It was like going to your best friend’s house where they have every fun toy you can imagine in their toy box. Last Saturday’s Sail a Small Boat Day at Richmond Yacht Club was one of those days that had magic conditions between storms. Anyone who showed up was introduced to the pleasures of sailing small boats. Sailboats getting pulled out of the ‘toy box’ included a 420, Weta, Hobie, VX One, RS Tera, 110, Mercurys, Wabbit, Sunfish, El Toro, Optimist, Seascape 18, Ultimate 20, Laser, J/24, Viper, Opti, RS Aero, and . . . we’re sure we’ve forgotten a few. Of course, each boat came with a volunteer owner along with a slew of RYC volunteers who served free hot dogs, got waivers signed, got lifejackets on, and generally provided the soil for planting a new crop of sailors.
While the morning was pretty calm, the afternoon breeze built just enough to keep sailors and newcomers smiling without frightening anyone away. Thrill seekers looking for an adrenaline buzz would have had to jump in for a swim, but it suited everyone else just fine. We managed to get out on two boats by joining Lyn Hines aboard one of the two Mercurys he brought over for the event. We also joined RYC member Phillip aboard his Seascape 18 with two first-time sailors, Caroline and Matais, who are in third grade and kindergarten respectively. We all had a great time.
While much of the event is aimed at introducing new sailors to sailing, the other mission is to give experienced sailors a chance to shop for a boat or class in which they’d enjoy racing. The Bay has many one-design fleets like Wabbits, Wetas and J/24s who’d all like to see new fleet members join their ranks.
Sail a Small Boat Day is a pretty simple formula that’s well-practiced by the sailing enthusiasts at Richmond Yacht Club. It’s generally held at the end of February or early March before the season gets busy but while the weather is still a bit of a wild card. Nonetheless, the event generally finds a decent weather window and a large crowd of soon-to-be sailors who appreciate the opportunity to try sailing. Keep an eye out for SASBD again in 2020.
Here are a few quotes from the March issue of Latitude 38, which is hitting newsstands as we write:
“In some terms, there’s never going to be a chance again to sail on multi-million dollar boats with some of your best friends in the world and no owner, no one paying the bills, and no one paying you. It was just us doing exactly what we wanted to do.” — David Liebengerg, Olympic hopeful
“We’re both so fortunate and lucky to have visited a full range of different places. We’ve been able to do a lot of diverse sailing.” — Shanley McEntee, first mate, Sea Dragon
“[This is] highly unconventional. But we’re unconventional people.” — Chris Welsh, owner, Cheyenne
“The Lemaire Channel was completely blocked with ice, so we sailed down the outside in the Southern Ocean. It’s a shame, because Lemaire Channel is one of the most spectacular things to see in that area.” — Paul Cayard, as quoted in Changes in Latitude.
“Actually, [that’s] ventilation, not cavitation. Entrained air from above, like, the water surface, not a cavitation-induced vacuum. But it’s a common mistake.” — Lee Helm, naval architecture grad student from the Bay Area
“Oh crap! Now I’m going to be a caption contest contestant in Latitude 38!” — Jeff Duvall
Issue Number 501
While there may not be as much fanfare for our most recent issue compared to its round-numbered predecessor, that doesn’t make the March 2019 issue of Latitude any less special. We pour our heart and soul into every page, every month. We often joke and say that each issue of Latitude is our very favorite — only it’s not actually a joke. We really, really mean it.
In case you didn’t know, you can pick up an issue of Latitude at a gazillion different West Coast locations, all of which can be found here.
And don’t forget, there are a few Golden Tickets, good for a $25 credit to our online store, stuffed into a few lucky issues of Latitude.
Thanks, as always, for choosing Latitude. We hope you enjoy number 501 as much as we enjoyed making it.
On the last day of February, US Sailing returned to the St. Francis Yacht Club to present the awards for 2018 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman (actually women) of the Year. Among sailing luminaries spotted in the crowd or addressing the audience were previous winners Cory Sertl, Daniela Moroz, Johnny Heineken and his family (dad Paul is the 2019 commodore of StFYC), JJ Fetter, John Kostecki, Paul Cayard, Liz Baylis, Bora Gulari and others we might have missed. Attending his 29th such ceremony, Gary Jobson MC’d for the 23rd year.
