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August 31, 2012

Corinthian Spirit on Friday Nights

Corinthian YC’s Friday Night Races come to a close tonight with a non-counter race and series awards. One of the boats competing this season has absolutely blown everyone away with their level of dedication and perseverance in these races. The Catalina 27 Blue Ribbon is owned and crewed by four guys ranging in age from 27 to 36. About a year ago they pooled their money to buy this boat, and it has been a labor of love ever since.

Every Friday afternoon since April 27 they have rushed to San Francisco from their offices in Silicon Valley, quickly rigged the boat at Pier 39, and sprinted across the Bay to the Corinthian. They’ve never missed a start. Skipper Kevin Moore once even drove eight hours straight from San Diego to San Francisco just to make the race in time.

But there’s another miraculous thing about the Blue Ribbon boys that others might find inspirational: They have finished last in every single Friday Night Race this season, but they keep showing up . . . again, and again, and again. In fact, Blue Ribbon has had perfect attendance for both the spring and summer series. That’s 19 races in a row without a single miss . . . and 19 races without beating a single boat — except those that dropped out before finishing. Most people who are losing on such a consistent basis would have given up long ago — they would have lost their drive to compete — but not these guys. They are so eager to learn and improve their racing skills that they keep coming back, every single week. Even on the many occasions when the race committee boat was hauling in the final buoy as Blue Ribbon was inching toward the finish line they didn’t give up.

Their perseverance is paying off. Their starts are now much better, they’re getting a deeper understanding of the tides and currents, and their boat is little by little becoming more race ready, including the addition of a second-hand genoa, a new whisker pole, and their very first boom vang. Rumor has it that their efforts will be recognized at tonight’s awards ceremony with a special perseverance trophy.

For more on CYC’s Friday night series, see

DeWitt at Sausalito Art Festival

Reknowned artist Jim DeWitt will be showcasing his nautical artwork at the Sausalito Art Festival this weekend. This will be Jim’s first time at the 60-year-old festival, and his primary focus will be on America’s Cup paintings. Check out his website to see some examples of what you’ll find there, then hop on over the the festival’s site to buy tickets. In addition to world class art, you can catch great live music — America, The Yard Birds, Smash Mouth, The Fixx, to name a few — and gourmet food booths sponsored by local charities. Just be aware that car parking will be a nightmare; if you come by boat, Sausalito marinas might have guest berthing available, or you can anchor out and dinghy in. The festival is located in the park next door to the Bay Model, right along the waterfront.

Life-Changing Connections at the Crew Party

We bet Jackie Evans had no trouble finding a berth at last year’s Mexico-Only Crew List Party.

©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Based on their personal experiences, some have characterized Latitude 38‘s Crew List Parties as being three hours of fun that can change your life. If that prospect sounds intriguing, you’ll want to circle Wednesday, September 5, on your calendar, the date of our fall Crew Party at Berkeley YC.

Billed as a Mexico-Only Crew List Party and Baja Ha-Ha Reunion, its primary focus is helping boat owners in need of additional crew (specifically for the late-October cruise to Cabo) to meet able-bodied watch-standers. And vice versa. But connections for cruising well beyond Mexican waters are also invariably made, as well as hook-ups for local sailing.

You just never know what kind of thrills you’ll find at the Latitude Crew List parties. Last fall, the lucky folks who crammed themselves into this liferaft from Sal’s Inflatables won gift cards from West Marine!

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Our attitude toward the Baja Ha-Ha rally has always been ‘the more the merrier’, because having more than the bare minimum of crew allows owners to be less fatigued, get more sleep, and be better prepared to handle emergencies — all of which leads to a happier cruise. Naturally, though, bringing unknown crew aboard — or choosing to crew with an unknown captain — is a decision to be made carefully. So there’s no substitute for meeting potential crew/captains in person. Get an advance look at the possibilities by checking out and/or signing up for our free online Crew List.

Lynn and Steve from Go For Broke “discuss” whether they should pick up extra crew so they could better enjoy their trip down the beach. We’re guessing Lynn won!

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This year’s shindig (6-9 p.m.) will be at a new location — Berkeley YC, on the south side of the Berkeley Marina harbor entrance — and it will feature a first-ever Mexico cruising seminar with Mexico-based experts (4:30-6 p.m.) immediately preceding the main event. (Seminar organizers promise free beer for the first 100 attendees, and Mexican raffle prizes!) A variety of other Baja Ha-Ha sponsors will also be on hand to give first-hand insights into using their products or services.

Entry is free for Captain and First Mate from each paid 2012 Ha-Ha entry; $7 cash for everyone else. There will be a no-host bar (cash only), door prizes, and free snacks. We hope to see you there!

Bikes, Moons and Boats

Bikes can be a great addition to a cruising boat — if you have room. They immediately quadruple or more your walking range, and keep you from being at the mercy of taxi drivers. 

If you have a big enough boat, a rusty but still trusty Rockhopper is a good ride. At least after you put on a fat-ass seat and ape-hanger bars. Anybody had any luck with folding bikes?

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We have a mid-range Rockhopper that frankly wasn’t very comfortable. But since we weren’t going to being hopping any rocks, we modified it with a fat ass seat and ape-hanger handlebars, transforming it into a cruiser. When we asked to have the modifications done at a bike shop in Santa Barbara, the guy looked at us timidly and asked if we knew the modifications would cost $130. Big spenders that we are, we told him to go ahead.

