September 12, 2016

It’s Ta-Ta Time Again

Petra Svehlove, one of the crew on Profligate, leads the 95 Ta-Ta participants in the conga line of life, a Ta-Ta tradition, before dinner at the Santa Barbara YC. 

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

If you’re going to kick off a weeklong cruising event in Southern California with a dinner, could there be a better place than on the beach directly below the Santa Barbara YC? The answer is no. This is especially true since the great folks at the Santa Barbara Yacht Harbor were nice enough to reserve slips for all 34 participating boats.

The sands on the beach at the beautiful Santa Barbara Yacht Harbor, a shady place for sunny people. 

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The fleet sails to Santa Cruz Island this morning for two nights at the most beautiful of the Channel Islands. On Wednesday we’ll be guests of the Channel Islands Marina and Vintage Partners Marina, which are providing free berthing for all the boats and a great floating BBQ site.

While the Ta-Ta fleet may not be the most ethnically diverse in the world, the spirit of Bob Marley’s One Love hung over the event. 

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Thursday evening’s destination is Paradise Cove, while Friday’s leg to Two Harbors, Catalina, is the longest at 33 miles. Wish you were here with us.

The Ta-Ta’s first stop will at the southeast end of Santa Cruz Island. 

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Light Air Plagues AC World Series

The Japanese and Swedish teams sailed within inches of each other at Toulon, France, this weekend — we presume this edgy shot was taken during prestart maneuvers.

© Ricardo Pinto / ACEA 2016

As has been the case for most of this year’s America’s Cup World Series events, this weekend’s event in Toulon, France, was another frustrating, light-air affair. Sailed from September 9-11 off France’s beautiful Mediterranean Coast, the event offered plenty of sunshine but, not surprisingly, came up short on breeze with the high-tech foiling catamarans struggling to fly a hull in most races, let alone get up on their foils.

After six races, Artemis Racing crept over the finish line to claim a resounding overall victory with three bullets and five total podium finishes. Artemis finished five points ahead of a resurgent Softbank Team Japan. Softbank managed to climb from fifth to second on the final day, edging out Land Rover BAR by a point.

The coastal scene was lovely and good crowds turned out for the show. Only trouble was that big breeze was a no-show. 


After dominating the Olympics in the 49er, it was an inauspicious return for Kiwis Peter Burling and Blair Tuke as they struggled with inconsistent results to claim fourth for the weekend onboard Emirates Team New Zealand. Although France is renowned for its sailors’ multihull racing prowess, Groupama Team France struggled on their home turf, finishing fifth at the regatta’s end, and remaining in last place for the season. Oracle Team USA, the American team — which didn’t actually have any Americans onboard in Toulon — finished DFL for the regatta with fill-in skipper Tom Slingsby on the helm, while Jimmy Spithill rehabs an injured elbow.

After the AC’s almost universally unpopular departure from San Francisco, a mid-cycle about-face to ditch the planned AC62 boat for a smaller design (thus reportedly reneging on multiple legally binding contracts), no apparent nationality requirements, and more, the constant struggle with light-air venues that has plagued the AC World Series this year has not helped its popularity here in the Bay Area or in the wider world of sailing. And poor venue selection is only partly to blame.

Needless to say, on these high-tech, foiling cats, every sailor has a job to do. Seen here is Oracle Team USA, which seemed to struggle a bit in the absence of Jimmy Spithill.

© Ricardo Pinto / ACEA 2016

If these boats had been given a chance to stretch their legs on the west coast of France in a sailing-crazed city such as Lorient, this regatta likely would have been very, very different and far more exciting. Leading up to the regatta, much was made of the foiling tack — a maneuver now mastered by most of the teams — making it all the more ironic that an AC 45 with straight boards probably could have walked away with the weekend’s glory. 

The next event for the America’s Cup World Series will take place in Fukuoka, Japan from November 18-20. Find much more ACWS and AC 35 info on the official website. 

During the 2013 events in San Francisco Bay there was better breeze than at any of this year’s World Series events. One thing the Bay couldn’t provide, though, was bathing-suit weather.

© 2016 Ricardo Pinto / ACEA 2016

Please, No More Expired Flares

About that expired-flare collection drive we announced recently. . . Enough already!

You may recall we requested that recently expired marine flares of all types be dropped off at our Mill Valley offices, explaining that they would be used in Mexico by prospective boat captains during training classes. 

We want to thank the many Latitude readers who dropped off flares with recent use-by dates, as requested. Unfortunately, an assortment of ancient, possibly dangerous, flares was dropped off also — some dating back to the 1980s. This has created a bit of a predicament for us, as it’s not easy to find a place to legally discard them. We’ll find a solution, though, and when we do we’ll be sure to let you know, in case you find yourself in the same conundrum someday after cleaning out your lockers. 

We received a big load of recently expired flares which should be perfect for use in the captain’s classes. But all of these are pretty ancient and potentially dangerous. What to do?

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Although they learned to sail in different countries, with different sailing conditions, the young crews of (left to right) Orkestern, Hydroquest and Ninita all had dreams of bluewater cruising, and worked hard to convert those fantasies to reality.
A number of boats were sunk and destroyed, and many more damaged, as hurricane and then tropical storm Newton hit southern Baja and moved on over toward San Carlos/Guaymas between Tuesday and Wednesday.