July 2, 2012

Singlehanded TransPac Starts

Al Germain’s Wyliecat 30 Bandicoot leads the way for Brian Boschma’s Olson 34 RedSky and Whitall Stokes’ Tartan Ten Slacker during Saturday’s start of the Singlehanded TransPac Race.

©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The 18th running of the Singlehanded TransPac, a biennial 2,120-mile jaunt from San Francisco Bay to Hanalei Bay on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, started off Corinthian YC at noon on Saturday. A mild 15-knot breeze and an ebb helped racers get out the Gate without too many issues — other than dodging schooners, woodies, ships and the usual collection of recreational boats  —  but light winds greeted the sailors on the ocean, causing some consternation throughout the fleet. Yesterday the breeze picked up enough that racers didn’t have to go in search of it anymore.

The Class of 2012: (l to r) Jerome Sammarcelli, Randy Leasure, Steve Hodges, Al Germain, Peter Heiberg, George Lythcott, Daniel Willey, Cliff Shaw, John Lubimir, Ken ‘The General’ Roper, Tom Watson, Jim Quanci, Ronnie Simpson, Dave Morris, Adrian Johnson, Brian VanderZanden, Mike Jefferson, Ruben Gabriel, Brian Boschma, David Liano, Whitall Stokes, Derk Wolmuth and Alex Mehran.

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This is Ken ‘The General’ Roper’s 12th Solo TransPac aboard his Finn Flyer Harrier, while Dave Morris on his custom Wylie 31 Moonshadow is sailing his first.

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As of this morning, most of the fleet are looking forward to their current boisterous conditions easing a bit for a more comfortable run to the Islands. "It blew 16-22 knots from the beam all night long  —  with building seas  —  so it’s been quite unpleasant," noted Jim Quanci on the Cal 40 Green Buffalo. "Still on water-only rations, and very much looking forward to the wind going aft so I can start eating again (or my sea legs to come in, though it usually takes three days for my stomach to acclimate)."

The past and the future met on the Bay as an entry in the Great Schooner Race fleet crossed tacks with Jerome Sammarcelli’s Pogo 2 Mini Team Open Sailing.

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As expected, Alex Mehran on the Open 50 Truth has pulled far ahead of the fleet, while the rest are whipping their steeds into a lather to lead the pack. Green Buffalo, John Lubimir’s Quest 30 Flight Risk, and Peter Heiberg’s Palmer Johnson 50 Scaramouche are neck-and-neck, while Mike Jefferson on his Garcia Passoa 47 Mouton Noir, Brian VanderZanden on his Hobie 33 TurboCamper and Whitall Stokes on his Tartan Ten Slacker are nipping at their heels, though the latter three are spread farther apart. The smaller boats have fallen back, with one exception: Jerome Sammarcelli on the 21-ft Pogo 2 Team Open Sailing is pushing hard to keep up with the lead boats. Defending ’10 overall monohull winner Adrian Johnson on the Olson 30 Idefix has dived south, a drastic change-up over last race’s winning tactic of rhumblining it.

Stay up-to-date with the race’s mobile race viewing app. Just be sure you’re parked before you check the latest position reports!

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This year’s new tracking page has proven a hit with shoreside family and fans, and racer updates are being added to the Updates page as they come in (or when the race committee has a few moments). You can also download the Yellowbrick Race Viewer from your app store, then purchase the race for £1.99 (a little over $3). The trackers update every two hours, and, with the app, you can watch the race unfold all day.

Next Stop San Francisco for AC45s

The final event in the 2011-12 AC World Series Championship — raced in purpose-built AC45 catamarans — drew to a close yesterday at Newport, RI, with Jimmy Spithill’s Oracle Team USA campaign taking series honors in the fleet racing, and Sweden’s Artemis Racing winning the Match Racing Championship. The 2012-13 series will begin August 21 in San Francisco Bay.

When points World Series points were combined for both match and fleet racing, Jimmy Spithill’s Oracle Team USA came out on top.

