The boat, not the bird.
Buzz Blackett and Mikey Radziejowski were sailing Buzz’s Antrim Class 40 California Condor in the Round the Rocks Race on Saturday when their 10-ft keel found — not rocks, fortunately — but mud. "California Condor went on the mud 100 feet west southwest of Bluff Point (the northeast end of Raccoon Strait)," explains Buzz. "As Bay charts indicate, there is a very steep gradient from the deep water in the Strait to the shelf that runs between Bluff Point and the next point west. We had jibed toward the shore to get out of the ebb. We started our jibe back onto starboard in 25 feet of water and a few seconds later stopped abruptly in 8 feet. With the help of Erik Simonson and his photo boat, we were able to kedge out of the mud before the tide dropped much more."
"I tried pulling them off, but my RIB lacks horsepower and a Barney post," reports photographer Erik Simonson. "I had Mikey climb aboard with the anchor and ground tackle. We got it to set on second go-round. It took a while for tension to ease her off."
"Our anchor set so hard into the muddy rising slope that it later took a windlass on a powerboat to retrieve it," added Buzz. This was not Condor’s first grounding; last year she dragged and stuck on the sandy bottom of Drake’s Bay.
Round the Rocks is put on by the Singlehanded Sailing Society for singlehanded and doublehanded monohulls and multihulls. The 19-mile race attracted an even 100 entries this year. We’ll have a race report in the May issue of Latitude 38.
There have been a few developments in the case of ‘that one boat’ at Aquatic Park, a roughly 30-ft trimaran that has been the center of controversy for the last few weeks — or rather, there’s been a case of déjà vu. But first, we want to report that we reached out to a veterans group recently to see if someone could make contact with Bryan Pennington, the man at the center of the controversy who identified himself a few weeks ago as a disabled veteran.
In some counties, when veterans are arrested they’re registered with Veterans Justice Court (VJC) — also known as a treatment court — which is designed to support people who have served in the military get right with the law. But because Aquatic Park is under the National Park, or federal-jurisdiction, Pennington wasn’t registered with a municipal VJC. And strangely, there is no VJC in federal court in San Francisco, according to Mike Hogan, a Vietnam veteran and former lawyer who volunteers as a mentor with veterans in need.
"Contact Veterans Affairs, [Pennington] most likely needs help. God bless our Vets," wrote Reverend Malama Robinson from Koloa, Kauai, in a response to an earlier story about the troubled trimaran. After sailing with Hogan last summer with a group called Veterans for Wooden Boats, we decided to see if we could do more than just recount how many times the boat has moved back and forth. We make no presumptions about Pennington. He has obviously upset the tight-knit community at Aquatic Park. He hasn’t been a good neighbor or a good sailor. But with all of that said, we’d still like to see the situation resolved.
Many of our readers have also asked why there’s been such a fuss over a single boat while dozens of ‘renegade’ vessels have been anchored in Richardson Bay for years. To get technical, National Park land is subject to more stringent (and complicated) rules than other jurisdictions concerning "long term habitability." But still, the point is completely valid, well taken, and something that we’ll be discussing over the next few months.
Bryan Pennington was arrested on Saturday after his trimaran seems to have broken loose from its mooring — again — and had "apparently been adrift all day and scraping against other boats and the Hyde Street Pier," the San Francisco Chronicle reported. This was the second time his boat had gone adrift this month. As we reported on April 6, the trimaran’s "anchor rode appear[ed] to have parted from the anchor," sending the boat drifting into the historic ships. The Chronicle said that police boarded and took control of the vessel. "Pennington allegedly became combative and was removed from his boat and cited on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest."
Reader Waz Hewerdine was at Aquatic Park on Saturday, and spotted Pennington’s trimaran in the Cove before a visit to the Maritime Museum. On his way out, "the tri was noticeably in the swim lanes, and looked like it was moored on one of the park’s mooring buoys and not at anchor. Park police and rangers started to show up on shore, as well as a police boat.
"After a bit of circling, it looked like the police boat came alongside the tri, kept it in place, and then eventually moved it out of the swim lanes. A smaller ranger boat dropped off some additional officers onto the police boat. At some point they freed it from the mooring buoy and moved it past the Hyde Street Pier and docked it in the fishing boat marina at an end tie."
