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October 2, 2017

Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

Don Jesberg’s Viva takes a wave. Andrea Cabito, Bill Hardesty and Robbie Dean joined Jesberg on the SFYC-based boat, which placed seventh in the Worlds. The top local boat was another from SFYC, Jim Cunningham’s Lifted, with Chloe Holder, Jeff Madrigali and Mark Ivey, in fourth place.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Etchells Worlds wrapped up on Saturday with the ninth race for the 51-boat fleet — it’s one of the larger and more congested starting lines we’ve seen on San Francisco Bay in some time. And the Etchells — a simple, ubiquitous boat — is one of the most competitive fleets in the world. East Coast sailor Steve Benjamin, an Olympic silver medalist, 5o5 and Fireball World Champion, and 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, finally claimed the championship after numerous attempts. Crewing for Benjamin on Stella Blue were  Dave Hughes, Ian Liberty and Michael Menninger. Benjamin got a bullet on Friday — which saw up to 25 knots of breeze — to pull ahead of Senet Bischoff (who would take third overall). Stella Blue had previously won the Easom Founders/Pre-Worlds Regatta (both regattas were hosted by San Francisco Yacht Club on the Berkeley Circle).

Bad Pak crosses behind Beau Geste at the Pac52 Cup. The new class member, the red Gladiator, can be seen to the right.

© Chris Ray

On Sunday, the Pac52 class wrapped up the three-day Pac52 Cup at St. Francis YC, concluding their inaugural season. Tom Wilson’s Gladiator joined the five boats that had competed at Rolex Big Boat Series in mid-September. Echoing their dominance of RBBS, Karl Kwok’s Team Beau Geste took all but one of the seven races (they finished second in Race 6) to win the regatta, but Tom Holthus’ Bad Pak topped the season.

The Express 37 Expeditious, as seen on the windiest day of the Nationals, Friday.


Sharing the Circle with the Etchells fleet on Friday and Saturday, but farther south, Express 37 Nationals fielded 10 boats for three days of racing hosted by Berkeley YC.  Bartz Schneider’s Expeditious won the title, edging out Mark and Heidi Chaffey’s Monterey-based LocaMotion by virtue of a tie-breaker. The second race on Saturday sent the fleet out to Point Bonita, just as the YRA Season Closer fleet was returning from the buoy off the point three miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge.

YRA racers found light but adequate air and a moderate swell at Point Bonita on Saturday.


On Saturday and Sunday, the YRA Season Closer, hosted by Corinthian YC started and finished off the race deck of that club in downtown Tiburon. Saturday’s jaunt out to the ocean was followed by a Sunday in-the-Bay race. The racers got a good view of the Pac52s, especially on Sunday. Conditions inside the Bay on both days were absolutely stellar, with wind into the mid- to high teens and gobs of sunshine.

We’ll have more coverage of all of the above in the November issue of Latitude 38.

Socrates Hospitalized After Fall

Jeanne Socrates’ neck was stabilized with a brace after she fell from the top of a ladder in a boatyard.

Jeanne Socrates
©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Jeanne Socrates has been hospitalized less than a week before she was to begin an attempt to become the oldest person to sail solo nonstop around the world. She fell from the top of a ladder while climbing down from Nereida, her Najad 380, in a boatyard in Victoria, British Columbia.

According to a report on her blog, Jeanne, a retired math professor, was "sore and in pain, although her limbs and nerves are all intact." We presume she fell some 10 or 15 feet.  

Much admired by the Wanderer and many others, the indomitable and affable Socrates completed a solo nonstop circumnavigation in July 2013, making her the oldest woman to sail nonstop around the world. The trip took 259 days.

Socrates had previously made it to within 60 miles of completing a circumnavigation, when a dead battery caused her autopilot to fail and drove her boat to destruction on a beach in Mexico.

It’s unclear how long Socrates will be in the hospital, but she promises to provide details as soon as possible.

This is a terrible blow to her plans to become the oldest person to sail solo nonstop around the world, as there is a rather narrow seasonal window for rounding Cape Horn, and it will soon be slipping away. And when you just turned 75 years of age, there realistically aren’t that many years left in which to make an attempt.

Lucky Day

After Jim Stitt picked up his monthly issue of Latitude 38 at Grand Marina in Alameda, he realized it was his lucky day. How come? As Jim was flipping though Latitude’s pages, a flyer fell out, announcing that it was in fact, "Your Lucky Day." Jim had won a Latitude 38 t-shirt or hat by serendipitously grabbing one of the ‘Golden Ticket’ issues and snapping a photo of himself.

If you’re flying Southwest Airlines, have a look in the cockpit to see if the pilot is wearing a Latitude 38 t-shirt.

© 2017 Jim Stitt

Jim sent a note saying, "Thank you in advance for the T-shirt, large please. Also, thanks for the great magazine I pick up every month at Grand Marina. I hope all is well with you. Your favorite Southwest Airline Pilot."

Is it your lucky day? The October issue of Latitude 38 has just been distributed up and down the coast of California, and inside a couple are more ‘Lucky Day’ notes. So pick up a copy for more than just the great stories, because there might just be another bonus inside. Shirt or hat for you?

Sailors’ Habits

We presume that if you’re reading this, you’re a sailor. Or at least you’re a sailing fan, groupie, connoisseur, devotee, etc. But what else do you do on the water? Is sailing a jumping-off point for other aquatic obsessions? Or did your other obsessions bring you to sailing?

A man and his toy slog under the Bay Bridge at the end of August. What’s in your Toy Chest?

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Here’s what you told us in our reader survey. In addition to sailing: 

25% of readers powerboat
33% kayak
15% stand-up paddleboard (SUP)
27% fish
20% scuba dive
4% wind or kitesurf
14% surf
22% participate in "other water sports," which will forever be a mystery, though we assume many of our readers swim, shower or occasionally get caught in the rain.

In the October issue of Latitude, we take a look at the ‘Cruisers Toy Chest‘, and make a serious examination of the accoutrements of seasoned sailors. But we’ll take this opportunity to ask all of you again: What else do you do, in addition to sailing? 

Is one of the benefits of cruising Mexico dropping anchor outside an uncrowded, pumping four- to six-foot point break? Does your kayak serve as your tender? Do you like to SUP though calm, quiet coves? Do you always have a fishing line cast off your stern while going from a to b? 

And, are we missing anything? Are there other water sports not on the list that you enjoy? Please, let us know. 

These early fall days are perfect for sailing lessons, especially when your school is in the Slot.
It’s only September 29, but we’re getting a jump on October by distributing the October issue of Latitude 38 today.
All you have to do to win in this fleet is get out in front of the other boats and stay there.
Richmond Yacht Club’s super-casual and very popular beer can series faded out on Wednesday night, wrapping up for the season.