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April 9, 2018

“The Longest Shakedown Cruise in History”

"I’m going to sail home and start over," Randall Reeves wrote us from Hobart, Tasmania, last night about the fate of the Figure 8 Voyage. After being forced to stop in Argentina and then Hobart following freak damage from even more freakish conditions, Reeves has decided to hit the reset button. "Sounds kinda nuts, but I think it makes the most sense."

Randall Reeves at KKMI in Richmond almost exactly one year ago.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

After considering spending the Southern Hemisphere winter in Tasmania and continuing on toward Cape Horn and the Northwest Passage in late 2018 (what he called "Option 2" of three possible choices), Reeves decided against it. "It’s personal and difficult to convey, " he wrote in his blog. "But, simply put, such an approach is not how I envisioned the Figure 8. This adventure is meant to be an Everest-type attempt, not a site-seeing tour."

Another option Reeves considered was to "continue on with the original route now; depart Hobart for Cape Horn and the Arctic via the Atlantic as soon as possible. Why not? I left San Francisco later than I’d planned, over a month later, and now that I’ve stopped twice for repairs, Mo and I are significantly behind our original schedule. If I departed Hobart by mid-month, I’d arrive at Cape Horn toward the end of May or early June. The Pilot Charts show as much as a five-fold increase in gale activity in certain southern quadrants in May over, say, February, and even if I got lucky with a clean rounding of Cape Horn, I’d still need a picture-perfect passage up the Atlantic in order to arrive at the Arctic’s eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage in time." Reeves said such a course would "leave no room for error, and we see how that’s gone so far. Given that, I judge continuing on with the Figure 8 this season as too risky."

The "Figure 8 Voyage" is one of a kind, and highly ambitious. Randall Reeves will have another go in September 2018.

© 2018 Figure 8 Voyage

The final option was to sail home and start over. "To me, this is the only logical choice. I have made a number of mistakes in this first attempt — a late departure; poor storm management; omission of key safeguards (e.g. storm windows), all of which make for great story but poor accomplishment. Another attempt allows me a chance to correct these."

As we reported in last month’s Sightings, Reeves has been candid about his first-ever venture into the Southern Ocean. "I feel exposed. A rank novice in a realm that eats novices like candy." With some experience now under his belt, Reeves said he’s excited for another attempt. "I have made what I consider to be a number of heavy weather mistakes and (having survived) have learned a ton from them," Reeves wrote us from Tasmania. "I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned to what comes next."

Some footage of one of Randall Reeves’ brushes with a Southern Ocean low-pressure system.

© Figure 8 Voyage

Randall Reeves hopes to sail under the Gate May or June, and let’s not forget that he "will have completed a solo circumnavigation of some 25,000 miles via the Southern Ocean and in two stops — not so remarkable except that it may be the longest shakedown cruise in history."

Liz Clark at St. Francis on Thursday

Surfer and solo sailor Liz Clark, who’s currently on tour promoting her new book Swell: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening, will be at the St. Francis Yacht Club this Thursday, April 12 at 7 p.m. in an event cosponsored by Latitude 38. The event is free and open to the public (please see details for reservations below). When we spoke to her last month for an article in Sightings, Clark expressed gratitude to Latitude founder Richard Spindler. "I met him in Santa Barbara in 2003 or ’04, when he came through on Profligate," Clark said, adding that the Wanderer was impressed with her plans to sail — singlehanded — to the South Pacific in search of waves. "Richard gave me a lot of support and credibility." 

Captain Liz Clark onboard Swell and in her element.

© 2018 McKenzie Clark

"In 2009 I had a leak in the tube between the prop and the boat, and I had water coming in the hull," Clark told us of her Cal 40, Swell. "It took me a series of haulouts to fix it. Richard put something in the mag [in a May 2009 Lectronic Latitude], and pretty much raised all the money I needed to help fix the problem. He was a great supporter of what I was doing. I respect how much care and love he put into what I was doing."

These kinds of pictures speak for themselves, and require no caption.

© 2018 Liz Clark

Swell: A Voyage is photo book that showcases some of the epic locales and waves Clark explored in her nearly 12 years of cruising. It’s an engaging read, but also a fun book to flip through and "mind surf (and sail)" tropical lineups.    

Liz Clark finding the right way to slide into a left, somewhere in paradise.

© 2018 Liz Clark

We look forward to meeting up with Captain Liz Clark this Thursday. Here are some instructions from St. Francis if you’re interested in attending: "Space is limited for this exciting event and reservations are highly recommended.

"To reserve seats, please contact the front desk of the St. Francis Yacht Club at 415-563-6363 or [email protected] with the names of all attendees in your party. Walk-ins will be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

"All non-members must check in at the front desk and register for a guest card. The program commences at 7:00 p.m., however, Liz will be available starting at 6:00pm to sign books and chat with early birds."  

Racing and Rigging and Meetings

The Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay will present a seminar this Wednesday, April 11, on Preparing Your Boat and Crew for Racing. Encinal Yacht Club in Alameda will host the event starting at 7 p.m.

Are your crew and boat ready for the season ahead?

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Gilles Combrisson of GC Rigging, Kame Richards of Pineapple Sails, and Seadon Wijsen of North Sails will cover topics including:

  • Finding, training and keeping crew
  • Practice
  • Rigging, mast rake, tuning, cordage and sail controls
  • Tools and spares
  • Food and water
  • Sails for the Bay and ocean
  • Getting old sails to work better
  • Hull prep, bottom paint, rudder issues
  • Ratings, PHRF committee
  • Safety gear, MOB practice

Sign up online for $20.

At the same time a few blocks away at Island YC, the Singlehanded Sailing Society will run the skippers’ meeting for Saturday’s Round the Rocks Race. The meeting starts at 7:30, so unfortunately the events conflict.

Making the Pacific Escape

It’s always exciting — and inspiring — when someone slips under the Gate, points their bows south, and sails for the South Pacific. That’s exactly what local sailor and businessman Bill Edinger did on Sunday (we think). After he sold Spectra Watermakers and spent his "retirement" as a full-time volunteer for Spaulding Marine, Edinger had been planning to set sail with his wife, daughter and a longtime friend for a three-month cruise in Polynesia aboard his 45-ft Cross trimaran Defiance

Bill Edinger’s Cross 45 Defiance was in Polynesia a few years ago, and is on her way back.

© 2018 Bill Edinger

"My wife and I had been talking about it for a while," Edinger told us. "Even if you have a lot of plates in the air, you have to step back from under it and just go." After waiting for the torrential, biblical "atmospheric river" to pass on Friday, Edinger and crew had plans to sail on Sunday (we haven’t been able to confirm if they were able to make their departure time — if we don’t hear anything from Bill, we’ll assume all is well). 

Edinger  said he was looking forward to both the journey and the destination. "I love the passagemaking. Also, Polynesia’s about as close to paradise as you can get." He expects the crossing to take between 20 and 24 days before arriving in the Marquesas. We wish Defiance smooth seas, and look forward to hearing about her travels over the next few months.

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.
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.
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.