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May 27, 2009

Master Mariners Put On a Show

Ouessant chases Credit who chases Curlew.

©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One of the largest, hardest fought and most colorful regattas of the year took place over the weekend. But there were no megabucks one-offs or uber one-designs, and the only carbon-based material in evidence was the wood the boats were built of and the life forms sailing them. We are of course talking about the Master Mariners Regatta, when boats built or designed before World War II take the field. As always, the elderly craft showed they still have plenty of game left.

Sixty-eight boats in 13 divisions sailed the race this year. Entries ranged in size from the 23-ft Bear Class — at eight boats, this year’s largest one design fleet — to the 122-ft LOA topsail schooner Lynx. In age, they ranged from the 1891 scow schooner Alma, a former workboat that took part in the original Master Mariners Regattas of the 1800, and Polaris, built locally as a yacht around 1910, to ‘new’ boats built in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s — but built to prewar designs using pre-war materials and construction methods.

The gloomy marine layer didn’t dampen the spirits of the merry mariners aboard Pegasus.

©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Conditions for the race ranged from 10-12 knots at the noon-to-1 p.m. reverse handicap starts off StFYC, to the low 20s by the time the fleets were headed toward the finish line below Treasure Island at around 3-4 p.m. With a thick marine layer blotting out the sun, there was also a decided wind chill factor this year. It did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the more than 400 sailors, most of whom attended the post-race raft-up and party at Encinal YC.

Aida (foreground) and Stardust are pretty spry for a couple of old ladies.

©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Here are the winners of each of class. Each earns a spectacular perpetual, and one of the most coveted ‘keepers’ in all of Bay racing: a banner with a strutting gamecock on it, a tradition which goes back to the very first Master Mariners Regatta in the 1860s.

Big Schooner — Seaward; Bear Boat — Magic; Bird Boat — Robin; Gaff 1 — Brigadoon; Gaff 2 — Makani Kai; Gaff 3 — Andrew Mulligan; L-36 — Leda; Marconi 1 — Chrysophyle; Marconi 2 — Sunda; Marconi 3 — Vixen; Marconi 4 — Flirt; Ocean 1 — Kate II; Ocean 2 — Chorus.

Full results can be seen at and be sure to check out the June issue of Latitude 38, due out on Friday, for a full feature on the race.

They’re At It Again

Remember the persistence of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in The Terminator? Nothing could stop him from his mission to kill Sarah Connor. And it appears he’s just as motivated to kill the Department of Boating and Waterways, also known as Cal Boating. Last month legislators rejected a proposal to eliminate DBW and transfer all its functions to the tragically mismanaged Department of Parks and Recreation. It took the Governor all of three seconds to launch another attack, looking for blood.

"The Governor’s plan to give CPR to state government translates to distress signals for boaters," said Dave Breninger, president of Recreational Boaters of California, whose awareness campaigns and lobbying efforts have helped save DBW time and time again from pick-pocketing politicians. "The plan would scuttle Cal Boating, although it would not save the state any general fund dollars. Each side of this issue agrees that the proposed elimination of the independent Cal Boating would not save the state general fund a single dollar. It is up to us boaters to ensure that the proposal is recognized as a maneuver unrelated to the budget crisis."

As frustrating and time-consuming as it is to keep writing the same letter over and over again, we can’t stress enough how important it is for every California boater to tell those who will decide DBW’s fate how you feel about the issue. Though the names have changed, the same letter on RBOC’s Call to Arms page should be sent to the following members of the Budget Conference Committee:

Assemblymembers Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), Bob Roger Niello (R-Sacramento) and Jim Nielsen (R-Biggs); and Senators Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego), Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga), Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Hills).

Letters can also be sent to RBOC by email (be sure to include your name and address at the bottom) or fax at (916) 441-3520 — they’ll be hand delivered to the committee.

We can’t help but feel that Kyle Reese, in a surreal fit of prescience, was really talking to DBW instead of Sarah Connor when he uttered these lines from the film: "Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead."

College Women Get Banner Day

Yale’s Jane Macky and Marla Menninger on their way to a first-day lead for the Elis, and third place in A division for the team.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The ICSA Women’s National Championships got underway yesterday at St. Francis YC, and the conditions couldn’t have been better. The breeze started in the 10- to 12-knot range and built to 18-20, with a few squirts into the low-20s as the afternoon wore on. But that alone wasn’t what made it so good. The breeze direction was initially pretty right-heavy, which coincided perfectly with the flood that built with the breeze from the 10 a.m. start time on. Then, as the day progressed and the ebb began to take over in the afternoon, the breeze swung back to the left. The result was that a much greater percentage of the course area was in play for the beats. Throw in all-day sunshine and, well, it was nothing short of perfect.

It was a pretty tight day out on the course today, one mistake and you were looking at weather mark approaches like this, with plenty of starboard tackers you don’t see in the frame. . .

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Yale leads after Day 1 with 73 points, with senior Jane Macky and junior Marla Menninger solidly in third place in A division and senior Katherine Hagemann and sophomore Elizabeth Brim sitting in second in B division. Junior Katrina Williams and crews — senior Alissa Ayres and junior Ashley Brusso — are leading A division by 13 points and have Old Dominion sitting in second with 79 points. Freshman Anne Haeger and junior Briana Provancha have a nine-point lead in B division to keep defending national champs Boston College in third place overall and in the hunt with 88 total points. The rest of the scores are here.

Georgetown powers upwind.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The racing wraps up today, so if you have the chance to get down to the Marina for some spectating, go for it. The action is close to shore in between the Golden Gate and St. Francis YCs, so binos are optional! We’ve been posting some select photos on our Facebook page, and have galleries from yesterday’s first day and Monday’s qualifying races. We’ll be doing the same this evening, but it might be fairly late — we’ve been helping out on Race Committee and are out there on the water as this ‘Lectronic goes up.

Although the Women’s regatta ends today, the Team Racing and Co-ed Dinghy Nationals regattas are coming up this weekend and next week respectively. If you can volunteer to help out on race committee for either event, do it; it’s a lot of fun! You can sign up for the Team Racing which runs Friday through Sunday at Treasure Island Sailing Center, by sending an email. Go here to sign up for the Co-ed Dinghy Nationals which start Monday and run through Wednesday. Even if you can only make one day, it’d be appreciated. There’s also an "Afterguard" regatta for college sailing alumni tomorrow, so if you think you can still work some magic in a C420, check out the NOR.

There were more boats out sailing the Bay last weekend than we’ve seen in a long time.