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March 30, 2020

Tall Ship ‘Pilgrim’ Sinks at Dock in Dana Point

The Dana Point-based tall ship Pilgrim, an iconic replica that has served as an education platform for hundreds of thousands of students, sank at her dock on Sunday. The cause is unknown.

“We are very sad to announce that Pilgrim, our beloved vessel that has served as an inspiring real-world classroom to hundreds of thousands of students and visitors, keeled overnight in her slip on our dock, rendering her useful life over,” said Ocean Institute, the nonprofit that operated the Pilgrim. Ocean Institute president Wendy Marshall added that Pilgrim is “incapacitated beyond repair,” according to the Dana Point Times.

The cause of Pilgrim’s sinking is still unknown.
© 2020 NBC Los Angeles

The 98-ft Pilgrim is a “full-sized replica of the merchantman brig immortalized by Richard Henry Dana Jr. in Two Years Before the Mast.”

Several news outlets have reported that the Pilgrim was hauled out and surveyed in 2016. Ocean Institute began a fund to support the haulout and repair scheduled to take place in January 2020. That work was postponed until June due to overload at the yard,” NBC Los Angeles reported.

The original Pilgrim was built in 1825 and sailed from Boston to California in 1834, according to the Dana Point Times. Richard Henry Dana sailed aboard her as a common seaman, and would go on to pen one of the greatest seagoing novels of all time. “This Pilgrim, a replica, was built in 1945 in Denmark for lumber trade. In 1975, the ship sailed to Lisbon where it was converted to its latest rig,” the Times said.

“The replica Pilgrim came to Dana Point Harbor [which, of course, was named after Richard Henry Dana] in September 1981. The Pilgrim provided national award-winning living history programs to the students and helped celebrate maritime history in the annual Tall Ships Festival each September,” the Times added.

The replica Pilgrim would be the stage for Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast.
© 2020 Ocean Institute

“We are sad to bid farewell to this iconic vessel which has been such an important part of Ocean Institute’s programs and to the children that they served,” Wendy Marshall said. “Our staff was informed this morning and we all feel like we lost a dear friend, as I am sure many of you do.”

Did you ever sail on the Pilgrim? Please let us know by commenting below, or writing us here.

According to the Dana Point Times, the Ocean Institute is also welcoming stories, images and other posts from patrons and visitors on how the Pilgrim made an impact on sailors over the years. “You can either post on social media with #brigpilgrim or email [email protected].

Sailors Helping Sailors in Distress from COVID-19

In a gesture outside the usual boundaries of our amped-up world, Memo Gidley, owner of the Elliott 1050 Basic Instinct, wrote us to let us know he was willing to offer his help to sailors ‘in distress’.  Specifically, he wrote, “I definitely feel bad for all the more easily affected coronavirus people and those who are currently affected and in isolation.

“I am strong and not worried about being affected and would like to help those (boaters) who are not.

“My mom is staying at home but very capable of taking care of herself even if I was not around. But, if my dad was alive and in the condition he was in when in his 80s, he would need help, and he would have been on his boat alone if he did not have family.

Elliott 1050 Basic Instinct
Before social distancing was cool, we got this shot of Memo and his mom, Mary, sailing in the Singlehanded Sailing Society’s Corinthian Race on February 29, just before racing was shutting down. They’re the lead boat heading to Little Harding.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

“Latitude 38 brings great joy to all sailors. Any thoughts on doing something to help shop/deliver food, run errands, etc., for those boaters at risk or infected?

“I am interested in helping boaters either living on their boats or living in their houses. I have a couple of days a week. I can do anything for fellow sailors: run errands, shop, wash their boat, run their boat — whatever. Thinking back a few years when I was recovering from a crash, all this I needed.

“Let me know what you think.”

What do we think? First, we thought, what a fantastic offer. Second, we thought, we should contact Memo to ask if we could publish this and include his contact information. He said sure. So, if you or someone you know needs help you can contact Memo via email or call (209) 327-1016.

This reminds us of the long tradition of coming to the aid of other mariners. While this is outside the normal bounds of the SOLAS Convention, we thought we’d share its provision here:

” . . . The master of a ship at sea which is in a position to be able to provide assistance, on receiving a signal from any source that persons are in distress at sea, is bound to proceed with all speed to their assistance if possible informing them or the search and rescue service that the ship is doing so.”

Memo Gidley
In a happier moment in time, Memo and crew had just won the Non-Spinnaker 1 class in the Corinthian Midwinters.

Memo’s offer is another testament to why sailing and the sailing community are so awesome. If you have other ideas on how we can all contribute to getting through this moment in time email us here.

The Case of the Wayward Whaler

Richmond Yacht Club reports that a Boston Whaler and its trailer were taken by vehicle from the dry boat storage yard over the weekend, sometime between Friday evening and Sunday evening.

“We are asking the greater boating community to be on the lookout for our Whaler,” writes RYC’s general manager, Stan Korich.

Whaler #4
The wayward Whaler #4. The CF numbers shown on this photo are not the current ones. (These guys are yacht club volunteers — not the thieves!)
© 2020 Richmond Yacht Club

Here’s the info on the boat, engine and trailer:

  • 1987 17-ft Boston Whaler
  • CF 9064 KX
  • Hull number BWCM7886G091
  • The outboard is a 2017 Yamaha, T50LB
  • Serial # 6C2L 1025506
  • The trailer is a 1987 Calkins
  • License plate # 4DB1804
  • VIN 1CXBA1817HS729521

The club used Whaler #4 as a safety boat for big regattas and the junior program. The dry storage yard is now locked (even to members with key fobs) at 5:30 p.m. each day.

