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March 3, 2017

Morning Commutes Can Be a Pain

It isn’t the Bay Bridge in the morning, but the St. Barth commute in the morning has its drawbacks, too. 

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East Blithedale in Mill Valley. The Maze in the East Bay. The 110, the 405 and the 10 in L.A. All over the world morning commutes can be a pain, what with all the stop-and-goes, the minor battles to cut in line, and the general frustration.

The Wanderer’s morning commute from the east end of the Corossol anchorage in St. Barth to the dinghy dock in Gustavia, about one mile, has its own problems. It’s not so much the traffic, which isn’t too great, but the salt spray when it’s blowing a huli — which it does most of the time. There are also the annoyances of the engine’s sometimes balking at starting, finding a place to park at the packed dinghy dock, locking up the dinghy and gear, and scrambling over dinghies to get onto land.

The Wanderer’s commute starts way the heck out here near the very back of the fleet. 

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But as many have noted, gratitude is the shortest route to happiness. So I started concentrating on the good stuff of my morning commute. The freshness of the warm air. The tradewind clouds dotting the blue sky. The frequent sighting of turtles. And the interesting scenery. On the port side, there is Maya’s, the St. Barth Yacht Club, the commercial port, the new Prada store, and the big boats tied up stern-to. On the starboard there is the crowded anchorage, Fort Oscar, David Ray’s villa, Jimmy Buffett’s new house going up on two lots, the Hotel de Ville, and the museum. And straight ahead, the Trailer Park, the only one that yacht owners are dying to get into.

The commute ends at the second dinghy dock, which is beyond the Med-tied boats and just shy of the ‘Trailer Park’. 

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Yeah, appreciating the good things in your life is a quick route to happiness.

Music is another one. Thanks to my iPhone 7’s having been recovered from the Puerto Vallarta Airport by a couple flying to Chicago, I got my music back. Musical highlights of my trip in this morning included Otis Redding singing I Got Dreams to Remember, Amy Winehouse doing Love is a Losing Game, and Toots and the Maytalls singing What’s My Number.

None of the songs have uplifting lyrics, but they were performed so well that they brought me up nonetheless. Before I knew it, I was in the port showers getting the salt off, having coffee at Choisy, and riding my motorcycle to the Latitude 38 secret office — free high-speed Internet and air conditioning — on the other side of the hill. As if that weren’t enough, it’s soon going to be Friday night in St. Barth!

What about your commute to and from your boat? The Wanderer would like to hear about it

Having the Time of Their Lives

Two Californians traveled to the New York Yacht Club to pick up their reward and recognition for receiving the prestigious US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards. Given out since 1961 and sponsored by Rolex since 1980, the awards recognize male and female sailors who have demonstrated on-the-water excellence and superior results at international and/or national events. It’s an outstanding accomplishment for two very young and accomplished sailors.
Jim and Kathleen Kiriakis of StFYC went to New York to support fellow members Daniela Moroz and Caleb Paine, the 2016 US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman and Yachtsman of the Year.

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Daniela Moroz, from Lafayette in the East Bay, was only 15 when she shot to the top of the charts by winning the IKA Formula Kite World Championship in 2016 and then went on to win the female division of the inaugural Hydrofoil Pro Tour.

Caleb Paine from San Diego picked up his award this year at the age of 26 with his on-going success in the Finn class and after a dramatic wire-to-wire first-place finish in the medal race of the Rio Olympics to capture the bronze medal.

Both winners are members of the St. Francis YC and thanked supportive parents and the St. Francis Sailing Foundation for their success. StFYC pioneered the concept of kiteboard racing 12 or 13 years ago when the current commodore, Jim Kiriakis, headed up the Executive Race Committee. At the time, kiteboard racing was perceived as nearly impossible because, as past StFYC kiteboarder and 2012 Yachtsman of the Year Johnny Heineken said, "Kiteboarders hadn’t really learned to go upwind, except on an ebb tide, and a rat’s nest of tangled kite strings seemed the likely result." Naysayers have since been silenced.

While many Californians have won these prestigious awards, there have been only a couple of times when both the male and female winners have come from California in the same year. In 1986 Californians Dennis Connor and JJ Isler, both from San Diego, won the awards, and in 2002 John Kostecki and Liz Baylis, both from Marin County, won the awards.

