Picking up where they left off at the Rolex Big Boat Series, Italian Luca Lalli and his B-lin Sailing team are in the lead the Melges 32 Worlds. With a slim three-point lead going into today’s races — which have been pushed back until 1 p.m. — Lalli’s boys have their work cut out for them. With early leader Andy Lovell’s Rougarou lurking just behind and Speedboat owner Alex Jackson’s Leenabarca just two points behind, and Jon Porter’s Full Throttle another two points back, it’s anyone’s regatta at this point. Only two boats in the top five, B-lin and Jeff Ecklund’s Star, haven’t finished a race in the 20s in the 32-boat fleet.
Defending champion and pre-regatta favorite Bliksem is in seventh and, with the volatility in the scoring, are still in the hunt. There has been plenty of carnage, with the latest victim being Joe Woods’ team Red getting speared by Michael Dominguez’ Bronco yesterday when the former wiped out right in front of the latter. The regatta continues through tomorrow, and if you have a chance to get on the the water, this one is making for some good spectating — although be advised, there is a 100-yard exclusion zone being rigorously enforced. With the way these guys keep buying the farm, it’s for your safety.
Capt. P.A. Dunn was nice enough to explain the story of two boats up on the beach at ‘Cojo’ that we wrote about in Wednesday’s ‘Lectronic.
"The two boats on the beach at Perko’s are there because an engine died. The owner of an Ericson 30 was towing a small sailboat — something like an Islander 24 — last winter. The engine died on the Ericson, and both of them went up on the beach. I surf there all the time, and have gone ashore to investigate. The owner of the Ericson left his signed DMV pink slip out in the open as an obvious sign that he’d given up on the boat. A sad story."
As Dunn and ‘Surfee Sailor’ were nice enough to point out, when we said Cojo, we really meant Government Pt., aka Perko’s, aka Little Cojo, aka Old Cojo. Cojo is a little more than a mile to the east of these.
If you’re reading this, you’re either a sailor or you want to become a sailor, and this weekend will offer some great opportunites no matter which you are. With a high pressure ridge building over the Bay Area, temperatures for the weekend are expected to be quite warm — mid-80s to low-90s — and we all know that there’s no better way to beat the heat than to get out on a boat. So what if there isn’t a lot of wind? Pack a picnic lunch, sail over to Angel Island, and pretend you’re in the Med.
"That’s easy for you boatowners — what about the rest of us?" you may ask. Easy! Just head on over to SailFest at Modern Sailing in Sausalito. The event runs from 12-6 p.m., but free sailboat rides start at 10:30 a.m. There’s a small boat show, vendors, food, and live music. Be sure to drop by the Latitude booth for a bumper sticker and a chance to win a t-shirt.
If you find yourself in East Bay, you can also drop in on Cal Sailing Club‘s Open House and Introductory Sail at Berkeley Marina from 1-4 p.m. The sailing is free and the fun is priceless!
There are, of course, a number of other marine activities going on this weekend (details can be found in our online Calendar), such as:
- Free tours of the SF Maritime Park’s historic ships for National Public Lands Day on Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
- A sea music concert aboard the Park’s Balclutha at Hyde St. Pier on Saturday, 8-10 p.m. ($14)
- A boating safety class taught but the USCGA at the San Jose West Marine on Saturday. ($15)
- A lecture by Phillippe Cousteau, Jr. at marines’ Memorial Theater in the City on Monday, 6:30 p.m. ($40)
- Any number of races, from Melges 32 Worlds to the Catalina 34 SF Cup.
But the event that will most help the marine environment we all enjoy so much is Saturday’s California Coastal Cleanup Day. In just a few hours’ time last year, more than 80,000 volunteers swarmed California’s beaches and waterways to pick up nearly 1.3 million lbs of garbage. Simply find the county in which you’d like to participate, and show up at the check-in location by 9 a.m. Then make every day a ‘cleanup day’ by picking up any stray trash you see. It’ll make a world of difference.
Santa Barbara no longer holds the record, and judging from this photo taken from where Profligate is currently anchored off Stearns Wharf, it seems an unlikely candidate to have ever been. But Santa Barbara indeed once did hold the record for the hottest place on the planet. It was so hot that flying birds dropped dead out of the sky. And it’s not like it happened that long ago either.
Back when we started Latitude aboard our Bounty II Flying Scud at Sausalito’s Clipper Yacht Harbor in ’77, Bob and Gail Jensen berthed Simoon, the Columbia 50 they would take to the South Pacific a number of times in those pre-GPS days, a few slips away. Simoon is the English spelling of the Arabic word ‘simoom’, which means ‘to poison’, and refers to a particularly hot and dust-laden local wind that primarily blows in the Sahara, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula.
We say ‘primarily’ because, according to Wikipedia, there has been one case of a simoon in North America. That happened on the afternoon of June 17, 1859, at — you guessed it — Santa Barbara. The temperature that morning was a typical 75°, and it would return to that in the early evening. But at about 1 p.m., super hot winds filled with dust began to blow down toward the sea from the Santa Ynez mountains directly in back of the city. By 2 p.m., the air temperature had reached an astonishing 133°! By the way, this temperature wasn’t recorded by some drunken gaucho with a drug store thermometer, but rather by scientists on a U.S. Coastal Survey Vessel that just happened to be right offshore.
According to the official government report, "Calves, rabbits and cattle died on their feet. Fruit fell from trees to the ground scorched on the windward side; all vegetable gardens were ruined. A fisherman in a rowboat made it to shore at the Goleta sandspit with his face and arms blistered as if he’d been exposed to a blast furnace."
Years later a temperature of 136° was recorded somewhere in the Middle East to take the ‘world’s hottest’ record, while 75 years later, a temp of 134° was recorded in Death Valley, setting a new U.S. record.
The only weather records set this year at Santa Barbara have been for the most fog and probably the coldest water. In fact, the water is so cold that we maintained an iceberg watch when we sailed across the channel to Santa Cruz Island recently.
For the nearly 200 boatowners who have signed up for the Baja Ha-Ha that starts less than six weeks from now, the Pacific Coast of Baja is cooler than most years, but it’s still 82° at Cabo San Lucas and up to 85° just inside the Sea of Cortez. We don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to take the heat.