After just over 50 days at sea following his late-September departure from San Francisco, Randall Reeves finally reached Cape Horn sometime yesterday after a few days of gale-force conditions.
Yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised to see Reeves’ tracker bobbing directly in front of sailing’s most famous waypoint. The news (and the photo you see above) came late last night on his blog, with the promise that the full recounting of the rounding is soon to come. (Today, Reeves is just past Isla de los Estados, or Staten Island.)
In the days immediately after Thanksgiving, Reeves has been working his way through multiple low-pressure systems — his first taste of the Southern Ocean conditions that will mark the next few months of his Figure 8 Voyage.
“Each morning the forecast calls for diminishing winds and each morning the sea spurns such a futile thing as a forecast,” Reeves wrote on a previous blog titled Day Four of the Blow. “There is a sense of chaos here now. The sea has stood up. It is steep as a wall. The break rolls forward, mushrooming out in one giant overfall, spilling beyond and down the wave before rolling back and creating a vast whitewater rapids on the backside. And there is both a SW and NW component to the sea, this though the wind has been but a few degrees of west for the entirety of the blow.”
We say that Reeves “finally” reached the Horn because in December 2017, during the Figure 8 1.0, Reeves suffered the loss of his self steering and autopilot, and was forced to put into the Beagle Channel and make his way to Ushuaia, Argentina, for repairs. The pit stop meant that Reeves went inland of the Horn, missing it completely. “The Figure 8 has but one goal: to get around the route and return home safely in one year,” wrote Reeves last year (which we also quoted in February 2018’s Sightings). “But I had personal goals nested inside the bigger endeavor, like going non-stop from San Francisco to Greenland, like rounding the Horn twice in a year. Both now gone. Then there’s the disappointment of having prepared so intensely only to be stopped two days from the first big achievement, the Horn, by failures no-one would have suspected. When particularly morose, I think to myself that I planned like Amundsen but was dealt a Shackleton.”
We’ll bring you the full story of Reeves’ rounding next week. And don’t forget that another Latitude favorite and circumnavigating hopeful is also closing in on the Horn. After leaving Victoria, BC, in early October, Jeanne Socrates wrote us on Tuesday, saying, “I’m on Day 53 now — and only 2,000 miles off Cape Horn.”
“When I was young, I dreamed of taking off on a sailboat, exploring the oceans, and claiming deserted islands for myself.” Those are the words of artist/sailor/mariner Martin Machado. Learn where his dreams led him within the pages of December’s Latitude 38.
Also featured in the December issue are tales of the silver-anniversary Baja Ha-Ha, profiles of season champions, and stories of cruising Catalina Island. Sightings includes updates on the Matthew Turner tall ship and Treasure Island Sailing Center, reviews of sailing books just in time for holiday gift shopping, 72-hour notices served on Richardson Bay anchor-outs, Whitall Stokes’ plans to set a circumnavigation record, innovations in the Pacific Puddle Jump, a visit to a field of dreams, and a gentle reminder to hit the donate button.
Racing Sheet reports on the Great Pumpkin Regatta, the J/24 District Championships, the Mercury Homecoming Regatta, the Berkeley Midwinters, the Jill & Jack + 1, the Amazing Grace Cheney Cup, Women on Water/Women at the Helm, and more. Max Ebb kills time in the tropics — which somehow relates to gifts for sailors. World of Chartering tests your travel trivia prowess. Changes in Latitudes includes reports from Pono, Campañera, Pamela and many more boats out cruising. Mentioned last, but certainly not least in importance, are Classy Classifieds and useful display advertising.
I was fortunate enough to go along with friends on the silver-anniversary Baja Ha-Ha aboard Phil Jonckeers’ Beneteau 45 Bow Tied. We had to play catch-up after a brief haulout for technical problems, but rejoined the fleet as they were departing Turtle Bay. The rest of the trip was glitch-free and fantastic. Our crewmates Will and Dan were super fishermen and chefs. They would haul in tuna, wahoo and marlin, throw some back and cook some up. It was a sushi fest. But this is only a small snippet of what it’s like to sail down the magnificent Baja Coast.
What can I say? You can read all about it in the new issue. The Baja Ha-Ha is one of the great adventures of a lifetime, and you have to do it to get it. What Richard Spindler started and continues to inspire is truly fantastic. Go.