Moroz and Paine were having the time of their lives when they picked up the awards at NYYC. Both plan to continue their winning ways, Moroz sailing on the foiling kiteboard circuit and Paine pursuing the California tradition of hunting for gold as he aims for the 2020 Olympics. 

March Racing Preview

March is a transition month for sailing. As many Midwinter Series wrap up, some spring classics lead us into Daylight Saving Time (March 12) and the vernal equinox (March 20).

RYC’s turning basin during Sail a Small Boat Day in 2015. Pictured are a Cal 20, a Lightning, an Access Dinghy, an El Toro, a kayak, SUPs, and a Sunfish. RYC volunteers on crash boats help keep the event safe. Kids are welcome if their parents sign waivers.

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Not a race, but of interest to those who may considering which small-boat fleet to join is tomorrow’s Sail a Small Boat Day at Richmond Yacht Club. Curious sailors can try out a variety of dinghies, skiffs, small keelboats, etc. for free from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This is a lot of fun whether you’re interested in racing or not.

The following weekend, RYC will host the Big Daddy Regatta, with the usual buoy races on Saturday, a big party Saturday night (jukebox tunes by DJ Good Times), and a pursuit race on Sunday. The theme is ‘Performance Tune-Up Regatta’.

Island YC’s Sadie Hawkins on the Alameda Estuary for women skippers will take entries up until the morning of the race, this Sunday.

After a mostly quiet winter, St. Francis YC will be busy with three regatta weekends in a row. March 4-5 will be Spring One Design, March 11-12 will be the third and final stop of the California Dreamin’ match-race series, and March 18-19 will be Spring Dinghy.

On March 10-12, Vallejo’s Cal Maritime Academy will host the Harbor Cup — Los Angeles Harbor, that is. Sailed in Catalina 37s, this is a rare keelboat competition between college sailing teams.

Oakland YC’s Rites of Spring will sail the waters of Central San Francisco Bay on March 11. Divisions are offered for singlehanders, doublehanders and full crews.

The Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta will return to San Diego on March 17-19. San Diego YC and Coronado YC will run the racing on two ocean courses and one on south San Diego Bay, plus one cruising course in San Diego Bay. Classes signed up so far include Etchells, Ultimate 20, Beneteau First 36.7 and 40.7, J/70, J/105, J/120, I-14, Viper 640, Flying Tiger and F18 cats. An ORC class is offered for miscellaneous sportboats. 

On March 18-19 Mission Bay YC in San Diego will host the California Laser Masters Regatta. Then, on March 24-26, California YC in Marina del Rey will host the Laser Midwinters West.

As you’ve no doubt already read in ‘Lectronic Latitude, BAMA has added three shorter courses to the Doublehanded Farallones Race on March 18. The skippers’ meeting will be hosted by Oakland YC in Alameda on March 15. Bring your handheld DSC-enabled VHF radio to participate in a DSC demo.

More fun for doublehanders — and singlehanders — is on tap in the SSS Corinthian Race on March 25. The skippers’ meeting will be held at Island YC on March 22, which is also the deadline to register.

In order to avoid a mosh pit like the one last year at Blossom Rock, the SSS will start the Corinthian Race divisions in order from fastest to slowest.

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Also on March 25, Sausalito YC will host the Jaws pursuit race. Race chair Doug Ford points out that "It’s ideal for the new-to-racing skipper due to its low-stress start, and offers the instant gratification of knowing how well you’ve done as you cross the finish line." The race will be held in conjunction with an open house, part of the club’s 75th-anniversary celebrations. Visitors and members will enjoy live music and watch the race start and finish — with cannon fire!

Long Beach YC is gearing up for the Congressional Cup on March 28-April 2, but first it hosts the Ficker Cup, a Grade 2 match-racing event on March 24-26.

These are just a few highlights; to see much more, check out our Calendar. Some of the above events will be covered in the April issue of Latitude 38.

Here is one terrific photo of a cruising boat. El Gato
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC Our nomination for the Best Cruising Boat Photo so far this year goes to Eric Witt and Annie Gardner’s San Diego-based (but never been there) Catana 47 El Gato, which they bought in France a few years back.
We think you’ll find the content of our March issue to be as colorful as its cover (shot during the recent 3B Fiasco).