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Wayback Wednesday

September 30, 2015 – Mill Valley, CA

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

A photo of a photo of Big O doing one of the Dickenson Bay races in the mid-1990s. It's amazing how just one photo can unleash a torrent of spectacularly great memories.

Photo Courtesy Big O
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We have a hunch that it might rain big time this winter, which could mean a flooding of the creek next to the Latitude 38 office in Mill Valley. The area floods about every 15 years. Since it’s a real pain to clear out an office full of wet stuff as opposed to dry stuff, we ordered a dumpster and have been throwing away all non-essential stuff. In the process, we’ve come across some old gems that we’d tucked away and forgotten.

Our favorite find so far? The accompanying photos of Latitude’s Ocean 71 Big O sailing in one of the six Antigua Sailing Weeks that we did with her. Big O wasn’t the most competitive boat, but she was the most fun boat in fleets that often numbered more than 200. For the last three years we did Antigua, Big O was declared Party Boat of the Week by the legendary Joel ‘Voice of Antigua’ Byerly. Joel, it might be remembered, always raced with an all-girl crew, and their outfits consisted of nothing more than sandals, a thong and sunglasses. Those were the days.

Big O with all her sails up racing past Cades Reef to the flat water in the lee of Antigua. We sailed with a crew of 35 that year. About a dozen of the crew did the work; the other 23 looked good. The spinnaker came from John de Laura's SC70 Silver Bullet

Photo Courtesy Big O
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We did our first Antigua Sailing Week in 1985 and our last one in 1996. Back then Antigua Sailing Weeks were real weeks — five days of racing and two lay days — like the St. Francis Big Boat Series used to be. Competing in week-long Antigua sailing weeks was a true enduro, because back in those days the heavy drinking and late-night partying never stopped. Our crew would straggle back to the boat at about 3 a.m. and have to be roused in earnest as the first gun was at bloody 9 a.m.

Back in those days a lot of boats discriminated against women crew. Not Big O. We’d take anyone who wanted to sail with us, and lots of them were women. Some were hot tamales, too. The last year we did Antigua three of our gals took the top three spots in the Wet T-Shirt Contest. Tania, the winner, was so picante that she won top honors without even taking her top off.

Fortunately, Tania was only the Wanderer’s ‘almost girlfriend’ for the week for two reasons. First, we’d just started going out with Doña de Mallorca but didn’t know her well enough to invite her along. Second, we later found out that Tania had lied about her age and was only 17, not 24 as she claimed. Her German boyfriend Ernest, who like everyone else couldn’t keep up with Tania, explained that he’d taken Tania from Panama. When he asked her mother if Tania could sail across the Atlantic with him, Tania’s mother said "No!” But she relented when Ernest lied and said he was gay.

Have you recently uncovered any ‘wayback gems’?

- latitude / richard

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Latitude 38 Crew List

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Sailboat Grounded, Skipper Busted

September 30, 2015 – Ocean Beach, CA

The grounding of a bright yellow Catalina 27 at Ocean Beach, was a minor news story Monday, but it serves as a painful reminder to all who plan to sail south this fall or winter to head several miles out past the Golden Gate before hanging a left. 

Many sailors have learned a hard lesson after cutting the corner too close after departing the Golden Gate. Sea Bee was the latest to fall victim to the lee shore.

Photo Courtesy Sky 7 News / KRON
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The beached sloop, named Sea Bee, reportedly departed Sausalito's Richardson Bay anchorage Monday morning and was attempting to sail south in light air, dangerously close to shore — as near as 100 feet off the beach, according to one witness. 

After she hit the beach, San Francisco Firefighters, US Park Police and Park Rangers responded, and it was soon discovered that one of the two men aboard (whose names have not yet been released) had outstanding warrants. He was led from the scene in handcuffs. 

This sad tale also serves as a reminder that if your vessel goes aground, it is your responsibility to remove it or pay professionals to do so — and the price tag can be substantial. So be careful out there, and keep plenty of sea room between your boat and our potentially perilous coastline.

- latitude / andy

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Ad: Scanmar International

September 30, 2015 – Richmond, CA

© 2018 Scanmar International /

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Racing Round-Up

September 30, 2015 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

Abigail Morgan outside the Gate

Ron Kell's Express 27 Abigail Morgan in light surf outside the Gate, on the return leg from Point Bonita Buoy.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Corinthian YC served up some excellent racing in the the YRA Season Closer over the weekend. On Saturday, most divisions were sent out to Point Bonita. The brisk breeze in the Slot petered out on the ocean, making for a light-air mark rounding, but no parking lots formed there or back in sheltered Belvedere Cove for the finish. On Sunday, all divisions were sent on a 10-mile dash across the Bay to the San Francisco Cityfront, again with a lively breeze in the Slot.

Bodacious+ and Deception at the start

John Clauser's 1D48 Bodacious+ and Bill Helvestine's SC50 Deception at the start of the Season Closer on Sunday.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Sequoia YC Summer Series ended on Saturday, September 26, with Race #5. Sailing started in a 10-knot breeze. "The water temperature in the South Bay in Redwood City was 71° with an air temperature of 72° — how often does that happen?" mused John Draeger, the race series captain. Gradually the northwest wind built to 21 and the ebb chop kicked in. "Although it was idyllic sailing, racers had their share of 'the fly in the ointment'. For us it was a spinnaker wrap, hourglass and DNF, but still an enjoyable day," said Draeger, who sails the Jeanneau 40 Yellow Brick Road. Tim Anto’s Melges 24 Daredevil won the series.


The groovy Groovederci at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds in Long Beach.

© 2018 Kurt Arrigo / Rolex

John Demourkas was certainly 'groovin' on Sunday when his Santa Barbara-based Groovederci won the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship by one point over defending champion Alex Roepers on Plenty. Demourkas, the second-longest member of the class with 11 years of helming the Farr 40 under his belt, has never before finished on the podium at the world championship. Calling tactics on Groovederci was Bay Area-bred John Kostecki. Long Beach YC hosted the regatta on September 24-27.

Melges 20s east of Angel Island

The Melges 20 fleet in a tight race on the Berkeley Circle east of Angel Island.

© 2018 Joy Dunigan

SFYC is hosting the Audi Melges 20 Worlds this week, and 39 entries have come from 10 countries to play on San Francisco Bay. The class has enjoyed growing popularity, and about a half dozen teams are local.

The Sultanate of Oman and Alinghi foiling

The Sultanate of Oman battles Alinghi on the first day of racing.

© 2018 Sander Van Der Borch / Bullitt GC32

The Bullitt GC32 Tour wraps up in Marseille, France, this week. Going into the last of five European regattas, the Sultanate of Oman was leading, with Ernesto Bertarelli's Alinghi team three points behind. Santa Cruzer Morgan Larson is Alinghi's co-skipper. Besides big wind, adding interest and challenge to the duel is the Omani team's fill-in crew, including gold medalists/America's Cup sailors Nathan Outteridge and Iain Percy. Eight teams are competing in foiling 32-ft catamarans. After six races, Alinghi is leading by four points.

The early-entry deadline for January's Quantum Key West Race Week is upon us. Entry fees will rise by $4 per foot after October 1. Nearly 80 teams from 10 countries are already signed up.

- latitude / chris

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