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Is Apster Still Out There?

January 7, 2015 – California Coast

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Seen here during a 2006 daysail on the Bay, the Lyle Hess-designed cutter Apster is a nautical work of art that rose from the ashes thanks to the exhaustive efforts of boatbuilder Dan Jones. 

Photo Latitude / JR
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In the aftermath of the Christmas-day helicopter evacuation of singlehander Jeff Weaver from his 32-ft Bristol Channel cutter Apster, Bay Area classic boat aficionados have been hoping against hope that she will be spotted and retrieved. The rescue took place roughly 75 miles southwest of Monterey in nasty conditions, with 10- to 15-foot seas and winds of 30 knots.

When Weaver was rescued on Christmas Day, Apster still had two sails up and the inflow of water had reportedly been stabilized. 

© 2018 Air Station San Francisco / US Coast Guard

We have been unable to reach Weaver for comment, but Coast Guard sources have confirmed that the Lyle Hess-designed woodie had been taking on water when Weaver issued his mayday call, but that he had somehow stabilized the inflow before being evacuated. As we've learned when reporting on previous offshore rescues, the Coast Guard has no standard policy regarding scuttling such an unmanned vessel or letting it drift. It is our understanding that such a decision would be up to the Coast Guard commander on the scene. In this case, however, only a helo crew was on site — the cutter Sockeye had not yet arrived — so scuttling was a non-issue, unless it had been instituted by Weaver himself. 

With a staysail and reefed main still up, the boat was left to drift with prevailing northwesterly winds and southbound currents, so those who knew and loved Apster are anxiously awaiting news of her current location — as is Weaver, undoubtedly. After the rescue, the Coast Guard issued a Notice to Mariners alert, but thus far they have received no reports of sightings.

Builder Dan Jones (center) addresses a crowd of well-wishers at Apster's long-awaited launch in 2000.

© 2018 John Skoriak / Latitude Archives

Why such concern for a small wooden boat? Not only was Apster built from a classic design by a renowned, old-school naval architect, but she'd become somewhat of a local legend even before she was launched in October 2000. With her hull nearly completed, she was partially destroyed during a boat fire in 1986 at Bob Darr's Wooden Boatbuilding School in San Rafael. But master shipwright Dan Jones carted the hulk to his property in Marin, and after 14 years and an estimated 4,000 hours of labor, the slender beauty was finally launched with an adoring crowd looking on. The cutter was named Apster after Jones' buddy Peter Strietman's son, Alfred Peter Strietman Jr, who was then three years old.

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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That Sinking Feeling

January 7, 2015 – Berkeley, CA

Ketch sunk in her slip

Does your boat have any leaks?

© 2018 Paul Kamen

This unfortunate vessel, a large steel ketch berthed in Berkeley Marina, developed a fuel leak which required containment booms. Fuel was pumped out of the bilge. Apparently water was also leaking in.

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What's Your Solution to Seasickness?

January 7, 2015 – The World of Sailing

Historians tell us that ever since man first ventured out on the ocean seasickness has been an annoying — if not debilitating — problem. Episodes of mal de mer have crippled navies as far back as Greek and Roman times, and even famous mariners such as Admiral Nelson and Charles Darwin have suffered with it. Thus, finding a reliable cure is one of the oldest challenges in medicine — and sailing. 

Not into taking seasickness drugs? Perhaps these Boarding Ring Glasses will help. We don't know how well they work, but they were nominated for a prestigious design award.

Photo Courtesy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Today, in the age of modern pharmaceuticals, various potential remedies are offered including Meclizine (sold as Bonine, Sea Legs, Dramamine, etc.), Scopolamine (sold as Scopoderm), and Stugeron (sold as Cinnarizine around the world, but not in the US). There is also an assortment of non-drug methods, such as ingesting ginger root products, wearing pressure-point devices and, according to several doctors we know, smoking pot.

All together now. . . We really shouldn't joke about seasickness. If you've ever had a bad case of it, you know it is no laughing matter.  

Photo Courtesy FishmeisterSuperstore
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If seasickness is a problem for you or your crew, we'd like to hear about which method or device has worked best in your experience. Drop us a line here, and a couple of photos if you have some.

- latitude / andy

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Available Now!

January 7, 2015 – SF Bay Area and Cyberspace

Photo Latitude / Colleen
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC /

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

January 7, 2015 – San Francisco Bay and Long Beach

blue Adrenalin

This pretty SC50, Adrenalin, is new to the Bay, having come up from SoCal. A group from RYC plans to enter her in the 2016 Pacific Cup. She was a single race entry in last weekend's GGYC midwinter.

© 2018 Erik Simonson /

A chilly breeze out of the north put the 'winter' in Bay Area midwinter racing on the first weekend of 2015. The velocity was just right for the start of Golden Gate Yacht Club's Cityfront Seaweed Soup race on Saturday, but the direction was awkward, as it paralleled the starting line, which is drawn between the clubhouse and the stationary X buoy. A building ebb was a factor all weekend too.

Bodacious+ aground in the harbor

The ebb flushed out of the San Francisco Marina so fast that this 1D48's 10-ft keel found mud when her crew attempted to leave after post-race socializing.

© 2018 Ray Davis

On Sunday, Sausalito YC took advantage of a 9-knot north-northwesterly to send their faster divisions across the Bay to Fort Mason, and the non-spinnaker divisions on a shorter course to Harding Rock.

The crew on the Wyliecat 30 Nancy

Sailing in the SYC Midwinters, former YRA chairman Pat Broderick waves from the helm of his Wyliecat 30 Nancy, while current YRA chair Charles Hodgkins, Terry Holcomb and Kathryn Hodgkins try to stay warm on the rail. "Everyone got a chance to steer and do whatever trimming gets done on a Wyliecat," said Broderick.

© 2018 Roxanne Fairbairn /

Also on Sunday, Richmond YC's Small Boat Midwinters set up in the same nippy northerly on three courses. The wind would come and go throughout the day of multiple races, however, eventually clocking around to the west. As soon as you adjusted your boat or the race course for one kind of wind, it changed.

Three men on an Ultimate 20

Although RYC's Small Boat Midwinters are dominated by dinghies, small keelboat one-design classes race too, like this Ultimate 20, John Wolfe's Breakaway. The pink boat in the background is Milly Biller's International 110, a canoe-style keelboat designed in 1939.

© 2018 /

The U.S. Sailing Center in Long Beach hosted the Rose Bowl Regatta on the first weekend in January. Very light breeze had collegiate and high school sailors urging every unit of speed they could eke out of their CFJs. Georgetown dominated the 30 college teams. Newport Harbor won the HS Gold division, and Cathedral Catholic of San Diego won the HS Silver division.

Roll-tacking an FJ

Georgetown's winning 'A' crew of Nevin Snow (from San Diego) and Katia DaSilva roll-tack at the finish line.

© 2018 Rich Roberts

We'll have more on the Bay Area midwinters, plus more SoCal races from last weekend, in the February issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / chris

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Don't Forget to Look Up

January 7, 2015 – A Harbor Somewhere

Oh Snap!

Sailboat takes on bridge and loses.

Posted by SaltHub on Monday, July 22, 2013

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