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June 17, 2020

Abandoned Vessel ‘Freedom’ Spotted West of San Diego

A container ship has spotted the recently abandoned sailboat Freedom drifting approximately 400 miles west of San Diego. On May 20, three sailors en route to Pillar Point abandoned the 30-ft sailboat amid what they described as “harsh sea conditions.” The USCG team who rescued the trio later issued a safety Marine Information Broadcast warning mariners about the unmanned vessel. Nearly a month later, Freedom has been seen still afloat with her shredded sails trailing off the deck.

The USCG sent us this photo of the sailboat taken by crew on a passing container ship.

SV Freedom adrift
After several weeks adrift Freedom is still floating, but looks to be in sad shape.
© 2020 USCG

Happily Freedom‘s crew is safe and sound, but we’re curious about the boat. What is it? We weren’t able to find out from the owners what kind of boat it is (other than a sailboat of course) and are unable to identify it from the photo above.

Readers, do you know what this sailboat is? Drop us a line at [email protected], or drop it into the comments below. Either way, we’d love to hear from you.

Weekend Sailing on San Francisco Bay Was Looking Good

A sunny, mostly warm weekend brought out more sailors, and the waterfront took on some semblance of normalcy. The docks at Sam’s were looking busy, boats were plying Raccoon Strait, J/105s were practicing on the Cityfront, and Angel Island hosted boats both at anchor and on the docks. It’s not normal, but more people are figuring out how to enjoy more weekend time sailing.

Sams Tiburon
It was a beautiful weekend, and things were starting to look normal at Sam’s in Tiburon.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Masks and social distancing are still part of the regimen. With those tools in the quiver, people are also returning to waterfront living. Last week we asked where people are cruising to dine along the waterfront these days. We got a ton of suggestions, ranging from Le Garage in Sausalito to Jack London Square. If you found one of your favorite places open this weekend email us here.

Angel Island anchorage
These boats were anchored off the northeast corner of Angel Island.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Ayala Cove
While there are no people ashore in the background or boats on the mooring balls, these boats were enjoying time at the docks in Ayala Cove on Saturday afternoon.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Morris 36
A Morris 36 enjoyed the evening breeze in Belvedere Cove.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Keeping it simple, this Beneteau just unfurled the jib to cruise the North Bay.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Summer weekends are here. Richmond Yacht Club held the Bay’s first official beer can race last Wednesday. Other sailors continue to explore what feels right to them as they get back aboard their boats on the Bay. We hope to see you out there.

Last Call for Summer Sailstice

The days are getting longer, and slowly sailing is returning to some semblance of normalcy in the Bay Area. Summer will officially start this Saturday, June 20, and with it, on the longest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, we will celebrate the Summer Sailstice.

When the world sheltered in place due to COVID-19, Summer Sailstice was the only event to unwaveringly remain on the sailing calendar. Many questioned why it would not be canceled, but it turns out a pandemic is perfect for Summer Sailstice.

The Neenah-Nodaway Yacht Club will play Nautical Scrabble on Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin.
© 2020 NNYC

The reason is simple and lies in the ethos that created Sailstice 20 years ago. Summer Sailstice is a day for all sailors to celebrate the escape, freedom, chaos and joy of sailing together, while we’re separated by both distance and unique sailing passions.

It quickly became apparent that parties, raft-ups, open houses and other events that bring large groups of people together would not be possible. That didn’t seem like a good enough reason to throw in the towel for the 20th anniversary of Summer Sailstice. At that time, it seemed likely that Sailstice might consist of Zoom calls or watching sailing videos from home, but we were sure that one way or another, we could still celebrate sailing ‘together’.

The events map has exploded in recent weeks, with restrictions easing in many parts of the world. This year brings no exception to the diverse ways people are sailing and celebrating sailing, perhaps even more so than in years past.

