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King Tides Preview Future Levels

January 21, 2015 – San Francisco Bay

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Yesterday's 9.4-foot high tide at Redwood City was inches from flooding the grounds of this waterside facility. Imagine what this scene would look like in storm conditions — or if sea levels really do rise substantially. 

© 2018 John Tuma

In San Francisco Bay it's always wise to plan your movements on the water with the flow of currents and the rise and fall of tides. But that's especially true today, as we're currently in a cycle of extreme — or "king" — tides. They occur several times every winter around periods when the moon is full.

At the Golden Gate today, the highest high was just 6.8 feet above the mean at 11:35 a.m., with a late afternoon low (6:05 p.m.) of -1.16. As the current flooded in this morning it maxed out at 2.7 knots, and will ebb back out again this afternoon at a max ebb of 4.4 just after 4 p.m. Not a great time to be sailing to Vallejo.

Needless to say, some waterside trails and parking lots around the Central Bay will be flooded in the middle of the day today. And in the South Bay, measurements will be really extreme: A high of 9.1 (that's no typo) is predicted today at Redwood City, down from a whopping 9.4 yesterday.

The arrival of king tides also gives us a sobering hint of what the future might look like if predictions of sea level rise become a reality. Mark your calendar: The next king tide cycle comes February 17-19. Plan to break out your galoshes that week! 

Latitude contributor John Tuma snapped this shot at 5:15 yesterday, about an hour and a half before low tide, which was expected to be -1.34 feet. "That makes for a tidal range of almost 11 feet!" he notes. Night sailing out of this marina was not an option.

© 2018 John Tuma

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Racing with Copepods

January 21, 2015 – San Francisco

Despite what you might think, copepods are not the latest, greatest racing dinghies. They’re tiny crustaceans that scientists believe are the fastest animals on earth. Three meters per second might not sound like a lot, but if you scale the proportions up to the size of a human, it’s somewhere in the range of 6-12 miles per second! They also happen to be bio-indicators for the health of the world’s oceans.

Marin’s Barbara McVeigh, formerly of Sailing Education Adventures (SEA), is an independent filmmaker with a passion for the sea. Last summer, she worked with director Carlos Graña to produce Racing with Copepods, an 18-minute film that follows 12 school kids as they learn about the environment through sailing on the Bay in Picos and aboard the Wyliecat 65 Derek M. Baylis. "They connect with the natural marine world and meet Her Deepness, oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, to share a message of advocacy and hope for a healthy blue planet," says McVeigh.

Racing With Copepods trailer from Bazooka Mama Productions on Vimeo.

The film, narrated by San Francisco’s Kimball Livingston, premiers at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow, January 22, at the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way in Corona Heights Park, San Francisco. It’s free and open to the public, though donations to benefit SEA are encouraged. Seating is limited, so RSVP by email. Early birds will be treated to sea chanteys by Bobbie Nikles starting at 6:30, and Graña, McVeigh and some of the student stars will discuss copepod studies after the film. "It's going to be a full house of educators, sailors, naturalists and others who care about the ocean," says McVeigh. "This project was made of magic and was a big labor of love by many."

Find out more at

- ladonna bubak

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A Trio of Boat Shows

January 21, 2015 – West Coast

This weekend will be a big one for boat shows on the West Coast. The Seattle Boat Show Indoors + Afloat will start on Friday and run through February 1, with boats on the water on South Lake Union and indoor displays and seminars at CenturyLink Field Event Center. We'll have more on that show in Friday's 'Lectronic Latitude.

The Progressive San Francisco Boat Show starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday. Sailboats on display range in size from the Beneteau 20 to the Hanse 505. Paddle sports equipment, nautical gear, and a seminar program will be there too. Fred’s Shed Interactive Learning Center offers free DIY clinics on boat maintenance and repair. Space is limited at Discover Boating’s Hands-On Skills Training, so register for those in advance. If you want to get yourself, your kids, or your friends into sailing visit the SailSFBay booth #308, where volunteers from various Bay Area sailing programs will be helping show-goers find a path to sailing.

Walking the docks at McCovey Cove

Checking out the in-the-water boats at last year's first SF Boat Show.

