June 12, 2017

Wild and Woolly Delta Ditch Run

Wipe-out! Despite the Delta Ditch Run’s gnarly conditions — or perhaps because of them — the 28-boat Moore 24 fleet garnered 11 top-20 finish positions in PHRF Monohull. Wet Spot (not pictured here!) finished first among the Moores.

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This year’s Delta Ditch Run from Richmond to Stockton was a fast flurry of fun sailing punctuated with pitfalls. Capturing overall monohull honors was Tom Kassberg’s Melges 20 Flygfisk.

The start of the Light 2 and 3 divisions north of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. No downwind start this year — the first portion of the race was a tight reach on fluffy water. The overall winner, Flygfisk, is #225.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Another 20-footer but with a more venerable pedigree, the Cal 20 Slainté carried Paul Sutchek and Greg Huffman to Stockton at an average 7 knots to correct out in first place in the Doublehanded Division.

Paul Sutchek and Greg Huffman averaged 7+ knots on a Cal 20.

© 2017 Paul Sutchek
Brian Mullen (front), Emery Sanford (middle), Blaine Pedlow (back) sail past the entrance to False River on the J/70 Orange You Glad. This was the J/70 that many middle-of-the-pack racers passed short-tacking back down the San Joaquin. Lest you think they sailed all the way home, never fear, they were just headed to Tinsley Island to meet up with their families.

© Brian Mullen

This was one of those crazy Ditch Run years when carnage littered the race course. Among the incidents were uncountable round-ups, round-downs, groundings, a dismasting, a lost rudder, and, on view for all passersby to see, the Bilafer family’s Henderson 30 high and dry in the tules in the homestretch of the San Joaquin River.

It could have been worse — at least it wasn’t a rock-wall levee.

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Results are posted at www.stocktonsc.org. We’ll have much more in Racing Sheet in the July issue of Latitude 38.

For the third year in a row, the Delta Ditch Run partnered with the Delta Doo Dah. Kevin Belcastro’s Tanton 43 cat ketch Toucan sailed in the 18-boat Cruising Division. The next Delta Doo Dah event will be a BBQ at Owl Harbor next Saturday, June 17. See www.deltadoodah.com for details and to sign up.

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Cupdate: Are You Ready for a Rematch

After a slow morning of racing in Bermuda, several hundred clicks to refresh our browsers, and more than a little disgruntlement at the coverage of this year’s America’s Cup, it’s official: Team New Zealand just beat Artemis Racing 5 races to 2, and has realized a long awaited rematch with Oracle Team USA. 

During the first (and ultimately abandoned) race of the morning, Artemis was over early at the start, and New Zealand was in the lead around the first mark for the first time in the Finals. The Kiwis were way out in front, but Artemis caught a shift and clawed their way back. Team New Zealand was reportedly in displacement mode and a sitting duck as the Swedes were still foiling and closed the gap.  

Kiwi Magic. Team New Zealand is on a mission after their heartbreaking 2013 loss in San Francisco. They defeated Artemis Racing 5 to 2 in Bermuda today to win the Louis Vuitton Cup. 

© 2017 Ricardo Pinto/ ACEA

Artemis managed to grab the lead but was penalized at a mark rounding for not giving way, putting them behind as the Kiwis were slow motion sprinting toward the finish, and the clock was ticking down on the 25-minute race limit. With Team New Zealand in the lead and on their way to victory, the race was abandoned. (Sound familiar to anyone?)

But Race 7 was just re-sailed, and New Zealand took the bullet and the Louis Vuitton Cup. 

The Finals have seen close racing, with the foiling cats neck and neck, throwing covering tacks, luffing each other up, and exchanging leads several times throughout races. And did we mention that Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge went flying off the boat during a critical tack in Race 3 on Saturday?

A scene from today’s abandoned race seven on Bermuda’s Great Sound. 

© 2017 Ricardo Pinto/ ACEA

Starting this week, two Bay Area sailors will duke it out in Bermuda in the three-day, 20-boat America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta. Jim Clark, who owns many legendary yachts, and Tom Siebel with a similar portfolio of high-tech ships and shares, will respectively be racing their Js Hanuman and the recently launched Svea. 

Clark and Siebel will also be part of a six-boat J fleet competing in the America’s Cup J Class Regatta June 16-20, which is scheduled during the Finals between Oracle and New Zealand. 

