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August 9, 2010

IKC Gets Underway

The 26 teams entered in this year’s IKC got exactly what they came for during yesterday’s second race.

© 2010 Sergei Zavarin

The 42nd International Knarr Championship hosted by St. Francis YC got underway on Sunday in typical mid-summer fog and drizzly skies. Two-time IKC champion and ’09 Season Champion Jon Perkins jumped into the lead in the 26-boat fleet with a 3-1, four points ahead of Danish skipper — and ’06 IKC winner — Sorren Pehrsson. Danes Tom Carlsen, and IKC defending champion Lars Gottfredsen sit in third and fourth respectively. Bay Area Knarr sailor Eric Gray checked in with a report:

These guys will probably be forfeiting some of their damage deposit.

© Sergei Zavarin

"Race 1 was started off the western face of Alcatraz in a diminishing flood tide," he said. "Both ends of the line were the place to be, as the pin-end contingent enjoyed some current relief and left shift, while the boat-end boats had better pressure from the outset. Overall the pressure was uncharacteristically spotty for the Bay, and the race was more about pressure and shifts than finding favorable current. During the downwind finish, the 15 boats in the middle of the fleet all finished within 20 seconds of each other.

The middle of the 26-boat fleet saw some close finishes in the first race.

© Sergei Zavarin

"Race 2 was more typical of the Cityfront action that the European sailors came for: a strong ebb tide and 15-22 knots of WSW breeze. After a general recall, the race started fairly under an “I” flag and the drag race was on. Perkins was launched at the top mark and extended, sailing mostly rhumbline courses on the downwind legs, while everyone else looked for current relief. Playing the left side on the final two beats rewarded the Bay’s Sean Svendsen with a valuable shift and passing lanes, which he used to finish third behind Gottfredsen."

The regatta comes to the Bay every three years. The Bay’s Knarr fleet provides the boats for the event, but the local sailors who qualify aren’t allowed to sail their own boats. That makes for very tight racing as teams have all of an hour on the water to learn what makes their boat go fast. The regatta runs all week on the Cityfront, before wrapping up on Saturday, so check it out if you have a chance!

Galilee Harbor Celebrates 30 Years

With shifty winds gusting to 30 knots, just getting to the starting line of the dinghy races was a challenge. Hans List, seen here, and others came home soaking wet.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The story of Sausalito’s Galilee Harbor should be inspirational to anyone who thinks ‘you can’t fight City Hall’. In 1980, after the city tore down the rundown WWII-era boatyard that occupied that piece of prime waterfront real estate, some former boatyard workers and others who were living along the Napa St. Pier decided to mount an effort to preserve their waterside lifestyle.

At the marine flea market, you could buy anything from stainless hardware to hiking boots.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Last Saturday, three decades later, some of the same folks – and many newcomers – were on hand to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Galilee Community Association at its Maritime Days festival. The Association now owns the much-upgraded property, and will soon impliment Phase Two: construction of a wooden boatbuilding shop where tenant shipwrights can practice their craft.

Local musicians entertained throughout the day. Some acts – such as Joe Tate and the Gaters – featured original tunes about life on the water.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In addition to listening to the wide range of local musicians who entertained throughout the day, visitors perused flea market stalls, learned about traditional lofting techniques from Arques School maestro Bob Darr, toured houseboats and the Chinese junk replica Grace Quan, took free boat rides aboard the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center’s historic sloop Polaris, and sampled homemade pies. But the visual highlight was undoubtedly the dinghy races, where determined helmsmen braved 30-knot gusts to run a buoy course within sight of the festival. 

Look for more on Galilee’s unique maritime community in next month’s edition of Latitude 38.

Misty on the Delta

You never know who you’ll run into when bopping around the Delta. While recluctantly working our way back to the socked-in Bay, we stopped in Potato Slough last night. As we neared a pretty little Aries 32, we realized that it was Misty, owned by Tiburon’s Bob and Jane van Blaricom. For the last 15 years, Bob has sailed the sturdy little boat all over creation and back, including a memorable trip to Alaska’s Prince William Sound which he recounted in the November ’08 issue of Latitude. He reported that Misty has been sold. "I sold it to a really great guy from South Africa," he said. "He’ll be coming up in September to take her cruising."

