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Artemis and the Gate

May 26, 2017 – San Francisco, CA

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Artemis Racing, after being eliminated by Luna Rossa Challenge on August 10, 2013. Note the North Tower of the Golden Gate centered between the main and the jib.   

© 2018 Christine Smith

With the Louis Vuitton Cup scheduled to kick off today — but postponed due to high winds — we thought we'd feature a Flashback Friday to 2013, as brought to us by Christine Smith.

She wrote: "We were motorsailing slowly on a Catalina 32 after watching the Louis Vuitton Finals, when Artemis was eliminated. They did a fantastic fly-by across the Bay. I call it: Artemis and the Gate."

Good luck to Artemis Racing as they take on four other challengers in the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Meanwhile, back on San Francisco Bay, the forecast is for partly cloudy skies with winds ranging from 12 to 22 knots, albeit a bit cooler (and the water a little less blue) than in Bermuda.

- latitude / timmy

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Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

It's a Nasty 1,200 Miles

May 26, 2017 – New Zealand to Fiji or Tonga

Alexis in the galley

This isn't what Alexis and the interior of Quixotic looked like on the way from New Zealand to Fiji. But they do now, and the couple are ready to welcome charter guests in Fiji's nearly ideal sailing conditions. 

Photo Courtesy Quixotic
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Among the potentially nastiest passages in the world of sailing is the one between New Zealand and Fiji or Tonga. The only place you can stop for protection on the 1,200-mile passage is Minerva Reef if you're on your way to Tonga, and in heavy weather it's not that comfortable.

The weather systems in the Southwest Pacific migrate from west to east, as they do in the States, and typically do so in five- to eight-day cycles. So you have to be lucky not to get hit by a weather system. And if your boat isn’t very fast, you can get hit by two.

Yes, weather forecasting is much better than it used to be, but it still can’t forecast accurately five or more days out, and it can’t prevent systems from moving through.

We’ve gotten reports from two California boats that have recently done the passage, and both have gotten clobbered.

Lewis Allen and Alexis Alexopolous left Opua, New Zealand, on their Redwood City-based Voyager 43 catamaran Quixotic in the middle of May, right after the South Pacific cyclone season supposedly ended. They had a quick trip — six days and 22 hours to cover 1,200 miles — but they paid a price.

“We are trying to remember another passage on our cat, or our previous boat, a Tartan 37 monohull, that was as uncomfortable but are coming up blank,” they write. “As such, we don't have any plans to sail back to New Zealand anytime soon, as great as it is. As always, it was the seas that made it so uncomfortable. They were the perfect height and period to throw our cat around, and they were coming from many directions. We've had much more wind in the past, but with smaller and more orderly seas, and it wasn't as bad.”

As if the passage from New Zealand hadn’t been bad enough, as soon as they got to Fiji they had to face the possibility of getting hit by two post-season cyclones. Fortunately, both whiffed.

You can read their entire report in the June 1 issue of Latitude 38.

The other couple who reported in are John and Debbie Rogers of the San Diego-based Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow.

“We left our dock at the marina in Opua on May 20 under clear skies and in calm conditions,” John reports. “By noon we were sailing in 25 knots and squalls, with rain and gusts to 30. An hour later it was consistently blowing more than 30 knots, and by sunset we’d seen 47 knots with about an hour of steady 40-ish winds. We reduced sail all the way down to a partially rolled out staysail and were clocking 9-13 knots. Over the night things settled down into the mid-20s as the wind began to back to southwest then south. The seas during that first afternoon were just wicked. Not so big, maybe 3-4 meters, but quite steep and close together.”

After four days of better, but not that much better, weather — lots of wind just above or below 30 knots — they were still 375 miles from Savusavu, sailing at 10-11 knots.

Debbie hiking on a grassy hill

Debbie Rogers taking a hike in New Zealand. There were times on the passage to Fiji she wished she were back on dry land for a little bit.

