June 12, 2013

Ditch Run Drama

Chris Gage’s Express 27 Ergo leads the charge upriver in shorts and T-shirts, ready for Stockton’s 107-degree temps.


With gusts topping 38 knots, this weekend’s racing fleets saw a fair amount of carnage. Boats in both the Delta Ditch Run and San Francisco YC’s June Invitational for J/105s and J/120s suffered blown-out sails, injuries and dismastings. One skipper posted on his Facebook page a sentiment heard ’round the Bay on Saturday: "Oy! What a shit show on the Bay today!"

According to our intrepid racing reporter, Christine Weaver — who suffered a post-race injury and is unable to write her normal stellar recap — the Delta Ditch Run was great fun. "We didn’t see the gnarly winds the Bay got," she said. "We had good wind in the 15- to 18-knot range most of the way, with a light spot in North San Pablo Bay and a few 25-knot side blasters at Benicia." 

Zonker’s crew were ready for some fun in the sun!


In the end, David Paudler’s Ventura-based Mull 22 Navasana corrected out to win the PHRF 3 class and top monohull spot. We’ll have a full report on all the exciting happenings in the July issue of Latitude 38. (Please see yesterday’s Special ‘Lectronic on the tragic loss of young sailor Noe Goodman after the race.)

Svend’s Memorial Saturday

 As reported earlier, the Bay Area sailing community lost one of its most beloved ‘elder statesmen’ last month. Svend Svendsen passed away at home on May 27 with his loving family by his side, after enduring a courageous battle with cancer. 

An avid racer, boatbuilder, and the founder of Svendsen’s Boat Works in Alameda, Svend was enormously well-liked among local sailors, as his inherent good nature led him to always have a smile and kind words for both friends and strangers.

A memorial will be held in Svend’s honor this Saturday, June 15, 2 p.m. at the Encinal YC. All who knew him are welcome to attend. Condolences may be sent here. The family notes that donations in Svend’s honor can be made to the Encinal Junior Sailing Program, or the Alameda Junior Golf Club.

No Fudge Factor for Classies

If you’re planning to submit a Classy Classified for the July issue of Latitude 38, be aware that the deadline is this Saturday. If the deadline falls on a weekend, we can sometimes fudge a little, if folks submit ads BEFORE Monday morning, but not this month. If your ad is not in by 5 p.m. Saturday, it will still go online next week, but then gets published in the August issue. Sorry for the inconvenience! This holds true for renewals as well.

They Call Him J-Lube

Latitude readers may remember John Lubimir, the likable singlehander from the East Coast who came to California in 2012 to sail in the Singlehanded TransPac. Just two days after John and his beautiful blue Quest 30 Flight Risk crossed the finish line in Kauai, Lubimir helped recruit the chartered fishing boat that enabled the rescue of Bela Bartok. Her Canadian skipper, Derk Wolmuth, had fallen ill with staph and was rescued by a freighter, leaving Bela adrift.

Lubimir — dubbed J-Lube during the TransPac — is back at it, this time in the Gulf Stream-warmed waters of the Atlantic Ocean. How does first in class and first overall in the “1” leg of the Bermuda 1-2 sound? Provisional results haven’t been posted yet, but based on some rough math, J-Lube looks to have crushed it on the first leg of the biennial race aboard Flight Risk. Taking sailors more than 600 miles solo from Newport, RI to Bermuda before returning doublehanded, the legendary race is currently in its 19th running and represents the longest singlehanded and doublehanded race on the East Coast.
Starting in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Andrea, which made landfall in Florida the day before the race started and dumped record amounts of rainfall on much of the East Coast, some two dozen yachts set sail singlehanded for Bermuda. With everything from a Tartan 30 to a custom 63-footer and a sprinkling of Class 40s in between, it looked to be anybody’s race. After the Class 40 Gryphon Solo 2 turned back for Newport, Lubimir inherited the overall lead, boat for boat, despite the fact that Flight Risk is a 30-footer. The custom Paris 63 Kiwi Spirit (which owes John more than two minutes per mile) eventually overhauled Flight Risk and held down the position to claim line honors, while John came screaming in just behind. The J/122 Resolute finished 10 minutes later, rounding out the first three to finish. 
In other Bermuda 1-2 news, the crew of the new all-carbon Columbia 32 Solid Air believes that the boat lost its keel last night. Skipper Jan Steyn put out a mayday to other skippers in the fleet and was picked up by fellow competitor Halcyon, a Hallberg-Rassy 49. Solid Air’s tracker is still transmitting and Jan says that he is doing fine aboard Halcyon. This incident comes just a couple of months after the new Columbia 32 Uncontrollable Urge lost her rudder in the Islands Race, leading to a series of events that contributed to the death of crew member Craig Williams.
Keep an eye on www.bermuda1-2.org for full results.

Maxi Trimarans the World Over

In the June issue of Latitude 38, this writer reported on the foiling trimaran l’Hydroptère and their upcoming TransPacific record attempt. While our info about Alain Thébault’s foiling trimaran was correct, the current TransPacific record that we stated was incorrect.

l’Hydroptere has a higher bar to reach.

© Christophe Launay / l’Hydroptere

The article states that Bruno Peyron’s 86-ft catamaran Commodore Explorer currently holds that record. In fact, Peyron’s maxi-cat holds the existing TransPac Race record at 5d, 9h and change. But the actual TransPacific crossing did not take place during the biennial TransPac Race. That record is held by the maxi-trimaran Geronimo. Skippered by Olivier de Kersauson in November 2005, the 111-ft tri romped to Hawaii in just 4d, 19h, 31m at an average speed of 19 knots. So, to correct ourselves, l’Hydroptère will need to sail from Los Angeles to Honolulu in less time than that if they wish to break the outright TransPacific record.

Since we screwed up, we’ll throw you a bone and bring you up to date on the Geronimo story. After breaking records all over the world and sailing more than 100,000 miles under de Kersauson’s watch, the venerable three-hulled monster has been purchased by Sodebo for singlehanded sailor Thomas Coville. Now re-named Sodebo, the maxi-tri will be sailed by Coville in the legendary 2014 Route du Rhum race, solo across the Atlantic. In the fall of 2013, Coville will attempt (again) to break Francis Joyon’s solo, multihull, nonstop record around the world, currently at 57d, 13h. 

Thomas Coville took over Olivier de Kersauson’s 111-ft tri Geronimo and renamed her Sodebo.

© Sodebo

Speaking of Francis Joyon, the Frenchman departed New York City yesterday on his maxi-trimaran IDEC to attempt to break the singlehanded multihull west-to-east Transatlantic record, which is currently held by — you guessed it —Thomas Coville. To break the Transat record, Joyon will need to cross the Atlantic in under 5d, 19h, 30m. Speeding out of New York at more than 23 knots, Joyon will need to pass the longitude of Lizard Point, UK before Monday morning to achieve his goal.

Francis Joyon set off from NYC yesterday to break Coville’s solo multihull Transat record.

© Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / IDEC

Check back with ‘Lectronic next week for an update on Joyon and the inaugural La Route des Princes, which currently has a fleet of maxi-tris speeding all over Europe. The first offshore leg from Valencia, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal was just won this morning by the MOD 70 Oman Air- Musandam