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Photos of the Day: Berkeley Midwinters

February 12 - Berkeley

Voodoo Child (18161) and Froglips (2392) lead the charge around Mark H.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

If you don't like the weather, come back tomorrow. That might have been the motto of the fourth and final races in Berkeley YC's Midwinter series this past weekend. On Saturday, mostly light rain pervaded the proceedings throughout the day. At least there was decent enough breeze to about 10 knots to get all 90-some boats in 11 divisions started on time and finished before everyone was too waterlogged. The good news: now everyone knows which sets of foulies work and which ones leak.

Magic Bus and Moxie sail a dark and stormy Bay.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Sunday dawned bright and crisp, with big fluffy clouds parading across the sky but no 'precip' to speak of. Ironically, this was the 'lite' version of BYC's midwinter roster (the Saturday and Sunday portions are scored separately), but the 40 or so boats in 6 divisions that showed up enjoyed one of the prettiest sailing days of the whole winter.

The final event in the BYC Midwinter Series occurs on February 25, when the winners of all classes have a race-off to determine the Champion of Champions.

The T-650 Lightning (blue spinnaker) 'plays through' a group of Moore 24s.
Photos Latitude/JR
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Results for the weekend, as well as cumulative results for the series, can be found at www.berkeleyyc.org/racing/midwinters/index.html.

- latitude / jr


TransPac Returns to Old Starting Area

February 12 - Los Angeles

In an effort to make the TransPac more spectator-friendly, the event's board of directors voted last week to return the start of this legendary race to an area off Point Fermin where it used to start in the '60s and '70s, and where friends, family and spectators could watch from the bluffs as boats took off for Hawaii. For the last quarter century, boats have started off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, about 2.5 miles farther up the coast from L.A. Harbor.

As far as impacting strategies or records, the change is negligible. It adds less than a mile to the 2,225-mile course and in normal conditions would mean a slightly tighter beat to the West End of Catalina.

A tip of the hat to San Pedro resident (and TransPac veteran) Steve Dair for setting this idea in motion. Starts for the various classes are scheduled for July 9, 12 and 15. For more information on TransPac, including a list of the 20 current entries, see www.transpacificyc.org.

- latitude / jr

Still Sailing after 75 Years

February 12 - Mill Valley

If you're one of the many friends, former shipmates, lovers, or even arch rivals of Warwick 'Commodore' Tompkins of Mill Valley and the Wylie 39+ Flashgirl, you are invited to his 75th birthday shindig to be held at the Cove House at the San Francisco YC on Beach Road in Belvedere on February 24 from 1200 to 1600.

'Commodore' in the South Seas
Photo Nancy Tompkins
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

As most of his friends know, Tompkins has been crossing oceans since he was in diapers. In fact, he got the nickname 'Commodore' when he was an infant living in a drawer on the schooner Wander Bird, which used to be pilot boat for Germany's Elbe River. And if you've seen the movie 50 South to 50 South, you no doubt remember the footage of Commodore and his sister happily swinging beneath the main boom of the Bird while rounding Cape Horn in a raging storm.
There isn't much in the world of sailing that Commodore hasn't done - and he's still going at it. He and his wife Nancy have been actively cruising the Pacific for the last several years, and just recently finished delivering a catamaran from New Zealand to Japan. You can only wonder what he'll be up to for the next 75 years.

If you plan on attending, RSVP to (415) 383-0949.

- latitude / rs

It's Up and Lifting

February 12 - Puerto Escondido, Baja California

Connie Sunlover reports that earlier this month Singlar completed the calibration on their 50-ton Travel-Lift, and lifted the first boat out at their facility at Puerto Escondido. In fact, they enclosed this photo to prove it.

Photo Courtesy Connie and Elvin
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

As such, the much anticipated dry storage area is open. While berths in Mexico have been relatively hard to come by, there is about to be a minor explosion of dry storage facilities, which hopefully will free up a lot of slips.

