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April 10, 2019

Troublesome Trimaran Smashes on Rocks in Humboldt

On Sunday, the 45-ft Midnight Sun, a San Francisco-flagged trimaran, ran aground in bad weather on the rocky waters off Shelter Cove in Humboldt County. A huge hole was torn into the starboard hull, and when the local fire department got a distress call, first responders said they didn’t expect to find any survivors.

“It’s a total miracle they were safe and not injured,” said Cheryl Antony of the Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department.
© 2019 Cheryl Antony/Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department

“It was really terrible weather. It was raining like a monsoon, it was dark and it was foggy,” a member of the Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department told the Lost Cost Outpost. This was actually the second time in the last few weeks that Midnight Sun was in distress, according to the Outpost. On March 29, the Coast Guard was called in to tow Midnight Sun into Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg.

On Sunday, the crew of Midnight Sun “floated safely to shore in an inflatable boat,” the Outpost reported. Firefighters said, “It’s a total miracle they were safe and not injured.”

Two of the boat’s occupants are from Fort Bragg and three are from Texas, according to the Outpost. One of the Texans owns the trimaran, and was reportedly sailing from Fort Bragg to Portland to have the boat appraised for insurance.

The (Jimmy) Buffetting on ‘ti Profligate’ Continues . . .

Readers — On Monday, we brought you a little tale from Latitude founder Richard Spindler’s Facebook page, where a certain salt-shaker-searching singer paid him a visit, and brought some good dope (which is to say, some interesting gossip about a storied boat, Escapade, and how she’s being rebuilt). But that, apparently, was only half the tale. Here’s how it all started: 

Jimmy Buffett paddled over to ‘ti Profligate from his Drifter, making another ‘Rose Sunday at Columbie’ on our catamaran a little more special. He hung for about an hour talking with everyone about all kinds of stuff: How the Drifter concept wasn’t his, how she didn’t get finished right the first time, how much he loves the boat now, and how there won’t be any others. That thanks to lots of push-button gear, he can singlehand Drifter. “Not that I ever will,” he laughed. He also marveled that boats like his can be shipped all over the world without taking the mast off.

Searching for your lost shaker of salt is a lot easier when you have the right boat. The Ted Fontaine-designed Surfari 50 Drifter is “a modern performance sailing yacht with as strong an emphasis on speed under sail as speed under power.” But we’re most concerned with the boat’s performance under the influence of margaritas.
© 2019 Fontaine Design Group

Jimmy reported the Margaritaville ‘active retirement’ projects are going great guns, with yet another one planned for Hawaii. He said they hadn’t been his idea either. He says you can buy one in Florida for $250,000, which shocked pretty much everyone. But he didn’t know the HOA fees.

He fondly remembered Liz Clark of the Santa Barbara-based Cal 40 Swell, who took him surfing during an unusually big day in Bora Bora. Jimmy took a bit of a beating that time. In fact, Liz was worried that she’d killed him.

A different shot from the same sequence we ran on Monday. From left: Eddy of Eddy’s Restaurant in St Barth, Mr. James Buffett himself, Jean-Marc Lefranc, owner of the famed Baz Bar, and Doña de Mallorca.
© 2019 Richard Spindler

At 72, Jimmy still surfs as much as he can, and had gone out at Toiny that morning.

Jimmy commiserated with Doña when she told him that her future husband — that would be me — had once posted a video of her exercising on ‘ti Profligate. “People post crazy stuff of me, like, all the time,” he laughed.

Jimmy had recently been in La Jolla and said he really loves the San Diego area, and Shelter Island in particular. In fact, Jimmy had come over to ‘ti Profligate to see his old friends Eddy of Eddy’s and Jean-Marc of Baz Bar, two St Barth institutions. Later he paddled over to another character’s — Frantz’s — boat to see Lucky Poupon, English Stevie, and others. He’s been coming to St Barth for ages and has lots of friends. Then he paddled back to cook hamburgers on Drifter’s grill.

So what was Jimmy ‘like’? Just like you’d think and hoped he’d be — a regular guy who gets a kick out of helping people have fun.

Another great day in St Barth. Wish you could have been with us.

Race Notes from the Boat Show

Those of you who read Racing Sheet in Latitude 38 are no doubt familiar with the odds and ends that populate Race Notes. This is an online version — tidbits culled by our racing editor during last week’s Pacific Sail and Power Boat Show.

Schmoozing with the SailGP Gang

As noted in ‘Lectronic Latitude on Friday, SailGP has an in with the San Francisco Giants. So it should come as no surprise that the helmsman of the US team, Rome Kirby, threw out the first pitch at the home opener on April 5, at the newly rebranded Oracle Park. (Oracle, Larry Ellison, America’s Cup, Sail GP foiling 50-ft cats — it’s like a game of connect the dots.) But before Rome could head over to the ballpark, he and fellow team member Mac Agnese visited the boat show for a casual meet-and-greet with show-goers on Thursday afternoon. After this, the sailors and SailGP staff went to Golden Gate Yacht Club to give a presentation there.

