Great job California! While we’re far from clear sailing, the efforts made by California citizens are allowing county health departments to adjust shelter-in-place restrictions. As a result, more outdoor work and recreation activities can resume. That includes boating. You are now allowed to go sailing with people you sleep with, i.e. members of your own household, and in compliance with all the other pandemic guidelines of social distance, wearing of masks in public, park closures, etc.
The most challenging aspect of trying to determine what’s legal is sorting out what is right for your county. In San Diego Bay, it was actually illegal to go boating over the last few weeks, and fines were being issued. CBS San Diego reports boating for members of single households is now allowed, but groups on party boats remain illegal.
The City of Berkeley has opened things up, saying it is OK to engage in outdoor recreational 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,” and goes with much more detailed requirements. It does not mention boating or sailing, but it also says ‘shared equipment’, which we think would include a crew on a sailboat, should only be used by members of the same household.
The 29 page Berkeley directive starts with this warning, “Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code § 120295 et seq.)” There are ways to get in trouble!
The city of San Francisco addresses watersports more directly, saying you can engage in “swimming, surfing, or paddling in the ocean or lakes; Boating, kayaking, and sculling (but only in craft used solely individuals or if by more than one individual, only by members of one household); Paddleboarding, kitesurfing, and windsurfing (with the individual’s own equipment).”
It does not specifically mention sailing but surely it is included. You can read the full 34-page document here.
We reached out to the Marin County health department COVID-19 response team on Thursday. They were meeting, and got back to us Friday evening with this response, “Outdoor recreation such as swimming, sailing or kayaking in the bay is not prohibited by the Order. Individuals may access the Bay for such outdoor activities but only if they comply with any restrictions on access and use that are established by the Health Officer, another government agency, or other entity that manages such area to reduce crowding and risk of transmission of COVID-19. If you can access the Bay in compliance with the Health Officer Order Directing All Parks to Close to Motorized Access, you can utilize the Bay as you would a park or trail for recreational activities.
“Stay safe and please practice social distancing.”
Other good news is the ability of outdoor contractors to get back to work. If you’ve been wanting to get a rigger or other tradesperson on your boat for repairs it would be fine as long as everyone continues to meet all other aspects of health safety protocols. This is good news for many businesses that have been on hold while sheltering from this storm. Circumstances could vary widely so calling in advance would be wise.
Additionally, public launch ramps are opening back up in the Delta. Check the Delta Chambers website, which also advises calling first. Again rules varied by county as the public launch ramp in Sausalito has been closed but the ramps in Alameda were always open.
Trends are improving but national, state, and county health officials remind us all we should not be complacent. There is an ongoing threat and trends can reverse. We chafe at the restrictions on our life but also are very appreciative that we’re not in the role of drafting or enforcing the legislation needed to overcome this threat. You can expect things to remain fluid and hard to navigate, so it will be necessary to be attentive as regulations and circumstances are subject to change.
We also remind ourselves that the rules are being created in the midst of great uncertainty for our very first pandemic are put in place not to punish us but to keep us all healthy and avoid a major catastrophe. We are excited both to be able to go sailing and to expand our outdoor activities. However, we remain committed to our mutual goal of restoring some semblance of normal life, restoring the economy while avoiding putting first responders and our friends and family in the line of fire of COVID-19.
We look forward to being able to invite our friends and crews back out sailing soon again too.
This article was updated on Saturday morning to add the information from Marin County: “We reached out to the Marin County health department COVID-19 response team on Thursday. They were meeting that evening and got back to us Friday evening with this response, “Outdoor recreation such as swimming, sailing or kayaking in the bay is not prohibited by the Order. Individuals may access the bay for such outdoor activities but only if they comply with any restrictions on access and use that are established by the Health Officer, another government agency, or other entity that manages such area to reduce crowding and risk of transmission of COVID-19. If you can access the bay in compliance with the Health Officer Order Directing All Parks to Close to Motorized Access, you can utilize the bay as you would a park or trail for recreational activities.
“Stay safe and please practice social distancing.”
Since sometime way back in 1977, Latitude 38 has never missed publishing a monthly issue. We might be living in strange times, but the times are not strange enough to make us miss an issue now! Thus the May issue of the magazine blooms, in print and online, on May Day. Even as we post this, our dedicated delivery drivers are making the rounds of Bay Area distribution points. Subscriptions, including 137 additional ‘Shelter-in-Place Specials’, go out in today’s mail. FedEx Ground boxes will ship on Monday.
The Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay is sending May magazines to their current mailing list, as they did with the April issue — a pleasant surprise for sailors staying home. The YRA, like Latitude 38, is doing all they can to see sailors through this temporary inconvenience.
