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March 11, 2020

It’s Raining Races

Express 27s under a dark cloud
Express 27s ignore the dark cloud threatening rain, focusing instead on making the most of weak wind at the Big Daddy Regatta on March 7.
© 2020 norcalsailing

The driest February in more than 150 years gave way to leonine March, and the return of rain to parched California. That the rain fell on San Francisco Bay racers on Saturday the 7th, and is predicted to fall again this weekend, presents only a minor discomfort to the dedicated weekend warriors who frequent the Bay.

California Dreamin’

Two close J/22s
Getting close is part of match racing.
© 2020 Erik Simonson

Nicole Breault of St. Francis YC and her crew won all of their matches to win the second stop of the three-event 2020 California Dreamin’ Series. StFYC hosted the second stop in J/22s on March 7-8 on the San Francisco Cityfront. See complete results here.

first and second place crews
Left to right: Karen Loutzenheiser, Nicole Breault, Hannah Burroughs, Molly Carapiet, Dominic Bove, Isabelle du Moulin, Cassedy Lynch and Nolan Van Dine.
© 2020 Bruce Stone

Breault topped Dominic Bove, also from StFYC. Matt Whitfield of Penarth YC in Wales finished third. San Diego YC hosted the first stop on February 1-2, where Breault finished in second place. The series will wrap up at Long Beach YC in Catalina 37s on April 18-19. The winner of the series will receive an invitation to the 2021 Ficker Cup, a qualifying event for the 2021 Congressional Cup.

Seaweed Soup at Golden Gate

Golden Gate YC’s Manuel Fagundes Seaweed Soup Regatta sailed in light air and heavy ebb on Saturday. Though the boats got a thorough soaking in the morning, the actual race only received a few light sprinkles. Sailing various courses up and down the San Francisco Cityfront, the GGYC race did its best to stay out of the way of their next-door neighbor’s match racers.

Serenade crew
The Sabre Spirit 36 Serenade won the Seaweed Soup series overall. Left to right: Kevin Burrell, skipper Hank Easom, GGYC Commodore Leslie Iacopi, Vicki Sodaro, Beth Newman, Emmet Yeazell. Hank has won this regatta overall seven times previously with his 8-Meter Yucca.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Big Daddy Regatta

On the waters from Richmond to Berkeley, Richmond YC’s Big Daddy fleets waited to start their races not due to the presence of water falling from the sky but due to the absence of breeze. Once the wind filled in, the race committees on three courses ran three good races.

On Sunday, the rain held off — and so did the westerly. But enough breeze made the scene to start the pursuit race sequence near Southampton Shoal on time at 12:25. Fluky pressure and building ebb challenged the 80 boats to make a clean start. Once again the good ol’ westerly filled in early enough to get everyone around the course by 4:30 p.m.

California Condor crew
The Antrim Class 40 California Condor was the first monohull to finish the pursuit race. Left to right: Brent Draney, Steve Hutchinson, Wally Hansen, Alex Pivovarov, RYC Commodore Inge Lundegaard, skipper Buzz Blackett, Bear Lundegaard, Julie Harness, Jim Antrim, Nico Colomb and John Dukat; not pictured: Gery Atkins. Several multihulls finished ahead of Condor, led by Peter Stoneberg’s Extreme 40 fast cat Shadow X — the last boat to start.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll have much more on the Big Daddy and Seaweed Soup regattas in the April issue of Latitude 38. To see which races might get damp this weekend, check out our Calendar.

A Reminder: The S.F. Sea Scouts Are Awesome

We don’t think that we need to remind our readers about the exceptional work done by the San Francisco Sea Scouts — and the Sea Scouts throughout the world. For those of you who don’t know, the S.F. Scouts run two sailing vessels: the Viking, which is sailed by high school aged females, and Corsair, sailed by high school aged males. The program “focuses on sailing training on traditional whaleboats,” the Sea Scouts say on their website. “In addition to operating these historic wooden vessels, the members learn boat maintenance, piloting, safety, and a number of other maritime skills.”

The Sea Scout ship Viking sails out of Aquatic Park.
© 2020 SSS Viking

There are a million ways to get kids on the water here in the Bay Area, some of which we discuss in this month’s Youth Sailing feature. But there’s no question that the Sea Scouts offer a unique, holistic approach to all things around sailboats.

Reader Anna Harryman recounted her time in the Scouts: “I was in the Sea Scout Ship Viking when I was a teenager growing up in San Francisco. I genuinely believe that I learned more from sailing and scouts than I ever did from high school. It taught me so many critical thinking skills, problem solving, leadership, teamwork, thinking something all the way through with a variety of variables, and so much more. It was somewhere where I could exercise my mind and my body, build meaningful relationships, and have so much fun.

“I cannot say enough about what being in that youth program did for me. As a girl, I was in an environment where I was encouraged to be strong, smart, and active, and where I was able to compete alongside my male peers equally. I also learned meaningful and lifelong skills that come along with boat maintenance (I don’t know many women my age who know their way around power tools). While I don’t have any one favorite memory, sailing and scouts is my favorite overall memory of my teen years. I hope every parent with a young teenage girl (or boy) goes and checks out the Sea Scouts.”

A shot from aboard Viking.
© 2020 SSS Viking

We may or may not need to remind our readers that the S.F. Sea Scouts will be hosting an open house this Saturday, March 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at their base at the foot of Van Ness Avenue in Aquatic Park. There’s also a new Junior Sea Scouts club for kids ages 11-13.

Update: Due to the San Francisco City guidelines regarding the coronavirus, the Sea Scouts have canceled their open house this Saturday. Please see Tamara Sokolov’s comments below for more information about how to get involved.

