Maiden was more than another entry in the 1989-90 Whitbread. Maiden is more than a thrilling and wildly successful documentary about the first all-female crew racing around the world. Maiden the boat, a 58-ft 1979 Bruce Farr-design Disque D’Or III, is alive and well, and the mothership for The Maiden Factor, a 30-plus city world tour to raise money for charities working to provide an education for young women in need.
And . . . for the cherry on top . . . Maiden just arrived in the Bay Area on Monday. The boat will be here until the end of August.
Maiden arrived at the St. Francis YC docks on Monday evening at about 7 p.m. after slipping under the Gate on a gray, chilly evening. The all-female crew consists of full-time professional sailors, each of whom is an ambassador for one of six affiliated charities, as well as guests who crew for legs of the voyage.
Maiden’s route has taken them from England, through the Med and Suez Canal, and across the Indian Ocean to Fremantle, Australia, Auckland, NZ, Vancouver, Seattle and now San Francisco. And that’s just the start. Crewmembers Courtney Koos (USA) and Matilda Anjanko (Finland) said the run down from Seattle was generally brisk, though the wind ran out 24 hours away from San Francisco and, as always, picked up on their final approach against a strong ebb running out the Gate.
Latitude has been invited to join Maiden and her crew for a sail on the Bay tomorrow, so stay tuned for part 2 in Friday’s ‘Lectronic.
Maiden will remain in San Francisco for a program of speaking engagements, tours of the boat, crew changeovers and the usual ongoing boat maintenance. If you want to step aboard, you’ll have the opportunity this coming weekend. And if you haven’t seen it yet, we recommend catching Maiden the movie prior to your visit.
Maiden’s Bay Area Schedule
Saturday, August 24 — Open Boat Tour at St. Francis Yacht Club. Maiden will be open to the public. You’ll find on the club’s guest dock in the San Francisco Marina. Come aboard and meet the crew from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Maiden’s San Francisco Open Boat was originally planned for South Beach Yacht Club. But, due to the tides at Pier 40 and the keel’s draft, it’s been moved to StFYC.
Sunday, August 25 — Open Boat Tour at Richmond Yacht Club from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Friday, August 30 — Maiden Departure from St. Francis Yacht Club from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
After leaving San Francisco, Maiden will sail down the coast to L.A. and then continue her voyage around the world via Cape Horn.
Correction: Tracy Edwards, Maiden’s original skipper and star of the film, was scheduled to be at South Beach Yacht Club on Saturday, but her appearance has since been canceled.
A weekend jam-packed with activities wrapped up the official events of the 11th Delta Doo Dah cruising rally. Both Owl Harbor Marina and Bay View Boat Club kindly invited Delta Doo Dah sailors to join in various festivities.
Eleven Delta Doo Dah 11 entries, plus some vets from years past, were represented at Owl Harbor over the weekend. Owl Harbor is located on Sevenmile Slough, not far off the San Joaquin River. By land, it’s on the Delta Loop in Isleton. Ten years ago, the Stockon family acquired the marina and have been working their magic there ever since. On August 16-18 they threw a big 10-year celebration with a ‘Happy Campers’ theme. On Friday evening, they greeted arrivals with swag bags, do-it-yourself craft name-tags, a BBQ buffet, and dancing to the classic rock tunes of Mere Mortals. Friday marked the last day of a three-digit heat wave in the Delta. Owl Harbor enjoyed ideal weather for the rest of the weekend.
Saturday was game day, with a scavenger hunt, egg game, three-legged race, tug-o-war, dinghy poker run, potato-sack race and balloon walk. Having arrived in time to join in the fun, the Johnsons on the 1979 34-ft Wharram catamaran Tolfea threw themselves into the competitions. They had sailed down the coast from Port Townsend, intending to winter in the Sea of Cortez, but they stopped in Owl Harbor and decided to stay.
Saturday evening activities included a catered dinner followed by a Movie on the Green, The Great Outdoors with John Candy and Dan Ackroyd. Breakfast, featuring fresh eggs from Owl Harbor’s own hens, and an awards ceremony wrapped up the weekend on Sunday morning.
Coincidentally on Saturday, Bay View Boat Club threw their annual Delta Party on their Bradford Island property a few miles down the San Joaquin. With a copious BBQ and live music from two alternating live bands, the club’s own ‘Third Thursday’ band and the Tumblers, the party lasted into the wee hours. Although the Delta Breezes whipped up whitecaps on the San Joaquin, the the levee and groves of willow trees sheltered the party.
Although the Delta Doo Dah is winding down for this season, there’s still time to enter (free and easy to do online) and enjoy the best of what the region has to offer. Registration will close automatically at midnight on August 30.
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On August 10, before going sailing in the afternoon, Dan Larson’s crew needed to pick up a repaired sail at Pineapple Sails in Alameda. He invited Dan to come along. “We picked up the sail, and on the way out the door I saw the stack of current Latitude 38s and remembered I had not picked up my copy yet. I picked up two copies and asked my crew if he had one yet. He said he did, so I returned one. We loaded the sail into the car. As we got in, I started to thumb through my copy, and as I did, out fell the golden ticket! We drove back to Santa Cruz and had a wonderful 18- to 23-knot wind for our afternoon sail. Thanks Pineapple Sails and thank you Latitude!”
