On Saturday morning in the Bay Area, things were quiet. Maybe too quiet. In just a few hours, there were round-ups and wipe-outs all over the Bay, as well as a few moments of glory.
The day started warm and glassy in Marin, and hot and stagnant in the South Bay as we left Redwood City to watch the Westpoint Regatta.
It was glassy all the way to Treasure Island when the breeze kicked in and built, built . . . and built into full-on nuclear conditions. Suddenly, you could hear the sound of sails tearing.
We’ll have a full roundup of the Westpoint Regatta in the August issue’s Racing Sheet. We’d like to say ‘well done’ to everyone who sailed on Saturday — racers and cruisers alike. Just another summer day in the Bay Area!
The Silver Anniversary Baja Ha-Ha looks as though it’s going to be a big one for multihulls.
Of the 113 paid entries as of June 28, 13 of them are multihulls. And the mothership Profligate is, of course, a multihull, too. If the entries to date are any indication, this 25th annual Ha-Ha will have the largest fleet of multihulls in the history of the event.
All but three of the multihulls are catamarans. Lagoon made most of them, as the entry list includes a Lagoon 380, Lagoon 400, Lagoon 410, Lagoon 42, Lagoon 440, and a Lagoon 450F. There are two Catana 43s, and two Mantas, a 40 and a later-model 42. Privilige is currently being represented by a single 39-footer. The three multihulls that aren’t catamarans are Farrier-designed trimarans: a 31, a 41, and a 44.
The Ha-Ha provides an unusual opportunity for owners of multihulls, catamarans in particular, to sail in company and learn from each other. And that’s a good thing, because when you move from a monohull to a multihull, it’s moving to a different animal, and sailing side by side with similar catamarans is the best schooling you can have.
If you’ve got a multihull — or a monohull — and like adventure, you might think about signing up for the 25th annual Baja Ha-Ha from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. It’s a 750-mile event, with R&R stops at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. The fun starts on Sunday, October 28.
Entries details can be found at www.baja-haha.com.
With the passing of Canada Day on July 1, the Vic-Maui International Yacht Race has officially gotten underway. As the skies cleared and summer arrived in the days before the race, a small but enthusiastic fleet of nine boats set sail from the picturesque Victoria Harbour and began tacking into a stiff westerly breeze. Sailing upwind through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the fleet has now passed Cape Flattery and made their hard turn to port and toward a Hawaiian arrival at the beautiful old whaling port of Lahaina, Maui.
At the head of the fleet is Bob Strong’s Morris 45 Firefly, which is scooting along nicely at around 9 knots in a stiff north-northwesterly breeze that is quickly propelling the fleet toward the tropics. On Firefly’s heels is John Murkowski’s J/122E Joyride, whose crew is almost certainly looking forward to reaching the trades and being able to take advantage of the quick J boat’s downwind surfing abilities. Clayton Craigie’s Point Richmond-based Beneteau First 40 Anjo is holding her own in a tight battle for third place as of this writing. Just behind Anjo, however, the race appears to have its first retirement as Travis McGregor’s Beneteau Oceanis 50 Turnagain has turned around and appears to be heading back toward Cape Flattery.
While the fleet has already cleared the Cape and hooked into solid northerly pressure, the run to Hawaii is looking anything but straightforward as a small low-pressure system is also making its way toward the coast and threatens to act as a roadblock for much of the fleet. Navigating this low pressure could prove to be one of the major navigational and tactical challenges of the race. With the potential for light winds and even headwinds before re-entering the traditional northerly breeze that will drive the fleet toward the trades, navigators are surely scratching their heads and preparing to hedge their bets before deciding where to enter this low-pressure system.
You can follow the race at www.vicmaui.org or on the Yellow Brick tracking app on your smartphone. Stay tuned to Latitude 38 for more updates on the Vic-Maui and this summer’s other three races to Hawaii.
Yesterday’s start of the Pacific Singlehanded Sailing Association’s new Transpacific race, the Shaka Challenge, was graced with a quintessential SoCal day. The morning started with a celebratory gathering at Cal Yacht Club to send the four intrepid sailors off on their grand adventure. Everyone left the dock around 10:30 a.m., and many boats gathered around the race committee boat to support our sailors as they crossed the start line at noon and headed out to sea.
Blue skies and a 12-knot breeze made for a pleasant start for all. We are following them closely as they make their way to Honolulu. You can see their tracks here.
Sailing in this inaugural edition are Bill Ziel, in Aloha, a J/33; Patrice Bonefoi in La Vigie, a Beneteau Oceanis 45; Matt Harwich in Pavlova, a Pacific Seacraft 31; and Larry Robertson, in Island Time, a Seawind 1000 catamaran.
If one of your favorite sailing ditties is "What do you do with a drunken sailor…" you should know the Coast Guard has an answer.
The Coast Guard wants everyone to know that USCG units throughout Northern California, alongside other law enforcement agencies, are scheduled to increase boating safety patrols Friday through Sunday in support of Operation Dry Water, a nationwide effort to increase enforcement of boating-under-the-influence laws.
Operation Dry Water aims to raise awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence in an effort to decrease the number of recreational boating accidents and deaths. Nationwide, 658 people died in boating and paddling accidents in 2017. Approximately 76% drowned, and more than 84% of those people were not wearing a life jacket. Alcohol use is the lead contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, accounting for 19% of all reported fatalities.
Penalties for ‘BUI’ (Boating Under the Influence) include large fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges, and jail terms. On the Fourth of July and the following weekend boaters can expect increased presence from the Coast Guard, as well as state and local law enforcement.
"We’re very fortunate in the San Francisco Bay Area to have such great recreational boating opportunities," said Captain Tony Ceraolo, the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco commander and Captain of the Port for San Francisco and Northern California. "We want people to get out on the water and enjoy themselves, but to do it safely. Much like drinking and driving, boating under the influence dramatically increases the risk that an outing could turn deadly."
California has the fourth-largest number of recreational boats in the country and has the third highest number of boating-related deaths according to the Coast Guard’s 2017 statistics.
Some more good reminders from the Coast Guard:
- Float Plan: Let someone know where and when you plan to get underway and when you plan to return.
- Check the weather prior to departing the dock. Weather can change very rapidly and you want to be prepared and boat within your limits.
- VHF-radio channel 16 is the best method to communicate a distress while on the water. Although cell phones are a good backup, they can be unreliable due to gaps in coverage area and limited battery life.
- Wear your life jacket. More than 84 percent of boaters who drown were not wearing life jackets. There will not be time during an emergency to locate and put on a life jacket, so wear it at all times.
Have a great 4th of July and summer of sailing but, of course, be safe.