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November 25, 2019

Photo of the Day

Bow of Express 37
The Latitude racing editor’s favorite photo this month. Stacy the bow gal on the Express 37 Bullet wrangles the spinnaker at the very-light-air downwind start of Golden Gate Yacht Club’s Seaweed Soup Midwinters. We’ll cover that and much more in the December issue of Latitude 38, coming out on Monday, December 2.
© 2019

The Day You Sell Your Boat

How does the saying go? “The best days of a boatowner’s life are the day you buy the boat, and the day you sell it.”

But how do you know when it’s time to sell the boat? When does the fun-and-freedom-to-dollar ratio become unacceptably skewed and dig too deeply into your wallet? How hard — or easy — was it for you to cut ties and put your boat in the Classifieds?

We’re really asking, Latitude Nation. Please comment below, or email us here, about the agony — or ecstasy — of selling your boat.

Singlehanding my Columbia Challenger — as I was here in late summer 2018 — has been a surprisingly rewarding experience.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

I find the ‘day you sell your boat’ aphorism to be ridiculous. I have had several life-changing days on my Columbia Challenger Esprit to which I could ascribe no price.  Any sail, simply any sail, wind or no, crew or no, has been worth every penny in slip fees. But still, the time has come to make some tough choices.

Well, maybe.

To be fair, I put Esprit up for sale once back in 2017, but then started sailing and falling in love with the boat, and with San Rafael Canal and Bay, and China Camp. Being the first boat that I owned, the little 24-footer has been a learning experience in singlehanding, anchoring, basic maintenance, teaching friends how to sail, and generally getting comfortable on San Francisco Bay.

Why sell it?

I simply cannot justify that fun- and freedom-to-dollar ratio anymore. To be fair, my slip fees are incredibly reasonable in my part of the San Rafael Canal. Still, if I sail Esprit three times a month — which would be a lot, for me — that still comes out to a hefty per-sail monthly total. As it is, I sail roughly once a month at the most.

The totally decent Esprit.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

Here’s what I would prefer:

Is there anyone who might be interested in a partnership? I would love to stay involved with the boat, and find a few people that love her as much as I do.

I’m not going to lie — she needs work; she needs to come out of the water and get a fresh coat of paint from top to bottom. And then the ‘might-as-well’ jobs begin: Might as well drop the mast, inspect the rigging and replace a few old blocks. Might as well run a new main halyard, as the wire section of the current one has a few meat hooks. Might as well throw a coat of paint on the interior. Might as well, might as well.

And so it may go.

San Rafael Bay has been a gift that has kept giving.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC /

It is this regular but necessary maintenance that has proven a last straw of sorts — justifying slip fees for minimal use was one thing; justifying a trip to the yard for 10 to 12 sails a year is another.

The boat has many pluses — Esprit is a solid vessel that’s bone dry in the bilge; I’ve had her out in 30-plus knots bashing into the ebb without a second thought. She has an outstanding Honda eight-horse motor. If money were not a factor, I would restore her to like-new condition. In Webb Chiles’ spirit, I would (seriously) make her bluewater ready and sail her to Hawaii.

So, if you’re interested in ‘coming aboard’, please let me know at [email protected]. Otherwise, look for Esprit in the Classy Classifieds in the coming months.

Calling Youth Sailors!

Are you a sailor and still in grade school or high school? Do you get back to the dock and all you can do is talk about what happened out there?

“…And when then wind came up and we took off!” “When we were all at the start and you were trying to push me off the line . . .” “Ha ha, I thought we’d smash for sure!”

Well, we want to hear from you!

Whether you like to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboards, or thumbs to screen, we want to hear about your sailing experiences, in your words.

The vibe down in the South Bay is always warm, fun, and welcoming.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

The stories could be about races or practice days, boats, club events or any aspect of the sport you’d like to talk about. Perhaps you have a strong memory of your first time on the water — we’re interested in all things sailing. Please include a couple of photos, and a photo of you, the author — perhaps with your boat or club mates?

To get you thinking, take a look at some previous stories in which you or your events have featured:

C420 North Americans at St. Francis Yacht Club, July 10, 2019

Surprise. We thought we’d see 60 boats when C420 North American Championship racing kicks off tomorrow, Thursday. Instead, 102 boats registered from points around the USA. All competitors are under age 22, and this is the biggest youth regatta San Francisco Bay has seen in a while. Read more.

