The way we see it, there are two ways to measure the success of a sailing event. The first is how good the sailing conditions were. The second is how engaged and connected the participants became. Based on those criteria, the recently completed first-ever SoCal Ta-Ta — aka Reggae Pon Da Ocean — was a smashing success. The week-long event saw the 33-boat fleet, including one phantom entry and 103 participants, rally from Santa Barbara to Two Harbors, Catalina, with stops along he way at Santa Cruz Island, Paradise Cove, and King Harbor.
The sailing was sensational on all four legs. We’d done the 26-mile first leg from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island about 15 times, but never in such fine conditions. After starting the fleet, we immediately set Profligate‘s big asymmetrical chute and were able to carry it in 12 to 16 knots of wind to the east end of the island, arriving in less than three hours. And we weren’t even the first boat to finish. Typically you have to wait until later in the day and farther out in the channel to catch such sweet winds.
Sailing conditions of the Ta-Ta’s first leg are seen here from Profligate, taken from the ‘How Not To Sail Safely’ video starring Catalina Liana, Commodore of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club.
The 37-mile second leg, from Santa Cruz Island to Paradise Cove, started in six to eight knots of wind and overcast skies. But the sun came out and the wind came up strong from astern about the time the fleet reached the mainland, somewhere east of Pt. Magu. A bunch of skippers reported hitting their all-time high speeds in winds that touched 26 knots at Pt. Dume. The top speed, 18.3 knots, was turned in by Chuck and Elaine Vanderboom’s Lake Havasu-based F-31 Boomerang.
The 22-mile third leg, a tight reach from Paradise Cove to King Harbor in Redondo Beach, by way of the outer reef at Malibu, was the lightest of all. The fleet spinnaker-reached across a mostly overcast Santa Monica Bay in 8 to 10 knots of wind. It must be noted that once the spinnakers were dropped and the boats moored, the sun came out in all its Southern California glory.
The fourth and final leg, 25-miles from King Harbor to Two Harbors on Catalina was a fabulous 12- to 17-knot reach in bright sunshine. And the fleet arrived at Two Harbors just in time for a heat wave and unusually warm ocean temperatures.
The reason the mothership Profligate couldn’t make that fourth leg was because Doña de Mallorca, Chief of Security, had been laid out in the center of the crowded King Harbor YC dining room during dinner the night before by an extreme case of vertigo. In a matter of minutes, a huge team of paramedics were on site running tests. With her heart checking out fine, stroke became the big concern. De Mallorca was rushed to the Little Mary Company Hospital in Torrance, where she became the 89th person in the ER on what was their busiest night since New Year’s Eve. When a CAT scan and blood tests showed nothing, but the vertigo didn’t completely abate with medication, she was taken to the Kaiser Hospital in Harbor City — at 4 a.m. — for an MRI. Hours later, she was given the all clear signal, and told that it was highly unlikely that she would ever have the vertigo again. By the end of the next day, she was almost as feisty as ever, and eager to get out to Catalina for the Ta-Ta Awards Ceremony.
One of the cool things about having such a small rally fleet was that we were able to divide the fleet into three groups, and then on consecutive nights have one of the three groups aboard Profligate for sundowners. Each group was small enough that just about everybody got to know everybody else. So at the Awards Ceremony, when the event’s Grand Poobah announced that the thing de Mallorca had asked for when drawing what she thought might be her last breaths, was to lead a giant conga line of all Ta-Ta participants at the awards party, everybody was game. We have to confess that we made up the ‘last wish’, but it was a winner of an idea, as every single Ta-Ta participant — except Bill Lilly of the Lagoon 470 Moontide, who was excused for gimpy knees — got up and conga’d around the bandstand area on the beach at Two Harbors. And everyone did an encore half an hour later. Much fun!
We’d like to salute everyone in the first Ta-Ta fleet for have such a great attitude and spirit. We never heard a discouraging word, and got countless offers of assistance. Others who were very helpful were the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol, the Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol, the super nice folks at the King Harbor YC who hosted a spaghetti dinner and allowed everyone to take showers, and the good folks at Two Harbors.
Most of the sailors who did this year’s Ta-Ta — and three boats came south from San Francisco Bay just to participate — told us they are ready to sign up for the next one. One woman told us we didn’t charge enough money! We’re going to take a month or two to catch our breath before making a final decision about Ta-Ta II. But thanks to the interest expressed by the Santa Barbara YC, the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol, and the folks at the King Harbor YC, we think there’s a way to make it happen, and with even better infrastructure than the first time around. But because of space limitations at King Harbor, the Ta-Ta will almost certainly never be larger than 50 boats. As we learned this year, you don’t have to have a big Ta-Ta for everyone to have a great time.
"I was chartering in French Polynesia recently when I snapped this photo of Australian media magnate James Packer’s 288-ft luxury yacht Arctic P anchored near Bloody Mary’s in Baie De Povai, Bora-Bora," writes USCG Master and Club Nautique instructor Rod Witel. "She may not be the prettiest boat but her bodacious waterslide was certainly a head turner!"
For those not up on the ‘World’s Richest’ lists, Packer’s father Kerry was an Australian media tycoon who, at the time of his death in ’05, was the richest and one of the most powerful men in the country. In the seven years since, James has distanced himself from his media holdings and focused on building a gambling empire. The gambit appeared to have not paid off when it was reported his wealth had plummeted from over $7 billion (AUD) to $3 billion in the first three years after his father’s death. But according to leading financial news outlets, Packer’s wealth has climbed again to around $5 billion. In addition to Arctic P, an ice-breaker turned into a luxury cruise ship, he also owns the 163-ft Overmarine superyacht Z Ellerston, a private jet and a 12-seat Sikorsky S-76 helicopter.
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"The cruising up here in British Columbia has been great," reported San Franciscan Dick Enersen last week aboard Brass Ring, which looks to be a Cal 46,"just as it has been for virtually all of the previously 39 days." But as the accompanying photos by Enersen indicate, not every day has been great for every sailor up there. "The owner of the lovely 42-ft cold-molded sloop Persuasion hit something in the Agamemnon Channel, the first leg of the trip from Pender Harbor to Princess Louisa Inlet, and she began to take on a lot of water up forward. When I asked the owner — he’s the one wearing a red shirt in the dinghy — if there was anything I could do to help, he replied, ‘No. Have a nice day.’ The guy with the little tin boat eventually succeeded in helping the disabled sloop into shallow water. At any rate, the cruising up here is always great — unless you hit something and take on water."
By the way, in my letter on page 40 of the August issue, it says that I sailed on 12s in the America’s Cup year of ’71. Somebody must have made a typo, because it was actually ’64."