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Sailboat Abandoned off Año Nuevo

April 27, 2016 – San Mateo County Coast

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Alone offshore of the Central Coast was not a great place to be Monday morning. Due to incoming water and damage, the IOR one-tonner Kentucky Woman had to be abandoned. 

© 2018 US Coast Guard

Conditions off the Central California coast Monday morning were rough and rowdy, with 40- to 50-knot winds reported, accompanied by 15- to 20-ft waves. Unfortunately, the Peterson-designed one-tonner Kentucky Woman was out in it, with only one as-yet-unidentified crew aboard.

After battling with incoming water for 16 hours, and coping with a shredded mainsail, the skipper called for rescue at 7 a.m. Monday via his SPOT Satellite Messenger, which sent a mayday message — similar to that of an EPIRB — to SAR (Search and Rescue) resources. Due to damage aboard, the sloop's radio had become unusable.

The red-hulled sloop has spent time in both Pacific Northwest and Northern California waters. 

© 2018 Augusto Ulloa

According to the Coast Guard, an air rescue helicopter was launched at 7:31 a.m. and its crew located the red-hulled vessel 40 minutes later, roughly 30 miles off Año Nuevo State Park (north of Santa Cruz), with the remnants of a sail flying from its masthead. A rescue swimmer was lowered near the hull and climbed aboard. But because the mast was intact, both the Guardsman and the solo sailor had to jump in the roiling water before they could be hoisted to safety. The boat was left to drift.

Precarious rescues like this are all in a day's work for Coast Guard rescue crew.
Video courtesy US Coast Guard.

- latitude / andy

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Classy Deadline the 15th

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Captive Cruiser Beheaded in Philippines

April 27, 2016 – Samal Island, The Philippines

Sixty-eight-year-old Canadian sailor John Ridsdel, who'd been held captive in the southern Philippines since September by Abu Sayyaf militants, was beheaded Monday after the deadline for his ransom had passed. Canada, like the US, has a policy of not giving in to ransom requests for its citizens.

Canadian sailor John Ridsdel was a world traveler whose boat was temporarily based at Samal Island prior to his kidnapping by Muslim extremists.

© 2018 Facebook

As reported last summer, Ridsdel was an avid sailor based in the Philippines, where he worked as a mining consultant for Calgary-based TVI Pacific. In his earlier life he had been an award-winning journalist. 

Also kidnapped during the September 21, 2015 raid of the Holiday Oceanview Resort on Samal Island were Ridsdel's Filipina companion, Maritess Flor, 50-year-old Canadian sailor Robert Hall, and Norwegian sailor Kjartan Sekkingstad, who was reported to be a manager of the resort. It remains unclear if these individuals were specifically targeted, but that seems unlikely based on the descriptions of the chaotic nighttime incident. 

Since the 1990s there have been occasional kidnappings for ransom by militants in the Southern Philippines. In 2014 the Philippine government signed a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country's largest Muslim rebel group, but smaller groups in the southern portion of this 7,600-island nation, such as Abu Sayyaf, may be unaffiliated. 

Monday night, two men on motorcycles dropped Ridsdel's head onto a town square on Jolo Island, shouting, "We will be back!"

- latitude / andy

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Ad: BoatU.S. Insurance

April 27, 2016 – Cyberspace

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May Racing Preview

April 27, 2016 – San Francisco Bay and Beyond

Great Vallejo Race Spinnakers

In a year with typical wind directions, such as 2015, boats can fly spinnakers for most of Saturday's Great Vallejo Race. This year, the YRA is trying out downwind ratings.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Registration is still open for this weekend's Great Vallejo Race. As of this morning, 156 boats had signed up for the regatta, which serves as the Yacht Racing Association's Season Opener. Saturday's race starts on the Berkeley Circle and parades up to Vallejo Yacht Club, which hosts one of the biggest regatta parties of the year. On Sunday, a return race finishes north of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

Tartanic and Bay Loon

The Tartan Ten Tartanic (foreground) and J/29 Bay Loon finished first and second in the SF Bay 30 division of last year's Great Vallejo Race on Saturday.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

St. Francis YC will host the Elvstrom Zellerbach Regatta this weekend for dinghy classes including 29er, 49er, 49erFX, 5o5, Club 420, F18 catamarans, Finn, Formula windsurfers, hydrofoil kites and Weta trimarans. Lasers will be competing for their District 24 Championship.

If a solo rounding of the Farallones is on your bucket list, the opportunity to do so in the company of others is coming up on May 14, when the Singlehanded Sailing Society offers the Singlehanded Farallones Race. The deadline to enter is May 11. Proceed with caution — solo ocean racing can be habit-forming and next thing you know you'll be updating your bucket list to read "Singlehanded TransPac."

Jabberwock trimaran heads out the Gate

Ryan Galeria's Buccaneer 35 trimaran Jabberwock heads out the Gate in last year's Singlehanded Farallones.

© 2018 /

The last  Safety at Sea Seminar before this year's Singlehanded TransPac and Pacific Cup will be held at Encinal YC in Alameda on May 14 and 15. The second day is optional for ISAF certification and covers Lifesling, flare, storm sail, and rig-cutting demos; firefighting; hypothermia; and in-the-pool liferaft training. Early registration discounts are in effect until May 1.

On Friday, May 27, the Spinnaker Cup to Monterey Peninsula YC will kick off Memorial Day Weekend and the inaugural California Offshore Race Week. The Coastal Cup from Monterey to Santa Barbara YC will follow on May 29.

Adrenalin and Astra from Cavallo Point

Having started in the Knox racing area west of Angel Island, boats sailing out of San Francisco Bay in the Spinnaker Cup can be viewed from Sausalito's Cavallo Point.

© 2018 /

Those left behind on San Francisco Bay will be treated to the visually satisfying Master Mariners Regatta on May 28. The race begins between StFYC and Golden Gate YC for a reaching start (assuming the normal westerlies) and finishes east of Treasure Island. Most of the boats will then head to Encinal YC for a raft-up and party — sort of like the Vallejo Race raft-up only with more wood.

Master Mariners raft-up at Encinal YC

The post-Master Mariners Regatta raft-up at Encinal YC is in itself a treat for the eyes.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Trailer sailors will head north to Redding on Memorial Day Weekend, for the Whiskeytown Regatta on the scenic lake of that name.

These are just a few of the highlights of May's racing calendar; you'll find many more in the Calendar section of Latitude 38's May issue, which will be published this Friday, April 29.

- latitude / chris

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Ad: Oakland Yacht Club Open House

April 27, 2016 – Alameda, CA

© 2018 Oakland Yacht Club /

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