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Three Bridge Fiasco Preview

January 26, 2015 – San Francisco, CA

Blackaller Buoy rounding
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

In the Three Bridge Fiasco, you can round Blackaller first, as these boats are doing, or you can save it for last.

Photo Latitude / Ross
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The strangely, hugely popular Three Bridge Fiasco is coming up this Saturday, January 31. Run by the Singlehanded Sailing Society, the 21-mile pursuit race takes singlehanders and doublehanders on a tour of three Bay Area bridges — the three rounding marks are Blackaller Buoy near the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge; Yerba Buena/Treasure Island, which splits the Bay Bridge in two; and Red Rock, just south of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The start/finish line is at Golden Gate YC at the San Francisco Marina. But here's the kicker: the racers can start and finish in either direction and round the marks in any order.

More than 300 boats are signed up. The slowest, an O'Day 22, a Kestrel 23, and the Cal 20s, will start first, at 9:00 a.m. The fastest, Jerome Ternynck's Extreme 40 SmartRecruiters, will start last. The start is incredibly amusing to watch and can easily be seen from shore.

Three Bridge Fiasco start

A view of the 2010 Three Bridge Fiasco start from the GGYC parking lot. While the SSS is a 'run what you brung' sort of organization, the outrigger was disqualified for using propulsion.

© 2018 /

The skippers' meeting, though not mandatory, often draws a standing-room-only crowd. It will be held at Oakland Yacht Club in Alameda this Wednesday, January 28, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday is also the deadline to register. Sign up through Jibeset and see the SSS website at

If you don't have a 2014 or 2015 PHRF certificate, today is the last day to apply for one in time for TBF. "Processing takes between 3 and 4 business days," advises the YRA, "so be sure to register for your certificate today or we cannot guarantee that you will have it in time for the Three Bridge Fiasco. If you had a certificate in 2014 and you haven't changed your boat's configuration then a renewal form is not needed. Simply go here and follow the links to renew. If you have made changes to your boat's configuration please contact the YRA office by email or (415) 771-9500 and we will help get your renewal going." But note that, for the TBF only, the SSS will accept a 2014 certificate.

Which way are you planning to go? And why? (Email your comments here.)

- latitude / chris

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What's Next for 'ti Profligate?

January 26, 2015 – British Virgin Islands

Bequia in the Grenadines. We haven't been there in years. Even with a drone we figure it would take us a couple of weeks to get the photos we needed.

© 2018 Bequia Tourism

The word came years later than we expected, but it's now decision time for the publisher of Latitude 38 with regard to his Leopard 45 catamaran 'ti Profligate in the BVI Yacht Charters yacht management program in the British Virgins.

To recap, we’d taken Latitude’s 63-ft Profligate from California to the Caribbean in late 2004 for the 2005 winter/spring season, then brought her back to San Francisco. While we had a great time — particularly Doña 'Party Girl' de Mallorca, who didn't have to commute back to California and work — it took just under a month of hardcore traveling to get from Cabo to Antigua, and about the same amount of time to get from Antigua back to San Francisco. As great as cruising in the Caribbean is, we concluded that two months of travel for four months in the Caribbean wasn't something we'd want to do on a regular basis.

Unwilling to give up on the fabulous sailing in the Caribbean, in late 2005 the publisher bought the 2000 Leopard 45 cat Eva 'Evil' Louise coming out of The Moorings charter fleet in Tortola. He then placed her in the management program at BVI Yacht Charters. She would be chartered in the British Virgins for nine months each year, and she would be Latitude's Caribbean office in St. Barth from February through April. Hard but very nice work if you can get it. Our firm intention was to keep the boat for just three years, then sell her.

If you’re good at math, you know that we've kept 'ti for nine years now, or three times longer than we'd intended. How could we not? The boat's charter income offset all the repairs and gear replacements. And working/cruising in the Caribbean is sooooooo sweet, particularly from the middle of February to the middle of May, when the weather is the best.

Mustique really only has one anchorage, so we wouldn't need much more than a week to photograph it and Basil's Bar. 

© 2018 Bequia Tourism

Apparently there was considerable demand to charter 'ti because of her association with Latitude 38, which is the only reason that BVI kept her in their fleet for so long. Understandably, the charter company prefers to have newer boats on offer.

