More News That’s Not Terrible
Despite the slow, grinding boredom, fear and uncertainty, the world is still beautiful. We offer you some eye candy for your day.
Stay safe out there, Latitude Nation. And, if at all possible, stay positive.
Checking in from Half Moon Bay
Edward Stancil checked in from Pillar Point Harbor’s Johnson Pier in Princeton (the northern part of Half Moon Bay). “Harbor’s quiet, crabbers are pulling and storing pots. Most are pulled. Everyone is safe distancing. The main bathrooms are closed. The pier is closed but open and unloading. Everyone is hunkered down or gone. Saw less than 20 people in the whole harbor. Eerie.
“The Coast Guard came into the harbor and anchored. Less than five boats moving in the whole harbor. This was sport week for salmon — usually hundreds line up. Now all parking lots are blocked/closed from Princeton to Santa Cruz. Less than 20 cars on Hwy 1, parked or driving.
“Stay safe and away.”
Go or No Go?
The latest cancellation to drop into our inbox is the Master Mariners Regatta. “With so many competitive boats in the fleet, it is with heavy hearts the Board has decided to cancel the Regatta, Sponsors Lunch and Awards Dinner for 2020,” announced the MMBA board. “We plan to hold the events in 2021 on their usual dates.” MMBA runs the Master Mariners Regatta, a Bay Tour for classic boats, on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend with help from St. Francis, Sausalito and Encinal Yacht Clubs.
We had originally planned to open sign-ups for Latitude 38’s Delta Doo Dah Dozen cruising rally yesterday, but we are holding off for now while we get our ducks in a row. Stockton Sailing Club is the destination for the Delta Ditch Run, an official event on the Delta Doo Dah itinerary, on June 6. The club says: “All Stockton Sailing Club social and regatta events, including the Delta Ditch Run, are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” We’ll keep you updated on developments.
Normally, the beer can racing season would be rolling along about now. “With the shelter-in-place directive continuing for the imminent future, the Corinthian Yacht Club has decided to postpone the Friday Night Race spring series until further notice,” writes Marcus Canestra, CYC Race Council chair. Something similar could be said for the rest of the beer cans on the menu.
On the plus side, the Transpacific Yacht Club opened registration yesterday for the 2021 Transpac from Los Angeles to Honolulu. The first wave of starters will depart on July 13, 2021.
The World at Large
World Sailing has canceled the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Final. Enoshima, Japan was to have hosted the event on June 14-21. Enoshima is also the locale for sailing in the Tokyo Olympic Games, rescheduled for summer 2021. In mid-March, World Sailing canceled an earlier Hempel World Cup Series regatta, scheduled for April 14-19, 2020, in Genoa, Italy.
While you’re waiting for the green light for sailing events to start back up, check out these self-isolation hacks from Amory Ross. He’s the onboard reporter for 11th Hour Racing.
Pac Cup Prep in Times of Pandemic
The last hundred days leading up to the Pacific Cup are usually a hive of activity as competitors are busy preparing their boats, making their final lists, getting inspected for safety and compliance, and spending time on the water training. Most of those same activities are still well underway this year. But, just like almost every other aspect of life right now, these unprecedented times call for new measures and no shortage of fluidity and adaptability. To that end, the Pacific Cup Yacht Club has revised their schedule of race deadlines and inspections while moving their pre-race board meetings and seminars entirely online to comply with social-distancing regulations. Many competitors have also adapted in a variety of different ways, all hoping to seamlessly move toward sailing in the 21st running of the Pacific Cup.
Some programs are very optimistic and charging full speed ahead with their preparations. “We are definitely still planning to race… If they let us go out the Gate we will be Hawaii bound!” insists Jason Crowson of the new-to-the-Bay J/125 Rufless. “We are still pushing forward, getting the boat ready, and making sure we meet all the requirements. We are pretty close to being ready. Rufus is even finishing the last few touches on our emergency rudder, a thing of beauty and probably nicer than most boats’ main rudder! We are just trying to keep our social distancing while still getting everything ready to go,” Crowson further explained.
Crowson and his brother, Richmond-based boat builder and pro sailor Rufus Sjoberg, have recently acquired the boat from Europe and brought it back to the Bay to give the rare and venerable 40-ft J/Boats platform a full rebuild before their first race to Hawaii on it.
Former Pac Cup commodore and multi-time race veteran Buzz Blackett tells us how he’s been kept off the water but is still preparing for another Pacific Cup. “The need to shelter in place and California’s county and state orders pretty much stopped all of our sailing preparations. We’ve only gotten ‘io out in the ocean once and don’t know when we’ll get out again. Without sailing, I’ve shifted my focus to other new-boat stuff, like getting a VHF call sign and MMSI numbers for the radios, and working out gear stowage, sleeping, galley and other below-deck arrangements. We very much want to do the race, but recognize that there will have to be a lot of good news if it’s gonna happen anytime soon.”
Blackett and his co-skipper, famed naval architect Jim Antrim, are planning to race Buzz’s brand-new custom carbon fiber Antrim 27 ‘io. Both skippers turn 70 this year, but in their first outing on the new boat, they claimed first overall out of more than 300 starters in January’s Three Bridge Fiasco. The coronavirus may target ‘older’ people, but these two senior citizens are raring to race to Hawaii and compete for overall victory.
