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August 10, 2015

No California Stop for Clipper Race

The 10th edition of the Clipper Round the World Race will depart London August 30 with 12 purpose-built Clipper 70s. Sadly, there will be no California port stop this time ’round. 

Clipper Round the World Race
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Despite the Bay Area’s reputation as one of the greatest sailing venues on earth, the 10th edition of the Clipper Round the World Race will not stop here — or anywhere else in California — during the event’s 2015-2016 circumnavigation. For many Bay Area sailors who enjoyed hosting the Clipper Race’s international fleet in previous years, that’s sad news. Seattle, however, will not only host a port stop, but has paid the substantial extra fees to sponsor its own team: Visit Seattle. Only five of the 12 nearly identical Clipper 70 yachts will carry the name of a city or country. 

Beginning August 30 from London’s St. Katharine Docks, the 11-month race’s east-about route will first take the fleet to Rio; then to Cape Town, South Africa; then four stops in Australia; up to Viet Nam; on to Qingdao, China; then across 5,000 miles of lonely North Pacific waters to Seattle, arriving between April 15 and 20. The fleet will depart from the home of the Space Needle April 28, bound for Panama, arriving in New York June 12-16. The 12 boats will begin their Atlantic crossing to Northern Ireland June 20, with a final stop in The Netherlands before completing their 40,000-mile lap at London. 

UNICEF has sponsored a team again, and a similar boat will bear the message: Visit Seattle.

Clipper Round the World Race
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Among around-the-world races, what distinguishes the Clipper most, of course, is that its recruiters advertise "no sailing experience necessary." As crazy as that may seem to seasoned offshore sailors, many novice and new-to-offshore sailors have acclaimed this ambitious adventure as one of the greatest experiences of their lives — albeit also one of the most difficult. Crew have the option of doing one or more legs, or the entire circumnavigation. 

If you’re a West Coast sailor who’ll be aboard a Clipper 70 this time ’round (or you have a friend who will be), we’d love to hear from you.

Although no previous sailing experience is necessary, both inshore and offshore crew training are required of each participant. The Clipper 70, seen here, is the third generation of boats built specifically for the grueling, 40,000-mile race.

Clipper Round the World Race
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Made in the Shade

Sailor Cherry, Cabinboy Jay and Delta Dog Lucia joined the Delta Doo Dah last year for the first time with their Serendipity 43 Hooked. With the Delta cruising season still going strong and the Mexico season not far behind, we thought that one of Hooked’s heat-busting creations might prove useful to other hot-climate sailors.

"I made a DIY 6-ft x 18-ft foredeck sunshade, without having to sew," Cherry reported. "I raised it up with a spinnaker halyard and it made a lovely tent-like shade. It cost $75 in materials: 28 standard grommets, a grommet kit, 21 10- to 14-inch-long ties, and several yards of 8-oz. white denim fabric, which is super strong, heat deflecting, and durable for over 25-knot gusts. It matches the boat, plus I could also bleach out any stains.

"Make a hem, with a fold, add the grommet in the center, seven per 6-ft side," she instructs. "On deck tie the two shades together with line, hoist with a halyard, secure to lifelines or toe rail with remaining lines."

Back home on the Oakland-Alameda Estuary, Lucia reclines in the shade.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Cherry wanted to make her no-sew sunshade out of an old sail but didn’t have one. "People didn’t understand why I didn’t just buy a tarp, but we make it a priority to use as little plastic on board as possible, especially a tarp which has high risk of sailing into the water and adding to the ocean plastic epidemic."

Half of the sunshade is now a movable bimini.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

A year later, she is using one half as a cockpit shade. "It works great still, and I am able to adjust it according to where the sun is shining. I hope this tip helps show other cruisers how easy it is, and how you can re-purpose all kinds of fabric. Just take what you got, add some grommets, recycle old line and tie it off — voila!"

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Old Sail Bags and Really Old Sail Bags

This sailbag is old enough to have grandchildren. Can you tell us anything about it?

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We were walking down a dock at the Marina Riviera Nayarit recently and came across a sail bag with a logo on it that we hadn’t seen in many years. Does this mean anything to anybody? No one under 60 need bother trying to answer the question.

Hats off to the idealism of youth. Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat will leave Hawaii this week aboard Swiftsure, participating in the research phase of the wildly ambitious project that he conceived: The Ocean Cleanup.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Royal Yacht Squadron, which was founded on June 1, 1815, in Cowes on the Isle of Wight in the UK.
The title is not only the opening line of a fine Traffic rock ‘n’ roll song from the 1970s, it’s also what happened to us the last two nights.