© Ellen Hoke

During the Newport event, specifically, the two OT USA teams were both in the spotlight, with Russell Coutts’ team finishing first, and Spithill’s team finishing second. Luna Rossa Piranha took third.

Boys will be boys. . . Personally, we’d rather drink a fine bottle of champagne than spray it on a crowd of onlookers, but then we’ve never won an AC series.

© Ellen Hoke

As you can see below, when points were tallied for the entire season, combining match and fleet racing, Spithill’s team emerged victorious also.

2011-12 AC World Series Overall Championship Leaderboard
(Team, Match Racing Points, Fleet Racing Points, Total Points)
1. Oracle Team USA Spithill…47 – 55 – 102 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand…41 – 52 – 93 points
3. Artemis Racing…50 – 32 – 82 points
4. Energy Team…38 – 36 – 74 points
5. Oracle Team USA Coutts…39 – 29 – 68 points
6. Team Korea…33 – 33 – 66 points
7. Luna Rossa Piranha…26 – 26 – 52 points
8. Luna Rossa Swordfish…15 – 16 – 31 points
9. China Team…15 – 16 – 31 points

See the event’s official website for more.

Baja Ha-Ha Fleet is Typically Diverse

It’s often said that any decent boat will get you to the same beautiful anchorages. There’s no greater evidence of that contention than in the annual Baja Ha-Ha cruisers’ rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. When each year’s fleet assembles on the starting line in late October, there’s always a vast range of boat types, crewed by sailors of similarly diverse backgrounds. (This year’s dates are October 28 – November 10.)

The sun rises on the peaceful 2011 Baja Ha-Ha fleet.

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The smallest boat registered so far is Patric Walton’s San Francisco-based Morgan 28 Valkyrie — just a foot longer than the 27-ft minimum allowed. "This boat will go anywhere," says Patric. It’s a tank; nice and slow and strong." We’ll be anxious to have a chat with Patric when the fleet comes together in San Diego, so we can learn about his early days of sailing — he learned from his dad in Guatanamo Bay, Cuba! Nancy Mathers will be along as crew.

We’ll also be anxious to have a chat with Mike and Adele Watts of the Larkspur-based Oyster 655 Gundamain, which is currently the largest boat entered. They’ve both circumnavigated twice, and have already completed a Pacific circuit on this yacht, out to French Polynesia, up to Hawaii, and across to the high latitudes of North America’s west coast. In addition to being sleek and artfully crafted, Gundamain lists a washer, dryer, a full set of spares, dive compressor and tanks, plus a heating and air condition system among their ‘go-slow’ gear.

If you’re on the fence about Ha-Ha’ing this year, we’d strongly encourage you to stop procrastinating and — to borrow a well-worn phrase from Nike — just do it. If you’ve got the boat and you’ve got the time, there’s no point in delaying. After all, you never know when your window of availability might close. Below is a list of current entries in the order they signed up — as we mentioned, a typically diverse fleet. The online entry process just takes about 10 minutes to complete, and will be available until the September 10 deadline.

