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Weekend Racing Round-Up

October 23, 2013 – San Francisco Bay Area


(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Tom Burden's Ultimate 20 Layla working up Mare Island Strait on the way to VYC Saturday. Layla was one of the few boats able to finish both days of the Vallejo 1-2. © 2017 Martha Blanchfield / RenegadePR

Among the many regattas last weekend were the SSS Vallejo 1-2 and the Leukemia Cup, hosted by San Francisco Yacht Club. We'll cover both of those in the November issue of Latitude 38.

Leukemia Cup
SFYC commodore Tad Lacey and his wife Ann won the trophy for the top fundraising boat with the Archambault 35 Mirthmaker. © 2017 Ellen Hoke

Berkeley YC had more than their share of regattas on Saturday. Sailing on the Olympic Circle were 11 winners of the summer's YRA races, joined by a new group of three Portsmouth-rated sportboats. BYC planned three races, but the wind only allowed for two. "The group almost unanimously felt that since this is Oktoberfest, beer imbibing at the club was the next event," said the race committee's Bobbi Tosse. 

Maggie
Dave Douglas' C&C 37+ Maggie raced in the YRA Champion of Champions Regatta. © 2017 Patrick Hind-Smith

In the sportboat race, Steve Cameron's Rondar K6 6-Pac and Tom Hutton's Esse 850 Rustler tied on points, with 6-Pac winning the tie-breaker. Likewise, Champion of Champions Garth Kopenhaver's Santana 22 Oreo and George Ellison's Schumacher 30 Shameless tied for points, with Oreo winning the tie-breaker. "Last year, they beat us on the tie-breaker," said Copenhaver. Kame Richards' Express 37 Golden Moon won the fast-boat division. Meanwhile, 13 monohulls competed in the Oktoberfest pursuit race around Alcatraz, with Fabio Maino's Flying Tiger Centomiglia sailing into the finish at BYC first. See www.yra.org for the Champs results and www.berkeleyyc.org for the pursuit race results.


David Rasmussen and Keith Stahnke, crew on the Moore 24 Eclipse, posed with the Albert T. Simpson perpetual trophy. Not pictured are owners Bill and Melinda Erkelens. © 2017 Alison Petro

"The Moore 24 Eclipse dominated a wonderfully intriguing weekend of yacht racing in the late season on San Francisco's Cityfront," writes Moore 24 sailor Rowan Fennell. "Variable winds and changing currents made for a challenging series of five races over two days. Eclipse was awarded the Albert T. Simpson trophy for the largest sportboat fleet. See www.stfyc.com for complete results of StFYC's clutch of races last weekend, which also included the Logan, Paige and Jessica Cups.

Pole Cat
While several sisterships were singlehanding to Vallejo on Saturday, this Wyliecat 30 raced in the South Bay Championship. © 2017 Fabian Pease

Sequoia YC closed out its summer season on Saturday with the South Bay Championship. Coyote Point racers joined their more southerly comrades, including several boats new to the SeqYC fleet. After a 30-minute delay, the first race started in five knots of breeze. "The fast spinnaker sportboats made quick work of the 3.32-mile course," reports fleet captain Richard Butts. "Unfortunately for some in the non-spinnaker division, the wind slackened on the downwind leg and they did not make it to the finish within the two-hour time limit." They fared better in the second race. "The wind stayed in the 7- to 8-knot range so both divisions moved quickly through this relatively short course." Magic, Jeff Phillips and Mike Reed's Express 27, won the spinnaker championship, and Dan Doud's Wyliecat 30 Pole Cat won the non-spinnaker championship.

This Saturday, October 26, the UC Davis Sailing Team will host its annual Benefit Regatta at Lake Washington Sailing Club. There's no entry fee, but they'll accept a tax-deductible donation of any amount. The sailing team receives no funding from the university, yet they compete against other teams from all over the West Coast, including UC Berkeley, Stanford, USC, UCLA and Cal Maritime. See www.lwsailing.org for details. If you're not racing, you're invited to come out anyway to spectate and support the team.

