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November 14, 2018

The Coast Guard, On and Off the Water

The US Coast Guard motto is Semper Paratus — Always Ready. Time and again, we’ve seen that that’s true when it comes to rescuing mariners in distress at sea. But, right now, some mariners and their yacht brokers feel in ‘distress’ because the USCG is not ready with the latest vessel documentation system upgrade. We spoke to Dinah Goodsell at Cruising Yachts, who’s in the midst of several boat sales that are held up because of the inability to get clear title on federally documented boats. Dinah forwarded a note from David Hayward of New England Marine Documentation showing the full notice from the Coast Guard.

Due to issues with a system upgrade the week of October 29, 2018, application processing for Abstracts of Title, Renewals, Priority Requests, Deletions, Certificates of Ownership and Commercial work will be delayed approximately three weeks from the time of submission. We recognize the impact of this delay, and are working diligently to return to normal processing times.


Updates regarding processing time will be posted as they become available. We apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause.

Thanks to Senator Robert Byrd, the USCG Vessel Documentation Center is located in landlocked West Virginia!
© 2018 USCG

Hayward went on to say, “It’s pretty frustrating as we’re very busy with a good number of transactions but, overall, the system has improved tremendously over the last 20 years. As we all know there’s often problems with system upgrades. We do hope they’re putting on extra staff as this affects boat sales across the country. When the system is working right it takes just a couple of days, so three weeks is a long wait.”

If you’re in the midst of a transaction, be patient. The Coast Guard is doing what they can to catch up, and brokers can’t do much more than ‘take a number’.

Coast Guard Rescues Kitesurfer in Bay Area

On the water, the Coast Guard continues to live up to its motto. Yesterday on San Pablo Bay, the Coasties rescued a stranded kitesurfer on San Pablo Bay.

A bystander called 911 after watching a kiter off Pinole Shores Park struggling for several hours to make it back to shore. The Coast Guard dispatched a Dolphin helicopter, as well as a 45-ft boat, which — like so many other rescues on San Pablo Bay — couldn’t reach their target because the water was far too shallow.

If you’ve ever read about a Coast Guard rescue, then you’ve probably seen a photo like this, which was shot yesterday over San Pablo Bay.
© 2018 US Coast Guard

“The helicopter crew lowered the rescue swimmer to assist the kitesurfer, then hoisted them both back into the helicopter,” a Coast Guard press release said. “The rescue crew then transferred the kitesurfer to shore. There were no injuries reported.”

Randall Reeves Hits Latitude 38 South, Again

Readers, we just received this email from Joanna Bloor, Randall Reeves’ wife.

Hello, and greetings to all at latitude 38 north from Randall, Mo and Monte of the Figure 8 Voyage 2.0 at latitude 38 south. Mo and I crossed that line this morning at 9 a.m. (ship’s clock is still set to San Francisco time) on a course of southeast for Cape Horn, roughly 2,200 miles further on.

Day 41. Top that, Noah!

The board reads: “Your sister latitude sends greetings and do you have any sour dough starter you could share?”
© 2018 Randall Reeves

It’s been a mixed bag of a passage so far. The first week out of San Francisco was fast, over 1,000 miles in seven days. But especially since getting below the southeast trades, winds have been hit and miss. Mo and I were a full two days faster than the same day on last year’s attempt . . . until yesterday, when the Figure 8 Voyage 1.0 passed us up with lovely northwest winds and running wing and wing.

Currently, Figure 8 Voyage 2.0 is on a beat with light winds from the southeast. On a beat, again!

All is well aboard and we’re finishing up final preparations for what looks to be very strong westerlies starting a week from now and continuing all the way to the Horn. Hatches have been waterproofed; dorade vents are closed; electronics are in water-tight boxes; the drogue is flaked and ready.

Here was Reeves on December 7 of last year with more beard and less clothing.
© 2018 Randall Reeves

It’s cooling quickly now. A week ago I was sleeping without cover, not even a sheet, but now I bundle under a sleeping bag at night and look for boots and a light jacket when I wake. Water temperature has gone from 83 degrees at the equator to 57 degrees as of this morning, and now rain is cold and I’m in foulies when on deck.

The message was cut off there, but, as our readers likely know, you can read more from Randall Reeves at

YRA Awards Party This Sunday

“It’s time for prize-giving for skippers and crew who sailed their boats well in a fairly windy year. The year started out with a bang — 33 knots of breeze with gusts into the high 30s for the first YRA Summer Series race,” reports Laura Muñoz, executive director of the Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay. “The second Summer Series race was almost as breezy, and so the summer went for many of the races both offshore and on the Bay.”

Summer racing on San Francisco Bay is not for the faint of heart, as this Express 37 demonstrates during the Westpoint Regatta on June 30.
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

“The YRA would like to honor the skippers and crew who sailed their boats well, from the beautiful woodies to the new boats sailing their first races this year. Join us for an afternoon of award presentations for the committed and skilled set of skippers and crew who sailed their boats through the summer and did well in their divisions.”

Drake's Bay Race start
Not all YRA races this year were windy. This is the start of the foggy, light-air Drake’s Bay Race on August 18.
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

In recent years, this celebration was held on a Tuesday night. To avoid rush hour traffic and the lead-up to Thanksgiving, the YRA decided to try a Sunday afternoon instead. “The awards ceremony will be held at Berkeley Yacht Club on November 18, at 1-3 p.m. RSVP here:”

Latitude 38 publisher John Arndt will serve as master of ceremonies. Racing editor Christine Weaver will bring her trusty camera.

Solo Transatlantic Race
The 11th edition of the Route du Rhum solo transatlantic race has been a barn-burner since the get-go, with just two boats in contention to finish first since the early stages.
The World Famous L 38
Latitude Nation, here’s your November Caption Contest(!). This is our first-ever photo from the Facebook Yacht Club, so we cannot attribute this shot to any one person — but thanks to reader Jere Visalli for sending it in.
One More From the Road
Readers — after having light wind and an even lighter Internet connection, the Grand Poobah has sent this 25th Anniversary Baja Ha-Ha postgame analysis: A quarter century of Baja Ha-Ha’s — the 750-mile cruisers’ rally between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas with R&R stops at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria — is now part of sailing history.