Skip to content
February 26, 2016

The Fate of Alameda Marina

Alameda Marina, seen here from the Estuary, is a busy place during weeknight races.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We strongly encourage Oakland-Alameda Estuary sailors and other concerned citizens to attend a crucial March 1 meeting (7 p.m. at Alameda City Hall) that may determine the fate of the Alameda Marina, home of Svendsen’s Boat Works and many other long-established marine businesses. At issue is the fact that the property’s majority shareholder, Bill Poland of Bay West Development, has made it clear that he hopes to replace many existing marine businesses, as well as dry storage lots and some slips, with multi-story, high-density housing. Svendsen’s Boat Works may be eliminated also. To date, however, none of the drastic changes have been permitted, so there is still time for public input to impact the property’s fate.

Former Alameda Marina harbormaster Brock W. de Lappe shares his insights: “In mid-November 2015, Bay West Development presented the public with initial redevelopment plans for the Alameda Marina property along Clement Avenue. The concept was high-density housing, with examples including three-to-five-story buildings. Some yet-to-be-determined space would be devoted to commercial and light industrial.

“The community of Alameda should consider what is at risk. Time is short to engage and make your preferences known.

“The closure of the Svendsen’s haulout facility would be a truly immense loss to the recreational boating community of San Francisco Bay. Svendsen’s is one of the few remaining boatyards on the Bay, and it allows owners to work on their own boats when hauled out. It also is one of the top 25% sales tax generators for the City of Alameda. The marine elevator at Svendsen’s is absolutely essential to the maintenance of houseboats docked at Barnhill Marina, with no viable alternative. The boatyard and maritime-related companies are part of what makes Alameda a unique and vibrant waterfront community.

“There are numerous marine-related businesses on the Alameda Marina property, many of which have been there for decades. These companies contribute to the full-services aspect of the marina and are dependent on a waterside location. It is not clear how many of these would be able to stay in business if forced to relocate.

“Tenants who store their boats on trailers and use the shore-side hoists have no viable alternative location in the East Bay. What becomes of their ability to recreate on the Bay, and the value of their vessels?

Girls and women learn how to use navigation charts at an IYC Women’s Sailing Seminar.


“The Island Yacht Club is a very active recreational facility along the Estuary. The club hosts the Friday Evening Races, the annual Women’s Sailing Seminar, and programs for BAADS and sightless sailors, and is home to the Alameda Sea Scouts.

IYC hosted this Blind Sailing Regatta in J/24s on the Estuary.


“Aside from the above impacts, there is the reality of ever-increasing population density. At what point does the impact of development become more important than the value of additional housing on the island?

“Alameda Vice Mayor Frank Matarrese has requested that the city council carefully consider the new MX zoning at the marina, and what priorities should be set for guiding future developments. One proposal is to emphasize the retention of existing jobs and business over additional residential housing. This issue is an agenda item for the Tuesday evening, March 1, city council meeting. It would be good for our representatives to hear from Alameda residents, as well as the San Francisco Bay boating community, about this proposed loss of irreplaceable marine support resources.”

From Latitude 38‘s perspective, it would be hard to overstate the negative impact that the loss of current Alameda Marina marine businesses would have on the Bay Area sailing community. Hopefully, reasonable heads will prevail.

Cruisers Aid in Fiji Relief Effort

The picture tells the story: Many Fijian families lost everything to Winston’s fury, including crops and food supplies. But visitors to the islands have been impressed by the upbeat attitude of the survivors, despite the obvious devastation.

© 2016 Vuda Point Marina

As communications infrastructure is re-established in Fiji, a clearer picture of Tropical Cyclone Winston’s devastation continues to emerge. In addition to an untold number of homes and businesses that were damaged or destroyed, especially in outlying islands, the death toll, currently at 44, continues to rise. 

Food and other supplies are only now beginning to reach more remote areas, where many islanders have remained in dire need since the Category 5 storm clobbered the multi-island nation last Saturday. Some cruising sailors are helping with those efforts, including Jennifer Martindale and Bruce Harbour of the Montana-based St. Francis 44 cat Skabenga. Having weathered Winston’s wrath in a mangrove lagoon near Denerau, on the island of Viti Levu, they are now "fully loaded with food, hardware and meds," and will soon head out on a relief mission, working in conjunction with the nonprofit Sea Mercy.

Jennifer Martindale of Santa Cruz and her boyfriend, Bruce Harbour, weathered the big blow in a mangrove lagoon, and have now loaded Skabenga with relief supplies for remote islands.

© 2016 Bruce Harbour

The organization reports, "Most of the directly impacted islands experienced a major tidal storm surge after the cyclone passed. This meant all debris, pots and pans, clothing, food, etc. was washed out to sea, which means that they have been left with nothing." The agency seeks a wide variety of relief items ranging from diapers to fishing supplies.

"Storms are nothing new to the people living on the remote islands," the nonprofit’s website notes, "however a ‘once-in-a-century’ cyclone of this magnitude has never been seen by those living there." Sustained winds reached upward of 130 mph.

Expats are playing an important role in the relief efforts to outlying areas, some of which suffered the most severe damage from the Category 5 storm.

© Vuda Point Marina

In general, it seems that visiting sailors were luckier than most island residents. Many cruising boats weathered the storm with little or no damage at Vuda Point Marina on Viti Levu due to the 360-degree protection of its boat basin and, according to Manager Adam Wade, the "phenomenal efforts" of the staff. "Many of them stayed at the marina right up until the very last minute prepping the boats for your [their customers’] safety… These guys ended up risking their lives during the height of the storm, walking single file, holding each other by the shirt in horizontal rain in the pitch black and barely able to hear each other with trees falling around them to get to yachts in the water that needed assistance. Heroic does not even seem strong enough a word to describe them."

