March 16, 2020

Puerto Vallarta Race Sizzles into Mexico

A long and light PV Race has drawn to a close with the smallest boat in the fleet claiming overall victory after 1,000 miles of ocean racing from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta. A US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and multi-time world champion, Bill Hardesty led a rock-star crew to victory on the Hobie 33 Sizzle to place first overall on corrected time after seven days on course. Having started in the first wave on March 5, Sizzle commanded ORR Division 6 with a good shot at claiming the overall win and potentially even first to finish.

Sizzle
2011 Yachtsman of the Year Bill Hardesty and his very stock-looking Hobie 33 Sizzle led wire-to-wire in ORR Division 6 to claim a commanding divisional win and an overall victory in the PV race.
© 2020 Mark Albertazzi

Behind Sizzle, a battle between the fleet’s top two maxis — Roy P. Disney’s new-to-him Volvo 70 Pyewacket 70 and Steve Meheen’s Botin 80 Cabrón — had ground to a halt north of Cedros Island before picking back up again. Had it not been for some light air of their own in the southern half of the Baja Peninsula, Sizzle very well may have been the first boat into PV. But once the big boats got back into the breeze, they began doing what big boats do and blasted across the Gulf of California.

Cabron
Steve Meheen’s Botin 80 Cabrón chases Roy P. Disney’s Volvo 70 Pyewacket 70 shortly after the start of PV race.
© 2020 Mark Albertazzi

Though Pyewacket 70 had built up a nice lead, helped in part by an offshore routing option, the longer and faster Cabrón caught up just before the finish and snuck into PV to grab line honors, though not without some drama at the mark. Pyewacket 70 and Cabrón locked horns in a match race to the finish, separated by just yards in the dark of night. Both missed the finish line and had to re-round. Pyewacket 70 incurred a one-hour time penalty as a result of the ordeal, giving Cabrón first on elapsed time. But Pyewacket 70 won divisional honors.

The Bay Area was well represented with sailors on many boats, including on Cabrón. Nathalie Criou’s 33-ft Beneteau Figaro 2 Envolée sailed in ORR 6, but she retired into Cabo San Lucas after a prolonged duel with light air off the southern portion of the Baja Peninsula.

Envolee
The Bay Area Figaro 2 Envolée shortly after the start. The crew included Gilles Combrisson and Synthia Petroka.
© 2020 Mark Albertazzi

While some of the fleet retired and some are already delivering back north, much of the fleet is now in Mexico for MEXORC, which is seemingly still underway with results posted from the first day of racing. With sailors having departed San Diego just a week or so ago for mainland Mexico in a pre-coronavirus world, and with many still down there racing in the MEXORC, we wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few stay and self-isolate in the warm tropical climes of Mexico in the springtime instead of delivering back north to an increasingly locked-down California.

More Events Big and Small Canceled

News Flash

While we were preparing this update on Monday morning, we learned that Sail America has canceled the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show, scheduled for April 16-19 in Richmond.

The Big

The biggest event cancellation that dropped into our inbox in the hours and days after we posted Friday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude came from SailGP. The 50-ft foiling cats from seven nations will not entertain crowds of fans by the thousands in the Bay Area on May 2-3 after all.

The Small

Around the same time we heard from SailGP, we received this message from Folsom Lake Yacht Club:

“The FLYC board has moved forward with a difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Camellia Cup. State Parks will not issue a use permit given the current virus situation, and the lake level is very close to our minimum safe elevation for race operations.” (We’re guessing the lake level at least is looking more promising after three days of rain.)

The Camellia Cup had been scheduled for April 3-5. “All paid Camellia Cup entries will receive a full refund. This announcement does not impact the remaining Spring Series races nor the upcoming Trans-Folsom regatta [on March 21]. We hope everyone will stay safe and continue to enjoy sailing Folsom Lake as long as we have water.” Update: The Trans-Folsom Regatta has since also been canceled.

Richmond Yacht Club has canceled the Big Dinghy Regatta on April 11.

Like their counterparts in the NCAA, the “Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) executive committee has voted to cancel the remaining 2019-2020 college sailing season, which includes all in-conference, promotional, interconference, and national championship competitions.”

