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August 14, 2017

Sunrise Off Richardson Bay

Latitude reader and cruiser Lee Panza reminded us that Richardson Bay is one of the hidden gems of the Bay Area. This time of year, outbound cruisers drop their hook in the waters off Sausalito in preparation for making a run for the lower latitudes — especially Mexico. 

If it weren’t for those two towers poking over the hills (or that massive antenna in the distance), we might have mistaken this for tropical climes. 

© 2017 Lee Panza

Every fall, Richardson Bay starts to see Canadian flags, as well as transoms adorned with AK, BC, WA and OR. So when you spot these out-of-towners, give them a warm Bay Area welcome. Some of these boats may even be looking for crew, and one of our favorite things to do here at Latitude is play matchmaker.

We hope to see many of those visiting cruisers — and you — at the Fall Crew List Party on September 6 at Spaulding Marine Center. 

"The limp lines from the vang, the boom downhaul and the reefing system pretty much express how I felt," wrote Lee Panza about waking up on his boat in Richardson Bay on Thanksgiving weekend 2016. "But the glorious sunrise was worth getting up for."

© 2017 Lee Panza

From Lee Panza: "From time to time I stay overnight in Richardson Bay, a world-renowned destination. While it can be difficult to find a safe opening among the massive semi-permanent flotilla of anchor-outs I can usually find enough depth and swing room somewhere between channel marker 4 and Cone Rock. On warm, calm Saturday nights, the sounds of the late-night carousing can be a little bothersome, but waking up to a sunrise like this (Thanksgiving weekend 2016) compensates for the sleep deprivation."

Reader Submission: Back in the Bay

This photo was given to us by Joe Warren as part of our Reader Submission Series.

"This was taken in August 2015," wrote Joe Warren. "David Allocco photographs the Golden Gate Bridge after he, skipper Perry Peters and I arrive back to the mainland aboard Perry’s J/120, Felicita, after 24 days at sea from Honolulu, Hawaii.

"Felicita was part of the 2015 Pacific Puddle Jump fleet," Joe continued, "and won the small monohull class of the Rendez-vous. We had a fantastic time, thank you." 


Volvo Ocean Race Intro

Volvo Ocean Race Team Dongfeng rounds Fastnet Rock.

© Jeremie Lecaudey / Team Dongfeng

Every two years the Volvo Ocean Race has proven itself the best at giving couch sailors a chance to see and hear what it’s like to race around the world. For the 2014-15 edition, the organizers hired Farr and built a fleet of identical Volvo 65 one-design canting-keel boats that proved they were sturdy yet fast enough to produce the pretty pictures that keep things exciting for the home viewer. In this year’s 2017-18 VOR the boats are the same and some of the teams are returning from last time, but the makeup of the crew is new. The number of sailors allowed in an all-male crew has been reduced from eight to seven, but a team may take up to two female sailors to make a total of nine. Skippers can take 10 sailors if the team consists of an even male/female split, and an all-female team may take 11 crew members. Only one team, Scallywag, has taken the all-male route for the start of the VOR. Seven teams are signed up.

Team AkzoNobel is a new Dutch ocean racing team led by Netherlands skipper Simeon Tienpont. Dutch, French and Spanish are represented on the crew, along with Martine Grael, daughter of Brazilian sailing legend Torben Grael. Martine has an Olympic silver medal and world championship in the 49erFX.

A chip off the old block, Brazil’s Martine Grael, 26, won the 49er FX class with Kahena Kunze at the 2014 ISAF World Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

© James Blake / AkzoNobel

Dongfeng is a Chinese entry; this is a second try for the team led by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier. Most of the crew is French or Chinese with a few Brits, but they do have a ringer in Jérémie Beyou who came in third in the last Vendée Globe and has won the Solitaire du Figaro multiple times.

Team Mapfre chases their Dongfeng rivals.

© Ugo Fonolla / Mapfre

Mapfre, a Spanish team skippered by Xabi Fernández, is also a repeat offender. Among the mix of nationalities on the boat will be Kiwi Blair Tuke, fresh off New Zealand’s America’s Cup win.

The USA/Dutch Team Vestas will be led by the American duo of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill, who had their first taste of the VOR back in 2014-15. Two of the crew are Volvo vets Simon ‘SiFi’ Fisher as navigator and Irishman Damien Foxall.

Hong Kong skipper David Witt leads Team Scallywag with crew from his 100-ft maxi of the same name. Although they’re new to the Volvo 65, Witt raced in the 1997-98 edition.

Turn the Tide on Plastic is Dee Caffari’s long name for a new team. They’re described as “a mixed, youth-focused team with a strong sustainability message.” Caffari is fresh off her Transpac race onboard Michael Moradzadeh’s Tiburon-based Santa Cruz 50 Oaxaca. How did he get her?

Onboard with Turn the Tide on Plastics. Among Dee Caffari’s crew is Australian boat captain Liz Wardley. She already has two VORs on her sailing résumé.

© 2017 Jen Edney / Turn the Tide on Plastic

Dutchman Bouwe Bekking is back with Team Brunel. No one has sailed more miles in the VOR than Bekking, who made his first appearance as a crew member on Philips Innovator back in 1985-86. And along for the ride are two more America’s Cup sailors, Oracle’s Kyle Langford and ETNZ’s winning skipper, Peter Burling.

This edition may prove to be the most competitive yet. The boats have already raced each other in what the VOR calls “Leg Zero,” including the Rolex Fastnet Race on August 6-11. The fleet was tight at the finish after 605 miles. Dongfeng won their division. Blair Tuke, with second-place Mapfre, said it succinctly: “It’s going to be a long nine months if it’s this close all the way around the world.”

The final race in Leg Zero, a series of offshore qualifiers, is underway now from Saint-Malo, France, to Lisbon, Portugal, in dreadfully light air. Leg 1 will start from Alicante, Spain, on October 22.

There is no Internet at Santa Cruz Island. If there were, we can imagine the number of boats anchored there in the summer would dramatically increase.