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Sail a Laser from California to Hawaii?

June 1, 2016 – Pacific Ocean

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Tania in action. Some say the ex-Olympian is the greatest Mexican sailor of all time. And these days she has some very ambitious plans. 

© 2018 Conade

We agree that it’s a very audacious goal to singlehand a 130-pound boat 2,500 miles from California to Hawaii. But perhaps just a little less audacious the more you know about it.

Sailing from California to Hawaii is the goal of 37-year-old Mexican sailor Tania Elias Calles, for whom sailing has been a passion since she was 10 years old. Her original dream was to win an Olympic medal. While she didn’t win a medal, she participated in four Olympics and became ranked #1 in the world. She retired from Olympic competition four years ago. Tania does hold a Guinness World Record — for singlehanding a Laser the longest distance, from Cabo San Lucas to Puerto Vallarta in 2010.

Tania Elias Calles plans to singlehanded a Laser to Hawaii as a means to an even greater sailing goal.

© 2018

Her new goal is to participate in the Vendée Globe, a singlehanded around-the-world race, in 2020. "Participating in such a global event requires large fund sponsors," says Tania, "and in order to attract them I need to generate international media exposure and create a personal brand attractive to them. To achieve this, I decided to make history in the most dangerous and demanding adventure — sailing a 14-ft Laser from California to Hawaii, a distance eight times longer than when I established my current record in 2010."

Based on her previous experience, Tania figures it will take her about 20 days. How do you sleep on a Laser? See the accompanying photograph.

How do you sleep on a Laser, which, at 130 pounds, is prone to capsizing in even moderate weather? The face-down straddle position is probably the most effective, although it can't be very comfortable.

© 2018 Tania Elias

Perhaps to prove she’s not completely crazy, Tania will have a boat follow her the entire way to monitor her health and provide medical assistance if necessary. She plans to set sail next summer (2017).

To put her proposed voyage in context, Carlos Aragon, also of Mexico, singlehanded from Mexico to the Marquesas, an even longer distance than from Mexico to Hawaii, in a Finn. That boat is 14 feet, 9 inches, and weighs 236 pounds. The Laser is 13 feet, 9 inches, and weighs a little more than half as much.

To further put things in context, sailors have made incredible voyages in boats smaller than a Laser. For example, in 1968 Hugo Vihlen sailed his 6-ft-long April Fool from Casablanca, Africa, to Miami. In 1989, Kenichi Horie sailed his 19-ft 6-in Mermaid from San Francisco to Japan. And from 1984 to 1987, Serge Testa, a former resident of Berkeley, sailed his 12-ft Acrohc Australis all the way around the world.

If we’re not mistaken, the difference between those even smaller boats and Tania's Laser is that they offered at least a tiny bit of protection from the elements.

Tania believes that she needs $150,000 to achieve her goal, and to date has raised 29% of that. If you’d like to be a contributor, visit this site

- latitude / richard

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Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

When It Breaks, You Fix It

June 1, 2016 – Sausalito, CA

It goes without saying that risks to life and limb — as well as to boats — are inherent in yacht racing. That fact was clearly illustrated last Saturday during the annual Master Mariners Regatta, when the 82-ft stays'l schooner Seaward and the Lapworth 36 Papoose collided during the third leg of the race.

Seaward's bobstay reportedly struck the windward rail of Papoose's aft quarter and the schooner's bowsprit hooked the Lapworth's backstay, pulling its mast down and snapping Seaward's bowsprit. It was a miracle that no one got seriously injured — or worse.

Although the two boats were sailing in roughly the same direction, Papoose was sailing a higher angle. Skipper Allen Edwards assures us that he was not trying to cross in front of the big schooner, but was on an unaltering course to Blackaller buoy. Tragically, it was only seconds before impact when his crew saw the big schooner approaching.

Ouch! Seaward lost her sprit during Saturday's race, but a replacement was quickly fashioned at the Matthew Turner build site.  

© 2018 Liza Dean

Of all the boats in this vintage fleet, Seaward is probably the last one you'd want to collide with, as her steel hull would surely be unforgiving. Thankfully, though, her wooden sprit took the brunt of the impact — one of the 'softer' parts of her structure and rigging.

