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January 18, 2016

Corinthian Midwinters

Saturday’s Corinthian Midwinters racers converged at the penultimate mark of course 5, the R4 buoy designated as YRA 8 east of Angel Island’s Point Blunt. Carried by momentum, the boats drifted around the buoy with much yelling and some contact, but no actual protests were filed.

© 2016 Nathan Bossett

After a 35-minute postponement, Saturday’s 98-boat Corinthian Yacht Club Midwinters fleet sailed off a startline set west of Angel Island into a softening breeze on a 12- or 8-mile course, depending on division. The course choice proved overly ambitious for some. The race committee shortened course at the last mark, Yellow Bluff, southeast of Sausalito. As the 4:30 p.m. time limit approached, one competitor after another called in to drop out, and many more were left on the course when time ran out, still inching toward the elusive finish.

Taking Harding Rock to starboard and Angel Island to port, the Richmond-bound 620-ft car carrier Pearl Ace gently and quietly passed through the fleet attempting to finish in the light air and powerful flood. The pilot finessed the passage without sounding even one horn.

video by Michael Moradzadeh

Sunday’s race had a lively breeze for a quick afternoon, mostly complete before the heaviest of the rain came in. We’ll have much more in Racing Sheet in the February issue of Latitude 38.

The Super 12s Are Coming

About a year ago, when ex-America’s Cup employee Tom Ehman introduced his pipe dream of staging a 12-Meter racing renaissance on San Francisco Bay — in reaction to the astronomical costs of foiling-era A-Cup campaigning — the idea drew a mixed reaction. But today, momentum is building, with several nations showing strong interest, a summer 2017 race date announced, and this week the first renderings released for this new sexy one-design class.

Farr Yacht Design embraced the challenge of drawing an elegant-looking sloop reminiscent of the classic 12-Meters (used in Cup competition prior to 1987) above the waterline, yet with ultra-modern underbodies. 

Capitalizing on what is apparently nostalgia for the classic styling of the 12-Meter class, these new Super 12s have familiar lines above the waterline, with a few surprises down below. 

© 2016 Farr Yacht Design

As reported earlier, the new event, dubbed the San Francisco Racing Challenge, would take place annually here on the Bay, and would be focused on match racing among teams that would have strict crew nationality requirements — including participation of female sailors, and crew under 30 and over 65. Only a bare minimum of modern electronic gadgetry would be allowed 

Because boats would be identical (apart from sail inventories), boat construction cost would be $2- to $3 million — ‘affordable’, at least by recent A-Cup standards — and would be used for a decade or more of racing. According to Ehman, the strongest interest thus far has been from an Italian team, with additional interest by teams from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Thailand, and Spain, in addition to three US teams.

According to Ehman, Bruce Farr himself came out of retirement to assist with the plans. 

© Farr Yacht Design

The first event’s date? July 21, 2017 — shortly after the conclusion of America’s Cup 35. Skeptics be warned. This is one pipe dream that might actually come to fruition.

Pacific Cup Events

Hawaii-bound sailors and hopefuls, take note: Saturday’s Alaska Airlines Pacific Offshore Academy at Richmond YC still has some space left. The POA on January 23 will begin at 1 p.m. and feature the following topics:

  • Provisioning in three modes with race veterans Susan Chamberlin, Jody McCormack, and Melinda Erkelens
  • Routing by Chris ‘Lew’ Lewis 
  • Ratings and Notice of Race, Buzz Blackett
  • Personal gear, Sally Richards and Aimee Daniel
  • Inspections update, Michelle Farabaugh 
  • Hawaii local knowledge, Steve Chamberlin
  • Prepared boats in the water, Surprise and Wolfpack 

Twenty-minute Breakout Sessions will enable students to explore their particular interests. A social hour will follow at 5 p.m. You can sign up online for $30 at A free seminar on watermakers will precede the POA at 10 a.m.

A division start in 2014’s Pacific Cup.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Other Pacific Cup educational events coming up this winter and spring include: 

  • Feb. 13 — Medical Seminar, RYC, $30. Preparation for, prevention of, and response to common medical situations onboard. Presented by a panel of experts with at-sea experience: Kent Benedict, MD, FACEP, marine emergency medicine expert: Mary Lovely, RN, PhD, past PCYC commodore; Denny Emory, EMT, founder of OceanMedix; and Francis O’Connell, MD, director of Maritime Medical Access
  • Mar. 5 — US Sailing Safety at Sea, Kaneohe YC, Oahu, $135
  • Mar. 26 — Alaska Airlines Pacific Offshore Academy #4, RYC, $30
  • Mar. 26 — SailMail/Grib Seminar, RYC, free
  • May 14-15 —  US Sailing / ISAF Safety at Sea, Encinal YC, Alameda

Races from the West Coast of North America to Hawaii this year include:

This well-worn sign is often in place at the Santa Cruz Harbor launch ramp, but this week its warning is particularly serious, as the harbor mouth is effectively closed to all traffic.
Say what you will about Americans’ over-the-top spending and celebrating habits during the holiday season, but there’s no denying that this reflective time of year also inspires many to be unusually generous.