Racing for host club St. Francis Yacht Club, Shawn Bennett won the US Match Racing Championship Qualifier over the weekend. Fellow StFYC member Nicole Breault came in second, and her husband Bruce Stone was third, winning the tie-breaker over Andrew Meade from Hawaii.
"The conditions were perfect with wind in the 12- to 18-knot range and relatively flat water," reports Stone, "though the meandering ebb created extra work for the mark-set team and difficult calls for tacticians due to a ‘false flood’ running up the Cityfront from the excessive snowmelt water trying to exit S.F. Bay."
Bennett qualified to compete for the US Match Racing Championship for the Prince of Wales Bowl at Oakcliff Sailing Center, Oyster Bay, NY, on October 13-15. For complete results, see www.stfyc.com.
On May 12, a Marin County kiteboarder was killed at Robert Crown State Beach in Alameda after a gust of wind picked him up and hurled him onto land, according to the East Bay Times.
Brett Spence Powell was known as an experienced kiter and all-around athlete. The 57-year-old Powell was preparing to head out from Crown Beach "when an exceptionally strong gust of wind caused him to lose control," the Times said, adding that investigators said Powell was "lifted about 50 feet into the air and blown landward before he dropped and crashed into a metal electrical box."
Powell was wearing a helmet, but still suffered "severe head and neck trauma during the accident . . . Powell never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead about four hours later at Highland Hospital in Oakland," the Times reported.
Powell is survived by his wife Carla, son Tanner, and two golden labs, Stinson and Lola, according to a GoFundMe page.
Powell graduated from Redwood High School and attended UCLA and the University of Washington. He was "active in many philanthropic organizations including the Marin Conservation League, Surfrider Foundation, Trout Unlimited, Marin County Bike Coalition, Marin Rowing, SF Mycological Society, and the Marin County Humane Society.
"If Brett was not out biking through his beloved hills of Marin, or hiking with his two dogs, he was surfing, rowing, kite boarding, fly-fishing, diving, skiing, writing, doing yoga, reading or traveling."
Donations made in Powell’s name "will support some of the many causes he was passionate about," the page said.
With the sailing world turning its focus to the America’s Cup in Bermuda, racing yachts have begun their annual pilgrimage to the remote Atlantic island. Just wrapping up its inaugural edition as of this writing, the 935-mile Antigua Bermuda Race attracted a diverse and impressive fleet of 21 competing yachts. Ranging from a pair of 40-ft Pogo 12.5s to a 162-ft classic replica schooner with a smattering of high-performance offshore racers and high-end cruising yachts in between, Antigua to Bermuda is slated to be an annual affair aimed at boats heading north from the Caribbean to the Eastern Seaboard of the US and to Europe.
Sponsored by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the race started on Friday, May 12, out of English Harbour, Antigua. On May 16, the Volvo 70 Warrior, skippered by Stephen Murray Jr., took line honors. Finishing in 3 days, 20 hours, 32 minutes, the yacht, which competed in the Volvo Ocean Race as Camper, has established the new monohull and overall reference point for the race. "I have no doubt that the record will be beaten in the future," commented Warrior’s navigator, Will Oxley, adding, "A fast time for this race could be as little as 50 hours, given the right conditions." The Volvo 70, which is operated by the US Merchant Marine Academy for the purpose of benefiting wounded veterans through sailing, claimed not only line honors but overall IRC honors — the wind shut off behind them after they finished.
One of the most exciting battles on the race course was the one between two more Volvo Race boats from Canada, Chris Stanmore-Major’s Whitbread 60 Challenger and Gilles Barbot’s Volvo 60 Esprit de Corps IV, the latter of which finished with a few extra stowaways. For the last day and a half of the race, the French Canadian Volvo 60 had six extra passengers: Les Crane and the crew of Monterey, who had to abandon their sinking Farr 56 in the early hours of Wednesday, May 17, 200 miles from the finish in Bermuda.
"We got into the liferaft and Esprit de Corps came up really quickly and took us all on board. I then watched Monterey sink! We have had the boat for 14 years and we’ve sailed 40,000 miles in her, but there was nothing I could do," explained skipper Les Crane. "Gilles and the crew of Esprit de Corps from Montreal are a fabulous bunch of guys. They made us feel so welcome on board and got us all involved in racing the boat. In fact, I was watch leader last night for four hours! I can’t thank them enough for what they have done," Crane added.
With a common-sense route that is on many sailors’ schedule, a spectacular finish destination, and prevailing conditions that make Bermuda easier to reach than when coming from the East Coast, the inaugural Antigua Bermuda Race should quickly become a fixture of the offshore racing world. See complete results at Yachtscoring.
With questions like "How old is your 2-year-old?" and "Are you tall for your height?" you’ll find the 2017 Latitude 38 reader survey as enlightening as a Rorschach test. Perhaps you already found it on page 11 of the current May issue, filled it out with a pen, popped it in an envelope and mailed it to us.
However, we’d also like to call your attention to the online version, which you can fill in with the click of a mouse. When you complete it you’ll be entered for a chance to win a Bainbridge gear bag with quality sailing swag from Latitude 38 and others.
Filling out our reader survey will help us in two ways: It helps us know what you like and what you’d like to see more or less of in the magazine, and it also helps us let our advertisers know more about our readership. Yes, we know you’re sailors. But do you race? Cruise? Own a sailboat and a powerboat or just a sailboat? How long have you been sailing? Answers to these and other questions help us bring you the best sailing magazine possible for free every month.