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Hawaii Opening Weekend

February 29, 2016 – Honolulu, HI

Rail of Heartbeat
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

James McDowell's Corel 45 Heartbeat smashing downwind toward Koko Head at 15 knots.

© 2018 Ronnie Simpson

While the Bay Area continues to creep toward spring and longer days on the water, the sailing season has already kicked into high gear in the winterless Hawaiian Islands. Saturday and Sunday, February 20-21, saw two of Hawaii’s most prominent yacht clubs, Waikiki YC and Hawaii YC, team up to host Opening Day weekend.

Stardust, with Diamond Head in the background

Yang Suh and Sean Doyle hosted Waikiki YC's Junior Sailing Program aboard the Wylie 46 Stardust in WYC's Opening Day Boat Parade.

© 2018 Lauren Easley


It's a fun family affair aboard the Scott family's Beneteau First 40.7 Firefly, seen here with a mostly-female crew in the pre-start of WYC's Opening Day beer can race on Saturday.

© 2018 Lauren Easley

With boat blessings, a parade of sailing and power yachts, social events, and two races, Honolulu’s fleet began 2016 with a bang, especially after Sunday’s breeze-on Koko Head Race. Thirteen boats took the start of Hawaii YC’s Koko Head Race to sail 16.7 miles or 28.7 miles, depending on division. Sailed in highly atypical conditions for the Hawaiian Islands, Koko Head was contested in a nuking westerly generated by the same storm system that allowed ‘The Eddie’ big-wave surf contest to take place just a few days later for the first time in six years.

Huge wave at the Eddie

What does a 50- to 60-ft wave face look like? Now you know. 'The Eddie' big-wave surf contest on the North Shore of Oahu was held on Thursday for the first time since 2009 as a result of the same storm that built the nuking westerly for the Koko Head Race.

© 2018 Quiksilver / In Memory of Eddie Aikau

With breeze in the low to mid-20s and gusts to 30+ knots, the fleet jib-reached to Diamond Head before setting spinnakers for the very atypical and quick run to Koko Head. In the premier four-boat X Division, James McDowell’s Corel 45 Heartbeat led around the race course, though John Spadaro’s Sydney 41 Boomerang showed impressive speed and depth when running downwind and looked to be the favorite on handicap. After rounding the leeward mark at Koko Head and sailing upwind, however, Boomerang’s #4 headsail and headfoil failed — their race was done. With Heartbeat's owner James McDowell sailing his other boat, the Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion, off the coast of Mexico in the PV Race at the time, guest skipper Steve Martin and crew drove it like they stole it to smash around the course and earn Heartbeat’s first win of the new season.

The most competitive division was PHRF A, which saw all six finishers complete one lap around the 16.7 mile course with John Higham’s 1D35 Kahuna stretching out to a commanding victory over Jim Maynard’s Wasabi and Travis Scott’s Beneteau First 40.7 Firefly. While the conditions on Sunday were tough, they were no match for the smallest boat in the fleet, Joseph Shacat’s bright green Waikiki YC-based Santa Cruz 27 86’d, which proved her merit in the big stuff to claim a resounding victory in a three-boat PHRF B division. See the full results here.

Aboard Chris Frendreis' modified Humboldt 30 High Tension ripping downwind with Diamond Head to port.

© 2018 High Tension Yacht Racing

The first season points race for the Hawaii fleet will be March 12’s Vasconcellos buoy race off Waikiki, which expects a big turnout with X, A and B fleets racing, as well as a Cal 20 one design and a cruising division.

- ronnie simpson

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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See the current magazine here.

Big Swell Captures Cat

February 29, 2016 – Kona, HI


Thursday's big swell also affected the Big Island of Hawaii, as this catamaran entering Kona's Honokohau Harbor demonstrates. The video aired on KITV 4.

- latitude / chris

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Ad: Westwind Boat Detailing

February 29, 2016 – San Francisco

© 2018 Westwind /

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Land Rover BAR Takes Oman

February 29, 2016 – Muscat, Oman

Land Rover up on foils

Despite the soft breeze, the AC45F cats were able to get up on foils yesterday.

© 2018 Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

The first real competition in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series was sailed in light air over the weekend off Muscat, Oman. After incurring a penalty for starting prematurely in the first race, Sir Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR sailed back up the fleet to salvage a third-place finish behind Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA. The team followed that up with two victories, finishing Saturday four points clear. But Ainslie said it was anything but easy in the light winds. “These conditions make it very challenging,” he said. “You need a decent start and to go the right way, so it’s tough on the tacticians.”

A popular result on Sunday came from Groupama Team France, with a second-place finish in the day's second race followed by a victory in the weekend's final race. Adam Minoprio replaced the injured Franck Cammas on the helm, as the latter is still recovering from a serious foot injury. Cammas is expected to be onboard for the next ACWS event on May 6-8 in New York City. The six teams will go into that event with Land Rover BAR in first, Oracle in second, and ETNZ in third. See for more.