SailGP crew
Mac Agnese and Rome Kirby greeted visitors just outside the Craneway Pavilion.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Rome lived in the Bay Area for three years for America’s Cup 34. (He remained with Oracle Team USA for America’s Cup 35 in Bermuda as well.) He told us that he misses sailing on San Francisco Bay and is eager to return. The crew and support team will assemble in Alameda around April 20 to prepare for San Francisco SailGP on May 4-5.

New Kids on the Dock

Down on G Dock in Marina Bay Yacht Harbor, we found Norman Davant and Pat Nolan of Sail California lounging in the comfy interior of the brand-new J/99, the first one in the United States. The J/99 sat next to the navy blue 2014 J/88 Benny, which has been racing on San Francisco Bay. We wondered what the difference was between the two designs. “The J/99 is a much bigger boat. It’s got standing headroom, even for somebody that’s taller than me,” said Norman with a chuckle. “It’s 5’9”. You can go do a Friday night race with the crew, go race it doublehanded on Saturday, then on Sunday go daysailing with the family, and stay overnight as well. It’s got a full interior and a proper galley and a proper chart table. It’s really designed to be a multi-purpose boat.”

J/99 at the dock
The new J/99 has a fixed, watertight carbon sprit.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

“These days everything is really going toward shorthanded sailing,” continued Norm. “You look at Three Bridge, all the inside-the-Bay stuff going on — that’s happening worldwide, and so the market is targeting some shorthanded sailing. The cockpit’s set up to go doublehanded sailing, but you can still do normally crewed sailing with it as well. The boat is pretty beamy, and it’s a big, powerful, 32.5-ft boat. Most people who get on it can’t believe it’s only 32.5 feet. It’s got a planing hull, so in anything over about 16 knots of breeze it should plane, just like the J/88, J/70 and J/111 do.”

All of the above J/Boats have asymmetrical spinnakers, but the J/99 has a permanent sprit, not a retractable pole. Sail California owns this one. Pat is planning to do the Great Vallejo Race with it. “Unless we sell it first.”

On the end-tie near the J/Boats, a new RS 21 stood ready to go sailing. Our managing editor, Tim Henry, took a ride. “Boy, did we have a blast sailing on the RS 21 Priced to Move at the boat show on Saturday,” he says. “Thanks to West Coast Sailing’s Chris Brown on shore and skipper Jake Sorosky for the ride. Also along was Stockton sailor Chris Shepherd, who was scouting out a sportboat for a friend he races with.”

RS 21 at the dock
Jake Sorosky from West Coast Sailing answers questions about the new RS 21.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

“How did the boat sail? It was the most dinghy-feeling keelboat we’ve ever been on,” comments Tim. “On Saturday, it was pretty windy as we zig-zagged our way past Craneway Pavilion, into Richmond Inner Harbor and past Point Potrero, but the breeze died just as we turned around and popped the asymmetric kite. The RS so wanted to leap out of the water and plane, but it wasn’t meant to be. While quick and spry, the RS 21 also felt super-stable, even in the puffy conditions on the way out. We look forward to seeing these boats out on the Bay.”

Hidden Treasure: TF10 Foiling Trimarans

Not in the water — and a bit hard to find — were two TF10 foiling trimarans. They were hiding in a corner of the parking lot, and their marketing team had a booth on the wharf at Marina Bay. One of the boats, Celeritas, has already been racing on San Francisco Bay. On the Saturday of the February Corinthian Midwinters, she flew by us so fast we couldn’t fumble out our camera in time. Winds were lighter the next day, and she wasn’t foiling. Designed by Morrelli & Melvin of Newport Beach and built by DNA Performance Sailing of Holland, the boats are about 36 feet long and intended to be sailed by a crew of four or five, but can also be doublehanded. The amas are retractable for easier storage and transport.

Fearless Girl
John Skoriak checks out Fearless Girl, a TF10.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Roy Disney’s New Boat

At the TGIF party in Assemble Restaurant we caught up with Scott Easom of Easom Rigging (actually, we had to step outside where it was quieter). The hot tip from Scott was about a new boat that Roy Disney (of Pyewacket fame) purchased. “We’d been looking for a boat to do Transpac, and we tried to charter some iconic boats to do the race because it’s an iconic year, the 50th race,” said Scott. “We looked at a bunch of boats to charter, including Windward Passage.” The famous 72-ft ketch won the Barn Door Trophy and Elapsed Time Trophy in 1971 and was a serious threat throughout that decade. “The owners were not interested in chartering the boat.

