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Photos of the Day:
The Biggest Sails in the World

March 31 - Marblehead, MA, and Portsmouth, UK

At 246 feet in length, with a rig that towers 300 feet over the water, the world's largest sloop, Mirabella V, has presented unique challenges to her sailmakers, Doyle Sails International.

Two sections of mainsail fitted together with one of her battens

Construction on the staysail

Mirabella V's sail inventory consists of a mainsail, staysail, working jib, and UPS (Utility Power Sail), or reacher. At 17,366 square feet, Mirabella V's UPS is bigger than any sail ever made - as evidenced by its acceptance into the Guinness Book of World Records as "The World's Largest Sail."

The sails were constructed at the Doyle loft in Marblehead, MA. Then, on February 9-13, the four sails were installed on Mirabella V at the Portsmouth Naval Base in Portsmouth, UK. Two days were spent assembling the six-part segmented mainsail into one piece and three days were spent hoisting the three headsails, lifting the mainsail into the boom, and installing the boom on the boat. For more, see www.doylesails.com/superyachts-mirabellav.htm.

Mirabella V's rig compared to a J-Class yacht and an International America's Cup Class (IACC) yacht.

A shroud

Lifting the mainsail onto the boom

Looking for New Sailing Options?
Mark Your Calendar for the Crew List Party

March 31 - San Francisco

The countdown clock is ticking, as Latitude 38's spring Crew List Party is just seven days away (Wednesday, April 7). Held at San Francisco's Golden Gate YC again this year, the big shindig will begin at 6 p.m.

If you're unfamiliar with the Crew List concept, these semi-annual get-togethers are simply low-pressure forums for would-be crewmembers to find captains in need, and vise versa. So whether you're looking to crew on a race boat, cast off the docklines for a world cruise, or simply get out on the Bay for occasional social sails, mark your calendar and show up with a positive attitude. Who knows? You might make connections that grow into longtime friendships.

Although Latitude's Crew List Parties are low key and fun, captains and crew often make connections that yield great adventures. Last year at least one participant found a ride from Fiji to Australia.
Photos Latitude/Andy

The crew lists themselves are printed in the March (racing) and April (everything else) issues of Latitude 38. The Racing List is also available online. The April issue will hit the streets tomorrow (Thursday), and the April Crew List will be posted online a few days after the Crew List Party itself.

Tall Ships and Classics at Pacific SAIL EXPO

March 31 - Oakland

If you're like most sailors, you appreciate vessels of all kinds. You might prefer a souped-up high-performance ride for the racecourse, but the timeless beauty of classic boats still turns your head. You can see quite a bit of the latter at Pacific SAIL EXPO, April 14-18 at Jack London Square, if you make a detour to the show's special section for classics of all sizes. The tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain is the headline act: at 103-ft, she is the longest, and since she replicates a design from 1790, her lines date back the furthest.

The ketch Hawaiian Chieftain
Photo Latitude/Andy

Built in 1891 and measuring 80 feet, Bay Area scow schooner Alma offers a glimpse into the maritime history of the Bay. Alma transported hay, lumber, and salt; from the 1920s to the 1950s, she dredged for oyster shells; in 1988, she was designated a National Historic Landmark and is part of the fleet at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

The scow schooner Alma

Smaller vessels will include the 42-ft Grace Quan, a just-launched replica of a traditional junk that also resides at the Park; Runa IV, built in 1918 in Copenhagen, Denmark of Norwegian pine and oak, which sailed to California on the deck of a steamer in 1933; and Glory, a 1964 classic Herreshoff 28 built in Japan of native woods.

The sloop Runa IV
Photos Courtesy Sail America except as noted

If you want to step back in time and sail a classic while at PSE, Hawaiian Chieftain will be offering 90-minute sail training excursions. These sails cost $20 per person and can be reserved in advance by visiting www.hawaiianchieftain.com.

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