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September 16, 2009

‘Eros’ on Display Today at St. Francis

Bill and Grace Bodle’s beautifully restored Eros sailing on the Bay last week.

© 2009 Thomas Brichta

After enduring an exhaustive 18-year refit, the magnificent 103-ft schooner Eros (ex-Fair Sarae) was turning heads on the Bay last week when owners Bill and Grace Bodle took her out for a shakedown cruise. 

In celebration of her re-entry into the local sailing scene, Bill and Grace will be giving a talk today at the St. Francis YC’s weekly Yachting Luncheon (12:30 p.m.; open to all PICYA club members) on the schooner’s colorful history and stem-to-stern refit. Brief dockside tours of the yacht will follow the luncheon. If you can’t be there, be sure to check out our feature on Eros in the October edition of Latitude 38

You can see Eros at St. Francis’ docks today, and read about her refit in the October issue of Latitude 38.

© 2009 Thomas Brichta

Launched in England in 1939, this 103-ft thoroughbred is currently the largest private sailing yacht based in the Bay Area — and arguably the most prestigious. Not only was she called into service during the evacuation of Dunkirk, but her past owners include shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos and Don and Lucy Bancroft.

Boat Electronics Quiz

If you’re a boat electronics whiz, here’s your chance to perhaps outshine the tech folks at Raymarine. Here’s the deal: The Raymarine Autohelm 6000 autopilot that has worked so reliably for us on Profligate for 12 years has, for the last year or so, become unreliable in a consistent manner. Specifically, when first turned on, and for about the next hour, it acts like it’s on crack. The helm is erratically jerked from one side to the other every few seconds, and eventually veers way off course in one direction or the other. Yet after about an hour, and with absolutely nothing else having been changed, the autopilot mysteriously becomes our perfect little friend, responding accurately to our every gentle touch. This has happened the last 25 or so times we’ve used the cat, and is maddening.

Profligate’s Autohelm 6000 seems to have taken up where the old Whitney Houston left off.

© 2009 Al Huxley

We contacted the tech folks at Raymarine, but they weren’t particularly helpful. Their short reply to our query was along the lines of, "We have no idea what’s wrong with your autopilot. Buy a new one — they have many more features than your old one."

We’d go out and buy a new autopilot if money grew on seaweed like it seems to for the government, but it doesn’t. Besides, we’re totally old school, so the only feature we’re looking for in an autopilot is for it to steer the boat where we direct it to. We assume that we’re going to have to buy a new autopilot, but we thought we’d throw the problem out to our readership is see if anyone has any thoughts on why our old one acts in such a consistently peculiar manner.

UPDATE: Thanks for all the responses to our ‘quiz’ — we were overwhelmed by the response.

Quake Anniversary in October

Believe it or not, October marks the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Although the ‘big one’ for San Francisco will always be the 1906 quake, the 1989 Loma Prieta temblor is the one most of us alive will remember.

While it had nothing to do directly with sailing, it certainly touched the marinas, businesses and lives of sailors. We’d like to take a look back in our October issue at that day and its aftermath for boaters on San Francisco Bay. And we’d like most of that look to be through the eyes of those who experienced  it — in other words, you guys. If your life as a sailor — or the life of someone you know — was significantly affected by the Loma Prieta earthquake, please let us know about it. Email your story (and photos, if any) by Friday.

Vote for John Craig

While it’s probably not in the front of most sailors’ minds as they’re banging around the race course, US Sailing has a huge impact on how our sport is run in this country. Traditionally, both the West Coast and anyone under the age of 70 have been underrepresented in the leadership of our governing body, but all US Sailing members have a chance to change that between now and October 15. St. Francis YC racing manager John Craig is one of four nominees up for two available Board of Directors positions at US Sailing.

John Craig is one of four people up for two spots on US Sailing’s Board of Directors. Make sure you vote!

© Nancy Glenn

If you’ve ever sailed in one of the wide range of regattas run by Craig and his team, then you know how good he is at what he does. He has a breadth and depth of knowledge about the sport that, to our minds, makes him a perfect candidate for one of these spots. Apparently the rules governing the candidacy don’t permit the candidate to give interviews or campaign on his or her behalf, otherwise we’d have a comment from Craig, or the other West Coast candidate Danielle Richards, whom we haven’t met. But their bios, as well as those of the incumbents Tom Hubbell and Patty Lawrence, are up on the voting page of the US Sailing website. You can cast your vote online, by mail or fax, but you have to do it by October 15. Don’t let this opportunity pass by — if you’re a US Sailing member make sure you vote!

Beachcombers at Muir Beach found some substantial flotsam recently. “It certainly created quite a discussion point for all the beachgoers over the hot Marin weekend,” said Craig Allender.
Normally, conditions are pretty tranquil in Papeete’s harbor, shown here, and in the nearby anchorage off Marina Taina.