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January 29, 2018

Four Out of 360

The scene at the Three Bridge Fiasco starting line about 40 minutes after the beginning of the starts.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Four out of 360 — that’s how many boats finished Saturday’s Three Bridge Fiasco pursuit race. Congratulations to John Gray and Matt Van Rensselaer on the mighty Moore 24 Immoral, who finished first at 5:25 p.m.; Christopher Harvey and Dan Mone on Mojo at 5:40 and Mark Zimmer and Mark Lewis on Khimaira at 5:43 (F-25c trimarans); and the final finishers, Will Paxton and Zachery Anderson on the Express 27 Motorcycle Irene at 6:22. The deadline to finish was 7 p.m.

Sailing across the finish line in the last of the afternoon light, Immoral won the whole shebang.

© Jim Vickers

The challenge was to complete a Bay tour with no wind and lots of ebb, the latter of which swept scores of boats out the Gate, while dozens more anchored along Crissy Field and the piers, lining the San Francisco shore like a string of pearls. Many sailors might have wished for a do-over on Sunday — the day was bright and sunny and the ebb was still powerful, but a puffy northeasterly would no doubt have whisked substantially more boats around the 21-mile course.

As they sailed past Golden Gate Yacht Club on their way to their final rounding mark, Blackaller Buoy, Khimaira led Mojo.

© 2018 Slackwater SF

The Three Bridge Fiasco kicked off the 2018 season for the Singlehanded Sailing Society (with divisions for doublehanders too) including several Bay and ocean races, the pinnacle of which will be June’s Singlehanded TransPac to Hanalei Bay in Kauai (no doublehanders allowed). See for the complete schedule.

In the North Bay, Motorcycle Irene’s crew crouches low and forward on the leeward rail. In the background, Chris Nash and his son Nick sail the Hawkfarm El Gavilan. They doused the spinnaker soon after this shot was taken.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We’ll have much more on the Three Bridge Fiasco in the March issue of Latitude 38; we plan to find out from the finishers how they achieved this seemingly impossible feat.

Would You Like to Sail?

While visiting the Berkeley waterfront, we stopped by the little club that’s launched thousands of sailors. Walking into the grounds, we found Anthony and Daniel busily doing some weekday maintenance on Cal Sailing Club’s eclectic fleet of boats. Anthony looked up and said, "Do you want to sail?" It’s a welcome greeting to anyone who might be curious about the fleet of small boats often viewed from a traffic jam on nearby I-80. 

Anthony Lunnis, volunteering as day leader, showed us a plentiful fleet of smart-looking RS Quests available for your first of many sails.

©2018Latitude 38 Media, LLC

And as this gray, midweek, midwinter day demonstrated, the club is active all year round. Like many Bay Area community sailing programs, it survives with the support of enthusiastic sailors and members who volunteer to bring inexpensive, accessible sailing to land-bound Bay Area residents. Summer is coming, and Anthony and Daniel are among many Cal Sailing Club volunteers who’ll have the fleet ready to take out the next group of curious, would-be sailors.

Thousands of new sailors have launched here. When the weather warms these docks will again look like this — sunny and busy.

© 2018 Cal Sailing Club

Meanwhile, we noted that Cal Adventures next door looked like a construction zone. We checked in with Max Ebb, who reported that the city of Berkeley had started planning 12 years ago for upgrades, which are finally happening. They are paving most of the gravel parking lot and adding a new bathroom structure, plus an improved rigging and wash-down area for windsurfers and kayaks. Unfortunately the project ran out of money before new docks could be included in the current phase. This appears backward because, as Max notes, it’s the condition of the docks and gangways that limit public access more than any other feature of the waterfront as currently configured. But, hey, it’s progress.

Ketch on the Beach in San Rafael

We’re trying to gather information about a ketch that found itself beached in San Rafael this weekend. A friend of ours posted the following photo — taken by her husband — on her Facebook page. 

A mystery boat on the beach in San Rafael.

© 2018 Sam Chapman

"Coastal Marine Research, Sanctuary is the only identification that I could find," our friend said. If anyone has any information on this vessel, please let us know.

The Latitude Movie Club Presents . . .

OK, we need to talk about this movie . . . or these movies . . . sooner rather than later. It is (or they are), for better or worse, the biggest sailing film(s) of the last 15 years, a fact that is not particularly satisfying, and is perhaps a little embarrassing. 

We want the discussion to start with you, rather than our simply droning on about the film . . . or, yes, films — they actually made five of them. We stumbled on the most recent one on Netflix a few weeks ago, making us scratch our heads and wonder: "Really, a fifth one? When the hell did this come out?"

Anyone know what movie . . . or, OK, movies we’re talking about? Here are some of our favorite quotes: "Well! I’m feeling rather good about all of this. I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually. Ecumenically. Grammatically." And of course, the most famous line of the franchise: "But why is the rum gone!"

Readers and movie fans, let’s talk about Pirates of the Caribbean.

There are a million gazillion Jack Sparrow memes out there. 

© The Internet

Do you consider Pirates to be one good movie (The Curse of the Black Pearl), are you a fan of the entire franchise, or do you hold your nose when watching (or even considering) Pirates two through five? Don’t be shy, we won’t judge. In fact, watching Pirates, Dead Men Tell No Tales, we were surprised to find that it actually wasn’t that bad, though we wouldn’t go so far as to call it good either. It’s amazing how well served one can be by low expectations.

We are happy to admit that we’re huge fans of The Black Pearl, which, despite its penchant for the supernatural, is a totally decent sailing film, and which has one of our favorite sailing movie quotes: "Wherever we want to go, we go. That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and a hull and sails; that’s what a ship needs. But what a ship is . . . What the Black Pearl really is . . . is freedom."

There are plenty of fun moments from the seemingly endless onslaught of Pirates sequels, but they all seemed to repeat a formula that was never that great to begin with, venerating the bad and purging the good — which was namely sailing itself. So while it’s nice to talk about a good movie we all love, there’s a devious part of us (a ‘piratey’ part) that loves to discuss bad films, especially really bad films.

Please, let us know what you think.

We were fortunate enough to be invited to a wonderful dinner at the Presidio Yacht Club last weekend in honor of Scottish poet Robert Burns.
If you’re one of the 686 sailors signed up to race in tomorrow’s SSS Three Bridge Fiasco and you didn’t make it to the skippers’ meeting on Wednesday, this alert is for you.
Save Alameda’s Working Waterfront, the group mobilizing to preserve maritime businesses and boating facilities at Alameda Marina, is looking for science and engineering specialists to help respond to the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) submitted to the City of Alameda by the developer.
By now skiers have heard that ski filmmaker extraordinaire Warren Miller passed away at home on Orcas Island on Wednesday at the age of 93.