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January 4, 2019

Sailing into 2019

Imagine a picture-perfect winter day sandwiched between high-wind advisories and a frost warning. Now realize that this perfect day just happens to fall on January 1. The result is a perfect excuse to get the boat out.

Sequestor, a 1948 32-ft Tahiti ketch, sails toward Treasure Island on New Year’s morning.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The Master Mariners Benevolent Association raced from Clipper Cove to Point San Pablo Yacht Club. A potluck, chili feed, ‘Tacky Trophy Exchange’ and more followed the race at the club located at the end of the Santa Fe Channel in Richmond.

The Pinky schooner Tiger was sailing ahead of Sequestor.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Cruisers from Treasure Island YC embarked on a 6.25-mile counterclockwise circumnavigation of TI and Yerba Buena. Clipper Cove was not to be left lonely, however. As the TI boats were exiting, another group of cruisers sailed in from Sausalito and Richmond — or dropped into the water from TI’s dry storage — for a raft-up to share food and good cheer.

Mistress II
Mistress II, a Farallon Clipper, was the second boat to arrive and drop anchor in Clipper Cove.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Friends visited between six sailboats and one powerboat: the Cal 40 Green Buffalo, the Santana 22 Byte Size, the Farallon Clipper Mistress II, the Black Soo Starbuck, the Cal 20 Green Dragon, the Wylie Wabbit Wasta and the 25-ft salmon fisher Ranger. Ranger and Mistress II were the first to arrive and both dropped anchor in about 20 feet of water before joining rails; everyone else rafted up to them. Byte Size had the youngest crew, a two-year-old boy and a two-month-old girl.

No chance of running out of food.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Green Dragon
The Cal 20 Green Dragon, kept on the hard at TI, went for a short sail to join the group.
© 2019 Bill Rus
Wylie Wabbit
The Wylie Wabbit Wasta had a much longer sail, from Richmond Yacht Club, and was the last boat to arrive.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Jules up the mast
Starbuck crew Julian Lennon climbed the stoutest rig, Green Buffalo’s, to take photos from aloft.
© 2019 Bill Rus
Aerial view of the raft-up.
The view from the Cal 40’s spreaders.
© 2019 Jules Lennon
With two little ones to take care of, Byte Size’s crew were the first to depart. Her skipper snapped this as they sailed away. They only had to go as far as the hoist on TI.
© 2019 Anna Alderkamp

Another island formed the nexus of the traditional four-bridge circumnavigation of Alameda. By all reports this too was a sunny, delightful way to bring in 2019.

‘Wild Eyes’, Lopez Lake, Beached in San Diego

Abby Sunderland’s Boat Found

After abandoning her boat in the Indian Ocean in 2010 during an attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world, Abby Sunderland’s 40-ft expedition yacht Wild Eyes was spotted off Southern Australia.

“The upturned, barnacle-clad vessel was found by a tuna-spotting plane about 11 nautical miles south of Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island, on New Year’s Eve — eight years after it was abandoned,” ABC News reported.

A shell of its former self, Wild Eyes is still afloat. “I always knew the boat was high quality and very safe, so it doesn’t really surprise me that it’s still floating,” Sunderland was quoted as saying.
© 2019 South Australia Police

“It looked a little creepy, but that’s to be expected after so long,” Sunderland said.

Abby Sunderland was just 16 when she set sail from Marina del Rey in 2010 on her solo, nonstop record-setting circumnavigation attempt, but was immediately plagued with electrical problems and forced to pull into Cabo San Lucas. In late March 2010, she became the youngest singlehander to round Cape Horn. In May 2010, Sunderland was forced to stop in Cape Town to make repairs to her autopilot, ending her nonstop bid.

In June 2010, Sunderland and Wild Eyes were in heavy weather about 2,000 miles west of Australia when she was dismasted and ultimately rescued by a French fishing vessel.

The year 2010 marked “a period of heightened interest on setting ‘young’ records,” Scuttlebutt reported on Wednesday. “Successful circumnavigations had just been done by 17-year-old Michael Perham (GBR) and 17-year-old Zac Sunderland (USA) [Abby’s brother], but with a failing of basic standards and a concern that age records may encourage irresponsibility, the World Sailing Speed Record Council closed the door on ratifying any similar attempts.” The cost of Sunderland’s rescue — estimated to be between $200,000 and $300,000 — was the subject of much controversy.

“In South Australia, the government has issued a mariners’ warning to beware of the partially submerged sailboat,” NPR reported. “Despite its status as a navigation hazard and abandoned vessel, Wild Eyes will be left to drift; officials say they won’t interfere with it unless it threatens other watercraft or washes ashore.”

Abby Sunderland now lives in Alabama, and is the mother of three children.

