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May 7, 2018

See Ron Holland in S.F. or Sausalito

An event coming up this week escaped inclusion our May Calendar, but we hope this mention will get to you in time to attend a special event at Spaulding Marine Center in Sausalito this Thursday, May 10, 7-9 p.m. That’s when naval architect Ron Holland will be on hand to promote his new book, All the Oceans – Designing by the Seat of My Pants.

You’ll have two chances to see yacht designer Ron Holland this week.


Holland is a bona fide legend in the sailing world — one of the most prolific and influential naval architects ever to put pen to paper. He grew up in New Zealand, showed a flair for design early on, and drew the lines of his first boat at age 18. In 1968, he came to the Bay Area and apprenticed with Gary Mull. In 1973, he sailed the self-designed 24-ft Eygthene to a win of the Quarter Tonner Cup. In 1974, at age 27, he hung out his shingle as an independent designer based in Ireland.

In the next 40 years (and counting), the stream of racing boats that emerged from the offices of Ron Holland Design carried its own brand of shock and awe. To name just a few: Golden Apple; Regardless; Morning Cloud; the 40-ft Imp, which won pretty much everything in 1977; the 1983 Transpac winner Charley; and the splendid 80-ft maxi Condor.

The 40-ft IOR Imp, homeport San Francisco, was launched in 1977. She and her crew survived 1979’s notorious Fastnet Race, which was deadly to sailors and yachts alike.

© 2018

He also drew the lines of many cruising-oriented yachts, including several boats in the Swan line. In more recent years, Ron has turned some of his attention to superyacht design, and currently holds the record for the largest single-masted yacht currently sailing, the 247-ft Mirabella V, launched in 2003. This boat is so big her 290-ft rig would not fit under the Golden Gate Bridge.

The sloop Mirabella V, which Wikipedia says is the largest single-masted yacht ever built, is pictured here at rest in the Cyclades in 2008.

© 2018

Holland’s appearance is being organized by Mary Crowley’s Ocean Voyages Institute. Following Ron’s introduction of the book, he and Mary will discuss a subject near and dear to both their hearts: marine ecology and the importance of cleaning up the oceans. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of All the Oceans will be donated to Project Kaisei Ocean Cleanup, an initiative of Ocean Voyages Institute dedicated to the cleanup of plastics and other trash in the world’s oceans.

In addition to his appearance at Spaulding, Holland will address this Wednesday’s Yachting Luncheon at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. Members of all yacht clubs are welcome to attend. Buffet lunch starts at 11:45 a.m., with the program beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Weekend Report: The Deep Clean

There’s so much crap on my boat that taking it all out, piling it on deck, then shoving it below again reminds me of a posse of clowns getting out of a VW Bug at the circus. Such is life when you finally get around to the deep clean you’ve been meaning to do but have been putting off.

You may or may not be able to see a boat between the docks and underneath all that stuff . . . 

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It’s also amazing to see what you’ve accumulated (or in my case, inherited). My Columbia 24 Esprit has a full cover, an old main, an aluminum gimbaled stove, a few generations of stiff, crusty life jackets and floating cushions, several boxes full of screws, nuts and bolts, an ancient, decaying flare kit, an ancient, decayed first aid kit, etc., etc. One interesting find was orange foul-weather jackets lined with flotation. In keeping with the retro, old-school and ultra-budget vibe of Esprit, I had planned to proudly wear said gear when the spray finally started coming over the bow. But trying it on, the jacket was rigid and awkward, and I suspected that its flotation properties had withered long ago. It felt like wearing a straitjacket full of thin bricks.

It actually doesn’t look as awkward as it felt.

© 2018 Nathaniel Beilby

There’s been good reason for putting off this full-afternoon, pull-everything-out-of-the-boat clean: I haven’t had time. When I do get a day off, I want to go sailing; I certainly don’t want to go sailboat cleaning. The latter feels like an onerous chore for a category of boat ownership that I have previously felt unqualified for (like a step in a relationship I’ve been scared to commit to). The boat has been perfectly sail-ready, even if there’s a ton of superfluous gear sloshing about.

A montage of crap. I had to go up the mast to replace a lower shroud that I broke way back in December.

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The real impetus for the clean is my giddy excitement to go Bay cruising this summer. A night at Aquatic Park has become for me what Baja is for serious cruisers with bluewater boats. Now ready for the season, I was motivated to get the boat shipshape. We often discuss with our readership what to do in the case of a crew overboard or general emergency, and while most situations will be unique and require spontaneous ingenuity, knowing exactly where all your gear is and having it neatly stowed and accessible is surely a fundamental piece of preparation for when the fecal matter hits the oscillating rotary device.

Don’t worry, reader: It wasn’t all work. The day before the deep clean (on April 29), we went for an all-day cruise. After we’d been anchored at China Camp for most of a cold, gray and slightly dreary day, the sun broke through with a vengeance and the breeze was a steady 15 knots.

© 2018 Nathaniel Beilby

And not unlike doing laundry, cleaning the car, or organizing the office, the deep clean gave me a profound sense of satisfaction. I felt (and feel) mentally and physically prepared and ready for action. Bring. On. The. Summer! 

Have you deep cleaned lately? Let us know.

Opening Bay

There’s often a lot of bluster about growing sailing, so it’s a welcome sight to see a new community program join the Bay Area’s collection of dedicated sailing programs. Kame Richards and an able and qualified crew of volunteers have patiently brought to life an impressive community program adjacent to Alameda Point (the old naval air station). At the end of a narrow access road between Encinal High School and Alameda Point lies a launch ramp, parking and a scrap of land that’s been transformed, by the arrival of the Alameda Community Sailing Center, into a very active sailing venue. 

The Alameda Community Sailing Center volunteers welcomed everyone with a smile — and free food, free lifejackets, free sailing and, best of all, a great afternoon on the Bay.

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Beyond bluster, Sunday’s blustery afternoon was also the time for a well-orchestrated open house at ACSC offering visitors and prospective sailing camp participants a chance to try out sailing, enjoy a buffet lunch, and check out the venue.

With San Francisco as a backdrop and a beach in the foreground many discovered another hidden gem in Bay Area sailing options.

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The center went from an idea to an ‘overnight success’ in just five years. The upcoming season is the sixth of putting new sailors on the water. This summer’s camp is currently sold out and looking for instructors.

Rich Jepsen and Kame Richards were among the ‘executive’ volunteers who’ve spent nights planning and days on the beach organizing volunteers, safety boats and numerous other details necessary for a successful open house. 

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Is it part of a sailing renaissance? Hard to know, but many Bay Area sailing schools and community programs are finding more and more people interested in sailing. There’s often a lack of instructors with the instructor training certifications necessary, which includes being certified to drive instructor powerboats, so the current shortage isn’t boats or students but personnel. We spent three college summers teaching sailing, so we know it’s a great way to spend a summer.

The fleet has grown! They have boats, and they have students. Like many Bay Area schools, what they need are instructors!

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Alameda Community Sailing Center is one more of many great Bay Area community programs making sailing accessible to more people.

Over the past 24 hours the 11-boat fleet of Clipper Round the World racers has been slowly making its way south outside the Golden Gate in the 4,100-mile leg from Seattle to Panama.
The IC37 was designed purposely for the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, sailed in odd years in Newport, Rhode Island.
On a recent trip back East, San Francisco Bay Area racer and Latitude 38 advertiser Chris Boome, who is well versed at rounding marks in the Bay’s notoriously tricky currents, noticed one mark in strong currents that no one should ever attempt to round.