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Weekend Racing Preview

August 8, 2014 – Northern California

Moonlight Marathon
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The Jeanneau SunFast 3200 Dare Dare returns on the downwind leg of the 2013 Moonlight Marathon. This year's edition begins at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow.

© 2018 Tim Petersen

Sequoia YC's Moonlight Marathon will start on Saturday, continuing into the wee hours of Sunday. The race will start at 3:30 on Redwood Creek. The rounding mark is usually Treasure Island, but due to concern about the deconstruction of the Bay Bridge east span, the race will round Alcatraz instead, in either direction, with the finish back down the South Bay on Redwood Creek. "A beautiful full moon will rise just shortly after 7:15," said Sequoia YC's Tim Petersen. See

Also on Saturday, the YRA will run Summer #2 and WBRA #4. The centerboard crowd has many choices this weekend, not the least of which is Lake Washington Sailing Club's Dinghy Delta Ditch. Half Moon Bay YC hosts the Coronado 15 North Americans starting today. Berkeley YC's Tri-Island pursuit race will sail around Angel Island on Sunday. So many races dot the region this weekend that we couldn't possibly list all of them here; see our Calendar for many more.

The Singlehanded Sailing Society will join the usual OYRA Drakes Bay Race this year for the first time. The SSS skippers meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 13, at Oakland YC in Alameda. Wednesday night will also mark the deadline to enter as an SSS racer; OYRA racers have until 5:00 p.m. on August 14 to sign up. The race itself will be on August 16 (sail from Corinthian YC to Drakes Bay on the east side of Point Reyes, anchor out or raft up, then share provisions and tall tales). The following day racers will up-anchor and race back to CYC. You can find OYRA info here and SSS info here.

Zongo Cup start

The start of the fifth Zongo Cup in Morro Bay.

© 2018 Lance Kinney /

The 6th Annual Zongo Yachting Cup will be held on Friday, August 15. "It's a super easy, fun 20-mile run from Morro Bay to Avila Beach," promises organizer Paul Irving, "and we throw a fantastic party at the finish line with my band on the boardwalk and hospitality at San Luis Yacht Club on the pier. We'll be running PHRF, outrigger canoes, beach cats, and maybe even SUPs."

An attempt to set a record for the biggest race in the world, Bart's Bash is coming up on September 21, with the deadline to enter on September 14. Andrew 'Bart' Simpson was killed on San Francisco Bay in the horrible capsize of an Artemis Racing AC72 on May 9, 2013, so it seems fitting that the Bay Area should make a strong showing. Local races that we know of so far include a Vanguard 15 race at Treasure Island Sailing Center, and Small Boat Series #7 at Encinal YC. Any others? We'd love to hear about them.

- latitude / chris

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Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Grueling Volvo Warmup: Round Britain Race

August 8, 2014 – Isle of Wight, England

It just might get a little wet during the Round Britain and Ireland Race. Seen here is a file shot of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Volvo 65 Azzam, which will be skippered Sunday by British two-time Olympic silver medalist Ian Walker.

© 2018 Ian Roman

Combining the strong currents and choppy seas of the English Channel with countless navigational hazards and a course that takes sailors north of 60°, RORC’s Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race represents one of the most challenging yacht races on the planet. The iconic quadrennial race, now in its 8th edition, begins Sunday at noon and has attracted a near-record fleet of 28 yachts ranging in size from a couple of 33-ft Beneteau Figaro IIs to a MOD 70 trimaran and includes a smattering of Volvo 65s, Open 60s, Class 40s and a healthy IRC fleet. 

The 1,802-mile course is slated to begin in Cowes, Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England, and send competitors on a nonstop clockwise circumnavigation of the British Isles. However, Mother Nature may change that. As has happened in the past, (including the 2010 race), a major low has set its sights on the British Isles and may force race organizers to reverse the course to counterclockwise, though the storm has been downgraded and looks to push south towards France.

The 1,800-mile course will take racers around Britain and Ireland, and serve as a shakedown for October's Volvo Ocean Race. 

Photo Courtesy UK Hydrographic Office
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Sidney Gavignet’s MOD 70 Musandam-Oman Sail is hoping for conditions that will allow her to break the race record, though an outright course record is unlikely. (The course record was set in 2011 by Banque Populaire V; 3d, 3h, 49m). The most interesting battles look to be between the all-new Volvo 65s and the Class 40s. With five VO 65s on the line for one of their first real practice races before the October start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, the Round Britain and Ireland Race should offer a thrilling preview for what lies ahead. Others to watch will be the legendary Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who, at 75 years young, is doublehanding his ancient Open 60 Grey Power (Giovanni Soldini’s old FILA), and the brand-new Sam Manuard-designed Class 40 Stella Nova, which will have American ultra-badass Ryan Breymaier onboard.

