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Bullish on the Red Bull Youth AC

August 21, 2013 – San Francisco Bay

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

AC45 fleet racing is expected be thrilling for both lifelong sailors and nonsailing sports fans with merely a curious interest. And in this contest the team members will actually be citizens of the countries they represent, rather than hired guns. © 2018 ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

There's no denying that AC72s are fast, edgy, and technically sensational. But races between them thus far have left many Bay Area sailing enthusiasts wishing America's Cup 34 organizers had simply stuck with the AC45s that were so thrilling to watch here last spring and summer during the AC World Series. 

Within those highly successful contests, the most thrilling moments — especially for non-sailing sports fans — came during the fleet races. That's one of the reasons we're extremely bullish on the upcoming Red Bull Youth America's Cup, September 1-4, which will feature fleet races exclusively.

With 10 teams of 19- to 24-year-olds from around the world on the starting line in each of eight races, this event — originally a mere footnote to the big show among the AC72s — could produce some of the most spectacular moments of the so-called Summer of Sailing. So mark your calendar. You won't want to miss it.

In addition to eight foreign teams — from Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland — the U.S. will be represented by the USA45 Racing syndicate (hosted by San Diego YC), plus the SF Bay 'home team' dubbed The Force (American Youth Sailing Force). Never before has an AC event provided such an effective 'gateway' event to prepare the next generation of professional, world-class sailors. And, as this just-released Force video shows, the experience is also a whole lot of fun. 

Both U.S. teams are worthy of your support, emotionally and financially. Check out their websites for details on the crews, their ongoing training and support opportunities. We'll see you on the sidelines.

- latitude / andy

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America's Cup Schedule Changes

August 21, 2013 – San Francisco Cityfront

As predicted, imposing wind limits on America's Cup racing has forced organizers to cancel several scheduled Louis Vuitton Cup Finals races. An augmented schedule was released today (below). 

Meanwhile the breakdowns that have plagued the event so far are clearly frustrating not only the teams, their sponsors and fans, but also even eternally upbeat professional commentators such as Gary Jobson. Nevertheless, the longtime AC expert is optimistic that the AC 34 Finals (September 7-21) will have some very exciting boat-on-boat competition. We agree. Based on what we've seen lately, we have to believe Oracle Team USA will be very fast and well-prepared to face their assumed rival, Emirates Team New Zealand.

So far the only moments of head-to-head racing have been on the starting line or during prestart maneuvers. Hopefully that will change during the AC Finals next month. © 2018 ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

As Jobson noted in a recent commentary: "The most interesting moment of the past month took place when Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand lined-up for a speed test. . . The defenders (OTUSA) were on the fourth leg of their in-house practice race. Jimmy Spithill and his crew were leading the Ben Ainslie team by about seven lengths. The time limit for the defender access to the course had expired, so the challengers were tuning-up for their race. Suddenly, New Zealand’s skipper Dean Barker, maneuvered his AC72 in between the two American boats. The race was on!

"To my eye, from about a quarter mile away aboard the race committee boat, the speeds seemed to be about even. Oracle Team USA might have been sailing a little faster, while Emirates Team New Zealand was sailing a lower course. . . Ben Ainslie, who was in a perfect position to see the relative speeds, (later) told a colleague of mine that he did not see any difference in speed. After two minutes, all three boats jibed. The Kiwi boat appeared to gain over a boat length through the maneuver. Except for the jibe, the VMG on both boats was nearly identical."

Let's hope the September races are equally competitive. If they are, all the frustration, criticism and cynicism of the past months may be washed away. 

The Kiwis' second-generation boat is bad to the bone, and her crew preforms flawlessly. But experts predict that Oracle Team USA will be ready for them. © 2018 ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

Today’s racing is scheduled to begin at 1:10 p.m. (Race 4) and 2:10 p.m. (Race 5), and can be viewed live in the U.S. on ESPN3, beginning at 1 p.m. The full race replay will be available on YouTube shortly after the conclusion of live racing.

Updated Louis Vuitton Cup Final schedule (best-of-13 series)

  • Wednesday, Aug. 21: Final Race 4 (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 5 (2:10 pm PT)
  • Friday, Aug. 23: Final Race 6 (TBD)
  • Saturday, Aug. 24: Final Race 7 (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 8 (2:10 pm PT)
  • Sunday, Aug. 25: Final Race 9 (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 10 (2:10 pm PT)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 28: Final Race 11 (1:10 pm PT), Final Race 12 (2:10 pm PT)
  • Friday, Aug. 30: Final Race 13 (1:10 pm PT)

- latitude / andy

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Mexico-Only Crew List Party

August 21, 2013 – Alameda, CA

Mexico or Bust
These cruisers said, "Adios" last year.
Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Come to Latitude 38's Mexico-Only
Crew List Party and Baja Ha-Ha Reunion

Wednesday, September 4, 6-9 p.m.
This year returning to Encinal YC in Alameda
Free for paid 2013 Baja Ha-Ha skippers & first mates
$7 (cash only) at the door for everyone else

Free Munchies  •  No-Host Bar  •  Door Prizes
Demonstrations • Slide Show • Guest Experts
No reservations • Come as you are!
Info here:
Learn about Latitude 38's free online Crew List here.

