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July 31, 2013

20 Years Ago October

Big O is a great ocean-going boat, and was a terrific ‘Mothership’ for the inaugural Baja Ha-Ha.

Big O
©2013 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

A little more than 18 years and nine months ago, Latitude‘s Ocean 71 ketch Big O led an intrepid group of 39 boats south to Turtle Bay, Mag Bay and Cabo San Lucas in the first-ever Baja Ha-Ha cruisers’ rally. (See the entry list here.) It was blowing about 22 knots, so none of the America’s Cup boats in San Diego went sailing the day or our start. Since then, roughly 2,500 boats have done the Ha-Ha — with close to 10,000 sailors participating. If you haven’t Ha-Ha’ed yet, you’ll get your chance in late October. Don’t miss it.

What do you say? Will you be among the fleet members for the 20th annual Baja Ha-Ha Rally?

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Speaking of missing things, we sure miss Big O. While not large or luxurious compared  to today’s 71-footers, she was a heck of an ocean-going boat and, in the Caribbean in particular, she was a party boat par excellence. For three years in a row, Joylon ‘Mr. English Harbor’ Byerley pronounced her the "Outstanding Party Boat" at Antigua Sailing Week. It’s an honor we still cherish.

As great a yacht as Big O was, we love our Surfin’ 63 Profligate. There is a lot to be said for sailing flat, in the teens, with dozens of your best friends aboard. But it’s not so much the boat as the event that counts with the Ha-Ha, so we recommend you ‘come with what you got’ to the Baja Ha-Ha starting line at 11 a.m. October 28. (For full details, click here.)

Galilee Harbor Maritime Day Saturday

The site now called Galilee Harbor (named after a local ferryboat) has been involved in maritime trades since shortly after the Gold Rush.

© 2013 Courtesy Galilee Harbor

This Saturday’s Maritime Day celebration at Sausalito’s Galilee Harbor honors well over a century of boatbuilding and other ‘working waterfront’ activities on that site, at the foot of Napa Street.

According to local historians, thirty years after the Gold Rush, Italian fishing families could be found there building felucca fishing boats. By the turn of the 20th century, a pier had been build to accommodate both fishing craft and liveaboard barges that were used as vacation getaways by wealthy San Franciscans — and as emergency residences after the Great San Francisco Earthquake in 1906.

At Maritime Day you can learn about all sorts of local boatbuilding organizations including Spaulding Boat Works and Cass Gidley Marina.

© John Skoriak

During WWII Navy barges were built there in quick succession, while liberty ships were built nearby. In more modern times boatbuilding and repairs continued, with many shipwrights living on-site aboard their vessels. Artists were also attracted to the area.

When developers made a move to transform the area in 1980, residents got political and formed a non-profit corporation to buy the property outright. After 18 years of haggling with various agencies, the tenants received permits to build a legal liveaboard marina specifically aimed at providing low-cost housing to artists and maritime workers — thus preserving one of the last remaining elements of Sausalito’s ‘working waterfront’ tradition.

Current tenants include boat-builders, sailmakers, marine canvas workers, writers, artists, and actors. On Saturday, you can meet many of them, see the results of their talents and help them celebrate Galilee Harbor’s maritime roots.

In addition to exhibits and demonstrations, there’ll be live music all day, dinghy races, good things to eat and drink — including homemade pies — plus a silent auction and flea market. Big fun, and all for free, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more info click here or call (415) 332-8554.


Racing Notebook

Who are these sailors and what are they celebrating? To find out, see the first item of Race Notes on page 136 in the August issue of Latitude 38, due out tomorrow.

© 2013 Meredith Block

Saturday’s Westpoint Harbor Marina Regatta was co-hosted by Sequoia YC and the eponymous marina in Redwood City, with startline duties provided by Treasure Island YC on the northeast side of TI. Because of the America’s Cup, the course was modified this year to pass two buoys to port near Angel Island’s Pt. Blunt – rather than rounding Alcatraz – before running down the South Bay to the finish at the entrance to Redwood Creek.

“Do you think we can cross?” was the question aboard Nico Popp’s Jeanneau Sun Fast Dare Dare when Oracle’s AC72 overtook them in the Westpoint Regatta. Click on the image to go to the video.

© 2013 Nico Popp

SeqYC fleet captain Richard Butts reported that it was a very busy day on the Bay. "The YRA 2nd Half Opener moved to a course south of the Bay Bridge due to the America’s Cup. With over 200 boats entered and a starting sequence which put them in the same area as the Westpoint boats, it made for some interesting sailing. Reportedly some of the YRA boats thought something was not right as the Westpoint boats did not round the first mark of the YRA course." See for Butts’ complete report and results, and for results from both days of the 2nd Half Opener.

