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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

August 27, 2014 – North America

Aeolus heads out the Gate
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Rob Theis' J/111 Aeolus sails out the Gate in Friday's Aldo Alessio ocean race.

© 2018 Chris Ray /

St. Francis Yacht Club hosted the Aldo Alessio Regatta on Friday-Sunday. After five races, including a jaunt out to the ocean on Friday, Roland Vandermeer's J/111 Big BLAST! topped that one-design fleet, and Gerard Sheridan's Elan 40 Tupelo Honey corrected out to win both the PHRF and ORR handicap scoring divisions.

3 skiffs

Skiff racing on the Cityfront is exciting to watch.

© 2018 Rich Roberts

"On a cloudy, windy day, StFYC began five days of the 18-ft Skiff International Regatta," writes Chris Ray, describing the scene along the San Francisco Cityfront on Monday. "An ebb tide greeted the competitors, and every team faced challenges." After two days of racing and four races, CST with Newport Harbor YC's Howie Hamlin, Cameron McDonald, and Matt McKinlay is in the lead by just one point, thanks to a controversial over-early call in Race 2 on Australian entry ASCC. Hamlin, a six-time winner of the event, is using his 10-year-old backup boat. Ray explained: "Howie's latest, high-tech boat is in a shipping container, somewhere between here and Houston." ASCC's Brett Van Munster said, "I think my boat is even older than Howie's."

CST crew

Howie Hamlin and crew are racing his 'old' skiff.

© 2018 Chris Ray /

Sunday's Gracie & George Regatta hosted by Encinal YC on the South Bay and Alameda Estuary enjoyed "sunshine with winds that were moderate with no scary or dead spots," according to photographer Fred Fago. "Everyone appeared to have a good time." EYC rear commodore Jim Vickers added, "We had fifteen boats this year, the same as last year, and substantially more than the seven we had in each of the previous two years. So this is a good trend." The coed, doublehanded, female-skipper race is part of Latitude 38's unofficial Women's Circuit.

Bill Gardner and Kristy Lugert

Kristy Lugert skippered Bill Gardner's F-27 Peregrine Falcon in the Gracie & George. It's the first time (at least in recent memory) that a multihull has entered. The trimaran won first place in the spinnaker division.

© 2018 Fred Fago

With an 8-10 knot breeze and a slightly lumpy sea with a good current running, 21 Mercuries sailed on the waters off Santa Barbara for their Nationals on August 22-24. In order to win the title, Chris Raab and Ken Dair had to best even the great Paul Cayard. We'll have more in the October issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / chris

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Hurricane Spawns Epic SoCal Surf

August 27, 2014 – Southern California

With more than two months still to go in the Eastern Pacific — meaning the Pacific Coast of Mexico — hurricane season, it's already been a pretty epic year. So far there have been 14 tropical storms, including nine hurricanes. But the thing that really impresses us is that there have been three Category 4 and two Category 5 hurricanes, the latter being the most powerful hurricanes on the scale.

The Southern California coast is currently getting pounded by epic surf generated by Hurricane Marie, which has peak winds of 140 knots. To keep things in perspective, 140 knots has four times as much force, not just double, as does 70 knots. And 70 knots is a heck of a lot of wind.

Track of Hurricane Marie

Although Hurricane Marie is generating epic surf, she doesn't appear likely to head toward Mexico.

© 2018 Unisys Weather /

Marie has been generating tremendous waves for the Southern California coast. Forecasters were calling for waves up to 25 feet. We've never heard a forecast like that before. But we did see a photo of Laird Hamilton surfing a huge wave to the east, not west, of the Malibu Pier. The pier itself had to be closed due to surf damage.

But if you want to see something really cool, check out this video. It shows some ballsy boogie-boarder taking the wipe-out of a lifetime at The Wedge, which is the west side of the Newport Jetty. The crowds have been so great to watch the action that traffic was reportedly backed up for two hours.

The great thing about this season's major Eastern Pacific hurricanes is that none of them have come close to land. Let's hope it stays that way.

- latitude / richard

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Ad: Oakland Yacht Club

August 27, 2014 – Alameda, CA

Oakland Yacht Club

© 2018 Oakland Yacht Club

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Napa Valley Marina Rides Out Quake

August 27, 2014 – Napa, CA

"USGS shows the red dot right under our building," said Napa Valley Marina co-owner Tom Giovannoni of Sunday morning's 6.0 earthquake that destroyed several buildings in downtown Napa. The marina, which includes a lot of dry storage and a boatyard, is located southwest of town.

Map of earthquake area

Napa Valley Marina is located where Milton Road, Carneros Creek and the Napa River come together. The big red dot is the earthquake.

© 2018 U.S. Geological Survey /

The marina building suffered some cracked drywall but no major damage. However, like many Napa businesses, they lost a lot of wine – as well as paint and hardware – which tumbled off their store shelves.

Powerboat off its stands

This powerboat fell over, but all of the sailboats stayed on their stands.

© 2018 Napa Valley Marina

Tom reassures customers that all the sailboats are fine, as are the docks and the boats in the water. A few aluminum herring boats fell off their blocks but suffered little harm. "My computer, which was on the floor, flipped 180 degrees," said manager Kirby Long. "I don't know how it could do that."

The mess on the floor

Cleaning up the mess in the store.

© 2018 Napa Valley Marina

Despite ongoing, somewhat startling aftershocks, the power's back on, the phones and the well are working, and Napa Valley Marina is open for business as usual.

- latitude / chris

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