Follow the action by tracking the race here.

- ronnie simpson

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Ad: Events at Passage Yachts

August 8, 2014 – Pt. Richmond and Alameda, CA


Saturday, August 9: Boat as a Business Seminar and Open Boats / Pt. Richmond office

Saturday-Sunday, August 9-10: Open Boat Weekend / Alameda office

Saturday, August 16: Try Before You Buy Oceanis 45 Sail / Pt. Richmond office

Saturday, August 23: Try Before You Buy Sense 43 Sail / Pt. Richmond office

Friday-Sunday, September 5-7: Annual Beneteau Rendezvous / Cruise in to Benicia Yacht Club

Passage Yachts logo

© 2018 Passage Yachts /

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Nothing Phony About Latitude's Iridium Reports

August 8, 2014 – The World of Nautical Communication

"We read an article in a recent Latitude about Iridium satellite phones," write Victor and Jo Ann Zarzhitsky of the Portland-based Whitby 42 Odessa Mama, "but got the feeling it was written by a salesperson for Iridium. As such, we are interested in hearing from cruisers as to which satellite phones work well, which don't work so well, and some of their experiences using satellite phones. If you could put our letter out there for a response, we would appreciate it.

By the way, I participated in the 2008 Baja Ha-Ha, and did the Bash back in 2009. I used a rental Iridium phone and was disappointed in the service."

Victor and Jo Ann: Everything published in Latitude about the Iridium satphone was written by the Wanderer/Grand Poobah — who, by the way, paid retail for his Iridium phone and minutes. Our opinions were based on our using an Iridium satphone since almost the beginning of the Ha-Ha, in Mexico during the season and on the Bash, in the Caribbean each year, and while interviewing people in the middle of the ocean who were on Iridium phones — such as Gino Morrelli during last year's TransPac. We ain't no shill for Iridium.

Despite some recent glitches from service providers, satellite phones can be invaluable resources in an offshore emergency.  

© 2018

Our main complaint with Iridium was that the transmissions didn't seem very clear on the original Iridium phones — which are still available. When we bought the newer model, we noticed a considerable improvement.

It's true, our Iridium has dropped calls. That said, we don't think it had dropped them any more frequently than our iPhone through AT&T.

For what it's worth, we believe that the Iridium is the overwhelming choice of cruisers and racers who go bluewater. We should also note that unlike many cruisers, we haven't tried to use our Iridium to get GRIB files, or to send and receive compressed emails. If someone would like to give us a 'dummies' guide' to getting GRIB files via Iridium, we're all ears.

The two main competitors to Iridium are Globalstar and Inmarsat. While there can be short interruptions of service at higher latitudes with Iridium, it really does cover the globe. That's not true with Globalstar, which uses so-called 'bent pipe' technology, which requires a land station, and thus is only good for — depending on the situation — 100 to 250 miles offshore. Furthermore, it's been our firsthand experience that Globalstar has exaggerated what they claim to be their coverage area. For instance, we tried to use our Globalstar countless times when sailing from Antigua to Panama, an area that they claim to cover. We could never get a single call through, while those with Iridiums had no trouble.

There was another year when a Globalstar satellite was down for the coast of Mexico right before the start of the Ha-Ha, and they failed to alert us. That could have left the Grand Poobah without a way to get weather from Commander's Weather, and also meant we would have been without our primary emergency connection. We found that to be unconscionable.

The folks at Spot/Globalstar are apparently in the process of sending us a new phone/internet device. We'll report on it as soon as possible.

To tell you the truth, we don't know that much about Inmarsat, other than we always perceived it as a much more expensive big-boat solution than Iridium. But one that, like Iridium, worked around the world.

That's our satphone story and we're sticking to it. As we've written before, if it came to having to choose between an Iridium and an EPIRB, we'd go with the Iridium because the phone's two-way capability makes it much more versatile.

We welcome the real-world experiences and opinions of those who have used Iridium or competing satphones. And don't be shy if your opinion and experience is different from ours.

- latitude / richard

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Ad: Sale Boat of the Day

August 8, 2014 – San Diego, CA

Schooner Dauntless

Schooner Dauntless

© 2018 Bob Grieser

On the market after 30 years of ownership, this meticulously maintained schooner is currently available for sale by owner. Located in San Diego, California, Dauntless has been featured on several covers and issues of Sailing Magazine, Wooden Boat, Nautical Quarterly and Santana magazines. Dauntless has a competitive record including races from San Diego to Hawaii, biannual Master Mariners Regattas, and numerous races and cruises along the California coast.


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