Skip to content
December 22, 2017

Lighted Boat Parade Contest Winners

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:

Shantung got second place to Ketch 22 in the Sailing Division, but Fred Fago’s image of her is tops in our esteem. The theme was ‘A Winter Wonderland’.

© 2017 Fred Fago
There must be a boat under there somewhere, but this is very well done. This entry was "dedicated to all first responders."

© Jeffrey Berman
This one’s quite pretty, with snowflakes in the rigging.

© Julie Pimentel

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.

Fireworks added to the festivities in Berkeley at dusk on December 9.


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!

Randall Reeves Makes a Pit Stop

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.

Randall Reeves onboard Moli in April at KKMI. 

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"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.

Scenes from the high latitudes during the Figure 8 Voyage.

© 2017 Randall Reeves

"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.

Pictures usually flatten the sea state, but the seriousness of Randall Reeves’ recent adventures comes through loud and clear with these photos. 

© 2017 Randall Reeves

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.)

Rolex Sydney Hobart Preview

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.

The Oatley family’s ‘small’ boat, Wild Oats X, has come out of the shed for this year’s dash to Hobart and will sail alongside her bigger, better-known stablemate Wild Oats XI. Wild Oats X is an R/P 66, essentially a smaller version of the 100-footer. She is a near sistership to Alive and Stark Raving Mad, and represents a serious threat to win the race overall.

© 2017 Andrea Francolini

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.

Peter Harburg’s R/P 100 Black Jack is back Down Under after several years abroad as Alfa Romeo and then as Esimit Europa. Up until this year, she held the Transpac monohull course record (as Alfa Romeo). Just recently, she sent a major warning shot across the bow of sistership Wild Oats XI by winning the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour.

© 2017 Bow Caddy Media

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 Rolex Sydney Hobart is part of the ‘Dorade Down Under’ campaign.

© Andrea Francolini

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.

Longtime East Coast sailor Joseph Mele recently purchased the Cookson 50 Akatea in New Zealand and put her through a major refit before sailing the boat to Sydney. After the race, the team will campaign the boat around the world. Cookson 50s have won the Sydney Hobart on multiple occasions and are a threat to win any point-to-point ocean race they enter. Here, the team figures out their new ride and puts the new Triple Lindy through its paces in Sydney Harbour.

Triple Lindy
©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

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.

Midwinter Rewards

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. 

There are no better Bay views than those from 788-ft peak of Mt. Livermore, accessible only by a hike from Ayala Cove.

©2017Latitude 38 Media, LLC

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.

Jim Quanci — known to many local sailors as the owner of Green Buffalo (which was featured on our June cover) — sent us this picture from a trip he did about a year ago aboard the Pelagic Australis.
Last week’s Banderas Bay Blast generated almost 40,000 pesos in donations for school lunches and supplies for kids who need assistance.
It’s a well-used comment but still so appropriate. Like most single-use plastic items (water bottles, etc.)