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December 7, 2018

Yachts Light Up the Night

Many festive boats are lighting up the night this month, some in their slips and others in parades. The Lighted Yacht Parade on the Oakland-Alameda Estuary was held on December 1.

Nouvelle Vie
Nouvelle Vie, a Hunter 49, won first place in Alameda’s Lighted Yacht Parade.
© 2018 Fred Fago
Gratitude, a Catalina 370, won second place last Saturday.
© 2018 Fred Fago
Eclipse, an Express 37 usually seen racing on San Francisco Bay, won third place.
© 2018 Fred Fago

Lighted boat parades coming up during the next two weekends include:

  • Dec. 8 — Winterfest Lighted Boat Parade & Fireworks, Sausalito, 6-9 p.m.
  • Dec. 8 — Lighted Boat Festival, Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay, 6 p.m.
  • Dec. 8 — Lighted Boat Parade, San Joaquin Yacht Club, Bethel Island. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at 5 p.m. Parade starts at 5:30.
  • Dec. 8 — DBYC Lighted Boat Parade, Discovery Bay. Theme: Twas the Night Before Christmas.
  • Dec. 14 — Lighted Boat Parade, San Francisco. Pier 39 / Fisherman’s Wharf / Fort Mason / GGYC / StFYC / Crissy Field.
  • Dec. 15 — Lighted Boat Parade, San Rafael Canal, 5:30 p.m. Pickleweed Park to Montecito Shopping Center and back. Marin YC, (415) 453-9366.
  • Dec. 15 — CPYC Lighted Boat Parade, Coyote Point, San Mateo, 5:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 15 — Sequoia YC Lighted Boat Parade, Redwood City.
  • Dec. 15 — Lighted Boat Parade, Oxbow Marina and Marina West YC, Georgiana Slough, Isleton. John, (916) 216-1626.
  • Any others?

Send your best lighted boat event photos to us at [email protected] by December 19; we’ll make a contest out of it and award Latitude 38 swag for our favorite image. The talent and skill of Fred Fago make it look easy, but — trust us — it’s not!

Lighted boats in slips
Sailboats just happen to be naturally shaped like Christmas trees.
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

BCDC Approves Westpoint Settlement

Yesterday, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission unanimously approved a settlement with Westpoint Harbor. The decision marks the end of decades of conflict between the two entities, and the likely end of what many — ourselves included — have called overzealous and unnecessary enforcement by the BCDC against Westpoint.

“The settlement is a victory for the environment, boaters and our community,” said San Francisco Bay Stewardship Alliance member Bob Wilson, adding that Westpoint now has a permit that rectifies all past uncertainties about the marina — of particular importance is the fact that Westpoint is now permitted to dredge their harbor. “Westpoint owner Mark Sanders will also donate $150,000 to two charities, including the Marine Science Institute (MSI) on Redwood Creek,” Wilson said in an email.

There was a hard-won victory yesterday at the BCDC offices (455 Golden Gate Ave., Suite 10600, San Francisco). And there’s another contentious case pending.
© 2018 Google Earth

(The MSI, which has provided hands-on environmental education for over 50,000 local children and adults, testified yesterday at the BCDC hearing on an issue unrelated to Westpoint. MSI has been trying to get the BCDC to issue a permit to re-nourish oyster shells on its beach, which the BCDC refused, according to Wilson. We will have more on this case in an upcoming ‘Lectronic.)

The battle over Westpoint Harbor has given birth to a number of advocacy groups, including the aforementioned SF Bay Stewardship Alliance. “We are dedicated to our environment and are working now to force reform of the BCDC. This includes helping the California State auditors who are now investigating the BCDC because of pressure from the community.”

In Completely Related and Incredibly Ironic News . . .

On Wednesday, Westpoint Harbor received the “Large Marina of the Year” award at the annual The Docks Expo in Nashville, Tennessee, in an event that was sponsored by Marina Dock Age, a magazine dedicated to marina and boatyard management.

“It is a great honor to be recognized like this,” Sanders was quoted as saying in a press release. “We have worked hard to create a facility that takes care of boaters, the environment, and which offers everyone an opportunity to enjoy the water.”

