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Master Mariners Regatta Tomorrow

May 25 -San Francisco Bay

Classic car collectors keep their Duesenbergs and Packards in climate controlled garages and deliver them to shows in trailers. Fans of Lalique crystal keep their collections in glass cases. And then there are classic boat owners. Every year on Memorial Day, they take their boats out the Bay and beat the hell out of them.They call this the Master Mariners Regatta.

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)
The spectacular 1924 schooner Brigadoon rolls past Regulus on the homestretch of the Master Mariners Regatta.
Photo Latitude / JR
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.

This year, more than 80 craft ranging in size from the 23-ft Bear Class sloops (finally out of hibernation!) to the 122-ft topsail schooner Lynx will contribute to the spectacle. Many date back to the early 1900s and at least one - the veteran scow schooner Alma - to the 1800s. Back then, the Master Mariners was raced in commercial sailing ships, and the object was to raise money to care for retired sailors and the families of those lost at sea. In those days, winners didn't get trophies. They got useful things like a cord of wood or a ton of potatoes. The potato tradition continues today in perhaps the oddest wrinkle you'll ever read in any sailing instructions: If one of the big schooners can't quite make it around a mark, it will count as a rounding if they can hit the mark with a thrown potato. (Hmmm, maybe they should try that at the America's Cup.)

The Master Mariners Regatta is eminently watchable from the sidelines (your boat), just be aware that some of these guys aren't as maneuverable as your average J/105 - although most of them race just as intensely. So stay well clear if you do spectate. The reverse-handicap starts begin at noon off the Cityfront. But the best viewing is in the afternoon in the Slot around Treasure Island. The wind's up then and the homestretch from Southampton to the finish (below TI) is a smokin' reach. It's quite a show to see two classic schooners, bones in their teeth and every shred of sail flying, powering neck and neck down to the finish.

For more on who's who, and results afterward, log onto www.mastermariners.org.

- latitude / jr


Who Says Cruising Is Bad for Kids?

May 25 - Tahiti, French Polynesia

Pacific Puddle Jumpers Debbie and Greg Cockle of the Catalina 42 Volare received some exciting news shortly after making landfall in the Marquesas. But first, a little background:

Back in 1983, the Cockles, along with their adolescent daughter Mia, took off cruising from their native Australia aboard their 38-ft ketch Bon Temps. After extensively exploring the Western Pacific for four years, they ended their trip in Hong Kong, so Mia could enter high school.

In the mid-'80s, Debbie and Greg assumed the cruising experience would enrich Mia's life. . .

. . . It did, in many ways. Including informing her design sensibilities. Mia today with her own daughter.
Photos © 2007 Greg & Debbie Cockle

Fast forward to the present and we find that Debbie and Greg, out cruising again, en route to Australia in a boat they bought here on the West Coast sight-unseen. Now 31, Mia, who is persuing a career in interior design, has just won a top prize at the super-prestigious Superyacht Awards in Venice, Italy, for her interior design of the 140-ft (super-luxurious) power cat Seafaris. Her boss gave her the gig because of her liveaboard experience as a kid! So who says cruising with kids doesn't pay off.

- latitude / at

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May 25 - Pt. Richmond

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Can You Say "Petty"?

May 25 - Valencia, Spain

San Francisco sailing writer Kimball Livingston is over in Valencia covering all the America's Cup hoopla for Sail magazine. He's been keeping a detailed blog with all the haps, and yesterday confirmed one of the most egregious acts of AC spitefulness we've heard of yet:

"The only reason I walked into la casa de la America's Cup was to doubledog confirm that they've taken down the pictures of Russell Coutts and Paul Cayard.

"I've been walking past for a long time now, without being drawn in to look at a bank of black and white photographs of recent America's Cup figures. And I heard about the Coutts/Cayard disappearance a while ago, but events were on the move, and I can't do everything first, and you get the idea. But I was having lunch yesterday along with British scribe Tim Jeffery and Cayard (who would make a great yachting scribe but has a better thing going), and the subject came up and Paul said, 'Yeah, they took us down because of the catamaran thing. I mean, they didn't call us up and tell us so, but that's what it's about.'

"By 'the catamaran thing' Paul meant the Coutts-Cayard plan to launch a grand prix circuit in big catamarans, presumably at the expense of anybody else's plans to keep growing the America's Cup as a 'brand'."

Read more about it at http://sailmagazine.blogspot.com.

- latitude / ld

World's Largest - and Maybe Slowest - Fish Species at Isla Isabella

May 25 - Isla Isabella, Mexico

Mexico's Isla Isabella, between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, is best known for being a bird reserve, primarily for frigates and boobies. But while on their way there a short time ago, David and Carolyn Cammack of the San Francisco-based Cape North 43 Aztec were told by some other cruisers to be on the lookout for whale sharks. Sure enough, they spotted three of them, including this one, near the island. They believe it was a juvenile, as it was only about 20 feet long.

© 2007 David & Carolyn Cammack

You don't have to worry about whale sharks biting you, because even though their mouths can be up to five feet wide and have 325 rows of tiny teeth, they are actually filter feeders. They aren't very fast, either, with some species maxing out at a mere 3 miles an hours. Experts say that divers and snorkelers can swim with whale sharks without any danger. One of the things that make whale sharks easy to distinguish from tiger sharks, which you don't want to swim with, are their checkerboard of pale yellow spots and stripes.

- latitude / rs

Be a Survivor

May 25 - The World's Waterways

National Safe Boating Week officially ends today but that doesn't mean boaters should be any less vigilant on the water this long holiday weekend. Hundreds of boats will be out and about, and many will undoubtedly be paying more attention to their quickly-diminishing supply of brewskis than what's going on around them, so keep a sharp eye out, boat defensively and, to borrow the Safe Boating Council's tagline, "Be a survivor."

The forecast for the Bay Area this weekend looks lovely. A perfect excuse to get the family out on the water - just be sure the kids are wearing their lifejackets.
Photo Latitude / John A.
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

Speaking of Memorial Day . . . the boss, being the kind and generous soul that he is, has given us all Monday off which means 'Lectronic gets the day off too. See you Wednesday!

- latitude / ld

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