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The Unthinkable Almost Happened

April 28, 2017 – Antigua Classic Regatta

It was only a matter of a few feet in the last race of the 30th Annual Antigua Classic Regatta that kept the event from very possibly being the scene of the biggest megayacht collision and destruction dance in the history of recreational sailing.

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The modern Columbia, launched in Florida in 2014, sails into Falmouth Harbour to set up a run for the starting line. 

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

This year’s Classic was a great one. One of the reasons is that the event was moved from Falmouth Harbour to English Harbour, which just reeks with sailing history. A second reason is that the weather conditions for the four races were excellent, with 12 to 20 knots of wind throughout, and seas between one and two meters.

Perhaps because it was the 30th running of the event, the entry list surged about 10% to 48 boats in five different classes: Vintage, Classic, Traditional, Spirit of Tradition, and Classic GRP. No fin keels, spade rudders or carbon boats at the Classic, thank you.

The smallest entries this year were just over 30 feet. The largest yacht in this year’s Classic was the magnificent Adix, a 212-ft LOA Holgate three-masted gaff schooner built in 1983. Some Latitude 38 readers may remember that she had her teak decks redone at the now-defunct Stone Boat Yard in Alameda. The Wanderer remembers her from a day that he, Doña de Mallorca, his daughter, and about 50 school kids from St. Barth were taken for a daysail on her. Magnificent!

The mighty Adix, all 212 feet of her. You don't want to be on another boat when her bowsprit passes over your head. 

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

When the Wanderer pulled into Falmouth Harbour with ‘ti Profligate just before the start of the third race, the big boats were sailing into Falmouth Harbour before tacking, to give themselves a good run at the starting line without having to make a last-minute tack. Classic yachts are beautiful, but they are not nimble.

Among the boats tacking inside Falmouth Harbor was the new Starling-Burgess Gloucester fishing schooner Columbia. She’s 141 feet on deck, but with her overhangs she must be at least 180 feet. After she tacked, someone on deck whistled a warning. We couldn’t figure out whom they were trying to warn, as we were the only boat in the area, and we were well to leeward.

At least we thought we were well to leeward. When the crew of Columbia fully eased out her main, it must have extended 60 feet or more to leeward! We were still well clear, but we then understood the reason for the warning.

When Columbia's crew eases the main all the way out, you want to be far to leeward of her. 

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It was Adix and Columbia that almost had what would have been the most massive tangle of classic yachts in racing history. According to Janet Hein of the Gig Harbor, Washington-based Woodwind, who was aboard one of the two great yachts, as they worked for position for the start of the final race, Adix was to leeward of Columbia, and either Adix came up or Columbia came down.

Whatever, but according to Hein, Adix’s long bowsprit passed over the back end of Columbia’s boom, thanks to a lift from a swell. Thank God! The bowsprit of the former and the boom of the latter missed each other by just a few feet.

Had the two great yachts tangled, it’s unclear how long it would have taken to get them apart, and how much damage there would have been. But it would have been nasty. Hopefully lessons were learned for the future

The Classic Regatta is supposed to be all about fun and safe racing. But you know what it's like when the testosterone flows. In this photo, the Herreshoff schooner Mariette 1915, owned for many years by the late Tom Perkins of Belvedere, luffs along with Adix. One can only imagine the wear on the sails in a 20-knot breeze.  

Photo Latitude / Richard
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

But all’s well that ends well, and both boats had a great romp in the last race. For details on this year’s Classic, check out their website.  

- latitude / richard

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Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

New California Boater Law Coming Soon

April 28, 2017 – California and Florida

In 2018, California will slowly roll out a new law requiring boaters — including sailboats with motors — to carry proof they've taken a safety course. On January 1, the law will require boaters aged 20 or younger to carry an official California Boater Education Card. Each subsequent new year, another age group will be added until 2025, when all persons, regardless of age, will be subject to the requirement.

"The California Boater Card will show that its holder has successfully taken and passed a state approved boater safety education examination," said the California Department of Parks and Recreation Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW), who will issue the cards, which are projected to cost "no more than $10." The law will exempt persons holding marine operator or commercial fishing licenses. There will also be exemptions made for renters or persons from out of the state or country, according to DBW.

There are a number of different safety and training programs offered to Californians. BoatU.S. offers a free online course. A DBW spokesperson said that there is no practical skills component to the Education card — once issued, the card will not expire or need to be renewed, and enforcement will be at the discretion of local law enforcement agencies.

Until the law takes effect in 2018, California is one of only nine states that doesn't require mandatory boater education, according to United States Power Squadrons (the other states are Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Arkansas and Maine).

In Florida, a state senator proposed a bill in February that would prohibit anyone under 16 from operating "sailboats with hulls of more than 10 feet," according to NBC Miami. In other words, kids could still sail Optimists but not Lasers or doublehanded boats such as FJs, 29ers or 420s The proposed Florida law has met resistance from US Sailing, which "is strongly opposed to any legislation that would restrict the rights of sailors of any age from participation in the sport by mandating overreaching supervision," according to an article published on Scuttlebutt.