Anna Townsend, left, the editor-in-chief at Marina Dock Age, poses with Westpoint owner Mark Sanders.
© 2018 Westpoint Harbor

Marina Dock Age “set the bar very high,” a Westpoint press release said. “They [look] for harbors that excel in terms of their business practices that support customers, the harbor’s custodianship of the environment, and harbors that promote the boating industry.”

If you’re wondering why a facility that just beat out national competition to be recognized as the best large marina of the year has had a decade-long conflict with a regulatory agency tasked with providing access to the Bay . . . so are we.

Susie Goodall Rescued

The crew of the Hong Kong-registered cargo ship MV Tian Fu successfully rescued solo sailor Susie Goodall 2,000 miles west of Cape Horn this morning.

Susie Goodall rides a hook to safety, transferring from her badly damaged DHL Starlight to the Tian Fu.
© 2018 Tian Fu / MRCC Chile

As we reported in Wednesday’s Lectronic Latitude, Goodall’s Rustler 36 had pitchpoled and dismasted in a Southern Ocean storm. The 29-year-old Brit was the only female competitor in the nonstop Golden Globe Race. Her position at the time of the rescue was 45º 10.711 S 121º 40.157 W.

Tian Fu
Tian Fu is a 627-ft cargo ship.
© 2018 Maxi Alonso

The ship is now bound for Modran, Argentina, and expected to reach port on December 22 or 23.

Drawn-Out Coast Guard Rescue off San Diego

Yesterday, the Coast Guard came to the assistance of three sailors on a 35-ft sailboat about 30 miles west of Oceanside, near San Diego.

This screen shot from a video taken by the Coast Guard shows a 35-ft sailboat in bumpy seas.
© 2018 United States Coast Guard

On Wednesday, the crew of the sailboat called the Coast Guard saying they were disabled by weather, according to a press release (which did not specify what was wrong with the boat). Among the three crew, two were seasick and one had a head injury. The Coast Guard cutter Halibut intercepted the sailboat on Wednesday night, and attempted to do an “at-sea passenger transfer,” but were hindered by the sea state and weather, and were unable to take the stricken passengers onboard the cutter. The Halibut stayed on scene through the night.

While we don’t know what was wrong with the boat, we do know this with certainly: The Coast Guard is always ready to come to the aid of sailors.

Early yesterday morning, the sailboat’s crew said the man with the head injury, who was 80 years old, was suffering from complications with diabetes; a 25-year-old man was also showing signs of dehydration. The Coast Guard sent a helicopter, and the two men were hoisted onboard and taken to a hospital in San Diego.

The remaining sailor — a 54-year-old man — stayed onboard the boat. The Halibut will reportedly tow the sailboat to Avalon Harbor.

Star Sailors League Finale

If sailing your own boat is not on your to-do list for a sunny but chilly winter’s day, you may want to tune in to the Star Sailors League Finals to experience some vicarious thrills. Today is Day 4 and the final day of qualification rounds. The professional racing on these classic — and formerly Olympic-class — boats in Nassau has been exciting to watch, and the coverage, including the graphics and play-by-play announcing, is of a caliber equivalent to the sailing itself. Check out the live stream or replay races at Tomorrow (Saturday, December 8) will be the final day of the Finals.

Cayard and Lopes
Paul Cayard and Arthur Lopes on Day 3 of racing at the SSL Finals.
© 2018 Gilles Morell / Star Sailors League

This is not recreational sailing. Twenty-five teams from 20 countries are competing for a $200,000 purse. After nine races, Brazilians Robert Scheidt and Henry Raul Boening were in the lead with Americans Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih in second. Bay Area star Paul Cayard, with Arthur Lopes crewing, lay in ninth place. But the leaderboard keeps shifting like wind on a lake.

Near the End?
Tomorrow, the BCDC commissioners will vote on a settlement with Westpoint Harbor, marking the possible conclusion of a years-long conflict between one of the Bay Area’s newest marinas and a government agency that many people feel has gone astray of its founding mission.