How did you start sailing? On Sunday we were invited to sail aboard the tall ship Lady Washington for a mock battle with Hawaiian Chieftain. The trip was arranged by circumnavigator Don Engle of the 70-ft Shuttleworth catamaran My Way, which is frequently seen traversing the Bay, and one of his regular sailing crew, John Cabrall. Among the many things we learned while aboard was that much of the crew were lured into sailing by these tall ships.
Many on the crew had teaching backgrounds, and, since one of the many missions of these tall ships is education, the crew was able to learn about sailing themselves, learn the history of tall ships, and offer instruction to school kids on their annual voyage from Seattle to San Diego and back. If you’re a fifth-grader, learning about California history and geography, the marine environment, or the mechanical advantage achieved with a pulley is much more interesting and memorable from the deck of a tall ship.
During the mock battle we were very impressed with the crew’s sail handling as they maneuvered these heavy-tonnage vessels around to land the perfect shot. Backing the jib, even in the light air, helped spin the vessel for classic Master and Commander battle tactics.
Both Don Engle and John Cabrall are captivated by the history and adventures of tall ships, but they’re also very modern sailors who spend most of their time sharing sailing with a wide circle of sailing friends aboard My Way. The Sunday sail was about connecting tall-ship sailors to those of us on modern ‘plastic classics’ and vice versa.
In the next month Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain will be open for tours in Antioch, Redwood City and Sausalito, offering life lessons to kids and adults along the way. If you want to broaden your world view of sailing or get your school involved in their education programs in the future, visit the ships’ website at: www.historicalseaport.org.
In the April issue we’ll be publishing a letter from a reader about being part of a boat partnership that started 50 years ago. That’s so long ago that, if we’re not mistaken, James Madison was still president.
The letter got us thinking about boat partnerships. Have you ever been part of one? If so, how many partners were there, how long did it last, and how did it work out? Send your replies to Richard.
"We’re sad to say that the weather forecast for Saturday, March 5, has deteriorated and we’re forced to cancel this year’s Sail a Small Boat Day," writes the manager at Richmond YC. "We were looking forward to showing you our boats but we need to keep everyone safe.
"Please tentatively put Saturday, March 4, 2017, on your calendar for next year."
A lot of skippers — 24 — have gone to the dark side for the 36th annual Heineken Regatta in Sint Maarten this weekend. The event has attracted about 2,000 sailors from 36 countries in… well, we’re not sure how many boats, but it’s a lot.
Twenty-four of the entries are in the three multihull classes, and they include representatives of the entire spectrum of multihulls, from Lloyd Thornburg’s all-conquering MOD70 Phaedo3 to a variety of Caribbean charter cats.
One of the most interesting entries will be Greg Slyngstad’s wild-looking Bieker 53 Fujin, which was built of all carbon by Gold Coast Yachts of St. Croix. A very successful round-the-buoys, Transpac and Caribbean racer, the Seattle-based Slyngstad made Fujin’s racing debut in yesterday’s Commodore’s Cup, which is a preview to the Heinie.
“It was a 17-mile course in 10-22 knots of breeze,” reports Slyngstad. “Fujin did great, winning the multihull class by a good margin both boat for boat and on corrected time. We beat Flow, the only Gunboat that raced, by 20 minutes. We hit 27 knots, and when the breeze was up had a five-minute stretch when we averaged 25 knots. We still have lots of room to improve, but the crew did great. And we had an awesome ride, flying a hull for more than half the race.”
Another interesting entry to watch will be Annie Gardner and Eric Witte with their Point Loma, San Diego-based Catana 47 cruising cat El Gato, which they bought in the Med about 18 months ago. Annie was a trial-horse skipper on an IAAC America’s Cup boat back in the day, and has held many sailing titles.