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September 29, 2017

Weekend Warriors

These early fall days are perfect for sailing lessons, especially when your school is in the Slot. Sunny mornings promise for moderate afternoon breezes and perpetually smiling faces. It’s always a surprise to hear students and club members complain about the ‘hot weather’. You get to experience these things first hand when you manage a sailing school. Thankfully, we’re winding down from those 25-knot days.

The sun sets over Berkeley Marina in September. These early fall days are getting shorter, calmer, less crowded and warmer — perfect for busy sailors carving out time on their ‘weekends’.  

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Unlike most sailors, I don’t have the weekends to play. My Fridays are like your Mondays, and Saturdays too. And my Sundays are like your Fridays. You wont hear any complaints from me, though. I enjoy uncrowded anchorages and can hike to Mt. Livermore Peak without passing another soul.

On really calm evenings, you can see the tide ebb and flood like a river the Bay wide without any interruption. I can sail into any dockside restaurant and have my choice of slips, and lunch happens without fuss or wait. There is a downside to all this though; the quiet anchorages prove that all your friends are at work!

Luckily for me, my partner Quincey has the same days off. Just this week, on a 70-degree Sunday, I came home for lunch to see that she had taped off, sanded, and varnished the companionway — without previously planning to do so. She exclaimed with calm satisfaction, "It was time, and I have time!"

Quincey Cummings sands the mast of Windrose, her Fuji 32, which is home to her and her husband Mitch Andrus. 

© 2017 Mitch Andrus

This ambition is all in an effort to have and show absolute pride for Windrose, our 1976 Fuji 32, which is our home and travel companion. Not five minutes after I arrived, we untied the lines and headed for the haulout.

This ‘weekend’ (your Tuesday and Wednesday), we’ll be taping off, sanding, and painting her bottom. Come mid-October, we’ll take a long weekend — Monday through Friday for us — and head out the Gate.

Pick Up the October Issue

It’s only September 29, but we’re getting a jump on October by distributing the October issue of Latitude 38 today. You’ll find the paper-and-ink version of this fine publication at the usual places around the Bay Area, the West Coast and beyond. Prefer to digest your reading material in digits? We’ve got that too, and, yes, it’s free.

A Sharon Green aerial of the Rolex Big Boat Series graces the cover of our October issue.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Within the pages of the hot-off-the-press rag, you’ll find features about Hurricane Irma’s toll, the Rolex Big Boat Series, Delta Doo Dah 9, the I-N-F-O on AIS, Baja Ha-Ha profiles and toys for cruisers, and Max Ebb learning that it’s "never zero." All this in addition to Calendar, Letters, Loose Lips, Sightings, Racing Sheet, World of Chartering, Changes in Latitudes, Classy Classifieds and display ads. Enjoy!

Cup Protocol Announced, Sort of

So it’s definitely monohulls, we think, but we’re pretty sure on that one. And they might be foiling monohulls, but that’s just a rumor. And there will definitely not be cyclers, unless there will be. And the Match will obviously be held in New Zealand, except if it’s not. Then it will be held in Italy.

Ah yes, the America’s Cup. One month of yacht racing, and four years of protocol negotiations accented with more rumors and conjecture than even the Hollywood gossip columns can muster.

Winning it was the easy part. Deciding what to do with it is a lot harder. Grant Dalton, left, and Glenn Ashby hoist the Auld Mug in Bermuda in July.

© Louis Kruk

For weeks now, we’ve been hearing vague details to a long-awaited question that some saw as a battle for the soul of sailing’s biggest show: Monohulls are making a comeback. 

Today, the New Zealand Herald is reporting that 75-ft monohulls will be used in the 36th Cup. Each team will be allowed to build two. There will be a 20% nationality rule, which translates to about three crew on a boat, according to the Herald (the rest of the crew will have just over a year to establish residency).

And that’s all we’re going to say for now, because we’ve been chasing our tail the last few weeks repeating cryptic details from various interviews. Radio New Zealand originally reported in mid-September that it would be foiling monohulls, something that hasn’t been denied outright, but hasn’t been confirmed by Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton, either. 

There were also emphatic headlines announcing that: Cyclors will be thing of the past for 2021 America’s Cup. "Directly asked if it was goodbye to the cyclors we saw in Bermuda this year, Dalton was short and to the point. ‘Grinders are coming back,’" reported on September 19. 

But today’s Herald article said perfunctorily: "Cyclors not banned." (Yes, they spell ‘cyclers’ that way.)   

