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Fifteen Skippers Continue a Slow Singlehanded TransPac

June 28 - Pacific Ocean

Dwight Odom got off to a good start aboard his Sausalito-based Saga 43 Na Na, but became the first drop out.

Despite a frustrating start because of light winds found just outside the Golden Gate, most of this year's batch of Singlehanded TransPac skippers continue to be in high spirits. While there were some strong winds just before the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday morning, it wasn't until two days later just outside the Gulf of Farallones that most of the fleet finally found some consistent breeze. Even so, it hasn't been howling. For example, after 4.5 days, the elapsed-time leader, Al Hughes aboard the Seattle-based Open 60 Dogbark, still had 1,434 miles to go. And the slowest boat, Jeanne Socrates' United Kingdom-based Najad 361 Nereida, had only covered 127 miles!

Equipment failures seem inevitable with any voyage, and it's been no exception with the 2,120-miler to Kauai. Lou Freeman was nearly to the Gate aboard his San Diego-based Swan 51 Seabird when a jib sheet fouled. The current dragged him dangerously close to the rocks, so he started his engine, powered off, and returned to Corinthian YC to restart. Multiple Singlehanded TransPac vet Mark Deppe has had his share of failures aboard his San Francisco-based J/120 Alchera, including the autopilot and radar. Fortunately, he was able to effect repairs and maintain a positive attitude. "This race is as much about coping with failures as it is about sailing," he wrote.

You can track the progress of the fleet and read their logs on www.sfbaysss.org.

Lou Freeman was looking good aboard his Swan 51 Seabird, but was then almost blown onto the rocks.
Photos Latitude/Richard

San Diego Port District Votes to Close the A-8 Anchorage

June 28 - San Diego

The San Diego Port District voted 5-2 earlier this month to close, over a period of two years, the 82-acre A-8 anchorage off National City in south San Diego Bay. The anchorage is currently home to about 88 boats, and is San Diego's version of Richardson Bay.

What has made A-8 special since it was established in '87 is that it's the only free, long term anchorage in San Diego. Like many free, long term anchorages around the world, A-8 attracted a lot of rundown if not derelict boats, many liveaboards whose alternative accommodations might be the street, and a disproportionate amount of crime.

The arguments for shutting A-8 down were cost, crime, and environmental concerns. The Port District claims that it's been spending $250,000 a year to remove sunken or abandoned vessels, with the Department of Boating and Waterways tossing in another $50,000 in grants. And the Harbor Police says arrests, citations, and calls for service cost another half mil. That's a total of $750,000/year for less than 100 boats.

Opponents say the costs are inflated and that the crime is actually land-based.
The port plans to create an additional 70 moorings at other existing mooring fields, giving priority to those displaced from A-8. The problem is that the rent on those moorings will be between $115 and $145 a month, and will require a proof of insurance and passing a credit check. It's believed that more than a few residents of A-8 won't be able to meet those requirements.

What's the impetus for change after all these years? More upscale development - which will mean more tax revenue - has moved south of the Coronado Bridge. For example, a 250-berth marina is under construction adjacent to the anchorage, and much more development is expected a little further south at Chula Vista.

It's always been tough to be poor and live on the water in California, and it's getting a lot tougher.

Brightwork on a Sunny Day

June 28 - Tiburon

Sunday was another spectacular day on the Bay, thus the perfect opportunity for woodie-philes to climb over dozens of classic yachts at the Master Mariners Wooden Boat Show at Corinthian YC. San Francisco Maritime Park's scow schooner Alma drew the crowds, but it was the smaller, private owner-restored beauties that were the real stars of the day. Proceeds from the annual event benefit the Master Mariners Benevolent Fund, providing training scholarships for those learning to sail and to restore traditional sailing craft.

Curlew, a 1922 Bird Boat, wasn't the only yacht whose brightwork was gleaming in the sun.

Al Cavey won the People's Choice award for his 1937 Phil Rhodes classic Nike. Cavey also won Best of Show award in 2001, after a two-year rebuild. The mirror finish on Nike's brightwork caused professional varnishers to stop by for tips.

Barbara Churchill wages a successful mutiny against a willing Tom McGowan aboard the beautifully restored 1965 Mariner 35 Simpatico.
Photos Latitude/LaDonna

Morning Light Crew Search Gets 538 Applicants

June 28 - Long Beach

The applications from 538 young folks who want to sail aboard Roy Disney's TP-52 Morning Light in next year's TransPac are being winnowed down to the 30 who will attend tryouts aboard Catalina 37s August 5-13 in Long Beach. Ultimately, 15 will be selected. More than 200 of the applications were received from young women and ethnic minorities, and the final team is expected to be a multi-gender, multi-racial boat. The opportunity for diversity is going to be helped by the fact that Disney is picking up the tab for the 30 who are selected to try out and for those who ultimately make the team.

The goal of the project is to create the youngest TransPac team ever, train their butts off aboard a superb racing yacht, and see how they do. From start to finish, the effort will be recorded for a feature-length film to be distributed by the Walt Disney Company. There will be no script.

Beecom Attempting to Set Monohull Record to Yokohama

June 28 - San Francisco

Olivier de Kersauson's recent comings and goings on a pair of record-setting transpacific passages aboard his maxi-trimaran Geronimo - one from San Francisco to Japan, and one back - have made the Golden Gate Bridge a busy waypoint for timekeepers in the last couple of months. The trend continued on Sunday when the 72-ft Reichel/Pugh-designed Beecom set off from San Francisco bound for Yokohama, Japan, in an attempt at a new, 'special category' transpac record for crewed monohulls. Aside from Kiwi navigator David Munday, the Beecom record attempt is an all-Japanese affair, led by skipper and owner Isao Mita. The crew of the big, blue sloop was originally considering a go at July's West Marine Pacific Cup, but decided instead to sail non-stop for Japan. We'll update their progress as details of the voyage unfold.

Courtesy OceanFilmBoat/www.oceanfilmboat.com

As for Geronimo, the maxi tri quietly slipped her mooring at the Corinthian YC recently and headed for San Diego. The rumor is that she'll be making an assault on the California to Tahiti record.

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