- latitude / rs

New Cat in Belize for the Petty Family

February 12 - Placencia, Belize

"We're avid readers and sailors from the Bay Area," writes Leslie Petty of Pleasanton, "and thought your readers might enjoy the accompanying photo from the maiden voyage of Hope, our new Moorings 4600 cat to be based out of Placencia, Belize. We named her after losing Linda Rameriz, a dear friend, to cancer last year. Her zest for life inspired us to stop dreaming and take action. Hence, 'Hope', which according to Linda stands for Honor the Opportunity to Prepare for Eternity.

"We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate her life than by cruising in Belize on the boat of our dreams with the Millers, our best friends. There were four adults and five kids in all, and the boat was awesome both for accommodating all of us and for fast reaching in the 18 to 20 knots of wind.

We're not sure who is who, but included in the photo are the Petty family of Doug, Leslie, Taylor, Spencer and Cooper, plus Martha, Brooke and Nicole Miller.
Greg Miller is missing because he took the photo.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

"We've sailed the Bay for many years, racing everything from J/24s and Santa Cruz 27s back in the day, to our current cruising boat, the Alameda-based Catalina 36 Perspective. We've also done a number of charters in the BVIs and Windwards. This, however, was our first visit to Belize, and I'm pleased to report that it was awesome. The people in Placencia were unbelievably friendly, everyone speaks English, and the surrounding waters and islands are beautiful. And unlike the Eastern Caribbean, we had the place mostly to ourselves.

"By the way, we've got the '09 Baja Ha-Ha in sight."

- leslie petty

In Another World

February 12 - Mill Valley

If you've read the February issue of Latitude 38, you know that the Wanderer, the pen name for the publisher of Latitude 38, celebrated the 30th year of publishing Latitude by spending six weeks in the Caribbean, most of it aboard the Leopard 45 cat 'ti Profligate. We weren't doing anything particularly grand, just living aboard, doing a bit of work, a bunch of playing with the ocean, and making friends with locals and other cruisers. It was sweet.

Now back, we'd like to share with you the one overriding impression we've gotten upon returning. The Bay Area, where we were born and have lived for almost our entire life, and certainly one of the garden spots of the world, turns out to be one strange and unnatural place. (Of course, we're certain the same can be said for most metro areas of the U.S., if not the world.) For until you've been away for a reasonable chunk of time, we think it's difficult to appreciate how much anxiety and fear-inducing sensationalist crap is pumped into our brains via all the various media, and what mountains are made out of molehills.

Doña de Mallorca and we got our first whiff of this a few days before coming home while at the Bath & Turtle Pub at Spanishtown in the British Virgin Islands. We hadn't watched television in six weeks, but they had CNN with Paula Zahn on, although the sound was off. We'd watched plenty of that stuff before we went to the islands, and it seemed normal. But having not seen it in a long time, it came across as completely bizarre.

For one thing, the set, as well as the outfits worn by the host and guests, were of vibrant primary colors such as aren't found anywhere in nature. As for Ms. Zahn, Wolf Blitzer, and the various 'experts', they looked more like freaks than the normal people. Their teeth were too white, they had enormous repertoires of phony expressions, and the endless over-the-top gestures they made had clearly been drummed into them by communication gurus. Plus, they made every stupid little thing seem so earth-shakingly important.

As for the 'news' itself, what a joke. The astronaut in diapers, Mayor Newsom's sex life, some preacher coming out of rehab for being gay, and God knows what else. We couldn't wait to get back to the boat and sit under the stars and listen to the wavelets slap against the hull.

The bottom line is to recognize that your brain is being inundated with so much bogus information that you can't help but develop a completely unnatural impression of the world and reality. The good news is that there is a real world, and the people who reside in it are much more pleasant than those normally found on television, in newspapers, and on the Internet. Plus the events are far less catastrophic. May we all more completely inhabit that world some day.

- latitude / rs

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©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.