Exodus / Lagoon 400 / San Diego / John Lightfoot & Sherry Franklin
Tamara Lee Ann / Celestial 48 / Emeryville / Doug & Tamara Thorne
Elysium / Catalina 42 MkII / Anacortes, WA / Dan Ohlemacher
Day Dream / J/122 / San Francisco / Robert Day
Mandolina / Oceanic 45 / San Francisco / Rich Reiner
Milagro / Catalina 42 / Alameda / Michael & Judy Stouffer
Vakasa / Lagoon TPI 42 / Victoria, BC / Tony & Kathy Silver
Dolfin / Pacific Seacraft 37 / San Diego / Bill & Patty Meanley
Talos IV / Pacific Seacraft 37 / Seattle, WA / Paul & Janet Baker
Heavy Metal / Blue Water 60 / San Francisco / Rigo & Deborah Fuzetto
Elegant’sea / Islander Freeport 36 / San Diego / Chip & Debbie Willis
Grey Goose / Hunter 36 / Marina Bay / Alan & Linda Brabon
Ojo Rojo / Columbia 36 / Alamitos Bay / Keith & Terry Albrecht
Flibbertigibbet / O’Day 34 / Discovery Bay / Betty & Jim Adams
Defiant / C&C 115 / Vancouver, BC / Mike Northup & Nancy Kettles
Rubber Duckies / Coronado 45 / Alameda / Nicki & Darrell Powell-Ford
Shindig / Oyster 485 / Sausalito / Robert & Nancy Novak
Zoë / Fantasi 44 / Bainbridge Is, WA / David & Barbara Rogers
HighRoad / Hans Christian 38 / Astoria, OR / Robert & Nancy Atwood
Lanikai / Hunter 38 / Long Beach / Allan & Leanne Emas
Serenity Now / Catalina MkII 36 / Dana Point / Dennis & Sue Nespor
Oogachaka / Krogen Widebody 42 / Coeur d’Alene, ID / Ken & Patty Sebby
Scot Free IV / Hylas 42 / Vancouver, BC / John Harper & Deborah Martin del Campo
Raireva / Cape Vickers 34 / Green Cove Springs / Marek Nowicki & Helen Chien
Odyssey / Islander Freeport 41 / Rio Vista / Kenneth & Danita Nissen
Gypsy Wind / Hunter 40.5 / Marina del Rey / James & Elizabeth Lee
La Boheme / Hylas 44 / Alameda / Marian Croyle & Neil Calvert
Wanuskewin / Catalina 42 MkII / San Diego / Michael & Holly Sanderson
Krissy 2 / Passport 40 / San Francisco / Allen Cooper
Patanjali / Catalina 42 / Marina del Rey / Michael Bowe
Taj / Grainger 48 cat / Port Townsend, WA / Peter Brown
Victoria / Hudson Force 50 / Catawba, WI / Alan Young
A Viva / Islander 36 / San Diego / David Meyers
Gitane / Island Packet 38 / Seattle, WA / Kenneth & Nancy Hunting
Kindred Spirit / Tayana V42 / Emeryville / Jim & Michele Saake
Haulback / Spencer 35 / Vancouver, BC / Jim & Janet Kellam
Valhalla / Ericson 34 / San Francisco / Don & Kathie Wight
Distraction / Olson 911s / San Diego / Don Laverty
Rancho Relaxo / Islander 30 / Chula Vista / Paul Ingram
Aventura / Morgan 382 / Seattle, WA / Greg Smith
Desert Vision / Hunter 44 DS / Portland, OR / Michael & Iris Boone
R & B III / Catalina 36 / Santa Cruz / Robert Older & Richard Weed
Coyote / Hylas 42 / San Francisco / Jack Salyer
Sea Gazer / Islander 36 / San Diego / Thomas Fernandez
Valkyrie / Morgan 28 / San Francisco / Patric Walton
Wizard / Choate 40 / San Francisco / John & Susan Campbell
Fluenta / Stevens 47 / Halifax, NS / Max Shaw & Elizabeth Brown-Shaw
Beleza / Hylas 46 / San Pedro / Michael & Qi Bruce
Sea Note / Endeavour 43 / Fort Mohave, AZ / Thomas Wood
Story Seeker / Beneteau M445 / Sausalito / Keith Patterson & Marianna deCroes
Bangorang / Fountaine-Pajot Venezia 42 / Ventura / Colin & Wendy Gegg
Gundamain / Oyster 655 / Larkspur / Paxy Ltd.
Iataia / Beneteau First 45 / San Diego / Sara & Marcos Rodriguez
Reflections / Rafiki 37 / Morro Bay / Jeff Wass
Little Wing / Islander 34 / Point Richmond / Keith Somers & Mary Perkins
Autumn Wind / Catalina 34 / Alameda / Brian Plautz & Elizabeth Kline
Unwinder / Catalina 36 / San Diego / Robert Watson
Compadre / Columbia 45 / Long Beach / Doug & Virginia Ward
Rhapsody / Herreshoff Nereia 36/ Los Angeles / Alan & Laura Dwan
Gabby Wray / Catalina 470 / San Diego / Darrell & Wendy Peck
Granuaile / Tayana 52 / Marina del Rey / Gregory Richter & Janet Gaynor
Pied-a-Mer III / Seawind 1160 cat / Clatskanie, OR / Eric & Pam Sellix
Lion Heart / Catalina 42 / Redondo Beach, CA / George & Veronica Lyons
Indiscretion / Hunter 35 / Victoria, BC / Albert Klettke
Pacific Hwy / Davidson 44 / St. John, USVI / Bruce & Laura Masterson
Jumble / Mariner 31 / San Diego / Andrew Martin & Anna Tang

