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May 1, 2015

Spectacular Kaiwo Maru Visits the Bay

The final days of Kaiwo Maru’s nearly 6,000-mile crossing from Japan saw punishing gales. Having arrived yesterday, the merchant marine training vessel will remain in San Francisco Bay until Wednesday. 

Sea Training Institute
©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

When is a sailing vessel considered to be a tall ship? The unscientific answer to that question is, "You’ll know one when you see it." That’s certainly true of the 361-ft (LOA), four-masted barque Kaiwo Maru, which entered San Francisco Bay yesterday afternoon after completing her gale-strewn 5,400-mile crossing from Japan. 

Currently anchored in Anchorage 8 (just south of the Bay Bridge), she will pull alongside Pier 30/32 tomorrow morning, but sadly, she cannot offer public tours as she did during past visits, due to anticipated ballpark-related congestion on the Embarcadero throughout her stay. She will exit the pier at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, and depart the Bay for Hawaii. If you’re out on the water then, you’ll probably see dozens of cadets standing atop yardarms in the traditional ‘harbor salute’.

If you’re out on the Golden Gate Bridge Wednesday morning, you might catch a view like this — dozens of cadets standing atop the yardarms in a ‘harbor salute’. (This shot is of Kaiwo Maru’s sistership Nippon Maru, exiting the Bay in 2003.)

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A Class A tall ship, Kaiwo Maru is one of the largest and most impressive traditionally rigged sailing vessels in the world — one of fewer than 10 four-masters that are still operational. Commissioned in 1989, and operated by Japan’s National Institute for Sea Training, she travels the world instilling the time-honored techniques of marlinspike seamanship into her crew of merchant marine cadets.

With all her canvas flying she carries 36 sails, including 18 square sails that must be hand-furled from her yardarms. If you’re walking the streets of the Embarcadero or North Beach this weekend you may run across some of Kaiwo Maru‘s 101 cadets. If so, ship’s agent Catharine Hooper suggests you give them a heartfelt San Francisco welcome and "Buy them a Coke."

Japan Is In for AC 35

Softbank Team Japan launches its Challenge for the 35th America’s Cup. Left to right: Kou Watanabe, commodore of Kansai Yacht Club, signs with Japan’s AC team leader, Kazuhiko Sofuku.

© 2015 Yoichi Yabe / Sofbank Team Japan

SoftBank Corp., headquartered in Tokyo, and the Kansai Yacht Club, based in Kobe, Japan, have signed an agreement to challenge for the 2017 America’s Cup as SoftBank Team Japan.

Kazuhiko Sofuku, ‘Fuku’, a veteran of four previous America’s Cup campaigns, has been appointed general manager of the team. "To lead a Japanese challenge for the America’s Cup is a dream come true,"said Fuku, who last raced with a Japanese team for the Cup 15 years ago as bowman for Nippon Challenge during the 1999/2000 Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series. "We are planning to build up our team using America’s Cup World Series events to recruit and train Japanese sailors for our crew."

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said, "Taking on this major challenge at the pinnacle of yacht races matches with the SoftBank Group’s aim to be the global Number 1." Son, a ‘self-made man’ and the richest person in Japan, is a graduate of UC Berkeley.

The America’s Cup commercial commissioner, Harvey Schiller said, “The Japanese challenge will increase interest in the America’s Cup across Asia, which is good news for all of our teams and partners.”

Oracle Team USA will provide some technical assistance to SoftBank Team Japan as it prepares for the 2015 America’s Cup World Series events, which will begin in Portsmouth, UK, on July 23-26.

May Latitude Is Out

The May issue of Latitude 38 is making the rounds of docks and chandleries in the San Francisco Bay Area today. You can pick yours up at all the usual places. They’ve been shipped to our other distributors too, and mailed to subscribers.

Happy May Day! Celebrate with a fresh new Latitude, hot off the presses.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you just can’t wait to get your hands on a paper copy, you can indulge in a digital edition here.

If we had only tagged the photo with a GPS position.  latitude/Richard
©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC We’ve always liked this photograph of Profligate in this unusual-looking anchorage.