September 19, 2011

Here Comes the Sun. . .

Forecasters swear this is the week to work on your tan. And what better place to do so, than out on the Bay.

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

How did that old George Harrison song go? "Here comes the sun, little darlin’. It’s been a long, cold, lonely. . . uh, summer." It may not have been the coldest summer on record here on San Francisco Bay, but we think you’ll agree we’ve all had just about enough marine layer-induced fog and gray skies.

Even when the Giants are struggling, a trip to McCovey Cove is great fun.

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However, according the local weather forecasters this week promises to be a stunner: clear skies, warm temperatures, gentle breezes. . . you know, summer! So we suggest you shanghai a passel of close friends, grab a cooler full of cold beverages, and get out on the water while the gettin’s good. With any luck, you might even get a late-summer tan!

Diehards who don’t want to miss the play-by-play action sometimes take a ride to the masthead in a bosun’s chair – or climb up a spare halyard!

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Let us remind you also that the baseball season is winding down to its close next week. So if you haven’t yet made your annual sailing pilgrimage to McCovey Cove, be aware that you only have three chances left. The last three home games are all against the Rockies: September 26 and 27’s contests are both night games, while the final game of the season, Wednesday, September 28, starts at 12:45 p.m. — your last chance of the year to hoot and holler for the home team while surrounded by like-minded fans. And it’s "fan appreciation day" so who knows, if you show enough spirit you might even get your mug on TV!

ACWS Plymouth Wraps-up

Going out with a bang, the second installment of the America’s Cup World Series wrapped up in Plymouth, England yesterday. Capsizes and collisions marred a gnarly final fleet race sailed in breeze up to 30 knots.

With the boats hitting speeds up to 27 knots, the battle for the podium was a three-way affair between Oracle Racing’s two boats and Emirates Team New Zealand. In the prestart, Energy Team capsized trying to avoid Team Korea, although Loick Peyron’s crew managed to get the boat upright quickly and rejoin the race. But the carnage didn’t stop there — Artemis Racing tried to mount Green Comm Racing, causing the latter’s skipper, Vasilij Zbogar, to fall overboard and suffer a minor hand injury. Green Comm retired before the start.

Steering clear of trouble in the pre-start, the two Oracle Racing boats and Emirates Team New Zealand set the pace off the line. The first mark nearly claimed China Team, which capsized, but recovered quickly enough to stay in the race. The Charlie Ogletree-led China Team would go on to finish seventh when Artemis capsized later in the race, crossing the finish line 9 minutes and 54 seconds after the winner — just 6 seconds before the time limit. Aleph moved past Team Korea at the end of the race to take fourth, with Energy Team in sixth.

Oracle’s Jimmy Spithill waited until the final lap to take the win, and Dean Barker had to satisfy himself with second place ahead of Russell Coutts. “Today it was racing and survival,” Barker said. “When the wind cranked in, it was full on. The hard thing was not the wind speed but the big puffs, which were unpredictable. We always like to win, but it’s nice to get past Russell and take second.”

The fleet racing championship was a bit of redemption for Oracle Racing as neither of the team’s two entries were able to crack the podium in the Match racing championship, where Barker and his mates proved to be at the top of the class, and surprisingly Team Korea slipped into second with Artemis third. The next America’s Cup World Series event is in San Diego, November 12-20.

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© Driscoll Boat Works

Armed Guards on FUBAR Boats?

After leaving Oceanside earlier in the month, we spent a few days at Two Harbors in Catalina. What a lot of fun!

While there, we met a lot of people who had done the Ha-Ha or were about to do the Ha-Ha — and were they excited! We also heard a number of reports, none of which we could confirm, that the crew of one FUBAR boat are apparently so frightened about personal safety in Mexico they will be picking up two Mexican armed guards for their trip from Ensenada to La Paz.

Rumor has it that the Poobah is thinking about retaining the services of an AH-64D Longbow Apache crew to escort this year’s Ha-Ha fleet. “The helo’s nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems makes it ideal for Zen sailing to Mexico,” he says.

© Geoffrey I. Joe

Does anyone who’s cruised the Pacific Coast of Mexico have any comment on the idea of needing armed guards while cruising in Mexico? Share them with us.

Five Ha-Ha Boats from One Club

Some people know what they want and they waste no time in taking it. As late entries to the Baja Ha-Ha ‘Barely Legal’ edition continue to come it, five Vallejo YC members secured their spots early on for the 18th running of this cruisers’ rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas.

Heather & Ken de Vries, Island Wind, Hylas 44

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Heather and Ken de Vries (entry #62) will be sailing their Hylas 44 Island Wind in the Ha-Ha and plan to take about eight months to make their way to Panama. Once there, the de Vries will take a unique approach in deciding whether to transit the Canal and head to the Caribbean, as Heather hopes, or to do the Puddle Jump to the South Pacific, as Ken wants. "We’ll flip a coin," says Heather.

Joel & Bob Sorum, Compañera, Tartan 3800

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Joel Sorum (#49) is planning an open-ended cruise aboard his Tartan 3800 Compañera, but first he’ll enjoy the companionship of his son Bob, and friends Bill Thomas and Bruce Sinclair for the Ha-Ha. Bill will continue on with Joel until Puerto Vallarta, and then who knows which way the wind will blow Compañera.

Roger Smith, Seascape, Passport 37

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It isn’t that Roger Smith (#45) is afraid of commitment, he just likes having options. Smith plans to sail his Passport 37 Seascape in Mexico for six months or so before returning to Vallejo. "Who knows, I might not like it," he says. "If I do, I’ll sell my house and go back." Look for his house listing by the end of the year!

Jay & Susan Pence, Sailpotion, C/S/K 40 catamaran

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Jay and Susan Pence (#88) spent five years restoring and living aboard their Rudy Choy-designed C/S/K 40 catamaran Sailpotion. Now the couple are ready to leave on an open-ended cruise that they hope will take them to Hawaii. "We ain’t getting any younger," Jay laughs.

Though he wasn’t at the Bon Voyage Party on Friday night, Ray McEneaney (#82) will also be joining the VYC contingent aboard his Hunter Legend 45 OutRAYgeous. Aboard will by fellow members Ralph Hyde and Noble Brown.

Five boats from one yacht club heading out to do the Ha-Ha seems like a lot to us, but maybe there are — or have been — others with as many or more. If you know of any, let us know via email. In the meantime, if you’ve been on the fence about signing up for this year’s event and consequently missed the official entry deadline of September 10, you’ve been give a reprieve by the Rally Committee — the extended deadline is now September 26, so sign up now!

The Johanson family in better times. Ing
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC In contrast to the sad news that French cruiser Christian Colombo of Tribal Kat was killed during a pirate attack last week in the Gulf of Aden, we are happy to report that all members of the Danish Johansen family, of the Dynamic 43 Ing, were recently released by their Somali captors in exchange for a large ransom, reportedly paid by their insurance company.
With the start of the 18th — ‘Barely Legal’ — Baja Ha-Ha less than six weeks away, we’re getting a few letters about clearing into Mexico.
The San Francisco Passport Agency is hosting a special ‘Passport Day in the U.S.A.’ event on September 17 from 10 a.m.