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