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December 20, 2019

Team New Zealand Crashes and Burns, Very, Very Slowly

OK, crash and burn is a bit too dramatic. Team New Zealand’s boom boom on Thursday was more like watching someone just barely lose traction on an icy patch, then slide, slide. You think they’re going to recover at any moment because the degree of their wipeout is so minor, but alas, the slide ultimately leads to a gentle, cute little whoopsie.

“We had a really nice day on the Waitemata,” Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling said, “and were pushing the boat super hard around a few marks and we ended up making a little mistake out of a gybe and rolled it over in some pretty light breeze.”
© 2019 Emirates Team New Zealand

In light winds on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC75 Te Aihe drifted into perhaps the slowest capsize in sailing history.

Going . . .
© 2019 Emirates Team New Zealand Capsize
. . . Going . . .
© 2019 Emirates Team New Zealand
. . . Gone.
© 2019 Emirates Team New Zealand

“The defenders became the first syndicate to capsize one of the foiling 75-foot mononhulls when they tipped over on Thursday, losing control coming out of a foiling gybe,” Stuff New Zealand reported. “They couldn’t hide from their mistake, coming in the full glare of a summer’s morning in a busy zone of the inner harbour, nor did they — releasing photos and videos that were gobbled up and dissected by general media and yachting specialists around the world as the new class of boat continues to be scrutinized.”

Don’t Let the Grass Grow

Jim Hancock has been a busy guy. How do we know? He sent us the photo below of his dockline sprouting grass after our seasonal rains. That’s not a good sign for someone we know who loves to be sailing the Bay.

San Francisco Science & Sailing docklines
Sprouting grass from your docklines is a sure sign you haven’t been sailing enough.
© 2019 Jim Hancock

We also know Jim has a good excuse. As the director of the blossoming San Francisco Science and Sailing Center, he and his stellar volunteer team were busy organizing their first fundraising gala held a week ago Thursday in the Ohana Room at the top of the Salesforce Tower. Though there’s plenty of work ahead for the Science and Sailing Museum, we hope there’s also more time for sailing. At least it’s a nicely wound dockline. How is your boat looking?

The Difference a Day Makes at Berkeley Midwinters

Readers — Normally we run race reports from Berkeley Yacht Club in Latitude 38, in the Racing Sheet section, but due to the holidays, the December issue had to go to press early. Herewith is race committee ringleader Bobbi Tosse’s missive from the Midwinter races on December 14-15:


Thirty-nine boats came out to enjoy some of the finest Midwinter racing ever. We were able to start on time. The 10-15 knots of wind came from the same place all day. There were no DNFs [Did Not Finish] among the five divisions. It was fantastic!

Div. A start at XOC
The fast-boat start in Saturday’s race. Bobbi assigned a twice-around windward/leeward course.
© 2019 Ken Brown

The first-place winners also had something to cheer about. In Division A, Bob Harford on his Express 37 Stewball grabbed a first over his 11-boat division. Hoot, Andrew Macfie’s Olson 30, topped Division B by almost 3 minutes on corrected time. Will Paxton’s Express 27 Motorcycle Irene was accused by a fan of not playing with the rest of the Expresses. The Olson 911S Heart of Gold with 2019’s Queen of the Women’s Circuit, Joan Byrne, grabbed first in Division C by almost 2 minutes. Jim Snow’s Raccoon edged out a first in the Cal 20s. And, not too surprisingly, most of the aforementioned winners are also leading in the cumulatives.

Sky broaching at Berkeley Midwinters
Saturday’s ‘fun’ on the J/80 Sky.
© 2019 Philip Freeman


Things were quite different on Sunday. Some of you may remember our efforts to bring the wind last month — bring out the lunches, muck up the cockpit with complicated snacks, etc. (Taking clothes off was discussed, but it is wintertime.) These ploys were attempted again — to no avail. After almost two hours of waiting, one of the racers contacted us on VHF to let us know that they were leaving. As if by magic, a breeze arrived. It wasn’t a great breeze, nor was it a very long course, but a race did occur. The magic gold star goes to Larry Levit’s Express 27 Archimedes. They changed their minds and stayed to race.

An indication of how ‘midwintery’ this breeze was can be seen in the finishes. The course was about 2 miles long, and all the elapsed times were about 1 hour — give or take. Of the entire 34-boat fleet,16 finished within 4 minutes, 31 seconds. One comment heard at the bar: “Well, that was fun!”

First place congrats to Ray Wilson on the Melges 24 Magoo in Division 1; Motorcycle Irene; the Express 27 driven by Julie Paxton (I think?); Jasper Van Vliet in the J/24 Evil Octopus in Division 2; Chase Englehart, Richmond YC Junior on the J/22 RYC 2 in Division 3; and Fred Paxton doublehanding the Alerion 28 Zenaida. (None of the singlehanders showed.)

Full results are up on Jibeset. Happy Holidays to all!

Take a Quick Scroll to the Bottom of the Ocean

Did you know that emperor penguins can dive 1,700-ish feet? Do you know how deep a human being has dived (and when)? What’s the largest type of crab? Who were the first people to take a submarine into the Mariana Trench?

These are some of the many cool facts we found when scrolling down, down . . . down on The Deep Sea. We highly recommend taking a deep dive, by clicking here.

If you have a few minutes to kill (or even if you don’t), you should take a dive in the deep blue sea.
© 2019
But the fire is so delightful
It’s windy. And it’s gonna rain. Rapidly spreading crappy weather with a high chance for dreary later today.
A Shift in the Lineup
SailGP announced the addition of the Spain SailGP Team to the global championship’s Season 2 lineup. Replacing China, Spain will join Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States.