Photo Courtesy Moonshadow
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Then there is Kiwi John Martin, who claims to have made the passage 42 times and only had one really bad experience, his first time. You can read his analysis of the passage and how to deal with it at

- latitude / richard

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Ad: 27th Annual Delta Ditch Run

May 26, 2017 – Stockton, CA

© 2018 Stockton Sailing Club /

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Long Weekend On and Beyond the Bay

May 26, 2017 – California

With an extra day to frolic this weekend, we hope you'll get your boat out or hop aboard someone else's at some point over the next three days — you could even start your weekend early with a Friday night beer can race or sunset cruise. Some possible San Francisco Bay sailing options on Saturday include racing in or watching Saturday's Master Mariners Regatta or the start of the Spinnaker Cup to Monterey.

California Condor bound for the Gate

Left to right: Shawn Price's Santa Cruz 40 Sea Stig, Buzz Blackett's Antrim Class 40 California Condor and Ray Paul's Swan 53 Blue, bound for the Golden Gate and Monterey in the 2015 Spinnaker Cup.

© 2018 /

The Spinnaker Cup, which normally starts on the Friday before Memorial Day, will instead sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday morning after a half hour of starts beginning at 9:05 west of Angel Island. The race from S.F. Bay to Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club kicks off California Offshore Race Week, which will continue on May 29-30 with the Coastal Cup from Monterey to Santa Barbara, an in-port race hosted by Santa Barbara YC on May 31, and the SoCal 300 from Santa Barbara to San Diego June 1-3. The Spinnaker Cup, whose numbers had been declining, garnered 38 entries, having received a shot in the arm from CORW, now in its second year. Eleven boats are signed up to compete in the entire race week.

L-36 Leda from Freda B

The L-36 Leda, as seen from the bow of the schooner Freda B, at the start of last year's Master Mariners Regatta. Tomorrow's sea breeze should be just about right to get the heavy wooden vessels moving in a sprightly manner.

Photo Latitude / Chris
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Master Mariners Benevolent Association is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, so this Master Mariners Regatta is a particularly special one. The reaching starts will be between Golden Gate and St. Francis YCs from noon and 1 p.m. If you take your boat out to watch the spectacle, remember to stay out of the path (and the wind) of the boats that are racing. Most of them have more momentum and less maneuverability than modern sailboats — remember the adage: Tonnage rules.

Regattas on lakes include Whiskeytown Sailing Club's Whiskeytown Regatta on Saturday and Sunday in the foothills west of Redding, and Konocti Bay Sailing Club's 3 Island Fiasco on Clear Lake tomorrow. On Monday, Half Moon Bay YC in Pillar Point Harbor will host a Laser/Opti Sail-Off.

Latitude 38's Racing Sheet would be pleased to hear tall tales about any and all of the above.

- latitude / chris

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Bad News from the Conch Republic

May 26, 2017 – Key West, FL

TP52 start

A TP52 start at the 2017 Key West Race Week, which has offered tropical sailing underon turquoise water since 1988 for boats large…

© 2018 /


…and small.

© 2018 /

Whether Key West Race Week was a bucket-list item for you or regular relief from the winter blahs, the latest announcement from the New York-based Organizing Authority will take the wind right out of your sails.

The January 2018 KWRW has been canceled. Storm Trysail Club's commodore Leonard Sitar and John Fisher, the event chair for the last two years, issued the following statement yesterday:

"After extensive discussion and deliberation, the Storm Trysail Club has decided not to organize and hold Key West Race Week in January 2018. Many factors led to this difficult decision. The bottom line is that, with declining participation, the event has become heavily dependent upon sponsorship, making the event unsustainable in its current format.

"Our primary sponsors remain very supportive and the Storm Trysail Club is committed to exploring alternative formats for the future that address changing conditions in our sport. The club anticipates that this could lead to another edition as soon as 2019.

"The Storm Trysail Club wishes to especially thank Quantum Sails (title sponsor for the last six years) as well as the city and community of Key West for their gracious hospitality and help in underwriting this event which has spanned the last 30 years."

Fingers crossed for 2019 — perhaps a tribute to Neptune is in order.

- latitude / chris

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Ad: South Beach YC Jr. Sailing Camp

May 26, 2017 – San Francisco, CA

Call or email for more information.

© 2018 SBYC /

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