A shocking bit of news came out of western Europe over the weekend as current Vendée Globe champion and Banque Populaire skipper Armel le Cléac’h and a shorthanded crew capsized the brand-new Banque Populaire IX maxi-trimaran west of Morocco and the Strait of Gilbraltar while on a delivery from the team’s base in Lorient, France, to Nice for the boat’s first major regatta. With Armel sailing the boat essentially singlehanded on a port tack, though accompanied by boat captain Pierre-Emmanuel Hérissé and an on-board cameraman, the boat capsized onto its starboard side when it was hit by an unexpected gust of wind at around 3 a.m. Wind conditions had been about 18-20 knots at the time, relatively steady, and the 100-ft trimaran was romping along with the small jib and one reef in the main. Le Cléac’h had been in between maneuvers and had just lain down in his bunk when he felt the port ama rise rapidly. He made an attempt to help de-power the boat remotely, but to no avail.
The three crewmembers onboard were all airlifted to safety by a Moroccan Army helicopter and turned over to the French consulate in Casablanca. The boat, meanwhile, was reportedly still mostly intact with all its hulls and crossbeams in place, though the mast broke into several pieces. A technical team with three members from Banque Populaire and two rescue divers arrived back at the boat on Monday to prepare the boat for towing. Conditions at the scene were said to have been pretty manageable, but weather was coming, so time was of the essence. The divers salvaged some parts and cut away other parts before towing could commence. The tow was slow to avoid further damage; it took 48 hours to cover 130 miles.
Ronan Lucas, director of the Banque Populaire team, said they would "make an initial assessment of the damage; it is found that many parts of the central hull deck around the mast foot are damaged, as well as the deck of the floats and the arm fairings; some of the caps were washed away."
The incident is a major setback for both Team Banque Populaire and for the new Collectif Ultim group that is promoting the racing of such monstrous boats. This new ‘league’ of mostly solo maxi-trimaran racing is just getting underway with their first big regatta in a week’s time as they prepare for the Route du Rhum later this fall and a round-the-world race to begin next year.
You can watch a video of BPIX’s first sail here. The brand-new boat reportedly cost between $15 and $20 million euros to construct.
Even as we post this, many hands are making light work of heavy lifting, setting up for the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show in Richmond, opening tomorrow at 10 a.m. Among the exhibitors prepping their booths in the Craneway Pavilion are Latitude 38 crew; you’ll find us Thursday through Sunday in booth C-1.
Of course we’ll have logowear to sell (including new toasty-warm hoodies and long-sleeve shirts in the colors of local sports teams), and we’ll have prize drawings, but we’re also trying something new in our booth this year. We’ll host informal chats on various maritime topics. We call it ‘Meet the Experts’. So that you can plan your visit, here’s the schedule of guests in our booth:
Thursday, April 19
- 1-2 p.m.: Dick Markie, Paradise Village Marina, Mexico
- 2:15-3 p.m.: Capt. Tanja Koster, Women on Board
- 3-4 p.m.: Lia Ditton, professional sailor turned record-seeking ocean rower
- 4-5 p.m.: Jim DeWitt, sailing artist
Friday, April 20
- 12-1 p.m.: Rafa Alcantara, Marina Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
- 1-2 p.m.: Pat McIntosh, Cruising Baja, the Sea of Cortez and Mexico’s Gold Coast
- 2-3 p.m.: Fito Espinoza, Visiting Mexico by private boat
- 3-4 p.m.: Jimmy Cornell, author, Voyaging Antarctica, the Northwest Passage, the Pacific Northwest and the South Pacific; the effects of climate change on passage planning
- 4-5 p.m.: Christine Weaver, the Delta Doo Dah and Delta sailing
- 5-6 p.m.: Jim DeWitt, sailing artist
Saturday, April 21
- 1-2 p.m.: Sarah & Will Curry, Cruising the Coast, Mexico and the South Pacific; self-steering windvanes and emergency rudders
- 2-3 p.m.: Richard Spindler, the 25th Baja Ha-Ha
- 3-4 p.m.: Bruce Balan, Cruising beyond the Milk Run
- 4-5 p.m.: Richard Spindler, the 25th Baja Ha-Ha
Sunday, April 22
- 1-3 p.m.: Richard Spindler, the 25th Baja Ha-Ha
- 3-4 p.m.: Carol Klammer, Women’s Sailing Seminar, Island Yacht Club
Many (though not all) of the above ‘experts’ will also be presenting free seminars during the boat show.
Latitude 38 is also organizing a scavenger hunt, to be held on Thursday and Friday at the show. Participants will be provided with a list of exhibitors’ booths to visit, collecting a letter from each. The objective will be to spell out LATITUDE. Once all the letters are collected they will be returned to our booth to be entered into a daily drawing. Each participant who completes the hunt will get a prize. The grand prize, donated by Passage Nautical, is a Lagoon catamaran charter experience for two out of Point Richmond, with a value of $330.
Save $2 on boat show admission when you buy advance tickets online using the discount code LATITUPBS18.