Whangarei Marina
Whangarei Marina will celebrate the Winter Sailstice in New Zealand
© 2020 Whangarei Marina
The Alaska Sailing Club will celebrate the longest day of sailing in the Northern Hemisphere.
© 2020 Alaska Sailing Club
Virtual Sailing
The route for the Sailing in Second Life Novice Race for first-time virtual racers on Sailstice.
© 2020 Dave Bloch

The Alaska Sailing Club in Wasilla, Alaska, which will see the longest day of sailing, is planning informal racing to comply with local regulations. In New Zealand, the Whangarei Marina is hosting a Winter Sailstice party. Neenah-Nodaway Yacht Club, one of the oldest yacht clubs in the country, is hosting a day of Nautical Scrabble on Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin. The Annapolis Viper Fleet brings racing back to the Chesapeake on Sailstice. For those who can’t get out on the water, Second Life sailors have planned the largest virtual sailing event ever. They have even added a Novice race for those, like me, who have never sailed in the virtual world. Here on San Francisco Bay, the Yacht Racing Association is hosting a Photo Treasure Hunt.

YRA Photo Treasure Hunt. Keep it simple. Sail where you want, when you want, and post your hashtagged photos to Instagram.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

There is no wrong way to celebrate this weekend. If you haven’t put in your plans yet, there is still time. Don’t miss this opportunity to help make the 20th anniversary of Summer Sailstice the most memorable to date. There is a great list of prizes for anyone who participates, including a chance to win a week-long charter on the Chesapeake from Dream Yacht Charter. All you have to do is sign up, and celebrate sailing this weekend.

Will you be celebrating Summer Sailstice? Let us know how in the comments.

A New Record in the Transpac Tahiti Race

Although this year’s Transpac Tahiti race had to be postponed until 2022, nearly 42,000 ‘armchair racers’ took part in a virtual version of the 4,500-mile competition, vying to break the 11-day record set by Magnitude 80 in 2008.

Magnitude80 crew in Tahiti
Doug Baker and his crew pose for a photo op in 2008, after setting the new 11-day record.
© 2020 Transpac Tahiti

Although the traditional version of this Los Angeles to Papeete race has never drawn a huge field of contenders, the virtual version, facilitated by, drew more than 9,000 boats crewed by 41,974 virtual racers — and a new (virtual) record was set in the process: 10 days, 3 hours, 22 minutes. The winner was identified as Tigrou26120, a player who has 144 races on Virtual Regatta to his credit.

Among the 150 players from Tahiti, Polynesian skipper Isabelle Bouteiller put in a great performance, taking 40th place, with her virtual boat Teaonui. Another notable Tahitian performance by was by 18-year-old César Villa, who helmed the Tahiti Tourisme boat. He is one of the bright young stars of the Yacht Club of Tahiti, where he learned to sail at the age of 5. The race was also supported by legendary French racer Loïck Peyron and Tahitian Olympic medalist Billy Besson.

Billy Besson with Summer Sailstice flag
Billy Besson was the skipper of the French SailGP team last year. Here he is at the San Francisco event last May.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

“The race aroused real enthusiasm in Tahiti, and the number of players from all over the world exceeded our expectations,” declared Stéphanie Betz. After the big disappointment that we had to cancel the start of the ‘real’ race, for which we have been preparing for two years with the Transpacific Yacht Club in Los Angeles, the success of the Transpac Tahiti conducted on Virtual Regatta makes us even more determined and motivated to make the Transpac Tahiti 2022 a great success, with real racing boats and a new record to beat.

“We are now awaiting the closing of the finish line of the race on June 18 at noon, and the arrival of all the boats to organize the draw that will determine who, among the 9,000 players who beat the historic record, will win the two Air Tahiti Nui plane tickets.”

The World Famous L38
Here’s your June Caption Contest(!). Don’t forget to check the July issue for the winner, and top 10 runner-uppers.
Global Celebration of Sailing
Summer Sailstice was founded to get more people sailing and to connect sailors to start their summer of sailing 'together' on the solstice
An Abrupt Sponsorship End
One of the most prolific sponsorships in all of sailing has come to an abrupt end. French insurance company MACIF has withdrawn from racing maxi-trimarans, cutting loose their skipper, François Gabart.
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