In San Diego this weekend, Silver Gate Yacht Club’s America’s Schooner Cup will feature a fleet of 14 vessels ranging in size from two 30-footers to two 96-footers. Those measurements are length on deck. "With the bow sprits and boom overhangs we’re looking at up to 142-ft," writes Paul Mitchell.
Among the schooners signed up is the John Alden-designed Mayan, which was owned by musician David Crosby from 1968 to 2014. Beau and Stacey Vrolyk of Santa Cruz are her new custodians. Dennis Conner will sail the 1910 two-masted schooner Fame. Fans of San Francisco’s Master Mariners Regatta will recognize the names of the schooners Dauntless, Rose of Sharon, Regulus and Maid of Kent. From Sacramento, the official California tall ship, the Californian, is entered, and Martha hails all the way from Seattle.
Newport Harbor YC’s Newport to Cabo Race is now complete, the final finishers having arrived yesterday. Correcting out to first place overall in ORR was Roy P. Disney’s Andrews 70 Pyewacket. In the three-boat ORCA (multihull) division, H.L. Enloe’s ORMA 60 trimaran Mighty Merloe held onto its time over the two Gunboat 66 cats, Lloyd Thornberg’s Phaedo and Pat Benz’s Extreme H2O. Ross Pearlman’s Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 52 Between the Sheets took corrected time honors in PHRF. All but two of the 26 starters finished the 800-mile race.
The first start in the first ocean race of 2015 out of San Francisco Bay is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. tomorrow. "Conditions for BAMA’s Doublehanded Farallones are going to be fast and maybe heavy," predicts Mike Dvorak of Sail Tactics. "Some initial weather routing I’ve done using the Sail Tactics Outlook wind and tide forecast shows an Express 27 being able to finish in about nine hours, give or take. A building ebb at the time of the start will push boats out the Golden Gate into a slowly-building breeze in the shipping channel."
"A NOAA small-craft advisory is in effect through most of the weekend — winds offshore will be strong with gusts over 20 knots." The swell forecast is also looking strong, so Dvorak recommends that all but the saltiest of sailors indulge in their favorite seasickness preventative. "On the way home, a building flood in the late afternoon should calm the waters approaching the Golden Gate and make for a nice finish back at Golden Gate YC. Sail Tactics will have a fresh wind and tide forecast out just before the start of the race tomorrow morning."
We’ll have more on these races in the May (not April — that’s already gone to press) issue of Latitude 38.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” British writer W.E. Hickson’s well-known proverb surely resonates with hardcore ocean racers like Jean Le Cam and Bernard Stamm, who, after 84 days and 5 hours at sea, have crossed the finish line onboard the Farr-designed Cheminées Poujoulat and claimed victory in the third edition of the doublehanded Barcelona World Race. For both men, this round-the-world triumph is but one vindicating chapter in an ongoing saga that has been otherwise filled with drama.
Stamm was finally able to produce a good result for his weary sponsors after years of making headlines for all the wrong reasons, while the timeless Jean Le Cam remains on a mission to continue winning major races late into his 50s. Adding this BWR win to his 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre victory, the three-time Solitaire du Figaro champion and first-ever three-time Vendée Globe finisher will now be proclaimed IMOCA World Champion for the first time in nearly a decade.
"King Jean’ and Bernard made this BWR win look easy, but as any ocean sailor knows, it wasn’t. "We went halfway around the world with a windvane [wind indicator] cobbled together on a little mast on the back of the boat, which we changed depending on what tack we were on. We finally got one to the top of the mast. As you will see there is an external cable running up to it," explained Le Cam shortly after arriving. Stamm added, "We also had lock worries on the mainsail. I can say that when we successfully repaired them, it was a moment of true happiness."
After race leader Hugo Boss dismasted in the Atlantic Ocean, the BWR win was Stamm and JLC’s for the taking, and take it they did. Sailing an older-generation Farr design originally sailed to a Vendée Globe win by the great Michel Desjoyeaux in 2008-09, Bernard and Jean threw down a very respectable global lap time when compared to the newer VPLP designs that have dominated the IMOCA circuit for the last half decade. After being sailed by Mich Desj himself, the MAPFRE boys Iker and Xabi, and current Figaro champ Jeremie Beyou, the boat now known as Cheminées Poujoulat was owned and prepared for this race by German sailor Jorg Reichers, and known as MARE. When the German publisher pulled out of sailing due to financial problems, the boat and its distinctive new bow (widened to the limit of the IMOCA rule after watching scows dominate the Mini circuit) fell into Bernard Stamm’s hands and the rest is now history. With another round-the-world win under her belt and the most highly developed Farr platform on the water, this legendary boat will still be one to follow, as she represents a wild card in a fleet that is quickly filling up with VPLP designs.
While Bernard and Jean begin recuperating in Barcelona, second-place Neutrogena should enter the Mediterranean Sea and its zone of fickle wind tonight, with their fleet position looking secure. Behind them, GAES Centros Auditivos is limping toward the Strait of Gibraltar in damage-control mode as skipper Anna Corbella nurses a knee injury, leaving her co-skipper Gerard Marin to sail the boat mostly solo. The battle for fourth and fifth is still up for grabs as the two Spanish duos on board We Are Water and One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton battle for fourth place, still separated by just over a hundred miles with close to 2,000 left to sail. There’s still six boats on the water and lots of racing left! You can follow their tracks on the website, where you’ll also find much more info.
We’ve never watched or participated in the group re-launching of a vessel from the beach. But tomorrow we will get our chance, as the family that owns the 36-ft sloop Pollen is throwing a party to attract folks to help lift their approximately seven-ton boat out of the sand pit, down the beach, and into the blue Caribbean. Once they get the rig back up, they plan on sailing the gutted boat across the Atlantic to La Rochelle — “where we won’t ever be in danger of hurricanes again.”
Using man and woman power to launch boats is nothing new in the Caribbean. That’s how Bob Dylan’s 63-ft traditional schooner Water Pearl was launched in Bequia. It’s how DRandy West’s 60-ft cat Shadowfax was re-launched after Hurricane Luis. And there have been many more instances.
Have you ever helped launch a boat from the beach? If so, we’d love to hear about it. Email us here.
As usual, the boat show planner for Strictly Sail Pacific will be bound into the April issue of Latitude 38, which will hit the docks on April 1. But, for a head start on planning your trip to the show, you can get a sneak peek at the digital edition here. To save some bucks on admission, buy discount tickets online with the Latitude 38 discount code of Lat38 here: https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/a/675751. The show will be hosted by Oakland’s Jack London Square on April 9-12. Find more info at www.strictlysailpacific.com.