Skipper Being Sued After Fatal Capsize

After a San Diego man died following the capsize of a catamaran on a lake in San Luis Obispo County, his family is suing the boat’s captain for not making his passengers wear lifejackets.

Back in June, Darryl Tyler Redd went for a ride on Bruce Stevenson’s Hobie 16 Getaway on Lopez Lake. According to The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, it was a windy day, and Redd was reluctant to go out. He sent his wife an ominous video text saying, “If I don’t make it back, I love you.” On the video, Stevenson reportedly laughed and said, “You’re going to make it back.”

First responders on the scene at Lopez Lake in June after a San Diego man drowned following the capsize of a Hobie 16.
© 2019 Cal Fire/San Luis Obispo County Fire Department

According to the lawsuit filed in December, Stevenson had been sailing a few times that day — each time, his passengers were wearing lifejackets. But when sailing with Redd and one other passenger, no one had a PFD on when the Hobie capsized near the Cottonwood Cove on Lopez Lake. Stevenson and another passenger swam to shore. “Redd was having a hard time swimming and apparently drowned,” according to the Tribune.

Redd’s family is suing for general negligence and “for failing to ensure that his passengers were wearing flotation devices, as required by law.”

A Few Months Ago . . .

We can’t believe we missed this little nugget from way back in late November, when a sailor ran aground on Carlsbad State Beach, north of San Diego, in his 30-ish-ft sloop the Jenny Lee. But this was just the beginning of what turned into a bizarre eight-hour standoff, according to CBS news. (We highly recommend watching the video of the ‘rescue‘.)

“I don’t need your help, I don’t want your help. I don’t need you to touch my boat. And if you touch my boat, I will sue you in federal court,” said the man as Jenny Lee sloshed in knee-deep water on shore. A handful of state and federal agencies stood by while the man, Kevin Seaman, stuck it out. At one point, Seaman even asked a helicopter to bugger off so that he could catch some Zs. “Can you move your helicopter off my bow? Because I’m trying to sleep,” Seaman said via VHF.

“Very glad to hear you’re comfortable in your bed; I’m sure there are a lot of people who wish they were comfortable in theirs, however we are trying to help you out, sir,” the helicopter responded in a downright testy exchange.

About eight hours after he ran aground, Seaman called for assistance around 3 a.m. and was helped off the boat by medics.

Californians Leading 5O5 Worlds

While it rains in Northern California this weekend, the sunny, breezy 5O5 World Championship will continue Down Under in Fremantle, Australia. It should be fun to watch on the tracker. At present the top three podium positions are held by California sailors.

Mike Holt and Carl Smit on their 5O5
Mike Holt and Carl Smit in the splashy summer conditions.
© 2019 Perth Sailing Photography

On Friday, the Bay Area’s Mike Martin and Adam Lowry consolidated their lead with two more race wins. With a discard, Martin and Lowry (1,1,2,1,1) have a 17-point lead ahead of Mike Holt and Carl Smit from Santa Cruz. Howard Hamlin and Jeff Nelson from Southern California are in third place. All are prior 5O5 world champions. Click here to follow the action this weekend (today is Saturday in Australia). Racing concludes on January 7.

Whatever Floats Your . . . Boat?

Apparently, strapping motors to furniture is kind of a thing, has been for, like, a while, and is even celebrated at an annual international festival (more on that in a bit). Last month’s Caption Contest(!) reminded us that dropping an outboard onto a table is actually not all that unusual.

Case in point: As we returned to the Bay Area from holiday travels, we came across a similarly bizarre shot in the airport. There’s a Lenny Dee album cover featuring an interesting . . . boat?

Lenny Dee’s Down South Organ Solos with musical accompaniment were surely a hit in their day.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Most vessels are built from the hull up with the furniture added later. In this case, Lenny’s naval architect skipped the boat altogether and went straight to the interior design.

Reader Gerke Brouwer informed us that so-called ‘table racing’ is definitely a thing in Sweden, where an annual festival celebrates all kinds of strange craft. Case in point number two:

Scenes from the Öregrund Summer Festival, which looks like a rollicking good time.
© 2019 Öregrund Summer Festival (courtesy of Gerke Brouwer)

We’ll have Gerke Brouwer’s full correspondence in February’s Letters. If you have any pictures or stories of weird boats, please let us know! (As always, be sure to include your Boat Name, Make and Port of Call, or just tell us where you’re from.)

Out with the Old . . .
Latitude Nation — we thought we’d share one more 2018 retrospective with you before we’re ready to ship out the old and welcome in the new. 
The Golden Ticket
As we start off 2019, we're recognizing Latitude 38 T-shirt winner Lenny Jay, who picked up his December copy at the Golden Gate Yacht Club and found an It's-Your-Lucky-Day notice inside.
YRA Calendar
When we got our 2019 planner from the office supply store, we saw that the weekend days are half the size of weekdays. What's up with that?