Just in time for the Rolex Big Boat Series — which starts on Thursday — the City has just finished the dredging of the San Francisco’s West Harbor, home to San Francisco Marina, Golden Gate YC and St. Francis YC. It took about two months, but the dredging — which was completed on Friday — not only deepened the channel from 12 to 18 feet, but also widened it.
Bright Winn, Port Captain at GGYC, also reports that a 100-ft temporary dock will soon be installed on the south face of the club. "When the entire harbor is rebuilt next year," says Winn, "we’ll have four 50-ft berths, plus a 50-ft end tie." Winn notes that "in his day" the club was busy with cruise-ins, but the silting of the harbor coupled with the deterioration of their City-owned docks meant a decline in visitors. "We’re looking forward to the day when we can again be the great hosts we once were," Winn says.
With bated breath, the sailing world has been waiting for months for a definitive announcement regarding the 34th America’s Cup. Today it got a little satisfaction with the announcement that the next Cup match will be contested on hard-wing 72-ft catamarans in 2013. The new-look America’s Cup and its protocol were unveiled in a joint press conference hosted by the Golden Gate YC and the Challenger of Record Club Nautico di Roma in Valencia.
"We need to have the best sailors in the world sailing the fastest boats in the world," BMW Oracle Racing CEO Russell Coutts said in a conference call this morning following the announcement.
While there’s been plenty of what has turned out to be true speculation with regard to the AC 72 catamaran, the 2013 date was a bit of a surprise as was the announcement that the new, annual series of traveling events leading up to the Cup — dubbed the "America’s Cup World Series" — would start in 2011 in a one design 45-ft hard wing cat. The AC 45 will allow new teams a chance to come to grips with the new technology before building their custom AC 72s with 130-ft tall wings for 2012. Another very pleasant surprise is that once the AC 72s come online, the AC 45s will be sailed for a "Youth America’s Cup."
The new boats sound fantastic, the racing should be very high-intensity, and the youth protion will have a dramatic impact as a kind of "minor leagues" element that should bring a whole new demographic into the sport and hopefully broaden sailing’s audience. As far as their suitability for match racing, the multis should be awesome.
Although a 2014 date for the next match would have better played into the chances that the Bay will host the next match, we still think there’s a chance. We don’t have the space here to go into all the reasons why we think so, but we can tell you that a high-powered organizing committee that includes people like Peter Stoneberg, Tom Perkins, Malin Burnham, and John Sangmeister are proceeding at full speed.
"The City has said unequivocally that they can be ready for a Cup match in 2013," Stonberg said. "The City has known that it would be a possibility and have been planning for it all along — it won’t change the attitude of the City.
Stoneberg also said that the proposal Mayor Newsom’s office pitched to Larry Ellison and BMW Oracle Racing two weeks ago was "received very positively," and that it significantly elevated San Francisco’s stock as a potential host site.
During the time period surrounding that meeting and in the ensuing weeks, BMW Oracle Racing spent a lot of time meeting interested parties around the Bay. A recurrent theme was that they wanted to see visible support for a Cup match on the Bay. The best place to start is with us sailors, and there are a number of things that we can do to show the team, the City, and the world at large how much we want the next match here.
First of all, if you haven’t already done so, fan the Bring America’s Cup 34 to San Francisco Bay Facebook page, and implore all of your Facebook friends to do the same — let’s try multiply the page’s 4,700 fans many times over. Second, send an email of support to Mayor Gavin Newsom. Third, there’s a chance, although its not yet finalized, that there will be a petition circulated at this week’s Rolex Big Boat Series. Finally, possibly one of the most visible and effective ways to get right to BMW Oracle Racing’s top brass, would be to sail this year’s Leukemia Cup, where Coutts will be the keynote speaker at Saturday night’s dinner. Imagine what it would do for our chances if a fleet of 300 or more boats — not unlike the one that’s shown up for the last couple Three Bridge Fiascos — were to be on hand when the CEO of BMW Oracle Racing was in town.
We need to show the powers that be that the Bay is "The Place for the Race."
From basic sailing to advanced navigation, this weekend-long event featurs expert women sailors teaching women the art of sailing in both on-the-water and classroom sessions.
In order to prove once again that truth is stranger than fiction, we give you the following ad from Craigslist, where two young girls planning to sail around the world — drunk most of the time — want a pirate-killing man to come along to protect them.
"This is a chance of a lifetime! My best girlfriend and I are planning to come into some money soon. We plan on living the dream, buying a large sailboat and just traveling around the world. Although quite adventurous, we are only two small young girls, thus quite defenseless. Well, we could theoretically defend ourselves but we will most likely be drunk most of the time and thus not in the right state to be on the lookout for pirates or rapists. I’m not sure I would be very good shooting a pirate with double vision. I tried going to the gun range hammered to practice, but for some reason they would not rent me a gun. I tried explaining my fear of pirates, but that just got me physically carried out. Apparently yelling, ‘But how will I fight the pirates! They could come at any moment!’ caused some sort of distrust between me the gun range man. Personally, I think he must have been on some sort of power trip.
Anyways, all we need is one strong fearless man to kill any pirates we come across. If you have killed a man before, that could be a plus. If you have any pirate killing experience you are a definite shoe-in. You may be the luckiest man you know and the envy of all your friends. You will be able to travel the world, lie in the sun all day with two hot girls, and explore a different city every week — without a care in the world (except pirates.) I cannot stress this enough. We may from time to time ask you to help fish or man the sails, but your main concern and number one enemy is pirates.
Also if you are anything like Kurt Russell in Captain Ron we encourage you to apply."
As many globe-trotting cruisers know, the Indian Ocean’s Chagos Archipelago is regarded as having some of the cleanest waters and healthiest reef systems on earth. No doubt that’s why billionaire yachtsman Ernesto Bertarelli stepped up to offer more than $5 million to support the region’s newly designated Marine Protected Area (MPA), which covers a quarter million square miles of ocean surrounding the archipelago, and includes blanket restrictions on commercial fishing.
Since formation of the MPA in April, however, concerns have been raised that the region’s protected status may not be economically viable without private funding, due to the loss of more than $1 million in annual tuna fishing licenses. Working through the Blue Marine Foundation, the Bertarelli Foundation agreed to cover the shortfall and more.
Administered by Great Britain as a British Indian Ocean Territory, the Chagos group lies 300 miles south of the Maldives, and roughly at the midpoint between Sri Lanka and Madagascar. It is comprised of seven atolls that contain more than 60 islands.