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A Head Start on February

January 30, 2015 – The West Coast

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The February Latitude — ahead of its time. 

Photo Latitude / Annie
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If your eyeballs are getting itchy to catch up on the latest sailing news, you're in luck, as we've jumped the gun a wee bit and released the February issue of Latitude 38 today. You'll find it at your favorite Bay Area marine business (and online) this afternoon, while businesses in Southern California, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii will receive them in a few days. See a complete distribution list here.

What's inside? All sorts of topical info such as reports on Avalon's high-wind calamity, the Rio100 speed machine, Apster abandonment, how a sailboat became a love boat and more. As always, we cover racing both inside the Bay and beyond, in addition to cruising reports from around the world. The Corinthian Midwinters in our features section, along with tips on planning for Hawaii races, highlights of two go-slow circumnavigations, and Max Ebb's study of 'clubbin' through a race course. 

Pick up your copy today. And remember, if you've got some sailing news that you'd like us to be aware of, please drop us a note here.

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

High-Flying Cat

January 30, 2015 – San Diego, CA

Just before we left San Diego for the start of the Baja Ha-Ha in late October of last year, we were treated to an unusual sight — a big multihull coming out of the water at Driscoll's Boat Yard on Shelter Island without benefit of a Travelift. The boat was Gunboat 62 Cucu Belle, ex-Safari, which had been built in South Africa in 2002. Her 28-ft beam was too wide for the Travelift, so a heavy-duty crane was brought in for the job.

The big Gunboat dangles in her cradle. She's been trimmed down to fighting weight in order to do battle in this summer's Transpac.
Photo Latitude / richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Soon to be christened Chim Chim by her new Southern California owner, the big cat has a lot of ocean miles have passed beneath its hulls. In fact, we remember sailing Profligate side-by-side with her from Isle Fourche to St. Barth in late 2004. For the last four years the Morrelli & Melvin design has been cruised all over the South Pacific, as far as New Zealand and Australia.

The cat’s new owner is giving her a complete refit. The company overseeing the project is Multihull Solutions VI, a project management and performance multihull consulting company run by Nils & Meredith Erickson. "We've gutted all the wiring and plumbing, removed the genset and bathtub, and will be installing all new electronics and solar powered air-conditioning," reports skipper Nils. And that's just the start. Instead of the hulls getting a new paint, they will be covered in colored vinyl. Brad Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Racing is doing the composite work and structural changes to the boat. 

The owner plans to daysail and cruise the boat in Southern California, but he also wants to do this summer's Los Angeles-to-Honolulu Transpac. "Our goal is to have the boat in the water by May 15 so we can qualify for the race," says Nils. "We’re on schedule, as everything was removed by January 1, and the new work has started." 

Skipper Nils Erickson strikes a pose next to one of Chim Chim's saildrives. Changes included removing the bathtub.

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Although Chim Chim is in the process of becoming the lightest Gunboat ever, she'll probably not be a threat for elapsed-time multihull honors in the race to Honolulu. Readers may remember that Lloyd Thornburg’s Santa Fe- and St. Barth-based orange Gunboat 66 Phaedo, an admittedly higher tech and slightly longer Gunboat, did 427 miles in just 24 hours in the last Transpac before being dismasted. If Phaedo skipper Paul Hand, who used to be Chim Chim’s skipper in the Caribbean in 2004, can keep Phaedo’s mast up, it will be hard for Chim Chim to maintain pace. But you never know. And it should be a fast and sweet ride.

- latitude / richard

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Crew List Party March 11

January 30, 2015 – San Francisco, CA

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Weekend Racing Preview

January 30, 2015 – San Francisco Bay

The 695 sailors racing on 368 boats (41 singlehanded, 327 doublehanded) in tomorrow's Three Bridge Fiasco have been agonizing for days, even weeks, over the San Francisco Bay weather and current forecast.

"The wind forecast is just as much of a fiasco as the race itself," says Mike Dvorak of Sail Tactics. "Light and shifty winds are forecast at the start, but at least the tides will cooperate, with slack around 10:00 a.m. While flow is predominantly from the north, the Sail Tactics forecast model is also showing winds from the NE, E, and NW in the Central Bay around 10:00 a.m. with a large calm patch from Southampton to Pier 39. Wind speeds during that same period range from calm to 12 knots, with the highest winds right in the middle of the Golden Gate. In the early afternoon, flow seems to settle on coming out of the east for a brief time. but then a westerly is predicted to arrive mid-afternoon, with the obligatory calm before the change. This is all to say that persistence will likely pay again this year. Our updated forecast out around 7:00 tomorrow morning will give better insight as to which mark to head for first."

Sail Tactics current map for 10:00 AM

The Sail Tactics tidal current forecast shows much more forgiving conditions at the time of the start compared to last year, with slack tide around 10:00 a.m.

© 2018 Sail Tactics /

An important change to note this year: the start/finish line is restricted, so you can't sail through it unless you're actually starting or finishing. (In past years, you could sail through it on the way to or from Blackaller Buoy.) Like last year, there will be no radio check-in — as the number of entries topped the 300 mark in recent years, the check-in itself became a fiasco — but if you signed up and decide not to race, let the race committee know at (866) 724-5777 before noon tomorrow. If you drop out of the race, be sure to call in by phone or VHF. The SSS has to account for everyone.

Port-starboard Snipe crossing

Snipe action at the Richmond Small Boat Midwinters in January. This weekend's racing is not forecast to be quite so chilly.

© 2018 Richmond Yacht Club

February begins on Sunday, and Sausalito YC will have their first-Sunday-of-the-month midwinter race on February 1. Plus, Small Boat Midwinters will be happening at Richmond YC, and Oakland YC will host a Sunday Brunch race.

- latitude / chris

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