Responding to complaints from a bevy of Bay Area residents (especially sailors) about the impact the Salesforce tower has made on the San Francisco skyline, city officials have reduced the size of the colossal new building so that it’s never taller than existing skyscrapers.
"The people spoke, and we listened," said some official at some point in their career, in a quote we’ve taken out of context to fit the needs of this story. When seen from the Hyde Street Pier at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the Salesforce Tower is equal in size to the Transamerica Pyramid, the postmodern edifice of the ’70s that — after its own controversy about how it ruined the skyline when it was erected — once proudly soared above the city as a unique icon of the Bay Area.
From other vantage points near the Marina District, the now-reduced Salesforce Tower looks as if its lower two thirds has been chopped off, leaving just the tip against the old skyline. When asked about their reactions to the newly shrunken building, city residents seemed as if they hadn’t yet fully processed the development. ". . . What? Is this a joke?" asked one jogger in Aquatic Park. Yes, we responded. Yes it is.
We always look forward to the beginning of the month, when we can put a fresh magazine on the top of the stack in the ‘reading room’. As always (or almost always), the current issue of Latitude 38 hits the streets on the first of the month, with our drivers dropping off stacks all over the San Francisco Bay Area on yet another sunny winter day.
The rest of the country will get their magazines delivered via FedEx Ground, while some lucky folks in Barra de Navidad in Mexico will have a few issues delivered by Pat McIntosh, who picked up some Latitudes to take on his flight out tomorrow. He’s bringing them down for people participating in the second annual Barra de Navidad Mexican Fiesta which will raise money to aid local school programs.
In late 2017, the 90-year-old tradition-steeped St. Francis Yacht Club elected its first woman commodore as a "candidate of change." Theresa Brandner assumed the helm in January. "Commodore Brandner," as she’ll be addressed formally at the club, races the J/105 Walloping Swede.
At the same annual general meeting that inducted Commodore Brandner, another J/105 racer, Nicole Breault, became the first woman to be awarded the Jerome B. White Yachtsman of the Year perpetual trophy. Besides serving as tactician, main trimmer and sometimes skipper on Arbitrage, Breault has been a match-racing marvel. She is currently the top-ranked woman match racer in the US, and is #2 in the open rankings. She’s giving back to the sport too, having created and coached the Women’s Learn-to-Sail course and the Women’s Match Race Clinegatta.
"This is an historic year for the St. Francis Yacht Club," writes Brandner. "The club is proud to recognize Nicole for her remarkable achievements on the water. I’ve raced against her, and she is seriously tough competition but always Corinthian. We are both passionate about sailing and StFYC’s continued leadership in the yachting community both in the San Francisco Bay Area and worldwide."
"I’ve been racing all my life," said Breault, "and I’ve only ever wanted to be among the best of the best and earn their respect by winning on the water. I’ve had to face the fact that when I race against the guys, it’s not always easy. But I’ve always put my best out on the water and I try to not make it about gender." For more, see www.stfyc.com.
When the California Dreamin’ Series got underway last weekend with the first of three match-race regattas, Breault and her all-female crew edged out Charlie Welsh of Newport Harbor YC in a tie-breaker. Nicole’s husband Bruce Stone came in third. The event was hosted by San Diego YC in J/22s. StFYC will host the second of three stops on March 10-11, then the series wraps up in Long Beach on April 7-8.
Most regattas succeed with a few basic ingredients — a good venue, decent sailing conditions and good race committee work, but, as always, the most important ingredient is the people. It’s the people who step up to organize the event and invite attendance, and the people who show up to participate.
Pax Davis is an endlessly energetic booster of Mercury class racing who keeps the fleet connected, informed and inspired. But he also passed on a letter from another booster who took the time to inspire participation in the High Sierra Regatta at Huntington Lake. We thought we’d share it so you can join them at Huntington Lake, but also so you can save this to use to build participation in your own regatta.
"My name is Nick Mockridge and I am the owner of the rather slow 1906 wooden Broads One Design sailboat, Snipe (photo below). This message is for any of you who sail a classic design and own a trailer… or know someone who does. I am reaching out to the few names I have found on the Internet for the California-based owners of Folkboats, Knarrs, IODs, 110s, Kettenberg PCs, Dragons, etc., with an invitation to have an adventure this summer."
"I realize that most of you have the luxury of racing one design in an area local to you which is highly convenient, but are you interested in briefly trading this convenience for the inconvenience of sailing in fresh water for just one weekend this year? Fresno Yacht Club has told me that they will offer a separate start for a ‘classic’ fleet this summer at their greatly lauded High Sierra Regatta, if we can get five boats… well, four more, as I am already committed to race there (in a regular PHRF class if necessary).
"So what do you get for the effort of trailing your boat high into the Sierras? Clear, fresh water surrounded by mountains and alpine forest. The wind is almost guaranteed to arrive at 10 each morning and to blow a steady 9-11 mph straight up the lake until about 5 p.m. The weekend offered to us (July 14-15) plays host to FYC’s second race weekend, with three starts on Saturday and two on Sunday (allowing time for homeward travel), and classes range from one-design fleets of small Thistles, San Juan 21s, Viper 640s, Martin 24s, etc., to PHRF starts containing boats as large as Olson 30s, Flying Tigers (33-ft) and 11:Metres (34-ft). Those of you that have done this regatta before will know that the conditions tend to be idyllic in a somewhat rustic setting; those of you who have never experienced the ‘thrill’ of dragging your boat 7,000 feet into the Sierra Nevada mountains, followed by the very real pleasure of friendly racing in clean, fresh (and bloody cold!) water with a steady wind, no waves, no kelp, no tides, no current and next-to-no powerboats, need to add this event to your ‘bucket list’."
"We may not be in New England where classic boats abound, but how great would it be to have a selection of our graceful and elegant designs — whether wooden or plastic — sailing on a shimmering lake out west with a backdrop of pine forest and mountains? What better way can there be to promote classic boat ownership and racing to a new audience? FYC’s homepage has photos as well as a video of starts, to give those of you who have never been to Huntington Lake an idea of what to expect."
"I realize that most of you have no interest in such a trip, whether due to not wanting to travel, not owning a trailer, not wanting anything but one-design sailing or purely out of apathy, and that’s fine. But if you know of an owner of any classic design (apart from the classes listed above, I’m thinking Shields, 210, Buzzards Bay 15, Luders 16, Alerion, 5.5-Meter, 6-Meter, old Star Boat, Atlantic One Design, Yankee One Design, Herreshoff S-Class, Catboats, Stuart Knockabout, etc., etc.) who might be interested, I should be grateful if you would forward him/her this on my behalf. Many thanks, and good sailing (and varnishing!)."
Santa Barbara Sailing Club