Skip to content
May 10, 2010

At Rainbow’s End

A day like today makes sailors long to find their pot of gold so they can head somewhere warm. But you can’t have rainbows without a little rain, so while today’s forecast for the Bay Area is drippy, the rest of the week should be sunny and in the low 70s. Regardless, we got to wondering where you would go if you kidnapped that leprechaun or won the lottery. Share your ideal cruising destination — we’re sure you’re daydreaming about it today anyway!

Crewed Farallones Gets Weird

Peter Stoneberg’s Formula 40 Shadow blasts under the Gate on the way to posting an elapsed time of just under six hours in the Full Crew Farallones Race.

© Erik Simonson

With the Spinnaker Cup just a few short weeks away, the OYRA’s Full Crew Farallones Race brought out a high-quality fleet of boats for what many people expected would be a breeze-on, pound-out, surf-back, 58-mile trip around the Rockpile. That wasn’t exactly what they found. After beating out the Gate and around Pt. Bonita in a flood and breeze into the low-20s, it was looking as though it would be pretty typical race. But as the boats left the Marin Headlands behind them, the breeze never clocked. It wasn’t long before just about everyone was changing up to their biggest headsails, beating out to the islands in 8- to 12-knots of breeze and balmy temps.

Kevin Flanigan and Greg Nelsen’s Fox 44 Ocelot, the PHRO 1A runner-up, enjoys some positively benign conditions as she rounds the Rockpile. We’d have a photo of the division winner, Lani Spund’s Kokopelli2, but they were so far away, we couldn’t get a photo of them!

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Distinct among other Farallones races, the Full Crew Farallones allows each boat to pick which way they want to go around and, at least in PHRO 1A, there wasn’t any consensus — about half the fleet opted to leave it to port while the other half left it to starboard. The former got to set kites while rounding, but the latter would ultimately find the near-shore pressure — which apparently hadn’t gone anywhere — sooner on the way back in. It seemed that most boats got a great little ride through the Gate toward the end of their respective races, with breeze in the low 20s and pretty slack water transitioning to the early flood at around 5 p.m.

Andy Costello Chris Hagerman, JV Gilmour and Mo Gutenkunst enjoy a low-stress sail out to the Farallones aboard Costello and Peter Krueger’s J/125 Double Trouble.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Peter Stoneberg’s Formula 40 Shadow was the only multihull in the race and, with a corrected time of just over 8.5 hours, took the nominal overall corrected time honors. Jim Quanci’s Cal 40 Green Buffalo was the race’s giant-slayer, coming home with the overall monohull corrected-time win and PHRO 3 honors — about four minutes faster than than the PHRO 1A-winner, Lani Spund’s turboed SC 52 Kokopelli². The full results are here. If you’ve got a good story about the race, some good photos, or if any of you WX wonks out there want to take a crack at explaining how the Gulf of the Farallones got SoCal Bight conditions on Saturday, drop us a line here.

Provisioning Seminar Tonight at OYC

With start of the Singlehanded TransPac just over a month away, skippers are undoubtedly getting ready to start provisioning for their solo run to Kauai. Instead of just packing your boat with protein powder and Gatorade, stop by the Oakland YC tonight for the race’s Provisioning and Return Options seminar. Get tips on nutrition, interesting menu options, and how to organize your provisions. The second part of the presentation will discuss the racers’ options for getting their boats home. As with all of the Solo TransPac’s free seminars, everyone is welcome to attend! Socializing starts at 6:30 p.m., with the talk beginning promptly at 7.

Spot On. . . Or Not

Those who know us well would fall off their chairs in a state of hysterical laughter if we purported to be technical experts. But we do know something about SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger units that we’d bet some ocean passage-makers — and some salesmen — don’t know.

Ever since the reasonably priced SPOT devices came out a few years ago we’ve heard great things about them, as their geo-locating ability allows users to regularly alert associates of the user’s location. And thanks to SPOT’s SOS function, a number of customers have been successfully rescued when in life-threatening situations.

Mariners, however, need to beware. SPOT’s website says "SPOT works virtually anywhere in the world, even where cell phones don’t." But in this case, "virtually" (defined as almost, nearly or effectively) excludes thousands of miles of open ocean, as the coverage map on the site clearly shows.

As this website illustration shows, SPOT devices do not cover all oceans. Marketers might want to edit the phrase: “virtually anywhere in the world.”


Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard asked us to make you aware of this fact, after friends of Pacific Puddle Jumper Michael Rafferty became worried when his daily location messages ceased. As the Coasties suspected, Michael was fine and dandy, happily singlehanding his Islander Freeport 36 Aquila from Mexico to the Marquesas. He made landfall last week at Nuku Hiva after 25 days at sea.

After a long career teaching 14-year-olds, Michael probably loves being way offshore and incommunicado.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We don’t know if Michael — who is a lifelong sailor and licensed captain — was aware of his SPOT device’s limitations initially, but we’re sure he is now. And we hope well-meaning SPOT salesmen out there will take note also, before they inadvertently lull other blue water sailors into a false sense of security.

Adventuress was a work boat on San Francisco Bay for many years before being taken to Seattle.
The fact that more than four million gallons of oil have now spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of the Deep Horizons Rig explosion begs these questions: Is offshore oil drilling a reasonable safety risk?