October 7, 2011

Sun is Overrated

Abby, Jessica, Brad, Dale, Ivi and Herb proved they aren’t fair weather sailors by taking a jaunt to Ayala Cove, where they report they were the only boat.

© 2011 Dale Angus

On Monday, we challenged our Facebook fans to not let a few days of rain and gloom dampen their sailing spirit. "Aw, rain for the next three days. If you brave the elements for a daysail, send us your photos," we wrote. Dale Angus and his crew stepped up to the challenge and sent the photographic evidence.

"We were out there, and it was just us!" wrote Dale. "We chartered the Hunter 31 Blue Honu from Club Nautique in Alameda on Wednesday. It was sunny in the morning but we knew it wouldn’t last so we were prepared for the rain and robust winds that arrived as forecasted around 1 p.m. We caught the instruments clocking the wind at 20+ knots."

Dale wonders what the heavens will deliver for their daysail, while Jessica and Abby model their fierce cold weather ensembles.

© Dale Angus

Big props to Dale and his friends for proving that they’re not fair weather sailors!

Fleet Week is Back!

One of the Bay’s truly special spectacles is back this weekend when the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Week celebration comes to town. While that means there’ll be cool stuff like air shows by the Blue Angels, and war ship parades and tours, it also means that the Coast Guard has set aside some space for all this to take place. Unfortunately, they didn’t actually release that info until after Wednesday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude, which is why you’re getting it so late.

The restricted zone for the Parade of Ships. Do yourself a favor and give the big boys a wide berth.

© 2011 USCG

The Coast Guard has established a "safety and security zone" 500 yards ahead, 200 yards astern, and 200 yards on either side of the parade of ships between 10 a.m. and noon tomorrow. This is in addition to the 500-yard security zone that will be enforced around each Navy vessel at all times during the the remainder of their stay on the Bay. The penalty for violating the security zones is steep — try $8,000! So, make sure to be alert, and don’t argue with anyone with a 50-caliber machine gun mounted to their boat. There’s also an additional restricted area between the Cityfront and Alcatraz, reserved — but hopefully not needed — as a ditch zone for the Blue Angels through the rest of the weekend. Consult the Fleet Week link above for the air show’s full schedule.

The ‘ditch zone’ for this weekend’s Blue Angels Air Show.

© 2011 USCG

If you’ve never been out on the water during Fleet Week, be prepared to see a whole lot of boats. Remember to have your registration and a sufficient number of PFDs aboard, don’t overload your boat, save the beer and wine for when you’ve returned to the dock, and enjoy the show. There’ll likely be plenty of boardings by the Coast Guard security patrols this weekend, so make sure to leave anything you don’t want confiscated — or that might result in the confiscation of your boat — at home.

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Bay Sailors Win Vintage A-Cup Challenge

Although it was a gray day on the Sound — maybe a little less gray than this black & white photo — spirits were high aboard Weatherly, as Ken Pimentel drove her into the lead during race two.

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As America’s Cup fever builds in San Francisco Bay, 3,000 miles away three classic 12 Meter beauties met last week for the annual 12 Meter Long Island Sound Challenge, hosted by the Housatonic Boat Club.

Ken Pimentel, former Marin County sailor and former owner of Remedy (now renamed Cirque), masterfully drove his Housatonic Boat Club team aboard Weatherly, the 1962 AC winner, in the second race to get the gun and clinch an overall victory. In a well-timed working vacation, my fiancé, Michael Rossi, and I (Lisa Hotchkiss) were thrilled to be able to join Ken for the race. We normally sail out of the East Bay.

Classic friends on a classic boat (left to right): Ken Pimentel, Michael Rossi and Lisa Hotchkiss are all smiles after being part of the winning crew of Weatherly, the 1962 America’s Cup winner.

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

This was the second consecutive year HBC brought home the trophy, beating neighboring teams from the Stamford YC aboard American Eagle, and the Milford Yacht Club sailing Intrepid. The race and post-race party raised $1,500 for St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound Foundation, which provides support services for cancer patients.

Two, Not One, Hurricanes Forecast for P.V.

According to various hurricane forecasting services, Tropical Storms Jova and Irwin were expected to develop into hurricanes, then make beelines for Banderas Bay / Puerto Vallarta, making landfall on late Monday night and Thursday respectively. The vast majority of Mexican hurricanes travel to the northwest, paralleling the coast and then heading offshore. These two storms are unique in that they are many hundreds of miles offshore already, and would be heading toward Puerto Vallarta from the WSW! Late season hurricanes can be weird like that.

Before anybody gets too worked up, the National Weather Service cautions that the margin of error for the landfall of storms four days out is, in the Eastern Pacific, 175 to 225 miles. So it’s entirely possible the storms could make landfall as far north as Mazatlan or further south than Manzanillo. Indeed, this morning’s forecast shows that Irwin, the second of the two storms, is now a Category 1 hurricane and is projected to take a path several hundred miles to the south of Puerto Vallarta.

Hurricane Irwin has shifted course and is more on a course for Barra.

© 2011 StormPulse

Jova, which is closer and more worrisome to land, has a new track that suggests the eye will hit about 20 miles south of Cabo Corrientes, which is on the southern tip of Banderas Bay. Any landfall south of Banderas Bay would be a great thing for mariners at Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta and La Cruz, as the mountains on or near the coast tower from a few thousand feet to 8,000 feet. Mountains like that really sap the power of hurricanes.

Tropical Storm Jova on the other hand is on track for Puerto Vallarta.

© StormPulse

While it’s still too early for hurricane watches or warnings to have been posted along the coast of Mexico, both of these storms obviously need close monitoring. If you have a boat or property in the general target areas, get ready to make preparations. There are a number of weather factors that could dramatically affect both Jova and Irwin, so be prepared for possible major changes in direction and strength.

In other weather news, we’re told that the extreme summer heat of Mexico has been broken. While the daytime highs in places such as Loreto, La Paz and Mazatlan are still hitting the mid-90s, they’ve had nights where the temps have even dropped below 70 degrees. After another sizzling summer, these folks are having to put on their winter ski gear to make it through the nearly frozen nights.

These colder temperatures give hope that Jova and Irwin might well be the last tropical storms of the season.

After proving its efficiency at running other international sailing contests, the Vallarta YC, located at Nuevo Vallarta’s Paradise Village Resort, has been chosen to host the sailing portion of the prestigious Pan Am Games, October 16-22.
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