Dan sails the Beneteau 323 Toad, named “directly from the book Wind in the Willows. I have sailed out of Santa Cruz for 44 years, and Toad is my second boat,” he says. “My first boat, a 1973 Cal 25, made the 30+ year club, as I owned her for 33 years. I purchased her in 1975 and sold her in 2008 to purchase my current boat. She served me very well over the years and only taught me I needed a larger boat on our first return trip from the Delta.”
“I usually do one midweek race and one daysail each week. I sail her up to the Bay and the Delta every other year for the summer months. I’ve done the Delta Doo Dah and look forward to doing it again next year.”
“One big chapter in the Figure 8 is closed,” wrote Randall Reeves on his blog yesterday. “Just a quick note to report that Mo is through the ice and sailing fast on a north wind for Cambridge Bay, 235 miles southwest.”
Reeves has been jumping around in the narrative in his posts. Yesterday, he shared the message you just read. Today, he’s begun a detailed recounting of the full story. And only a few days ago, Reeves wrote about preparing to encounter his first pack ice — an expanse of large pieces of floating ice driven together into a nearly continuous mass, according to the dictionary — which caused him no small degree of trepidation.
Making it through the Northwest Passage is not a given, and for Reeves, reflected a stark difference between the south and north legs of his Figure 8 Voyage. “In the south we were following the wind, at least. Mo was in her groove, and if a particular low was hell on wheels, I just had to keep my bird floating and hang on. Eventually an Ushuaia or a Hobart would hove into view. Here we are decidedly pushing against the flow, a flow with hard, pointy teeth that has not met its match in boats this small. It may or may not spit us out the other side.”
Singlehanding through the Northwest Passage is even less of a given. It has been done, but sailing alone makes an already challenging proposition monumental in scope. Given the increasingly narrow and icy transit through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Reeves had to resort to long shifts of hand steering. “The day’s mirage picks up this image and makes it look like a tidal wave of white rolling toward us. Now we are in it, solid 5/10ths ice. Still, with care and concentration I am always able to find a lane just when it is needed. We weave back and forth; I am pulling on the tiller as though it were the handle of an oar. It is exhilarating. And still we are at full speed. Ice goes thin then thick then thin again. Hours pass and I am still working the tiller.
“I have been hand steering for nearly 12 hours and can feel the fatigue in my leaden eyes. My thighs feel shaky. In the dusk ahead I see a long, dark opening. There is white further on but it must be a whole 10 minutes distant. I flip on the autopilot, drop below, and set the alarm for a five minute nap. I collapse against a bulkhead; am immediately asleep.
“On the fourth minute there is a heavy crashing sound. Mo shudders as if hitting a wall. She stops dead. The engine grinds right down. I leap for the throttle and back her off and then look forward. There Mo and ice the size of a car are drifting as if dazed. But the ice block has been split in two.”
Fast forwarding a bit, Reeves apparently pushed through the last section of heavy ice with a group of boats that are transiting the Passage. “We’ve all been sweating bullets over this last 30 miles of ice,” Reeves said, “and for four days I’ve been underway and hand steering for 18 to 20 hours a day through 3 – 5/10ths ice to get here. Only a few hours sleep a night this last week.
“As it turns out, [it] was a piece of cake. We saw huge ice floes the size of city blocks but with wide lanes in between. [Two other boats] sailed downwind without trouble with Mo bringing up the rear under power just in case. We got underway at 2 p.m. and by 6:30 p.m., we were in open water.”
Whereas Reeves’ eight-month nonstop Southern Ocean loop was bookended with massive Pacific and Atlantic passages, his time in the North has been marked by dramatic, outlandish anchorages, constant stops to replenish fuel, a nonstop study of icebergs, and hiking. Reeves seemed to be on foot the last few weeks as much as he was onboard Moli making precious miles back to the Bay.
On August 10, Reeves found himself at an especially tucked-away anchorage. ” An Inuit camp in the southeast arm and an empty fuel barrel on a near beach suggest we are not the first humans to discover this gem. But as neither the charts nor the Pilots give this spot a name, I do: Hatt Trick Harbor, a nod to the northern Cape and the fact that this is really three excellent anchorages in one.
“All is indeed landlocked, profoundly landlocked,” Reeves wrote of ‘Hatt Trick.’ “Here we feel not the tiniest hint of the rolling chop and crashing breakers outside. And from where Mo sits on the hook, I can’t see the entrance or even where one might be. It is as if we had been transported in an instant to a high desert lake.”
“The fine, long days have monkeyed with my sleep schedule as much as the travel,” Reeves wrote. “Back at Hatt Trick Harbor, my evening hike lasted until 1 a.m., when the sun at last dipped behind the ranges to the north. Now I never rise before eight o’clock.”
Reeves said that one long chapter of the Figure 8 remains: “The 4,000-mile slog home.”
Meanwhile, on SV Nereida . . .
We’ll have an update soon on Jeanne Socrates, who is zeroing in on her return to the West Coast.