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Double Dose of Bad Luck

December 19, 2014 – Evans Head, Australia

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The beautiful Moody 54 Red Sky washed ashore on the east coast of Australia this week, but plans are coming together to refloat and repair her.   

© 2018 Jamie Brown / Northern Star

We're sorry to report that the lovely Moody 54 Red Sky, a veteran of both the Baja Ha-Ha and Pacific Puddle Jump rallies, was abandoned at sea off eastern Australia early December 13 while taking on more water than her pumps could manage. At roughly 3 a.m. she had hit a submerged object while en route from Gold Coast to Sydney. Despite heavy sea conditions, her four-person crew was rescued without injury by the 600-ft tanker British Loyalty. Red Sky was left to sink, but she drifted 14 miles west and washed up on a beach near Evans Head, Australia, where she was stripped of much of her equipment and the crew's personal gear.

In a post Monday, former owner John Hembrow wrote, "Mike [Cramb], the owner, tells me that they believe they became entangled in a wayward FAD (Fish Attracting Device) that had come adrift during the rough weather. Not sure where the water was coming in, but it looks like the rudder was torn away and it is likely this was the source of the leak. They also had no steering as a result." The grounding was doubly sad, as Cramb had spent "tens of thousands rectifying the damage caused by the lightning strike last year," according to Hembrow, "and this was his first voyage on Red Sky after completing the repairs."

In addition to contending with big seas and 30 knots of wind, rising water made Red Sky's engine quit while owner Mike Cramb was trying to bring her alongside the UK-flagged tanker British Loyalty. Cramb, his wife and two additional crew all got off safely.

© 2018 AusRCC

Many veterans of the 2010 Ha-Ha and 2012 Puddle Jump will likely remember John and Leanne Hembrow for their upbeat attitudes and tireless enthusiasm for the cruising life. They bought Red Sky in California shortly before the Ha-Ha, and she was one of the prettiest boats in the fleet. Having sold her to Mike Cramb a couple of years ago, they now live in Nadi, Fiji.

Seen here, John, Leanne and a friend breeze into Moorea's majestic Opunohu Bay during the 2012 Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous.

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

- latitude / andy

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

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See the current magazine here.

Racing Round-Up

December 19, 2014 – Northern California and Beyond

PneumAddict and Aeolus

The Farr 30 PneumAddict and the J/111 Aeolus practice their light-air racing skills in last December's Island Fever race south of the Bay Bridge.

© 2018 /

Rounding up the remainder of the year in racing, some midwinters this Saturday include: Santa Cruz YC Midwinters, Santa Rosa Sailing Club's Spring Lake Winter Series, Sequoia YC's Redwood Cup pursuit race, and South Beach YC's Island Fever. Encinal's Jack Frost takes December off and returns on January 10.

Update: Due to a schedule change, the Sunday Laser Series has been cancelled for this Sunday, the 21st, at Richmond YC. The series will resume on January 11.

Monterey Peninsula YC will have a Christmas Race on December 28, and Coyote Point YC will run Brrrr Rabbit on New Year's Day.

The Yacht Racing Association of SF Bay invites you to beat the rush and renew your YRA membership and PHRF certificate now. If you had a certificate in 2014 and you haven't changed your boat's configuration a renewal form is not needed; you can renew online here. "A YRA membership gets you significant discounts on PHRF fees," says the YRA's newsletter, "eligibility to race in all YRA races, and complimentary PHRF certificate changes throughout the year. Plus, memberships directly support the YRA."

Alinghi crew on the podium

The victorious Alinghi team celebrated their win in the Extreme Sailing Series last weekend. Morgan Larson, shortlisted for Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, is second from the right.

© 2018 Mark Lloyd /

Ten men and seven women have been shortlisted for US Sailing's 2014 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards. Three West Coast men are among the nominees: Extreme Sailing Series Champion Morgan Larson of Santa Cruz, Laser North American Champion Charlie Buckingham of Newport Beach, and Etchells World Champion Bill Hardesty of San Diego. Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis is also nominated; Hutchinson served as tactician aboard Alex Roepers' Plenty, which won the Worlds in San Francisco this October. Laser Radial North American Champion Paige Railey made the women's shortlist; Railey is from Clearwater, FL, but sails for St. Francis YC. The winners will be announced in mid-January. To see the complete list, go to

- latitude / chris

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Ad: Intelligent Maintenance

December 19, 2014 – Planet Earth

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Gonzalo's Nautical Scars Remain

December 19, 2014 – St. Martin and St. Barth

A medium-sized cat ended up on the beach next to the dinghy dock next to the commercial port at St. Barth and just down from the St. Barth YC. Bartians are usually very quick to clean up after hurricane damage, so we're surprised that the cat is still there. Apparently major parts of at least three other boats remain on the beaches of the chic island.

© 2018 Greg Dorland

It’s been two and a half months since Hurricane Gonzalo surprised residents and boat owners at St. Martin and St. Barth with Category 2 hurricane-force winds. The storm had been expected to hit the British Virgin Islands instead, which is why Latitude’s ’ti Profligate and many other boats in the Virgins had been rushed to hurricane holes. But Gonzalo curved at the last minute and the BVIs got nothing. Little St. Barth lost 42 boats, while St. Martin lost a slightly smaller number.

Another view of the stranded cat, which, based on the photo, doesn't look too badly damaged.

© 2018 Greg Dorland

Greg Dorland of the Lake Tahoe-based Catana 52 Escapade reports that recreational and commercial vessels that were victims of the storm still scar some of the island beaches. It’s scenes like the ones in these photos that make waterfront home owners on the windward side of Belvedere worry about winter storms hitting Richardson Bay. There's something counter-intuitively romantic about shipwrecks — as long as they don't involve you or your loved ones. But that's certainly not the case for home and business owners who are negatively impacted for months — if not years — to come.

While some Christmas vacation guests at this Marigot Beach hotel in St. Martin might initially be fascinated by the view of two boats wrecked just outside their windows, we imagine the fascination would quickly fade. 

© 2018 Greg Dorland

The distinctive Hirundo has been carrying cargo in the St. Martin/St. Barth region for years. Based on this view-blocking photo from the north side of St. Martin, it's not clear when — if ever — she'll be returned to service. 

© 2018 Greg Dorland

- latitude / richard

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