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March 2, 2020

The March Issue Is Out Today

Happy March, everyone. We’ve got your new issue of Latitude 38. Here’s what’s inside this month:

A Shout Out to the Parents and Volunteers

In this month’s Sightings, we take a moment to thank the countless volunteers who make junior sailing possible. Many of you have a different name besides ‘volunteer’ — you’re also called ‘parents’. Regardless of your role or how many hats you wear, we want you to know that we appreciate you. It is on your shoulders that a large portion of sailing’s future is carried. You are helping to usher in the next generation of instructors, mariners, professional sailors, and perhaps even sailing-magazine writers.

In this month’s Youth Sailing Through the Generations, we take a look at some of the sailing institutions that have produced grandparents, parents and kids who are all actively sailing in a junior program as either instructors or students. Nowhere are generational strata better represented than at Richmond Yacht Club. From October to April, RYC runs a 16-week program for juniors ranging from beginning to advanced. The program is run by volunteer instructors who are almost exclusively parents. “I’ve never seen this type of program at another yacht club,” said Nick Nash (whose father Chris is also an instructor at RYC.)  “It’s been a great place to grow up and bring my kids to a nurturing environment where everyone encourages the younger generations.” Nick —  who went on to have his own kids in the program  for nearly 12 years — echoed his father’s experience of meeting generations of sailors. “Even at 40, I run into people on the dock saying, ‘I knew you as a child,’ all the time. Every current instructor is an ex-junior-program kid who had their kids in the program.”

The SSS Viking offers exciting sailing for high school girls in San Francisco. “We are sailors, rowers, and all-around awesome girls!” ‘Viking’s Facebook page says.

The Dumbest Thing I Did While Sailing

“A gust of wind caught the sail just right . . . and, as it lifted, the spinnaker filled,” wrote Sandra Snyder about an embarrassing — but endlessly relatable — incident that happened to her and her husband David Wilson on their 46-ft steel ketch back in the ’80s. “Suddenly it was fully out off the port side with me holding the ineffectual control line. I looked over my shoulder to yell for David and discovered he was in the process of heading skyward! My first thought was, ‘This is a hell of a time to be playing around,’ but he was doing it suspended from the halyard and flying up off the deck.”

David Wilson in a less airborne pose back in the ’80s.
© 2020 Sandra Snyder

The Three Bridge Fiasco that Could Not Be Seen to be Believed

When vision is impaired, other senses become more acute — and more critical. On January 25, a low, dense fog obscured San Francisco Bay, and the single- and doublehanders in the Three Bridge Fiasco found themselves tuning in to the sounds around them.

Ghosts of Oakland’s container cranes — which in pop culture have been compared to Imperial hardware from Star Wars — appear to loom over becalmed sailors.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The noises started during the night with the song of foghorns on the Golden Gate Bridge. By 8 a.m., sailors preparing their boats in the San Francisco Marina were assaulted with the amplified urgings of outdoor boot camp trainers. The airwaves, on VHF 71 and 72, swelled with race check-ins, with no dead air between.

A Tour of Some Bay Area Do-It-Yourself Yard Work

“The days of Joshua Slocum’s Spray, felling your own trees and building a boat in a field, are long gone — for most — but the boat repair undertaken by the self-sufficient sailor is still in full swing today,” wrote Mitchell Andrus in this year’s boatyard tour story, which focuses on sailors doing their own projects.

Jack Patton and Sonya David with Gemini at BMC.
© 2020 @twothehorizon

“What do boatyards think of DIY boat owners? Even yards that allow DIY-ing in California have strict rules and regulations. I found a few recurring themes among the DIY boat owners I interviewed: Most of them are considered ‘young sailors’ . . . . [almost] everyone is under 40 years old, most of them have more time than money, and they’re interested in self-sufficiency. I keep using the pronoun ‘they’ but must admit I’m one of them. I share the same endless gratitude for the yards that allow us the opportunity to cover ourselves in bottom paint. Sure, maybe we sail a little slower than the commuter cruiser, but we get there on our own means.”