Coastal Cup with My Three Sons

The Moonlight crew just after they tied up at Santa Barbara YC. Left to right: Matthew, 38, Nick, 17, Jonathan, 16, and Jim Gibbs (age not disclosed).

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Jim Gibbs raced his Express 27 Moonlight in last month’s Coastal Cup with his three sons as crew. "Two of them, Nick, age 17 and Jon, age 16, had only limited Bay racing experience, so this was a ‘coming of age’ adventure for them and the realization of a dream for me," said Jim. "My older son, Matthew, 38, and I have raced Moonlight to Santa Barbara now six times, so we knew the way, but we were uncertain as to how well we would do." The Coastal Cup was sponsored by Encinal YC, with starts on June 13 and 14 off the St. Francis YC race deck.

"Nick and Jon were terrific as crew – and they learned to drive fast in wind and waves and pitch dark. Nick set our speed record of 13.5 knots at night, and Jon was great as foredeck, jibing and dousing in big waves and wind." It took them two days and a bit less than four hours to reach the Santa Barbara finish.

Moonlight placed fifth out of 18 boats, which was "pretty good considering our average experience and the fact we were the smallest boat in the race. Most of the fleet were fast sleds with experienced crews." They won the MORA Perpetual Trophy, for the first yacht of 31.5-ft or less in length on corrected time in PHRF, and the Carl Schumacher Perpetual Trophy for the Schumacher-designed yacht with the fastest corrected PHRF time.

For complete results and more, see www.encinal.org.

Fourth of July Sailing Preview

The Newport 30 No Agenda and Black Watch 37 Brigadoon just after the start of 2010’s windy Brothers and Sisters race.

© 2012

Planning to get the boat out to celebrate Independence Day? Why not drop into a race? With so many to choose from, there’s probably one near you.

During the day, Tiburon Yacht Club’s Brothers and Sisters Regatta sails from Paradise Cay in the North San Francisco Bay, into San Pablo Bay, around the eponymous island pairs, and back to the clubhouse, where a family-friendly party and barbecue awaits. See www.tyc.org. Monterey Peninsula YC’s 4th of July Regatta consists of three races for Shields and PHRF boats. See www.mpyc.org.

A little later, several clubs host Wednesday night beer can races. Here are a few from our Calendar (click on their names to go to their websites):

Looking for fireworks you can watch from your boat? If you’re going to Barron Hilton’s Fireworks extravaganza at at Mandeville Tip in the Delta, better go a day early – they’ll be on July 3 this year. Further up the San Joaquin River, Stockton will set off fireworks on July 4 at Weber Point. You can also sail over to Benicia, Martinez, Sausalito, or San Francisco’s Pier 39 to see fireworks on July 4.

Fire on the water.

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The Latitude 38 office will be closed this Wednesday in observance of Independence Day, and the hard-working ‘Lectronic Latitude will get the day off too. Happy Fourth!

An avant-garde conceptural art piece? No, it’s a shot of Emirates Team New Zealand crew members trying to sort things out after their boat took a dive during yesterday’s ACWS action.
This year’s start probably won’t be as windy as the beginning of the previous SHTP in 2010, but the racers won’t care – they just want to get started!
Due to a major hiccup at the printer, delivery of a large portion of the July edition of Latitude 38 magazine will be delayed until Monday.