For one final ‘fling’ with Misty, Bob and Jane van Blaricom have spent the last week or so on the Delta, with one more to go. “We’ve been coming up here nearly every year for the last 50 years. We love it,” Bob said.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While he may have sold his boat, Bob isn’t done with sailing. He spent part of this summer sailing up the Columbia River on a friend’s boat. "We made it as far as Beacon Rock but they were spilling so much water out of the Bonneville reservoir that we couldn’t make it any farther," he said. Having sailed all over the world for most of his life, Bob has a million more stories, many of which he told in his recent memoir Time and Tide. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a great addition to any sailor’s library.

Trouble Ashore At Tenacatita Bay

Tenacatita Bay, the four-mile by four-mile bay on mainland Mexico’s Gold Coast between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, and just north of Barra Navidad, has long been a favorite with cruisers. Its calm anchorage offers access to surfing, the ‘jungle ride’, the ‘aquarium’, the ruins of the McHale’s Navy movie set, the village of La Manzanilla, and all kinds of friendly vendors ashore. It’s so popular with cruisers that often a ‘cruiser mayor’ is selected, and there is always a wealth of cruiser social activities such as Friday Night Dinghy-In Movies. Indeed, some cruisers will spend months of every season there.

Tenacatita Bay has long been a favorite anchorage for cruisers. But its traditional tranquility is now being threatened.

© Mexico Tourism

According to the Guadalajara Reporter, in the early hours of August 4, 150 members of the Jalisco State Police swooped down on the shores of Tenacatita Bay and evicted 800 locals who were living and working on a undeveloped section of beach. Some of those people, including many who served cruisers, have been living and working on the beach for 40 years. Twenty-seven people were arrested, although only 11 were held, and three suffered gunshot wounds. Just as bad, many of the ‘homes’ people have along the shore were badly damaged and their valuable appliances thrown into the street or taken away. And the former residents weren’t being allowed back except one at a time, and when accompanied by a guard.

State police told the Guadalajara Reporter that they acted on the order of a judge in Autlan, who ruled that some 50 families were illegally occupying land that belonged to Jose Maria Andres Villalobos, a successful and influential businessman and realtor, former president of the Guadalajara Chamber of Commerce, and current president of Expo Guadalajara. Villalobos, says the report, has been trying the get the low-income families evicted from the land for two decades, ever since he purchased 42 hectares of Tenacatita beachfront land from the wife of a former state governor in 1991. He apparently got federal beach concession rights, which are a seperate thing, in 1993.

On the other hand, Francisco Martinez Flores, the ejido (local land commune) commissioner for El Rebalsito, told the Reporter that the ejiditarios own the 42 hectares and have the land titles to prove it. La Huerta Mayor Carlos Ramirez Nuñez called the eviction "unfair," and said municipal authorities would do all in their power to help the families return to their homes.

But if they ever get back to their homes and businesses, there may be nothing left of them. After the families left in pick-up trucks with their belongings – some making as many as 10 trips to and from the highway – police brought in heavy machinery, presumably to demolish the palapa huts and homes, and blocked the only road leading to the beach. No one was allowed in without an "official" escort. Both the La Huerta municipal secretary and a Puerto Vallarta-based Jalisco Human Rights Commission observer had to give up their cellphones and cameras to police before they were allowed to enter the area. La Huerta municipal cops who turned up to provide "additional security" were also barred from entering.

For the wonderful families who worked on the beach and were so nice to cruisers, this is a terrible turn of events. The question is not whether or not cruisers will be able to anchor in the bay and continue to come ashore. We will. It’s whether there will be any services in the future, and if, as has been rumored, the bay will soon be turned into a Pacific Coast version of Cancun.

Margie shows what it takes to bring up an anchor by hand during a season of cruising in Mexico?
The ‘West Marine Contingent’ — Jay and Micah on Moorea, Bruce, Karen and Joshua on Gitana Vela and Doug on Rigel (not all of them work at West Marine) — spent their free days lampin’ in Potato Slough’s Bedroom 2.
Just about everywhere you look around San Francisco Bay, there are treasures of our rich maritime heritage.
Yes, even though you haven’t had seen the sun in months, it still exists.