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January 27, 2017

Joyon and Crew Crush Jules Verne

Francis Joyon (far right) and his crew (left to right: Sébastien Audigane, Gwénolé Gahinet, Alex Pella, Clément Surtel and Bernard Stamm) celebrated their arrival in Brest yesterday.

© 2017 Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI

After Thomas Coville shattered the solo round-the-world record, and a Vendée Globe in which Armel Le Cléac’h and Alex Thomson both finished several days under the record for a solo monohull to circumnavigate the globe, it was with bated breath that we followed IDEC Sport’s attempt at the Trophée Jules Verne record. Coming up the Atlantic, the crew was well ahead of Banque Populaire V’s pace of 45 days, 13 hours. To our amazement, in the North Atlantic, the crew was again blessed with phenomenal weather conditions, allowing them to sail downwind toward the finish in strong southerly winds instead of the traditional long arc around the Azores High. Shaving additional days off the record time, Francis Joyon and his five crewmembers have finished their circumnavigation and claimed the trophy as the fastest sailboat to ever circumnavigate the globe. They didn’t just break the record either — they destroyed it, knocking well over four days off the reference time and dropping the new mark to 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes, with an average on-water speed of 26.85 knots.

IDEC Sport as she looked approaching the TJV finish line off the island of Ushant.

© IDEC Sport

This record truly hits home for us at Latitude 38. Many readers will remember when the same boat graced the waters of San Francisco Bay wearing the colors of Lending Club 2, skippered by Ryan Breymaier and sponsored by the large San Francisco-based online credit marketplace. Sailing the Bay for some five weeks of corporate hospitality and sharing the thrill of a maxi-trimaran with more than 1,000 people — employees, VIPs, guests and journalists — Lending Club 2 will always be special to us. In the colors of Groupama 3, Banque Populaire VII, Lending Club 2 and now IDEC Sport, this special boat has now claimed the TJV twice, the Route du Rhum twice, the Transpac record, Bermuda record and much, much more. We have no clue what’s next, but something tells us the boat won’t be mothballed anytime soon.

Three Bridge Fiasco Outlook

"According to Wikipedia, it’s the largest sailboat race in the United States," Rick Elkins, the race chair of the Singlehanded Sailing Society, told the crowd gathered at Wednesday night’s Three Bridge Fiasco skippers’ meeting. "The previous race chair put that in there and no one’s taken it out." Tomorrow’s race for singlehanders and doublehanders garnered 361 entries; registration is closed.

Blackaller Buoy east of the Golden Gate Bridge is one of three marks that more than 350 diverse boats will round (or attempt to round) tomorrow.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Because the sailors must choose their direction and order of sailing the course, much study of the wind and current forecasts occupies their minds during the days and hours before the start off Golden Gate Yacht Club.

"Persistent and strong high pressure over the western US will leave SSS Three Bridge Fiasco racers with offshore flow to contend with," predicts Sail Tactics’ Mike Dvorak. "The wind forecast has basically remained unchanged for the past three days, with an east-to-west pressure gradient generating northeasterly and northerly winds all day long. Our 1-km resolution Outlook forecast is showing moderate-to-light northeasterly winds in the morning and then moderate northerly winds in the afternoon with one exception, noted below. At this point, the odds of any kind of westerly/sea breeze developing in the afternoon look slim and would be weak at best."

Sail Tactics 1-km Outlook forecast for Sat, January 28 at 11:00 a.m. shows that getting around Treasure Island will likely be the challenge of the day, with calm or light winds forecast throughout the day.

© 2017 Sail Tactics

"The real problem of the day appears to be getting around Treasure Island, with the Berkeley/Oakland hills blocking the northeasterly flow throughout the day," Dvorak points out. "Our Outlook forecasts show calm winds on the south side of TI until about 12:30-1 p.m. Even then, the winds are pretty light, conjuring visions and sounds of saggy, flopping kites. In general, winds will strengthen in the late afternoon and go more northerly but still could leave south of TI a dead spot. As always, the Sail Tactics 200-m resolution forecast will be generated around 7 a.m. tomorrow to make the most accurate forecast possible. In addition, our tide forecasts are updated daily with the latest Delta river flows that take into account recent rainfall."

Sail Tactics 1-km Outlook forecast for tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. showing a general strengthening and northerly direction of the winds. 

© Sail Tactics

We’ll see you out there!

Seattle Boat Show Goings-on

Boat shows are fun for the whole family.

© Seattle Boat Show

The Seattle Boat Show, which starts today on Lake Union and in the CenturyLink Center, will be the hub for a host of goings-on over the next week, starting with this evening’s Uncorked. Nine wine-tasting stations will be set up throughout the indoor location from 5 to 9 p.m.

Among the numerous seminars that are free with show admission will be this weekend’s presentations by Andy Turpin, Latitude 38’s managing editor. On both Saturday and Sunday, ‘Baja Ha-Ha How-To’ will be held at 2 p.m., and ‘Cruising Tahiti and the Pacific Puddle Jump’ at 3 p.m.

This weekend and next, the show will attempt to set two Guinness World Records: for the Largest Display of Origami Fish and the Largest Knot Tying Lesson. Origami instruction for all ages and skill levels will be available this Saturday and Sunday and next Saturday, February 4, 10:30-4 p.m. The knot-tying lesson will be on Sunday, January 29, at 9:30 a.m. Show admission will be free to the first 500 participants that day.

On Monday, January 30, 9-11 a.m., the Marine Career Fair will gather 400+ job opportunities in one place. More than 30 businesses will be on hand, as well as the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding and Seattle Central College. Career Fair attendees will be admitted to the boat show for free that day.

Among Boat Show University seminars will be Preparing for and Surviving the Race to Alaska (R2AK) on Thursday, February 2, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. BSU courses charge a fee and require advance registration.

Next Friday, the 3rd, 5-9 p.m., showgoers can taste artisanal brews from eight breweries and one cidery during Sails & Ales, the craft-beer night.

There might be a few boats to look at too.

For details on all of the above and more, see

Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key not only placed first in the J/111 division for the second consecutive year, but the crew was recognized on Thursday with the Marine Partners’ Day award.