January 20, 2010

Do You Know Where Your Boat Is?

Spot had been hanging by a thread – literally – since October’s big storm. Yesterday’s winds finally sent her ashore.

© 2010 Tim Sell

In spite of our dire warnings on Monday, a number of Richardson Bay boaters were victims of their own negligence. While unfurled foresails flapped themselves to shreds in the 40-plus-knot gusts that pummelled the Bay over the last few days, a number of anchored boats broke free of their moorings and found themselves grinding on the rocks of Strawberry and Belvedere. Once again, Dave’s Diving of Sausalito rounded up the wayward ‘dogies’, herding them to the Army Corps of Engineers’ dock to await their fate, which could very well involve a date with a bulldozer.

‘Diver Dave’ Gissendaner swims a tow line to one of four boats that went ashore yesterday.

© 2010 Tim Sell

The worst of the weather should pass this morning — Angel Island saw gusts to nearly 50 knots at 10 a.m. — but small boat advisories will be in effect through late tonight. With offshore seas upwards of 21 feet, you might want to postpone any immediate plans to go out the Gate.

But if you think we’ve had a bad time of it, consider that at least one waterspout was reported to have touched down in L.A., damaging a number of boats. If you have firsthand knowledge — or photos — of the waterspout, email LaDonna with the details.

Not So Fast

BMW Oracle Racing’s mega-tri, now dubbed USA and bearing the sail number 17, Larry Ellison’s vanity number, tears it up off Valencia.

© Gilles Martin-Raget

The Société Nautique de Genève released a revised Notice of Race for AC 33 yesterday, with some changes that have rankled BMW Oracle Racing. While Alinghi ruffling BMW Oracle Racing’s feathers is nothing new, in the context of the last week, this latest development doesn’t bode well for a February 8 match date. Last Wednesday, BMW Oracle Racing filed suit in the New York Supreme Court to establish whether Alinghi’s 3DL North Sails — manufactured at the 3DL plant in Minden, Nevada, meet the Deed of Gift’s requirement that a yacht be constructed in the country from which she is challenging. That challenge came after talks between the two teams were halted when Alinghi negotiatiors Brad Butterworth and Hamish Ross were not given permission to sign an agreement regarding the conditions and rules for the Cup match.
“This is very disappointing and frustrating,” commented Russell Coutts, CEO
of BMW Oracle Racing last week. “On three separate occasions during the two days of talks there was a final draft of an agreement. Golden Gate YC was ready to sign. Société Nautique de Genève’s negotiators were prepared to sign, but it seems they were not given permission.”

The most recent contretemps has to do with those issues, and while Alinghi ultimately holds the ball at this point, it looks like Golden Gate YC is leveraging Alinghi’s non-deed-compliant sails against a fairer match protocol. This was the statement from BMW Oracle Racing’s Tom Ehman today regarding the proposed NOR:

"Both documents are riddled with errors, and continue Société Nautique de Genève’s practice of interpreting rules — or creating new ones — solely to favor Alinghi and harm the chances of the Challenger. The Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions are heavily biased in favor of the Defender and its yacht despite input from Golden Gate YC and ISAF, the sport’s world governing body, during last week’s meeting in Singapore and a meeting in late December in Sydney. Therefore, today GGYC has made an application for redress to the International Jury, asking that the Jury be convened as soon as possible to negate or revise the biased provisions before the Match.

"Specifically, Société Nautique de Genève has:

  • Effectively re-inserted Racing Rule 53 (‘Skin Friction’) after obtaining a New York Supreme Court ruling to delete it.
  • Set the starting time for the races despite the Deed of Gift’s requirement that this be agreed by mutual consent.
  • Set wind and wave limits to favor its own yacht.
  • Changed the latest draft of the Notice of Race to ban certain wind detection equipment now being used by BOR that, previously, was permitted under all earlier drafts of the NOR.
  • Re-arranged the hierarchy of the applicable rules so that SNG’s Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions would, in the case of conflict, overrule the Racing Rules; this is highly irregular and contrary to normal practice in yacht racing."

