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October 15, 2007

Master of the Masters

John Jennings and crew sailed Natural Blonde (173) on Sunday. The boats were donated by the local J/105 fleet and sailed with either an owner or owner’s rep aboard.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

John Jennings of St. Petersburg YC made history over the weekend by winning his fourth Masters Regatta over a 12-boat fleet. The 29th Fremont Bank International Masters Regatta – for skippers aged 60 and over and crews 45 or older – was raced out of St. Francis YC. Jennings’ victories (2001, 2002, 2004, 2007) tie four by the late Alan Clarke, who dominated the event in the early years when it was raced on J/24s. These days the Masters is raced on J/105s donated by the local fleet. Jennings’ crew this year was Mark Ploch, Phil Smithies, Kevin Riley and Rob Moore.

Senior moments – if you think older skippers and crew meant more sedate action, think again. The Masters featured some of the closest, most aggressive sailing we’ve seen on the Bay all year.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The five-race, no-throwout format was condensed into three races Saturday and two on Sunday after rain shut down proceedings on Friday. The majority of the series was sailed in 10-12 knot breeze and – because of the modified programs – racers were out there long enough to sail in both flood and a bit of ebb along the Cityfront courses.

Winners circle (left to right) – Phil Smithies, Rob Cooper (co-owner of Natural Blonde), Rob Moore, John Jennings, Kevin Riley. At wheel, Mark Ploch.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Coming in second this year was StFYC’s Bruce Munro, with Texan Bob Mosbacher and crew taking third. Event founder Don Trask – who conceived of the Masters in 1978 as a way to keep his aging father sailing – once again flew out from his home in North Carolina to take part and renew acquaintences.

Look for more on the Fremont Bank International Masters Regatta in the November issue of Latitude 38.

1) John Jennings, 20 points; 2) Bruce Munro, 21; 3) Bob Mosbacher, 22; 4) Chris Boome, 24; 5) Dick Tillman, 26; 6) Bill LeRoy, 32; 7) Ray Lotto, 34; 8) Steve Taft, 37; 9) Don Martin, 37; 10) Don Trask, 40; 11) Bob Fisher, 46; 12) Tony Smythe, 51.

Cayard Back in the America’s Cup with Spain

Paul Cayard, of Marin County and the St. Francis YC, announced on Friday that he’s joined Desafío Español as Sports Director for the 33rd America’s Cup. During the last edition of the Cup, Cayard was the team’s Technical and Sports Advisor, overseeing the preparation and set up of ESP97 during the weeks leading up the Louis Vuitton Cup in April 2007.

Paul Cayard has signed up for another go-round with Desafio Español for the 33rd America’s Cup.

Pirates of the Caribbean
©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Cayard will start to work with the team in the middle of October. This is the seventh time over a span of 24 years that Cayard will be involved in sailing’s premier event since his debut as a sail trimmer on board US-33 in 1983. In 1992, Cayard won the Louis Vuitton Cup skippering Il Moro di Venezia and in 2000 advanced to the finals of the Challenger Selection Series as Skipper of AmericaOne. He also finished the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race in the runner up position skippering the Pirates of the Caribbean.

"I believe that my experience will help in the overall strategy for the team as well as decision making on an operational level," said Cayard. "Also, this Cup will have a new design rule, so the experience in getting a new class of boat to its maximum potential will be valuable. Further it will be imperative that the sailing team and the technical team have good communication and a good working relationship. I think I can help that process. The Spanish team is a good team that aspires to be great."

Lord Jim’s Unplanned Refit

When the famed 72-ft gaff tops’l schooner Lord Jim hit a rock off the coast of Brazil last spring and sank, many assumed that she would never sail again. But they underestimated the resolve of owners Holger Kreuzhage and Tracy Brown. Today, six months later, this 1936 classic is more than halfway through a hull refit which should make her stronger than ever.

It would take more than a sinking to end the sailing career of this 71-year-old schooner.

© Holger Kreuzhage

Initially, the couple thought they would simply patch her up and sail her to a reliable yard in the States or Caribbean for a refit. But after assessing the skills of local Brazilian shipwrights and the availability of "amazing" local lumber, they got a bit carried away: "At this point we have replaced all the floors in the boat with new ones out of Ipe. . . all frames on the starboard side have been replaced with Angelim Vermelho."

As the photo shows, the planking process is well underway on one side, but – believe it or not – what you see is only one of two layers of planking. The outer "skin" will be of flawless Cumaru lumber. "In this case, beauty will not just be skin-deep," says Holger. Look for more photos and details on the refit in the November issue of Latitude 38.

Just the Ha-Ha Facts, Thank You

Based on data culled from the Ha-Ha entry forms, Honcho Lauren Spindler reports that although the number of paid entries is down from 183 last year to just 178 this year, the number of people expected to participate will be up by more than 10% – 680 versus 601.

One of the best parts of the Ha-Ha – sailing with the chute up near lots of new friends on the start of the second leg.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It’s expected that there will be about 20 kids under the age of 18, which is down from 26 last year. What follows is a list of current entries with kids. Just click on the boat name to email the owners about meeting up before the start of the Ha-Ha.

Ketching Up – Three boys ages 6, 8 and 9.
Meridian – Two girls ages 6 and 8.
Merry Rowe – Two boys ages 7 and 10.
Oasis – Two boys 4 and 6.
Pangea – One boy age 15.
Tropical Dance – Two girls both age 17.
Pepe – One girl age 1.
Wingstar – One boy age 6, one girl age 8.
Volare – One girl age 4, one boy age 6.
Tin Soldier – One boy age 11.

The oldest sailors who have signed up for the Ha-Ha are James and Doris Maxwell of Jim ‘N I, who are 81 and 80. You be careful out there! Other seniors include 78-year-old Maurice Fisher, crew on Mocakyki; 76-year-olds Richard Callahan, crew on Liberty, and James Rhodes, crew Crème Brulee. Then there are 75-year-olds Dan Swett, owner of Deliverance, and Kathleen Zediker, crew on New Moon.

There are at least four female skippers: Diane Brown of Footloose, Patsy Verhoeven of Talion, Lori Warner on Wild Rose, and Doña de Mallorca on Profligate.

Smiles abound onboard J/120 Desdemona, who took second in their division, during the most successful Leukemia Cup to date.
This Saturday marks the 85th year Bird Boats have been sailing on the bay, making it the oldest fleet on the West Coast to be raced continuously.
The American Sail Training Association (ASTA) has announced that the 2008 Tall Ships Challenge, slated for the North American West Coast, will add San Francisco as a port of call from July 23 – 28, 2008.