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Revved Up at the Rendez-vous

June 24, 2015 – Moorea, French Polynesia

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Given the location and the circumstance, it didn't take much prodding to get fleet members to smile for this group photo, taken on the lawn of Club Bali Hai, in Cook's Bay, Moorea.

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend, and fittingly, drew its largest fleet of international cruisers ever. Sixty-five boats participated, plus at least a half dozen unofficial tag-alongs.

Aboard the Tradewinds 35 Suluk, Dutchman Pieter Bokhoven and his daughter obviously enjoyed the robust conditions of the Papeete-to-Moorea crossing. 

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As we often explain here and in Latitude 38 magazine, the three-day event's dual purpose is to celebrate the newly arrived cruising fleet's successful crossing from the West Coast of the Americas to French Polynesia, while introducing fleet members to age-old traditions of Polynesian life. 

A junior crewmember from the San Francisco-based Lagoon 470 Family Circus tries his luck in the ancient fruit-carrier's race. The Tzortzis family took line honors in the race from Papeete.  

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The fun began with registration Friday afternoon on the Papeete, Tahiti, wharf, where sailors from many nations met for the first time or got reacquainted. They were introduced to many nuances of Society Islands sailing via an extensive chart briefing by our French-Tahitian partner Stephanie Betz of Archipelagoes, who designed the event and recruited sponsorship from a variety of partners (such as Tahiti Tourisme and Air Tahiti Nui). A cocktail reception followed, then the blessing of the fleet, and a spirited dance show. As an indication of the French Overseas Territory's welcoming spirit, the government's minister of tourism, the director of Tahiti Tourisme, a representative of the mayor of Papeete, the director of Tahiti YC, and five mayors of Marquesan islands were all in attendance.

We often share photos of lovely female Tahitian dancers, but the guys are pretty amazing too.  

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The weather forecast for Saturday's race/rally to Cook's Bay, Moorea, had been sketchy, but as the fleet sailed out of the harbor to the starting line, a booming 23-knot breeze piped up from the south — ideal for the 15-mile crossing.

That night at the host venue Club Bali Hai, fleet members were treated to a tasting of Tuamotu-made wines, followed by a fine dinner and an ultra-high-energy dance show. 

Whether you win or lose, the experience of canoe racing in the lagoon is always a memorable highlight. 

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As in years past, Sunday was dedicated to Polynesian sport demonstrations, highlighted by successive heats of six-person outrigger canoe races, where cruisers team up with expert Tahitian paddlers. It's all incredibly fun, and the setting could not be more dramatic.

These Kiwi marine industry reps come up from New Zealand every year to join the fun. For four years they've been battling to win the canoe races, and this year they finally did it. The guys in red pareos are their Tahitian teammates.

Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

For us, having met many of the attendees at our send-off parties in Mexico and Panama — back when they were understandably apprehensive about making the 3,000- to 4,000-mile passage — it was a pleasure to observe how self-confident and energized they now seem, many literally beaming with happiness. But who wouldn't be, given their surroundings and countless pleasures of the South Pacific cruising lifestyle? 

Ed Starinchak of the Bellingham, WA-based Panda 38 Lorien is one of many cruisers who got a very special souvenir while in the Marquesas — and it takes up no extra space on the boat.

Look for a complete recap of this year's Rendez-vous in the August issue of Latitude 38

- latitude / andy

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Fall Crew List Party

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Umbrella Regatta in La Cruz

June 24, 2015 – Marina Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Umbrella flotilla

Cruisers in La Cruz jury-rig their small craft with umbrellas and other cobbled-together 'sails' for a Summer Sailstice regatta.

© 2018 Jorge Morales

"This is our third year of celebrating Summer Sailstice in Banderas Bay, Mexico," writes Katrina Liana of Marina Riviera Nayarit. "Umbrellas or any custom material catch the wind with anything that floats, without a motor and with some sort of rudder control." Racers are scored on style points, finish place, and capsize avoidance. Pacific Paddle introduced a new type of monster-size SUP boards for up to 2-8 people each. Three of the teams had children as crew.

8-person paddleboard races

The eight-man paddleboard division was obviously competitive.

© 2018 Marina Riviera Nayarit

"Disclaimer — no humans were harmed during these events," said Liana. "Join us next year for the 2016 Summer Sailstice and Paddle Regatta at Marina Riviera Nayarit!"

©2015 John Pounder /

"Tell me where there is another marina where you can have an Umbrella downwinder, a full-contact 8-man (and kids) paddle board rally, and have the security guards cook the tacos," said co-organizer Mike Danielson of PV Sailing-La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. "This place rocks!"

- latitude / chris

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Ad: Svendsen's Boat Works

June 24, 2015 – Alameda, CA

© 2018 Svendsen's Boat Works /

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L'Hydroptère Record Attempt

June 24, 2015 – Los Angeles, CA

Smokin'! L’Hydroptère sprints west in her attempt to break the outright L.A.-to-Honolulu record.

