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March 31, 2010

Cape Breton Island Makes the Bay

Cape Breton Island gets a fireboat welcome as they sail into the Bay yesterday morning.

© Erik Simonson

Cape Breton Island, the first of nine boats in the ’09-’10 Clipper ‘Round The World Race, sailed through the Gate yesterday morning after 28.5 days of sailing across a storm-lashed North Pacific. The Cape Breton Island sailors have put on a show against the other eight teams — the next boat due to finish at the Farallones probably won’t get there until Friday evening! In fact, the crew was moving the boat along so well that they received plaintive emails from race organizer Clipper Ventures asking that they slow down. After that much time at sea, we can’t blame the Cape Breton Island sailors for just wanting to git ‘er done.

Cape Breton Island crew member Adrian Healy mows-down a rewarding piece of pizza.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There weren’t many people out yesterday to welcome them to San Francisco, in part because CBI beat the race office personnel — scheduled to set up shop at the Golden Gate YC today — to the Bay. While they may have beaten the organizers by a day, they only beat the pizza man by a few minutes; not long after they were tied up in the San Francisco Marina, the 17-person crew was devouring the contents of the stack of pizza boxes they’d ordered on finishing.

Due to losing their instruments in a lightning strike one week out of Qingdao, the crew didn’t know exactly how much breeze they saw during the behemoth of a leg, but estimated it was in the range of 70-80 knots, and it’s likely that some of the other boats farther behind got it worse.

"We probably got off lightly compared to some of the other boats," said round-the-worlder Katharine Simpson. "All the legs have been very different, and we knew this one would be cold and wet going into it."

Katharine Simpson and Elaine Walker finally get to relax after a brutal leg across the North Pacific in March.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Crewmember Adrian Healy said that the boat saw the worst of the weather just past the international dateline. "It was big and challenging," Healy said. "And it never really relented until about three days out of San Francisco. We feel for everyone who’s still out there."

Qingdao, the next boat due in, will likely arrive sometime Friday afternoon or evening, with Jamaica Lightning Bolt a little less than a day behind them and carrying an award of 32 hours of redress for assisting the stricken California, which lost its mast a week ago. Keep an eye on the race viewer for updates on arrival times for the boats, and if you can swing it, head on down to the San Francisco Marina, next to the Golden Gate YC, to welcome them in!

April Latitude Hits Tomorrow

Be sure to hide an extra large supply of Easter eggs this weekend to give you some free time to make it through the April issue of Latitude 38, which hits Bay Area stands tomorrow. Not only will you find the Strictly Sail pre-planner tucked into the pages of the magazine, but you’ll catch up on the doings down south in the MEXORC/Copa México as well as the Panama Pacific Puddle Jump meet-up, find out the differences between old boats and new boats by a cruiser Rick Gio, learn where to ‘cruise’ in the Bay Area, party with the Big Daddy fleet, and . . . well, more than we can go into here. Check it out for yourself — and be sure to hide an extra stash of chocolate bunnies for yourself.

All Clear in Clipper Cove

If you look closely, two boats can be seen in this shot of Clipper Cove, taken a couple weeks ago. The one with the upright mast had arrived that morning, the other — a derelict — has been removed.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"The last boat is gone!" read an email sent last week from Mirian Saez, Director of Operations for Treasure Island. Unfortunately, we received it the day after the April issue of Latitude 38 went to press — too late to change the Sightings piece on Clipper Cove stating that only one derelict was left in the anchorage. Last year around this time, we featured Saez and her plan to clean up Clipper Cove. When we met with her at Treasure Island, 28 boats anchored in the cove had been there more than 30 days. Today there are none.

Most of the success of Saez’s plan can be directly linked to the anchoring permit process developed by her staff — thanks to tremendous input by Latitude readers. Her goal was to make it impossible for people to permanently anchor in Clipper Cove while leaving it accessible to recreational boaters, and it seems to have worked. "We haven’t heard from anyone that the new system is too onerous," she said.

The new rules in Clipper Cove are relatively common sense: don’t dump your holding tank into the cove, don’t dump your trash into the cove, don’t be a nuisance to others (which encompasses the first two, if you think about it), etc. (Click to download a PDF of the complete rules.) If you’re simply spending one night, enjoy. If you want to spend the weekend, call (415) 274-0382 or send a message through the website letting TIDA know your plans (include your name, cell number, boat name and registration numbers). If you need to stay longer than three days, you have to go into the office to fill out a permit application. "We’re flexible," Saez said about TIDA’s granting permits. "When the weather was so bad this winter, we accommodated the boats in the anchorage."

Readers will also be pleased to know that TIDA has removed most — possibly all — of the sunken wrecks that claimed rec boaters’ anchors each year. Saez’s email noted that divers will be checking out a lone yellow float that is reportedly tied to the last sunken wreck in the cove. If there is indeed a wreck down there, Saez says it will be removed immediately.

Harbormaster Roger Ladwig shows off Treasure Isle Marina’s new holding tank pump-out station.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you’re planning to head over to Clipper Cove to see what anchoring close to shore is like — previously impossible due to all the anchor-outs — be aware that Treasure Isle Marina now boasts a free holding tank pump-out station for those who need to ‘freshen up’ during their stay. Harbormaster Roger Ladwig also wanted to remind folks that, while tying up at their docks during the day is just $10, anchored boats are welcome to tie up their dinghies for free — but only during office hours, Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., as you need a key to get in and out of the marina. "We’re working on a better solution so folks can enjoy the Treasure Island Bar & Grill at any time," said Ladwig, "but we don’t want anyone getting locked out." Heck, with the bar right there, at least they’d have someplace to drown their sorrows!

If you noticed some commotion at the entrance to the Oakland/Alameda Estuary on Saturday night, it was because a crane knocked an empty container off a ship at the Ben E.
Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old American girl who hopes to become the youngest non-stop solo circumnavigator, is slated to pass Cape Horn sometime tomorrow.