The happy winners with their trophy

The winners in Oman, the sailors of Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing posed with their trophy.

© 2018 Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

All is not sunshine and shiny trophies with the sailing scene in Oman, however, as the Oman Sailing Committee has withdrawn from hosting the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships scheduled for December. World Sailing's press release obliquely implied that Oman would not be able to treat Israeli sailors equally, as required by the non-discrimination elements of the Olympic Charter. "World Sailing confirms it will continue to apply this guidance strictly to all of its future World Sailing championships and explicit acceptance of these conditions will form part of the bid criteria for future events." For more on the background of this story, see

- latitude / chris

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March Racing Preview

February 29, 2016 – West Coast

St. Francis Yacht Club will kick off their spring racing season with the Spring One Design Invitational on March 5-6. Invited classes are J/22, J/70, J/105, J/111, J/120, Express 27, Folkboat, J/24, Knarr, Melges 24, Moore 24 and Open 5.70. Register before Wednesday to avoid a $50 late fee. Spring Dinghy will follow on March 19-20.

Sail a Small Boat Day will fill up Richmond YC's turning basin with dinghies, centerboarders, skiffs and small keelboats on Saturday, March 5. Sailors and non-sailors young and old are encouraged to try out multiple craft for free between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Sail a Small Boat Day

A variety of craft will be available to try out on Saturday at Richmond YC during Sail a Small Boat Day.

© 2018 /

Most Bay Area midwinter series wrap up during the month of March. To see a comprehensive list, check out our Midwinters Calendar.

If you're cruising along the West Coast of Mexico and can get yourself to Banderas Bay by March 8, consider the Banderas Bay Regatta, which was designed by cruisers for cruisers. Organizers at Vallarta YC in Paradise Village promise a party-to-race ratio of five to three. 

Classic ketch

Cruisers race their homes in the Banderas Bay Regatta.

© 2018 Banderas Bay Regatta

Oakland YC's Rites of Spring will race on the Central Bay and finish down the Estuary on March 12. It's open to singlehanded, doublehanded, fully crewed, monohull, multihull, spinnaker and non-spinnaker boats. An optional skippers' meeting will be held at the clubhouse in Alameda on the evening of Friday, March 11.

RYC's Big Daddy Regatta falls on March 12-13, with three buoy races on three courses Saturday and a pursuit race on Sunday. Saturday's racing will be followed by dinner and a DJ; trophies will be awarded each day. Remember to spring forward Sunday morning!

Bay View Boat Club in San Francisco's China Basin will host a free Racing Rules of Sailing Seminar on March 16, 7-9 p.m. For more info, call John Super at (415) 564-4779.

Coronado YC and San Diego YC will host the San Diego NOOD on March 18-20.

Remember that nutty Three Bridge Fiasco? The second race in the SSS season, the Corinthian Race, will be less weird but will still feature a Bay tour for singlehanders and doublehanders. The skippers' meeting will be held at Oakland YC on the evening of March 16.

Richmond YC will host another Alaska Airlines Pacific Offshore Academy on March 26. Speakers include Lee Chesneau on Weather; Kame Richards, Driving; Bill Erkelens, Tactics, Watch Systems, Spring Ocean Races; Steve Chamberlin, Spares and Repairs, Emergency Procedures. Sign up in advance at The afternoon POA will be preceded in the morning by a free SailMail/GRIB Seminar.

All four of SFYC's March ISAF Sea Survival courses are full, but they're taking registrations on the waiting list. See

You don't need to take the ISAF course, or a Safety at Sea Seminar, to sail in the Doublehanded Farallones Race on March 26, however. "BAMA has skippers' meetings with the Coast Guard, archived stories and links pages online for education and incident reviews, and we have required readings for both skipper and crew," advises Bob Naber of BAMA. What they don't have is required adherence to NorCal ORC guidelines. Rather, the safety requirements are listed in the Sailing Instructions. The skippers' meeting will be held on March 23 at Oakland YC in Alameda. That date is also the deadline to enter.

The Bullship, in which El Toros race from Sausalito to San Francisco, will be held on the morning of March 26. Sausalito YC will serve as the staging grounds for the race and later in the day will host the Jaws Pursuit Race.

- latitude / chris

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March Latitude Out Tomorrow

February 29, 2016 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

March cover

As the March cover of Latitude 38 might suggest, among the many sailing stories within will be one about the Three Bridge Fiasco.

Photo Latitude / Annie
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Someone — not us — inserted an extra day into the month of February this year, but no worries, March 1 is tomorrow and that's when the March issue of Latitude 38 will begin appearing in all the usual places. Look for our digital editions late in the day tomorrow as well.

- latitude / chris

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