How this all will pan out remains to be seen, but we’d be surprised if it happens before February 8. In the meantime, BMW Oracle racing is already ripping up the racetrack off Valencia bearing the name USA and Larry Ellison’s vanity sail number 17.

Word on the Street

Which mega movie star who was once married to another mega movie star and is now partnered up with and even bigger mega movie star stopped by Sausalito yesterday to check out David Rothschild’s eco-adventure cat Plastiki? Rumor has it that Mr. Jolie himself was spotted at KKMI’s new Sausalito yard for a tour of the 60-ft catamaran that is slated for departure in the near future. If you had braved the elements and stopped by Fish for lunch, you might have spotted him there as well.

Boatloads of Seminars Announced

Seminars will be split this season between Vallarta YC, at the Paradise Village Resort (shown here), and Marina Riviera Nayarit.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

For at least 15 years, Puerto Vallarta has been the most popular jumping-off point for sailors bound for French Polynesia — the 3,000-mile crossing we like to call the Pacific Puddle Jump. Why? Because all sorts of marine suppliers and technicians can be found there, there’s ample slip space in marinas, huge supermarkets for provisioning, and plenty of direct flights to the U.S. and Canada.

With so many sailors staging there annually with similar cruising goals, it became a tradition (spearheaded by Paradise Village Marina Manager Dick Markie) for SoPac vets and other sailors in-the-know to hold free informational seminars on a wide range of topics. This year, there seem to be more seminars slated than ever, to be held at both the Vallarta YC (in Nuevo Vallarta’s Paradise Village Resort) and at Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz. So if you will be in the area and are thirsty for practical knowledge, make note of the following. (All dates and topics are subject to change.)

Upcoming Vallarta YC Seminars:

  • Jan 20 — What it’s like to be plucked out of the ocean by the U.S. Coast Guard, Eugenie Russell
  • Jan 27 — 2010 Rally to El Salvador, Gene and Bill of Mita Kuuluu
  • Feb 3 — Rigging check up, Adrian Galilondo
  • Feb 10 — Charting / Planning your routes, Steve on Kovinga
  • Feb 17 — Refrigeration, Ron on Vallorie K
  • Feb  24 — Marine diesel checkup, Teapot Tony
  • Mar 3 — Marine coatings and paints, Harvey Willis
  • Mar 10 — Rigging / Sails, Northsails Mike
  • Mar 17 — TBA
  • Mar 24 — Computers & useful Web sites, Bill on Raptor Dance
  • (held previously: Welcome to Paradise, Dick Markie; Dental emergencies at sea, Jim Nordstrom)

Upcoming La Cruz Seminars:

  • TBA — Routes & Weather, TBA
  • Jan 22 — Diesel Engine Spares / Maintenance, Teapot Tony
  • Feb 5 — Ham Radio, Rob Ladner (aka Radio Rob)
  • Feb 12 — Past Crossers Panel, Philo, Les, Diane, Steve, Chuck and others
  • Feb 19 — Medical Preparation, TBA
  • Feb 26 — SSCA Party – Nuevo Vallarta
  • Mar 5 — Airmail, Sailmail, WiFi & Creating a Blog, Bill on Raptor Dance
  • Mar 12 — Sails & Rigging, Jamie on Totem
  • Mar 19 — Watermakers, Les Sutton
  • TBA  — Provisioning (may piggyback on another date)
  • (held previously: Refrigeration, Don on Fresco)

All sailors (and curious ‘lubbers) are welcome to attend any of the above.

Let us remind you also, that Latitude’s annual Pacific Puddle Jump Kickoff Party will take place February 6 (2-5 p.m.) at the Vallarta YC. (Bona fide ’10 PPJers only, please.)

The Singlehanded Sailing Society is presenting one of the most important seminars for this summer’s Singlehanded TransPac: Communications and Electronic Navigation.