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Adventurer Update

August 22, 2014 – California Coast & Bering Seas


(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

We're happy to report that Mike Johnson and crew are making good progress toward completing their transit of the Northwest Passage aboard Gitana. Seen here is last season's route laid over a National Geo map.

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As reported earlier, Mike Johnson and a crew of two men are currently attempting to complete a transit of the Northwest Passage that was halted last season by the heaviest concentration of sea ice seen along that route in well over a decade — a true anomaly in this era of generally diminishing polar ice pack. 

Having left his 44-ft fiberglass schooner Gitana to endure winter temperatures of minus 50° while hauled out at remote Cambridge Bay, Canada, Mike and his crew spent a couple of weeks in July preparing her for sea, then had her refloated via a giant construction crane. According to MIke, Cambridge is the only possible haulout site along the route. He barely made it there last season before pack ice set in. Had he not, he would have had to winter-over aboard, hoping the surrounding ice didn't crush Gitana's extremely thick, yet vulnerable hull. 

The latest report from Mike's shore liaison, Connie Schaekel, tells us that Gitana has left the remote village of 'Tuk' (Tuktoyaktuk) in Canada's Northwest Territories, headed for Hershel Island, Canada, where they hope to top off fuel. From there, they will head for Demarcation Bay, just over the border of Alaska. This leg is the longest leg of this year's voyage," says Connie, "but all systems are working and the crew is in good spirits." Updates come via Mike's Spot device.


The green color of this Google Earth image almost makes the route look temporate. Trust us, it's not. Red circles, right to left, denote Cambridge Bay, Herschel Island, YT, and Nome, Alaska. 

Photo Courtesy GoogleEarch
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As Mike explained to us earlier this year, the general definition of a Northwest Passage transit is from Arctic Circle to Arctic Circle, in either direction. So, Gitana will have completed hers when she reaches Nome, Alaska. We wish Mike and his crew the best of luck. 

Meanwhile, we're following the progress of another bold adventurer: Russian-born Rimas Meleshyus who departed Sausalito recently in his vintage San Juan 24 daysailer, Pier Pressure. Although Rimas is a smart fellow who speaks six languages, he simply would not be dissuaded from attempting to sail around the world — via Cape Horn — on this tiny vessel.


Having endured several lengthy passages in this tiny boat already, Rimas is nothing if not stoic. We hope the angels are looking out for him this time too.

Photo Courtesy Pier Pressure
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

During his four-month stint in Sausalito's Richardson Bay anchorage, Rimas made many friends who admire his spunk while being generally concerned for his safety on the open ocean. And this morning, some are gravely worried about his fate, as his DeLorme tracker plot shows him heading toward Hawaii at roughly 3.5 knots, directly toward the assumed path of Tropical Storm Lowell unless — according a weather analyst who is trying to assist Rimas — he does an about-face and heads ESE into more stable conditions. But that's not the only threat. According to the same source, "An area of low pressure is deepening very rapidly and will almost certainly form into a cyclone within the next two days." If so, it would be named Hurricane Maria, and it, too, could overrun Pier Pressure. Hopefully, Rimas will take the advice and radically alter course.

 


The arrow indicates that Rimas may already have turned to the SE. We certainly hope so.

Photo Courtesy DeLorme
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC


This NOAA graphic show Lowell's projected route. The only good news, is that the storm's intensity has diminished somewhat, but it is still packing 60-knot winds.

Photo Courtesy NOAA
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th


Weekend Racing Preview

August 22, 2014 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

Melges 20 racing

Melges 20 action, seen here in last weekend's Summer Keel on the Berkeley Circle, continues this weekend on that other coast.

© 2017 Leslie Richter / www.rockskipper.com

The Audi Melges 20 Nationals at Sail Newport (RI) started yesterday and concludes on Sunday. Seadon Wijsen and Skip Baxter are sailing with Dan Thielman of Tiburon aboard Kuai. Two entries hail from Pacific Palisades: Drew Freides' Pacific Yankee and Bob Hayward's Manatea 20. The class championships continue with the Pacific Coast Championship on September 27-28 and the North Americans on October 3-5, both at San Francisco Yacht Club.

This weekend, SFYC is hosting the Corinthian Cup. Down-the-road neighbor Corinthian YC is not involved however. This Cup is a match race between SFYC and Annapolis YC, sailed in J/22s. Adult teams must be coed, and all sailors on the junior teams must be 13-18 years old. Sailing starts today with a practice race and continues through Sunday.

SKUD-18 sailor Ryan Porteous of San Diego, with crew Cindy Walker, is competing this week in the IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship, hosted by the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax, Canada. After five races, the pair were one point out of fifth place. This regatta serves as a qualifier for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Lake Washington Sailing Club's next One Design Race is tomorrow in West Sacramento. "With a nice Delta breeze we should be able to get in five races," opined the organizers. On Sunday, female skippers and male crew race doublehanded in Encinal YC's Gracie & George Regatta, with a course on the South Bay finishing in a run down the Estuary to EYC in Alameda.

Team AYSF pitchpoles

Wipe-outs are common in skiff racing. This is Team AYSF's famous pitchpole in the 2012 18-ft Skiff International Regatta.

© 2017 Erik Simonson / www.pressure-drop.us

St. Francis YC's Aldo Alessio for ORR/PHRF and J/111s begins today with an ocean course and continues with shorter in-the-Bay races through Sunday, after which the club will immediately transition to the fun-to-watch 18-ft Skiff International Regatta on August 25-30. The Aussie 18s, kiteboarders and windsurfers go head-to-head in the brief but exciting Ronstan Bridge to Bridge drag race at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Hannig Cup

Last year's Hannig Cup had blustery conditions at the windward mark.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

This year's ninth 'Give Something Back' Hannig Cup is on August 27, part of Sequoia YC's Wednesday night series. Says founder Ted Hannig, "A pirate's treasure of over $120,000 awaits charities if you plot your course to rendezvous with our fleet!"

- latitude / chris

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August 22, 2014 – West Coast


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Legends Collide at Wooden Boat Festival

August 22, 2014 – Port Townsend, WA


The Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, Washington, will kick off with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear three sailing legends.

© 2017 Northwest Maritime Center

If you’re planning a trip up to Port Townsend for the 38th annual Wooden Boat Festival at the Northwest Maritime Center, September 5-7, be sure to get there a day early for an extraordinary special event you won’t want to miss. Cruising legends Lin and Larry Pardey have teamed up with shipwreck survivor Steve Callahan, author of Adrift, for a full day of classes on September 4.


Lin and Larry Pardey will discuss storm tactics and share some of the adventures that made them who they are today.

Photo Latitude / LaDonna
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The morning session starts with Callahan’s presentation ‘Aquatic Caveman’ and ends with the Pardeys’ ‘Storm Tactics’. In the afternoon session, the intrepid trio will share ‘The Adventures That Shaped Our Lives’, as well as hold a Q&A session afterward. This is a unique opportunity to see your sailing heroes in the flesh and hear their stories firsthand — as well as ask the questions you’ve always wanted answers to!


Steve Callahan survived 76 days in a liferaft and, most recently, was the technical advisor for the film Life of Pi, which will be screened at the festival.

Photo Courtesy Steve Callahan
© 2017 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and costs $95 for the whole day, $50 for the morning session, and $60 for the afternoon session. For more info, click here.

- ladonna bubak

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August 22, 2014 – Long Beach, CA

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