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December 14, 2011

Winter Sailstice Sailing

Watching the sun set between the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges can be a breathtaking sight.

© 2011 Rod Witel

Winter sailing is one of the best kept secrets on the Bay. Sure, we’ve got a great selection of Midwinter races to choose from, but sailing for the sheer pleasure of it is often forgotten in the winter, especially during the busy holiday season. Sometimes what sailors really need is a date to go — a race, a cruise-out, an event — so it’s pretty convenient that the ‘Got Wind and Water’ Meetup group has wrapped all three into one event: The 3rd Annual Winter Sailstice Pursuit Race Fiasco & Pizza Party this Sunday, December 18 (the winter solstice is on December 21).

If we understand how it all works, as a member of the group, you can create your own ‘event’ under the umbrella of the main event, and invite others to join you as crew. "The group is all about connecting those who want to sail with those who sail," says organizer John Cabrall. "Have a boat, but you aren’t a Got Wind and Water member? Then join us! If you’ve got what it takes, we’ll make you an event host and you can participate."

As for the day’s activities, John says, "The crazy Fiasco-style course is 1.8-nautical miles. Each boat will be assigned a start time based on their PHRF rating. The start is the day mark outside of Corinthian YC, with the first start at 10 a.m. The two marks are Little Harding and the Red #2 bouy off of Pt. Knox. Take the marks in any order and finish at the dock in Ayala Cove." Once the fleet is tied up, a pizza party ($10/person) will follow.

Mark Singleton and his family love to go winter sailing on their Hunter 36 La Vie En Rose II, and they hardly need warmer clothes than summer sailing on the Bay.

La Vie En Rose II
©2011 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Of course you don’t have to join a group to take friends out sailing on the Bay. All it takes is the desire to enjoy some mellow winter sailing and fine company — just set a date and the Bay is all yours.

Volvo Fleet Marches On

The six-boat fleet in the Volvo Ocean Race has already put in some heavy miles since starting Leg Two on Sunday. After an uncharacteristic stretch of light-air beating around the tip of the African continent, the fleet was met with some wild running through the wicked Agulhas current, which flows against the wind direction. Fortunately none of the boats reported serious damage as they traversed the Agulhas in breeze that topped out in the mid-30s and stirred up 20-ft waves.

Leg Two of the Volvo Ocean Race started off pretty mellow . . .

© Ian Roman Volvo Ocean Race

After sharing the lead for much of the beginning of the leg, Franck Cammas’ Groupama and Chris Nicholson’s Camper aren’t looking as good now that the fleet has spread out some 100 miles. Rather it’s Iker Martínez’ Leg One-winning Telefónica that is looking primed to take advantage of a somewhat risky call by navigator Andrew Cape to delay heading east into the heart of the Indian Ocean.

The Agulhas current made sure no one got off easy.

© Diego Fructoso

From this point forward the Volvo Ocean Race will get even more interesting, as maritime security concerns have meant that the boats will soon enter a "stealth zone" where their respective positions will not be available to the public, and presumably pirates. After being escorted through this zone, the boats will sail to a safe port, where they will be loaded aboard a ship and transported closer to Abu Dhabi, the finishing port for Leg Two.

AC & Rigging Meetings Reminder

If you read Monday’s ‘Lectronic item about this week’s America’s Cup meetings within a couple hours of its being posted, you may not have caught the correct time for the first one. The original time for the meeting in Room 400 at City Hall on Thursday was noon but that was changed to 5 p.m. There have been no changes to the second meeting.

While we’re at it, we’d like to remind you that the Singlehanded TransPac is presenting a free rigging seminar at Oakland YC tonight at 7 p.m. The meeting is free and open to anyone. Don’t miss it!

Who’s Sailed the Pacific Northwest?

We’ve sailed in Pacific Northwest waters enough to know that they comprise one of most beautiful cruising grounds in the world. With mazes of forested islands, sheltered anchorages and picturesque waterside towns, the San Juan Islands, Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound region all score high marks as some of our favorite places for summer sailing getaways. That said, we certainly don’t consider ourselves to be experts on the Northwest, so we’re looking for a little help from readers like you.

Summer days in the islands are often sunny and warm. In fact, as Northwest sailor Lani Schroeder demonstrates, it can even get hot enough to work on an all-over tan.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As you may have noticed, it’s become a tradition to feature the Greater Puget Sound region in the January charter section of Latitude 38 magazine, as that’s the ideal lead time for booking summer charters. So if you have tips and/or insights about particular places, activities or itinerary strategies we’d love to hear them. Please shoot us an email — if possible, with a few of your best photos attached.

It’s also a great area for family fun. Haydon Stapleton shows off a discovery made while perusing tide pools at low tide.

© Karen Munro

Latitude 38 is all about people who sail and their experieces, both on the West Coast and beyond. So, as always, your input will be greatly appreciated.

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