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Photos (and Destination) of the Day

June 1 - China Camp

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

If you haven't had the pleasure of anchoring at China Camp yet, you really should make it a priority. Tucked in San Pablo Bay, just behind The Sisters, the shallow anchorage can really get the old ticker pumping once those single digits start pinging on the depth sounder but it's a very gradual shoaling, giving boaters plenty of time to turn around to find their comfort zone.

This little store/cafe is only open on weekends but they have a surprisingly tasty menu selection.
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

In addition to it being a lovely spot (unless the wind has any easterly component at all - then it gets ugly), there's plenty to do on shore - hiking, lazing on the beach, exploring the old Chinese shrimp camp (including a great little museum) and, best of all, grabbing a snack at the little store.

One of the best shrimp cocktails on the Bay can be found at China Camp for just $3!
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

- latitude / ld


June Latitudes Out and About

June 1 - San Francisco Bay Area

Photo Latitude/Annie
© 2007 Latitude 38 Publishing, Inc.

The June issue of Latitude 38 is making its way around the foggy Bay today. Grab yours while they're still warm from the presses!

- latitude / cw

Louis Vuitton Finals: Kiwis Draw First Blood

June 1 - Valencia, Spain

Historically, the final round of the Louis Vuitton Cup has always offered the most exciting racing action of the America's Cup. That tradition is apparently going to continue in Valencia, as Emirates Team New Zealand battles Luna Rossa Challenge for the right to advance to the America's Cup round.

Photo Courtesy www.americascup.com

In the first race of the best-of-nine series this morning, Emirates beat Luna Rossa, but not by much. In fact, the Kiwis were never more than 12 seconds ahead over the entire course, and a couple of times Luna Rossa was almost overlapped. In the 10-14 knot southeasterlies, the boats seemed very evenly matched (Emirates is thought to be better in breeze below that range; Luna Rossa favored in winds slightly stronger, so in a sense these were cusp conditions for both boats.) That put a premium on crew work, and even one bungled jibe on the Kiwi boat could have would have - turned the tide. But Dean Barker and his New Zealand crew didn't make any mistakes, and neither did James Spithill and the boys on Luna Rossa. If you ever wanted to see just how thrilling match racing can be, log onto www.americascup.com and follow this series. By comparison, the actual America's Cup races have always been pretty ho-hum.

A 'Kid'-Friendly TransPac

June 1 - Los Angeles

With less than a week until the entry deadline and a little more than five weeks until the first start of the 44th annual TransPacific Yacht Race, the TransPac hive is buzzing with action. As of Thursday, there were 73 paid entries for the race from Los Angeles to Honolulu next month. That's just two fewer than the 2005 race and seven shy of the race record set in 1979. Among the list are 13 boats from Northern California. (The complete entry list is at www.transpacificyc.org; we hope to have more about this year's fleet in the July issue of Latitude 38.) But grabbing our attention at the moment are the number of young people involved in this year's race.

Morning Light launches off to Hilo during a practice session.
© 2007 Phil Uhl / Pacific High Productions

You've read about the Morning Light team in Latitude 38. That's the group of 'kids' sailing a TP52 in this year's TransPac and starring in a feature film about their selection, training and competition - all under the auspices of Roy Disney. Initially, the movie was promoted as a story about the youngest crew to complete the race, and team members were selected with an eye towards ensuring their average age at the time of the race, 21.2, was well under the current record of 22.57 years old. But already there's been a twist in the plot. The Morning Light focus has shifted from setting an age-related record to bringing together a young crew from diverse backgrounds. The reason? There are new kids in town. Sean and Justin Doyle, 19 and 18 respectively, will sail their dad's Hawaii-based 1D-35 On the Edge of Destiny with three other young men in this year's race. Their average age of 19.8 would make them the youngest TransPac crew ever. "Morning Light had a little bit to do with it," admits Sean and Justin's dad, Dan, himself a Hawaii race veteran, who will be staying on shore this year. "The inspiration to put a bunch of kids together came from there." Recent dock talk indicated that 17-year-old former Melges 24 World champion Shark Kahn had been invited to join the crew, although Shark's name is not on the current crew list. Adding to the irony, Morning Light is the former Pegasus, which was owned and campaigned by Shark's dad, Philippe.

But those aren't the only young ones preparing for the race. Skippering the Standfast 40 Cirrus will be 22-year-old Lindsey Austin. Austin, who has a 100-ton Master's license from the Pacific Maritime Center in Hawaii, was one of 30 finalists for the Morning Light team before it was trimmed to 15 during tryouts in Long Beach last summer. On Cirrus, she'll lead an all-woman crew (including her mom), with the exception of boat owner Bill Myers. She met Myers when she delivered his boat to San Francisco for the start of last year's Pacific Cup.

It is believed that Lindsey Austin will be the second- youngest female skipper in TransPac history.
Photo Courtesy Cirrus

With literally boat loads of interest in this year's race and so much new blood, it seems West Coast ocean racing is in a healthy state once again. We hope this is a trend that's here to stay - it's good for the race, it's good for the younger generation and it's good for the rest of us. Add to all of this a feature film that exposes an even larger audience to the race, and the future is looking bright indeed.

- latitude / ss

Advanced Race Management Seminar

June 1 - San Francisco

St. Francis YC will host the second in a series of US Sailing courses on race management at the end of June. Taught by certified National Race Officer and Race Management Instructor Stan Betts, the two-day Advanced Race Management Seminar covers event organization, writing race documents, managing starts, courses and finishes on the water, and scoring races. Anyone interested in becoming a certified race officer at the national, regional or club level is encouraged to attend. The seminar will be June 30 - July 1; registration closes June 8. For more information, contact the StFYC Race office at (415) 563-6363.

- latitude / ss

Flippin' Megayachts

June 1 - New York, NY

When the U.S. housing market was on fire, flipping houses was the big thing. You bought a house in a development when ground was being broke, and by the time the home or condo was ready to move in, you could usually sell it at a big enough profit to buy a nice sailboat. But with the housing market having cooled in most parts of the country, flipping houses has mostly become a losing proposition.

Unlike housing, the mega motoryacht business remains en fuego all over the world. According to a story in the May 25 Wall Street Journal, the number of over 80-ft yachts under construction in the world is up 61% over 2003, when the market was already reasonably warm. With the dollar having fallen so far compared to most other currencies, U.S. builders in particular have full orderbooks. According to the Jounal, buyers for Trinity Yacht's $35 million 161-footers have to wait at least three years for delivery, and it's about the same for Christensen's 160 and 201-ft yachts.

With many megayacht buyers having more money than what might be called Time Remaining in their lives, and with megayacht construction costs going up all the time, there have been significant opportunities to flip yachts at a considerable profit. The Journal article cited, among others, Rick Hendrick, a motorsport tycoon, as one who has been a flipper. He ordered three boats in the 150-ft range, but hasn't taken delivery of any. He sold the first one two months before taking delivery, the second just months into construction, and the third is still being built.

- latitude / rs

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