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Sailing Speed Thrills on San Francisco Bay

February 3 - San Francisco Bay

Photo Erik Simonson/h2oshots.com

San Francisco Speed Sailing Management has announced that it will launch a new annual sailing event on San Francisco Bay intended to attract kite surfers, sailboarders, and monohull and multihull sailors from all over the United States. The event is to be called the San Francisco Speed Sailing Event, and will be held June 15-18, when the wind often blows the dogs off chains on the Bay. The event "will offer speed sailors an opportunity to officially record and document extreme sailing as it exists on a daily basis in one of the best international sailing venues."

The concept is for sailors to sail as fast as they can for about one-third of a mile from just off Crissy Field to just off San Francisco's Marina Green. This would provide spectators plenty of opportunity to watch the action - which would likely include boat parts breaking and sailors swimming.

Registration is available now online at www.sanfranciscospeed.com.

The Cost of Shipping a Boat Home from Australia Isn't as High as Was Reported

February 3 - Ensenada, Baja California

After 11 years of cruising the South Pacific, and one trip back, aboard their San Francisco-based Valiant 40 Different Worlds, Al and Debbie Farner decided they had had their fill. So they are having their boat shipped from Brisbane, Australia, to Ensenada aboard a Dockwise Yacht Transport vessel. They want everyone to know that it isn't costing them $50,000 - the amount their friends with Brisa reported saving by sailing their boat from Australia to San Francisco. The Farners admit their boat is about 10 feet shorter, but say they paid only $18,560 - which they thought was a reasonable price considering the other options.

Sailboats and motoryachts snuggle on the back of the mothership.
Photo David Demarest

Oddly enough, what seems to have miffed the Farners is the fees they are now being told they will have to pay on the boat's arrival in Ensenada. According to the Ensenada Cruiseport Marina Dockmaster, there is an agency fee of $150, a Customs fee of $55, an Immigration fee of $20 per person, and Harbormaster dues of about $23.

Based on our understanding, the only fee that sounds wrong is the $150 agency fee - assuming that the Farners want to do their own paperwork. According to the most recent legislation, boat owners can't be required to use an agent.

Miffed About Possible Import Duties in the British Virgins

February 3 - Virgin Gorda, BVI

"I've just checked into Customs and Immigration here in the British Virgins, during which time I was told that I can only keep my boat in the British Virgins for a total of 30 days a calendar year without having to pay a $150 import fee," reports John Anderton of the Alameda-based Cabo Rico 37 Sanderling. "This is really going to upset the group of boaters who check into the BVIs and anchor over on the east side of St. John's in the U.S. Virgins for the season. What it means to me is that I need to keep some days 'in the bank' so I'll be able to wait for the wind to back around to the NNE for my sail from Virgin Gorda to St. Martin."
As anybody who has ever had to cross the Sombrero Passage in an easterly southeasterly can tell you, it would be worth forking over the $150 to wait until the wind backed. The old Sombrero can be a nasty bit of work.

The beautiful Virgin Islands
Photo Latitude/Rob

Volvo Fleet to Sail Third Inshore Race at Melbourne Today

February 3 - Melbourne, Australia

The seven all-carbon, canting keel, around-the-world Volvo 70s will compete in their third inshore race later today at Port Phillip, Melbourne. Ericsson has flown in hired gun John Kostecki to navigate and call tactics. He and Ericsson have been tuning up with the recently repaired and reassembled Pirates of Caribbean, skippered by Paul Cayard. Both Cayard and Kostecki are St. Francis YC members from Marin who won the around-the-world event when it was known as the Whitbread and before there were any inshore races.

Cumulative fleet leaders are the Dutch boats ABN Amro One, with the Peninsula's Stan Honey as navigator, and ABN Amro Two. If there is more than 15 knots of wind today, the two boats are expected to dominate. If it's light, they are expected to finish at or near the bottom of the fleet.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of the event to date has been keeping the non-Amro boats in racing condition, as there have been huge problems - particularly with the canting keels. This has led to a lot of criticism about the new Volvo 70 design. Nonetheless, Cayard, whose Pirates of the Caribbean entry has suffered as much as any boat, has been a staunch defender of the design. Despite his boat's serious problems, Cayard has said he never would go to sea in a boat that he thought would endanger his crew. Based on his dispatched and press conferences, Cayard has been demonstrating tremendous leadership, seeming to almost be inspired by each successive adversity. His stock has always been high, but it's certainly being going even higher.

Photo Courtesy www.volvooceanrace.org

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