- latitude / chris

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Classy Deadline the 15th


Tanit Pirates Sentenced

October 23, 2013 – France

Last Friday, three of five Somali pirates who seized the French yacht Tanit in 2009 were sentenced in a French court to nine years in prison. The pirates boarded the 47-ft Colin Archer design — which was carrying two couples and a three-year-old boy — on April 4, about 500 miles off the Somali coast. The French Navy steadfastly refused to negotiate with the pirates and, on April 10, French commandos stormed the boat, killing two pirates and Tanit's skipper, 28-year-old Florent Lemacon. 


Three surviving pirates from the Tanit attack have been sentenced to nine years in prison for their actions, which led to the death of an innocent man. © 2017 French Ministry of Defense

Lawyers for the pirates asked the court for leniency, claiming that the men, aged 26 to 31, had been suffering extreme poverty and were coerced into becoming pirates. Prosecutors rejected the claims, saying they'd been motivated by easy money instead.


Florent Lemacon was accidentally killed in front of his young son by French commandos. Photo Courtesy Tanit
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

A spokesman for Chloe Lemacon, Florent's widow, says that the family is not looking for vengeance, but believes the pirates should be held responsible for their actions. He also said that "French state leaders decided to teach the piracy masterminds on the continent a lesson. I believe that Florent Lemacon died for reasons of national interest. This operation was meant as a powerful signal to the Somalis, while the hostages were put on a backburner."


Tom Hanks portrays Captain Richard Phillips in the film about the Maersk Alabama pirate attack. © 2017 Columbia Pictures

At the same time as the Tanit attack, pirates captured the U.S.-flagged container ship Maersk Alabama. Captain Richard Phillips successfully negotiated his crew's release by sacrificing his own freedom, and later was rescued by Navy SEALs. His story is told in the newly released film Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks in the titular role. 

- latitude / ladonna

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Latitude 38 Online or Offline

October 23, 2013 – Mill Valley

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© 2017 John Mann

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Road Trip to La Paz

October 23, 2013 – California to La Paz

As many cruisers know, the logistics of getting supplies from California south to say, La Paz, by road can be challenging. It's a long trip, you'll need food and lodging, and you should also be aware of Mexico's current weather and road conditions.

On September 30, two 2012 Baja Ha-Ha vets, eager to start their cruising seasons again, headed south from San Diego to LaPaz. John Cometti, owner of the Durango, CO-based Amazon 44 Swagman, and Rob Novak, owner of the Sausalito-based Oyster 485 Shindig, carpooled down in Cometti's truck.  


Road warriors Rob and John loaded their truck with supplies and goodies to donate to local homeless shelters. © 2017 Nancy Novak

According to Novak's wife Nancy, "John's truck was laden with supplies needed to make this cruising season even more pleasant. Things like solar panels, anchor chain, Ghirardelli brownie mixes, clothing for the local homeless center and cases of wine. 

"They planned to drive only during the day, and mapped out a route in order to arrive in La Paz three days later. The border crossing went smoothly — Mexican officials checked a few boxes and asked them to pay a small amount of duty. Their first stop was Ensenada for a ceviche lunch and to reactivate their Mexican cell phones."

Although there are many places to stay along the way, you'll definitely want to make specific plans to arrive at your hotel before nightfall. Driving on the Mexico's Hwy 1 at night can be very dangerous, as cattle and large trucks create unique obstacles. The road warriors took this to heart and spent their first night in El Rosario and their second in Mulege.


Oops! Probably should have tied those boxes of clothes down a wee bit better. © 2017 Nancy Novak

Overall, their trip was uneventful, other than the three boxes of clothes destined for homeless shelters falling off the back of the truck just north of Ensenada. They insisted that they simply "donated early." 

When developing your trip plans, it's also a good idea to get a sense of local road conditions in Mexico. One good place to research this is via a Yahoo Group, such as La Paz Gringos. This is where the travelers discovered that the recent tropical storm Octave had severely damaged the highway just past the Loreto corridor and it had been temporarily closed to traffic.

And before you head down, grab a couple bundles of the current issue of Latitude 38 to distribute to cruisers. We almost guarantee you'll get a drink or two for your efforts!

- latitude / ross

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