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July 29, 2013

Joy Ride for Top Gun

Besides the big bucks that AC competitors get paid, they also garner a wide range of perks, such as getting to meet celebs like ‘Top Gun’ Cruise.

© 2013 Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Adding to the sailing superstars who’ve earned nine straight wins for Emirates Team New Zealand in the Louis Vuitton Round Robin series, yesterday the team treated ‘Top Gun’ Tom Cruise and his son Conner to a high-speed cruise around the Bay aboard their AC72 Aotearoa — after another easy defeat of Luna Rossa Challenge. Needless to say, the actor and his son we’re thrilled — especially since they both got a turn at the helm. (No word on whether or not the big cat was foiling at the time.)

Tom (black helmet with ‘T’) and his son Connor (‘P’) tested their endurance on a grinder, and later took turns at the helm.

© Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Today is an AC layday, and tomorrow ETNZ is slated to race Artemis Racing. But the course will be vacant, as Artemis’ boat is still not ready to race, and the Kiwis now have enough wins (nine) to bypass the rest of the LV Round Robins and Semi Finals, and advance directly to the LV Finals August 17.

Thursday at 12:15 p.m. Luna Rossa is slated to race Artemis, but we’d be shocked if the Swedish team was ready to compete, having just launched their second-generation boat last week. The Italians, however, will likely run the course to gain another point and get in more real-time practice. The Semis begin next Tuesday, August 6 (LR vs AR). Artemis will have to step into the ring then, if they have any hope of making it to the America’s Cup in mid-September. 

Flossie Barrels Toward Hawaii

If forecasters are correct, heavy rain, high surf and strong winds should be hitting the western edges of the Hawaiian Islands about the time of this posting (noon Monday).  

This fascinating NOAA satellite image (taken this morning) shows water vapor concentrated south of the eye of the storm.


Tropical Storm Flossie, the sixth named storm in the Pacific this year, is currently WNW of Hilo, Hawaii (the ‘big island’), traveling west at roughly 45 mph. It will strike Oahu later today. Due to its circulation, the heaviest rains are expected to occur south of its center — hitting the island of Hawaii, where flooding could occur. But its strongest winds are being generated farther north. Oahu is expected to feel wind gusts up to 40 knots. 

Meanwhile some TransPac crews are preparing for their return trips to the West Coast, and some have already departed. The good news about Flossie, is that she is expected to get weaker, rather than stronger in the coming hours.  

Beer Can Check-in

A start in Encinal YC’s Summer Twilight Series on July 19. “The winds and tide were moderate with clear skies,” said photographer Fred Fago. “A perfect day for a sail on the Estuary.”

© 2013 Fred Fago

We’ve passed the mid-point in the beer can summer racing season – seemed like as good a time as any to check in with them.

A golden moment in mellow conditions for Frequent Flyer, Magic and Dare Dare in a SeqYC Wednesday night race.

© 2013 Shannon Amerman

The Sequoia YC Beer Can Race Series hit the mid-season mark on Wednesday, July 10. This series is a pursuit race, where each boat’s start time is based on their PHRF and the length of the course. They race out the Redwood Creek Channel into the South Bay and then finish back in the Redwood City Harbor turning basin. The goal is to have all the boats converging on the finish line at the end of the race. They’ve been getting 30-35 boats this year in multihull, Merit one design, and PHRF fleets. The Martini Fleet takes non-racing spectators out to watch the action. "The success of the BCR series is due to the willingness of Sequoia skippers to take new participants onboard as crew," said Tim Petersen, "and on email networking that encourages new skippers, crew and boats to join in. To date, everyone has found a ride." Petersen describes conditions typical for the season on San Francisco Bay with winds into the mid-twenties.

SeqYC gets a lively crowd back at the bar after the race.

© Tim Petersen

After each race, weekly winners are announced, race disputes are addressed, and stories and tactics shared over an informal dinner. "A number of sailors are musicians," said Petersen. "The club really starts to rock as the evening goes on. To top it all off two Beer Can Racers tied the knot at the club after one of the races!"

Reefing madness on Bill Chapman’s Catalina 27 Latin Lass, in pre-start maneuvers for the BYC Friday Night Race on July 19.

© Sharon Hind-Smith

At Berkeley YC, the beer can races are held every Friday night from the beginning of April through the end of September – right in the Slot on the Olympic Circle. Fleet captain Patrick Hind-Smith describes the race on July 19: "Blustery and wavy conditions with a nice July evening breeze to 20+ knots on the Circle saw 13 boats at the start of what all said was a very wet ride. The committee boat agreed! The longer evenings and stiff breezes dictate medium to longer courses, and we still get in with good coals on the grill." First back to the finish off the BYC deck on July 26 was birthday boy Bill Chapman’s Catalina 27 Latin Lass. "The man has been bringing home firsts for many years," commented Patrick, who added, "Hey now, where did all the Santana 22s and Cal 20s go? Come back!" The Bay Bridge closure and resulting traffic snafus undoubtedly resulted in some no-shows around the Bay last Friday.

Bob Walden’s Cal 39 Sea Star always has room on the rail at BYC’s beer cans. “This pic typifies what we all want in beer can races… participation!” said BYC’s Patrick Hind-Smith.

© Sharon Hind-Smith

For more info and contacts for these and many other summer evening race series, see Golden Gate YC’s beer can series was canceled this year due to all the activity revolving around the America’s Cup. They are, after all, the host club.

Do you dare take the Latitude 38 Beer Can Challenge? The rules are simple: Sail in any five consecutive beer can races in one week, Monday-Friday, then write in and tell us all about it. You don’t have to sail on the same boat in all five races, and you don’t have to be the skipper. The rewards are simple too: 15 minutes of fame and a Latitude T-shirt!

Macklemore Promotes Lady Washington

Hip hop and sailing don’t often mix well — aside from The Lonely Island’s hilarious 2009 spoof hit I’m on a Boat, which was technically powerboating — but Seattle’s Macklemore & Ryan Lewis hit the sweet spot with his new music video for Can’t Hold Us. Macklemore and posse are seen riding the waves of Puget Sound while twerking it up all over the decks of Lady Washington (that probably doesn’t mean what you think it means). The video below is a good seven minutes long but offers some beautiful sailing shots.

Wait a second! That doesn’t look like Puget Sound at all. In fact, that looks an awful lot like . . . the Oakland-Alameda Estuary! In fact, the sailing portion of the video — which has a very Seattle-centric theme going — was shot in Ventura and Oakland earlier this year. 

Apparently after the shoot, the main man himself shot a PSA promoting Lady Washington and Gray’s Harbor Historical Seaport’s programs. Check it out below, then pop on over to Lady Washington’s donation page to support the program.

Emilio Castañeda’s Hatteras 85 Alexis sank when her shaft seals blew. Our Shangri-La
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC "Mayday, mayday, mayday!
No doubt John Aldridge’s family had just about given up hope that the Long Island lobsterman’s body would be found after he fell overboard 12 hours earlier, so when word that a Coast Guard helo crew had not only found Aldridge but that he was very much alive, they were ecstatic. 
Ricky and Robin Wright of Lousiana, the parents of Danielle Wright, 19, who has been missing for nearly two months after setting sail from Opua, New Zealand, for Newcastle, Australia, with six others aboard the 70-ft staysail schooner Niña, haven’t given up hope that their daughter and the others can be still be found alive.