How easily we forget. Last winter our drivers doing the monthly delivery of each new issue of Latitude 38 had to brave some pretty horrific rains to get the magazine out. Not this year. While we don’t like droughts for farmers, skiers, firemen or lake sailors, it does make delivery day a bit easier.
Early this morning, our four Bay Area delivery drivers picked up both the new January issue and the annual Latitude 38/YRA Racing Calendar for distribution to a waterfront location near you. Besides the lack of rain, traffic is also light this holiday week so today’s delivery has ‘fair winds and following seas.’
The January issue includes features on foiling, winter cruising the California coast and 2017 Bay Area race season winners like Gerry Brown from Berkeley Yacht Club, who won YRA Series PHRF 2 aboard his Farr 38 Mintaka 4. Additionally there’s Bay Area sailor Jeremiah Kosten’s trip to Svalbard, our trip to the Farallones, part two of Jack London’s The Joys of Small Boat Sailing, and dozens of other stories. Pick up a copy for your sunny, relaxing New Year’s weekend.
The 2018 Racing Calendar has everything you need for a successful racing season. Everything but that magic combination of a well-prepared boat, great crew, awesome tactics, relentless pursuit of excellence and a touch of luck. Besides that, it does have every race scheduled in Northern California, current charts, signal flags, lists of Bay Area junior programs, and in-depth information on how to get a PHRF rating. It’s chock-a-block with great sailing challenges for 2018.
The wind forecast for the weekend looks light everywhere, though on windytv.com it shows light northerlies off the coast on Saturday and light southerlies off the coast on Sunday. If you trust it you could run down to Monterey on Saturday and run home on Sunday.
The clever race organizers at Corinthian Yacht Club have already written this story for us: "East Coast Freezes . . . West Coast Breezes. Now that Old Man Winter has the Eastern Seaboard firmly in his grip, the sailors out there have put away their boats and are busily spending the next five months arguing about which of their snow-locked sailing venues is the center of sailing. Meanwhile, we on the more favored coast are out sailing every darned day. One of our favorite winter events is the Corinthian Midwinters. 2018 is our ‘Back to School’ edition, so we invite you to sign up for a ‘master class’ in boathandling, current prediction and wind watching." The CYC Midwinters will be held on January 20-21 and February 17-18. On tap are daily trophies and kegs, and Friday and Saturday evening events, guest speakers and more. Timely entries will be named on the official race shirt.
Farther up the Tiburon Peninsula, Tiburon YC’s Bob & Esther Mott Midwinters, a three-day, six-race series, will start on January 6. Most Midwinter Series got underway in November or December; you can see a long list here.
Although it’s limited to singlehanders and doublehanders (with well over 300 entries), the Singlehanded Sailing Society’s Three Bridge Fiasco has been the largest yacht race in the USA for several years. In 2018, the Fiasco will be held on January 27. Which way to round the three marks and how to cope with the huge ebb will no doubt be burning topics of conversation at many a yachtie New Year’s Eve party.
Three Bridge Fiasco is a bucket-list item for many sailors; unfortunately, another bucket-list item will not be held in 2018. If you were saving up your pennies to go to Key West in January, be advised that there will be no Key West Race Week. However, Key West Cuba Race Week, aka the Conch Republic Cup, is on —despite a cooling of diplomatic relations — with a January 26 start.
The 73rd edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart race is drawing to a close as the remaining yachts are currently sailing down the coast of Tasmania and making their final approaches to Hobart. For the biggest yachts in the fleet however — the 100-ft supermaxis that have made the event a sensation with throngs of Australian and international spectators — their race has been over for days, as they reached Hobart in record time thanks to a nuking nor’easter. It took the Oatley family’s R/P 100 Wild Oats XI just 1 day, 8 hours and 48 minutes to sail the 628-mile course this year, nearly five hours quicker than Perpetual Loyal’s record-setting run from last year’s race. While Oats crossed the line first after a protracted back-and-forth battle with her main rival, LDV Comanche, she was eventually stripped of her line honors victory — and the course record — after losing a protest to Comanche. The new official course record, held by Jim Cooney’s VPLP-designed LDV Comanche, sits at 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes.
While all eyes were focused on the 100-footers that were on record pace, and the pending protest against Wild Oats XI, it was once again a TP52 that came in and walked off with the overall victory and the prestigious Tattersall Cup that comes along with it. Longtime contender and prominent Australian sailor Matt Allen and his Ichi Ban team sailed Allen’s brand-new Botin-designed TP52 to a victory of just 20 minutes over Paul Clitheroe and Bob Steel’s Farr-designed TP52 Quest, which won this race overall in both 2008 and 2015. Crossing the line in just 1 day, 19 hours and 10 minutes, the ‘little’ 52-footer also set a course record as the quickest ‘conventionally ballasted’ yacht in race history, an incredible feat. Rounding out the podium for overall honors is Tony Kirby’s Ker 46 Patrice.
While it was a trio of 50-odd-foot downwind flyers that filled out the podium for overall honors, we’re ultra-stoked to see David and Peter Askew’s Volvo 70 Wizard come home in fourth place overall on IRC and claim victory in the premiere IRC Division 0. Wizard was formerly named Giacomo and won last year’s Sydney Hobart race overall.
When she was new, she was known as Groupama 4 and was the winner of the 2011-’12 Volvo Ocean Race in the last edition that was sailed in Volvo 70s. The venerable 70-ft canting-keel yacht will now be shipped to the States where she will campaign all the major races. StFYC member Matt Brooks’ classic 1930 S&S yawl Dorade sailed to a second-place finish in IRC Division 4, navigating the course in an incredible 3 days, 6 hours, 37 minutes.
There are times when you’ve just had enough of the news and traffic that you think, "I’m outta here." What if you really wanted to pack up and sail away today? It’s something we think about when we page through each month’s broker and classified ads discovering boats ready to sail now far from our Bay Area home.
The current, hot-off-the-press January Latitude 38 included some interesting options. For instance we could strike a deal on the 1985 Kelly-Peterson 46 currently listed in New Zealand for $144,952. After all it is early summer in New Zealand right now. In the same neighborhood there’s the 1976 Crealock/Westsail 43 in Langkawi, Malaysia. That’s right near the Andaman Islands, Phuket and numerous other adventures that might take most of a year to reach if we sailed out the Gate today.
If we were thinking it would be great to spend next summer cruising the Salish Sea — the San Juan, Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound — we’d look at the 2000 Tartan 37 listed at $148,500 in Port Ludlow, WA, or the 1964 56-ft John Alden PH cutter listed at $159,000 and waiting to sail in Vancouver, BC. What about summer in the Med? There’s an 1980 Olympic 47 lying in Malta available for $145,000.
Back to an escape right now we’d head to Mexico and get aboard the 1984 Norseman 447 listed in San Carlos/La Paz for $158,000 or the 1980 Kelly Peterson 44 available in La Paz for $90,000. Or stepping it up a notch there’s a 2006 Grainger 50 catamaran resting in La Paz for $575,000. On the other end of the spectrum is a 1985 Catalina Capri 30 for just $10,500 in San Diego that could get to Mexico in a blink. Or in Sonora, Mexico, is a 1980 Roberts 44 for just $29,500 that’s had one owner for 25 years!
It reminds us of our friend Randy Gridley who heard we’d bought the magazine last year and went down to pick up the December issue to see what we were up to. He flipped through the Classy Classifieds, and somehow, just over a month later, he and his wife Jennifer owned a Sabre 38 and life in 2017 improved.
Even in a perfect world an escape aboard one of these boats to any of these destinations sounds like an improvement. In an imperfect world it sounds even better.