As frequent crewman Woody Skoriak explains, once back at the dock skipper Alan Olson wasted no time in facilitating repairs. He took it straight to the build site of the 100-ft brigantine Matthew Turner (Olson's brainchild), where several construction volunteers were just about to close up shop for the day. "But they looked at the damaged remains, picked up some wood, cut and shaped it, and by 7 p.m. Saturday they had a new bowsprit glued up." By the time you read this it should be finished. 

We don't know the status of Papoose's splintered mast, but we assume skipper  Edwards will repair or replace it as soon as possible, as his classic woodie is one of a small fleet of L-36s that are highly prized on San Francisco Bay. We wish him the best of luck, and hope to see both boats out sailing the Bay again very soon.

Look for our complete recap of MMR in the July issue of Latitude 38 magazine. 

- latitude / andy

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Ad: Westwind Boat Detailing

June 1, 2016 – San Francisco, CA

© 2018 Westwind /

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June Racing Preview

June 1, 2016 – West Coast

Boats rafted up in RYC turning basin

Start here…

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Today is the last day to enter Saturday's Delta Ditch Run, a little race we like to call "67 glorious miles from Richmond to Stockton." Richmond YC will host the start, with Stockton Sailing Club the destination. There's even a cruising division with motoring allowance. Delta Doo Dah sailors are encouraged to enter — and sail the 'Doo Dah Ditch Run'. We respectfully recommend sticking around for the party on Saturday night — you will have earned it — and delivering the boat back on Sunday — or later.

Boats at the dock at SSC at sunset

…finish here…

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

spinnakers in Benicia

…after a long day of this.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If anyone's left in Santa Cruz, they'll probably be competing for a good cause in the Monterey Bay Leukemia Cup.

The Spinnaker Cup and Coastal Cup are done and the Santa Barbara In-Port Race is today. That leaves the SoCal 300 from Santa Barbara to San Diego, starting on Friday, to wrap up the first-ever California Offshore Race Week. The final awards will be presented at SDYC on Sunday. We'll have a report in the July issue of Latitude 38.

Aszhou and Fox

San Diego-based boats Aszhou, Steve Meheen's R/P 63, and Victor Wild's new TP 52 Fox start a race… and no, that's not Point Loma in the background — it's Belvedere. What could get these SoCal sailors up to San Francisco Bay? Why, it's the Spinnaker Cup — the start of the inaugural California Offshore Race Week, which will wind up with a finish back in San Diego.

© 2018 Erik Simonson /

Gold Country YC invites trailer-sailor types to ''Go for the Gold" this weekend on Scotts Flat Lake in the scenic Sierra foothills near Nevada City. The regatta will also serve as the Laser Masters Pacific Coast Championships.

This coming Sunday, Berkeley YC will kick off the Tri-Island Pursuit Race Series with a race around Alcatraz. BYC commodore Patrick Hind-Smith welcomes those who are new to racing. "This is a low-key affair and you will have fun," he promises. 

Races of note on June 11 include the OYRA Farallones Race for full-crew, doublehanded and singlehanded divisions, and the Great San Francisco Schooner Race hosted by SFYC.

The aforementioned Delta Ditch Run started 26 years ago as a feeder race for the 140-mile South Tower Race, from SSC to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. The former has eclipsed the latter, but the South Tower Race is still offered and will start on Friday, June 17.

Enter Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week by June 6 to save $50. The fun begins on Thursday, June 23, with a pre-regatta party at the Boathouse. More parties follow the racing on Friday-Sunday, June 24-26. One-design and PHRF fleets will sail on three drop-mark courses; other PHRF boats and the ORCA multihulls will sail longer random-leg courses around fixed marks. Some competitors will vie for the Yacht Club Challenge Trophy or the Golison & Kent Family Trophy. The regatta will serve as the Catalina 37 National Championship and Viper 640 and Schock 35 Pacific Coast Championships, and will count toward the Southern California High Point Series for the J/70, J/80, J/105, J/109 and J/120 classes. "Charters for the Catalina 37 National Championships were snatched up faster than a speeding bullet: only one boat was still available at publication time," writes Betsy Crowfoot. Entries will close on June 21.

Also beginning on June 23 will be the second Race to Alaska, which has proved popular and successful beyond the organizers' wildest dreams. The 750-mile course takes sailors/paddlers from Port Townsend, WA, to Victoria, BC, then on to Ketchikan, AK.

So many fine and worthy races abound in the region this month that we feel guilty about those we haven't mentioned here, but this is already too long. So, as always, you can find a much more comprehensive list in our Calendar section.

- latitude / chris

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