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September 22, 2017

Friday Night Sundown Series

The sun sets on summer, and on these Sundown sailors in Marina del Rey.

© Andy Kopetzky

For the past 30-odd years Del Rey Yacht Club has put on their Friday night Sundown Series. The races happen every third Friday of the month from May through September, with a start and finish inside the Marina del Rey main channel. The boats head out on a 4.5-mile course around one of the closer Olympic Circle spars outside the breakwater before returning.

The start of the last Sundown race last Friday.

© 2017 Andy Kopetzky

Spinnakers are not allowed and boats have ranged in size from a Catalina 22 to a J/124. The boats provide quite a sight at sunset, coming down the channel wing and wing. The races are followed by an inexpensive ($10!) no-host BBQ and trophy presentation.

Daniel Murphy’s J/120 Cuchulainn gets around the windward mark, ‘SS’.

© 2017 Andy Kopetzky

The 2017 series concluded on September 15, and 28 boats took part. In 2017 the wind gods cooperated, as the majority of the competitors for the series finished and weren’t subject to the usual wind shutdown at sunset. West Marine and Tony P’s Dockside Grill donated lots of merchandise and gift certificates for the series. For complete results, see

Derek Heeb’s Santana 30/30 GP Redline and David Epstein’s J/29 Zulu head for the beach.

© Andy Kopetzky

Tips on TIPs for Mexico

If you’re taking a boat to Mexico, or buying a boat you think you might someday take to Mexico, you must be sure that everything is in order with regard to the Temporary Import Permit (TIP). If not, you could have big problems. Some things to remember:

  • There can only be one TIP per boat. If you try to get a new one while one already exists, it will pop up on the computer.
  • TIPs are non-transferable.
  • If you’re selling a boat that still has an active TIP, your boat isn’t worth as much as it otherwise would be.

The Mexican government is again bending over backward to try and make things easy for boatowners who have TIP problems by having officials show up at specific locations on specific dates to help out. See the chart below for the times and places.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Mexican government had this same program about a year ago, and it was extremely successful. A lot more people showed up than they expected, so the officials called in reinforcements from the back offices and worked through their lunch hours to make sure everybody could be accommodated. According to the reports we got, they were very helpful.

SoCal Ta-Ta in Photos

If you’re going to have a kick-off party, why not have it on the beach at the Santa Barbara YC, the premier yacht club beach site on the West Coast? And with a reggae version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon for a soundtrack. Yes, it was a little gray, but that was better weather than later that night when there was not only lots of rain, but hail, too. Oh yeah, lots and lots of thunder and lightning, too! But it was Southern California sunny and warm for the start of leg one the next morning.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The fifth (almost) annual SoCal Ta-Ta — from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island to Channel Islands Harbor to Paradise Cove to Two Harbors, Catalina — was held last week in somewhat lighter winds than hoped for.

But the 72 participants on the 21 boats nonetheless had a good time. Socializing was a big part of it, with parties on the beach at the Santa Barbara YC, on Profligate twice, and at the ‘Awards’ Potluck and slideshow at Catalina.

This year the Ta-Ta — aka Reggae ‘Pon da Ocean’ — fleet had to be limited in size to half of previous ones because of space limitations at Channel Islands Marina / Vintage Marina Partners. Not that anybody has any complaint with those wonderful folks, who have given everyone in the Ta-Ta free berths for the last four years. Dan, Michelle and their volunteers rock!

Because of space limitations, the future of the Ta-Ta is a little uncertain. But we’ll let you know ahead of time. Meanwhile, here’s a peek at the Ta-Ta in photos: 

Reader Submissions: Sail into Fall

Can you feel it in the air? That undeniable crispness, the bite that comes from a cool, still day, rather than the searing, blasting cold of the summer seabreeze. The days are getting shorter, the late-afternoon fog is disappearing from the headlands, there’s football on TV, and coffee shops are stocking up on on their pumpkin spice flavoring.

"Taking family to Monterey aboard my Fuji 32-ft ketch," wrote Ralph R. Swenson. The 2017 summer is rapidly fading into the horizon, and Ralph’s ketch will soon have just a little less heel in it. Goodbye fog, hello clear skies.  

© 2017 Ralph R. Swenson

And the Bay will soon go quiet. No more angry, snorting seabreezes. Some days will be glassy, and some days will have moderate, 6- to 10-knot winds. Sailors will shake out the reefs in their main and strip a few layers of foul weather gear. 

That’s right, today is the autumn equinox, or for the layman, the first day of fall. And this weekend looks to be a gem, with an 80% chance of awesomeness, followed by rapidly spreading gorgeous, ideal conditions.

Well, it’s not full-on fall just yet. We’re still in that transitional stage where windsurfers and kiters are trying to squeeze in a few more sessions. But slowly, gradually, it’s coming — Indian summer, the halcyon days in the Bay Area.

As you might imagine, we prefer to enjoy these moments on a sailboat. Sure, with the light breezes it takes way longer to get anywhere, but we kind of prefer it that way, with a dark beer in hand, good friends on board, and the the sound of the 49ers, Giants, Raiders and As getting crushed on the radio (OK, so the Raiders are doing all right — but they’re moving to Vegas).  

Thanks for all your submissions this summer. We’re looking forward to seeing your fall sailing photos, which we’ll publish on ‘Lectronic, our Facebook page or — for that vertically shot, high-resolution diamond in the rough —  on our cover. Please feel free to send your pics here anytime.

Happy first day of fall, everyone.