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December 12, 2011

AC Meetings This Week

The adoption of the America’s Cup 34 environmental impact report is up for debate this week, and the America’s Cup Event Authority needs all the help it can get.

© 2011 Gilles Martin-Raget

The governmental approval process for the 34th America’s Cup is coming to a close, and one of the final steps will be a pair of meetings later this week that will decide whether the environmental impact report will be adopted by the City. Given the disappointing attendance for the America’s Cup World Series San Diego — although attended by many representatives of the City family — any support you can give the event will be extremely helpful.

The first of those will be the meeting for the Planning Comission on Thursday at 5 p.m. in City Hall room 400. The second is for the Port Commission on Friday at 10:15 a.m. at City Hall in room 250. Although there’s no need to do so, you can RSVP to be advised of any changes in venue and/or time. If you can’t make the meeting, but would still like to show your support, please do so via email, and urge the planning commission to certify the report. Emails of support can be sent to Planning Commission Secretary Linda Avery, and directly to commisioners Christina Olague, Ron Miguel, Michael J. Antonini, Gwyneth Borden, Kathrin Moore, Hisashi Sugaya, and Rodney Fong.

Questions, or requests for more information on how you can be of help to America’s Cup 34 will be fielded by the Event Authority’s Ariel Ungerleider or Stephanie Martin.

Calamari Anyone?

For many sailors, one of the highlights of sailing south off the west coast of Baja is fishing in its abundant waters. Already this year, sailors have reported catching prime game fish such as wahoo as big as 65 inches long, without even using a rod and reel. One thing that’s been peculiar this year, though — at least in our experience — is the presence of schools of Humboldt squid, many measuring 3 feet long. During October’s Baja Ha-Ha rally many sailors observed and/or caught them as they snapped at trailing lures.

Leather boot? Blob of seaweed? No, it’s a giant Humboldt squid. This one snapped at our lures as we sailed south in October.

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Some crews found them to be freaky creatures with an ‘ick’ factor that was pretty much off the charts, while others landed them, bled them of their ink and sauteed them in butter and garlic for a splendid meal. We thought the squids we observed were huge until we learned that these voracious eaters can grow to be longer than an adult human, and weigh up to 100 lbs. Propelled by the rapid ejection of water, they can travel at speeds up to nearly 15 knots. 

This squid looks big compared to the six-inch variety often found in tropical waters, but it’s a baby compared to some of its species, whose bodies are well over six feet long. Ten tentacles draw prey to the animal’s sharp, parrot-like beak (lower right).

©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Anyone who remembers Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea might guess that giant squid live primarily in the deep ocean, which is true. Research subs have spotted them as deep as 2,500 feet. But they’re said to occasionally come to the surface to feed, which is probably why we, and many others, chanced upon them.

Recent El Niño events — which bring warm water farther north — as well as a reduction of their natural predators are thought to be responsible for giant squid populations being sighted in recent years along the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington, as well as Baja. So keep a sharp eye out when trolling offshore, and keep your sauté pan handy. But watch out for that sticky black ink. If that gets on your teak decks or custom cockpit upolstery you’ll be as grumpy as Captain Nemo on his worst day.

Free Rigging Seminar

You don’t have to be an entrant in next summer’s Singlehanded TransPac to attend the seminars offered by the Singlehanded Sailing Society in the months preceeding the 2,120-mile race from San Francisco Bay to Kauai. Topics are geared toward long-distance racers, but are applicable to any sailor, and since the talks are free, attending is a real no-brainer.

A dipped spinnaker pole resulted in a busted mast on Ruben Gabriel’s Pearson Electra Sparky in the ’08 Singlehanded TransPac — 680 miles from the finish line! In true singlehander fashion, Gabriel came up with a jury rig that took him safely to Hanalei Bay.

© 2011 NorCal Sailing

This month’s seminar on Wednesday will focus on rigging and is presented by race vet (and 2012 contender) Ronnie Simpson and Ryan Nelson of the West Marine Rigging Shop in Alameda. Oakland YC doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the talk starting at 7. For more on the race or the Singlehanded Sailing Society, go to

The moon doesn’t disappear during a lunar eclipse but rather turns red thanks to sunlight refracting off Earth’s atmosphere.
Seventeen days into their attempt at the Julles Verne Trophy, the crew of the 131-ft trimaran Banque Populaire V are putting a beat down on the reference time of the current record.
British solo circumnavigator Jeanne Socrates was among dozens of adventurers invited to meet Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at a reception at Buckingham Palace last night.