And we’re not even sure where the Cup will actually be held. "Isn’t it going to be in New Zealand?" you might rightfully ask, to which we can only shrug our shoulders. "Dalton said there is a deadline of August 30 next year to decide whether Auckland will be ready to host the event," the Herald reported. Dalton was quoted as saying, "The only reason we went to the America’s Cup was to bring it back here. This is where we want to hold it, but we’ve got nothing in place yet."

What do we want? "The Cup!" Where do we want it? "It’s only responsible for the challengers if there is a natural disaster or whatever happens that we couldn’t hold it [in New Zealand]. Rather than finding out next year that it’s got to be shopped out, we say ‘if for whatever reason it can’t be in Auckland, which is the intention, absolutely the intention, it will go to Italy,’" said Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton.

© 2017 Louis Kruk

Dalton said if "for whatever reason" the Cup cannot be held in Auckland, it would be held in Italy instead, home of Challenger of Record Luna Rossa.

The challenger series, which has been known as the Louis Vuitton Cup since 1983, will be the Prada Cup for the next go around. "The Challenger of Record will organize the Prada Cup and the Defender will organize the America’s Cup Match while cooperating with regards to commercial issues such as sponsorship and broadcast rights for the 36th America’s Cup as a whole," Scuttlebutt reported yesterday.  

So for now, we’ll stop chasing our tail (or stop letting the tail wag us), let the dust settle and kick back while we watch some local Opti racing — as long as there’s no discussion about new protocols. With all things America’s Cup, we’re always curious: What do you think?

Etchells Worlds Update

All you have to do to win in this fleet is get out in front of the other boats and stay there. But it’s not as easy as it looks.

That’s Craig Healy skippering I Love My Wife showing you how it would look.

© 2017 Chris Ray

If you’ve been spending your Bay Area evenings parked on I-80 eastbound in Berkeley, you’ve probably had plenty of time to notice a large cluster of sailboats in tight formation on the Berkeley Circle. That would be the 2017 Etchells Worlds, which will finish up with two races today and one more on Saturday. They’ve been racing into the choked evening commute because these past hot, still days have caused postponements and late starts.

Currently in first place is Senet Bischoff of the New York Yacht Club aboard KGB. The leading Bay Area contender is Jim Cunningham of San Francisco YC aboard Lifted, currently in third. For complete results check here.

Beer Cans Fade to Black

Richmond Yacht Club’s super-casual and very popular beer can series faded out on Wednesday night, wrapping up for the season. With the Bay Area in the grip of a heat wave, T-shirts and shorts were in ample supply but wind was not. In the harbor that afternoon, sailors prepping their boats for the last hurrah watched flags droop, flutter with optimism from the west, droop, flutter weakly from the east, and so on. At the start, the tepid easterly prevailed.

The RYC beer can races start in the Richmond harbor. Boats in this photo range in size from a couple of Moore 24s to a couple of Wyliecat 39s.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The races start and finish off the RYC breakwater; wind is usually light in the harbor and fresh out on the Bay. This week it was the opposite. You could sail out of the harbor, and back into it, but out on the Bay all the action you got was sloppy waves. 

Commercial traffic was heavy on Wednesday evening and included this incoming car carrier.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

A festive atmosphere predominated and the Racing Rules of Sailing were flouted. One boat started shamelessly early, under spinnaker, while another never even took the sail cover off the main. Combinations of sailing and motoring were the norm. Only a handful of boats bothered to round the one turning mark, a small yellow buoy northwest of the dilapidated Southampton Shoal platform.

Having the most success under sail was the Alerion Express 28 Jewel, seen here sailing into the sunset trailed by the Schumacher 39 Recidivist, whose large crew eschewed sails completely.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Since it was the last race of the season, pomp and circumstance accompanied the usual post-race BBQ and daily prizes (bottles of wine). Among the festivities was a showing of vice commodore/filmmaker Luther Greene’s cleverly titled film (The Beer Can Movie) about the series, a spoof that had the crowd who packed the dining room and deck in stitches.

The RYC Beer Can Trophy grows each year, as each recipient adds to it. Tommy Southam (left) of the Moore 24 Oxymoron won it this year. Eric Arens (right) has been running the series since 1998.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

A few beer can series still have races left. Berkeley YC’s will wrap up tonight. Shortly thereafter, BYC will move on to their Sunday afternoon Chowder Series, beginning on October 1.

There are many reasons to sail. Peace and love are good ones. latitude/John
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC Hey man, is this groovy or what?
Icom makes fine radios. On Profligate, we have an Icom VHF radio. Nice piece of equipment.
The Latitude Movie Club
Wind is a classic sailing movie, though it was not well received at the box office, and like all art imitating life, it took some liberties with the truth.