What do you think about boater regulations and education laws? Is it about time California falls in line with the rest of the country and mandates some form of safety training, or is it burdensome overreaching? Do you think the new law goes far enough in trying to make our waterways safer, or do you think the state is encroaching on one of the last slivers of unregulated freedom?

Please send us your thoughts. We will continue to report on the new California law and the debate in Florida. We will publish some of your responses in the June issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / tim

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Ad: Dream Yacht Charters

April 28, 2017 – Dream Destinations

© 2018 Dream Yacht Charters /

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Infamous Boat Changes Hands

April 28, 2017 – Richmond, CA

Roger Ruud, our 2016 King of the Beer Cans, stopped by the booth during the Pacific Boat Show while shopping for gear for his new-to-him 1987 Nordic 40 hull #26, now named Mystic. 

The boat — sold on San Francisco Bay by KKMI and previously named Standby — was famously caught by photographer Peter Lyons as she accidentally tacked and t-boned Tom Perkins' 289-ft Maltese Falcon in 2008 while on a casual afternoon sail on the Bay.

Smaller sailboat T-bones Maltese Falcon

In October 2008, during Maltese Falcon's visit to San Francisco Bay, she was t-boned by the Nordic 40 Stand-By.

© 2018 Peter Lyons /


Fortunately no one was hurt and both boats are back out sailing. "I will try to be more careful with the boat!" Roger joked with us at the boat show.

Roger Ruud at the boat show

Roger, Latitude 38's 2016 King of the Beer Cans, stopped by the Latitude 38 booth at the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show.

Photo Latitude / John
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Roger had Mystic hauled at Berkeley Marine Center for a refit and picked up a new Spectra 150 at the show to keep her up to speed.

- latitude / john

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The Racing Month Ahead

April 28, 2017 – California

The 70th annual Newport to Ensenada Race starts today; 187 boats will have hit the start line by the time we post this. Among boats to watch are the MOD70 Phaedo3, with which 'Lectronic readers are no doubt familiar; the R/P 63 Aszhou, defending her monohull record time of 9:35:34; 25-time N2E trophy-winner Bill Gibbs on the Schionning catamaran Wahoo; and America's Cup legend Dennis Conner sailing the wooden sloop Splendor. Skippers range in age from 24-year-old Ashley Hopkins on the F-27 trimaran Serafin to Dick McNish, who turns 90 next month, aboard his wooden yawl Cheerio II. Follow the action at

Santana 22 and Farallon Clipper upwind

More often than not, the race to Vallejo is mostly downwind. Last year it was a beat.

© 2018 /

Looking forward to May (and we are!), the 118th (no, that's not a typo) Great Vallejo Race will set sail from the Central Bay to Vallejo Yacht Club on May 6 and return on May 7. New this year are a Cruising Division, and a Sunday finish line south of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge off Paradise Cay. A 'Captain Ron' Party, complete with costume contest, is on tap for Saturday's post-race festivities. Entries close on Thursday. See

On the same weekend, St. Francis YC will host the 43th Elvstrom Zellerbach Regatta for the small-boat set. For Lasers, the Elvstrom also serves as the District 24 Championship, worth 20 Svendsen's Grand Prix points (which can help sailors qualify for a world championship.) 

A sampling of other races in May includes such diverse events as OYRA's Duxship (to Duxbury Reef and the Lightship) and the El Toro fleet's Flight of the Bulls on the Foster City Lagoon on May 13. The 8-ft prams will follow that up with the Fremont Relays on May 21.

The Singlehanded Sailing Society's Singlehanded Farallones Race will round the rockpile on May 20. The YRA Series will begin the same day, with racing on the Cityfront. San Francisco YC's Elite Keel Regatta will be held on May 20-21 for Melges 24, Melges 20, Etchells, Express 27, J/70 and IOD classes. (It should be noted that SFYC and the local Etchells fleet are gearing up to host the Worlds on September 22-30.)

IODs racing

IODs racing on the Berkeley Circle in last year's Elite Keel Regatta.

© 2018 Roxanne Fairbairn /

Ocean, Bay, lake — venue choices abound for Memorial Day Weekend. On May 27, (a Saturday, not a Friday as in the past) the Spinnaker Cup will sail out the Gate bound for Monterey to kick off the second California Offshore Race Week. The Coastal Cup from Monterey to Santa Barbara will follow, starting on May 29.

Also on May 27, the Master Mariners Regatta will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Master Mariners Benevolent Association. You'll be able to read our tribute to the MMBA and its splendiferous regatta in the May issue of Latitude 38, coming out on Monday, May 1. The Whiskeytown Regatta offers racing for trailerable sailboats on May 27-28 on the lake of the same name in the foothills west of Redding.

- latitude / chris

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