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June 24, 2015

Revved Up at the Rendez-vous

Given the location and the circumstance, it didn’t take much prodding to get fleet members to smile for this group photo, taken on the lawn of Club Bali Hai, in Cook’s Bay, Moorea.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend, and fittingly, drew its largest fleet of international cruisers ever. Sixty-five boats participated, plus at least a half dozen unofficial tag-alongs.

Aboard the Tradewinds 35 Suluk, Dutchman Pieter Bokhoven and his daughter obviously enjoyed the robust conditions of the Papeete-to-Moorea crossing. 

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As we often explain here and in Latitude 38 magazine, the three-day event’s dual purpose is to celebrate the newly arrived cruising fleet’s successful crossing from the West Coast of the Americas to French Polynesia, while introducing fleet members to age-old traditions of Polynesian life. 

A junior crewmember from the San Francisco-based Lagoon 470 Family Circus tries his luck in the ancient fruit-carrier’s race. The Tzortzis family took line honors in the race from Papeete.  

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The fun began with registration Friday afternoon on the Papeete, Tahiti, wharf, where sailors from many nations met for the first time or got reacquainted. They were introduced to many nuances of Society Islands sailing via an extensive chart briefing by our French-Tahitian partner Stephanie Betz of Archipelagoes, who designed the event and recruited sponsorship from a variety of partners (such as Tahiti Tourisme and Air Tahiti Nui). A cocktail reception followed, then the blessing of the fleet, and a spirited dance show. As an indication of the French Overseas Territory’s welcoming spirit, the government’s minister of tourism, the director of Tahiti Tourisme, a representative of the mayor of Papeete, the director of Tahiti YC, and five mayors of Marquesan islands were all in attendance.

We often share photos of lovely female Tahitian dancers, but the guys are pretty amazing too.  

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The weather forecast for Saturday’s race/rally to Cook’s Bay, Moorea, had been sketchy, but as the fleet sailed out of the harbor to the starting line, a booming 23-knot breeze piped up from the south — ideal for the 15-mile crossing.

That night at the host venue Club Bali Hai, fleet members were treated to a tasting of Tuamotu-made wines, followed by a fine dinner and an ultra-high-energy dance show. 

Whether you win or lose, the experience of canoe racing in the lagoon is always a memorable highlight. 

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As in years past, Sunday was dedicated to Polynesian sport demonstrations, highlighted by successive heats of six-person outrigger canoe races, where cruisers team up with expert Tahitian paddlers. It’s all incredibly fun, and the setting could not be more dramatic.

These Kiwi marine industry reps come up from New Zealand every year to join the fun. For four years they’ve been battling to win the canoe races, and this year they finally did it. The guys in red pareos are their Tahitian teammates.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

For us, having met many of the attendees at our send-off parties in Mexico and Panama — back when they were understandably apprehensive about making the 3,000- to 4,000-mile passage — it was a pleasure to observe how self-confident and energized they now seem, many literally beaming with happiness. But who wouldn’t be, given their surroundings and countless pleasures of the South Pacific cruising lifestyle? 

Ed Starinchak of the Bellingham, WA-based Panda 38 Lorien is one of many cruisers who got a very special souvenir while in the Marquesas — and it takes up no extra space on the boat.

Look for a complete recap of this year’s Rendez-vous in the August issue of Latitude 38

Umbrella Regatta in La Cruz

Cruisers in La Cruz jury-rig their small craft with umbrellas and other cobbled-together ‘sails’ for a Summer Sailstice regatta.

© Jorge Morales

"This is our third year of celebrating Summer Sailstice in Banderas Bay, Mexico," writes Katrina Liana of Marina Riviera Nayarit. "Umbrellas or any custom material catch the wind with anything that floats, without a motor and with some sort of rudder control." Racers are scored on style points, finish place, and capsize avoidance. Pacific Paddle introduced a new type of monster-size SUP boards for up to 2-8 people each. Three of the teams had children as crew.

The eight-man paddleboard division was obviously competitive.

© Marina Riviera Nayarit

"Disclaimer — no humans were harmed during these events," said Liana. "Join us next year for the 2016 Summer Sailstice and Paddle Regatta at Marina Riviera Nayarit!"

©2015 John Pounder /

"Tell me where there is another marina where you can have an Umbrella downwinder, a full-contact 8-man (and kids) paddle board rally, and have the security guards cook the tacos," said co-organizer Mike Danielson of PV Sailing-La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. "This place rocks!"

L’Hydroptère Record Attempt

Smokin’! L’Hydroptère sprints west in her attempt to break the outright L.A.-to-Honolulu record.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One of the most prestigious passage records in the sport of sailing is being challenged this week: The 60-ft foiling trimaran L’Hydroptère sprinted west from San Pedro’s Point Fermin Monday in an attempt to break the 2,215-mile L.A.-to-Honolulu record, established in 2005 by Frenchman Olivier de Kersauson and crew aboard the 110-foot trimaran Geronimo, 04d, 19h, 31m, 37s.

Aboard L’Hydroptère are Frenchmen Alain Thébault and Jacques Vincent as well as four American crew members. Although the ultra-fast tri covered 408 miles in the first 24 hours, reports yesterday noted she had not yet reached a record-smashing pace. But that could easily change. As Bay Area sailors may have observed in 2013, she is capable of traveling considerably faster than the AC72 cats that wowed spectators in America’s Cup 34. 

We should clarify that this attempt, of course, is not affiliated with next month’s Transpac race record, set on the same course in 1997 by the 86-ft maxi cat Explorer: 5d, 9h, 18m, 26s.

Fujin snaps a selfie. Fujin
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC Two very successful West Coast racing sailors — Greg Slyngstad of Sammamish, WA, and Bill Gibbs of Ventura, have been experiencing different fates with their new, very fast all-carbon cruising cats.
Lending Club 2 prepares for a fun sail in San Francisco. © 2015 Ronnie Simpson With the America’s Cup packing up shop and moving to Bermuda, there’s been a distinct lack of big, fast multihulls sailing the Bay on a regular basis.