Preceded at 4:30-6 p.m. by a free Mexico Cruising Seminar
Downstairs at EYC featuring Mexico Marina Managers

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Racing Wrap-Up

August 21, 2013 – California and Washington

Melges 24 action at Summer Keel
An international 16-boat Melges 24 fleet starting tuning up for their Worlds at Summer Keel. © 2018 Leslie Richter /

Melges 24s and 20s, J/120s and 105s, Express 37s, Etchells and Open 5.70s raced over the weekend in SFYC's Summer Keel Regatta. The excitement is building for the Melges 24 World Championship, which SFYC will host on September 30-October 5. We'll have more on the Summer Keel in the September issue of Latitude 38.

Wabbits in SC
The champion Wabbit, Wild Bunch 2, showed fine form at the Nationals in Santa Cruz. © 2018 Rachel Hofmann

Congratulations to Aaron Sturm, Andy Hamilton and Guillaume Canivet of Wild Bunch 2 – they won last weekend's Wylie Wabbit National Championship in Santa Cruz. "The Erkelens team (on Jack) with Alan Laughlin doing the middle – an accomplished I-14 and big boat sailor at 72 – came in second," writes Kim Desenberg of third place Mr. McGregor. "Beau Vrolyk, who organized the races, said he has never seen such a tight finish on the longer course – he led our fleet around as the fog was thick enough that we couldn't actually see marks." Complete results are available at Next up for the Wabbit fleet is Richmond YC's Totally Dinghy on September 14-15.

Wild Bunch 2 crew
New Wabbit National Champions, left to right: Aaron Sturm (owner, tactician, middle crew), Andy Hamilton (helmsperson, from Santa Cruz), Guillaume Canivet (trapeze). © 2018 Anna Desenberg

The SSS Half Moon Bay Race welcomed a trio of big high-performance multihulls on Saturday: the Sig 45 cat Vamonos!, the 63-ft Irens/Cabaret trimaran Paradox and the MOD 70 tri Orion. Although Orion ate the 24-mile course for breakfast, none of the big three placed first overall. In their fleet — doublehanded mutihulls — Cliff Shaw's Crowther 10m cat Rainbow corrected out. Tony Castrucctio and daughter Maureen won first overall doublehanded monohull on the speedy J/30 Wind Speed; Steve Wonner on the Wyliecat 30 Uno lived up to his name in singlehanded monohulls; and Dave Morris, in a class by himself on the F-27 Three Points, won singlehanded multihulls by default. For complete results overall and by division, see We'll have more in September's Racing Sheet. One regatta remains in the SSS season, the Vallejo 1-2 on October 12-13.

MOD 70 Orion
Steve Ravussin and Jean Marc Normant on the MOD 70 Orion pass the first mark on the way to Half Moon Bay. © 2018 /

Matt Struble of San Diego was so far ahead he didn't even need to sail on the last day of the A-Class Catamaran North Americans – but he did, and he won those races, too. The championship was hosted by Alamitos Bay YC in Long Beach on August 13-16.

IF36 champs
Flanked by boat owner/dad Peter Offenbecher (left) and bowman/brother-in-law Paul Murphy, Cooper Offenbecher (middle) accepts the Islander Freeport 36 North American Perpetual Trophy. © 2018 Mari Offenbecher

The Islander Freeport 36 Owner's Association held their North American Championships at Port Ludlow, WA, on July 20, as part of the Islander Freeport 36 Rendezvous. "Cooper Offenbecher of Seattle YC took line honors as skipper of Wind Dancer in a spirited race around Foul Weather Bluff in Puget Sound's Admiralty Inlet, besting second-place skipper Mick Rice by barely half a boat length," reports Peter Offenbecher.

Lillian trimming the jib
Lillian shows excellent focus while trimming the jib on Smokin' J. © 2018 Mike Babineau

Mark Bettis and crew on the J/29 Smokin' J got a bit silly in Coyote Point YC's Wednesday night race last week. "As we rounded mark 8, Fred and I had a little fun with the newbie, Derek. He had the task of skirting the jib as it came in, and we created an enormous amount of immediacy to this task as the boat turned to windward. Fred and I started yelling, 'SKIRT, SKIRT,' together at the top of our lungs and Derek jumped like a race horse out of the gate. He slid across the deck to the low side, and wrangled the foot of the jib inside the lifelines. Fred and I started yelling, 'Get on the rail, ON THE RAIL,' with great enthusiasm, and Derek lunged for the rail and almost went for a swim as he slid into position across the wet deck and ended up right where he belonged, feet hanging over the side. A great laugh was had by all." CPYC's weekly Wednesday beer cans continue through October 2.

A BYC Friday Night start
Berkeley YC's last Friday night saw a change in the weather, to sunny, moderate conditions. © 2018 Sharon Hind-Smith

With 20 races down and five to go, BYC fleet captain Patrick Hind-Smith reports on the latest Berkeley beer can: "The beautiful, warm conditions this past Friday night on the Berkeley Circle had many of us de-layering. Light breezes of 10-12 knots and a shorter course got us home in good time. This season we have had a total of 48 yachts competing, which bodes well for the Chowder Series starting on September 29." See

We hear that a reporter from US Sailing will be checking in on the Thursday Laser and Vanguard 15 races at Treasure Island Sailing Center tomorrow evening, so they are hoping for a full fleet! We ran our own feature on the TISC races in the June issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / chris

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