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December Latitudes on the Street Today

December 2, 2016 – The Bay Area and Beyond

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Our 'cover girls' this month are vintage Farallon Clippers Credit and VIP, seen charging upwind during October's Jessica Cup. (Local photographer Chris Ray captured the image.)

© 2018 Graphic Latitude/Annie

Just in time for the weekend, the December issue of Latitude 38 magazine is being distributed today all over the Bay Area, and will also be available on the website to read online or download — for free, as always — by mid-afternoon today. (Distribution points in Southern California, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii will receive their copies within a few days.)

Inside, you'll find our usual mix of reporting on all levels of sailing fun, from top-end competitions like the Vendée Globe and America's Cup World Series, to local kids and old-timers who enjoy the sport of sailing with equal passion. The Racing Sheet offers stats and recaps of major November and late-October Bay races; World of Chartering introduces you to the concept of international adventure chartering; and Changes in Latitudes offers its typical mix of cruising reports from all over the globe.

The month's features include a recap of the 23rd Baja Ha-Ha rally, which provided some of most exciting sailing conditions ever; a world cruiser's thoughts on how international sailors can take steps to reduce ocean pollution; and our celebratory salute to Bay Area Season Champs from the YRA, SSS and BAMA organizations. 

We hope you enjoy our efforts from cover to cover. Happy reading!

- latitude / andy

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Latitude 38 Crew List

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

Lighted Boat Parades Part 2

December 2, 2016 – South Bay and SoCal

In Wednesday's 'Lectronic Latitude, we listed a plethora of lighted boat parades that will put holiday sparkle into the next three weekends in Northern California and San Diego. We wondered what we'd missed, and some alert readers clued us in.

lighted boat in Half Moon Bay

In Half Moon Bay's Pillar Point Harbor, most of the craft decorated for the holidays are fishing boats and sailboats.

© 2018 Kara Hugglestone /

San Mateo County, both coasts

  • Saturday, December 10: Pillar Point Harbor Lighted Boat Festival, 6-9 p.m. Instead of parading around Half Moon Bay, the decorated boats will stay in their slips and visitors will walk the docks in the harbor to view the decorations, meet Santa, and listen to live music.
Snow Queen

Last year one of the fishermen in Pillar Point put on a little skit, dressed up like a 'snow queen'. Hilarious!

© 2018 Kara Hugglestone /

  • Friday, December 16: Sequoia Yacht Club in Redwood City will host a lighted boat parade starting at 5 p.m. Decorated boats can join the parade or stay in their slips and be admired in situ. The Sea Scout Ship Gryphon will be offering rides to the boatless.
Sailboat with Christmas lights

One of the decorated boats in Redwood City.

© 2018 Sequoia Yacht Club

Southern California

December 10: Snow Wonder, fireworks and 54th Annual Holiday Boat Parade, Marina del Rey, noon-8 p.m. Theme: An Animated Holiday.

December 10: Parade of Lights, Channel Islands Harbor, 7 p.m. Theme: Hooray for Hollywood.

December 16 and 17: 40th Annual Parade of Lights, Ventura Harbor, 6:30-8 p.m. Theme: Parks on Parade, celebrating 100 years of our National Parks.

We'll call this subject closed for the year. In 2017, nautical holiday event listings should be submitted to our Calendar no later than November 10.

- latitude / chris

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Ad: Modern Sailing School & Club

December 2, 2016 – Sausalito, CA

© 2018 Modern Sailing /

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Atlantic Chock-a-Block with Yachts

December 2, 2016 – Canary Islands to the Eastern Caribbean

Most of the boats coming across the Atlantic in November-December rallies are cruising boats, such as the Lagoon 450 Spirit, the first of the ARC+ boats to finish. They made it in 13 days and change, although it's unclear how much they motored.  

© 2018 ARC+

Given the normally ideal tradewind sailing conditions from the Canary Islands to the Eastern Caribbean in late November and early December, it’s hardly surprising there are so many cruising and racing boats crossing the Atlantic in organized events at this time of year. When the Wanderer crossed with Latitude 38’s Ocean 71 Big O in 1995 as part of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), the weather was typically fabulous. Warm winds from astern day after day. Perfect.

