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July 1, 2016

Heads Up to Solo TransPac’ers

Charts, radar, GPS and depthsounders are all great for navigating, but sometimes there is nothing so helpful as a shot from a drone.

© 2016 Ryan De Seixas

An excellent fleet of 23 singlehanded sailors will race to Hawaii starting tomorrow, Saturday, July 2, from Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon. It will be the 20th running of the Singlehanded TransPac. The boats are as small as two 21-ft Minis and as large as Michael Jefferson’s Garcia Passoa 47 Mouton Noir.

The finish line will be off beautiful Hanalei Bay, Kauai. Which means if any of the entrants find themselves anywhere in the photo above at the end of the race, they’re in the wrong place. That’s because the photo is of Kaneohe YC on the island of Oahu, the finish for the Pacific Cup, which starts from San Francisco the week of July 11.

The breathtaking photo was taken from a drone video about the entire island of Oahu by Ryan De Seixas. While Hawaii has never been in the running as our favorite place in the world, we think it’s right up there with the most beautiful places we’ve ever been.

MAD Dogs Run Away with the R2AK

A huge congratulations to Randy Miller, Colin Dunphy and Ian Andrewes, who set a high bar for the Race to Alaska course record.

© Race to Alaska

While much of the fleet is still on the Inside Passage between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada, Randy Miller and his small crew aboard the Bay Area-based Marstrom 32 catamaran MAD Dog Racing (aka Miller Racing) have been in Ketchikan for more than a day, having thoroughly crushed the fleet in the second Race to Alaska. Completing the sweep that saw them claim resounding wire-to-wire victories in both legs of this unique race, Team MAD Dog Racing kept their foot on the throttle until the bitter end to lower the course record to an incredible 3 days, 20 hours and 13 minutes. Without stopping for rest or even to take care of bodily functions, the team that consisted of owner Randy Miller and crew Colin Dunphy and Ian Andrewes sailed into Ketchikan and into the record books just after 7 a.m. local time Thursday morning, still clocking boat speeds well into the 20s upon their approach to the finish. Besides claiming the historic victory, the boys have also earned a cool 10 grand for their efforts.

What else would be front page, top of the fold, on today’s Ketchikan Daily News?

© Race to Alaska

Winners of second place, top monohull bragging rights and a highly coveted set of R2AK steak knives is none other than Team Skiff Sailing Foundation Jungle Kitty. Sailing the one-off Fox 44 Ocelot — which was formerly based in Alameda — the team overcame many problems and nearly turned back to Seattle during a mainsail-reefing exercise gone awry, but persevered to claim the runner-up position. Behind the big, bad jungle kitty, the fleet is now sailing in fast downwind conditions with boats beginning to arrive in Ketchikan en masse. After seeing mostly light air on the nose that required boats to short-tack their way through narrow passages, anchor to wait out light airs and foul currents, and even resorting to rowing, boatspeeds and crews’ morale have soared with the arrival of this weak summer-time low and the southerlies that come with it.

Another Bay Area entry, Mark Eastham’s F-31 trimaran It Ain’t Brain Surgery, aka Ma’s Rover, is moving along well and is past the second waypoint and beginning to approach the finish. The team should manage to earn a top-10 place in this demanding race. There’s still plenty of action to come, so continue to follow the Race to Alaska and their excellent tracker, news updates and entertaining writing as they continue to take a unique approach to creating and running a yacht race. Strictly speculation, but just like the Singlehanded Sailing Society’s hugely successful and often-copied Three Bridge Fiasco, the Race to Alaska seems sure to inspire other similar races in different regions. Got a great idea for an R2AK-themed race? We’d love to hear about it.

Finding Fireworks for the 4th (or 3rd)

Who says water and fire do not mix? Water and pyrotechnics sure do, so if you’ve got a boat and want an unobstructed view of the celebrations, take a look at our list. We’ve got the Sacramento Delta through South Bay locations covered. And whether you’re sailing with just the sweetie or the whole neighborhood, remember to have a personal flotation device (PFD) onboard for each person. Be sure each PFD is in working order and able to attach securely to the wearer.

Sunday, July 3:

Catch the bang a day early with Barron Hilton’s fireworks display at Mandeville Tip along the San Joaquin River. Arrive early to stake out your spot Sunday night.