Boy and girl hauling boat
Man (and woman) handling the C420 on StFYC’s dinghy dock.
© 2019 Kimball Livingston

Leiter Cup at Richmond YC, July 10, 2019

Vanloads of teenage girls poured into Richmond YC on Monday, hauling blade cases bigger than they were plus all the gear for a week of racing Laser Radials on the Berkeley Circle. If conditions in the Slot get even gnarlier than usual, the race committee can move the action to the more protected waters of Keller Cove off Point Richmond’s Miller/Knox shoreline. Read more.

Sails on the floor
After checking in, each competitor stuck their sail number on brand-new practice and class sails.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

South Bay Youth Sailing on the Move, July 3, 2019

The Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation, or PYSF, has steadily been building its ranks over the years. Located on Redwood Creek, PYSF provides instruction, coaching, practice, and racing opportunities for kids from six years old through high school. Under the leadership of former Olympian Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer, PYSF has gone from 40 kids to about 200. Many of those kids have gone on to be highly competitive sailors, and PYSF has become well represented at national regattas. Read more.

Gavin Murphy (yellow shirt) rigs a boat at PYSF.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

Bay Area Opti Sailor Tor Svendsen Headed to Bahamas, September 20, 2019

Flying to the Bahamas next week to compete in what he says is his most important regatta to date, the 2019 Optimist North American Championships, Tor Svendsen has been killing it on the Opti circuit this past year. He blazed the recent Pacific Coast Championships on the Berkeley Circle, winning four of six races sailed, and has consistently been at the top of the fleet at other Opti events. Read more.

Tor leading around a mark
Tor Svendsen racing at the 36th Lake Garda Optimist Meeting in Italy, in March 2019. ”One thousand boats,” said Tor’s dad, Sean. “Crazy!”
© 2019 Sean Svendsen

Did you participate in any of these events? How would you describe the experience? How would you describe your regular sailing on the Bay? However you sail, we’re excited to read about it.

To submit your stories or to ask any questions, please email [email protected].

More Midwinters Sail in with December

Regular readers of ‘Lectronic may notice that our racing preview for December is a bit (OK, a lot) shorter than in other months, but we do have a few events to share.

December Midwinter Series

Adding to the list of Midwinter Series that began in November are a couple that begin in December. Richmond Yacht Club’s Small Boat Midwinters will lead off the month on the first — that’s the Sunday of  Thanksgiving Weekend. Tiburon YC’s Bob and Esther Mott Midwinters kick off the following Saturday, December 7.

Small boats racing in front of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge
Racing in Keller Cove in last season’s Small Boat Midwinters.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Lake Merritt Sailing Club’s Robinson Memorial Midwinters will launch on December 14. Lake Merritt is in the heart of Oakland. They don’t have a website, so if you’re interested, give the club’s commodore, Gary Hartsock, a call at (510) 653-1743. The Winter Race Series on Spring Lake will start the next day, Sunday the 15th. This one is organized by the Santa Rosa Sailing Club. The lake is a regional park in southeastern Santa Rosa.

At the southern end of our fair state, San Diego YC will sail the third and final installment of their Sinnhoffer Regatta Hot Rum Series on December 7. An astounding 133 boats are racing!

Staghound with spinnaker up
From the very small to the much larger: Alec Oberschmit’s R/P 50 Staghound racing in Hot Rum I.
© 2019 Mark Albertazzi

Down Under

Later in the month and half a world away, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race starts on Boxing Day, December 26. Because Australia’s so far ahead of us, it will still be Christmas Day here in the States. We’ll have a more thorough preview of that race in a later ‘Lectronic Latitude post.

From the larger to the largest: The 100-footers start the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart.
© 2019 Studio Borlenghi / Rolex
Ocean Racing and Records
"It should take us 16 and a half days of sailing to get to Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a great pleasure for me to set off on this adventure towards places our Western racing boats rarely go."
Do It Yourself
If you pride yourself on doing much of your own boat maintenance, you probably spend more hours than you’d like to with your head and shoulders squashed into narrow lockers and bilge compartments.