Thanks to the regular maintenance performed by Anthony and the staff at BVI Yacht Charters, 'ti Profligate is still in remarkably good shape. Nonetheless, she's 15 years old, and thus we just got the word from BVI Yacht Charter owner Arjan Stoof that she will be pulled from their fleet at the end of July. It's been a great run, we think, for both parties.

So what do we do next? We can think of five options:

1) Sell 'ti and buy a newer boat that would be accepted in the BVI Yacht Management program.

2) Sell 'ti and use the money to short the tumbling euro.

3) Keep 'ti and try to find a 50% partner to use her November through mid-February.

4) Keep 'ti and try to find a 50% partner for sailing her in the Caribbean from November to February, then up the East Coast in the summers.

5) Keep 'ti and use her as a moveable base from which to take drone photos for a photo book on anchorages in the Caribbean, while doing a few weeks of specialty charters — photography charters, anti-magnet charters, toxic cleansing charters, lesbian charters, etc — to offset expenses.

Option 1 is off the table — it's going to be The Summer of '67 for us, so we've likely bought our last boat. Option 2 is out of the question because we're not smart enough for currency speculation. Options 3 and 4 have their attractions, but Option 5 is the current favorite. We really enjoy photography and particularly drone photography, and we'd like to have a powerful excuse to visit all the islands again. And niche charters appeal to our sense of humor.

One thing we really like is the fact that the folks at BVI Charters, who really know and like 'ti, are willing to continue maintenance and offer off-season storage.

What would you do if you were in our Top-Siders?

If you had a yacht in yacht management in the Caribbean — or anywhere else — what did you do when the agreement was up? Send us your comments by email.

We were in The Saintes with the Olson 30 La Gamelle a few years ago, but only for one night. A couple of weeks would be much better. 

© 2018 Guadeloupe Tourism

- latitude / richard

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Made You Look

January 26, 2015 – Latitude 38 World Headquarters

'Lectronic Latitude ads have the power to reach 5,000 people — a day! Advertisers tell us that their web traffic increases dramatically when they place ads in 'Lectronic. Get your customers' attention with one today. Contact your ad rep at (415) 383-8200: John Arndt, ext. 108, or Mitch Perkins, ext. 107.

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The Flyin' Hawaiian Takes Flight

January 26, 2015 – San Francisco Bay

There's something missing from Sausalito's Richardson Bay anchorage: the notorious Flyin' Hawaiian catamaran. Word around the docks is that Hot Rod Lane's home-built creation actually made it out the Golden Gate and headed south over the weekend.

Why is that news? Because Lane's 65-ft cat — which was launched in May 2013 after a three-year build process at San Rafael's Loch Lomond Marina — had been unsuccessful on all previous attempts to either sail or motor. And she'd dragged several times in different parts of the North Bay, once having to be rescued by the Coast Guard. 

Despite her odd shape and construction techniques, many observers were impressed that the Flyin' Hawaiian actually floated on her lines when launched at Loch Lomond Marina in May 2013. 

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Designed and built by Lane, 53, and his son Michael Johnson, 29, without any professional help, the big cat's odd shape, 2-by-4-and-plywood construction and unconventional rig have made it the butt of many caustic comments on cruiser forums. 

So where is Flyin' Hawaiian headed? Lane's original goal was to reach Hawaii and live aboard there at anchor. But conjecture around the Richardson Bay anchorage seems to be that she's heading to Southern Cal first. 

The bottom line for Belvedere homeowners living adjacent to the anchorage is that there is now one less illegal liveaboard vessel to blight their view. And for the Richardson Bay Regional Authority, which oversees the anchorage, there's one less unnavigable vessel that might drag ashore and have to be removed at great taxpayer expense.

- latitude / andy

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Where's That Rock?

January 26, 2015 – Punta Mita, Mexico

In Friday's story, Rock On!, about John Larsen's Westsail 42 Danika striking a pinnacle rock near Punta Mita, we gave a latitude for the rock's position but not a longitude (we have since added it to the original story). The complete coordinates to avoid are: 20° 45.843' N by 105° 32.889' W.

- latitude / chris

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