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June 26, 2017

Cupdate: Kiwi Magic

It’s all over. Peter Burling, the youngest helmsmen to ever win the Cup, hoists the Auld Mug. We imagine that there are some happy sailors celebrating in New Zealand — where it’s early Tuesday morning as we write this. 

© 2017 Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

Team Emirates New Zealand has won the 35th America’s Cup, beating Oracle Team USA  7 races to 1, reclaiming the Auld Mug and now controlling the fate of the next contest.

It was a dominating performance — after a contentious few years following their heartbreaking 2013 loss, the Kiwis were quietly on a mission to bring the Cup back to Auckland. The last team to arrive in Bermuda, and the only team not to sign the "framework agreement" mandating the foiling-cat format, New Zealand seemed to have something to prove on and off the water.

After a five-day break and down 3 races to 0 in the first-to-seven Match, Oracle tweaked every inch of speed out of their boat, reportedly shedding some 90 kilograms of weight and looking noticeably faster, but a bit less in control of their maneuvering.

On Sunday, Team Emirates New Zealand hooked Oracle at the start, luffed up Team USA, then blasted away at the start and never looked back. They would go up 6-to-1 for match point yesterday, before sailing to victory today.

© 2017 Martin-Raget / ACEA

Saturday saw the best and closest racing of the entire Match. Oracle took the lead in Race 5 for the first time in the regatta as they crossed in front of the Kiwis on starboard, then lost the lead on the next tack — but kept it close. But Oracle made a few unforced errors: They were over early at the start, and were flagged for not keeping clear when New Zealand was dialing down on starboard (we’ll let the experts decide that one, but it seemed like a dodgy call). 

Team USA went on to make a few bad jibes and tacks, coming off their foils, putting both hulls in the water, and watching the Kiwis sail to a 4-0 lead. The commentators wondered if the boat had enough ‘oil’, or hydraulic pressure to effectively control their daggerboards, something that might have been affected with the changes to the boat.

The new, improved and lighter Oracle Team USA boat wasn’t enough to keep up with the Kiwis (we’d like to thank Ricardo Pinto, Giles Martin-Raget and the America’s Cup Event Authority for so many amazing images from Bermuda).

© 2017 Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

Race 6 was perhaps the best of the Match, with Oracle leading, losing the lead late, then gaining on one of the last weather legs, getting a dead spilt at the gate, and taking the race by 11 seconds (Burling, who does not come from a match-racing pedigree, later admitted that he should have covered Team USA more closely). 

With just one small victory, everyone seemed to be feeling the Oracle magic. "Is this the start of the comeback?" asked Artemis helmsman-turned-commentator Nathan Outterridge.

No, it wasn’t.

Larry Ellison and Jimmy Spithill shake hands following Oracle’s 7-to-1 defeat. We’ve always enjoyed watching Spithill battle it out on the race course — and in the pressroom (we’re convinced that he’s read The Art of War). We hope to see him either at the helm in four years’ time, or somewhere in the sailing spotlight. 

© 2017 Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

On Sunday, Team New Zealand was simply faster and flawless, and despite trailing at the first mark today, were in total control of the race, and really the entire regatta — even after suffering one of the most severe crashes in the history of the sport, the Kiwis seemed unshakable. 

We’re not sure what’s next for the America’s Cup, but we think Team New Zealand won a much-deserved victory, and look forward to seeing how the next event evolves in one of the great sailing nations in the world.

Thanks everyone for following our Cupdates, and be sure to pick up the July issue for a full analysis. And if you have any final thoughts, please let us know

Nathalie Criou Finishes Solitaire Race

Nathalie Criou at the start of La Solitaire Urgo du Figaro from Pauillac (near Bordeaux) on June 5.

© Alexis Courcoux

Nathalie Criou, who lives in San Francisco and was sponsored by the Richmond Yacht Club Foundation, finished the three-week-long four-leg Solitaire Urgo du Figaro Sunday morning at 12:11 in Dieppe, France. Her chartered 33-ft Figaro 2, Tetraktis, was the final boat to arrive. "I received a ‘tenacity’ award," she wrote in an email to us last night, "mostly because I arrived from Leg 2 in the middle of the night, slept for four hours, and then left again for Leg 3 that same morning. Most people thought I would not sail Leg 3. I arrived so late for Leg 2 because the wind shut down on me and I did 1 knot of drifting for like 8 hours."

On June 15, the fleet of 43 Figaros started Leg 3, a 150-mile loop from Concarneau on the south coast of Brittany back to Concarneau.

© Alexis Courcoux

"The format of this race is amazingly hard — you’re basically sprinting over a one-month marathon," explained Nat. "Every time you sleep you lose a spot in the ranking. So you end up not sleeping. But each leg is several days.

"The most amazing moment is when the entire fleet, skippers, preparateurs, race organizers, press, etc., came to the dock at midnight to welcome me after I finished the race — they were chanting my name. They had a bottle of champagne for me. They hugged me. The winner of the race (Nicolas Lunven on Generali) was there to congratulate me. This happened completely spontaneously and had never been done before except in the Vendée Globe. I was moved to tears. That day I felt that I had officially become a sailor, recognized by the truest and toughest community of offshore solo racers in the world. I had truly come home."

