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August 8, 2008

Maltese Falcon Coming to SF Bay

Maltese Falcon will be sailing under the Gate next month.

Maltese Falcon
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you love big boats and spectacles, you’re going to love the news we received this morning in an email from Tom Perkins of Belvedere:

"I want to let you know that Falcon will be arriving in San Francisco in late September, and will be on the Bay most of October. I will email you with the most likely time of day for our arrival under the bridge, when our ETA is clear. Atlantide will also be there."

Trust us, no sailor is going to want to miss that event.

Falcon, of course, is the 289-ft Maltese Falcon, which by most forms of measurement is the largest sailboat in the world. While Jim Clark’s Athena and Barry Diller’s Eos are both slightly longer, they are longer thanks to bowsprits, and have significantly shorter waterlines. In any event, thanks to Falcon‘s unique Dyna-Rig — she has three free-standing masts — she’s been the most celebrated sailing yacht in memory.

Atlantide is Perkins’ 122-ft motoryacht that was built in 1930 and completely restored by Perkins in ’99.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"I am hoping to use Falcon to assist in the Leukemia Cup charity event on October 4 and 5," continues Perkins. "My friend Rupert Murdoch will be the guest speaker the evening of October 4."

Murdoch is, of course, the owner of News Corp, which recently purchased The Wall Street Journal.

"You may have heard that Falcon has been for sale," Perkins writes. "She is now off the market, as I am taking on a 50% partner in the boat. The new co-owner requests confidentiality, so I can’t share the name."

Falcon had been listed for sale at $180 million. And that’s not a typo.

Perkins is best known for inventing low cost lasers, being largely respondible for getting Hewlett-Packard into computers, but above all, for being on the ground floor of the evolution of venture capitalism, a key factor in Silicon Valley becoming Silicon Valley. For details on his business and sailing life, pick up a copy of Mine’s Bigger.

The Little Boat That Could

Ruben Gabriel sailed his Pearson Electra Sparky into Hanalei Bay under jury rig at daybreak yesterday morning.

© 2008

For the last 12 days of his 27-day passage from the Bay to Kauai in the Singlehanded TransPac, Ruben Gabriel was sailing his Pearson Electra Sparky under jury rig. On July 27, Gabriel got a gust of wind that Sparky‘s mast just couldn’t contain. It snapped a couple feet above the gooseneck, dropping everything on the foredeck. When Gabriel called Race Chair Synthia Petroka to alert her of his situation, she inspired him by saying “You’re a singlehander — you’ll figure it out.” And indeed he did. While some may have thrown in the towel and requested assistance, Gabriel became more determined than ever to finish what he started.

Ruben Gabriel spent 27 days crossing from SF to Hanalei – 12 of them under jury rig.

© 2008

Yesterday, just after 7 a.m., Sparky crossed the finish line and was taken under tow by fellow racer Skip Allan aboard Wildflower. Gabriel was greeted by the ersatz race committee — Petroka and her committee had to fly home earlier in the week — and his girlfriend Robbie Murphree, who had not only kept family and friends updated on Sparky‘s progress, but also kept Gabriel motivated by reading him supportive emails. When he arrived onshore, he was greeted by a host of remaining racers along with his family, who flew in as a surprise.

Ruben was surprised to see his brother and parents on shore.


“I’ve come to the realization that this wasn’t just a sailboat race, but a test of human spirit,” Gabriel wrote in an update to friends. “I was able start the race due to all the support from friends and family, and I was able to complete it due to all of you who sent positive thoughts and well wishes. This race really did change my life in so many wonderful ways.”

Bound for the Pole

Regular readers of Latitude 38 will recall the story in the February issue on Jerry ‘The Iceman’ Borucki and his yearly expeditions north aboard his Freya 39 Arctic Alpha Wülf. A retired NASA fluid-dynamicist, Borucki is fascinated by ice, and has spent the last four years sailing solo to the Aleutians and beyond. Last summer, he made it as far as 76° 20′ — well into the Arctic Circle — before being turned back by icepack. This summer he believes he may actually make the North Pole.

Jerry Borucki has passed the Aleutians for the fourth time in as many years, and is still heading north.

© Jerry Borucki

Borucki sent us the following report this morning:

"I made the Bering Sea through Unimac Pass about 8 a.m. today. I’m on my way to the far north after a 30-day solo voyage from Half Moon Bay. Not bad time considering the light winds — and yes, this is the fourth time in four years for the Aleutians. It’s very foggy and cold at the moment, with wind out of the east at 15 knots. I got the tide right for once and just shot through with no turbulence. So far I’ve seen very little wildlife and no puffins, my favorite bird up here. I have had a few minor problems but all is going well. May put into Nome in a week to 10 days to get parts and food — then on to the North Pole!!"

And you thought 27 days was a long solo passage! We’ll have more on Borucki’s voyage in an upcoming issue of Latitude.

Diaz Leads Snipes; Olympics Get Going

Ernesto Rodriguez and Leandro Spina with the bow up and pace on at the 2008 Snipe Nationals hosted by Richmond YC. The pair trails Augie Diaz and Kathleen Tocke by six points going into today’s final two races.

