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February 8, 2013

Sausalito Herring Festival

The felucca Nuovo Mondo and the Wettons’ Monterey will be on display — on Sausalito YC moorings — at the Sausalito Herring Festival tomorrow.

Sausalito Herring Festival
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Long before wartime ship-building, flower children, and tourists, Sausalito had herring. As one of the more important fisheries in the world, and the last commercial fishery left on San Francisco Bay, herring draw fishermen from up and down the coast to the Bay for a short-but-productive two-month season. Herring boats can be seen scooping up the oily little baitfish in Richardson Bay at all hours as flocks of seabirds and hoards of marine mammals fight for the leftovers. And tomorrow you’ll have the chance to celebrate the shiny little fish at the inaugural Sausalito Herring Festival.

Richardson Bay boaters are all too familiar with herring roe. Scraping it off the bottom would be fun if it wasn’t so smelly!

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The festival runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Gabrielson Park (near the ferry landing) in downtown Sausalito. Several local restaurants and chefs will feature culinary delights (not all herring-based!) and demos on preparing seafood, while experts educate attendees on threats to the fishery’s sustainability. A kids’ activity area will keep Junior entertained while adults enjoy the musical stylings of several groups, including the Waterfront Pickers which features Latitude‘s own ‘Banjo Andy’ Turpin, Tom and Hans List, Jody Boyle, Tom Funkhouser, John Skoriak, ‘Diver Dave’ Gissendaner, and other working maritime tradespeople. The event is free to attend, but donations for the Sausalito Community Boating Center are welcome (and encouraged)!

Sailor Burned at Grand Marina

Alameda sailor Josh Sailer, 30, was badly burned aboard his Newport 28 at Grand Marina around 1 p.m. yesterday after an onboard explosion. According to a Chronicle report, the victim was a construction worker who had lived aboard the unnamed boat part time for the past two years. His brother, Jacob, believed the galley stove was the source of the explosion, but it’s unknown at this point if the stove was alcohol or propane.

As neighbors rushed to the boat to put out the fire, Sailer jumped overboard to extinguish himself. Though he suffered burns to 20% of his body, the worst of the damage was on his hands and knees. Grand Marina’s Mardy Valentine reported this morning that they just got word that his eyes and lungs were spared. The Alameda Fire Department is investigating the incident. 

AC 34 Tickets on Sale Tomorrow

When we checked in with Ryan Carroll yesterday his voice was noticeably hoarse. And no wonder. He’s the go-to guy for info on "spectator experiences" at this summer’s Louis Vuitton challenger series and America’s Cup Finals. And it was announced yesterday that the first phase of seat reservations for the full run of America’s Cup activities will go on sale at 8 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) at this link.

As you can see, the course box for the summer events will be dramatically larger than that of last year’s AC World Series.


Here’s the deal. You won’t be able to buy individual tickets for specific days of racing until sometime in early March. But if you’re a diehard who wants to take in lots of the AC action from a shoreside perspective, you can put down a nonrefundable $100 deposit now which will guarantee you the option of buying an AC "season pass" in the coming weeks for as little as $999; meaning you will be guaranteed a seat — but apparently not a specific, numbered seat — in either the Marina Green viewing stands or the stands located on the Golden Gate YC peninsula. Both locations are expected to be within earshot of PA systems which will broadcast blow-by-blow commentary of the action throughout the course.

Carroll couldn’t confirm exactly how many individual seats will ultimately be available, as the permitting process is ongoing, but the target is somewhere above 5,000. What will individual tickets go for in March? That decision hasn’t been finalized yet either, but an educated guess would put it somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 per day. And how high scalper prices will go is anybody’s guess.

Now that the home team’s #17 is flying again under her brand new wing, the excitement is building throughout the Bay Area for next summer’s showdown.

© 2013 Oracle Team USA

Additional shoreside spectator packages will also be announced in March which may include such things as exclusive receptions and events, getting your picture taken with the America’s Cup trophy, AC credentials, special gifts and more. The AC Event Authority wisely chose to partner with SF Giants Enterprises to facilitate all this sort of stuff. They’ll also be offering viewing options from a number of large charter vessels.

What are the dates for specific events? A final schedule of events has just been released. Click here to download it. For questions about viewing options email here or call (415) 972-1818. But if Ryan answers, go easy on him. Otherwise he’ll soon have no voice at all.

International Red Bull Trials Begin Tomorrow

As reported previously, both here and in the pages of Latitude 38, the second phase of crew selections for September’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup will take place this month — with Session 1 beginning tomorrow.

