December 5, 2016

Bay Ship Buys Svendsen’s

There has been plenty of unsettling news lately concerning the Alameda Marina complex, but Bay Ship’s acquisition of Svendsen’s is largely seen as positive. 

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In most corners of the sailing world, a boatyard changing hands would not be particularly earthshaking news. But rumors circulating late last week that Svendsen’s Boat Works of Alameda had been sold to nearby Bay Ship & Yacht created quite a buzz among local sailors. 

On Friday, Svendsen’s current owner and manager, Sean Svendsen, confirmed that the rumors were accurate and stated that for the "foreseeable future" current boatyard operations will continue unchanged. That should bring some comfort to the many Oakland-Alameda Estuary sailors who have been extremely concerned about proposed plans to redevelop the Alameda Marina complex — especially areas surrounding the Boat Works, which are presently occupied by independent marine businesses and two dry storage yards.  

With clients as varied as Coast Guard cutters and international megayachts, Bay Ship & Yacht already does a thriving business in Alameda. 

© 2016 Bay Ship & Yacht

Having begun operations at its current location more than 50 years ago, Svendsen’s has served generations of loyal customers. Similarly, Bay Ship’s owner Bill Elliot established his business nearly 40 years ago, and has built it into a huge operation, now offering a wide range of services to enormous military vessels, megayachts and everything in between.

According to Svendsen, the two companies will operate under their current names and he will continue to run the Boat Works, which will hopefully insure a smooth transition.

Emergency Cruiser Blood Drive

An urgent request for type A-negative blood was broadcast to the Banderas Bay cruising fleet via VHF on Sunday, November 26, by Dick Markie, harbormaster at Paradise Village Marina.

The blood was desperately needed for Liz Barrow, wife of former Vallarta YC Commodore Andy Barrow.

Eight hours before, Liz had some veins in her throat “explode” while at the couple’s land-based home near the marina. Doctors had previously warned Liz and Andy that this was a possibility, but Andy says they had been in denial. What couldn’t be denied was that Liz, who had looked healthy as could be when the Wanderer saw her a week before, was suddenly in a life-and-death situation, as there was blood all over the bathroom walls.

“It looked like a scene from a horror movie,” said Andy.

Fortunately, it was only a few blocks to the very modern San Javier Hospital that is part of the Paradise Marina complex. Upon arrival at about 1 a.m., Liz’s blood pressure was found to be 65 over 30. Close to death, she needed blood transfusions immediately.

Liz has A-negative blood, which is only found in 1 of 16 people. San Javier had two pints on hand, which she got in transfusions. But she needed more.

When Dick Markie found out about the emergency the next morning, he got on the cruisers’ net and put out an urgent call for A-negative blood. Cruisers responded. By noon the San Javier Hospital had enough.

Liz would receive five pints of blood in all. Doctors would also perform an esophagostomy so they could repair the veins, which they did by a more sophisticated version of “putting rubber bands around them.” According to Andy, who was thankful beyond words to the cruisers who had donated blood, the doctors at San Javier did a fabulous job.

Liz was released from the hospital a few days later, almost as good as new, with an admonition to stay away from tortilla chips.

Thrills and Spills in the Antipodes

A rare treat: a shot of Armel Le Cléac’h aboard Banque Populaire VIII, passing the Kerguelen Islands on November 30.

© Marine Nationale / Nefertiti / Vendée Globe

Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin in southwest Australia this morning after 28 days, 20 hours, 12 minutes of sailing in the Vendée Globe solo nonstop race. He thus smashed the reference time set by François Gabart in 2012 by more than five days and 14 hours. The Frenchman has been locked in a battle with Brit Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss since the start on November 6 in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

As of this writing, Hugo Boss was trailing Banque Populaire by about 103 miles. The two IMOCA 60 monohulls have been trading the lead since the beginning.

© 2016 Marine Nationale / Nefertiti / Vendée Globe

Damage has been taking its toll on the fleet. On Sunday, December 4, Kojiro Shiraishi of Spirit of Yukoh was sailing in a 20-knot breeze, when, from inside his boat, he heard the sound of the rig breaking. "The mast had broken in half above the second spreader," reported the Japanese skipper. "I was able to remove the broken piece. I’m okay. I don’t need any assistance, and I am heading for Cape Town."

Conrad Colman, the young Kiwi/Yank aboard Foresight Natural Energy smelled plastic. "Thinking maybe that the batteries were having a problem, I ran my hands over all the electrical system and ran diagnostics on the computer," he recounted. "Everything was fine. I went outside to take a reef and when I came back inside I saw black smoke and yellow flames leaping from behind the chart table. One of the solar charge controllers was burning and was in the process of taking down the entire electrical system as several important cables pass close by. I took the fire blanket and smothered the flames, ignoring electrical shocks and the burning heat in my desperation to save my boat. When the flames were gone I heard one beep from the autopilot and my world turned upside down." The boat had crash-jibed and was trying to capsize. Read the rest of Colman’s tale and watch his video here.


Last week, the dueling leaders passed close enough to the Kerguelen Islands to attract the attention of a video crew. A District of French Southern and Antarctic Lands, the Kerguelen Islands are a group in the southern Indian Ocean.

Hugo Boss and Banque Populaire were joined by a French Navy Panther helicopter off the frigate FS Nivôse. A crew from Nefertiti Productions shot the video. Thomson told of his joy of seeing another living being for the first time since setting off on November 6: “It was fantastic to be able to see people … I gave them a wave, went up on deck, and got my Union Jack flag out to wave at them. It was a great moment. I was standing on deck going very fast, with the waves pouring over me, and the helicopter pilot came and flew alongside me. He started flying the helicopter backwards – I was most impressed.”

On December 2, the crew captured video of third place Sébastien Josse on Edmond de Rothschild.

Unfortunately, Edmond de Rothschild suffered serious damage to the portside foil after plowing into the trough of a big wave this morning. Josse had been sailing on starboard jibe, contending with winds of 30-35 knots and big, confused seas, when the incident happened about 900 miles southwest of Cape Leeuwin. Josse has put his racing priorities temporarily on hold to avoid the worst of the low-pressure system.

Vendée Globe rookie Romain Attanasio on Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys has altered course toward Cape Town after suffering damage to both rudders about 470 miles south of Cape Town, where he is expected in three to four days. He hopes to carry out his own repairs in a sheltered area near Cape Town in accordance with the race’s no-assistance rules. “Romain is not giving up and is already feeling more positive. He will be doing his utmost to repair his boat and continue his adventures,” said Sam Davies, Attanasio’s partner and team manager.

In Wednesday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude, we listed a plethora of lighted boat parades that will put holiday sparkle into the next three weekends in Northern California and San Diego.
Most of the boats coming across the Atlantic in November-December rallies are cruising boats, such as the Lagoon 450 Spirit, the first of the ARC+ boats to finish.