We are happy to tell you that we’ll be featuring a story about the Sea Scouts aboard the schooner Seaward in the April issue.

Were you a Sea Scout? Have a story to tell? Please comment below, or write us here.

Round New Zealand’s North Island Two by Two

Northern California has the Singlehanded Sailing Society and Southern California has the Pacific Singlehanded Sailing Association. Much farther south, in New Zealand, they have the Short Handed Sailing Association, or SSANZ. It’s kind of like the California versions only turbocharged with faster winds and faster boats. Their latest race has just finished. Thirty-eight boats signed up to race around the North Island in the aptly-named Round North Island Race, or RNI for short.

Only doublehanded crews are allowed. The race started from Auckland on February 22, then headed anti-clockwise in four legs with layovers in towns that are basically at the four corners of the island. (Think of it as a giant version of British Columbia’s Van Isle 360 that goes around Vancouver Island.) Conditions varied. Each leg has its own mood, from protected light winds to a windy ocean along a lee shore. The boats were varied too, with everything from 27 feet to 52 feet. Let’s break down the winners and some of the more interesting competitors (with a North American translation).

The smallest boat was Moving Violation, an Elliott 7.9m with Ben Beasley and Nick Gardiner, two young dinghy sailors who met at their local junior program. Translation: Two Richmond YC kids race their Express 27 on the Coastal Cup and then to Hawaii in really windy years.

Moving Violation
The 26-ft Moving Violation. Ben is 19; Nick (aka Nipper) is 20.
© 2020 Short Handed Sailing Association

The biggest boat was Kia Kaha, a TP52 sailed by the father/daughter team of Chris Hornell and Rebecca Gmuer-Hornell, obviously two crazy people on a death mission. Translation: “Honey, let’s race the Farr 36 One Design to Kaneohe. It will be fun.”

Kia Kaha
The TP52 Kia Kaha, obviously in a different race with her full crew aboard.
© 2020 Short Handed Sailing Association

The most practical boat was Am Meer, a Bavaria 38 with husband and wife Geoff Thorn and Katie Mathison. Translation: This is the boat that attracts the small, wet boats at the raft-up to enjoy comfort in the Drake’s Bay Race.

Of the 38 boats that started only four dropped out with gear failure, an amazing feat considering the scope and difficulty of the course.

The overall three top winning boats were a good example of the variety of the fleet with Clockwork, a fast BW37 (sort of like one of our Santa Cruz 37s) coming in first. Laissez-faire, a humble Beneteau First 47.7 (we have lots of those too) came in second. Mr. Kite, a Cape 40, finished third. A name like Cape 40 makes it sound like a cruiser, but it’s not. It’s a canting-keel, carbon fiber, twin-canard experimental thing that goes really fast. (We don’t have one of those here.)

Mr. Kite
Andrew Cape designed Mr. Kite. Boat Speed Performance built her in New South Wales, Australia, in 2005.

Tough boats and — more importantly — tough people make up the SSANZ. We in Northern California and beyond have someone to look up to in the shorthanded world.

Intermediate-Range Pac Cup Prep

Berkeley Yacht Club will host the third Pacific Cup Offshore Academy preparation seminar this Sunday, March 15. The all-day seminar will focus on intermediate-range preparation items — things that the racers heading off to Oahu in July really need to be thinking about right now.

leis and grass skirts
But are you prepared for the halfway party?
© 2020 Lori Tewksbury / Free

Among them:

  • Sail Selection
    • North Sails’ Seadon Wijsden, a skilled navigator and sail expert, will talk about what sails you should take, when to use them, and how to fix them underway.
  • Liferafts
    • Selection, stowage and maintenance. It’s the most expensive gear we hope you’ll never need.
  • Provisioning and Water
    • Commodore Michael Moradzadeh, after 11.5 transpacific passages, knows a few things about provisions. Whether it’s freeze-dried on a super-fast boat, or steaks on the transom grill, there are decisions to be made to maintain a happy, healthy crew.
  • Going Green
    • Pac Cup is teaming up with Sailors for the Sea to deliver a greener regatta and promote environmentally sound boating practices.
  • Medical and First Aid
    • John Taussig of Backcountry Medical Guides will provide an overview of preparation for, prevention of, and response to medical problems.
    • Emergency Call Practice. PCYC has arranged for medical support coverage during the race. They’ll demonstrate how it works with a call to the GWU emergency doctors.
  • Return Trip Advice
    • How you gonna get the boat back? Jim Quanci (of the Cal 40 Green Buffalo) and a few veterans of the return and of boat shipping will share advice and experiences.
  • And More
    • Raffles, advice, reef-safe sunscreen
    • Post-seminar party
Quanci's groceries
Jim Quanci’s pile of nonperishable comestibles in 2018.
© 2020 Stan Korich / Richmond YC

The $35 fee includes lunch. Sign up at

A late-breaking notice from PCYC: “We are watching the news on the virus and working to assure that we are not taking unreasonable risks. We’ll be sure that the facilities at BYC are wiped down and other hygiene measures are followed. Obviously, if you are feeling ill, please stay home.

“If you prefer not to attend in person, registered participants will be provided with live video access and interactivity with the presenters via webinar. For those who do attend, we are planning to raffle off a round trip ticket on our sponsor, Alaska Airlines.

“Finally, if the public health situation becomes dire, we are making contingency plans to convert the entire seminar to a webinar. You will have to make your own mai tai, however.”

If this or any other event on our Calendar is canceled, significantly altered, or rescheduled, we urge organizers to contact us so that we can alert our readers.

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