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June 18, 2008

The Upside of Global Warming?

Sailing on the Bay? No worries, just wear a sundress and bring lots of sunblock.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"Dress like you’re going skiing," has long been our standard advice to sailing guests unfamiliar with San Francisco Bay. But stints of amazingly warm weather in recent weeks — up to the high 80s in the Central Bay — has us rethinking that advice. These days, a better line might be, "Dress like you’re going skiing, but also bring along your swimsuit and a gallon jug of sunblock!"

Shirts and shoes? Who needs ’em. This is the sun-baked San Francisco Bay.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Even more remarkable than the recent high air temps has been the occasional presence of land breezes that were so warm it felt as though we were riding the Caribbean’s easterly trade winds. Pretty sweet indeed, even if such aberrations may be a byproduct of global warming. And while gliding along on those gentle breezes — with shirts off and bare feet — we could take comfort in the fact that our carbon footprint was negligible.

Sailing, what a great sport!

Summer Sailstice This Weekend

Dinghy racing in Clipper Cove is one of many festivities planned for Treasure Island’s Summer Sailstice celebration this weekend.

Summer Sailstice
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Where will you be hoisting your sails this weekend? San Francisco Bay? The Solent? The Great Lakes? Shanghai? Or perhaps just a small local lake or river. Wherever it is, you’ll be part of Summer Sailstice, a growing international sailing holiday celebrated on the weekend nearest the summer solstice — the official beginning of summer. Given the eclectic nature of boats and sailors, it’s hard to get everyone together for one big sailing party. However, under the banner of “Sail locally, celebrate globally,” Summer Sailstice offers sailors all over the world a way to ‘connect’ on a day dedicated to our sport.

As mentioned, this year’s celebration is Saturday and Sunday, June 21/22 (the official solstice is on Friday). This is the eighth annual edition of Summer Sailstice, an event whose tap root is firmly anchored in the Bay. Although all local sailors have to do to take part is to go sailing sometime over the weekend, the central focus of Bay Area Sailstice activities for the last three years has been Treasure Island — our own ‘exotic Pacific isle’. This year, the ever-growing program — based at the Treasure Isle Marina — will feature live music (12:30 to 8 p.m.), new boat displays, a boatbuilding contest, a Coast Guard helicopter rescue demonstration, an on-the-Bay photo scavenger hunt, dinghy racing in Clipper Cove and ODCA/HDA racing with the YRA. Racers and cruisers are invited to cruise in, anchor out and maybe raft up — perhaps even spend the night in Clipper Cove, one of the Bay’s largest and most protected anchorages. Admission is free to the shoreside festivities, with a portion of concession revenues going to benefit the Treasure Island Sailing Center’s community sailing programs. For more on the San Francisco event visit

If you’re reading this far away from San Francisco Bay, visit anyway. Chances are good that you may find an organized event near to wherever you might be. At the very least,  join the sign-up sheet which is already 3,000 boats strong. Not only will you let the world know where and how you’ll be celebrating, you’ll have a chance to win one of more than 300 prizes — just for going sailing! These include everything from shirts and caps to a weeklong BVI charter aboard a 40-ft Moorings sloop.

When you figure time zones into the mix, the ‘opening ceremony’ of Summer Sailstice looks like it’s going to be a sunrise sail out of China’s Shanghai Boat & Yacht Club. San Francisco (and the rest of the West Coast) are looking to be the grand finale. In between, there will be lots of sails raised to enjoy the longest weekend of the year and the start of the summer sailing season. (Visualize a global version of football fans doing ‘the wave’ all the way around the stadium.)

We hope yours will be among them!

‘Tahiti Rendezvous’ Staged for Puddle Jumpers

Taking a turn paddling alongside native Polynesians is always a memorable thrill for visiting cruisers.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It would be tough to find another prime sailing destination that welcomes cruisers the way Tahiti does these days. And Latitude 38 is proud to be playing a role in that process.

We’ve been working closely with associates at Tahiti Tourisme to put on a special welcome event for this year’s cruising fleet, called the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous, to be held June 27 and 28. The idea is to celebrate the fleet’s 3,000-mile crossing to French Polynesia and introduce sailors to the territory’s time-honored cultural traditions. Following a welcome party Saturday at Papeete’s yacht quay, Puddle Jumpers will skirt the annual Heiva canoe races as they sail ‘in company’ across the channel to Moorea for an afternoon of fun and games.

In addition to traditional music and dance, and a bountiful Polynesian lunch, islanders will demonstrate centuries-old sports and handicrafts. If last year’s event is any indicator, the highlight will be six-person canoe races, where cruisers team up with local paddlers — big fun!

‘Our gal in Tahiti’ – French sailor Stephanie Betz is our liason with Tahiti Tourisme. She and her associates have worked hard to make cruisers feel welcome in their islands.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Tourisme folks have gone to a great deal of trouble to organize this free event, so we’re hoping for a large turnout — even if some boats have to beat 100 miles to windward from the Leeward Islands to attend. With any luck, the Rendezvous will be hosted annually for the benefit of future cruisers. Look for our full report in the August Latitude.

Deep Water on KQED

Local PBS station KQED (Channel 9) will be airing Deep Water tonight at 10:30 p.m. The moving documentary about Donald Crowhurt’s doomed efforts in the first non-stop around-the-world singlehanded race was released last year to rave reviews and is a ‘must see’ — if you can’t stay up till midnight, this one is definitely worth finally figuring out how to use your TiVo.