The first to start of the three big events for English-speaking sailors coming across this year was the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers Plus (ARC+), with more than 200 sailors heading out on the 2,900-mile trip from the Canary Islands to the Cape Verdes, and, after a stop there, on to St. Lucia.

The ARC+ was created because there were inadequate facilities in the Canaries for all the boats that wanted to do the traditional Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), which starts in the Canary Islands and proceeds 2,700 miles directly to the same finish line in St. Lucia. This year the ARC had 212 boats from 31 nations with 1,307 sailors. The fleet featured 34 hardcore racing boats, the rest being cruising boats, including a record 31 multihulls.

Unfortunately for most participants, this year hasn’t featured the normal consistent tradewind sailing across the Atlantic. Generally speaking, it’s been a meteorological mess, with an unusual amount of headwinds, light winds, ridges and areas of calm.

In chronological terms, George David’s US-based super high-tech Juan K-designed Rambler 88 was the first boat across, having taken advantage of a small depression in the mid-Atlantic, which enabled the crew to sail a very northerly route followed by a fast reach down to St. Lucia. Despite what were generally light-air conditions, thanks to using the small depression, Rambler was able to sail 207 miles less than the second boat, Team Brunei, an old Volvo Ocean Race boat, to set a new record of 8 days, 6 hours. This is just over an hour better than the old record, and the fourth year in a row the elapsed-time record has been broken.

Rambler 88

The first boat to finish the ARC was George David's Rambler 88. Based on this photo, you can probably surmise that Rambler 88 was one of the racing boats. She set a new course record. 

© 2018 Tim Wright /

The overwhelming majority of the other ARC and ARC+ boats are, of course, cruising boats, and most of them were stuck behind a mid-Atlantic ridge, giving them a big case of the slows. There was lots of swimming in the mid-Atlantic this year. Members of both these fleets are finally getting consistent easterly winds, although only at about 15 knots, which is on the light side. The last third of the crossing for them has been and appears as though it will continue to be idyllic sailing, if a little on the slow side.

The first of the ARC+ boats, the Lagoon 450 catamaran Spirit, arrived in St. Lucia on November 29 some 13 days out of the Cape Verdes. Four other boats followed in less than 90 minutes. ARC and ARC+ boats are, of course, permitted to motor, which allows some boats with big fuel tanks to cross much faster than others.

The third event is the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 2,865-mile Transatlantic Race, for hardcore racing boats only, from the Canary Islands to the Nicholsons Port St. Louis Marina in Grenada. There were 14 entries. The later-starting RORC Transatlantic Race presented navigators with a much starker choice. Since headwinds made it impossible to sail the rhumbline, they had to take a route that was either unusually far to the north or far to the south.

The race features two MOD70s trimarans, Lloyd Thornburg’s St. Barth/Newport Beach/Santa Fe-based Phaedo3, which the owner, still in his 30s, has been using to crush more records in the Caribbean/Atlantic/Med than a bull in a china shop, and the great Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati. The two trimarans are no longer sisterships, as Soldini has added foils.

After setting a course record in the RORC Transatlantic Race last year, Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 Phaedo3 is about to take line honors again. 

© 2018 James Mitchell

Maserati went north, while Phaedo skipper Brian Thompson, a former Bay Area resident, took their tri to the south — at least for a couple of days before going north again to consolidate their lead. As it turned out, Phaedo negotiated the weird weather situations perfectly, and, with less than a day to go, holds an unassailable lead over the trailing Maserati, despite the fact the latter has been foiling at speeds up to 40 knots. Paul Allen of Santa Cruz is one of the Phaedo crew. It’s unclear if Phaedo has a shot at bettering her current course record of 5 days, 22 hours.

Giovanni Soldini's MOD70 Maserati, now equipped with foils, was the pre-race favorite in the RORC event. But a difficult tactical decision didn't pan out, so her chances of catching Phaedo are slim to none. 

Photo Courtesy Maserati
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The lead in the monohull division is currently held by Mike Slade’s Leopard, a 100-ft Farr drop-keel design that used to hold the ARC record and has been raced across the Atlantic many times by her skipper, Chris Sherlock, who has made more crossings than he has fingers and toes. Leopard is close to being on pace for the monohull record, so it will be interesting to see how things pan out.

- latitude / richard

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