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October 21, 2016

Blustery Joan Storer Regatta

Saturday was Joan Storer’s granddaughter D’Arcy’s first time on a sailboat — ever (she’s the one holding the winch handle). Susan (pictured left) and Bill Hoehler’s daughter Amanda is at the wheel of the Hoehers’ J/105 Joyride. D’Arcy’s mom (Joan’s daughter) Janet also raced on Joyride.

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On stormy Saturday, October 15, only three boats finished Tiburon Yacht Club’s Joan Storer Regatta. Neither of the Folkboats registered attempted to race. Of the entries remaining, one had engine trouble and never even left their dock across the Bay in Richmond. Another had a collision and damage while trying to sail out of her slip, putting a hole in her wooden hull. An Olson 25 crew had 200 gallons of water to pump out before they could get to the race course. Once they got out there, they found gusts to 30 knots and said to hell with it.

The Joan Storer Regatta is a memorial honoring a TYC member. In the past, it’s been a women skippers regatta, with only one male allowed on each boat. This year, the requirements were loosened: 50% of the people onboard had to be female.

TYC race chair Cam Tuttle, who crewed on Joyride, reports that they sailed a 7.5-mile course with a lot of reaching legs. "We had 20-25-30° shifts all day. Don’t walk away from the mainsheet!" The puffs were surprising and inconsistent.

Five minutes into the race one of the women on Richard and Lauren Selmeier’s Hurricane Gulch was smacked in the face with the boom vang, breaking her nose. "There was blood all over the deck," reported the crew. The C&C 33 was nevertheless able to finish the race and placed second.

The Hurricane Gulch crew accepted the prizes for second place. All who sailed were given regatta burgees.

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Crew from the third-place finisher, Pat Broderick’s Wyliecat 30 Nancy, called the conditions "Really puffy. No one flew a spinnaker. We tacked once to get to the first mark, TYC. It was the last tack of the day." This was Jennifer McKenna’s first time driving Nancy. She usually sails her own Santana 22, or an El Toro. "There’s a lot of power in that sail," she said of the big cat-rig main.

Janet Wright of Truckee, Joan Storer’s daughter, and Janet’s daughter D’Arcy sailed aboard Joyride and participated in the post-race party and awards ceremony. Joan’s son John lives in Manhattan Beach and couldn’t make it to the event, but treated the sailors to a hosted bar, sandwiches and hors d’oeuvres. Event chair Mariellen Stern presented Joan’s offspring, who include Shelley Sprenkle of Pennsylvania, with honorary TYC memberships. The Storer kids grew up in Paradise Cay, where TYC is located. "The yacht club has the best memories for me," said Janet. "I just wanted to hang out at the club. I would come home from college to go to these events."

The Joyride crew (left to right: Bill Hoehler, Janet Wright, Susan Hoehler, D’Arcy Wright and Cam Tuttle) won the race.

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Joan Storer passed away from pancreatic cancer on October 17, 1989 (if the date rings a bell, it should: It’s the day the Loma Prieta earthquake devastated the region). Half of the regatta’s entry fee goes to fund cancer research and hospice.

What Is with the Southerly Winds?

As this weather animation shot from Windyty shows, this is not the best time to try to sail south from Oregon and Washington. 

© Windyty

As the Grand Poobah, we’ve been closely watching the weather along the West Coast of the United States from early to late October for the last 23 years. We can’t remember a time when there has been so much wind out of the south — even south of San Francisco.

One result is that Craig Shaw, a veteran of numerous Baja Ha-Ha’s with his Portland-based Columbia 43 Adios, who has been working all year getting his boat ready for Mexico, has decided he can’t make it to the Ha-Ha start. In fact, it was days ago that he decided that despite getting his boat all ready, he’s going to have to wait until next year’s Ha-Ha. We’ll miss you Craig.

As bad as the situation is trying to get south from Portland, it’s even worse from the Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria areas. And it’s not even going to be that easy from San Francisco south, where sailors can normally count on northwesterlies. It’s only south of Point Conception that is free of wind on the nose.

So be safe out there. And if you get to San Diego late and don’t catch the fleet until Turtle Bay or Mag Bay; don’t worry, we’ve got your swag bag and we’ll keep the light on for you.

The October 31 — Halloween — Ha-Ha start is too far away to say anything definitive about the weather, but long-range forecasts call for San Diego to be sunny with temps in the mid-70s, and normal weather along the Baja coast. The water temps from Puerto Vallarta to Cabo are in the mid-80s, which is warm, but it’s certainly cooler than it was last year along the Baja Coast. Pretty much back to normal.

Best Solution for Canceling Old TIPs

During the past two years, Mexican government agencies have worked hard to make it easier for recreational boat owners to visit Mexican waters — most notably, by the establishment of two new websites for obtaining visas and Temporary (boat) Import Permits online.

If you’re heading south of the border this season — either independently or with the Baja Ha-Ha rally — you’re supposed to obtain a Temporary Import Permit in advance. But if your boat has an uncanceled TIP, that process can be a headache.

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But there is at least one special situation that these sites do not address: If you buy a boat that has previously cruised Mexico, how do you cancel the former owner’s TIP — which is a requirement for obtaining a new TIP? Although this situation pertains to only a small number of would-be Mexican cruisers, it has been the source of mind-numbing frustration for them.

We are happy to report, however, that the Mexican Association of Tourist Marinas has brought this dilemma to the attention of Customs and Immigration officials, and a short-term solution has been reached: In a release this week, Association President Enrique Salcedo Fava writes: "To alleviate this situation, Customs authorities will be visiting the Mexican Consulates in the coming weeks exclusively to cancel TIPs. Make sure you have the original vessel documentation/registration and your passport in hand to prove current ownership."

Thanks to the development of a new website, obtaining a TIP online is relatively easy — unless a previous owner failed to cancel the boat’s TIP before the sale took place.

© Mexican Customs

As far as we know, these are unique opportunites, so if you own a boat that has an old, uncanceled TIP, we would highly recommend that you clear your calendar and put this chore at the top of your ‘must do’ list — even if you won’t be traveling until next year or later. The three upcoming opportunities are:

• October 27 & 28 (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) Mexican Consulate Los Angeles
2401 West 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90057

• November 1 & 2 (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) Mexican Consulate Sacramento
2093 Arena Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95834

• November 10 & 11 (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) Mexican Consulate Phoenix
320 E McDowell Rd #105, Phoenix, AZ 85004

"We are working hard in the matter and we will not stop until we get a resolution in our favor," writes Salcedo Fava. "For this reason we truly appreciate your patience and trust."

Writing about pumping out human waste from holding tanks is almost as uninspiring as actually performing that occasional chore.
A run on Saturday, the windiest day of the Express 27 Nationals. © Louis Benainous The 35th Express 27 National Championship was sailed on the Berkeley Circle during the first storms of the season on October 14-16.