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November 17, 2014

Who’s the Most Adventurous?

In the last decade surfer and solo sailor Liz Clark has had some grand adventures. In fact, even the National Geographic Society has taken note. 

© 2014 Simon Corneglio

The esteemed National Geographic Society has, for the last 10 years, selected candidates for the title of Adventurer of the Year. Candidates are chosen based on "his or her remarkable achievement in exploration, adventure sports, conservation and humanitarianism." According to the Society, this year’s honorees "embody the spirit of adventure in diverse ways — an exploratory surfer seeking the world’s most remote waves; paragliders pushing the boundaries of their sport; an activist challenging the status quo; filmmakers using art to drive conservation; blind kayakers redefining what’s possible; and five other feats."

The "exploratory surfer" who was selected as a candidate is none other than Liz Clark of the Santa Barbara-based Cal 40 Swell. Nine years ago, we met Liz, now 34, just before she took off for Mexico, Central America, the Galapagos, the Society Islands and Kiribati. During the last five or six years she’s been sailing mostly singlehanded and often surfing alone in French Polynesia. Liz frequently contributed to Latitude 38, particularly during the early years of her adventure. We even have a report from her in this month’s Changes.

While we personally think it’s crass and contrary to the very spirit of adventure, the Society encourages readers and interested people to vote — maybe even stuff the ballot box — for the person they think "most embodies the spirit of adventure." It seems to us that you either have the spirit of adventure or you don’t, and the spirit of anything is something that can’t — and shouldn’t — be ranked, let alone voted on. What next, the general public asked to vote for the Buddhist they think best exemplifies the spirit of Zen?

Our objections notwithstanding, the voting ends on January 31, 2015. You can read about all 10 of the candidates by Googling ‘National Geographic Adventurers of the Year 2015.’ While we hope you vote for our friend Liz for her sake, we also hope you encourage the Society to rethink this contest of ‘adventureness’. In our opinion it would be far better to simply recognize all 10 as being among the more noteworthy adventurers of the year. What do you think?

Redwood City Facelift

Redwood City Marina will soon have enough depth to accommodate large race boats and megayachts.

© John Tuma

Here’s some good news for South Bay boaters: The Port of Redwood City has begun dredging operations at the guest dock in the Redwood City Marina. In addition, the shoreside park is being updated with new landscaping and improvements to the picnic area adjacent to the dock.

According to harbormaster Rich Ferrari, the 200-foot-long guest dock will now be able to accommodate boats with a draft of 14 feet. Hopefully, the improvements being made to the guest dock and adjacent park will make the South Bay port a more desirable destination for sailors who crave a little local adventure. After all, a trip down to the South Bay is a good way to hone one’s navigational skills, and a weekend in Redwood City can be a welcome relief from the cold wind and fog of the Central Bay. If you decide to make the trip, bring along a kayak or another small boat. There are plenty of sloughs to explore nearby, and this is an excellent area for both bird-watching and small-boat sailing. In addition, the Redwood City Marina is home to the Sequoia Yacht Club.

When improvements are finished, you can add this marina to your list of possible weekend getaway spots.  

© Mike Quinn

Dredging operations are scheduled to be completed by December 1. For more information contact the Port of Redwood City at 650-306-4150. The Redwood City Marina harbormaster can be reached at 650-363-1390. Info about Sequoia Yacht Club and its events can be found at

Film Bio Screening Wednesday

Corinthian Yacht Club’s popular speaker series returns to the club’s beautiful ballroom in downtown Tiburon this Wednesday evening, with the first film portrait by Life on the Water. The Sausalito-based enterprise interviews local sailors, racers, and watery souls at length and produces short films to capture the essence of the subject.

Ron MacAnnan, left, in the afterguard of Pursuit during the 2013 Master Mariners Regatta. At the helm is Doug Finley. 

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The first screening will feature Sausalito’s Ron MacAnnan, who has owned the 82-ft M-Class sloop Pursuit for 55 years. If you’ve ever walked down the boardwalk in Sausalito Yacht Harbor, you’ve seen Pursuit in her position of honor there. On any given day, you may also spot the 88-year-old MacAnnan, as he is aboard working on her more often than not. A notable exception: when Pursuit is out racing in the Master Mariners Regatta, which she has done for the past four years.

Pursuit, looking grand and flying the Latitude 38 battle flag, in the 2012 Master Mariners Regatta.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Filmmaker Oleg Harencar will speak at CYC on Wednesday night, and MacAnnan and another Sausalito icon, Hank Easom, skipper of the 77-year-old 8-Meter Yucca and sometime-helmsman of Pursuit, will be on hand for a Q&A. Preview of upcoming films about Easom and the late Harold Sommer and his boat Wander Bird will also be shown. The free event will start at 6:30 p.m. For more info and to RSVP see

The Port of San Diego’s new promotional video promises excellent AC 35 viewing potential within the harbor’s natural ‘sailing stadium’.
Northern California is known for cutting edge innovation, but there is one sailing area in which the stodgy old Northeast seems to out-innovate us.