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West Coast Talent Shines at 52 Super Series

May 20, 2015 – Valencia, Spain

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

A TP52 bowman earns his pay at Valencia Sailing Week, the first of five events in the re-energized 52 Super Series. 

© 2018 Pedro Martinez/Martinez Studio

As the global financial crisis wanes, top-tier international yacht racing seems to be booming, and nowhere is this positive trend more evident than in the 52 Super Series, a premier one-design event for TP52s, composed of five regattas in the Med between May and September.

Formerly known as the Audi Med Cup, the series was all but left for dead when series sponsor Audi pulled out in late 2011, leaving organizers struggling to field a half dozen boats during the 2012 season, rather than the 20+ seen in previous years. Fast forward three years and the re-named 52 Super Series is once again thriving. Kicking off the 2015 season this week with the Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week, a dozen boats — including an incredible nine brand-new builds — have begun their quest to win what is arguably the most prestigious title in the world of inshore Grand Prix racing, that of TP 52 World Champion. 

To say that the racing within the 12-boat fleet was tight would be a gross understatement. 

© 2018 Pedro Martinez/Martinez Studio

With competition in the Spanish yachting mecca now midway through the second of five days (as we write this), Latitude 38 readers will be proud to see a couple of NorCal boys calling the shots at the top of the owner-driver fleet. Tied on five points apiece is TP 52 newcomer Alegre and class stalwart Rán Racing (next best is Provezza with 14 points). Bay Area native and America’s Cup champion John Kostecki serves as tactician on the new Botin Partners-designed and British-flagged Alegre, while Santa Cruz native Morgan Larson is calling tactics for Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom on the brand new Judel/Vrolijk-designed, Swedish-flagged Rán Racing. The American-flagged Quantum Racing — the most successful syndicate in the history of the class — has gotten off to a slow start with owner Doug Devos’ 22-year-old son Dalton on the helm. Quantum won the world title in 2011, ’12 and ’13. Today, with a brand-new sistership to Alegre and most of the same core group of rockstars from the past — from Ed Baird in the back of the bus to Greg Gendell on the pointy end — it should only be a matter of time before the distinctive new zebra-colored racer gets on the pace and competes for the podium. See more here.

The Russian entry Bronenosec from the St. Petersburg YC looks for an open lane during an upwind charge. 

© 2018 Pedro Martinez/Martinez Studio

- ronnie simpson

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Letting the World Know They've Circumnavigated

May 20, 2015 – Times Square, New York City

It was Times Square electronic billboard news in April this year when Charlie and Cathie Simon completed their circumnavigation.

Photo Courtesy Celebration
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Quite a few Latitude 38 readers have circumnavigated, but to the best of our knowledge, Charlie and Cathie Simon of Nuevo Vallarta and Spokane — but who got their sailing chops on San Francisco Bay —  are the first to have had their achievement announced on the big electronic billboard at New York City's Times Square. We have no idea how that came about.

The Simons did their 14-month circumnavigation as part of the 20-boat World ARC fleet, which started and finished in St. Lucia. "It was easy," Cathie told us during an interview we conducted with the Simons at the Bar of the Forgotten in St. Barth.

The thing we found most surprising is that the Simons, who are almost as old as the Wanderer, doublehanded 12 of the 15 legs of the circumnavigation, even though their boat, the Taswell 58 Celebration, displaces nearly 80,000 pounds. "It's all about mechanical advantage," said Charlie.

For more on the Simons' achievement, check out Changes in Latitudes in the June issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / richard

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May 20, 2015 – West Coast

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

May 20, 2015 – West Coast

Taylor Canfield hoists the Congressional Cup

Taylor Canfield, 26, wearing his second crimson blazer, and his US One crew won last week's Congressional Cup, hosted by LBYC.

© 2018 Bob Grieser /

Taylor Canfield, from the USVI, successfully defended his Congressional Cup title in Long Beach on May 13-17. Twelve skippers from nine nations competed in the 51st edition of the match race event. Canfield made it through the round robins with a solid, though not perfect, record and faced Kiwi Phil Robertson in the finals. After Canfield triumphed in the first race and Robertson the second, it came down to one sudden-death match. The wind had increased to 12 knots. Both Catalina 37s were over early in the aggressive start; Canfield ducked to clear his bow but Robertson had to circle around the committee boat, putting him at a disadvantage from which he would never completely recover.

J/105s prepare to hoist

Just off the beach at Crissy Field in San Francisco, the J/105 fleet prepare to hoist spinnakers.

© 2018 Chris Ray /

The Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta, run by St. Francis YC on Cityfront/Central Bay courses over the weekend, hosted seventeen J/105s, eight J/111s, and five J/120s. Two speedy multihulls, the MOD70 trimaran Orion and the Extreme 40 cat SmartRecruiters also raced, but the offer of HPR and PHRF divisions had no takers this year.

J/105s with spinnakers up

J/105s on the run in the Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta.

© 2018 Erik Simonson /

The second race in the YRA Spring Series on Saturday had an interesting beginning to the day with wind oscillating between the south and the west until just before the start, when it finally settled on a mostly westerly direction at 10-12 knots. The course for the handicap boats was from F on the Berkeley Circle, around Alcatraz, and then back to F. The wind played games again at the start of the second race, then suddenly switched back to the west. With that, PRO Jeff Zarwell sent the fleets back to Alcatraz for the second race. The third and final Spring Series race will be on June 13.

Folkboats at a leeward mark just west of Angel Island

Folkboats round their leeward mark off Angel Island's Point Knox.

© 2018 Martha Blanchfield /

Another YRA division, the WBRA, continued their series on Saturday in the Knox area west of Angel Island, with racing for wooden one-design Bears, Birds, Folkboats, IODs, and Knarrs.

Women Skippers Regatta crossed the Gate

SYC's Women Skippers Regatta fleet crosses the Gate.

© 2018 Martha Blanchfield /

Despite competition from lots of other Bay Area races plus the Corinthian Women's Sailing Seminar, Sausalito YC hosted 10 entries in the Women Skippers Regatta. You'll find more on that event in the June issue of Latitude 38, which will be distributed on May 29.

Little girl with Lady & the Tramp patch, and on a Santana 20

Madelyn and Will Deutsch racing the Santana 20 Four Sirens on Folsom Lake. Inset: The winning junior lady in FLYC's Lady and the Tramp Race gets an embroidered patch from the Disney movie.

© 2018 John Poimiroo

Six-year-old El Dorado Hills sailor Madelyn Deutsch won the Junior Ladies Class of FLYC's Lady and the Tramp Regatta, held Saturday on Folsom Lake. Had she been scored among the adult ladies, she would have placed second overall. Sailing Four Sirens, a Santana 20, Maddie finished second, third and second in three races. Her father Will was her crew and tactician, but she did all the boat handling. Lady and the Tramp requires that a lady (who is not normally a skipper) captain the boat, while a 'tramp' (usually a husband, boyfriend, friend or partner) crews. This year, FLYC broadened its Sailing Instructions to include LGBT couples and Juniors.

A note from our fellow sailors to the north: Those interested in participating in the 2016 Vic-Maui International Yacht Race are invited to an info session in the Maple Room at the Strathcona Hotel in Victoria, BC, this Friday, May 22, at 1:45 p.m. A Vic-Maui qualifier, the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, hosted by Royal Victoria YC, will begin on Friday too.

- latitude / chris

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