The format was a little different this year. Instead of speeches, Gary interviewed the finalists and winners on the podium. Nominees Will Welles (2018 J/24 world champion), Zeke Horowitz (J/22 world champion) and Daniela Moroz (the Women’s Formula Kiteboard and IKA Kitefoil world champion) were included in the festivities and interviews. Finalist Paige Railey (Laser Radial) wasn’t able to attend but sent a congratulatory video greeting — from the airport. Another change was that past winners, along with a panel of esteemed sailing journalists, voted for this year’s winners.
Jobson said that the cool thing about sailing is that you can do it at any age, from very young to old. The 2018 honorees demonstrate that. The Yachtswomen of the Year are 18-year-old identical twins Emma and Carmen Cowles, who won the Youth World Championship in the 420 two years in a row. The Yachtsman of the Year is 61-year-old Jud Smith, the J/70 World Champion. Smith is the oldest recipient of this award; the Cowles are the second-youngest after Moroz, who won at the age of 16 two years ago.
When Gary interviewed Daniela, he asked her, “What are your favorite tricks?” She replied, “My best trick is going fast.” The foiling kites will do 20 knots upwind and 30-40 knots downwind.
“How do you go fast?”
“I line up against people like Johnny [Heineken] for training.” She’s looking forward to the 2024 Olympics, when kiteboarding will be one of the sailing events. “I went to my calendar and got out a calculator to count the days.” A high school senior, she’ll be off to the University of Hawaii later this year.
Rolex Yachtwomen of the Year
After the Cowles girls finished first and second in the 2015 Opti Nationals, it was time for them to move up to a bigger boat. Their parents only wanted to manage one boat, so, in 2016, they teamed up in the International 420. In 2017 they won the Youth Worlds 26 points ahead of their closest competition. They focused on “making sure we weren’t too stressed-out and keeping a level head.” Now they’ve moved up to the 470 in anticipation of the 2020 Olympics. In the 420 they felt they were only racing against half the fleet, whereas in the 470 they are rounding marks within 40 seconds of all the other competitors. They’re now in their senior year of high school. Planning to go to Yale, they’ll first take a gap year.
It didn’t escape our notice that the three male finalists all won world championships in small J/Boats. Zeke also won North American championships in the Viper and Flying Scot classes. The 89-boat 2018 J/24 Worlds were held in Lake Garda, Italy. “Lake Garda was on my bucket list,” said Will Welles. He and two of his regular crew borrowed a boat and took on two Italian crew, including the tactician.
Rolex Yachtman of the Year
Jud Smith is the son of Olympic Gold Medalist David Smith, who won gold at the 1960 Rome Games in the 5.5-Meter. Jud hails from Marblehead, MA. He was the main trimmer for Dennis Conner’s 1995 Stars & Stripes America’s Cup team in San Diego. In 2006 he won the Etchells Worlds in Perth, with his daughters on the crew. In 2017, he crewed for that year’s Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Peter Duncan. They won the J/70 Worlds in Italy. Then Marblehead welcomed 91 J/70s for their 2018 Worlds, and Jud won by one point with Africa. (Africa, by the way, does not refer to the continent. Rather, it is an acronym for “Another frickin’ raceboat I can’t afford.” Jud has a sense of humor.)
Smith is also a coach. “You learn more when you’re coaching. The coach always comes away the smartest one,” he said. For the 2018 Worlds, he trained in Newport, RI, and Marblehead. “Marblehead is the windiest city year-round. I study the buoy reports on NOAA for two weeks. Chances were we’d get plenty of breeze.” This year, Smith is continuing to coach and is hoping to do the Etchells Worlds. He’s having a new boat built in the UK. “I haven’t steered on an Etchells since 2012,” he said.
The 2019 awards will be announced and bestowed at US Sailing’s Leadership Forum. San Diego Yacht Club will host in the second week of February, 2020.