The weather has been spectacular here in San Diego, where we are having the folks at Driscoll’s do a little repair to Profligate after she was bonked on the bow while on the hook at Catalina. About to head north for the nine-day distant start of the SoCal Ta-Ta — 40 entries — we decided we’d hop on our bike and ride after work yesterday. The weather was perfect!

The dinghy dock for the Laurel Street Mooring Field.

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We started off at Shelter Island and headed toward downtown. As we got to Laurel Street, the last rays of the day were setting off the skyscrapers behind the moored-out boats. It must have been 80 degrees, with a gentle breeze.

As we stopped to take a photo, we heard the sound of a Coast Guard helicopter revving up about 150 feet away. It’s very possible that this is the same helicopter that rescued the crew of J/World after she sank as a result of being hit by a whale in the ’09 Ha-Ha. The helicopter lifted to about 40 feet, hovered in place, then took off.

A Coast Guard helicopter heads out. It may be the one that saved the Ha-Ha crew in ’09

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Right after we took that shot, we glanced to the east and saw a whopper of a moon coming up over the boats moored on the first row of the Laurel Street mooring field. It looked as if it might have been full, but we’ve since done a little research, and it turns out that not only is tonight’s moon full, it’s a ‘blue moon’. We know some of you think this means there is some kind of astronomical reason for the moon to come up the color blue tonight. Alas, it’s not going to be blue at all, it just means that it’s the second full moon of the month, something that only occurs once this year and not again until ’15. Why do they call it ‘blue’? Because back in the Middle Ages it was known as the ‘betrayal moon’ because it didn’t wait for the next month, and ‘blue’ sounds like ‘betrayal’ in French. Of course, after the giant volcanic eruption of 1883 in Indonesia, the volcanic dust actually did make the moon look blue. It was the orgin of the saying ‘once in a blue moon’.

A nearly full moon rises over the front row of boats at Laurel Street, and just above the light of a landing jet.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Night sailing with a full moon is spectacular. That’s why we’ve arranged for a full moon for the first night of this year’s Baja Ha-Ha. You’re welcome.

Our next stop was the corner of Laurel Steet and the Pacific Coast Highway. This is kind of  fun because of the planes coming in to Lindbergh Field pass directly overhead. They come in pretty low, but nothing like the old days of PSA. If we remember the lore correctly, one PSA pilot touched his 727 down just 150 feet from the Pacific Coast Highway. Did you know that some women consider the whining of jet engines to be an aphrodisiac? We saw it in a Francis Ford Coppola movie.

It was pretty close to dark by now. Having left our headlamp back on the boat, we were foolishly riding without any lights. And wearing a black shirt to boot. But the PCH is almost deserted to the north of Laurel, so we had no trouble riding up to Washington, then taking a right up to India Street.

If you’re looking for a last meal in San Diego before heading off to Mexico, we highly recommend Saffron, a Thai restaurant. It has no decor, but the food it killer. Ever since we had pho on the dark and dirty streets of Hanoi a few years ago, we’ve been dying to find some in the States that taste half as good. Well, Saffron has the real deal, plus lots of other delicious treats. And you can’t believe the photos of celebrities on the walls: Julia Childs, Jimmy Carter, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep. There’s also a photo of Tom Hanks with Julia Roberts, both sporting strange looks that suggest they had electrodes stimulating their genitals. The swordfish with red curry was delicious. The spring rolls were orgasmic.

If you think the outside of Saffron doesn’t look like much, you’re right. The interior isn’t any better. But the food? Wow! Cheap, too.

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Kittycorner from Saffron is a weird Mexican restaurant called Luche Libre. We don’t know what goes on at that place, but no matter if we pass at noon or 9 p.m., there are 100 people in line. Gotta try that one sometime, too.

By now, it was about 10 p.m., and we only had about four miles to go to Home Depot where we could get a headlamp so we wouldn’t be riding black against black any longer. We made it there safely, and found that we could buy one headlamp for $15 or three nearly identical ones for about the same price. Who decides on the prices of this stuff?

We later met some friends for drinks, figuring our chances of getting a BUI — biking under the influence — were slight. Indeed, we rode the last three or four miles home illuminated like a UFO, and never saw a cop. But we did enjoy the still very warm temperatures, even at midnight.

That’s our boat biking story and we’re sticking to it. Do you have one?

But don’t forget, blue moon sailing tonight! 

Latitude 38 is Out

Today is the day that the September edition of Latitude 38 hits the streets all around the Bay Area, just in time for your Labor Day weekend reading pleasure! In it you’ll find a full recap of last week’s America’s Cup World Series, plus readers’ reactions and our own take on the event; the report on the ‘Fab 4’ edition of the Delta Doo Dah, as well as the Pacific Puddle Jump and the Pacific Cup; the first set of Baja Ha-Ha profiles, and so much more. Pick it up at your yacht club or local marine chandlery, or download it directly from our site later today for free. Have a great — and safe — Labor Day weekend. See you Wednesday!

On the heels of the highly successful AC World Series last week, Oracle Team USA’s AC72, the monster cat that will be used for the America’s Cup Finals next year, is slated to be launched this week (some say tomorrow).
When we showed up at the California YC in Marina del Rey with Profigate a couple of weeks ago to give a presentation, we were assigned the guest dock, which just happened to be about five slips down from the 72-ft Deerfoot II.
Sailors are a notoriously innovative bunch. There are few other applications where the use of duct tape and bailing wire seems to work quite as well — or last as long — as on a sailboat.