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July 31, 2015

August Issue Out Today

On the cover: Seen in this Phil Uhl photo, the ultra-fast 105-ft tri Lending Club 2 passes the Diamond Head light at the end of a record run that shaved more than a day off the existing L.A.-to-Honolulu record. Smokin!

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Over the years we’ve been told by many sailors that they are absolutely addicted to reading Latitude 38. If you count yourself among them you’re in luck because the August edition of the magazine is being distributed today in the Greater Bay Area, and is already readable or downloadable from the website. (Magazines will arrive at SoCal, Hawaii and Pacific Northwest distribution points in a few days.) See our complete distribution list here

What’s inside? In this issue you’ll find our usual broad-based mix of sailing news from the Bay Area and beyond, including features on the just-completed Transpac, a recap of last month’s Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous, a look at Beer Can racing in the Estuary, and one man’s exhaustive efforts to build the ideal performance cruising trimaran. 

Our Sightings section covers Lending Club 2‘s record run to Honolulu, the Treasure Island expansion controversy, the Transatlantic Race, Baja Ha-Ha and Delta Doo Dah updates, the launch of the original ‘peace boat’, and more. 

The Racing Sheet has reports on events all over the Bay Area as well as on Lake Tahoe, Max Ebb debates the arguments for cruising classes, World of Chartering looks at one-directional catamaran cruising, and Changes in Latitudes shares cruiser experiences from the South Pacific, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean and elsewhere. 

So have a great weekend, and be sure to carve out an hour or two in order to spend some ‘quality time’ with our latest editorial effort.

Last Transpac Finisher Arrives

With yesterday’s arrival of the final finisher and today’s awards celebration, the 48th Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu slides into the history books.

The Shunan, Yamaguchi-based Italian 30-footer Fortissimo II made it to Honolulu yesterday.

© 2015 Transpacific Yacht Club

We’ve already told you that the Santa Cruz 37 Celerity finished first, the 100-ft Wild Oats XI scored the fastest elapsed time, Rio100 won the Barn Door Trophy, and the SC70 Grand Illusion won on corrected time overall. But somebody’s got to be DFL. That dubious honor goes to Yasuto Fuda’s Feet 30 Fortissimo II, which took more than 17 days to finish the course. "The small Italian-built sportboat with a crew of four intrepid sailors from Japan persevered through some tough conditions," wrote Dobbs Davis, the race’s media manager. We’ll have more on all of the above in our two Transpac features in the August and September issues of Latitude 38.

One element in the race the entries all had in common was trash. Not trash generated by the sailors, but trash sighted and sometimes picked up by the sailors. Wild Oats’ Roy Pat Disney, a veteran of 20 Transpacs, described encountering "at least three bits of junk every minute — timber, fishing nets, plastic, poles that have broken away from commercial fishing nets. You name it, and it’s probably here."

Racers stumbled upon junk like this along the course to Hawaii. OEX picked up this net after snagging it with the keel.

© Transpacific Yacht Club

During the race, the crew of John Sangmeister, Dave Hood and Pete Hambrick’s SC70 OEX developed an inventive way of tracking trash: "As we sail to Honolulu, we are regularly hitting our Man Overboard Button at the helm station to plot a new piece of debris. Last night we received a warning broadcast from the SC50 Adrenalin of a large submerged object spotted in the vicinity. Later that evening, we were forced to back down after hooking some fishing net on our keel that couldn’t be cut with the kelp cutter."

For more on the Transpac, see

This Is No Urban Myth

When the scooper planes came within 100 meters of Geja, they were starting to get a little too close for comfort.

Andrew Vik
©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Have you ever heard of the firefighting story in which a ‘scooper plane’ accidentally scoops up a scuba diver while taking on a load of water, then unknowingly dumps him on top of a fire? His body, in a wetsuit and with a dive tank still attached, is supposedly later found in the charred forest. Snopes says this is an urban myth. We believe Snopes.

Scooper planes for fighting forest fires are not myths. On July 19, San Francisco’s Andrew Vik took this photo of a scooper plane flying uncomfortably close to his Islander 36 Geja while in the process of fighting a fire. "I’d been sound asleep until 7:15 a.m., when three fire-fighting planes came through in constant rotation. There was a wildfire nearby, and the pilots had selected Brna Bay, Croatia, where my Geja was anchored, as the place to pick up their water. Sometimes they touched down less than 100 meters away.