If you spot the boat and/or its trailer, please contact Richmond YC at (510) 237-2821 (office) or (510) 234-6959 (harbormaster).

April Racing Preview — or Not!

Normally in this slot we would post a look ahead to next month’s racing calendar highlights. Instead, we’ll continue with the updates we’ve been filing since that fateful Friday the 13th.

Tokyo Olympics

The dates are set for the 2021 Summer Games: July 23-August 8. All of the nation spots will remain intact; athlete selection not necessarily so. American sailors had already completed the qualifying process for sailing events except for men’s and women’s 470. A bit of trivia: The modern Olympics (which date back to 1896) have never been held in an odd year. The Berlin Games were canceled in 1916 due to WWI, and four Olympiads (two summer and two winter) were canceled during WWII.

Sail Check

Among the numerous outlets offering educational videos to inform us — and, frankly, help us pass the time — is Quantum Sails. They offer a series of sailing videos called Sail Check, enabling you to check your own sails in the safety of your own home or boat.

This week’s live content includes:

An In-Depth Look at Code Zeros: Your Questions Answered
With Adrien De Belloy
Tuesday, March 31, 9 a.m. PDT
On Facebook Live

Ask Me Anything: The One-Design Starting Process
With Scott Nixon
Wednesday, March 31, 11 a.m. PDT
US Sailing’s Starboard Portal

How to Build an Onboard Sail Repair Kit
With Andrew LaPlant
Thursday, April 2, 12 noon PDT
On Facebook Live

Beer Cans via Zoom?

We’ve ‘attended’ a staff meeting via Zoom (with six participants) and a TGIF happy hour on the same platform (with four participants). But a virtual beer can race? For a series that usually draws a couple hundred people? We can only imagine the chaos! But what the hey, it could be fun.

Wednesday night beer can
RYC’s Wednesday night races are super-casual, starting and finishing off the club’s seawall in Richmond Harbor. Taking newbies, non-sailors and kids along for the ride is encouraged.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

That’s what the ever-effervescent Cinde Lou Delmas of Another Girl has proposed as a placeholder for Richmond Yacht Club’s popular Wednesday night races, due to begin on April 1. Some of her suggestions: “How about if we all meet at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom every Wednesday and bring our cocktails, tea, food, and just hang out together? Fun to find out what people are doing and to check in with each other. Think winging it the first time might be the winner. We can all decide — love a racing rules discussion; we have some judges who can share their knowledge. How about an open, honest conversation about PHRF ratings? We have a lot of heroic members on the front lines, maybe getting them, if available to share their stories.”

With beer can season here — and yet not — what is your club doing in lieu of actually congregating? (Email us here, or comment below. Please include your full name, boat name and model if any, your hailing port and club name.)

Boating Banned

Back in the twenty-teens, this could have been construed as an early April Fool’s joke. But it’s no joke. Palm Beach County, FL, is now closed to boating. “Effective immediately, all boat ramps and marinas will be closed to all recreational boating activities to include boat launching, in/out storage activities, and boat rentals in Palm Beach County until further notice,” reads the official notice.

“Licensed commercial fishermen who provide food for restaurants and markets, commercial marine operations, and support services are permitted to operate.

“This order is necessary in response to people gathering in large groups on the sandbars, Intracoastal lands and waterways without observing social distancing to prevent community spread of COVID-19. Marina supply, fueling and service activities necessary to support commercial fishing and commercial marine operations may continue to operate.

“Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies will be enforcing the closures and monitoring waterways.”

God forbid this should happen in California! Mind your Ps and Qs, folks.

Big Daddy from the Way Back Machine: 2015

As you know, there’s not much sailing going on right now. However, we’re dreaming of sailing soon and also reflecting back on past sailing exploits and adventures. With that in mind, we’re bringing back some of the stories, photos and good times from the past to help us look forward to all that returning soon. The upcoming April issue will have the story of this year’s Big Daddy Regatta. Here we share a few photos and a link to Big Daddy 2015.

Buzz Blackett’s Antrim Class 40 California Condor, seen here in the Saturday buoy racing on the Deep Water Course, had a good regatta.
Big Daddy 2015
With minimal breeze and maximum flood, the start of the Big Daddy pursuit race on Sunday, March 8, was not looking too promising, but a westerly would eventually fill in.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Richmond Yacht Club's Big Daddy 2015
Mark and Anne Thomas and Peter Cameron beat the rest of the monohulls around the islands on their J/70 Prime Number.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Black Sheep
The Black Sheep trio drove all night from Idaho the Thursday before the regatta to come school the Californians.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Good memories from the past, and we’ll be making more good memories in the future. In the meantime enjoy the look back at the Big Daddy five years ago here. We’ll be posting a link to the story of the 2020 Big Daddy Regatta in Racing Sheet on Wednesday, April 1. No foolin’.

It is a mnemonic that, once known, is impossible to forget. It is the simple expression of an important navigational concept: Red, right, returning.
Schedule Updates
As far as the Coast Guard is concerned, as long as there are active shelter-in-home orders in place, marine event permits are nullified.
Latitude 38 Delivered to Your Home
Now offering a Shelter-in-Place special. Three months is just a ‘sip’ of Latitude 38. You can read at home while you sip on whatever you like.