And So Much More for Your March

Let’s not forget about this month’s Letters and the first installment of a long, thoughtful discussion about NOAA’s five-year plan to phase out paper charts. We also have Max Ebb — which we’re calling March Maxness — where Max and Lee discuss the accuracies and glaring inaccuracies of boat waves and wakes as depicted by artists. We’ve got a full lineup of Changes in Latitudes, including the full telling of Zingaro’s bad day at sea. And, of course, we’ll have The Racing Sheet, World of Charter, and a special appearance by Eye on the Bay, where we take a look at some local boats enjoying last month’s stellar weather.

Don’t forget that you can pick up your new Latitude or click on this link for a treasure map at your local waterfront (be sure to scroll down to ‘Pick up a Copy’).

Britain Reigns O’er Australia

Sir Ben Ainslie’s British team scored three bullets in the three fleet races on Friday, kicking off the second season of SailGP in Sydney Harbour. On Saturday, after a win in Race 4 and a fourth in Race 5, the Brits sealed the deal against second-place Tom Slingsby and the Australian team.

fleet racing
The Brits foiled the competition in Sydney Harbour on Friday.
© 2020 Lloyd Images

Friday’s Three Fleet Races

Following the racing on Friday, Ainslie said, “You can’t really ask for better conditions than that — 15-20 knots, southerly on Sydney Harbour. It was a real challenge for all the teams, because the wind was so shifty, which meant a lot of difficult maneuvers needed to be executed.”

A collision early in Race 1 meant the new Spanish team, skippered at the moment by Kiwi stand-in Phil Robertson, missed out on a podium finish. Robertson and the Spanish team were heading toward a race boundary and lost rights to France, eventually clipping the French boat. France had to drop out of Race 2 and 3 due to boat damage, leaving just six of the foiling F50 catamarans on the course.

The SailGP race jury determined that the Spain team had inflicted serious damage to the French boat. They docked the newcomers nine points — five points from the first race and an additional two points for each of the two races that France missed. The new Denmark SailGP Team also collected a two-point penalty for making contact with the Japanese boat in the first race.

With a big wind shift in Race 2, Ainslie picked the left side of the course. American Rome Kirby went right. The two teams battled up to the top mark. Ainslie snuck in front, ultimately leading the fleet to the finish line.

Saturday’s Two Fleet Races

Ainslie picked up where he left off on Friday, notching a fourth consecutive win while the Australia and Japan teams placed second and third. Olympic champions Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge (skippering the Japanese boat) battled back and forth all of Season 1. This pair went into Race 5 with a spot in the match race on the line.

fleet racing
Fleet racing on Saturday.
© 2020 SailGP

Australia jumped out to an early lead that it never relinquished, with Slingsby guiding the defending champion to its first race win of the season and setting up a showdown with Ainslie. The Australians showed notable improvement on the second day of racing.

Slingsby said, “We seem to usually go better on our final day. It was nice today to perform when the pressure was on. We knew we had to beat Japan. It was all going well until the last race, where we made a big mistake at the start.” Japan featured in every match race last season.

The young Spanish team and helmsman Phil Robertson earned three second-place finishes over the course of the event, establishing themselves as podium contenders for Season 2.

Match Race Finale

In the finale, the match race between Britain and Australia, the British team got out to an early lead. The Australians found themselves behind from the start after incurring a penalty for entering the start box early.

The victory marked Great Britain’s first event win in the league. “It’s certainly been one of the best sailing events I’ve ever taken part in,” said Ainslie. “Incredible conditions on the harbor. It’s been magical.”

UK crew
The UK team celebrated their regatta win. Left to right: Matt Gotrel, Luke Parkinson, Sir Ben Ainslie, Neil Hunter, Richard Mason (Iain Jensen was out of the frame).
© 2020 SailGP

Great Britain tops the leaderboard with 47 points, followed by Australia with 42, Japan with 39, Spain with 31, the United States at 31, Denmark with 22, and France with 14 points.

California Here We Come

San Francisco will host the next regatta in the series on May 2-3. At the first US event of Season 2, all seven boats will sport new modular wingsails. The intent is get the F50s to fly to record-breaking speeds.

Check Out These Events in Early March

Wednesday, March 4

Latitude 38 and the South Pacific Sailing Network present a South Pacific Islands Bon Voyage at Vallarta Yacht Club in Paradise Village, Nuevo Vallarta, 2-6 p.m., for sailors making the Pacific Puddle Jump to French Polynesia and beyond. RSVP to [email protected].

