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April 6, 2018

About That One Boat in Aquatic Park

A boat that’s been at the center of controversy for months in Aquatic Park apparently lost its anchor early Thursday morning, ending up against Hyde Street Pier between two historic ships. The roughly 30-ft trimaran was taken to Hyde Street Harbor and docked near the fishing fleet. Owner Bryan Pennington was reportedly not on board, but was immediately on scene once the boat was being towed, according to TowBoatUS, which extracted the stranded boat from the pier. The boat was apparently tangled in the historic ship’s mooring lines, but there doesn’t appear to be any significant damage (though that’s not yet fully clear).

Pennington, a veteran, will be in court on April 26. He has been in and out of Aquatic Park since September, and has "pleaded not guilty to three counts of violating a permit requirement, each punishable by six months in jail and a $5,000 fine," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Boats are allowed to anchor at the cove with a nightly permit, and can only stay in five-consecutive-night blocks for up to 30 nights a year.

The tendentious trimaran ended up between the C.A.Thayer, right, and the paddlewheel tug Eppleton Hall. You can just make out the "Move the Boat" graffiti scrawled on the ama.

© 2018 Bruce Balan

Bruce Balan, a contributor to Latitude, was anchored in Aquatic Park on his 1969 Cross 46 trimaran, and shared the following dispatch: "Early [Thursday] morning, we received a call from a National Park Service officer calling to let us know that the unpermitted trimaran had drifted into the pier next to the C.A. Thayer at about 5:00 a.m. He assumed that if we had been hit we would already know, but wanted to warn us and make sure we checked our boat for any damage. [TowBoatUS] was called and was able to tow the boat away before the tide turned and the tri floated back out into the cove."

What’s missing from this photo? This was the scene at Aquatic Park yesterday evening, as the rain started to roll in. Bryan Pennington’s trimaran, a fixture in this view for months (anchored in the traditional "swimming lanes"), is gone after it apparently dragged anchor. It’s not clear what the long-term fate of the boat will be. (Not pictured here is a big catamaran currently anchored in the cove that sailed all the way from Germany.)

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"We were really lucky as we were anchored right between the tri and the Thayer. The current must have kept the drifting boat close to the shore so it just missed us. Regardless of the outcome with the legal proceedings against the owner, we hope the boat is well cared for as we have a soft spot in our hearts for old tris."

Last month, many of you expressed strong and varied opinions about the controversial boat in Letters. Please let us know what you think about this latest development.

Readers — This story has been updated. We originally said that Pennington’s trimaran "dragged anchor," but a park official told us that "the anchor rode appears to have parted from the anchor (nothing to drag)." Also, we originally said that boaters can stay at Aquatic Park Cove for a $5 nightly fee. The park official said that "for the moment, we do not charge any fee for the nightly anchor permit. There is fee-based permit/reservation program for the anchorage that will cost $10 per night, with all other regulations in force. The implementation date for the $10 anchor fee has not been set."

Happy 406 Day

It’s not 4/20 yet, but it is 4/06. 

The United States Coast Guard will not be celebrating the former, but they are celebrating the latter. April 6 is known to the Coasties as 406 MHz Day, calling attention to the importance of emergency position indicating radio beacons (known to sailors far and wide as EPIRBs).

406 beacons and PLBs come in bright "Look at me! I’m right here!" colors.

© 2018 NOAA

"An EPIRB is a device that is designed to transmit a distress signal if you get into trouble," explains a recent USCG press release. "No matter where you are in the world, an EPIRB sends a signal to emergency responders through a satellite system called COSPAS-SARSAT."



In 2017, within the United States and its surrounding waters, 275 people owe their rescue to the use of 406 MHz EPIRBs and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites, which are part of the international search and rescue satellite-aided tracking system. This system uses a sprawling network of spacecraft to detect and locate distress signals quickly from emergency beacons aboard boats, aircraft and handheld personal locator devices.

What’s New at the Boat Show

Marina Bay Yacht Harbor, all decked out for the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show will return to Richmond on April 19-22; we’ll be there and hope you will be too. You’ll find Latitude 38 in booth #C-1 inside the Craneway Pavilion. At our booth you’ll be able to ‘Meet the Experts’, including Richard Spindler (founder of Latitude 38 and Grand Poobah of the Baja Ha-Ha); Sarah and Will Curry, world cruisers and windvane whizzes; representatives from Mexican marinas; artist Jim DeWitt, whose painting graces the cover of our April issue; sailor and rower extraordinaire Lia Ditton; and many more. We’ll post a detailed schedule closer to show time.