The Medium

Shortly thereafter we got this from the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego event:

“As a result of growing concerns over COVID-19 and after conferring with our host clubs, San Diego Yacht Club and Coronado Yacht Club, we are all in agreement that for the health and safety of everyone involved, Sailing World will postpone the San Diego NOOD with the intent to hold it at a later date,” wrote Jen Davies. “The San Diego NOOD will not be held on March 20-22, 2020, but we will work closely with our host clubs to find a date that will work for us all and try to get that scheduled as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will refund entries for the current dates with hopes that you can join us again once the new regatta dates are determined. Thank you for your patience as we navigate this new world.”

Betsy Crowfoot reports from Long Beach: “Long Beach Yacht Club has hoisted the postponement flag, announcing the 56th Congressional Cup regatta and events running up to it — including next month’s California Dreamin’ Series Long Beach stop and the 2020 Ficker Cup — will be rescheduled later this year. The Congressional Cup was originally slated for April 28 to May 3, kicking off the 2020 World Match Racing Tour. Organizers are exploring dates later in the year.”

“Considering that travel restrictions affect many of our competitors and officials, and for the general safety and well-being of our attendees, organizers, members and volunteers, we have decided to postpone the Congressional Cup until the situation has improved,” said Congo Cup chair Cheri Busch. “We are not cancelling the Congressional Cup, however, and hope to have our sailors back on the water and competing for the Crimson Blazer soon!”

The Caribbean

St. Barths Bucket Regatta, an invitational regatta open to cruising yachts of 30.5 meters (100 feet) or greater, has been canceled. Eighteen teams had been entered for the event planned for March 19-22.

Organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta have postponed the 2020 event, originally scheduled for March 27-29. This decision was made in line with health and safety recommendations taken by the government of the US Virgin Islands in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judy Petz, director of the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival writes, “The BVI Spring Regatta board has been instructed to postpone the 2020 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival as a matter of public health and safety. Updates will be published on our website at www.bvispringregatta.org as information becomes available.” The Spring Regatta had been scheduled for March 30-April 5.

The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta has been canceled due to the COVID-19 situation in Antigua and the government recommendation to avoid social and sport gatherings. Originally planned for April 1-7, 2020, the proposed dates for 2021 are March 31-April 6.

The 2020 Antigua Bermuda Race has been canceled. The race was to have started on May 6.

The Global

Masked man bringing drinks
Quarantined behind a dock gate, Clipper Race crew await fresh drinks from the guards ashore.
© 2020 Harmon Shragge

“We just made it back to Subic Bay, and it looks like we are quarantined,” Harmon Shragge wrote to us over the weekend. Harmon, you may recall, is a sailor from San Francisco who is crewing in the Clipper Race. “Maybe for 14 days. A Clipper AQP (equivalent to a first mate) had to go to the hospital with a GI problem that the locals think is corona. Until this is worked out, we are stuck at the dock.” The Clipper Race canceled all three of their stops in China, using Subic Bay, the Philippines, as a host port instead. The next leg will take the 11-boat fleet from there to Seattle. We’ll have more from Harmon in the future.

cart of take out pizza and bottles of pepsi
Clipper Race crew take delivery of pizza and Pepsi. Event founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is among them (seated, in the black shirt and gray beard).
© 2020 Harmon Shragge

The second event of the 2020 52 Super Series season has been canceled. Planned to also be the 2020 TP52 World Championship, it had been scheduled for March 31-April 4 in Cape Town, South Africa.

It’s Not Just Races

As Friday the 13th rolled along, Philip Freeman wrote: “Berkeley YC has decided to cancel the March 29th swap meet. In accordance with recommendations recently published from the Alameda County Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control, we have decided to postpone all gatherings at our club until at least the end of March.”

Over the weekend, California Governor Gavin Newsom required all bars and nightclubs to close. This includes yacht club bars.

Nevertheless, the marine industry is open for business. With so many event cancellations, this is the perfect time to make like the ant in the ant and grasshopper fable and get work done. Sailmakers, boatyards and canvas shops, as well as boat dealers and brokers, are ready to serve. We encourage you to contact them to see how they can make sure your boat is ready when you are.

If you know of another event that’s been canceled — or one that’s confirmed to be a go — please email us or comment below. Include your full name, hailing port and organization.

Getting Away from It All Ain’t What It Used to Be

When sailors cast off the docklines to head south, we imagine they are leaving the cares of the world behind. Sadly, it’s not that easy this year. Andy Turpin, the ringleader for the Pacific Puddle Jump, has been keeping the fleet up to date with the quickly evolving circumstances in the Pacific.

