Wondering what to do on Memorial Day weekend? In addition to remembering our fallen American heroes — and reading the hot-off-the-press June edition of Latitude 38 — we’d also highly recommend turning your attention to another end-of-May tradition: The annual Master Mariners Regatta, slated for noon on Saturday.
If you’re unfamiliar with this long-established event, it’s the one time of year that hundreds of sailors who have old souls and special places in their hearts for hand-crafted woodwork, gleaming varnish and shiny bronze pull the covers off their vintage sailing craft and head out onto the Central Bay to do battle — in the friendliest sense of the word, of course.
NOAA is predicting 15 to 25 knots of wind on the Bay that afternoon, ideal conditions for this heavy-displacement fleet. At last count 78 classic beauties are registered to compete, including both gaff-rigged and marconi-rigged schooners, sloops and ketches, and one design boats like Birds, Bears, and Lapworth 36s. If you’re not lucky enough to have a ride aboard one, we would highly recommend that you dust off your telephoto lens, pack a picnic lunch, and head out on the Bay tomorrow to observe this spectacular procession of nautical history. Starts begin at noon off the Cityfront, with four Central Bay courses all finishing just off Treasure Island, and a high-spirited party afterward at the Encinal YC. We’ll see you out there!
By the way, please note that we will not be posting a ‘Lectronic Latitude Monday, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.
As recently as a few months ago, it was looking like the Bay Area would miss the the spectacle of the AC 45s altogether. Given a schedule that saw no official activity on the Bay until August of next year — coinciding with the arrival of the AC 72s — it seemed as if the closest the AC 45s would get to sailing here was the proposed Youth America’s Cup. But according to a source with the Cup, Oracle Racing will have two AC 45s sailing here starting the first full week of June. After some practice time, they’ll be used to test the regatta operations and media side of the event for the ensuing three weeks. The source told us that they expect to have 10 of these ridiculously cool wing-sailed cats ready to go for the first America’s Cup World Series event in Cascais, Portugal, in early August. Still unresolved is the actual number of challengers, with the official tally at nine, along with four "undisclosed" teams. Although it hasn’t yet been confirmed, the source tells us that the final list will be announced in a press conference in San Francisco in the middle of June.
In the March 7 ‘Lectronic Latitude, we reported that a couple of moorings at Angel Island’s Ayala Cove had gone walkabout — thankfully with no boats attached to them — and that boaters should be cautious when planning an overnight stay.
But last week, Rick Hastie, who heads up the maintenance on the moorings, docks and boats at the park, called to report that not only was every mooring completely rebuilt, but they’d been finished since the beginning of the month!
“Attached to each helix-style auger corkscrewed into the seabed is a length of new 1” chain, with a 3/4” shackle connecting it to a length of 5/8” chain that goes straight to the mooring,” explained Hastie. When asked about the super-high-tech Seaflex ‘snubbers’ that cost $1,700 each, but wound up fouling the props of several boats, Hastie replied, “They’re in the garbage — I cut them up myself!”
Another welcome change is that each row of moorings is now brightly color-coded. “Boaters just need to tie their bow and stern to the same color moorings.” Overnight moorage is $30, but you can tie to the day dock until sundown for no extra charge — just let a park ranger know. Only one boat is allowed to raft to a moored boat, and that boat also must pay moorage fees. See you there!
The Bay has some of the most productive charity events on the West Coast, not the least of which is the Sequoia YC’s Hannig Cup. Named in honor of its biggest booster, club member Ted Hannig, the event started when its namesake was offered a "milestone birthday" party by fellow club members five years years ago. The peninsula-based entertainment lawyer demurred, deciding that he’d rather have an event go toward giving back to the community at large. In the ensuing time, the Cup has raised almost $225,000 for Peninsula-based youth charities including those dealing with juvenile cancer research and gang abatement programs, the Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation, Marine Science Institute and Sea Scouts.
On June 17, sailors will race not only for the on-the-water trophy, but also for the "real" trophy for the top fundraiser, which has been won the last few years by a "virtual" boat made up of non-sailors who just like to party for a good cause. After a beer can-style race on the South Bay, sailors will retreat to the club for "Louis’ Luau," named in honor of celebrity guest and world champion ballroom dancer Louis Van Amstel — who you may know from the TV show Dancing with the Stars, where he’s led celebs like Playboy Playmate Kendra Wilkinson, Priscilla Presley and Kelly Osbourne through the paces.
The club will be roasting a pig, Hawaiian-style, and dress is tropical-casual. Tickets — ranging from $15 to $45 — are anticipated to sell out weeks in advance, so make sure you get your reservations into the club’s Kris Butler.