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January Issue and YRA Calendar Out

December 30, 2015 – San Francisco Bay Area

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Just in time for the big New Year's Eve weekend, both the January Latitude 38 mag and the annual Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Master Schedule are being distributed today throughout the Bay Area. 

Photo Latitude / Annie
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Even if you are hardy enough to go sailing this weekend, we hope you'll find time to settle back in some cozy corner with the January edition of Latitude 38 magazine. It, as well as the Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Master Schedule, is being distributed today throughout the Bay Area. And by early this afternoon they'll both be uploaded to our website, where you can download them for free or read them online. (Magazines will arrive in SoCal, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii in a few days.)

Inside the January issue, you'll find our usual mix of reporting on events and activities in the Bay Area and beyond. In Sightings, circumnavigation attempts play a big role, as we check in with two Trophée Jules Verne efforts, plus 69-year-old Jeff Hartjoy's solo circumnavigation aboard Sailors Run, and Webb Chiles' sixth lap around the planet — this time on the Moore 24 Gannet.

If you're a longtime racer — or racing fan — you won't want to miss our feature retrospective on Jim Kilroy and his five Kialoas. We also invite you to help us congratulate winners of many keelboat and dinghy classes in our third and final installment of 2015 Season Champions

In Changes in Latitudes, cruising sailors as well as would-be cruisers can learn about far-flung destinations via reader reports on such places as Fiji, New Zealand, Baja California, the Adriatic Sea and elsewhere. In World of Chartering, we explore the Pacific Northwest cruising grounds now called the Salish Sea.

As you'll learn in the item below, the Sailing Calendar can serve as your central source for race dates and locations throughout 2016. It's also chock full of other useful info such as current tables and buoy locations, as well as key sailing event dates in Mexico, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. So get 'em while they're hot. 

The entire Latitude staff wishes you a very happy New Year that includes lots of good times out on the water.

- latitude / andy

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Latitude 38 Crew List

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Science Lesson from the Bilge

December 30, 2015 – The World of Sailing

Earlier this month we introduced 'Lec Lat readers to the curious, perfectly square crystals that we found growing in our boat's bilge. We assumed they were salt crystals, of course, as there'd been a pinhole leak down there around a through-hull fastening. But we had no idea what made these bilge gemstones form into such perfect squares — flattened cubes, actually. So we sought help from our readership.

Bill Ogilvie, of the Cheoy Lee Clipper 36 Dragon Lady, offered this succinct explanation: "Salt crystals form into perfect cubes because the NaCl molecule packs so well. The space between the chlorine atoms is just the right size for the sodium atoms to occupy. This close, regular packing is what causes the perfect cube shape. The more salty water available the larger the size of the crystal."

Although we were a bit freaked out by discovering we'd had a leak in the bilge, we were absolutely fascinated by these 'gemstones', some of which were nearly two inches across.

Photo Latitude / andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

That made the mystery a bit more understandable. But Charlie Ruppert's explanation really got our 'little gray cells' buzzing: "A key word here is 'crystal' — as in 'crystal lattice'. I believe a common feature of all crystalline solids, like NaCl (sodium chloride) is that the molecular arrangement of molecules within the solid is organized into a regular three-dimensional lattice structure, a regular repeating pattern. In the undergraduate crystallography course I took at Cal, we would measure these angles under the microscope to identify the mineral we were looking at (a salt crystal's internal angle is apparently 90 degrees). The form of the crystal is determined by the chemical bonds (tiny electrical attractions) used to build the mineral (the crystal structure of a diamond, just carbon as a single element, is going to be different from the crystal structure of table salt, composed of a bond between two separate elements: a sodium and a chlorine atom).

"Small and large crystals are formed simply because new salt crystals coming out of solution in evaporating sea water need to go somewhere, and they would rather stick into formation (because of electrical charge) onto the nearest existing salt molecule rather than end up as an unattached bit of microscopic salt dust.

"So it looks like sodium and chlorine atoms will bond together when enough water evaporates — due to minute electrical charge — and combine and form a salt molecule, which itself would like to bond to another charged salt molecule, and so forth. Because of the asymmetry of the molecule — the salt molecule looks like a tiny battery: one side is positive and the other negative — every salt molecule is naturally attracted to another, but only at a very special orientation to each other.

"That much I recall — and is likely somewhat correct! But what I didn't know is much more interesting: (from the Web): 'Sodium chloride together with the next four most abundant salts comprise more than 99% of all dissolved substances in the sea. Although only eight elements make up these five most abundant salts, seawater contains all of Earth's other naturally occurring elements.' And, 'Individual atoms are dissolved in sea water, not salts.'"

Who knew you could discover such fascinating science by lifting up a bilge board? Here's wishing you an enlightening year ahead.

- latitude / andy

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Ad: Historic Landfall Estate

December 30, 2015 – Tiburon, CA

© 2018 Pacific Union /

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January Racing Preview

December 30, 2015 – California

Race deck at GGYC

A new year of yacht racing is upon us.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While thumbing through the first 2016 volume of Latitude 38 or the 2016 Northern California Sailing Schedule, Bay Area racers will see the following events of interest.

Strangely enough, the biggest race of the year falls in January. The Singlehanded Sailing Society's Three Bridge Fiasco is on the calendar for January 30, with divisions for doublehanded and solo sailors.

Three Bridge Fiasco

Last year's Three Bridge Fiasco had an amazing 365 entries — one for each day of the year. Since 2016 is a Leap Year, the SSS will need to get 366.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While many Midwinter Series that began in the fall continue, others don't start until January. The biggest among them, and often a reunion of sorts, is the Corinthian Midwinters, with race weekends on January 16-17 and February 20-21. OYC's Sunday Brunch Series on the Estuary will begin on January 3, and Tiburon YC's three-race Bob & Esther Mott Midwinters in the North Bay will start on January 9.

Spinnakers up

Odd wind directions are the norm in winter. Here, a CYC Midwinter division starts downwind in a northerly, and skippers make the call, "Hoist!"

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The next Singlehanded TransPac seminar will cover Emergency Rudders and Other Mechanics on January 13. Like the other SSS meetings, OYC will host this one at 7:30 p.m.

The next Alaska Airlines Pacific Offshore Academy for Pacific Cuppers (and others preparing for an offshore passage) will be held on the afternoon of January 23 at Richmond YC. Topics will include:

  • Provisioning in three modes with race veterans Susan Chamberlin, Jody McCormack and Melinda Erkelens
  • Weather by Lee Chesneau
  • Ratings / NOR, Buzz Blackett
  • Personal gear, Sally Richards and Aimee Daniel
  • Inspections update, Michelle Farabaugh
  • Prepared boats in the water, Surprise and Wolfpack
  • Post-seminar social and networking
  • Drawing for a round-trip Alaska Airlines ticket, good to any of Alaska Air's destinations

Prior to the POA, at 10 a.m. Spectra will present a free seminar on watermakers.

The last POA sold out, but you can reserve your place and pay your $30 online now.

Our friends in SoCal are preparing for their own January regattas. One of note will be Long Beach YC's first race of the year, on January 10. The Two Gates Pursuit Race is so named because its 13.2-mile course weaves in and out of Long Beach and Los Angeles Harbors via each harbor’s entrance — Angels Gate for Los Angeles and Queens Gate for Long Beach. New for 2016, LBYC will break up entries into three classes, giving everyone a chance to get not only a trophy for their overall finish, but also a shot at a prize for their class. Also, a shorter second alternate course has been added just in case the weather decides not to cooperate with the race committee’s plans.


- latitude / chris

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