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May 21, 2012

Venetians Bid Farewell to AC Action

Last weekend’s Festa Della Sensa was a spectacular capper to an amazing week of AC45 racing and cultural pageantry. The annual festival commemorates “the city’s marriage to the sea,” and is said to draw “millions” of visitors.

© Ellen Hoke

With AC 45 races now complete in Venice, that ornate Italian city begins to normalize, and the Bay Area’s Ellen Hoke — who was deputized to cover the event for Latitude — is heading home. Before her departure, though, she sent these photos of final activities. Look for a report from Ellen in the June edition of Latitude 38, where she’ll share her impressions and lessons learned for San Francisco. Two AC45 events will take place here this year: August 21-26, and October 4-7, the latter to coincide with the Bay’s annual Fleet Week celebration.

Stretch out flat and don’t move a muscle. That seemed to be one aspect of Team Artemis’ strategy that brought them to the winner’s circle in the final round of AC45 racing last week.

© 2012 Ellen Hoke
The victors greet their cheering fans. Artemis Racing, the challenger of record for the 34th America’s Cup, won
the match-racing section of the Venice event.

© 2012 Ellen Hoke
Energy Team’s Moet moment after winning the fleet racing portion: Loick Peyron (of Energy) and Jimmy Spithill (of Oracle Racing) battle it out – this time with champagne.

© 2012 Ellen Hoke


Somali Pirate Lair Destroyed

There may be hope on the horizon for cruisers wanting to take the easy way to the Med through the Gulf of Aden, an area that in recent years has been rife with pirates. Last week, European Union naval forces launched the first-ever offensive strike against Somali pirates. Attack helos reportedly blew a supply center to smithereens, including nine speed boats, arms and fuel supplies. No one was injured in the attack. The raid was conducted with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Somali government, and EU forces promise more strikes are planned for the future.

More Sailing Students

Earlier in the month, we wrote about a German exchange student looking for a sailing host family during his stay in the U.S. While government rules prohibited Inter-Ed’s Cheryl Williams from sharing information on the student, there is apparently no rule against the student contacting us directly and sharing some info. His name is Christian and he asked that we tell everyone that he’s really looking forward to coming to California in August. If you apply to become his host family, Cheryl will be able to share all of his info with you, including a great video he made that shows him showing off his mad sailing skilz. Email Cheryl for more details.

Not long after that story was posted, we received an email from Daniela Tanner of Cultural Homestay International, which also is tasked with finding host homes for exchange students. "I have Carlo, a student from Italy, who would like to continue his love of sailing while staying in the U.S.," she wrote. "I’m looking for a host family who can be supportive of his sport. Without host families, we would not be able to help these students achieve their American Dream!" The same basic guidelines apply as with Cheryl’s students (see the link above). Contact Daniela for more info.

Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault hosted Naomi Wolf last year. “We learned a lot having a young person in the house,” Bruce told us, adding that Naomi was a delight.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

From our discussions with the families who have hosted sailing-happy students in the past, it’s clear that the hosts get as much — if not more — out of the experience as the students. You don’t have to be wealthy (students pay their own expenses), have kids (retirees and empty-nesters are welcome), or even married (single-parent families are encouraged to apply). So why not make this the year you do something that will not only make a difference in someone else’s life, but in yours as well?

Prada wins the day with a victory for both Italian boats. © Ellen Hoke "I’m surprised that the cheers of the Italian fans didn’t wake up every sailing fan in San Francisco," says roving reporter Ellen Hoke.
Celebrations for the South Bay Opening Day start tonight at Coyote Point YC with a dinner, but really get rolling tomorrow at 11 a.m.