Skip to content
December 3, 2014

Get Ready to Splash and Blast Off!

Three boats ‘pleasure racing’ in close company on the warm, smooth waters of sun-drenched Banderas Bay during the 2012 Blast. 

©2014 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

From Northern California to mainland Mexico, hasn’t the weather been great? We’ve finally gotten much needed rain in parched California, while down along Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit the skies have been clear and blue, the air and water 80+ degrees, and the jungle a riot of green.

If you’re getting tired of the rain or are already in Mexico, we’d like to remind everyone that the Riviera Nayarit Sailors’ Splash is coming up, to be followed almost immediately by the Banderas Bay Blast / Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity. Here’s the schedule of lighthearted fun that is for cruisers but is also open to everyone:

Friday, December 12 — Riviera Nayarit Sailors’ Splash Welcome to Riviera Nayarit Party, hosted by Marina Riviera Nayarit, is a meet-and-greet event under the tropical stars. In the past it has featured free music, hats and shirts, tequila tasting and more. Feel the warmth of Mexico starting at 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 14 — Cruiser ‘race’ 1 of the three-‘race’ Banderas Bay Blast. This is free, Baja Ha-Ha style ‘racing’, which means you’re sailing with friends, not against them. You can start from either Punta Mita for a spinnaker run to the La Cruz finish, or like most boats, start off Paradise Marina for a very close reach to La Cruz. In either case, it’s only about seven miles. ‘Race’ 1 is followed by the famous water balloon drop at Marina Riviera Nayarit and perhaps swimming pool volleyball, then music and good times at Philo’s Bar and Music Studio in La Cruz.

Monday, December 15 — The second Blast ‘race’ is to Punta Mita, about seven miles. The après-race event is the annual opening of the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club on the beach at Mita. Commodore Debbie Monie Rodgers of the Deerfoot 62 Moonshadow will be wielding the carbon fiber initiation paddle. Lifetime membership in the Punta Mita Y&S Club is $1, but you must sail to the club and accept your paddling with grace to be eligible for membership.

"Take it like a man!" Initiation into the Punta Mita Yacht & Surf Club is not for the faint of heart. But it’s good for a lifetime. 

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Tuesday, December 16 — The 12-mile Pirates for Pupils Spinnaker Run for Charity to Paradise Marina. This is a great fundraiser for the educational needs of the kids on the Riviera Nayarit. Want to do a spinnaker run on Profligate or another fine yacht? Cough up $25 per person for a great cause. Berths may be available at Paradise Marina after the event.

For details, tune into the Puerto Vallarta cruisers net each morning — except Sunday — on 22A. Blast ‘race’ details will be available at the Sailor’s Splash. 

It’s Official: Bermuda to Host AC 35

As of yesterday widespread rumors about the venue choice for the 35th America’s Cup became official: It will be Bermuda, not San Diego. The decision was announced by Harvey Schiller, the AC commercial commissioner, at a press conference held in New York yesterday.

A slide displayed during the venue announcement press conference yesterday.

© Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA

California is also still absent from the growing list of America’s Cup World Series venues, the lead-up regattas to be held in foiling AC45s. All teams have been given an opportunity to host events in their home countries. The schedule so far includes:

Season opener, location TBA, June 5-7, 2015
Portsmouth, UK, July 23-26, 2015
Gothenburg, Sweden, August 28-30, 2015
Hamilton, Bermuda, October 16-18, 2015

Four to six ACWS events are expected in 2016, including a summer regatta in Chicago and one in Portsmouth in July.

In 2017, all teams will compete in their new foiling, wingsail AC62 catamarans. Racing will begin with the America’s Cup Qualifiers, where the teams will be seeded according to their results in the AC World Series. The top challengers then go on to compete in the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs to win the right to race the defender, Oracle Team USA, in the America’s Cup Finals in June 2017.

A second Red Bull Youth America’s Cup has been confirmed for Bermuda in 2017 prior to the main event, with qualifying starting from 2016. No young women raced in last year’s inaugural event — it remains to be seen if any effort will be made to include them next time.

Holiday Celebrations on the Waterfront

A sled — er, sailboat — full of Christmas characters and decor plies the waters of the San Rafael Canal.

© Shirley Vaughan

‘Tis the season for lighted boat parades, those maritime celebrations of the holiday spirit. Check out the following schedule and pick one near you:

Find more details by clicking the links, or see our December Calendar.

Pittsburg Yacht Club’s Lighted Boat Parade missed our Calendar deadline; that event will be held on December 13 starting at 7:00 p.m.

Farther upstream, Marina West Yacht Club’s 35th annual Delta Reflections Christmas Lighted Boat Parade to downtown Stockton, which was scheduled for December 6, has been cancelled due to the water hyacinth choking all the marinas and waterways in the area, including the San Joaquin River shipping channel. "The hyacinth has become the Grinch that stole Christmas," said Mike Luery of KCRA-TV.

McLeod Lake, in downtown Stockton just east of the shipping port, looks more like a new city park than an arm of the San Joaquin River.

© Visit Stockton

Saturday the 13th will be particularly festive at San Francisco Maritime National Park on Hyde Street Pier. Celebrations at Sea, from 3:00 to 4:45 p.m., will feature music, refreshments, ornament making, story reading, and Santa’s arrival by boat. Admission to the Pier is free; vessel admission is $5, free for kids 15 and under.

Santa Claus comes by boat in Aquatic Park.

© 2014 San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Then, at 6:00 p.m., the park’s costumed Living History players turn back the clock to the turn of the 20th century for Old Time Maritime Christmas. During a lamplit tour, meet the captain and crew of the Balclutha, passengers on the ferryboat Eureka in their holiday best, and the cream of San Francisco society aboard the Ark houseboat. The vessels will be decorated for Christmas in the year 1901. Free for everyone, but reservations are required. Call (415) 447-5000 to RSVP.

Container vs. Lakota

The notch taken out of Lakota’s starboard ama should be easily repairable. But we can only imagine what would have happened if she’d been traveling at the record-setting speeds that she is capable of.

© Frank Nitte

No one knows exactly how many shipping containers are unintentionally cast adrift each year — but estimates are shocking. Latitude‘s ‘man in Panama’, Frank Nitte, reports that the famous 60-ft trimaran Lakota, formerly owned by the late adventurer Steve Fossett, collided with a container recently while off the coast of Ecuador, roughly 350 miles southwest of Balboa, Panama.

Luckily, she was motoring at only five or six knots at the time, so damage to her starboard ama was not substantial. She’s currently being repaired at the Balboa YC, just south of the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. The multihull’s new owner was en route to Hawaii when the collision occurred. 

Fossett bought the speedy tri in the early 1990s from French sailing phenom Florence Arthaud. He broke the Japan-to-San Francisco record (with crew) in 1995, then set a new singlehanded record on the same route the following year. In 1998 Fossett set a new solo TransPac record (SF to Kauaii) with a time of 7d, 22h, 38m — a full day faster than the previous record, clocked by Peter Hogg in 1994 aboard Aotea.

The most recent photo of the beached Team Vestas Wind Volvo Ocean 65 shows that the boat is still in one piece.