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Photos of the Day: Spring One Design Regatta

March 21 - San Francisco

Grace Dances
(foreground) crosses Jolly Mon in the J/120 fleet.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

We don't know what kind of weather dance racers had up their sleeves, or if St. Patrick is now the patron saint of wind, but the curse of the mind-numbingly light winter weather was broken on March 17 and 18 for the Spring One Design. With the return of the marine layer, a raging 5-knot ebb and breeze in the 25-knot range, the third and final event in St. Francis YC's spring invitational series was more like summer than winter or spring. Four classes - Express 37s, 1D-35s, J/120s and J/105s - had four races in the vicinity of Alcatraz and the Cityfront.

Yee-ha! Bullet 'ricochets' through a wave followed by Golden Moon.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Alpha Puppy leads this charge in the 1D-35 class.
Photo Latitude/JR
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Congratulations to class winners - Bill Riess on Elan (Express 37), Eliel Redstone on Yeofy (1D-35), Kristen Lane on Brickhouse (J/105), and Barry Lewis on Chance (J/120).

Warm rounds of applause also go to the protest committee, who was on the job until midnight on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday to hear an unusually high number of disputes, and to the race committee, who tried to keep up with both temporary and 'fixed' marks that went for a walkabout. Among the wayward buoys, mark 'X', which usually sits off Golden Gate YC, made it to Crissy Field before it was retrieved.

- latitude / ss

The race committee was right on top of keeping racing boats away from commercial traffic, such as this in-bound ship that split the J/105 fleet in half during the first race.
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

Down but not Out: Lord Jim Refloated after Sinking

March 21 - Brazil

The latest chapter in the 72-ft gaff tops'l schooner Lord Jim's 71-year sailing career is undoubtedly her saddest. Last week, while en route from Angra dos Reis, Brazil, to Antigua - for the 20th annual Antigua Classic Regatta - she struck an unmarked rock off of Mero Island and began taking on water. Owners Holger Kreuzhage and Tracy Brown were able to ground her on a nearby beach and secure her before she sank in 25 to 45 feet of water.

With the help and ingenuity of local mariners, she was refloated and towed to a small boatyard at Mangaratiba, roughly 30 miles east of Angra, where she now sits safely in a cradle.

As most Latitude 38 and 'Lectronic readers know, this 1936 John Alden schooner is one of the most remarkable vessels ever to call San Francisco Bay her homeport, as she has completed four circumnavigations, in addition to her earlier acclaim as the Queen of the Antigua charter fleet.

Still stunned by the incident, Kreuzhage and Brown are now weighing their options. Although they believe structural repairs can be made on site, a complete interior refit will, of course, need to be done. One option being considered is to patch her up, equip her with kerosene lamps and a rudimentary electrical system and sail her to a New England yard for a make-over. Look for a detailed report on the incident and future plans in the April issue of Latitude 38.

- latitude / aet

Crossing the Line

March 21 - San Francisco Bay

Photo Latitude/JR
©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

As every sailor knows, you learn something new every time you go out. At the Big Daddy Regatta earlier this month, the fleet racing on the Southampton course had a pop quiz at the first mark. As you can see in the photo, the windline stopped just short of - and occasionally right at - the inflatable mark. So boats could sail up to it okay, but when they tried to round, they ran out of gas and drifted back, only to catch the light breeze and repeat. Sailors are pretty quick learners, though. The J/24 guys soon figured out to crack off a tad on the approach, get up a good head of steam and then let the momentum carry them around. Soon after these photos were taken, the wind filled in and erased this interesting phenomenon.

- latitude / jr

Springing into the Ocean

March 21 - Gulf of the Farallones

In case you missed it, today is the first day of Spring. You know what that means: there are only 280 shopping days left until Christmas. But more importantly, ocean racing starts with a vengeance this Saturday as both doublehanded and crewed fleets race to the Lightship and back. That's followed by the Doublehanded Farallones Race on April 7, and the Singlehanded Farallones on April 21.

The latter two events have become part of sailing folklore in the Bay Area. The Doublehanded Farallones has always attracted one of the largest fleets of any local offshore race, and the solo Farallones has become a rite of passage for local singlehanders - either a goal in itself, or the first step in a grander plan to race solo to Hawaii or beyond. Former Bay Area rigger Bruce Schwab, who went on to race singlehanded around the world in the Around Alone and Vendée Globe races, had his first offshore experience at the Singlehanded Farallones.

What's even more amazing in the big picture is that the race celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. We still recall the dockside experts predicting death and mayhem before the first running in 1977. But the record will show that the Singlehanded Farallones Race has one of the best safety records of any local race, thanks mainly to the great folks at the sponsoring Singlehanded Sailing Society, who go to great lengths to nurture new skippers and to stress safety.

If you have rarely or never sailed in the ocean, we encourage you to try it, perhaps in a crewed or at least doublehanded event before going solo. As anyone who has been out there will tell you, sailing in the ocean can be quite a different experience - in a good way - than sailing the Bay. For more information on the Lightship or Farallones Races, contact these organizations:

Doublehanded Lightship (March 24) - Island YC, www.iyc.org
Crewed Lightship (March 24) - YRA, www.yra.org/OYRA
Doublehanded Farallones (April 7) - BAMA (Bay Area Multihull Association), www.sfbama.org
Singlehanded Farallones (April 21) - SSS, www.sfbaysss.org

- latitude / jr

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©2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.