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June 11, 2014

SF Eliminated as AC35 Venue

Sir Russell Coutts (l) and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee shake hands after agreeing to bring the 34th America’s Cup to San Francisco in 2013.

© 2014 Lea Suzuki

San Francisco has been eliminated as a host venue for the 35th America’s Cup. San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee received an email from the Director of the America’s Cup Event Authority, Russell Coutts, late last night announcing the news. "Given the tight timeline and demands from prospective teams to confirm the final venue, it has been necessary to continue reducing the shortlist of candidate cities," Coutts wrote. "We have therefore taken the difficult decision to no longer consider San Francisco as a possible candidate to host AC35." Still in the running are Bermuda, Chicago and San Diego. 

San Francisco may still host an AC World Series event in 2015 or 2016 leading up to AC35. There is also potential for hosting AC36 around 2021.

This Is What Circumnavigators Look Like!?

A great group of women circumnavigators-to-be lunching at Bora Bora. Left front: Laurie (and Richard) Owen on Nexus, a US-based 58-ft semi-custom cat; Left back: Jenny (and Jonathan) Crowe on Merlyn of Poole, an Oyster 45 from Great Britain; Back center: Suzana Buraca, World ARC Rally Control; Right back: Cathy (and Charlie) Simon of the Spokane / Nuevo Vallarta-based Taswell 58 Celebrate; Next right: Sandra (and Tom) Frank on Sweet Pear, a Switzerland based Outborn 44l; Right center: Dawn (and Michael) Roberts on ViVo, a US-based F/P 60-foot cat; Right front: Tracey (and Tim) Ramsey on Folie a Deux, a U.S.-based Lagoon 380.

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Charlie and Cathy Simon of Spokane and Nuevo Vallarta are currently in Fiji in the process of doing a 14-month, 26,000-mile circumnavigation as part of the World Cruising Club’s World ARC 2014. Their Taswell 58 Celebrate is one of 15 boats that will be sailing around the world.

While the fleet was in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, Cathy thought it would be fun to have a luncheon with all the ladies who will be doing the entire trip. There were 10 such women. Unfortunately, only seven are in the accompanying photograph. Nonetheless, we suspect the photo will jolt a lot of notions about what circumnavigators look like.

The World ARC is a somewhat unusual sailing event in that participants don’t have to do the entire event. As a result, there are actually 47 boats, nine of them from the United States, participating in the WARC 2014, which ends next April in St. Lucia. Seventeen of them, two more than will be going all the way around, will be either dropping out in Australia or pausing there and rejoining a subsequent WARC. There are already a considerable number of boats signed up for WARC 2015.

How are the Simons liking the adventure so far? "Charlie and I are having the time of our lives!" says Cathy. "We’re enjoying some spectacular sailing and great sights." And no doubt making lots of great friends.

Testing Virtual Nav Aids

The US Coast Guard is tasked with keeping American waterways as safe as possible, and one of the latest manifestations of that responsibility is the development of ‘virtual’ nav symbols designed to show up on electronic charts and AIS monitors.

The agency is currently testing 25 virtual aids to navigation (dubbed eATON) in the San Francisco Bay Area, to enhance existing three-dimensional buoys and day markers. "Don’t worry," said a CG spokesman, the buoy system will not be replaced by these virtual aids." They are simply being added to the pool of info that skippers will have at their disposal in order to make recreational boating and commercial vessel traffic safer. 

According to the Coast Guard, "The eATON are being transmitted through the Coast Guard’s Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS) for display on ships’ electronic charting systems and radar. . . These eATON currently mark reporting points in the offshore traffic separation scheme approaches to San Francisco: the ‘SF’ buoy that serves as the San Francisco bar pilot embarkation point, and Mile Rocks Light and Harding Rock buoy, which mark a critical turn point for ships in the Central Bay." Bridge towers on the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will also be virtually marked — no doubt an addition made in light of the 2007 Cosco Busan tower collision, where 53,000-gallons of oil were spilled into the Bay on a foggy day.

"There is no better place to evaluate this technology than the challenging waters of San Francisco Bay," said Capt. Gregory Stump, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, "and we look forward to receiving feedback from local mariners on how we can improve this service.”

For additional info on eATON initiatives, please visit You may send feedback on the virtual aid program to here.

On May 2, Hurst Lehmann, 59, of Germany, having sailed his 47-ft boat across the Pacific from Mexico, sought a berth at Honokohau Small Boat Harbor on the lee side of the Big Island.