Photo Courtesy LHydroptère/Scuttlebutt
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One of the most prestigious passage records in the sport of sailing is being challenged this week: The 60-ft foiling trimaran L’Hydroptère sprinted west from San Pedro's Point Fermin Monday in an attempt to break the 2,215-mile L.A.-to-Honolulu record, established in 2005 by Frenchman Olivier de Kersauson and crew aboard the 110-foot trimaran Geronimo, 04d, 19h, 31m, 37s.

Aboard L’Hydroptère are Frenchmen Alain Thébault and Jacques Vincent as well as four American crew members. Although the ultra-fast tri covered 408 miles in the first 24 hours, reports yesterday noted she had not yet reached a record-smashing pace. But that could easily change. As Bay Area sailors may have observed in 2013, she is capable of traveling considerably faster than the AC72 cats that wowed spectators in America's Cup 34. 

We should clarify that this attempt, of course, is not affiliated with next month's Transpac race record, set on the same course in 1997 by the 86-ft maxi cat Explorer: 5d, 9h, 18m, 26s.

- latitude / andy

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

June 24, 2015 – California and Beyond

J/111 Topzy Turvy

Drew Harper and the crew of the J/111 Topzy Turvy won the 13-boat Spinnaker Division of the X-Bay Regatta on Saturday.

© 2018 Roxanne Fairbairn /

A friendly duel between Corinthian and South Beach Yacht Clubs, the X-Bay Regatta on June 20 was greeted with 20+ knot winds and a healthy flood current. With the SBYC race committee sending both divisions on a long upwind leg from the start southeast of Angel Island to Blackaller Buoy by Fort Point, Jim Erskine and the crew of his Cal 33 Kira ignored conventional wisdom (short-tack up the Cityfront) and headed directly to Yellow Bluff, where they hung a left to cross to the first mark with an insurmountable lead in the Non-Spinnaker Division. Two J/111s from SBYC, Topzy Turvy and Aeolus, dominated the Spinnaker Division, and South Beach easily reclaimed the X-Bay Perpetual Trophy.

The crew of Kira with the X

Victorious in the Non-Spinnaker Division were (left to right) Anita Dillon, Elaina Breen, skipper Jim Erskine, Barbara Dubbs, Junette Kushner, Larissa Pommeraud and John Dodge.

© 2018 Roxanne Fairbairn /

Opti kids in big breeze

Call it
Heavy weather

© 2018 Chris Ray /

On Thursday through Sunday last week, 55 Opti kids were schooled in heavy weather racing at St. Francis YC's Heavy Weather Regatta. They raced in red, blue and white divisions, and even four 'green' sailors (novices) braved the usual summer conditions on the Cityfront.

Opti start

Optis swarmed the Cityfront for four days last week.

© 2018 Chris Ray /

San Francisco YC ran the Hart Nunes Mercury regatta on Raccoon Strait, between Tiburon and Angel Island. Nine Mercs sailed five races. Conditions kept the racers on their toes, as the velocity of the flood current varied in different parts of the strait, and the shifty breeze ranged from about 6 to 20 knots.

Mercury sailors on the dock, with the trophy

Mercury sailors gathered at SFYC on Saturday for the Hart Nunes Regatta. Randy Smith (holding the trophy), with crew Kurt Hemmingsen, won the day.

© 2018 Anne Scully

Sequoia YC assigned a long 12.6-mile course for their Summer Series race #3 on Saturday, from the Redwood Creek Channel entrance, under the San Mateo bridge, up to Coyote Point, and back. A NNW breeze of 9-25 knots provided nice sailing variety and some good surfing on the way back. "Crossing under the bridge is always interesting" reports John Draeger, the series fleet captain. "We picked our spot to cross, but the strong flood forced us down to the next opening. As we crossed under, a crewmember misread the depth gauge at 5 feet and there was a moment of panic. It was really 53 feet."

Some Delta sailors enjoyed a different sort of race on Saturday, in observance of Summer Sailstice. They sailed a long, two-stage race around Sherman Island. "The day looked to be one of those hot slugfests (as in the slow crawling critter)," said Dave Cowell, race chair of Andreas Cove YC. "Fortunately, the 5 knots of wind at the start built to more than 15 by the afternoon and everyone had a great time on the river." The course took the small fleet down the San Joaquin River to Three Mile Slough. A bridge opening on the course was followed by a left turn on the Sacramento River and a "tidal R&R" stop in Antioch. Cowell's own Mas Tiempo finished the second stage at 4:53:35 p.m. for the win. The Islander 30 sailed the first 18-mile leg in 3:43 hours, averaging 5.28 knots, and the second 13-mile leg in 1:53 hours, averaging 6.9 knots.

The Balboa YC home team captured a second consecutive Rose Cup U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship. Christophe Killian and Jack Martin of Newport Beach and Harrison Vandervort of Costa Mesa won Sunday’s final series, 2-0, over Scott Sinks' team from San Diego Yacht Club in Governor's Cup 21 keelboats.

We'll save our Volvo Ocean Race wrap-up story for the July issue, but, if you haven't already heard, it's all over except for Saturday's in-port race in Gothenburg, Sweden, to determine fourth place. Team Alvimedica won Leg 9 from Lorient, France, to Gothenburg, and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing won the whole shebang.


- latitude / chris

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