The holiday season was kick-started last weekend with no fewer than six Bay Area lighted boat parades. Among them was the 33rd Annual Oakland/Alameda Estuary Lighted Boat Parade last Saturday, a joint effort between Alameda YC, Encinal YC, Oakland YC and Marina Village Yacht Harbor.
Not only was the parade a great excuse to get out on the water, it also raised donations — in the form of toys, food and cash — for the Oakland Firefighters Random Acts and the Alameda County Community Food Bank. Check out www.lightedyachtparade.com for full results.
It’s not to late to get in the spirit of the season, though. There are four more parades to hit before Santa drops in with a bag full of boat toys. Just be sure to dress warm — the chilly forecast could freeze the jingleballs right off Rudolph!
Dec. 11 — St. Francis YC Lighted Boat Parade, from Pier 39 to Ft. Mason, 6 p.m. Info on website. NOTE: The date in the December issue of Latitude was incorrect.
Dec. 12 — Marina Bay Lighted Boat Parade, 6-8 p.m. Details on website or call (510) 236-1013.
Dec. 12 — Sausalito Lighted Yacht Parade along the waterfront, 6 p.m. Info on website.
Dec. 19 — 22nd Annual Holiday Boat Lighting Contest at Pillar Point, starting at 6 p.m., with a party following at Half Moon Bay YC. Info on website or call (650) 725-2120.
A 55-sq-mile iceberg measuring some 12 miles long by five miles wide — twice the size of Manhattan — is drifting slowly north from Antarctica towards Western Australia. Known as B17B, the iceberg was spotted by Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young using satellite images taken by NASA and the European Space Agency. Young said the iceberg is about 1,000 miles south-southwest of the west Australian coast and moving northeast with the ocean current and prevailing wind.
"B17B is a very significant one in that it has drifted so far north while still largely intact," Young said. "It’s one of the biggest sighted at those latitudes — now 48.8º S and 107.5º E. As the water warms up, the iceberg is thinning and slowly breaking up, resulting in hundreds more smaller icebergs in the area.
B17B and several other massive icebergs calved from the eastern end of the Ross Ice Shelf in 2000.
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Peninsula-based St. Francis YC member Peter Vessella and his crew of Tracy Usher and John Callahan beat a "who’s-who" field at the Piana Cup on Biscayne Bay last weekend. The first of the four events that constitute the Jaguar Cup midwinter series for Etchells, the regatta brought out 45 boats for what had been scheduled to be a two-day regatta. Going into the second day, Vessella’s team led by three points after scoring a consistent 3-2-3 on Saturday; when the breeze never filled and racing was abandoned after a 2.5 hour postponement, the title was theirs.
Got the Christmas shopping blues? If you’re perplexed about what to buy for hard-to-shop-for friends or family members, we may have the perfect solution: Invest in their mental and physical well-being by giving them a sailing gift certificate.
If they already know the basics, consider pre-paying for a next-level course at a sailing school or with an accomplished private instructor. Or, if they are a seasoned recreational sailor with dreams of cruising, consider buying them a course in something like advanced offshore navigation, understanding weather, diesel maintenance or spinnaker flying. A related option, of course, is to simply buy them a gift certificate from a favorite online or brick-and-mortar marine store where you know they love to shop.
Kids are prime candidates for sailing gift certificates too. Rather than buying them yet another gift that will keep them stuck on the couch or cloistered away in their bedrooms, consider buying them a hands-on dinghy sailing course, or perhaps a berth for a week on a traditionally rigged ‘school ship’.
By chosing any of the above, you could save yourself a boatload of angst, plus hours of aimless wandering through shopping malls. And your gifts may well be the ones that those special sailors in your life appreciate most of all. Who knows, you might even help steer them toward an exciting future of on-the-water fun.