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December 13, 2010

A Foggy Winter’s Day

Out of the gloom, Adagio seeks the solace of the sun.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

San Francisco Bay is known for its fog — in summer or early fall. December typically treats Bay sailors to rain or sun, sometimes on the same day, so imagine everyone’s surprise to see the Cool Whip topping on our weekend sailing dessert.

Keeping a sharp eye out when traveling through fog can make the difference between a good day and a very, very bad one.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

To be fair, it wasn’t this thick over the entire Bay on Saturday — the Estuary and Richardson Bay both saw some gloom in the morning that burned off to bright sun, and Charles James on the J/105 Roxanne said racers on the Circle were never totally socked in — but crossing a shipping channel in pea soup always makes foghorns difficult to hear over your thumping heartbeat.

Is it any wonder that so many people view sailing — especially on San Francisco Bay — as a mystical experience?

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Bay can present any number of challenging conditions — from dead calm to screaming wind to thick fog — but isn’t that why sailing here is so terrific?

AC Picture Gets Muddled

With the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee set to vote today on whatever iteration of the Host City Agreement survives the final number crunching, the message from BMW Oracle Racing was disturbing to Cup fans who want to see the Cup come to the Bay. The team’s COO Stephen Barclay, was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend as saying, "If you want a headline, it’s ‘San Francisco snatched defeat from the jaws of victory’. San Francisco had it in their hands, and they have progressively let it go."

With the clock ticking against BMW Oracle Racing’s self-imposed deadline of December 31 for a venue announcement, the City’s revised plan to relocate much of the America’s Cup infrastructure away from the South Beach area to the northern waterfront has been met with resistance from the team, with Barclay claiming that Larry Ellison’s team had never agreed to the new plan, that its advent had come as a complete surprise, and that, even if approved by the Board, it will not be accepted by the team. In the Chronicle’s story, reporter John Coté writes that emails and interviews disputed Barclay’s claim that the new option came as a surprise, and that Barclay had in fact met with Mayor Newsom and his team before the northern option was presented to the Budget and Finance Committee last Monday.

It’s tough to tell where the truth begins and the gamesmanship ends in this situation, but one thing is for certain, since budget analyst Harvey Rose identified that there didn’t appear to be any competing venue, the City has been working hard to hash out a more favorable agreement. It would appear that BMW Oracle Racing is responding in kind by creating a Friday deadline for the City to come up with an HCA agreeable to the team. With the Budget and Finance Committee voting on the HCA today, the tenor of the comments and the their timing, leave little room for backpedaling. Conspicuous too is the presence of Barclay — someone who has hitherto been completely absent from the public realm of this effort — as the messenger. What are your thoughts on the way this has progressed?

Another Big California Boat to Oz

As we’ve been reporting for several months now, Aussies have been coming to California to buy expensive sailboats. There is no mystery as to the reason why. Thanks to the weaker American dollar and the stronger Aussie dollar, sailors from the Land Down Under believe they can buy a boat in the States, take a couple of years to cruise her home, and, upon selling the boat, recoup all their money. Sweet deal. 

Leanne and Jack Hembrow are ‘delivering’ Red Sky to Australia in hopes of selling her for big bucks.

Red Sky
©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There were at least two examples of this in the recently completed Ha-Ha. They were Patrick Bloomer’s Farrier F44 Tiger, heading to Western Australia, and Jack and Leanne Hembrow’s Moody 54 Red Sky, heading to Brisbane, Australia.

While having breakfast the other morning at Sayulita, we bumped into former Profligate crew Lauren Goche of Santa Cruz, Portland, Sayulita, "and in the summer, commercial fishing boats that spend a month or more at a time 1,100 miles off the coast of Oregon," and learned that a Santa Cruz 52 has been added to the bound-for-Australia list. That boat is Brendan Busch’s La Honda-based Santa Cruz 52 Isis, a vet of the ’04 and ’07 Ha-Ha’s.

Lauren Goche and Leslie Nordella, two of the four crew delivering the Santa Cruz 52 Isis from San Francisco to Costa Rica. An experienced sailor, Goche says she can’t believe how fine the SC 52 is. As for the Portland-based Nordella, she can’t believe she got a downwind trip on an SC52 as her first time sailing ever.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Goche knows Isis is headed to Australia because she of part of delivery skipper Robin Jeffer’s crew for the San Francisco to Costa Rica run, where Isis will be loaded onto a Dockwise ship for transport across the Pacific. 

Sunny and Not-So-Sunny Memories

With beautiful sunsets 80-degree water, and affordable prices, Cabo is a prime winter getaway. But this year tourists are few and far between.

© 2010 Jeffrey Gould

Responding to our call for photos of on- or near-the-water Thanksgiving celebrations, Jeffrey Gould wrote, "While we’re not cruisers, my wife Karen and I did enjoy a week in Cabo that encompassed Thanksgiving. One of the highlights was a sunset dinner cruise aboard the 100-ft Eco Cat on the day before Thanksgiving. What was great about the cheesy cruise was the fact that my family of six shared the Eco Cat with only six other paying guests. So a boat rated for 150 passengers sailed out of the marina with almost an equal number of guests and crew." Needless to say, tourism in Mexican resort towns is shockingly low this year.

As if on cue, these rays did a acrobatic act for Eco Cat’s 12 passengers.

© 2010 Jeffrey Gould
Karen and Jeffrey strike a pose in front of Cabo’s famous arch.

© 2010 Jeffrey Gould

Speaking of Thanksgiving photos, last Wednesday we asked readers for caption ideas to go with this photo of former Bay Area sailor Sheila Maher, who was coaxed into moving to Seattle by her husband Chris.

Actually, what she might have been saying is: “I swear, Chris, if this picture finds its way into Latitude 38. . .”

© Chris Maher

Our favorite caption was sent in by Jack Alden (who will receive some Latitude swag for his wit): "Listen Turkey, if you don’t hurry up, your giblets will be used in the stuffing."

The following earned honorable mentions: "Uh, Chris, put down the camera and get some warm water. I’m stuck to this stanchion." — Patrick

"Global warming my ass — which is freezing, by the way," muttered Sheila. — David Pearce

"From here to the dock is the part of the boat you get in the divorce" — Scott Keck
“I don’t think we need to worry about pirates this Thanksgiving!” — Jay Sorensen

"Gawd! I hope the head isn’t frozen!" — Eric Stephan

"I can’t believe I quit my wonderful job with a terrific boss to move up here with my horrible husband and freeze my ass off!" Wait a minute. . . that one was slipped in by her mischievious former boss, Alan Weaver.

These are pretty feet, but no, we don’t have a foot fetish. But we do like a woman who likes to have fun, and painting your toes all different colors is a strong indication of a fun-loving nature.
After two months of waiting for the hurricane season to end, 15-year-old Dutch teen Laura Dekker set off from the Cape Verde Islands a week ago, for the first ocean crossing in her planned circumnavigation.
‘Haully Green Giant’ takes Silent Sun to KKMI Sausalito’s wash down area. latitude/LaDonna
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC Since the fall of ’07, this writer and her husband’s boat has been part of a bottom paint study to test the efficacy of the biocide Econea, an eco-friendly product produced by Janssen Pharmaceutica and sold to different paint companies.