Getting the magazine to you is only a small piece of our operation, however. We pour the vast majority of our time and energy into content. In addition to stepping up our postings on ‘Lectronic Latitude during the pandemic, we included the following in the May issue:
- A look back at the Master Mariners Regatta.
- A feature on Electric Drive.
- A profile of pro sailor and Olympic hopeful Riley Gibbs of Southern California.
- Part 2 of our celebration of the Islander 36’s 50th anniversary.
- Max Ebb on the Graveyard Shift.
- Sightings includes part 2 of a San Francisco sailor’s Clipper Race saga, reviews summer reading selections, updates the status of the Delta Doo Dah, Baja Ha-Ha and Summer Sailstice, reports on the restoration of the schooner Viveka, and rings eight bells for a sailing maven and matriarch.
- Racing Sheet goes Spinning and Drifting with Captain Midnight, sails some virtual beer can races, checks in with Santa Cruz Yacht Club, wraps up a last few Midwinters standings, issues updates on events ranging from the Singlehanded Farallones to the Tokyo Olympics, and, alas, rings eight bells again, this time for schoonerman Paul Plotts of Dauntless.
- World of Charter features a guide to the fleet of Bay Area Crewed Charter Vessels.
- Changes in Latitudes includes reports from Convergence, currently holed up in Mexico; Baja Fog, starting their cruise with one crisis and ending with another; Bay Wolf, proudly watching a seasoned sailing daughter sail away with the Coast Guard; and a bunch of Cruise Notes.
- Calendar continues to be a challenge, and we encourage readers and event organizers to keep us posted on schedule shuffles.
- Letters, Loose Lips, and Classy Classifieds wrap up this issue, with lots of help from our display advertisers. Now more than ever, we encourage you to support the businesses that make Latitude possible.
The pandemic continues to be an ongoing voyage of discovery. We’d rather be sailing, but we’ve appreciated the opportunity to tune in to a wide variety of virtual events hosted by inspired sailing organizations around the Bay. Last weekend, it was the Pacific Interclub Yachting Association’s Virtual Opening Day on the Bay. Organized by Vice Commodore Patti Mangan of South Beach Yacht Club in San Francisco and Staff Commodore Winston Bumpus of the Club at Westpoint in Redwood City, the event drew more than 150 people and dozens of model-boat entries from yacht clubs all over the Bay Area to a Zoom meeting.
On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, we found ourselves sheltered in place and looking at computer screens, but also looking forward to getting back on the water. Until that day, the virtual world is filling a bit of the sailing void in our lives.
Inspired, we pulled out an old model we’d put together — with the help of the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center at a Master Mariners Wooden Boat Show — and turned it into an all-carbon, foiling, logo-plastered racing machine. We even took it sailing, and it worked! After our test sail, we put in a call to Jim Antrim to see if he can help adjust the foil design for improved performance. There’s hope.
Once we launched the boat, we continued our voyage by recording its short sail across the Corinthian Yacht Club harbor. Then, using an iMovie template, we rendered it into an amateur one-minute video trailer. The result is something only our always-supportive mother would love. The ‘movie’ could probably be improved by the YouTube office mascot, but we were happy just to have something to contribute.
Having a parade of boats on your computer replace the excitement of a parade of boats on the Bay is virtually impossible. Still, it’s amazing what a mix of new technology, creativity and hard work can do for the soul when the real Opening Day is not possible. Hats off to PICYA for producing the best-possible pandemic parade alternative, and their continued efforts in organizing and uniting clubs in Northern California. To see the full program, click here.
After 44 days of seeing the world through a computer screen, we can’t wait to see everyone out sailing the Bay.
Despite the uncertainty about the near future, registration for the 12th annual Delta Doo Dah cruising rally has been robust. Since we opened entries on April 20, we’ve received 35 sign-ups. Already this spring, some Bay Area boats have been sailing in the Delta, either singlehanded or crewed by couples. The weather has been lovely, the breezes have been blowing, and many businesses, including marinas and launch ramps, are open for business, having adapted to current safety measures.
Registration for Delta Doo Dah Dozen is free, quick and easy. We’ll welcome registrations through August, but we’re cutting off pre-orders for hats ($20 each) and burgees ($22 each) today. We’ll order a few extras, but if you want to be sure to get yours, sign up today. When you place your order with your registration, we waive the postage and handling fee. Prices include California sales tax.
Our first official event this season will be the Kickoff Party and Delta Cruising Seminar, starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 16. Richmond Yacht Club again generously volunteered to host this gathering, but it’s looking like we’ll have to hold it online instead. Everyone who registers for this year’s Delta Doo Dah will receive a Zoom invitation via email. We’ll still be able to raffle off ‘door’ prizes; Owl Harbor and Delta Bay Marina, among others, have already donated prizes. We’ll have more on this and other upcoming events in a future ‘Lectronic Latitude post.