Bundle up and tuck in close to Craneway Pavilion on the Richmond waterfront. Catch on-land music starting at 6 p.m. and over-water fireworks at 9:15 p.m. (510) 620-6793.

The fireworks display on the Richmond waterfront will be held at Marina Bay Park.

© Ron Hasemeyer

Monday, July 4:

Fireworks will go off at dusk near the Pittsburg Marina. Pittsburg Yacht Club will host a whole weekend of events.

Catch the ohhs and ahhs when fireworks are launched at 9:30 p.m. over the waterfront. (925) 372-3500.

The town of Benicia is hosting a Freedom Festival with fireworks display launching from the fishing pier/end of First Street. Be there by 9:15 p.m. for the best views.


Hit the channel just north of the Vallejo Ferry Building to view pyrotechnics as they are launched from Mare Island at 9:15 p.m.

Angel Island
Enjoy pyrotechnics from the Tiburon side of Angel Island. The display is pegged to start at 9:45 p.m.

Catch the fireworks launching from Spinnaker Point at 9:20 p.m. The display will be timed to music, courtesy of Radio Sausalito, 1610 AM, and will cap off a day of festivities.

Fireworks shot off near Gabrielson Park are a longstanding Sausalito tradition.

© Ron Hasemeyer

There’s lots of room to spread out on the Bay near the Olympic Circle, but watch out for that dang pier. The set-up point is the Berkeley Marina at 9:35 p.m.

No fireworks

Aquatic Park and Pier 39, San Francisco
Float along the shore adjacent to Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf to catch the fireworks set off from barges at Aquatic Park and Pier 39 starting at 9:30 p.m.

The fireworks display along the San Francisco Cityfront.

© Ron Hasemeyer

Foster City
Rowboats, paddleboats, kayaks and sailing dinghies can bob about in the vicinity of Leo Ryan Park. The grand display starts at 9:45 p.m. (650) 286-3380.

Redwood City
Drift and view fireworks as they are launched over the Port of Redwood City at 9:30 p.m.

Prefer not to navigate the waters at night? Among charter companies, commercial ferries and even historic ships offering July 4th packages are the following:

Adventure Cat Sailing Charters (415) 777-1630
Bay Voyager (510) 612-1251
Blue and Gold Fleet (415) 773-1188
Commodore Events (510) 337-9000
Hornblower Cruises (888) 467-6256
USS Hornet, Alameda (510) 521-8448 x282
SS Jeremiah O’Brien (dockside at S.F. Pier 45) (415) 544-0100
Lovely Martha (415) 509-5552
USS Potomac, Oakland (510) 627-1215
Red and White Fleet (415) 673-2900
SF Bay Adventures, Sausalito (415) 331-0444
Tiburon-Angel Island Ferries (415) 435-2131

More sailboat charters can be found at our online Chartering page.

July Latitude Hits the Docks

Making its way today into marine outlets and down gangplanks around the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, and many other places where sailors congregate is the July issue of Latitude 38.

Just in time for the long holiday weekend, the July issue of Latitude 38 is out today.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Features include a photo-heavy indulgence in the Master Mariners Regatta, an interview with solo circumnavigator Jeanne Socrates, a celebration of the Matthew Turner tall ship, and a sneak peek at the upcoming Pacific Cup. Just in time for the latter, and a Max Ebb tutorial takes on squalls. Wrapped around the features are the usual Calendar, Letters, Sightings, Racing Sheet, World of Charter, Changes in Latitudes and Classy Classifieds. Mentioned here last, but certainly not deemed least, are the ads from the fine folks who pay for all this. 

During the lead-up to the Matthew Turner’s whiskey plank celebration, volunteers painted the names of prominent sponsors on each plank.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Find an issue here, subscribe here, or read it online here.

‘Lectronic Latitude will be taking a holiday on the Fourth of July, and the Latitude 38 office will be closed.

Gannet’s bow slices through the water. © Steve Earley "I’m about to sail from Darwin for South Africa," writes solo adventurer Webb Chiles. 
Rogues’ Scholarship, as seen in ‘Lectronic Latitude on June 10. © 2016 US Coast Guard District 13 One of the reasons we report on offshore emergencies is that there are usually lessons we and our readers can learn from both tragedies and near-tragedies.