Bora Bora Lagoon
If you have to shelter in place or practice social distancing, Bora Bora is a pretty good place to ride out the turmoil.
© 2020 Marine Nationale/PM Sabine Boudard

Andy writes: “As many of you are already aware, ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic are expanding daily, as world leaders take unprecedented steps to slow the spread of this illness.

“Yesterday Andrew Glasspool of the Jeanneau 44 Tintamarre shared this info from his yacht agent, Fernanda Rivera M: ‘Good day to everyone. This is very important. The government of Ecuador has just closed all entries to the country, by land, sea and airports. No one will be able to enter the country or arrive in Galapagos in any way. I’m truly sorry about this, but it was just announced today due to the coronavirus having become a pandemic situation worldwide.’

“Ian and Ann of the Allures 45 Tourterelle shared this news about Panama: ‘Yesterday Panama closed its marinas to new arrivals and immigration was closed for both arrivals and departure, and no zarpes are being issued. We did hear today that some boats got zarpes in Flamenco, but that was the only place open. The situation is due to be reviewed next week. So maybe not quite as drastic as the initial information yesterday and it is certainly a fluid situation. We have also been told there will be no small boat transits through the canal for two weeks — after which the situation will be reviewed.’

“Since that report, however, we’re told that transits are still being scheduled.”

As of today, the Cook Islands have closed to yachts through June 30, 2020. It also includes air travel restrictions and a 14-day self-quarantine requirement.  More information here.

As we all know, the situation is changing rapidly. If you are planning to cast off for some distant port, check-in with your destination first. We understand that New Zealand is currently requiring a 14-day quarantine for new arrivals by air or sea. If you’re lucky enough to be mid-ocean, enjoy it.

Bringing Back the San Francisco Bay Staycation

What now? Stay calm and go sailing. Now is an excellent time for a staycation. It’s a shattering experience having our lives disrupted and feeling the threat of imminent health and economic impacts on family, friends and neighbors. With so much uncertainty there are no good short-term answers aside from prudently taking all precautions possible. However, sailors know, relief from anxiety ashore is often found by escape to the sea.

Simple pleasures
The simple pleasures of sailing the Bay help mend frazzled nerves.

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the world’s great tourist destinations. Many of us are fortunate to live and sail here, so we don’t have to fly anywhere to enjoy it. While we are doing all we can to incorporate the current cautions into our home and work habits, we also know our mental health requires time outdoors, preferably under sail.

Sailing San Francisco Bay
Even at its most crowded, San Francisco Bay tends to provide more social distancing than anyplace else in the Bay Area.

The ‘staycation’ became a popular term in 2008-09 and it should be popular now. The sailing community has an opportunity to remind ourselves that one of the best ways to stay healthy and get through the current turbulence is to go sailing.

Racing the Bay
While many races have been canceled, we remind everyone that racing is not the problem, it’s the socializing afterward. We think clubs are correct to cancel many of the events on the schedule. But we hope some can still work out. Sadly it’s probably best to go racing and then go home.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

When sailors are surveyed on why they sail, two terms that come up most often are freedom and escape. Stepping from the shore to a boat anywhere on the California coastline is probably the lowest-impact way to enjoy a mental vacation close to home.

Sailing San Francisco Bay
Your family and friends will appreciate a break from the news, the ‘screens’ and the congestion ashore.

We encourage you to join us in taking an opportunity to get friends and family onboard, hoist sails, and get some relief and perspective by sailing the Bay. If you don’t have a boat check out one of the many locally available charter options.

We do expect more race and event cancellations in the days ahead. We will post them as they become available. Note some cancellations in last Friday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude and in today’s follow-up.

We look forward to seeing you on the Bay. It will do all of us a world of good to do more sailing!

Go or No Go
"Due to the coronavirus, we are postponing the Great Vallejo Race to October. The safety of our sailors and guests is our first concern."
The Working Waterfront
"Come one, come all, to enjoy an afternoon at Travis Marina Bar (Presidio Yacht Club) Sunday, March 15, 2-5 p.m. Come share why you love Travis Marina."
Racing Around the World
The next edition of The Ocean Race will depart Alicante, Spain, in October 2021. The around-the-world race with eight stops will finish in Genoa, Italy, in the summer of 2022. Newport, RI, will again be included in the stopovers.
The World Famous L38
Here's your March Caption Contest(!). Please be sure to check the April issue's Loose Lips for the winner.