Cruising Club of America Far Horizons Award
In recognition of his numerous record-setting voyages as navigator, the CCA will honor Stan Honey with its 2018 Far Horizons Award. The CCA established the award to recognize a member or members for “a particularly meritorious voyage or series of voyages that exemplify the objectives of the Club.”
A Bay Area resident and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year (2010), Honey holds 22 sailing records as a navigator or singlehanded skipper, including records won on five Transpacs, three Newport Bermuda Races, two Transatlantic Races and one Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. As navigator Honey has won numerous class or line honors, most notably as the 2006 Volvo Ocean Race-winning navigator aboard ABN Amro One. In 2010, again as navigator, he set a record for the fastest global circumnavigation — in 48 days, seven hours and 45 minutes — on the maxi-trimaran Groupama 3.
Stan holds 30 patents in navigation and graphics. He co-founded Sportvision Inc., the leading developer of live-tracking enhancements for sports telecasts. Combining his passions led to the development of an augmented-reality technology for sailing broadcasts — known as AC LiveLine — that overlaid geo-positioned lines and data streams on live race-course video. He won an Emmy for its use covering the 2013 America’s Cup.
The Bocas del Toro archipelago of the Caribbean Panama is best known for its beautiful cruising grounds and surfing spots, but not so much as a racing venue.
That may be changing.
Boca’s first-ever sailing regatta, held on February 5, grew from an idea into a 30-boat pursuit race in just over a month’s time. In addition to having a lot of fun, race participants raised over $1,300 for Give and Surf Non-Profit, a charity serving the archipelago’s indigenous communities.
Two Northern California boats won big on a sunny, breezy race day. The San Francisco-based Beneteau 42s7 Cirque, captained by owner (and occasional Latitude contributing photographer) Louis Kruk, bested an international crowd of 18 other monohulls to take first place in its division. The Bodega Bay-based Fountaine Pajot Belize 43 Halcyon, sailed by owners Sandy and Brit Horn, took second in the 11-boat multihull division.
The course sent participants twice around a five-mile triangle, and the staggered start was based on PHRF ratings. Other winners were part of the archipelago’s internationally diverse sailing community. Second and third in the monohull division were the Allegro 30 Baltic Lady captained by Guillem Ros Millan from Barcelona, and the C&C 40-2 AC Tiger, captained by Maikel Galindo. First place in the multihull division was the 39-foot trimaran Unknown Pleasures, while third place was captured by a hurricane-rescue Lagoon 450 Parlay, captained by New Zealander Colin MacRae. Colin was one of the primary organizers of the regatta, and readers can follow Parlay’s evolution from insurance claim to race winner on their YouTube channel, Parlay Revival.
Four other West Coast boats participated in the regatta. The Tacoma-based Hanse 400e Black Elise II, owned by Dana Bachellerie and Chris Davis, and the Long Beach-based Catalina 36 Dharma Ocean, owned by George Rigsby, both had elapsed times within 10 minutes of the third-place monohull. The San Francisco-based Sailcraft 36 Abracadabra, owned by Bryce Andrews and Molly Arnold (the author of this piece), didn’t do quite as well, but they reported having lots of fun. The Carlsbad-based Fountaine Pajot Venezia 42 Bella Luna, owned by Paul Wisniewski, volunteered as startline marshall. The other much-appreciated marshalls were Bocas-area locals Mike and Kay Heath and Roger and Marylin Marshall.
A final “last but not least” nod to Bay Area participation goes to Ray Jason, Singlehanded TransPac sailor, Latitude 38 contributor and San Francisco street juggler, who is currently cruising the archipelago on his Goldlen Gate 30 Aventura. Ray was master of ceremonies at the often-raucous post-race awards event held at the Calypso Cantina at the Bocas del Toro Marina. Ray managed to keep everyone focused and entertained until the last awards were given.
Northern California was well represented at the first-ever Bocas del Toro Regatta, and anyone cruising the Western Caribbean next year should check to see when the second annual Bocas del Toro regatta is scheduled. You won’t find a better time, a friendlier group or a better cause.