February 10, 2012

Locked in at St. Katherine’s

Since arriving in Western Europe, Pacific Star has found berthage at a variety of idyllic locations, such as this waterfront berth at Honfleur, France, at the confluence of the tidal Seine and the English Channel on the Normandy coast.

© 2012 Horst Wolff

If we were going to spend a winter aboard our boat in Europe, we’d look for an idyllic setting with a colorful history where well-traveled international cruisers gather. That’s precisely what Horst Wolff and Julia Shovein have done. After hopscotching across the Med for Istanbul in recent months, they nestled into a cozy spot at St. Katherine’s dock in central London.

When we last saw them aboard their San Francisco-based Island Packet 35 Pacific Star in 2008, they were about to head out to the South Pacific. We recall Horst telling us that, when they decided to go cruising, it was Julie who convinced him to think beyond merely cruising the Caribbean. At her suggestion they traveled the Pacific, up through the Gulf of Aden in ’10, and on to the Med.

If we’re not mistaken, that’s our old friend Cap’n Fatty Goodlander in the foreground, who interviewed Horst and Julie in Turkey.

Pacific Star
©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In contrast to plenty of mild-weather sailing, the couple saw Force 8 and 9 conditions while rounding the southern coast of Greece’s Peloponnese, on their way from Crete to Ithaca. "We had been warned about taking this notoriously windy route as most sailors preferred to cut through the Peloponnese using the Corinth Canal," writes Horst. "We did not regret our decision as we marveled at the wildly rugged beauty of this little-travelled part of the Med. Along the way we anchored in beautiful, small sheltered bays among the myriad of Greek islands. We were constantly reminded of the stories of Odysseus and Jason and the Argonauts as ancient names on the charts were the same as in the old tales."

London’s famous Tower Bridge and many other historic sites lie within walking distance of Pacific Spirit’s winter refuge at St. Katherine’s Dock.

© 2012 Horst Wolff

Learn more about Horst and Julia’s travels in an upcoming edition of Latitude 38 magazine — which is always free and downloadable from our website.

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AC34 on S.F. Bay – Place Your Bets

C.W. Nevius, who writes about the America’s Cup from time to time for the San Francisco Chronicle, doesn’t know shit about sailing. He proved that yesterday by writing some nonsense  about "tacking to leeward." We don’t hold his sailing ignorance against him, as sailing can be as difficult for non-sailors to understand as cricket is to most of the world.

But Nevius did have a point in yesterday’s report, which is that until the event authority — a.k.a. Larry Ellison — and San Francisco come to an agreement about leases of port land, there is no certainty there will even be an America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay next year. That it’s not a done deal was one of the main points we made in the ‘America’s Cup Insider’s Guide’ article in this month’s Latitude.

Are the dreams of an America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay about to fly away.

© Gilles Martin-Raget

Nevius, who says he’s covered about a million Olympics, reports that such games of chicken aren’t anything new between event organizers and local governments where the events are to be held. But he sounded a little concerned. As are we.

The other worriesome thing about the Cup is the speculation that only three teams — Oracle, the Paul Cayard-lead Team Artemis from Sweden, and Emirates Team New Zealand — will build the 72-ft cats that are to be used in the Finals. And that all the rest of the teams aren’t going beyond the 45s. That would tend to lessen the gravitas of the event, wouldn’t you agree?

So we’re asking you, Latitude readers, to place two bets on the America’s Cup right now. First, will there even be an America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay late next summer? Second, if the event does happen, will it surprise to the upside or the downside? You can add comments, but because we expect to get lots of responses, please limit them to 100 words.

Understanding Bay currents can give racers a huge advantage in developing winning strategies, especially during long, complex races like the recent Three Bridge Fiasco.
That intrepid British solo circumnavigator Jeanne Socrates sure gets around. After a knockdown at Cape Horn ended her plans for a nonstop solo circumnavigation last January, Socrates wound up spending 13 months in South Africa effecting repairs to her Najad 380 Nereida and having all sorts of adventures — from having juice with Laura Dekker to tea with the Queen of England.