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August 5, 2013

AC Showdown Tomorrow

Artemis’ Big Blue, caught here in a perfect moment, foiling while level to the surface. Needless to say, they are on a very steep learning curve, with no time left to practice.

© ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

In many ways, this has arguably been the craziest America’s Cup ever. But with Artemis Racing now back in the game — their new boat ‘Big Blue‘ was finally launched July 22 — would-be race fans have something new to get revved up about. Needless to say, the Swedish-backed team is an obvious underdog, having been off the water for more than three months after the break-up May 9 of their first-generation boat Big Red, and now having had only 10 days of practice on their new speed machine. But as we’ve seen in so many sports, sometimes underdog’s can surprise you. 

Big Blue was seen foiling, albeit shakily, on some of her very first trials and over the weekend the Swedish-backed team completed a couple of relatively smooth foiling jibes (video below) while up on foils — a maneuver seen as essential to success.

(Video courtesy Artemis Racing)

But can they possibly be competitive? We’ll get our first real indication tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. when they face the Italian-backed Luna Rossa Challenge in race one of the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals. That best-of-seven series will determine which contender will fact Emirates Team New Zealand August 17 in the LVC Finals.

Artemis and Luna Rossa will race again on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week. If Luna Rossa — which has had roughly 80 days of on-the-water practice — sweeps all races this week, the Semis’ will end with Saturday’s race, and the Italians will advance. But the champion sailors on the Artemis team, including Nathan Outteridge (AUS), tactician Iain Percy (GBR), Loïck Peyron (FRA), undoubtedly have no intention of letting that happen. The team will draw from its great depth of experience, and will, of course, also be dedicating their efforts to their fallen teammate, Bart Simpson. 

Check out tomorrow’s race live from the AC Village on the Marina Green or AC Park (Piers 27&29), where you’ll hear live commentary via loudspeakers. Or pick a spot anywhere along the Cityfront between Crissy Field and North Beach and listen to the blow-by-blow commentary on your VHF handheld, channel 20. The LVC Semis this Friday and Saturday will be aired via tape delay on NBC Sports Network: August 9, 10:00 p.m. PDT; August 10, 9:00 p.m. PDT.

Check out all the viewing options at the AC site, including YouTube access. And don’t hesitated to come early. Not only will you get a better view of the action, but defender Oracle Team USA will probably be running the course prior to each race, as they are slated for "Defender Access" each day between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. See you there. 

$2,000 Boat, $400 Kitty

In July of last year, Justin Jenkins and Anna Wiley, both 30 and both of San Diego, told us they were going to take off cruising to “Mexico and beyond” aboard their 1972 Columbia 34 MKII Ichiban. They had purchased the engineless boat for $2,000, and for another $200 had outfitted her with a used main and used genoa. Justin subsequently installed an Atomic 4 gasoline engine.

We liked spirit of the young couple and wished them well. We’ve since got some bad news and some good news from them. The bad news is that they didn’t take off for Mexico as planned last winter. The good news is that on May 11 they headed “beyond” Mexico, specifically on a direct trip to the Marquesas. They not only had a nice voyage, they made it without breaking anything.

It’s a good thing nothing broke because Justin and Anna’s cruising kitty consisted of exactly $400. While that’s substantially more than the $150 our friends Jim and Anna Green of Martha’s Vineyard took off with to start his third circumnavigation aboard the 47-ft daysailor Tango II, it’s not very much. Fortunately, Justin and Anna almost immediately found work repairing sails and cleaning boats, nearly doubling the size of their kitty.

When we met him last summer, Justin Jenkins was jubilant about the prospect of going cruising aboard his bargain boat, Ichiban.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

“We’re trying to get a year extension for French Polynesia so that we can take our time to explore more of the Marquesas and the Tuamotus,” Justin writes. “All the cruisers we have met are first class, and have been all very helpful with their vast knowledge of sailing and cruising. We just made a new spinnaker pole out of bamboo — Latitude readers would totally dig it! Our weekends are filled with the sound of Marquesan drums, the sight of Polynesians dancing, and the taste of Hinano beer.”

“We’re so glad we went cruising,” say the couple. “What a life it is!”

The couple haven’t gotten an internet connect with which to send us photos, so for now we’ll have to do with two photos we took of Justin in July of last year. 

Do It Yo’ Damn Self

The sunsets in the Delta have been spectacular.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Time slips away in a blur when you’re on vacation, but even more so when your vacation takes to you to the Delta to enjoy warm days, mellow nights and good friends. This year’s Delta Doo Dah was planned as a do-it-yourself affair to allow folks to schedule their up-Delta days (and daze) around the ‘Summer of Sailing’ activities, and this writer and her husband are currently enjoying their own DIY Doo Dah.

Brian and Erik Jones model their sassy custom Delta Doo Dah t-shirts: “You wanna Doo Dah? DIYDS! Do it yo’ damn self!”

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Of course no Delta trip would be complete without a stop at the ever-welcoming-and-fun Owl Harbor on Twitchell Island. Devery Stockon and her wonderful crew greet every Doo Dah’er like old friends — in fact, many are — and offer full run of their delightful marina/resort/farm. Grab one of the marina’s bikes and enjoy a ride around the island or simply down to the community garden market cart for some fresh tomatoes or cukes. Run out of eggs for your morning omelette? Drop by the office for some laid by the marina’s 30 (!) chickens. Or do what we did, and time your arrival so you can enjoy the marina’s monthly movie night, complete with free popcorn.

Devery and Kurtis, as always, showed Doo Dah’ers a good time.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Since so many Doo Dah’ers planned to stop at the marina for Saturday’s movie night — The Birdcage was showing — Devery also put on a little potluck BBQ for anyone who cared to show up. Of course, everyone did! It was so much fun that those of us who didn’t leave for other Delta hotspots staged another one last night. 

The crews of Aquavit, Georgia, Gazelle, LaDonna Jean, Sweet Tea and Guenevere enjoyed a second potluck yesterday.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you haven’t planned your own personal Doo Dah, there’s no time like the present. Register for the event — it’s free! — and you’ll be eligible for some awesome discounts at various marinas along the way, including Owl Harbor! 

Gracing Latitude’s cover this month is Sharon Green’s awesome aerial of the vintage S&S yawl Dorade steaming toward the TransPac finish.
Tucking up behind Yerba Buena’s treeline can keep you out of the wind, but it probably won’t make it warm enough to swim.