Here’s what the Baja Ha- Ha isn’t. It’s not a big party. It’s not alcohol and guacamole. It’s not a pirate festival. It’s not goofiness. It’s not a social club. It’s the experience of a lifetime. It’s whatever you want your boat and your adventure to be. Our skipper wanted it to be the best bonding experience he could have with his son. By all accounts it was.
As Len Bose says in his blog, “This Poobah dude has done as much for our sport, of boating, as Hobie Alter or Roger MacGregor.” Hats off to the Poobah, Team Bow Tied and all the fellow Ha-Ha-ers we met along the way.
As the San Francisco Bay shoreline continues to be developed with high-rent waterfront properties, access to sailing is feeling the pressure. The once-popular San Leandro Marina has fallen on hard times because of silting. As dredging has become increasingly expensive, the marina will not have any maintenance done and is scheduled to close in the next year or two, while new, shoreside developers add more condos and hotels as part of the San Leandro Shoreline Development. We spoke to harbormaster Delmarie Snodgrass, who let us know the marina is down to just a few sailboats, which, if they don’t leave soon, will be permanently stuck inside the marina as the channel silts in.
We remember when San Leandro was a thriving marina doing a healthy business with then- harbormaster Jim Haussener. The San Leandro Marine Center featured a large Travellift, ship’s store, and marine woodworking shop as part of its status as a full-service South Bay boatyard. The soon-to-be-condo-covered golf course was also a destination for golfer/boaters who would pull in for a round.
The PICYA commodore put us in touch with the San Leandro Yacht Club commodore Norm Pennington, who gave us an update. “The project as we know it consists of two separate projects: one to dismantle the marina, and the second to develop the shoreline, including the removal of two yacht clubs, the removal of a restaurant, parts of a golf course and a branch library, the relocation of an existing launch ramp, construction of a hotel and parking structure and an apartment building. Other changes will be the reconfiguration of surface streets to facilitate traffic in and out of the redeveloped area.”
It’s disappointing for the residents of San Leandro and the South Bay to have diminished access to the Bay, for the youth sailing to lose the once-active Spinnaker Sailing YC junior program, and for the PICYA to lose two member yacht clubs. These developments are an ominous sign of the times. Apparently, the past deep-draft marina will become more of a mud puddle, but there are plans to host kayaks and SUPs.
We understand and sympathize with the need for more housing in the Bay Area, and can see why housing developers want to showcase the beauty, lifestyle and added value sailboats bring to the waterfront. Nearly every artist’s rendering of a waterfront development finds it irresistible to include sailboats to enhance the view and create a desirable impression of the life you’ll live on the edge of San Francisco Bay. But few developer plans actually include the facilities and services for the sailboats. It frightens us that the sailboat is being relegated to an aesthetic backdrop. Perhaps developers will come up with a sailboat simulator ride to enjoy in the shoreside park? Or a sailing app to play with on the park bench?
To us, there would be nothing better for everyone in the Bay Area than to feel the salt spray in their face as they leave the dense, manicured shoreline and hoist their sails. Ultimately, the real challenge may be a shortage of time. Ironically, one of the falsely assumed premises of Silicon Valley’s efficiency and productivity tools was that they’d create time to allow us all to do more of what we want to do. To us that means sailing. Sadly, the reverse seems true. With so many options for recreation — and so many apps and devices augmenting every aspect of our lives — the lack of time means people can’t get down to the shore on the weekend, leaving municipalities less able to fund the soaring costs of dredging.
While we lament the loss of this access point, we’re amazed by other facilities and programs that continue to thrive. Westpoint Harbor in the South Bay gets hundreds of sailors on the water. Brooklyn Basin on the Oakland Estuary is adding new slips. The US Sailing FAST program and TISC are active on Treasure Island, and Alameda Community Sailing continues to add to the myriad choices still ringing the Bay.
But we think that any developer who wants to include sailboats in their wonderful drawings of the proposed waterfront lifestyle should be required to include facilities to fulfill the lifestyle promise. Really, if you’re a municipality with the good fortune to have Bay shoreline, why wouldn’t you want to open up access to your citizens and get them out on the water?
As always, we’d like to know what you think. You can email us here, or comment on the story below. Please be sure to include your boat name, make and port of call, or just tell us where you’re from.