Skip to content
March 21, 2018

Contrasts in Singlehanded TransPac

Registration for the 2018 edition of the Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race opened in January, and so far 23 boats are signed up. The biennial race, which starts June 23 this year off the race deck of the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon, and finishes in Hanalei Bay, Kauai, HI, is the signature event of the Singlehanded Sailing Society of San Francisco, with a 40-year history.

In Hanalei in 1978, members of the first fleet gather for ‘tree time’.

© 2018 SSS Forum

The SHTP prides itself on a being a “race what you have” affair, and this year’s fleet is typical of the eclectic mix we usually see in this iconic event. The boats signed up range in size from the 32,000-lb. Garcia Passoa 47 Mouton Noir, helmed by six-time race veteran Michael Jefferson, to the 2,000-lb. Moore 24 Holokiki of first-timer Rusty Roy. John Colby’s Hylas 42 Iris will evidently be the first-ever Hylas to do this race. By contrast, Olson 30s, which may claim more past entries than any other make, are again well represented with four boats signed up so far: Double Espresso, Passages, Widmat and Concussion, helmed respectively by newcomers Philippe Jamotte, David Clark, Lilya Vorobey and Jason Seibert.

Sixteen of the skippers (including this writer) will be competing in the race to Hanalei Bay for the first time. The veterans, in addition to Jefferson, include Randy Leasure, looking to complete his third SHTP aboard his Westsail 32 Tortuga, Clifford Shaw returning from 2012 aboard the Crowther 10m catamaran Rainbow, and four who were first-timers in 2016 going for back-to-back finishes: Joe Barry, Express 37 Pakala; Mike Cunningham, Freedom 30 Jacqueline; Bill Meanley, Pacific Seacraft 37 Dolfin; and John Woodworth, Pacific Seacraft 37 Owl. In an interesting twist, the boat in which Jefferson did the race three times (1992, 1996 and 2000), the Yamaha 33 Foxxfyre, will be racing once again, with first-timer Doug Soderstrom at the helm.

"Euphoria at the finish line, even though it took yet another squall to blow me across," said Bill Meanley after his 2016 race aboard Dolfin.

© Patty Meanley

The fleet has three women skippers signed up, and that will be a record for the event, says Race Chair Brian Boschma. The boats they will sail present yet another set of contrasts for the race: Lylia Vorobey’s Olson 30 Widmat, with a PHRF rating of 99, is among the fastest-rated boats; Sarah Sheretz’ Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 Daseins Den has one of the highest ratings in the fleet at 246; while Carliane Johnson’s Freedom 38 Kynntana carries a sporty 141 for what she describes as “a big, comfy” boat.

“It’s not too late to register,” says SSS Commodore David Herrigel, although the experience and safety equipment requirements are challenging. The race documents, including the Race Rules and Conditions and Safety Equipment Requirements, can be found on Herrigel notes that the mix of rookies to veterans is “about the right proportion” compared to prior years, and that the fleet includes “a solid set of folks.” He and Boschma expect most if not all of the boats registered will make it to the start line, and they think a few additional skippers are likely to sign up and go.

Moore 24s have done the SHTP 12 times. Ruben Gabriel had Rushmoore looking good at the start of the 2012 race. Rusty Roy is bringing the make back this year with Holokiki.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We hope that everyone who makes the start this year will be at the awards banquet at Nawiliwili Yacht Club on July 14, where, in addition to the various trophies to be handed out, the coveted SSS belt buckle will be presented to all finishers. The June edition of Latitude 38 will feature a preview of the race and profiles of the racers.

Any Special Chartering Memories?

Years ago, when we gave our two boys and their male cousins permission to explore this cove in BC’s Desolation Sound, we had no idea they would scare the wits out of us by jumping off a 50-ft cliff. But it all worked out, and even now the kids still talk about the stunning beauty of that watery playground at every family reunion.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

When our kids were young we made a special effort to take them on an annual out-of-town sailing charter — even when we couldn’t afford it. 

Why? For starters, it made our kids more worldly and empathetic toward people of different cultures. But perhaps more importantly, the shared experience of running the boat, navigating unfamiliar waters, and jointly facing daily challenges left all of us with fond memories that have stayed with us for decades.

If you still savor special memories from family charters with your kids, we’d love to hear about them:

  • Where and when did you charter?
  • How old were your kids at the time?
  • Briefly, what were some of the highlights that have remained in your memory?
  • What advice would you give to other families who are considering family chartering?

Also, we’d love to see a few (medium resolution) photos of that trip. Send them here. Thanks for taking the time to write.

World Water Day

Did you know that tomorrow is World Water Day? In fact, it’s the 25th anniversary of an event designated by the United Nations to draw attention to the importance of water.

"We cannot talk about water without talking about wetlands," the World Water Day website said. "Wetlands provide us with water for consumption as well as for food and energy production. They sustain our livelihoods and economies. They work as the earth’s kidneys, filtering waste and pollution."

© 2018 Ramsar Convention World Water Day

Observed every March 22, the theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’, which explores "nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century," such as reducing floods, droughts and water pollution.

While World Water Day focuses more on the importance of freshwater as a resource, we think the organization carries the spirit of a sailor’s stewardship of our oceans and beaches. In California, World Water Day has organized the Doheny Beach Clean Up in Dana Point. Previous themes have included: ‘Water and Sustainable Development’, ‘Water and Jobs’ and ‘Why Waste Water?’

Last Call at the Bar

Last call in this case is March 30, and the ‘bars’ in question are the harbor entrance bars to Crescent City Harbor, Humboldt Bay, Noyo River and Morro Bay.

Coast Guard assets in Humboldt Bay during heavy surf in January 2016.


USCG officials are seeking feedback and recommendations from local mariners regarding the establishment of regulated navigation areas at these Northern California harbor bar entrances. The regulated navigation areas would create bar closure conditions as well as regulate vessel bar transits during hazardous bar conditions for all recreational, commercial fishing and passenger vessels.

A mellow day, and this bar is open. The Noyo River meets the Pacific Ocean at Fort Bragg. The lumps in the water in the foreground are kelp, not rocks. The Hwy. 1 bridge has ample clearance for sailboat masts.


Detailed info about the proposal can be found at For further information, contact Lt. Colleen Ryan at (510) 437-5984 or [email protected].