Artist Jim DeWitt contributed paintings for the covers of last year’s boat show issue, and this year’s too. He’s seen here in the Latitude 38 booth with Latitude’s Penny and Tim.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Come ready to shop because we’ll have the usual T-shirts and hats in a variety of colors, but also fleece beanies, women’s tops and tanks, long-sleeve shirts, and — new this year — sweatshirts for men and women reminiscent of your favorite local sports teams. Wear an old Latitude shirt to the show and we’ll give you $5 off a new one!

Partiers packed the aisles around Latitude’s booth last year. This year’s party will be in Assemble Restaurant next door.

© 2018

Come to the show on Friday the 20th and stay for the party. Your boat show ticket for that day will also be your ticket for TGIF. The party will be in Assemble Restaurant on the east side of the Pavilion building. Latitude 38 will buy the first draft, and Twin Rivers Marine Insurance will buy the first glass of wine (after that it’s a no-host bar). The Pacific Cup Yacht Club’s Mai Tai Sendoff will be part of the Friday night party too.

Our publisher, John Arndt, will offer two free seminars on Saturday, April 21. The first will be at 10:30 a.m. and is intriguingly titled ‘Getting Your Story into Latitude 38 Without Setting Your Boat on Fire’. That afternoon at 2:15, John will moderate a panel of local liveaboards who’ll share the tricks and tribulations of that lifestyle in the Bay Area.

The devious minds at Latitude are devising more entertaining and interesting diversions for our readers at the show. We’ll post updates here as we get them.

To Ta-Ta or Not to Ta-Ta?

That is the question.

For five of the last six years, Richard Spindler, founder of Latitude 38 and the Baja Ha-Ha, has hosted the SoCal Ta-Ta, ‘Reggae ‘Pon Da Ocean’, a Southern California mini version of the Ha-Ha. Doña de Mallorca has been the head of security, and the 63-ft catamaran Profligate has been the mothership.

The mothership, Profligate, hosting skippers and first mates.

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While there have been slight variations, the Ta-Ta — usually the second week in September — has generally gone as follows:

Sunday: Dinner on the sand at the Santa Barbara YC beneath the Bob Marley banners and frequently to the reggae versions of Pink Floyd’s music. Through the Ta-Ta, all participants who want it are able to get reserved (but not free) berthing in the Santa Barbara Yacht Harbor.

Monday: Sail approximately 25 miles to somewhere on Santa Cruz Island and spend the night. Sundowner party on Profligate for half the skippers and first mates.

Tuesday: Explore Santa Cruz Island, socialize, or just chill out. Second sundowner party on Profligate for the other skippers and first mates.

Wednesday: Sail the 20 or so miles from Santa Cruz Island to Vintage Marina Partners’ docks at Channel Islands Harbor, where gracious hosts Dan and Michelle have always managed to give all but two or three boats FREE! berthing for the night. There is a free BBQ on the docks that night, too.

A conga line on the beach? Yeah mon.

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Thursday: Sail 22 or so miles to Paradise Cove, just around the corner from Pt. Dume. Most of the time you’re less than a mile from the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s beautiful.

Friday: Sail 33 miles from Paradise Cove to Two Harbors, Catalina. Some of the greatest pleasure sailing I’ve enjoyed has been close reaching on this course at 10 to 13 knots. Until you’ve done it in prime conditions, you have no idea how great Southern California sailing can be.

Saturday Night: ‘Awards’ ceremony, conga line, slide show of event, and potluck at Buffalo Park, Two Harbors.

Doña and I will no doubt be doing this same route again this year because it’s the best sailing at the best time of year in Southern California. The question is if there is enough interest among sailors to do another official SoCal Ta-Ta.

Summer sailing in SoCal can be surprisingly sporty.

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

To the host’s thinking, 25 boats are minimum for critical mass. So he’s putting out a request to see how many folks are not just interested, but very, very, very interested in doing such an event. The dates would be September 9 to 15. The cost would be $275, which includes swag such as hats and t-shirts, two free meals, and maybe — no promises — another free night of berthing at Channel Islands.

If you’re serious, please indicate your interest by sending an email to [email protected]. We’ll make a final decision on whether it’s a go or no-go by May 1.

Also, registration is now open for the Delta Doo Dah X. We’ll have a full story on the Doo Dah in Monday’s ‘Lectronic, but, in the meantime, you can find more information here.