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First American Female to Solo Nonstop?

July 8, 2015 – Rhode Island

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

One of the challenges that many singlehanders face during long, lonely passages is how to keep themselves amused. Donna Lange has got that issue covered. An accomplished singer-songwriter, she never goes offshore without her trusty guitar. 

© 2018 donna lange

No sooner had Sir Francis Chichester regained his 'land legs' after completing his historic one-stop solo circumnavigation aboard Gipsy Moth in 1967, than he sorely regretted not making the trip nonstop. We suspect that Donna Lange had similar thoughts back in 2007 when she completed a solo rounding aboard her Southern Cross 28 Inspired Insanity, having made two stops.

In any case, on July 26 she will set sail from Bristol, RI, aboard the same boat and begin her quest to become the first American woman to solo the planet — via the Great Capes — with neither stops nor assistance. And get this: She plans to use only celestial navigation for navigation and only SSB radio for communications. 

"This itinerary is much more of a tradewind route than my previous sail," says the feisty singlehander, "allowing me to cross the North Atlantic in the summer season with the trades, stay in the trades in the eastern North Atlantic and approach Cape Hope a bit early. I will be in the Southern Ocean in the summer season, though there are storm seasons north in the Indian Ocean. I will pass Cape Horn at the end of summer and be able to catch the trades in the South Atlantic, as I plan to sail more easterly from the Cape. I will return in May, the classic time of year to pass north from the Caribbean to New England."

Nothin' to it, right? Learn more about Donna's plans at her website, and if you feel inspired to support her dream, check out her Indiegogo site. Make no mistake, the gal is no lightweight. During her last lap around the planet she toughed it out in her 28-footer through several Southern Ocean storms during which at least one other crew had to be rescued. You go girl!

- latitude / andy

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Whales Inside the Bay

July 8, 2015 – Farallones Marine Sanctuary

As smart as they are, migrating whales occasionally get disoriented and enter the Bay.

© 2018 Joanne Martin & Erika Janke

For school-aged kids lucky enough to be invited aboard the German Frers-designed 46-ft sloop Golden Bear, a San Francisco Bay daysail is always a very special experience. But one of last week's trips was particularly memorable due the sighting of a humpback whale inshore of the Golden Gate Bridge.

"I've been sailing on S.F. Bay for almost 50 years and this is the first time I've witnessed a humpback whale in the Bay," says Captain Ken Janke. "What was really special was sharing this rare event with ten very excited kids from one of our local community groups." (The nonprofit Blue Water Foundation has been running often-free kids' sailing programs for decades.)

That memorable daysail turned out to be a biology lesson for the kids: You can tell this is a humpback by its distinctive dorsal fin. 

© 2018 Joanne Martin & Erika Janke

While sailors usually consider whale sightings to be a special treat, local scientists charged with protecting them become gravely concerned whenever they hear reports of near-shore sightings. This summer, in fact, the staff of the Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries — which extend many miles beyond the Golden Gate — is trying to alert mariners that in recent weeks many whales have been sighted traveling closer to shore than is normal. 

"There are large numbers of humpbacks right now in the Golden Gate Straits," wrote Mary Jane Schramm last month with a sense of urgency. "They're in harm's way; some are just off the Cliff House."

As a result, ships traveling through the Sanctuaries have been asked to slow to 10 knots during the migration season. And NOAA asks all mariners to report to them any collisions with whales, or any observed injured or dead whales, by calling 877-SOS-WHALE (877-767-9425), or advising the Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16. 

Boaters can also report whale sightings to, or through the free, downloadable Whale Alert smartphone app found here.

Just before Mila Zinkova flipped on her video camera, this whale breached within sight of San Francisco's Ocean Beach. As if putting on a show, it then did at least 50 tail slaps.  


- latitude / andy

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Ad: PredictWind

July 8, 2015 – On the Water

© 2018 PredictWind /

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Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

July 8, 2015 – Bay Area, Atlantic Ocean and Beyond

Gales have taken their toll midway through the Transatlantic Race from Newport, RI, to Lizard Point in Cornwall. Five of the 49 entries have dropped out, some with serious gear failure. Two of those, the doublehanded Class 40 Amhas and the Mason 43 Shearwater, are headed for the Azores.

Aboard Dorade

Aboard the 1929 S&S yawl Dorade.

Photo Courtesy Dorade
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

From aboard Dorade, which designer Olin Stephens raced to victory in the 1931 Transatlantic Race, current owner Matt Brooks reports: "A day and a half ago the wind was into the 40s with 15- to 18-ft seas and we were sailing upwind. It was the first time we had ever sailed with three reefs." But Dorade is performing as hoped. "The old girl is keeping up," said Brooks. On Sunday, with Terry "let's just keep this boat in one piece" Halpin at the helm, Dorade reached a new all-time top speed of 18.7 knots through the water in 24-32 knots of breeze (compare that to 11.4 knots, her top speed in 1931).

On the wire on a 470

Dave Hughes and Stu McNay had a lot to celebrate on the Fourth of July.

© 2018 Nikos Alevromytis / International 470 Class

You don't have to be European to medal at the 470 Class European Championships, which was held in Aarhus, Denmark, on June 28-July 4. US Sailing Team Sperry members Stu McNay of Providence, RI, and Dave Hughes of San Diego captured gold in the men's class. Annie Haeger of Wisconsin and Briana Provancha of San Diego took home the bronze in the women's class. "We are over the moon right now with this result," said Provancha. "It's a personal best for our team, and we've been working really hard with our coach." The women's coach is three-time 470 World Champion Dave Ullman of Newport Beach.

Congratulations to Parisian Patrick Babin, who defeated more than 200,000 rivals to win the official virtual game version of the nine-month around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race. "The guy in second place was hot on my heels when we left Lorient and I had to control him," he said. "The race wasn’t won yet. I managed to finish the last leg in third place so it ended well."

Closer to home, the LongPac, which sails out to sea for 200 miles before turning right around and coming back, will depart tomorrow morning off the Golden Gate YC. The race, sponsored by the Singlehanded Sailing Society for singlehanders and doublehanders, serves as a qualifier for next year's Singlehanded Transpac, but also counts toward the SSS 2015 season championship.

The J/70 Pacific Coast Championship will begin later tomorrow, at 4:30 p.m., when GGYC will host a practice session, including starts and a warm-up race. The actual regatta will be hosted by St. Francis YC on Friday-Sunday, and the little Js will be joined by Melges 20s and 24s on the weekend.

El  Toros on the start line

Last year's El Toro North Americans were held on Clear Lake.

© 2018 Pat Brown / KBSC

A herd of Hawaiian El Toros is sailing to Northern California — almost a dozen of them have been packed into a container and their ship is in transit to the mainland, bound for the the North Americans in Santa Cruz on July 21-24. Leading the Bay Area pack for the run-up to the NAs have been Art Lange, Fred Paxton and John Pacholski.

- latitude / chris

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Ad: Sale Boat of the Day

July 8, 2015 – Sausalito, CA

Price Reduced for Immediate Sale ~ Wyliecat 30

© 2018 Bearmark Yachts

Hull #7 of this innovative design, Margay is in great condition and ready to race or daysail anywhere. Sporting a large and light square-top performance sail, carbon-built rudder post and ZERO through-hulls, Margay is one of the fastest Wyliecat 30s on the Bay.

© 2018 Bearmark Yachts

310 Harbor Drive, 2nd Floor, Sausalito, CA
(415) 332-6585 • John Saul, broker B-03398

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