Most of the entries in our Lighted Boat Parade Photo Contest were taken at the Lighted Yacht Parade on the Oakland-Alameda Estuary December 2, including these three favorites:
Berkeley Marina and BYC co-hosted an inaugural Winterfest and lighted boat parade on December 9, its numbers no doubt augmented by sailors in the BYC Midwinters.
The Latitude 38 office will be closed all next week, but the January issue plus the 2018 Northern California Sailing Schedule and YRA Calendar will be distributed on Friday, December 29. Happy Holidays to all our readers!
After suffering a knockdown in the high southern latitudes, enduring days of gale force winds, and losing not one but two of his autopilots, Randall Reeves has been forced to head for port so that he can make repairs, and continue the Figure 8 Voyage.
"The list of broken things got to a point today where a different approach was needed — specifically poor Monte [Reeves’ nickname for his Monitor windvane] broke this time . . . Self steering gear is critical for getting around the Horn, so Randall will be pulling into Ushuaia, Argentina, for needed repairs." Reeves wife Joanna wrote on the Figure 8 blog.
"The good news is Randall isn’t broken (frustrated but not broken) and the boat is as solid as a rock. So what does this mean? It means Randall will be steering, eating and sleeping. Getting to Ushuaia will take about 6 days."
Reeves has had a number of issues in the last few weeks, starting with the loss of ‘Otto’, his electronic autopilot.
"Waves have broken fully onto the boat many times over the last two days. An hour ago I heard that now familiar deep whooshing and braced, but instead a wham to the hull and water over the top (kathwap–sploosh!), we were hit as by a freight train. Mo [Moli, Reeves’ 41-ft aluminum sloop] was pushed heavily to starboard and then went all the way over. Knocked flat.
"As I was mopping up I noticed water had gotten into the electronics cabinet where both the autopilot junction box (Otto’s brain) live and also all the satellite equipment. How this is possible is beyond me as the cabinet is protected by cushions and has only two small thumb holes in the door that allow operation of the latch. The latter equipment was spared, but water has apparently got into Otto’s brain. For the moment he is deceased. I get blinking lights that immediately fade; then nada. I have a spare for every other piece of that system. No spare brain."
After the knockdown and several sleepless nights, Reeves noticed that ‘Monte’s’ pendulum assembly was bent as winds were in the 35-knot range and increasing. We’re not sure what finally sealed Monte’s fate, but needless to say, no autopilot on a singlehanded voyage is a bit of a problem.
"Does this mean Randall is done? No not at all," the blog read. Parts are on their way to Ushuaia as we write. Reeves hopes to resume the trip shortly thereafter.
When we spoke to Randall Reeves in April, he said that he was open to the idea of the Figure 8 being a nonstop trip, but wasn’t fixated on it, especially given the nature of the Northwest Passage. "We’ll let the arctic decide," Reeves told us, explaining that weather and ice floes of the Passage require a delicate, well-timed route that must be carefully threaded.
What makes the Figure 8 unique is not an attempt at going solo around the world, it’s the route itself: Five oceans, two circumnavigations, and about 40,000 miles (that’s over one and a half times the length of the earth’s equator).
We wish Randall Reeves speedy repairs, and will keep you updated on his status. (Are you a fan of the Figure 8 voyage? Let us know.)
Now entering its 73rd edition, there’s as much anticipation as ever for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. An even 100 yachts representing 11 different nations have taken up the annual Boxing Day challenge of racing 628 miles south from Sydney to Hobart, Tasmania. Of those 100 yachts, there are a quartet of supermaxis, nine TP52s, the Clipper round-the-world fleet and a mishmash of some the world’s fastest monohull sailboats between 34 and 100 feet long.
Fresh off a record-breaking year in which Perpetual Loyal (now known as Infotrack) took a whopping five hours off the race record to drop the mark to 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes, 20 seconds, a solid nor’easter is setting up to give the fleet a quick sleighride to Tazzy. The weather forecast is looking so good that world-renowned Bay Area navigator Stan Honey says: "The worst thing is, it looks so good, any change in the forecast can only be for the worse." If the weather forecast holds, all eyes will be on the big 100-footers that will lead the charge down the coast. Forecasts show the infamous Derwent River glassing off fully as the big boats arrive, threatening to put a damper on any record attempts and likely helping the fast downwind flyers measuring 45 to 70 feet.
Quite a few of the most well-known boats have changed hands, and in many cases, names as well. The race’s most famous yacht, Wild Oats XI, recently sustained a lightning strike to her carbon-fiber mast (while sitting in the boatyard), though luckily suffered only minimal electronics damage. The shore crew procured spare electronics and computer gear from arch-rival and sistership Black Jack to fix the broken bits and get back on the water as quickly as possible. Speaking of Black Jack, the ‘other’ R/P 100 (ex-Alfa Romeo, Esimit Europa, etc.) has only recently returned to Australia from years of service abroad. Rounding out the 100-ft fleet are the S2H record-setting Infotrack and the recent Transpac record-setter LDV Comanche, formerly just known as Comanche.
Five American-owned yachts have entered the race this year, one of them the 2016 overall winner. David and Peter Askew have purchased the Volvo 70 Giacomo and renamed it Wizard. Giacomo claimed overall honors last year, having finished second over the line (to a 100-footer) and becoming one of just three boats to finish inside the existing record time. The last Volvo Ocean Race winner from the VO70 days (as Groupama 4), the boat has been a winner since new.
The Bay Area is quite well represented by Matt Brooks’ S&S yawl Dorade, which will be skippered by Kevin Miller and will have renowned navigator Adrienne Cahalan onboard. Other American entries include Andrew and Linda Weiss’ Sydney 43 Christopher Dragon, Joseph Mele’s new-to-him Cookson 50 Triple Lindy and Christopher Sheehan’s XP44 Warrior Won. With five entries and three or four that could make some noise in the overall results, we’re stoked to see so much American interest in this year’s race.
There’s a Virtual Regatta for the race, so armchair sailors can play along at home. The race itself will start at 1 p.m. AEDT on December 26; on the West Coast of the US, that’s 6 p.m. on December 25. Click here to learn how to view the start. We’ll post a race recap in ‘Lectronic Latitude after New Year’s.
One of the rewards of having a sailboat on San Francisco Bay is a hike to the top of Angel Island any time you want. The forecast looks good for the week ahead, and it’s an excellent time to tie up at the docks in Ayala Cove and work off your Christmas binge with a hike to the peak.
Remember, today is the day after the winter solstice, so the days are getting longer with summer sailing and Summer Sailstice just six months away.