"The planes managed to be a big assist in putting the fires out, much to the relief of the locals, who were freaked out about the flames on the ridge all night long."

Scooper planes are used to fight some fires in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. The National Forest Service paid the Rand Corporation $800,000 to decide whether scooper planes are worthwhile. When the Rand Corporation concluded that they were a valuable part of the fire-fighting mix, the National Forest Service, for some reason, had a fit. Since you’re all interested in aerial fire fighting, we can tell you the argument for planes that drop fire-retardants is that retardants are much more effective than water. On the downside, planes using retardants have to land at an airport, load, and take off again. Scoopers, on the other hand, can do load after load after load without having to land. Unlike planes with retardants, which attempt to drop their loads on places that haven’t caught fire yet, scooper planes drop water directly on the flames.

In any event, we’re glad Andrew and Geja survived, as we’re looking forward to receiving yet another annual installment about their adventures in the Adriatic.

Adventures in the Duxship

Not all the Santa Cruz 50s are in Hawaii this week. Here’s Craig Page’s Hana Ho, with Buzz Blackett’s Antrim 40 California Condor in the background, starting Saturday’s OYRA Duxbury-Lightship Race off St. Francis Yacht Club.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The San Francisco Bay Area’s OYRA held their Duxship Race, with a start and a finish at St. Francis Yacht Club and a 32-mile ocean course, on July 25. Pat Broderick, sailing on the Wyliecat 30 Nancy, described the race as nearly picture perfect. "The race started out with a nice westerly wind coupled with a light ebb to flush the boats out beyond Point Bonita," he said. Busy shipping traffic added an extra level of challenge.

Sailors in the 28-boat fleet enjoyed spotting baby harbor porpoises inside the Gate and common murres, trailed by their adorable singleton offspring, bobbing on the gentle ocean swells.

Kerry Sheehan’s X-362 Windswept Lady, which won PHRO-2, sails past Point Bonita.

© Louis Benainous

Those sticking close to shore cut across the bouncy chop of the Potatopatch Shoal and sailed up the Bonita Channel, dodging the fishing fleet into Bolinas Bay before tacking over to the Duxbury Reef buoy. On the way, they got a scenic tour of Southern Marin beaches (Rodeo and Muir were fogged in but Stinson and Bolinas were sunny.)

A reach to the Lightship (aka Approach buoy "SF") followed. This leg favored those with asymmetrical spinnakers — the mellow breeze was too far forward for many of the symmetrical kites. After the jibe at the Lightship, the remaining spinnakers blossomed. Occasional northwesterly puffs kept trimmers alert. Past Point Bonita, the wind gradually built.

Fun with the spinnaker on the Express 37 Elan.

© Erik Simonson

Common wisdom states that if you can spot windsurfers and kiteboarders as you approach the Bay, there’s big breeze ahead. Why must we always jibe right at the Golden Gate Bridge, the narrowest point of the Gate — and the windiest? Singlehander Max Crittenden’s final approach and jibes with his Martin 32 Iniscaw definitely didn’t go as planned. "Sometimes things don’t go as well as we’d like," he observed. After a blown jibe, his spinnaker took a flyer right on the Cityfront, where onlookers could observe his struggles, and exclaim, "Oh no, look at Iniscaw! Poor Max."

©2015 Max Crittenden

Back on the whitecaps of San Francisco Bay, Iniscaw’s spinnaker took a flyer.

© 2015 Erik Simonson

Things went from bad to worse when Crittenden arrived at his home harbor, South Beach. "There was a jib sheet caught in the prop, because I forgot to check for lines in the water, and the line went over the side in all the hoo-hah at the Gate." With the motor disabled by the wrapped prop, Crittenden attempted to sail into his slip (they’re all crosswind slips). "I got headed, tried to turn around, the boat accelerated, and I chose to hit a piling instead of another boat. That’s how I smashed the bow. I decided to sail to an end tie; it’s a beam reach so I rigged a spring line to stop the boat. It worked but the spring took out the stanchion."

The next opportunity for adventure in the OYRA series will be the two-day Drake’s Bay Race on August 22-23. For the second year in a row, the Singlehanded Sailing Society will join the race.

Manouch Moshayedi’s Corona del Mar-based Bakewell-White Rio100 sped toward the finish line on Saturday.