© 2018 Progressive San Francisco Boat Show

Parking will be available at Pier 48, and a free shuttle will run between Pier 48 and McCovey Cove. Food alcoves at AT&T Park near the entrance to McCovey Cove will offer ballpark-style fare. Food trucks will be lined up outside Pier 48; head inside the pier to find the full bar.

The San Diego Sunroad Marina Boat Show will also run January 22-25, at Sunroad Resort Marina located at Harbor Island. More than 100 new and "pre-cruised" boats on display range in size from 30 to 110 feet. Free boat rides on San Diego Bay will be available for all ages. Marine vendors, kayaks, inflatables, interactive seminars, food, "crafty" beers and steel drum music will round out the show.

Boats in the water at the San Diego show

Boats on display in the water at the San Diego Sunroad Marina Show.

© 2018 San Diego Sunroad Marina Boat Show

No matter which show you attend, we recommend wearing shoes that are easy to slip into and out of, as many of the boats you'll want to board have a no-shoes policy.

- latitude / chris

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

January 21, 2015 – San Francisco Bay and Barbados

Express 27 start at CYC Midwinters

The Express 27 fleet started off the Corinthian race deck on sunny Saturday.

© 2018 Ken Brown

Last weekend's Corinthian Midwinters experimented with two starting areas for the first time. On Saturday, the faster competitors started off a committee boat on the Knox course, while the slower boats started off the clubhouse. Both groups enjoyed downwind starts in a moderate northerly. "The Saturday morning forecast showed northerly flow, which was quite different than the westerly predicted in the Sail Tactics 2-Day Outlook forecast," said Mike Dvorak of Sail Tactics. "Cooling in the Central Valley and the strength of the nighttime inversion can end up changing the forecast overnight, often radically. That's why we run the forecast on the morning of the race."

Wind chart at noon on Saturday

Saturday morning's forecast for noon. "The forecast was admittedly light," said Dvorak, "with northerly winds in the low teens for knots but the direction was spot on. Unique to Saturday's forecast was a heart-shaped calm zone right in the Slot."

© 2018 Sail Tactics /

All were thwarted on Sunday by a veil of fog that would have made starting a race impossible. We'll have much more on the Corinthians in the February issue of Latitude 38.

South Beach YC downwind leg

A group of South Beach YC racers sails downwind south of the Bay Bridge. With a colorful spinnaker, Robert Fairbank and David Crone's Yankee 30 Double Play is in the foreground.

© 2018 Martha Blanchfield /

The 15 crews that sailed in South Beach YC's Island Fever series only had to race on Saturday, with the usual challenging starts and finishes in McCovey Cove. They had a nice day for it. See Racing Sheet in the February Latitude for a report.

Onboard Stretch, a Hobie 33

Working our way farther south, we check in on the Santa Cruz YC Midwinters, also held on January 17. As you can see by this photo of Stretch, a Hobie 33, that race also enjoyed great conditions and beautiful blue skies.

© 2018 Liz Kroft

Quantum Key West Race Week was off to a good start on Monday with two races completed in an 8- to 14-knot northeasterly. Tuesday's dicey conditions resulted in some delays, a few false starts, and one abandonment, but, by the end of the day, all three divisions had completed two races in shifty winds that ranged from 5 to 7 knots. After four races, San Francisco's Jim Cunningham was leading the Corinthian division of the J/70 fleet with Lifted. Racing continues through Friday.

It's a bit far from our usual beat, but the Mount Gay Around Barbados Race Series bears a quick check-in, if only as an excuse to share the following photo.

Silver Bullet collides with a foiling Moth

Silver Bullet, an RC 30 racing in the Multihull division of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Coastal Race Series, encounters an apparently unmanned foiling Moth.

© 2018 Peter Marshall / MGRBR

Racing began on Saturday, the approximately 70-mile Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race is today, and the series concludes next Saturday with the 300-mile Barbados to Antigua Ocean Race. On breaking any of the existing Round Barbados records, an entry will be awarded Mount Gay Rum Extra Old equivalent to the weight of the registered skipper as recorded at the weigh-in.


- latitude / chris

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