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July 26, 2017

Dramatic Fire Destroys Boats in Texas

A huge fire last week at a marina in Texas destroyed as many as 20 boats, but caused no injuries. 

© 2017 KXAS-TV (NBC5)

The Highport Marina in Pottsboro, Texas — sitting on Lake Texoma, straddling the Texas/Oklahoma state line and about an hour away from Dallas — was said to be the "largest facility of its kind . . . with more than 800 slips," according to reporting from

"A spark from a boat someone was working on might have caused the huge blaze," the website said. "Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office investigators received information about the possible spark, but the investigation is ongoing."

Santana 22 Nationals in the Slot

Splashy conditions out by the Berkeley Pier at the start of Race 4 in the Santana 22 Nationals on Sunday.

© Kristen Soetebier

Fourteen Santana 22s toughed it out in July ‘Slot’ conditions for the 51st Nationals on July 21-23. Encinal Yacht Club hosted the Championship on courses near the Berkeley Pier. Three boats, Patrick Tregenza’s Ecaroh, Stefan Berlinski’s Hamachi, and multi-time champion Bob Comstock’s Rick’s Place, even traded the calmer conditions of Monterey and Santa Cruz to try their hands at keeping the trophy from San Francisco Bay competitors — but that was not to happen. With winds out of the west  at 18 knots gusting to 22, and 22 knots gusting to 26 on Sunday, seasoned Bay racers seemed to have the edge. Three of the top five finishers berth in Richmond.

Rick’s Place edging out Pariah in Race 4, both boats making it look easy — it was anything but. (Nice hat.)

© Kristen Soetebier

“Survival sailing” was the catchphrase of the weekend, and, just before the first race on Saturday, the Bay had its way with Rick’s Place. The Santa Cruz-based boat broke a halyard and was out until the third race, which it did come back to win. Chris Nicholas’ Fun lost a man overboard right after the starting gun. Fun was able to self-recover the crew, who gallantly continued on to compete in all three of the day’s blustery races.

This image of the start of Race 3 on Saturday gives a sense of how ‘lovely’ the weather was.

© 2017 Kristen Soetebier

The course was twice around a windward mark with offset, leeward gates and downwind finish. After the day’s punishment, the sailors thoroughly enjoyed the warm, mellow sail down the Estuary back to EYC for dinner, the annual meeting, and a pool party.

High and Dry, Meliki, and Hamachi on the outside emerge from the fog on Sunday and approach the leeward gate.

© Kristen Soetebier

The fog rolled in on Sunday and the wind notched up a few more knots. Only 12 boats competed in Race 4, and then it was down to 10 for Race 5’s shorter course due to the increasing wind and fog. Igor Polevoy’s High and Dry suffered a broken gooseneck and had to withdraw, as did Megan Dwyer’s Mad Max after fouling a jib sheet.

Scott Rovanpera, Chris Klein and John Paulling of the 2017 National Champion Alegre with the keeper and perpetual trophies.

© Kristen Soetebier

In the end, the spoils went to Chris Klein and his crew John Paulling and Scott Rovanpera on Alegre. Chris said he was “so honored to appear on this trophy with such great sailors.” Next year’s National Championship is scheduled to be held at the Monterey Peninsula YC. Full results can be found on Jibeset, and additional photos will be linked on the San Francisco Bay Santana 22 fleet’s website.

Reader Submission: Midnight Marathon

The following comes to us from David James as part of our Reader Submission Series (if you have a good sea story or a great photo, please send it here):  

"There are some traditions on the Bay that are deserving of resurrection. One of the foremost is San Francisco Yacht Club’s Midnight Moonlight Maritime Marathon. Back in the ’90s this race attracted as many as 40-plus boats for a medium-distance race with a late afternoon start in Raccoon Strait to the Carquinez Bridge and back. (One year the previous owner of Latitude 38 even ran his Ocean 71 ketch, Big O, into the only mark of the course!)

SFYC’s Midnight Moonlight Maritime Marathon gives sailors on the Bay the rare chance to race into the sunset.

© 2017 David James

"The race is held on one of the longer days of the year with a pursuit start, meaning handicaps are applied at the start with the slowest boats on the line at 4 p.m. and progressively faster boats thereafter. The format aims for theoretically simultaneous finishes around midnight.

"This year, more than a dozen boats — ranging from a pair of Cal 20s to a Farr 40 — were rewarded with a spectacular evening of racing on July 15. The conditions featured something for everyone, with currents both fair and foul and everything from light-air running to breezy pole-on-the-headstay reaching on the way home.

"A spectacular sunset was a special treat for those crew enjoying a warm gourmet meal on the rail. The pursuit format delivered in spades, with the top half of the fleet finishing within a few hundred yards of one another after 34 miles of competitive racing and everyone home by 12:30 a.m.

"The results showed the diversity of the fleet, with Jib Martens’ Worth 40 Freedom in second place and within whispering distance behind Trygve Liljestrand’s J/90 Ragtime. An anonymous neighbor even provided fireworks for the first boats to finish! After the race, the fleet retired to SFYC’s bar for clam chowder, a refreshing beverage and a commitment to return again next year." See for complete results.

This story [which has been updated as of 1 p.m.] comes courtesy of Anne Russell in response to our Cover Contest, where we were also soliciting general sailing news, stories and photos.
The victorious locals of Team Killian celebrated their win at Balboa YC. © 2017 Longpre PhotosSailing for the host club, Balboa Yacht Club, 20-year-old Christophe Killian won the Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship on July 17-22 in Newport Beach.