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August 28, 2019

Holy Guacamole! That’s a Big Turning Mark

If you’ve sailed San Francisco Bay this past week or perhaps driven Hwy. 101 northbound over the Golden Gate Bridge, you couldn’t help but notice a very large motor yacht anchored off Sausalito. If you’re sailing, it also becomes a fun windward mark to round as you tour the Bay.

Motoryacht Aviva on the Bay
We chose Aviva as our gawker weather mark.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Aviva belongs to Joe Lewis, a British self-made billionaire who, according to Wikipedia, calls New Providence, Bahama, home. When you get up close you realize just how big she is. She’s over 300 feet long, and when Abeking & Rasmussen launched her in 2017, she was the 46th-longest yacht in the world.

While boats like this are relatively common in the Med and the Caribbean, we rarely see them on the West Coast. Sometimes they come this way after they’ve done a few tours of the Atlantic and their owners decide to check out the Northwest and the Alaskan glaciers. Seattle, San Diego and Mexico have marinas capable of handling many of the world’s megayachts, though Aviva is probably still too big and forced to anchor out. Despite our impressive Silicon Valley neighborhood, the San Francisco waterfront and the Bay Area are short on facilities to accommodate these vessels. With six satellite domes, she probably has better connection at anchor than most of us have at home with AT&T or Comcast.

Megayacht Aviva in San Francisco
There’s plenty of room for the whole family and lots of toys in the garage.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Lewis started out taking over his father’s small catering company called Tavistock Catering. He grew it and sold it, and is now the main investor in Tavistock Group, which owns more than 200 companies. This brings us back to the guacamole. He’s still in the food business. One of the companies he owns is Freebirds World Burrito. (There are ones in Walnut Creek and Dublin.) If you want a taste of the Aviva life, have a burrito at Freebirds and add the extra guacamole. If she’s still here this weekend, she’s a nice, temporary, new island on the Bay that makes for a good weather destination.

Dinghies Should Be on TIP Too, Says Harbormaster

Beyond preparing your boat for ocean voyaging, tying up the loose ends of your shoreside life, finding the right weather window and showing up in San Diego on time for the start, one of the main hurdles of doing the Baja Ha-Ha seems to bureaucratic in nature: getting your Temporary Import Permit, or TIP.

We’ll let the Grand Poobah give you the major TIP tips, but a thread has recently surfaced about registering dinghies. Neil Shroyer, the harbormaster at Marina de La Paz, said he’s been noticing that some boaters don’t enter any information on their TIP regarding their dinghy. “At least in La Paz, customs is requiring that ownership of the dinghy can be shown and that [it] be registered on the TIP,” Shroyer said.

That’s a big flotilla of what the Mexican government considers “mobile accessories.”
© 2019 Richard Spindler

“Dinghies are considered mobile accessories, and the information regarding them either gets entered online when they fill out the TIP request or at the Banjército window when they are filing for the form in person,” Shroyer continued. “I would like to suggest that people bring documentation for their dinghy, and if at all possible, include the dinghy in the Temporary Import Permit if they have not gone about getting one yet. They can also add it on once they get to Mexico. They would need current registration, and an invoice or a notarized bill of sale for the dinghy in the name of the person that owns the vessel.”

Shroyer said that people should be able to make adjustments to their TIP at any port with a Banjército office. The new TIP is good for another 10 years.

Hurricane Dorian Closes in on Puerto Rico

While not massive in size, Hurricane Dorian could cause havoc to the Spanish Virgin Islands and the eastern end of Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from 2017’s Hurricane Maria. The storm is teetering on the edge between  tropical storm and hurricane, but leaning toward the upgrade before it makes landfall this morning. This means strong winds, waves, storm surge and potential flooding from torrents of rain.

Hurricane Dorian
Hurricane Dorian is headed across St. Croix, the Spanish Virgins and eastern Puerto Rico.

While it looks likely to spare the Caribbean’s prime chartering area of the US and British Virgin Islands, Dorian is expected to strike later today in eastern Puerto Rico, which is home to the capital San Juan and the largest marinas and cruising grounds on the island. Just to the east of San Juan are the very popular Spanish Virgin Islands with their pristine beaches and numerous anchorages.

Thus far, the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season has been about average in terms of the number of named storms. Dorian passed over Barbados and St. Lucia yesterday, dumping “heavy rain on the Windward Islands,” according to USA Today. “In Barbados, crews were clearing downed trees, and much of the island’s northern region was without power.” After passing Puerto Rico, Dorian is currently forecast to head toward the northern Abacos in the Bahamas before making landfall in Florida.

But with summer water temperatures reaching their peak in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, we’re headed into prime hurricane season. At the moment, fortunately, there aren’t any other tropical disturbances forming in either the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific.

September Racing Preview

Hopefully by now your plans for Labor Day Weekend are all squared away. If not, take a look at our preview of events coming up this holiday weekend.

On September 6-8, Southwestern Yacht Club in San Diego will host the International 14 Nationals. SFYC will host the International Knarr Championships on September 6-14. The IKCs rotate through the Bay Area every three years.

The Tahoe YC invites Laser fleets to their annual Laser Fleet Championships on September 7-8. Laser Standard and Radial rigs and Picos will sail on Stampede Reservoir near Truckee. A large group campsite is available, with BBQ, hosted cocktails and a bonfire. See On the same weekend, San Diego YC will host an Olympic Classes Regatta and Santa Cruz YC will host the West Marine Fun Regatta for kids.

Bright Hour
What would a September racing preview be without a photo from Rolex Big Boat Series?
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Have you signed up for Rolex Big Boat Series yet? If not, time is running out. The deadline to enter is August 31. St. Francis YC will host the regatta on September 12-15. See our preview coming out in the September issue of Latitude 38 on Friday (in the Sightings section). Also on September 12-15, Richmond YC will run the Mercury Nationals.

raft-up in Half Moon Bay
SSS sailors gather at HMBYC’s dock in foggy Pillar Point Harbor.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The singlehanders and doublehanders of the SSS will sail to Half Moon Bay on Saturday the 14th. On September 14-15, SCYC will host the Melges 24 California Cup, and the Finn Pacific Coast Championship will sail on San Diego Bay out of SDYC.

Richmond YC’s Totally Dinghy Regatta will take place on September 21-22. Register by September 9 to ensure that your class has a start.

Encore, Point Bonita
The Koides’ Sydney 36 CR Encore races past Point Bonita in last year’s YRA Season Closer.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

At the end of September, the Tiburon Peninsula will be a hub of yacht racing. CYC will host the Corinthian Regatta (no longer the YRA Season Closer) on September 28-29. Neighboring SFYC will host a Multihull Regatta that weekend. And, CYC will welcome the Nordic Folkboat International Regatta on September 29-October 4.

As usual, the above is just a small sampling of the numerous regattas and races available in California in the coming month. Each year it seems the list of events grows longer. For more, check out our Calendar coming out Friday in the September issue of Latitude 38. And feel free to add events to this posting by commenting below.

The end of Summer
There is no denying that the seasons, they are a-changin’. The kids are back in school, there were Halloween costumes for sale at Costco, and Corinthian Yacht Club’s beer can series came to a conclusion under dramatic skies.
The Teen Beat
The San Francisco Sea Scouts invite all Bay Area 13- to 15-year-olds and their families to a day of sailing, rowing, free food and knot tying. They're holding an open house on August 31.
Sausalito Legend
Last May, Latitude 38’s Racing Editor Christine Weaver caught up for a chat with Sausalito sailing legend Mary Gidley and her son Memo aboard their Elliott 1050, Basic Instinct.