© Fried Elliot

With the final two races today, veteran Snipe sailor Augie Diaz and crew Kathleen Tocke carry a six-point lead at the 2008 Snipe Nationals hosted by Richmond YC. The duo has counted four bullets and a third to this point, leading Ernesto Rodriguez and Leandro Spina in second, with Peter Commette and David Harrison a close third. The 31-boat fleet has had some real gear-busting conditions, and we understand there’s more than a couple bent rigs and other carnage.

Six thousand miles to the west, the 2008 Olympic sailing events get under way with the first two races in both the Finn and Yngling today, starting at 10 p.m PDT. At this point there’s no TV coverage planned, but you can follow the sailing online at NBC’s site. US Sailing has also launched a site expressly for the Olympic regatta. The forecast for today’s racing is 2-7 knots of breeze — which is Qingdao’s equivalent of an August day on San Francisco Bay — and in large part, the reason for the proviso that only one race is required to constitute a series for the event. Good luck to the US Sailing Olympic team!

Ha-Ha Entries at 122 for Catalina Preview Party

Like many Ha-Ha entrants, the Kalewa crew had such a great experience the first time they did the event, that they’re coming back for another dose of sun and fun this year.

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

With the Ha-Ha Preview and Reunion Party at Two Harbors, Catalina, on Saturday, the paid entry list stands at 122. The most recent entry is Patsy Verhoeven of the Portland-based Gulfstar 50 Talion. Some of you will remember that Verhoeven did the Ha-Ha last year, and currently has her boat in La Paz. So yes, she’ll be bringing her boat up to San Diego just to do the Ha-Ha again.

Because Ha-Ha entries are scattered all over the West Coast and in many cases are busy getting their boats ready, the Two Harbors Preview and Reunion will be a smallish affair. Nonethess, some good folks will be on hand. Among them are Kevin, Marcy, and 15-year-old Ayla Millet of Hawaii with their 54-ft self-built catamaran Halewa. The family did the Ha-Ha two years ago, and Ayla is excited because she’ll turn 16 the night of the Ha-Ha awards presentation in Cabo.

If you’re interested in doing the Ha-Ha, the West Coast’s biggest and longest running cruising rally, check out for all the details. The entry deadline is September 10. For now, here are the most recent entries:

93) Escapade, Catana 52, Greg Dorland, Newport, OR
94) Litha, Hallberg Rassy 46, Steven Hannon, Ft. Clatsop, OR
95) Stargazer, Catalina 42 Mk II, Jeffrey Embree, San Pedro
96) Seabird, Swan 51, Lou Freeman, San Diego
97) Desert Wind, Newport 30 Mk II, Stan Hafenfeld, Elephant Butte, NM
98) Bugler, Passport 40, Donald Fife, Napa
99) Sea Siren, Hunter 356, David Fisher, Monterey
100) Profligate, Surfin’ 63 cat, Rally Committee, Tiburon
101) Sky, Hylas 49, Robert Strang, Mud Island, TN
102) Little Christian, Tayana 37, Donald Murvine, Seattle
103) Serenity, Hans Christian 43, Stan Pace, San Francisco
104) Sea Toy, O’Day 34, Dianne MacLean, Oxnard
105) Grebe, Valiant 40, Richard Solomon, Santa Barbara
106) LunaSea II, Challenger 32, Bill Schaul, San Diego
107) Precious Metal, Kristen 46, Pamela Bendall, Port Hardy, BC
108) Sabbatical, Valiant 40, Phil Kumpis, Hermosa Beach
109) Savage Lady II, KP 46, Woody & Ed Woodruff, Port San Luis
110) Hurulu, Islander 36, Nathan Beckord, Sausalito
111) Girl on the Moon, Hinterhoeller Niagara 35, Michael Medley, Whiskeytown
112) Dolfino, Catalina 42 Mk II, Rick Lino, Marina del Rey
113) Hawkwind, Irwin 60, Kevin Dwyer, Seattle
114) Sarita, Hallberg Rassy 46, Valdon Landes, Seattle
115) Four Points, C&C Landfall 43, Brian McCluskey, San Diego
116) Thin Wolf, KP 44, Luke Tornatzky, Port Townsend, WA
117) Triumph, Cross 46, Tobin Woodley, Seattle
118) Luna-Sea, Hardin Force 50, David Boyle, Portland
119) Trumpeter, Irwin 43 Mk III, Thor Thorson, Harbor, OR
120) Maggie Mae, Hylas 44, Tait Smith, San Francisco
121) Wind River, Contessa 32, Paul Scott, Duncan, BC
122) Talion, Gulfstar 50, Patsy Verhoeven, La Paz, Mexico

Lori Lombardo was injured just after the EYC 2nd Half Opener. © 2008 Peter Lyons Bay racer Lori Lombardo has plenty of time these days to replay the recent boating accident which has laid her up with a broken leg.
Head on over to Catalina for the weekend and stop by the Ha-Ha Preview & Reunion while you’re there.
Bill Turpin’s Akela looking fast at the Aldo Alession Perpetual Trophy Regatta and West Coast IRC Championships.
Officer Mark Hedeen of the San Rafael Police Department emailed asking for help in locating the owner of a small inflatable dinghy that washed up on Red Rock several weeks ago.