Nat wore her bright orange Giants T-shirt for many of the starts and finishes. She keeps her own Figaro, Envolée, in South Beach Harbor, literally a baseball hit away from AT&T Park.

© Yvan Zedda

Event director Mathieu Sarrot commented at the awards ceremony on Sunday about Nat: "Her participation was not without problems, but she completed the challenge, and her arrival was celebrated by all the other competitors during the night in Dieppe, part of the beautiful images that I’ll retain from this Solitaire." (Pardon our loose translation from the French!) 

For more, see the July issue of Latitude 38, coming out this Friday, June 30. We hope to have a longer report in the August issue.

Yucca Sails On

In 2017 Yucca is celebrating both her 80th birthday and a new ‘caretaker’ to follow Hank Easom’s 53-year stewardship. Among the good news is that the new owner, Bay Area resident Mike Zolezzi, will keep her close to home and sail her from the familiar waters of the Sausalito waterfront.

Partners in time. Yucca’s half-century caretaker, Hank Easom (right), is passing the baton to Mike Zolezzi to write the next chapter in her 80-year story.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

This past weekend Yucca was lined up along with about 40 of the Bay Area’s finest gleaming wooden classics at the Master Mariners’ Boat Show hosted by Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon. Built in Newport Beach in 1937, Yucca has been a familiar sight in any gathering of the Bay’s elegant ‘woodies’. But unlike many of her compatriots, Yucca has also been a regular on the racecourse, collecting a warehouse full of trophies. Despite her weekly racing regimen she also took home the Stone Cup Trophy for ‘Best of show/Restored vessel’ with restorer being none other than Hank Easom himself! 

It may be a bit daunting to take on such a legacy, but we know Bay Area sailors and Yucca’s many loyal crew will just be happy to have her continue to grace the Bay and will be there to support her future sailing adventures. We look forward to seeing Mike, Yucca and her crew on the Bay.

She’s not sailing into the sunset — just starting a new chapter in her storied life.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Manu Rere T-Boned

Glenn Tieman aboard the magnificent Manu Rere in Turtle Bay in 2008.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

“Oh God, my life is destroyed!”

That was the reaction of Glenn Tieman, perhaps the world’s thriftiest long-term cruiser, upon hearing the news that his beloved cruising catamaran Manu Rere had been t-boned and severely damaged. The boat had been at anchor off Terengganu, a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia.

The damage to Manu Rere after she was hit, presumably by a fishing boat, off Malaysia. Notice the lashings that secure the beams to the hulls. 

Manu Rere
©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There are thrifty cruisers and then there is Tieman, who is originally from Modesto. His first cruise, from California to Thailand, was on a 26-ft cat he’d built for $3,000. She didn’t have a cabin per se, and naturally didn’t have an engine or any such luxuries.

Mind you, this was a 10-year cruise, the first seven years of which he lived on an average of $1 day. He splurged during the last three years of the cruisie, blowing $3 a day.

Glenn is an unusual guy. He likes to sail to primitive communities and become part of of those communities for months at a time. Local chiefs have encouraged him to take the hand of one of the local girls.

After 10 years, family and friends convinced Glenn that he was missing out on life. So he came back to Los Angeles and taught school for a year or two. He soon reached the conclusion that he was missing out on life by not being out cruising. So he built another cat.

Manu Rere is a 38-ft replica of a Polynesian cat from more than 100 years ago, made with materials — other than epoxy — available back then. The beams, for example, are attached to the hulls with lashings, as are the rudders. When Glenn wanted to sail, he would raise the masts by hand.

A true original, Glenn holds up the kerosene lantern he used for a running light. At least he did in 2008 when this photo was taken.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As we recall, Manu Rere cost him something like $14,000 to build. As you can see from the accompanying photo, she has no house. All the accommodations are in the hulls.

We last saw Tieman in October 2008. We were on a Baja Ha-Ha rest stop at Turtle Bay, and he’d just begun his cruise with his new boat.

Manu Rere, the ultimate in simple sailing, as seen sailing on San Diego Bay in 2008. 

© Bill Barker

To be honest, we have no idea what Glenn’s been up to since then. He’s not the kind of guy to write a lot. But we suspect he’s been out cruising most or all of the time. Based on today’s email from him, we know that he was back in the States taking care of his ill father when his catamaran was damaged. Glenn won’t be able to get back to his cat until July 5 at the earliest, and it’s not clear if the cat realistically can be saved.

We wish Glenn all the best, for he’s one interesting and unique individual. Based on his incredible cruising accomplishments, he’s a member of the Wanderer’s Sailing Hall of Fame. 

John and Doreen Abbott’s Catalina 30 Shellback approaches Pittsburg in the company of Express 27s and Moore 24s on their way upriver in the ‘Doo Dah Ditch Run’.
It’s fun in the sun and sailing on the rail.  Aaaaah, Friday. © 2017 Joel Krauska Joel Krauska sent in some shots of another magical evening sailing the South Beach Yacht Club Friday Night Series.
While in the Caribbean this spring, we spoke with friends about their plans for how to deal with the July-to-December tropical-cyclone season in the Eastern Caribbean.
Don’t let your marina look like this on Summer Sailstice weekend. Hoisting sails helps improve sail shape and your outlook on life.