Tragically, some of those employees lost their homes to Winston. If you are among the thousands of cruisers who have stayed at Vuda Point, you might want to visit the marina’s Facebook page and learn how you can contribute to the welfare of those dedicated employees.

America’s Cup Racing Resumes

The Cup arrives in Muscat’s Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque for a photo shoot. Left to right: Glenn Ashby, skipper of ETNZ; Adam Minoprio, who is taking the place of the injured Franck Cammas in Oman only for Groupama Team France; Dean Barker, SoftBank Team Japan skipper and CEO; Jimmy Spithill, Oracle Team USA skipper; Sir Ben Ainslie, Land Rover BAR skipper; Iain Percy, Artemis Racing team manager.

© 2016 Jesus Renaldo / Lloyd Images

America’s Cup racing returns to the water: The 2016 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series kicked off in Muscat, Oman today.

Three different teams won the three regattas in the 2015 series. Golden Gate YC’s Oracle Team USA finished in second place, behind Emirates Team New Zealand, in the overall  standings. “This event is very much up for grabs,” said Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill. “We know it’s going to be tough. We know that if we make a mistake on the race course we’ll be punished for it, and that’s how it should be.”

Jimmy Spithill and crew went for a sail aboard the Oracle Team USA AC45F after launching yesterday.

© Sam Greenfield / Oracle Team USA

The teams set up their AC45F foiling catamarans on Wednesday, launched on Thursday, and had official practice racing followed by the opening ceremony today. Artemis Racing found the most success today, winning both fleet races and taking one of two match races. Conditions were light, with winds of 4-7 knots. The forecast calls for 7-10 knots over the weekend. Counting races are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. local time each day — that’s 2 a.m. PST. 

They’re just like us: Crews cling to the leeward rail in the very light-air conditions of today’s practice racing.

© 2016 Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

Given the 12-hour time difference, it seems unlikely that many fans here on the West Coast of the US will try to watch the racing live. But diehards who also happen to be night owls can get the AC+ app here. The season pass for 2016 costs $24.99. A weekend pass for each event is $7.99.

If anyone still cares by Saturday, March 12, NBC Sports Network will replay the highlights at 3-4 p.m. PST.

A Week Is Three Weeks too Little

This photo shows one of several anchorages at Antigua’s Green Island. That’s ‘ti Profligate on the lower left, just in front of the reef. The 60-ft Gold Coast charter cat which has circumnavigated Antigua every day of the year for the last 18 or so years zoomed between ‘ti and the reef at high speed. Very impressive. 

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Given all the spectacular anchorages and great folks at Antigua, it’s a pity we’re leaving today for Jolly Harbour to set up the 70-mile broad reach to St. Barth on Friday. Before we leave, we’d like to share another photo we took of the anchorage at Green Island with our drone.

The magnificent schooner off to the right in the photo is Germania Nova, a 196-footer built in 2009 that is a replica of the original Germania, which was built in 1908. The second photo shows what she looks like under sail. The good news is that she’s for sale. Maintenance, however, is going to cost a pretty penny, so think twice before taking a leap.

This is what Germania Nova looks like under sail. Spectacular, no? And she’s for sale. Antigua is home to lots of jaw-dropping sailing yachts. 

Nova Germania
©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In our previous report from Antigua, we mentioned that we’d seen a bloke from London t-bone a local’s 27-ft sloop, putting a big hole in the side of her hull. The operator readily admitted guilt, but then his daughter, possibly a lawyer, started mumbling something ridiculous like “the transmission broke.” There was no problem with the transmission; the problem was the first-time operator didn’t realize that you lose steering on most Jet Skis once you back off the throttle. And that there are consequences when you drive a Jet Ski at 25 knots in a 5-knot zone.

Tony was happy with the settlement he got for the hole smashed into the hull of his boat. 

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We befriended Tony, the local owner of the boat. We shuttled him around to see the perpetrator and local officials, hoping we could make sure he didn’t get screwed. Yesterday we got a phone call from Tony, who happily reported that he’d been given nearly $5,000 in compensation. We’re not sure that’s going to be enough to properly repair the boat. On the other hand, it might be more than the value of the boat itself, which has seen hard times. But at least he’s happy.

The photo of the woman at the ancient windlass used to pull British ships onto their sides for hull cleaning is Doña de Mallorca. Thirty years before we’d taken almost the same photo of her. After speaking for about 15 minutes, we didn’t see her again for 10 years. We’ve been seeing her pretty regularly for the last 20 years.

There’s something about this photo that seems familiar. And we’re not talking about the white boat in the background, the 148-ft Vitters Timoneer, on which we raced around St. Barth a number of New Years ago. 

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We’ve had such a great time at Antigua, which has enough protected anchorages for at least a month of quiet cruising, that we’re putting the island back in heavy rotation for next year.

Laurie and Sonia Haynes’ Australian Fountaine Pajot Bahia 46 Moana Roa makes landfall in French Polynesia.
Mighty Merloe crossed the PV Race finish line Tuesday morning at 8:30. © 2016 John Rogers HL Enloe’s ORMA 60 trimaran Mighty Merloe crossed the finish line of San Diego Yacht Club’s Puerto Vallarta Race at 8:30 Tuesday morning, for an elapsed time of 2 days, 19 hours, and 49 minutes. Their