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June 17, 2016

Photo of the Day

It’s hard to think of a boat more deserving of a rainbow’s end than Patsy ‘La Reina del Mar’ Verhoven’s Gulfstar 50 Talion.

Once based out of Portland, for the last eight or so years she’s been based out of La Paz in Baja. But readers with sharp eyes will be able to detect that this photo was actually taken in French Polynesia, where there is some greenery.

Despite the fact that Patsy and Talion are currently in French Polynesia, she promises us that they’ll both be back in time for the late-October start of the Baja Ha-Ha, and maybe even September’s SoCal Ta-Ta.

What’s Your Summer Sailstice Plan?

What started out as a loosely conceived impetus for getting sailors out on the water has now grown into an international phenomenon. Of course, we’re referring to the annual Summer Sailstice events that will take place this weekend, timed with the annual summer solstice — the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

The boat-building contest — and subsequent race — at the Encinal YC is a perennial Sailstice favorite.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

One look at the official website and you’ll see that yacht clubs, sailing schools, charter companies, resorts and unaffiliated individuals on several continents have events planned around this just-for-fun celebration of sailing.

Here in the Bay Area, one of the biggest gatherings of Sailstice revelers will be at Alameda’s Encinal YC, where the lineup of activities includes live music, sailboat rides, small boat racing, a boatbuilding contest sponsored by Gosling’s Rum, dockside tours of the historic 1891 scow schooner Alma, and a plank of worthwhile seminars:

• noon — World voyager and author Jack Van Ommen on his travels

• 1 p.m. — Tucker Thompson on America’s Cup events

• 2 p.m. — Latitude 38‘s Andy Turpin on Lat 38 rallies (the Delta Doo Dah, SoCal Ta-Ta, Baja Ha-Ha and Pacific Puddle Jump)

• 3 p.m. — Arnstein Mustad shares tales of a delivery skipper

 • 4 p.m. — Dan Leininger on getting your captain’s license

There will be an Open House Sunday at Berkeley’s Cal Sailing Club, one of the Bay’s most affordable and accessible sailing facilities.


If you’re up for a Delta cruise, Latitude 38‘s Delta Doo Dah 8 cruising rally will join the tenants of Owl Harbor Marina on Sevenmile Slough for a BBQ on Saturday night. The next day the fleet will sail up the San Joaquin River to Little Venice Island for an 8-Ball Tournament. For details and to register, see this link.

You’ll find listings of other Bay Area events here.

The Alameda Community Sailing Center will host the Chichester Race around Alameda. The biggest challenge is how to get under the bridges!

© 2016 ACSC

In addition to both local and international events listed on the site, you’ll see an impressive roster of sponsors and prizes, with the grand prize being a weeklong bareboat charter aboard either a monohull or multihull at any of Sunsail’s 25 bases around the world. But, of course, if you don’t register — it’s free — you can’t win! Again, you’ll find the signup portal here.

Columbia 5.5 Meter Comeback

Columbia 5.5 Meters racing on the Estuary, left to right: Wings, Sonic Death Monkey, Slooperman and Italia.

© Martha Blanchfield

One-design action is happening Wednesday nights on the Alameda Estuary. Hosted by Oakland Yacht Club, the Columbia 5.5 Meter fleet counts eight on the start line — plus two more classic vessels currently being restored by a local team.

Maverick, with the red and white spinnaker, chases down Slooperman, Sonic Death Monkey and Wings.

© Martha Blanchfield

Lithe and streamlined, the 5.5 Meter is enjoying a renaissance — partly for its beauty and partly for its classic lines and pedigree. Additionally, the boat offers an inexpensive way to step into a competitive gentlemen’s fleet racer. The owner of Maverick, Robert Nelson, reveals that a recent raid of Stockton Sailing Club yielded three acquisitions: Chaos, Coyote (renamed Slooperman) and Nefertiti. Ray McMurphy and Vaughn Fisher recently purchased hull #1, Javelin, for restoration; she had idled at Vallejo YC for numerous years. 

Chaos, looking not too chaotic on Wednesday evening, June 8.

© 2016 Martha Blanchfield

The Columbia 5.5 Meter was introduced in 1963 as a one-design class racing yacht built to the 5.5 Meter International Measurement Rule. Its design was taken from Carina, a 5.5-meter vessel designed and built by Sigurd Herburn of Oslo, Norway. After Carina won the 1958 Scandinavian Games Gold Cup, Columbia Yachts purchased her, then modified and refined her lines for production. During the span of 1963 to 1965 only 50 were built, in Southern California. The 5.5 Meter body was later modified by Columbia Yachts and received a new model designation: ‘Saber.’ A cruising version of the 5.5, the Sabre featured a raised deck, bunks for four, and other amenities. Roughly 400 Sabres were built from 1963 to 1969.

Lester Gee’s Paningale, post-set.

© Martha Blanchfield

The fleet has its own start at the Wednesday night OYC beer can series. With the first half now complete, sailmaker Dominic Marchal’s Sonic Death Monkey topped the division, followed by Mike Jackson’s Wings and Maverick.

Delivery crew Lyn Silva and two others aboard the Andrews 45 Locomotion had to be rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter Monday night, while only 150 miles from completing their delivery form Hawaii to San Diego.