Out-of-town competitors such as Florida’s Peter Fray, skipper of the prototype Mini Transat 415, have to deal with not just the coronavirus but the resultant uncertainty and logistical hurdles involved with remotely preparing for a race that may not be.
“We joke around that the Vegas odds are 19:1 against a race,” Fray told us. “As such, we have delayed the shipping of our little boat to San Francisco until June. The boat is very close to ready, but I’m not investing in anything new at the moment, like sails or life raft. This will greatly impact my ability to get a PHRF certificate and inspections done before the race, but I can’t afford to ship the boat without a race. We desperately want to do the race and are hoping for positive news. If the race is on and my crew is healthy we will compete. We have been attending the seminars remotely. That’s actually a positive about the virus, because now the remote boats can attend these seminars.”
Revisiting the Question: Should We Be Sailing?
Here’s a tough question from a reader: “Could Latitude 38 help clarify the guidelines for the stay-at-home order?” The questioner goes on to say, “The City of Alameda and their police department have no guidelines to follow. In fact, I think the city government just realized that there are thousands of boats that call Alameda home.” With the authority vested in Latitude 38 (which is none), we say “maybe.”
Another comment we’ve seen: “I have carefully read the new version of Marin County’s Shelter in Place Order dated March 31. Section 13.a.iii describes permissible outdoor recreation activity as follows: “To engage in outdoor recreation activity, including, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, bicycling, and running, in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements and with the following limitations…”
The only limitation that may apply to sailing is 13.a.iii.4: “4. Sports or activities that include the use of shared equipment may only be engaged in by members of the same household or living unit.”
Here are our thoughts: Whoever has the unfortunate job of providing these guidelines is as confused as the rest of us. Medical professionals are collecting data and updating guidance faster than any of us can type or read. With this in mind, we don’t think everyone should be thinking, “Is there a ‘loophole’ for sailing? Fishing? Kayaking?” We should all be thinking, “What’s the most important thing to do right now?” To us, that is to support our medical professionals, first responders, neighbors and nation.
We can’t imagine everyone’s unique situation with their sailboat, so we do think it’s possible you can sail or work on your boat. Think about it in the same way you might go for a bike ride, or if working on your boat is like working in your back yard. If you live on your sailboat, as many people do, you are sheltering in place whether you do it in your slip or in Clipper Cove.
That said, we think people should be thinking about the ‘spirit’ of the guidance rather than the letter of the law. Our public servants, doctors, nurses and hospitals are straining under the looming threat. They’re asking us all to take a break for just a few weeks. It’s sunny, it’s springtime, and it’s frustrating. Yet nobody wants to put more strain on those who are charged with our care or whose care we may need. It’s interesting to note that the Craneway Pavilion, where we were all to be attending the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show in a couple of weeks, is currently being repurposed as a medical station for COVID-19 patients.
As we reminded readers in a ‘Lectronic Latitude earlier in the week, this may just be a time where we experience what sailors in Wisconsin, New York and Maine go through every off-season. We’d rather temporarily take a break than go through what New York is going through right now. We are as anxious as anyone to resume life as normal and get out sailing. However, we’re going to leave it to sailors to make their own decisions based on the best guidance of the day, to live by the intent of the guidance, and to put nation and neighbor first.
We recently heard this under a headline about being ‘tone-deaf’, that David Geffen, who bought Larry Ellison’s megayacht, shared with his 87,000 Instagram followers his escape to the Grenadines on his $590 million yacht to avoid the coronavirus pandemic. The posts created such a backlash among his shocked followers that he has since made his account private.
We all need fresh air, sunshine and exercise to stay healthy. We may need to check on our boats. Perhaps we can go sailing alone or with members of our own households. But just be conscious of the bigger world around us. And don’t post it on Instagram.
Did we clarify anything? We offer it as our opinion and are sure there are others. Be safe and healthy and we’ll see you on the Bay soon enough.
Visit the Canceled Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show
Even after all these years, we still love boat shows. Sadly, this year’s Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show was canceled. We’ll miss seeing and talking to our readers at our booth, miss seeing customers from near and far, miss seeing the new boats and gear. However, knowing all the work done by our customers, Sail America and the Latitude 38 staff to organize and promote the show, we just couldn’t throw it all away.
We did print the boat show guide. We were all set to put it in the mail, insert it into our April issue, and hand it out at the show. It didn’t get mailed, it’s not in the April issue, it won’t be at the show, and most copies will be recycled. However, we do want to let readers see what was going to be there and thank the advertisers who supported the show guide. All the exhibitors and speakers would still love to hear from you. Many boats that were shipped here from Europe, Asia and across the US are open for ‘virtual’ tours. Hardware companies, sailmakers and all the rest would still love to get your call.
Now we have even more to look forward to: more sailing on the Bay and another boat show in the future. That kid who said, “My parents brought me to the boat show and all I got was this lousy T-shirt,” will be even more disappointed. Unless you remember you can still get Latitude 38 T-shirts online here. Admit it, getting a new Latitude 38 T-shirt is really the main reason you come to the show in the first place.
Though much is on pause, you can still be dreaming and planning to sail south in the fall. In fact, seminar speaker Pat McIntosh offered to give our readers a download of his ‘Cruising Notes’ for Mexico for free so you can continue planning without the seminar and show. Live for today, plan for tomorrow.
We look forward to seeing you at a boat show and on the Bay soon.