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November 11, 2011

Blackaller Buoy Comes Home

YRA buoys are known for going on walkabout, so it wasn’t a surprise when the Blackaller buoy left its station last week. What was surprising was that one of the Bay’s most heavily used racing buoys was ultimately recovered! Matt Jones sent us the story. "The latest trip ended at Ocean Beach where it was spotted by local waterman Nick Mulford on Friday or Saturday," Jones said. "Knowing it belonged to the YRA, he rolled the buoy across the beach and muscled it into the bed of his pickup. Nick then dropped it off at the St. Francis YC hoist on Monday. Hopefully it will be back on station soon."

Mulford may not have known how important his recovery of the buoy was. Buoys are a big expenditure for YRA every year, and we’re told that the buoy budget for 2011 took some big hits and has already been spent. So with that in mind, and on behalf of all Bay Area sailors, we say, "Thanks, Nick!"

AC World Series Starts Tomorrow

The AC 45s are on their moorings, and the America’s Cup World Series is preparing for its North American debut tomorrow in San Diego. First up is the Port Cities Challenge, which is more of a promotional event that will see the teams be allied with various facets of government from the cities that front San Diego Bay in a pair of three-race days. After laydays on Monday and Tuesday, the action will begin in earnest on Wednesday when the nine boats hit the water for three seeding fleet races and two speed trial runs. Thursday is all match racing and Friday is the Match Racing Semifinal. The best-of-three match racing final is on Saturday, and "Super Sunday" will include two speed trial runs and the Fleet Racing Championship. The weather is looking a little grim over the weekend, with a chance of rain and thunderstorms giving way to light air — 10 knots or less — through Tuesday. Hopefully there will be more breeze, and sunshine, later in the week

If you’re able to get down to San Diego for the event, there is a pretty sizeable Bay Area contingent headed down, some of whom have started a Facebook Page for the trip. We included a cursory guide to the event in the November issue of Latitude 38, and for some local knowledge, check out Scuttlebutt Editor Craig Leweck’s guide. If you won’t be able to make the trip, you can still follow all the action at where you’ll find video and, beginning Wednesday, live streaming of the races.

Yacht Racing Image of the Year

San Francisco Bay has long been known as a top spot to capture fantastic sailing photographs, attracting some of the most famous photographers in the world since George Eastman invented roll film. Two such photos are now competing for your vote in the World Yacht Racing Forum’s ‘Yacht Racing Image of the Year‘ contest. Now in its fourth year, the contest will honor the photographer whose photo gets the most online votes. Out of the 25 spectacular images in this year’s competition, two were taken on the Bay, and we’d encourage our readers to vote for their favorite — let’s see San Francisco represented at the Forum in Estoril, Portugal next month!

Now, we have our suspicions on who the two shutterbugs are but we’ll stay mum on the matter and instead show you the entries. We know which one we’re voting for — how about you? Click the link above to vote for your favorite — it’s easy and doesn’t require registering — and then pop on over to our Facebook page to tell us which one you voted for!

And our contestants are Image #16…

World Yacht Racing Forum
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC
…and Image #19.

World Yacht Racing Forum
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Right Hat for the Job

Gary adapted easily to the stress-free life in Tonga’s archipelagos. Not only do his bushy beard and pipe fit the laidback cruiser image, but his cap is definitely apropos.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

You might say the next best thing to going cruising on your own boat is having good friends who will invite you to join them while cruising. That’s precisely what happened to Oakland YC member Gary Campbell. After doing the Pacific Puddle Jump last season aboard their Alameda-based Cal 39 Lardo, fellow YC members MaryLee and Dennis Millard invited Gary to join them for a two-week stint exploring the archipelagos of Tonga.

"It didn’t take long for our friend Gary to chill out and adjust to life in the islands," says MaryLee. In fact, he enjoyed the cruising life so much he decided to stay on for the crossing to New Zealand. "We’ll stay in New Zealand during hurricane season, and then back up to Fiji, Vanatua, New Caledonia and Australia next season," explains MaryLee.

Meanwhile, a new batch of Puddle Jumpers are already preparing to make the jump in 2012. Online registration will begin December 1 at our Puddle Jump website, and again this year, all registered boats will be eligible to participate in a special program that includes clearance in and out, repatriation bond exemptions and duty-free fuel privileges. Full details to be announced soon, here and on the website.

If you’d like to follow in Gary’s wake, consider signing up for Latitude 38‘s online Crew List which is available 24/7 and is constantly updated.

This year’s most sensational smoochers were Bill and ShantiAna Bartlett of the Alameda-based Columbia 39 ShantiAna.
On November 5, the Coast Guard rescued a solo sailor from his 20-ft sloop Avalo about 160 miles southwest of San Diego after he phoned shoreside contacts for assistance.
Shortly before the start of the Ha-Ha, we mentioned that there are certain people who appear to be obsessed with hating the event and/or the Grand Poobah.