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January 6, 2020

An Oscar for ‘Maiden’?; Cruising Seminars; Winter Sailing

Maiden Shortlisted for an Oscar

In December, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ‘shortlisted’ 15 films for best nature documentary. Among the potentials is our personal favorite, Maiden. 

On January 3, The Los Angeles Times published a story titled, “Making Maiden was almost as challenging as the sailing race it chronicles.” English director Alex Homles was quoted by the Times as saying that the VHS footage shot by the all-female crew “was scattered to the four winds. At each of Maiden’s six stopovers on the race, video footage was handed off to local news organizations who chopped up tape for all kinds of broadcast feeds.”

Maiden the boat made history in 1989-90. Maiden the movie may also make its mark in the record books.
© 2020 The Maiden Factor

“Nobody thought particularly about the historical legacy of all this,” Homes continued. “It was a jigsaw puzzle going round.” The Times said that during a two-year search, Holmes found footage “in every format imaginable, including a trove in the attic of Edwards’ mother, who had recorded TV broadcasts about her daughter and the race. At one point in the film, heavy scan lines dance across Edwards’ face as she’s interviewed, then suddenly vanish as the image leaps in quality. It’s evidence of Holmes splicing together the best of what he had available, and the deft hand of the film’s editor, Katie Bryer.

“Flashing forward, Holmes began connecting with the crew members some 25 years after the race, sitting the women — as well as competing male sailors and journalists who had dismissed them — for extensive interviews that are excerpted in the film. They all had a surprising amount to say.”

The 2020 Academy Awards are on February 9.

Cruising Seminars in Puerto Vallarta

“This January marks the beginning of the 24th year of cruising and boating presentations initiated by Paradise Village Marina’s Harbor Master Dick Markie,” PJ Landresse, owner of the Hunter Passage 42 La Cuna and longtime Latitude reader, wrote us in an email. “Topics include the Pacific Puddle Jump, things one needs to know for boating in Mexico (including Banderas Bay and nearby locations), and boating-related medical concerns.”

The Vallarta Yacht Club in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.
© 2020 Vallarta Yacht Club

“The seminars are held at the Vallarta Yacht Club and take place on Mondays and Thursdays, with additional days as needed. Times are always 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Happy Hour, snacks, and dinner follow.”

Big Bay, Small Boat

On a bike ride yesterday along San Rafael Bay and into the Canal Area, we spotted a small sailboat making its way back up the Channel on a low tide. For a moment we thought it was a windsurfer, but the vessel was moving quickly in no breeze, as if under power.

Long story short, we eventually realized it was a Hobie sailing/pedal kayak. That this boat was out in early January — and that both of its crew seemed to be in shorts and T-shirts — speaks volumes about just how darn good we sailors have it here on the West Coast.

A small boat makes its way back to port in San Rafael yesterday.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

Hindsight Is 2020

The afternoon of January 1 brought a slightly overcast 55-degree day with fickle winds between zero and 23 knots.

Perfect winter sailing!

This shot is actually from yesterday, not New Year’s, but captures the winter sailing spirit in the Bay Area.
© 2020 qmtravels

At 7:30 p.m. on the 31st, we returned from a 10-day holiday road trip to the great state of Utah, visiting family and skiing along the way (I know, tough way to end a decade). Before we left we made loose plans with our friend Ben Shaw — host of the “Out The Gate” sailing podcast — to start the year right, doing what we want the next decade to reflect. More sailing! He joined us with his partner and their two young daughters. Upon leaving the marina, Mom asked the younger daughter why we wear life jackets. The response was innocent and honest, “So we don’t lose our children in the water.” She’s 2.

Like many sailors we know, Mitch and Quincy enjoy the frozen water of winter as much as the frigid Bay water in California.
© 2020 qmtravels

We left the Berkeley Marina at noon sharp, heading wherever the wind took us. The forecast was for northwesterlies from 10 to 20 knots. I thought we’d sail upwind with the flood current toward the Richmond Bridge, tacking between the shallows off Brooks Island and any wind shadow created by the Tiburon Peninsula and headland. Then we’d turn around and fly the chute back to Berkeley against the flood. But, similar to the ubiquitous New Year’s Resolution, plans changed.

We left Berkeley in southerlies and meandered around the Circle in three to eight knots until we passed the decrepit Berkeley Pier. The wind headed us just past the north end of Treasure Island. It was a pleasant eight to 12 knots, so we decided to tack for Pier 39. The young shipmates played in the cockpit and below, entertaining themselves in the forepeak and salon while the teak interior swayed and rocked around them. When on deck their parents would ask, “What are you supposed to do to stay safe?” The elder daughter would respond, “HOLD ON” and reach for a handhold, reciting “One hand for yourself.” She’s 5.

The author, Mitchell Andrus, out sailing on the Kelly Peterson 46 Esprit yesterday.
© 2020 qmtravels

Once past Alcatraz, we found some wind and waves and needed to put in the first reef of 2020! The gusts to 23 knots and water making it on deck were exciting for all of 10 minutes, so we came about and headed for a wind shadow. By 4 p.m. we were well northeast of Point Blunt and becalmed. Instead of the large and beautiful chute, we rolled up the genoa and shook out the iron main, motoring back to Berkeley at five knots. The northeasteries never materialized.

Our plans were loose, and while things didn’t go entirely as we’d intended, we still had a great day sailing. In fact, it was the best day this year.