Boathandling and Boatspeed, Sausalito Yacht Club, 6 p.m. Andrew Kerr will present this racing seminar. $15 at the door, payable by credit card only. Reserve a spot by email to [email protected].

Thursday, March 5

Latitude 38’s own Spring Crew List Party, Golden Gate YC, San Francisco, 6-9 p.m. $10 cash only at the door ($5 for ages 25 and under with ID). Find a boat, find a ride, find crew for racing or sailing on the Bay or cruising to distant destinations.

Four crew party-goers
Connect with fellow sailors and future sailors at the Crew List Party this Thursday.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Archives

At the same time, just on the other side of the parking lot, St. Francis YC will host an ORR Rule Owners Meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. Susan Ruhne asked us to share this information with our readers:

“As part of our ongoing desire to engage and consult with our ORR competitors around the StFYC application of the ORR rule for Aldo Alessio/Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta and Rolex Big Boat Series 2020, we’d like to invite owners and competitors for an update on lessons learned from 2019 and our plans for 2020.

“Last year some competitors encountered errors in US Sailing-issued certificates. We’d like to update you on US Sailing and ORA’s ongoing process to address data quality and verification. Members of the ORA Board will be on hand to address this topic. As a club we have no control over this process, but we want to keep you updated on the quality improvement plan they have in place.

“In 2019 we implemented the application of up to six time correction factors (TCFs) for scoring to reflect three different course configurations and two wind ranges. We’re looking to revisit this with the goal of reducing complexity while maintaining scoring accuracy. We’re even reviewing course configurations to facilitate in this area.

“Owners, skippers, owner representatives and crew are welcome. Non-members, please call (415) 563-6363 to sign up. Questions? Reach out to race director Graham Biehl, [email protected]; or regatta chair Susan Ruhne, [email protected].

Olympians Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis will appear at Cabrillo Beach YC in San Pedro, 6:30-8:30 p.m. The Nacra 17 sailors have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

Monday, March 9

Patti Mangan from South Beach YC informs us that Clipper Race alumni and newly interested sailors are gathering at SBYC March 9 to hear the latest from crew recruitment manager Will Stokely, who is flying in from the UK. “The Clipper Race has been contending with the corona virus, and planned race ports have had to be adjusted very quickly, keeping the race on time for the big leg to Seattle,” says Patti. For more event info, go to

Saturday, March 14

The Bay Area Multihull Association presents their second annual Live Crew Overboard Training, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. “Here’s your opportunity to practice live crew overboard recovery, with the safety of support craft on site and additional eyes on the person in the water,” writes BAMA commodore Truls Myklebust. “For additional information, and for registration, please go to Jibeset: (note: registration is limited to 15 boats).” The location will be east of Sausalito, near the entrance to Richardson Bay. Monohulls are welcome!

The San Francisco Sea Scouts invite local youth and their families to an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at their location at the foot of Van Ness in Aquatic Park. Sea Scouts is for teenage boys and girls. A new Junior Sea Scouts club welcomes kids ages 11-13. The S.F. group sails, rows, competes against other teams, takes overnight trips and cruises, and maintains their own antique wooden boats. The open house activities will include sailing, rowing, free food and knot tying. No previous experience is required, but RSVP at

Update: Due to the San Francisco City guidelines regarding the coronavirus, the Sea Scouts have canceled their open house on March 14. Please see our post on March 11 for more information about how to get involved.

These events are just a drop in the bucket compared to the list in our Calendar, out today in the March issue of Latitude 38. We’ll update our website Calendar page soon after we post today’s ‘Lectronic Latitude. As always, feel free to add your favorites to the Comments section below, but please include your full name and port of call.

Aquatic Park and Hyde St. Pier
Dennis Maggard sails from the South Bay to anchor in Aquatic Park and attend the Sea Chantey sing at the San Francisco National Maritime Museum.
Row row row your boat
Way back in November, sailor-turned-ocean-rower Lia Ditton wrote about her 24-day, 700-nautical-mile row from Oregon to California right here on ‘Lectronic Latitude.
A Diverse Fleet
The Pac Cup routinely caters to a wide range of sailing yachts with crews from diverse backgrounds — from tiny doublehanders to mega-yachts and from adventurous families to well-tuned racing syndicates.