As outlined in our May 2016 issue, Clark and Seibel have been vying for the Owner of the Fleet of Epic Sailing Yachts with the Longest Cumulative Length (OOTFOESYWLCL), and will get a chance to mix it up in two separate regattas. 

If you haven’t had a chance to weigh in on how you’re enjoying (or griping about) this year’s America’s Cup, we’d like to hear from you. Whether you love it or hate it, please let us know

Sailors Speak Up About Alameda Marina

Some four dozen Alamedans took to their bikes on Sunday for a tour of separate proposed developments along the island’s North Waterfront designed to add housing, commercial space and public waterways access. The tour organized by Bike/Walk Alameda showed mock-ups of gleaming buildings and vibrant parks on vacant land at three locations.

In addition to the new housing, there’s lots for water lovers to like, including waterfront restaurants, access points for kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, and dreams of water taxis crossing to Oakland’s Jack London Square. A new marina at Encinal Basin — east of Encinal Yacht Club and west of Fortman Marina — would offer slips for 160 boats, with a target range of 45 feet and up. Asked about access for smaller boats, the developer said the designs reflect public comments.

Conspicuously missing from the tour was Alameda Marina, whose housing developers are having to contend with a pesky mix of commercial and dry storage tenants who are unhappy with both long-term plans to reduce space for maritime use and the current upkeep of the property. At the June 8 Alameda City Council meeting, more than a dozen sailors spoke up during public comment time, many focusing on the hardship it’s causing for racers who have few other options for dry storage.

Karl Robrock has lived in Alameda for 13 years, but now treks up to Point Richmond to sail his Moore 24 SNAFU. “When Alameda Marina closed its main hoist they essentially decimated our racing scene,” Robrock reported to the Alameda City Council in June, adding that eliminating space and services for boats such as his will hurt the island’s sailing community. “The future of Alameda’s yacht clubs relies on the energy of small boats and the racing, less so than the cruising boats and social gatherings. Alameda Marina is critical infrastructure to our sailing community.”

The developer’s latest plans for the Alameda Marina dry storage space drops dry storage facilities from the existing 720 spaces down to 60. Speakers at the meeting voiced concerns that the space wasn’t adequate for the boats over 20 feet in length and that the hoist location was inappropriate for launch access.

Tonight, Alameda’s Planning Committee will be discussing the latest plans for the Alameda Marina site. Time at the beginning of the meeting is available for three-minute public comments. Documents can be viewed at the City of Alameda website.

To the North of Bermuda

What a difference a few degrees of latitude can make. About a thousand miles to the north of Bermuda competitors in the OSTAR single- and doublehanded transatlantic race from Plymouth, UK, to Newport, RI, were clocked by heavy 60-knot winds and 45-foot seas 900 miles miles east of Newfoundland. The racers are generally well-prepared and experienced; nevertheless the heavy weather took a serious toll on five of the 21-boat fleet with a sinking, dismasting and more. Fortunately crew from all five boats were rescued and are safe, with one now resting comfortably on the RMS Queen Mary 2.

Here’s a summary of boat damage from the Royal Western Yacht Club site:

Tamarind suffered severe damage. Skipper well with no injuries. Rescued by Queen Mary 2 en route to Halifax.

Happy dismasted. Both crew rescued by oceangoing tug APL Forward. No injuries reported.

Furia sunk. Crew rescued by survey vessel Thor Magna. No injuries reported.

Harmonii retired with mainsail and track damage. Heading under engine for the Azores. No injuries.

Suomi Kudu retired with mainsail problems. Heading back to UK. No injuries.

The rest of the fleet carries on and can be followed here.

The Swedes are in and the Brits are out. Artemis came back to defeat SoftBank Team Japan 5 races to 3, while Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing was no match for the lightning-fast Kiwis.
Flying a big genoa in light morning breeze, Dave MacEwen’s SC52 Lucky Duck ducks in close to the Sausalito headlands after starting the Spinnaker Cup on May 27.
Are we fired up for tomorrow’s Delta Ditch Run? Heck yeah! latitude/Chris
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC The San Francisco Bay and Delta region heads into the weekend with unsettled weather.
The Half Moon Bay Yacht Club Women’s Sailing Program hosted its second Take the Tiller Workshop on June 3 to resounding acclaim.
A boat crew from Station Golden Gate assists a 32-ft sailing vessel that was taking on water near the Golden Gate Bridge.