We did tell our guests we’d be back at the dock no later than 5 p.m., and by 5:01, they were walking away, sails set and drawing full in the New Year. This enjoyable experience brightened our outlook for the next decade. It was great to have those young shipmates aboard (that gave us hope for the next sailing generation, too). We just have to commit to any opportunity that blows our way.

The Art and Science of Growing a Sailing Exhibit Center

With their first annual fundraising gala, the San Francisco Sailing Science Center took the next big step toward reality. Held December 12 on the Ohana floor of the Salesforce Tower, the event assembled a stellar crowd of board members, volunteers, boosters, donors, supporters and sailors. Jim Hancock’s vision to build the sailing museum on Treasure Island has inspired them all.

San Francisco Sailing Science Center Board Members
Sailing and Science Center board members Travis Lund, Jim Hancock, Ron Young, Meagan Strout, Jeff Owens, Carolyn Davidson and Mike Beller hosted the guests. (Not pictured, Kira Hammond.)
© 2020 Cara

While the Sailing Science Center is built around the science of sailing, its website makes sure you know that it goes beyond STEM to STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The event displayed the organization’s first exhibit and reportedly raised enough funds to build the next six displays. Themed ‘Charting a Course to Success’, the event featured some of the technical aspects of sailing with special guest Saildrone. The auction offered plenty of art.

Sailing Science Center Display
The Land Yacht Experiment Table is the first active display created for the Sailing Science Center.
Sail Drone Katie Cornetta
Katie Cornetta, who’s featured in our January Sightings section, was on hand to show the autonomous sailing technology from Alameda-based Saildrone.

If you’re a dedicated reader of Latitude 38, you know that Max Ebb and Lee Helm just can’t stay away from this stuff. The hands-on exhibits will help every sailor and landlubber better understand aerodynamics, foiling, hydrodynamics, weather, and mechanical advantage. They’ll help translate textbook concepts into practical, on-the-water knowledge. You can learn more about it in Max Ebb’s story in our January issue.

Cascade tackle tug of war
Who wins? When the Sailing Science Center is built everyone wins.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Max Ebb

Hancock is definitely pleased with the progress he and his all-volunteer team have made since recently receiving their official nonprofit status. As he stated, “My pride in the team and how they pulled together on a very aggressive deadline is beyond what words can express. You guys are awesome!”

Jim Hancock and John Arndt
Latitude 38 founder Richard Spindler always called the magazine his “art project.” But Max Ebb always made sure each issue contained a healthy dose of science. Either way, we were happy to be invited with our display. Pictured are Jim Hancock and Latitude publisher John Arndt.

Like all science and art, it’s a long road from a creative idea to a finished product. Judging by the enthusiasm of the board, volunteers and guests, we believe this science experiment is going to deliver practical results right here on San Francisco Bay.

Lookin’ Good on New Year’s Day

While spending New Year’s Day on San Francisco Bay, we spotted many others out for a daysail.

gray Beneteau
In an early-afternoon southerly, this modern Beneteau Oceanis 38 was sailing on a broad reach toward the East Bay.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
We crossed tacks with a more traditional-looking vessel, the Folkboat Jalina, north of Treasure Island.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
The Frers 33 Pinocchio was departing Clipper Cove to return to her homeport, Richmond Yacht Club.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Much later in the afternoon, when a brisk westerly filled in, the Alerion 38 Surprise! would follow the same course.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
blue Pearson Commander
We believe this is a Pearson Commander preparing to set a spinnaker.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Red sails at sunset. The daylight fades early on January 1. Sunset colors were already appearing in the sky when Ganges sailed a southwesterly course around 4 p.m. The Triton is a big sister to the Commander in the Pearson family of the 1960s.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Annie at sunset
In the last usable moments of light for a point-and-shoot camera aboard a moving sailboat, we snapped the beautiful yellow Sprague cutter Annie on our transom. A flock of cormorants flies past.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Join the Crew as a Sales, Marketing & Communications Assistant

Latitude 38 is currently looking for an enthusiastic sailor to work with us full-time as an assistant in marketing, communications and events.

Latitude 38 is the West Coast’s premier sailing magazine and media company founded in 1977 to cover the world of sailing through the eyes of the West Coast sailor. We are passionate about West Coast sailing and our home waters of San Francisco Bay. We publish a monthly magazine, a 3x/week blog, an annual Northern California Racing Calendar and the annual Pacific Sail and Power Boat Show Guide and Program. Latitude 38 also sponsors the Baja Ha-Ha, the SoCal Ta-Ta and the Pacific Puddle Jump cruising rallies, produces the Delta Doo Dah and supports and manages the annual Summer Sailstice celebration of sailing.

Position: Seeking an active sailor to provide marketing and administrative support for a staff of seven people. We are looking for a creative and energetic person with strong communication and organizational skills and work on their own initiative to develop successful marketing strategies in the evolving worlds of sailing and media. Must be able to manage and deliver on multiple projects simultaneously. The right candidate will provide assistance and support across multiple departments working at our Mill Valley offices with our talented editorial and advertising staff. Read More

Always Ready
Three sailors were rescued on Sunday after a joint operation by the Coast Guard and two good Samaritans on commercial vessels who retrieved the crew of the 42-ft sailing vessel Coco Haz III.
Daysailing into 2020
While several Master Mariners boats were sailing to and from Clipper Cove, several others sailed in to form raft-ups. Others were already anchored there, having spent the night to watch San Francisco's New Year's Eve fireworks.