November 20, 2015

Sailors Recoil at Development Plans

Jeff Lee’s San Juan 33 Zwei Flying Fish checks out the breeze off Alameda Marina before an Island Nights Friday night beer can race, hosted by Island YC, whose clubhouse is on the Alameda Marina property.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

On November 18, tenants at Alameda Marina were notified by Bay West Group of new development plans for the 43-acre marina property. The Master Plan drawn up by San Francisco-based architecture firm EHDD and presented on their website shows 10 acres of housing, two acres of commercial property and 11.5 of industrial/maritime use. EHDD’s website says: "EHDD is working closely with Alameda city staff, key representatives of the Planning Commission, BCDC, and the local community to ensure that all stakeholders take ownership of the master planning effort."

Tenants who attended a meeting yesterday at Island YC regarding the development plans said Bay West described an 18-month process during which they would work with tenants to help them find new space or, in some cases, to extend their leases. Tenants at Alameda Marina include Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Doyle Sailmakers, Eskelund Marine, Fasco Fasteners, Excel Graphics and Svendsen’s Boat Works. In addition to the boatyard, the marina also currently houses a large number of dry-stored boats.

In addition to the haulout facilities, Alameda Marina has long served as an important resource for dry-sailed boats large and small, such as this vintage Mercury, coming out of the water after a race on the Estuary. 

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Liz Taylor said she received a postcard inviting her to attend the tenants’ lunch without any notice that the lease for her business, DOER, would be jeopardized. "It was a friendly postcard for a very unfriendly meeting," says Taylor, whose marine consulting firm designs and builds remotely operated vehicles, including submarines. "They showed photos of Svendsen’s Boat Works and welding and said it was incompatible with what the City and the developer have in mind for the property." She said tenants were told that the City’s mandate for housing and infrastructure improvements meant that the property would need to be "fully developed." 

After the tenants’ meeting, Bay West Group hosted a community meeting to survey reactions to various types of housing, ranging from single-family to multi-story. Slides shown at the meeting showed an "inlet" where the dry dock is currently located and no visible parking for the marina’s dock tenants. One attendee said the possibility of condo units five stories high were discussed for the adjacent area.

Swapping condos for boat storage, the new development plans have gotten local sailors up in arms. But the proposals are far from a done deal.

City of Alameda
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Attendees at both meetings were told the developer had not yet proposed the Master Plan to the City of Alameda. The city’s website has no mention of the site or any proposed development and it was not on the agenda for the City’s November 23 planning meeting. (See the Alameda master plan here, and the Bay West site here.)

Not surprisingly, introduction of these development proposals drew strong criticism from many local sailors and marine business people. Social networks are currently abuzz with talk of marshaling resistance to the extensive waterfront development scheme, which would seemingly destroy a long-established center of community sailing and related business. You can make your opinion known by writing the City of Alameda Planning Division at this email address.

Double Trouble Preps for KWRW and Cuba

The crew works on perfecting roll jibes during last Saturday’s light conditions. 

© 2015 Martha Blanchfield

San Francisco’s J/125 Double Trouble crew wrapped up a final practice last weekend before they travel east to Quantum Key West Race Week and the Conch Republic Regatta to Cuba. A signature S.F. Bay send-off was delivered — 4-knot winds on Saturday and mid-20 knots with gusts to 40 on Sunday.

Bowman James Clappier descends the mast on Sunday after a routine rigging check following high-wind practice. The top of mast is 60 feet off the water.

© Martha Blanchfield

Boat partner Peter Krueger has a history of training top crews for competition in significant regattas around the world. "We have taken advantage of the West Coast’s racing opportunities and look forward to pitting our skills against the finest the East Coast has to offer. The race to Cuba will be memorable, giving us a chance to experience the country, its people and the splendors of the island." Noah Weissich, James Clappier and boat captain Andy McCormick hauled out the boat earlier this week. "She’s getting a paint job, then Andy will truck her across the US at the end of December," said Krueger. "The entire crew and their wives, plus guest skipper Justin Kromelow from the J/70 Loose Lucy, will arrive in Florida mid-January. We’ll get in practice, then hit the water running."

J/125 hull #3 Double Trouble getting lifted in advance of a new paint job. In late December the boat will be trucked across the country by boat captain Andy McCormick. The crew was able to borrow a trailer from Seattle racing peer Hamachi, which did the bluewater circuit last season.

© 2015 James Clappier

Quantum Key West Race Week is first, on January 18-23. The Conch Republic Regatta is significant in that it heralds the United States’ return to legally-permitted limited boat travel to Cuba. Regatta routes will take fleets between the US and Cuba, as well as the along the coastline between host cities Varadero and Havana. Five days of scheduled races start January 28 and end February 5.

Double Trouble is a four-time Rolex Big Boat Series champion with numerous Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay wins. The crew is composed of 11 lifelong sailors whose combined number of sailing years totals more than 300. The program is privately funded by boat owners Krueger and Andy Costello. Krueger helms buoy events and Costello, who plans to compete in the 2016 Pacific Cup, favors ocean competition.

Tropical Storm Season Not Quite Over

"We saw 87° water in a number of places on the way from La Paz to here on Banderas Bay," Arjan Bok, the San Francisco owner of the Schionning 43 cat Rot Kat told Latitude about a week ago. "We saw it up in Mazatlan, at Isla Isabella, and other places."

Warm water is one of the ingredients for tropical storms and hurricanes, of course. So it’s not a complete surprise that the National Hurricane Center has issued an alert for Tropical Storm Rick to be whipping around far off the coast of Mexico over the next several days. As far offshore as it is, and with maximum winds of 40 mph, Rick shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

Some people assume that very warm water is all you need for the formation of tropical storms and hurricanes. But that’s not true, as there are many places in the world with warm ocean temperatures that never get tropical storms.

The waters off the Pacific Coast of Mexico have been very warm this year and are still quite warm. But it would be wrong to assume that warmer water has resulted in more tropical storms. Indeed, there were more tropical storms and hurricanes in 2014 and 2013, and just as many in 2012, when the water wasn’t particularly warm. 

The recent voyages of Russian-born sailor Rimas Meleshyus, 63, have garnered widespread interest within the sailing community, not because he has proven to be a great mariner, but because despite having virtually no training or previous offshore experience, he has survived thousands of miles of open-ocean sailing aboard a tiny trailer-sailer.
Steve Carroll’s Tule Fog was one of 16 Express 27s racing in the BYC Midwinters on Saturday, a civilized day for sailing on the Berkeley Circle.