“Robbie Haines went down to Australia. We ended up getting a Volvo 70, called Telefónica back in the day, that’s been turbo’ed in Australia. It has a much deeper keel at about 18 feet and a taller rig and bigger sails, and it’s extremely fast compared to a regular Volvo 70. It was a Juan K boat, and Juan K did some of the modifications to turbo it. It is very fast. It did the Sydney Hobart this year. It’s a good strong boat. Finishes right behind the 100-footers, so it’s going to be a riot to sail.”

On February 18, 2012, Team Telefónica continued their domination of the Volvo Ocean Race, edging out a victory in the Sanya Haitang In-Port Race, narrowly beating PUMA Ocean Racing.
© 2019 Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race

The Spanish-flagged Telefónica finished fourth in the 2011–12 Volvo Ocean Race, skippered by Iker Martínez. “That boat will be put on a ship shortly and will mostly likely arrive in the Port of Oakland right around the third of May. When it arrives here we will put it together and start sailing it. If the ship is delayed, it just changes the whole dynamic. Ships rarely arrive on time. The fact that it’s going to come into here is very exciting. I’m supposed to help offload it when it gets here. They’re just going to lower it right over the side of the ship into the water. We’ll have the mast on the deck, and then we have to get the cradle onto the shore and disassembled. The cradle is 19-20 feet tall, so you can’t put it on a flatbed and take it down the highway.

“But we don’t know exactly which boat we’re going to sail in Transpac right now. The Andrews 70 is such a great old guys’ boat. We are an old crew. If you were to figure out our ages, we’re way up there. Sleds are the ultimate fast old guys’ boat. So Roy will not be selling the Pyewacket. We might be sailing the old boat. It depends on how things come together. Rather than getting into a complete panic about the thing, we have a boat that’s perfectly good and very functional and a real threat to win the thing overall.

“With the other boat, we’re short on time, we’re short on familiarity, and we may decide that it just doesn’t make any sense to try to jam it in there. We’ll save it; next year there’s a great deal of interest in the Tahiti Race, and this would be a really good boat for the Tahiti Race. We’re going to have a good trip to Hawaii one way or another this year, and the fact that there’s almost 110 boats involved right now, I can’t wait to see Transpac Row filled up again like in the old days.”

Either boat will make the passage to Hawaii with a crew of 10. “The Volvo 70 has all hydraulic winches, so we don’t need grinders; we don’t need super-young guys to turn the handles. So 10 people for both boats would be about the right amount.”

Look for more reporter’s notes from the boat show in the May issue of Latitude 38, to be published on Wednesday, May 1.

Answer to a Bit of Trivia

Last Friday, we asked you if you knew in what TV show the painting Mouth of the Delaware by Thomas Birch made an appearance. We gave you a hint, saying that the painting was hung in the office of one of the main characters.

Thomas Birch’s The Mouth of the Delaware.
© 2019 Wikipedia

“How about . . . Law and Order, in the head D.A.’s office,” wrote Jeremy Haydock. No, sorry. Right network (NBC), but wrong show.

“We just finished binge watching all 150-plus episodes on Netflix. It’s from The West Wing.” said Larry Radcliffe. Correct. But can we be more specific? “[Chief of Staff] Leo McGarry’s office in The West Wing!” wrote Tim Roche. That is absolutely correct. Bill Huber also got the right answer.

English-born artist Thomas Birch was primarily a portrait painter until about 1807, when he took up marine painting.

Birch’s The Wasp and the Frolic, from 1820.
© 2019 Wikipedia

“Birch was the first American ship portraitist, and his paintings were copied by countless artists and craftsmen in America and Europe,” according to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition to ships, Birch’s paintings provide valuable images of bridges, lighthouses, docksides, and harbor fortifications in the early Republic, especially those surrounding New York City and Philadelphia, Wikipedia said.

Portrait of Thomas Birch by John Neagle from 1836.
© 2019 Wikipedia

On Friday, we’ll wrap up the story of a Bay Area maestro’s painting that was raffled off last week at the Boat Show . . .

Jim DeWitt poses with his watercolor Kids at Play last week at Craneway Pavilion. Who was the lucky winner of this original work? Stay tuned to find out.
© 2019 John "Woody" Skoriak
Wastin' Away Again
When Jimmy Buffett was on my cat 'ti Profligate' yesterday in St. Barth and told me that the great Rhodes 73-ft centerboard yawl 'Escapade', a Caribbean legend from the 80s and 90s, was being completely rebuilt, I was pretty sure that he was mistaken. After all, when I'd seen her years ago, she seemed to be a lost cause in the KKMI yard in Richmond.
Sail Sport Talk
I am on the ground floor of launching a radio program covering the sport of sailing. We have some pros, some classics and some local coverage. We have about 22 minutes within a two-hour sports program.