The Express 37s Mudshark and Snowy Owl raced in the South Bay edition of the 2nd Half Opener.

© 2013 Erik Simonson

Dick Loomis of Richmond YC, his daughter Kelly, and his Snipe took a road trip to Ashland, Oregon, last week for Rogue YC’s Southern Cascade Regatta on Howard Prairie Lake. They brought home a third place trophy in the Snipe District Championship.

Sonars were among the fleets racing in the North American Challenge Cup at Chicago’s Belmont Harbor.

© 2013 Chris Simon / Chicago YC

Robert E. Jones and Ken Kelly of Corinthian YC of Seattle and Royal Victoria YC won the Freedom 20 division of Chicago YC’s North American Challenge Cup, which also featured Paralympic class 2.4mR singlehanded boats and Sonar triplehanded boats, on July 26-29.

Kiteboarding sibs Johnny and Erika Heineken from Larkspur have done it again, winning the West Coast Open/Canadian National Championship July 26-28 at Squamish Windsports Society in British Columbia. Johnny placed first overall, while Erika placed ninth overall and first female. "Extra props to Johnny for sailing smart and consistent all thee days," wrote Erika on her blog. "Pretty cool to win this event for the third time with him."

Romaine Screve leads the vanguard of a charging legion of Optimist dinghies.

© Giovanni De Sandre / Fraglia della Vela Riva

Marin County teenager Romain Screve finished 36th in a 259-boat fleet at the Opti Worlds, hosted by Fraglia Vela Riva in Riva del Garda, Italy, on July 15-26.

LBYC’s Beach to Bay Sabot C3 trophy recipients display their hardware with pride.

© Rick Roberts

Carsen Lenthall of Dana Point YC took first place in Long Beach YC’s Beach to Bay Race on July 25, winning the Jessica Uniack Memorial Perpetual Trophy, sailing in the 64-boat Sabot C3 class. Lasers, CFJs and Optis raced too. The course goes from Shoreline Marina to the yacht club, about five miles.

At the 213-skiff 29er Worlds hosted by Kalovig Sailing Center in Denmark, Dane and Quinn Wilson, brothers from Ojai, are in sixth place in the Gold Flight Finals. The regatta continues until August 2.

Tom Ehman of ACEA and GGYC, Michael Menninger of AYSF, and Nevin Snow of Team USA45, will present a ‘Cupdate’ at Corinthian YC tomorrow night. If you’re not sure who those people are or what those initials mean, you can find out at It’s free, but the club needs your RSVP.

Distress Frequency Change This Week

Offshore sailors make note: Effective Wednesday, August 1, the US Coast Guard will no longer monitor voice frequency 2182 kHz for International distress and safety. They will also drop 2670 kHz for marine information and weather broadcasts, and they will discontinue monitoring the International Digital Selective Calling (DSC) distress frequency 2187.5 kHz .

"This termination decision was made after a review of Coast Guard medium frequency (MF) communications sites revealed significant antenna and infrastructure support degradation that put the Coast Guard at risk of not being able to receive and respond to calls for assistance on the 2 MHz distress frequencies," said a Coast Guard spokesman.

Radio guru Gordon West responds, "This is actually a good call. Atmospheric noise on 2 MHz causes even the best of radio systems to not hear much beyond 30 miles ground wave, and 30 miles to shore is the typical maximum range of the Coast Guard’s  excellent Rescue 21 VHF channel 16 coverage.

"U.S. Coast Guard Communication Stations (COMMSTA) and Communications Area Master Stations (CAMS) will continue their guard of the following High Frequency safety frequencies: 

         VOICE                  DSC

   4125.0 kHz                4207.5  kHz

   6215.0 kHz                6312.0  kHz

   8291.0 kHz                8414.5  kHz

  12290.0 kHz               12577.0  kHz

                                       16804.5  kHz

 "VHF Channel 16, 156.800 MHz, will CONTINUE to offer the Coast Guard’s  Rescue 21 fabulous coverage throughout boating areas of the United States from Coast Guard units, on land, at sea, and in the air. VHF Channel 70 will CONTINUE to be the DSC call up channel to the Coast Guard.

"Only Medium Frequency 2 MHz, here in the U.S., is being dropped by the Coast Guard for a continuous radio listening watch.

"Internationally, 2182 kHz remains the International distress and calling channel. It will still be an on scene distress working channel, and will continue to be an authorized calling channel," writes Gordon.

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.
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).
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.
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.