Each October, as Halloween approaches, the Great Pumpkin visits San Francisco Bay. This is not Linus van Pelt’s Great Pumpkin, rather it is Richmond Yacht Club’s Great Pumpkin Regatta. The festivities began with a pumpkin carving party and pasta feed for kids on Friday evening and continued with three buoy races on three courses in the Southampton and Berkeley Circle racing areas. A Saturday-night costume contest with a Dia de los Muertos theme followed.
Sunday’s events included a pursuit race around Angel Island and Alcatraz (skippers’ choice of direction), pumpkin hunting on the racecourse, and a nautical trivia quiz (see Monday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude for the trivia questions, and check back on Friday for the answers).
We’ll have a race report and more photos in the December issue of Latitude 38, to be published on November 30.
Because Latitude 38’s office is in a ‘Halloween neighborhood’, we’ll be closing early, at 4 p.m., this afternoon, to allow our crew to escape before the ghouls and goblins invade the streets. Happy Halloween!
After decades of passionate debate, the fate of Marin County’s most contentious piece of water seems poised to change, at least in Sausalito waters.
On Monday, the Sausalito Police Department handed out and posted flyers on all vessels anchored in Richardson Bay. “The Sausalito Police Department may remove or cause to be removed any vessel which has been left in city waters or beached for seventy two (72) or more consecutive hours,” the notice reads. These flyers represent the early stages of a four-phase plan conceived by the City of Sausalito when it withdrew from the Richardson Bay Regional Agency (RBRA) last year. For the moment, SPD said it’s focusing on unoccupied vessels that are considered marine debris or are being used for storage (otherwise known as phases one and two of the plan).
But all vessels in Sausalito waters, occupied or not, received the flyer. “The 72-hour notice has nothing to do with the condition of the boat,” said SPD Lieutenant Bill Fraass by phone this morning. “The vessel could be in seaworthy condition, but it is subject to being towed.” Fraass said there was some confusion among the anchor-outs when the flyers were handed out. “There’s been a lot of conversation, and we’ve had a lot of citizen correspondence via email. But we want people to know that there are several different categories of things that we’re looking at.”
Fraass said that when Sausalito was getting ready to withdraw from the RBRA, the city added the 72-hour rule to its municipal code. As we reported in September, there have long been laws on the books restricting vessels anchoring in the waters in Richardson Bay — which lies at the intersection of Sausalito, Mill Valley, Belvedere and Tiburon — to a three-day stay. But the status quo has long been to tolerate anchor-outs. The 72-hour rule has effectively never been enforced.
Phase three of Sausalito’s plan involves removing vessels occupied by persons who are a danger to themselves or others, or people without much experience who occupy unseaworthy boats. Phase four is centered around how to address the longterm, experienced anchor-out community that’s deemed safe and seaworthy.
“At a certain point, were going to look at the occupied vessels,” Fraass said. “We just want people to be aware of what’s happening. We’ve given numerous presentations on the subject, and we’re going to continue to be open and transparent as we move forward, and give the community an opportunity for feedback.”
“We’re trying to do this for the betterment and safety of the waterfront.”
Max Perez of the Pearson 303 Olive filed this report on his solo Delta Doo Dah cruise this summer:
I had far too brief a trip to the western part of the Delta this year in late June.
I made 48 miles under sail from Emeryville to Pittsburg Municipal Marina in nine hours, thanks to catching the flood tide at dawn and getting a favorable WSW wind. I had enough wind and current in my favor to take a slight detour in Suisun Bay to check out what little is left of the Ghost Fleet. Even keeping a 500-ft distance earned me a security escort, who tracked me on a parallel course as I passed. Good charts and a keen lookout will save a lot of trouble routing through Suisun Bay, over Ryer Island and under Honker Bay.
Pittsburg Marina was great, with clean and warm bathrooms, and within walking distance of a variety of nice restaurants and cafés in town. The prices for the slip and fuel were very reasonable.
The next morning I realized I would have to cut the trip short. While I had planned to head farther east, I would have to make new plans to head west toward home. The wind and current were against me at this point, and I was getting beaten up while making little headway. In an effort to just get out of the wind and think about the best course of action to take, I looped through Middle Slough, where the wind was howling, and then stumbled into Spoonbill Creek. This was not the weeklong frolic to Mandeville Point I had hoped for, but suddenly I looked around and was pretty happy. Spoonbill is not a destination, but it was quiet, and there was a lot of bird and fish activity. After a bit of kayaking around, I decided it would do for the night.
I initially tried to anchor to the bottom, but my anchor kept getting fouled in loose roots, making me worried about both drifting and getting my anchor snagged. Somewhere in the Delta Doo Dah website it mentioned that the locals just toss fore and aft anchors onto the tules, which worked well for me. I raised a little mainsail to keep from bumping into the reeds, and slept securely.
On my return I stayed at Benicia Marina, where the Benicia Yacht Club welcomed me with hospitality and good food. Wandering the town was very entertaining. I caught the ebb through Carquinez Strait almost all the way to the Richmond Bridge, where I was able to sail to Angel Island for a dramatic orange-tinted sunset due to the fires up north.
It was not really much of a proper Delta cruise, but next year will definitely receive a longer schedule and a more thorough exploration — I hope.
Lessons learned include spending less time in marinas now that I know some more techniques to anchor in the cuts and sloughs, and a renewed respect for timing the winds and tides to one’s advantage.
Cruising sailors know that if you stay close to the water, you’ll regularly cross tacks in harbors anywhere in the world. So it was no surprise when we were standing at the Latitude 38 table at the Baja Ha-Ha kick-off party in San Diego that a woman came up and found her cover shot on our new backdrop. SeaJ Jones is pictured there on our July 2016 cover sailing aboard Dennis and John Peltso’s Chappelle gaff schooner Bluenose in that year’s Master Mariners Regatta.
SeaJ is sailing south on the Ha-Ha aboard Thomas Elliott’s 41-ft Beneteau Sol Searcher as another ocean explorer and committed ‘Kick Plastics’ campaigner for the oceans. SeaJ lives aboard her Catalina 27 in Channel Islands Harbor and is planning to head to Australia with the hopes of finding a ride in the Sydney Hobart.
We’ll have a story in the December issue about cruising the Ha-Ha with folks who are enjoying a sunny but perhaps slow sail south toward Turtle Bay in the currently light-air Baja Ha-Ha.