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November 19, 2014

This Time She’ll Go Nonstop

There’s not a lot of room aboard a 28-footer with a canoe stern. But Donna wouldn’t dream of going offshore without her trusty guitar. She hopes to release a new album prior to her solo departure next summer. 

Inspired Insanity
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Remember Donna Lange? On March 29, 2007 this Oregon-raised, US Virgin Islands-based sailor made nautical history with the completion of a solo circumnavigation, westabout with stops, via the great capes aboard her SC 28 Inspired Insanity. In seven months she intends to set off again, but this time she hopes to do a lap around the planet nonstop. If successful, she will not be the first West Coast woman to do so. That honor went to Vancouver, BC-based singlehander Jeanne Socrates, who finished the trip last year aboard her Najad 380 Nereida. But Lange could be the first American woman to complete the circuit nonstop.

In the months before her summer departure, Lange hopes to raise money not only for her voyage, but to publish a book about her travels as well as an album of her latest original songs. Yes, Donna is quite an interesting character. A mother of four with 11 grandchildren, she is a nurse by profession, holds a 100-ton Master’s License, is a published author, and plays guitar, uke, harmonica and even the steel pan. Check out her website here

Quoting stats on singlehanders often feels like stepping into a minefield, but as far as we know, Pat Henry was the first West Coast woman to solo circumnavigate with stops (1997 in the Southern Cross 31 Southern Cross, via Panama), followed the next year by Karen Thorndike, who did it aboard the Rival 36 Amelia via the great capes. For more on West Coast circumnavigators see Latitude 38‘s master list here.

The Big Sail

Every November, StFYC hosts the Big Sail, just before the big local rivalry college football game, Cal vs. Stanford.

© 2014 Chris Ray

The Stanford Varsity sailing team continued their domination of the California Golden Bears, defeating the Bears for the tenth straight time in the 11th annual Big Sail. Match racing in J/22s provided by St. Francis Yacht Club, the Stanford skipper, Hans Henken, and his crew won the start in both races, and continually had Cal skipper, Stephen Bordes, and his crew off balance. The races were sailed in a 10-knot easterly, with a three-knot ebb flowing, and any mistake was quickly magnified.

Stanford Varsity, with commentator Mike Ratiani (left to right): Hans Henken, Kieran Chung, Max Kohrman, Haley Kirk

© Chris Ray

The situation was much the same in the Young Alumni (under 40) division. Skipper Nick Dugdale and his Stanford crew won two straight races over Blaine Pedlow and his Cal teammates.

Stanford Young Alumni: Ben Pedrick, Oliver Riihiluoma, Katie Riklin, Nick Dugdale

© 2014 Chris Ray

However, in the Master’s division (40-59 years), Cal skipper Liz Baylis and her all-woman crew took two straight wins over the Stanford team, led by Rolf Kaiser. This is the first time that an all-woman crew has competed in the Big Sail.

Cal team Liz Baylis, ’85; Melinda Erkelens, ’86; Stephanie Wondolleck, ’87; and Manon Baze ’90, won the Masters Alumni division.

© 2014 Chris Ray

The Grand Master division was equally lopsided. The Cal team, with skipper Tad Lacey, easily defeated the Stanford Grand Masters, with Peter Szaaz at the helm, in two races.

Commentator Mike Ratiani and and Big Sail co-founder/principal organizer Ron Young posed for a photo with each cheerleading squad.

© 2014 Chris Ray

At the awards ceremony, commentators Mike Ratiani and Ron Young repeatedly asked the competitors how they might explain Stanford’s dominance in the younger divisions, and Cal’s dominance in the older divisions. Cal’s Liz Baylis summed it up this way, "Like a fine wine, Cal sailors get better with age."

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