Teams of young sailors, aged 19-24, from Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa will compete in this session, which concludes on the 15th. Session 2, running February 18-24, will include sailors from Argentina, the UK, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland.

All will be vying for crew positions aboard bona fide AC45 cats during the September 1-4 RBYAC — sandwiched between the Louis Vuitton challenger series and the AC Finals. All races in that series will be fleet racing rather than match racing, and should be thrilling to watch. Regardless of what you think about an energy drink as the title sponsor, we think Red Bull should be applauded for stepping up to host this unique event, which creates a viable gateway for talented young sailors to advance to the highest levels of pro sailing.

We’re fairly certain that the Red Bull AC45s won’t need signs like this. The naked eye of the average Bay sailor will barely see them fly by!

© Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

In addition to the teams which will survive this round of eliminations, six additional teams are already guaranteed a slice of September’s action, as they are affiliated with AC campaigns: China Team, France’s Energy Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing / Swedish Youth Challenge, Oracle Team  USA / USA45 Racing, and San Francisco’s own (due to being the host city) Oracle Team USA / American Youth Sailing Force.

One word of caution, though. If you see AC45s blasting across the South Bay this month, you’d be wise to give them a wide berth. They are, after all, being helmed by student drivers!

Racing and Seminar Preview

The race signal flags tell the story at January’s BYC Midwinters.

© Bob Walden

February will be the last (relatively) quiet month on the Bay Area sailing calendar before the big spring regattas of March start. RegattaPRO‘s Winter One Design Series wraps up on Saturday. Regular racing in Berkeley YC‘s Saturday and Sunday Midwinter Series concludes this weekend. A Champion of Champions race will follow on February 24.

The Harbor 25 Diversion, Hawkfarm Red Hawk, and Cal 2-27 Wind Dance inched their way to the startline at TYC against a building ebb in January. Another big ebb is predicted for tomorrow afternoon.

© 2013 Carole Gunn

Continuing but not concluding on Saturday will be Sequoia YC‘s Winter Series, Tiburon YC‘s Midwinters and Lake Merritt Sailing Club’s Robinson Memorial Midwinter on Saturday (call (510) 582-1048 for info). Island YC‘s Island Days and Santa Rosa SC‘s Spring Lake Series continue on Sunday.

Also this weekend, Half Moon Bay YC hosts the Londerville Cup for Cal 20s, Coronado 15s, and Lasers on Saturday and Optis on Sunday, in the protected, flat waters of Pillar Point Harbor. Continuing on down the coast: "Come down and race in Santa Cruz on Sunday, Februrary 10, for the next Laser Midwinter at SCYC," writes Hilary Walecka. "We’ve had good turnout and fun races so far — don’t miss it!" See

"Our position as I write is 9 degrees north," said Giovanni Soldini this morning aboard the Volvo Open 70 Maserati, which is 39 days out from New York on their way to San Francisco via Cape Horn. They’re setting a record pace, and are expected to arrive after the middle of next week, but we sure hope they arrive at the Gate during daylight hours! Keep track of them at

Vanguard 15 sailor Avery Patton urges fellow Vanguardians and Laser sailors to start working on crew, trailers, trailer hitches, and boats for April 6-7’s 20th annual Ski/Sail in North Lake Tahoe. "It is a scientific fact that every participant in Ski/Sail, ever, has been glad they made the trip," claims Patton. See

A US Sailing Race Management Seminar at Encinal YC will be held tomorrow from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Email for info. Also tomorrow, Monterey Peninsula YC is hosting Racing Mixer, 4-7 p.m., an opportunity to meet skippers and sign on as crew. See

"San Francisco YC is again running two-day ISAF Safety at Sea Seminars," writes Ashley Perrin. The dates are March 16-17 and March 23-24. Valid for five years in the US and abroad for all Catagory 2 and Catagory 1 offshore races, this training includes four practical sessions in rig cutting, flare firing, in-water liferaft practice, and fire fighting. Special speakers will include Bryan Chong, a survivor of the Low Speed Chase accident, and members of the USCG and the Tiburon Fire Department. The certification graduates receive will count toward the 30% of crew (including skippers) requirement that we wrote about on Monday. "We are also doing radar and VHF courses," adds Perrin. Go to SFYC’s Training Sessions page and scroll down to ‘Safety Training Week’ for links to each class.

The Mexican coastal fishing town of Zihuatanejo is normally thought of by cruising sailors as a pretty sleepy place — especially when compared to busy tourism centers like Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.
Sad news reached us from the South Pacific late last week: The vintage Farallone Clipper Echo had to be abandoned in open water between Fiji and New Caledonia after she hit an unknown object on January 26.