely return next year."

Sailing on the Gorge this week are 59 teams competing for the Tasar World Championship. A two-person high-performance dinghy, the Tasar is a popular design in the Pacific Northwest.

Berkeley YC fleet captain Patrick Hind-Smith is enthusiastic about the club's inaugural Tri-Island Pursuit Series, which concluded on August 11. "This was dreamed up as a way to get some participation for those who couldn't make the Friday night series. It worked! Each of the days around Alcatraz, Treasure and Angel Islands were absolutely challenging. We saw breeze in excess of 20 knots each day. Tactics were always in play. Next year we will welcome more Bay Area participants to what is a very friendly yet competitive arena." The J/24 Fly by Night and the J/105 JGPC tied for first place in the 24-boat series.

After six races, Anthony Boscolo and Haley Lane of Seattle are leading the 19-boat International A-Class Catamaran North American Championship, hosted by Alamitos Bay YC in Long Beach. Racing continues through Friday.

John Craig, Principal Race Officer for the 34th America's Cup, will be the featured speaker at a Friday night dinner this week at Oakland YC in Alameda. See www.oaklandyachtclub.net for details and to RSVP.

The entry deadline for the Melges 20 Nationals is tomorrow, August 15. Corinthian YC's Dan Thielman, SFYC's Elliott James, and StFYC's John Kilroy are signed up for the regatta, to be hosted by Macatawa Bay YC on Michigan's Lake Macatawa August 23-25.

- latitude / chris

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