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June 19, 2020

‘Matthew Turner’ Approaches Final Checks

Locally built brigantine Matthew Turner provided a picturesque spectacle last weekend as she sailed through some of her final system checks and drills. The ship’s exercises also provided plenty of excellent photo opportunities. San Francisco Bay is known for its abundance of sailing eye candy. But how often do locals see tall ships fly a full set of sails?

Matthew Turner flies her sails on the Bay
One can never underestimate the beauty of a tall ship under sail.
© 2020 Benson Lee

The 132′ brigantine spent the weekend shaking out her sails across the Bay and beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Matthew Turner‘s captain Adrian McCullough says the ship is very close to her final USCG Certificate of Inspection. “This week the ship went out and we practiced setting the sails, maneuvering, and completing drills in preparation for our Coast Guard inspection. The ship looked and sailed the best it ever has.”

While everyone is working hard to get the vessel “operational as soon as possible,” local nonprofit group Call of the Sea is looking forward to welcoming her to their operational fleet.

Matthew Turner sails beneath Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge skews the perspective of the brigantine’s 100-ft mast.
© 2020 Benson Lee

Matthew Turner will join the schooner Seaward in providing on-the-water education for youth and community members across the region.

Mathew Turner will join Call of the Sea's fleet.
Matthew Turner is a replica of the Galilee — one of 228 vessels built by the prolific ship designer and builder Matthew Turner.

Given her historic lines and classic beauty it is easy to imagine Matthew Turner as a fully traditional vessel. However her modern-day construction includes several innovative engineering and electrical features.

Matthew Turner sails by Alcatraz
The old and the new; two icons representing a similar era.
© 2020 Benson Lee

Have you crewed or captained a tall ship — original or replica? Tell us about your favorite historic vessel.

The Weird Wind and Weather Continue

“Attached is a photo taken from the El Cerrito hills, on the Bay, in the late afternoon of May 24 — I’ve seen this phenomenon many times but this is the first time I documented it,” wrote Larry Radcliffe.

Can you see the ‘streaks’?
© 2020 Larry Radcliffe

“It shows what looks to me like bands of wind changes in the moderate breeze. Does anyone know what causes the phenomenon observed?  And of importance to racers on the Circle, is it indicative of wind shifts or puffs?

“Just curious.”

Excellent question, Larry. After 15 years of sailing in Berkeley (but usually on the Marina side as opposed to the Circle), I can attest to these occasional ‘streaks’ of wind. On more than a few occasions, I’ve been rigging, and have watched a 25-knot gust envelop the Marina, followed by a near-glassy patch behind it, with another 25-knot gust behind that, and so on.

What’s more, this type of on/off wind seems to have characterized the Bay Area’s weather for the last few weeks — especially at the beginning of the month. Many of my dedicated sailing friends say the weather has been indicative of gusty spring conditions, where the wind is far less ‘stable’ than the summer sea breezes, and typically has more north in it.

Anyway, Latitude Nation, we’re putting the question to you. What’s been going on? Is this “phenomenon’ simply part of any normal weather variance that, once  sailors — frustrated by the conditions — start to mull it over in their obsessive minds, suddenly becomes an inexplicable aberration? Or is there a really cool explanation behind this? Or is everything about the world broken right now, including the wind?

Please comment below, or write us here.

New Listings from Passage Nautical

Author Isak Dinesen said, “The cure for everything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.”

This week, get your salt water fix with Passage Nautical’s new listings, a 2008 Beneteau 46 and 2007 Beneteau 49 Anna.

This beautifully maintained 2008 Beneteau 46 is offered for sale by Javier Jerez at Passage Nautical, located in Jack London Square in Oakland, CA.

Take a walk-through tour of a 2007 Beneteau 49 offered for sale by Torben Bentsen of Passage Nautical, located in Point Richmond, CA.

The Latest Yacht Racing Updates

Bay Area Beer Can Racing

We’ll lead off with some good news: “A muffled cheer may be heard around the docks,” writes the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon. “The Coast Guard has resumed permitting of racing on the Bay (subject to local health regulations). So put on your best mask, take a swig of hand sanitizer*, collect your crew from around the house, and sign up. We’re reopening Friday night racing starting the 26th, tentatively!” Sign up at

Tequila Mockingbird flying a spinnaker
An unusual north wind prompts a spinnaker run out of Belvedere Cove in a Corinthian Friday night race last July. This is the Express 27 Tequila Mockingbird.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

(*But, um, you know better than to swig hand sanitizer, right? It goes on your… hands.)

Any other Bay Area beer cans getting ready to roll? Email the racing editor here.

The Latest from the YRA

“All June OYRA races are canceled,” advises Laura Muñoz, executive director of the Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay. The OYRA is the offshore arm of the YRA. OYRA races in June were to have been the Farallones Race on June 13 and the Half Moon Bay Race on June 27. The OYRA has no races scheduled for July on account of the Pacific Cup (long since canceled).

The YRA’s Westpoint Regatta is canceled too. In normal years, the Westpoint Regatta sails from Treasure Island, with the start run by Treasure Island YC, to Redwood City. Sequoia YC presides over the finish and throws a big party. SeqYC and Westpoint Harbor host the arriving boats.

But there’s hope yet. “We are still going forward with the Encinal Regatta at the end of July,” added Laura. That’s the regatta better known for decades as the 2nd Half Opener. “We’re not sure what the race will look like yet, but we are planning on having a race.”

News from SoCal

The J/70 World Championship, scheduled to be held at the California Yacht Club in 2020, has been postponed to August 7-15, 2021.

Balboa Yacht Club has postponed the 54th Governor’s Cup Youth International Match Race Championship until next summer. They’d been planning to host it on July 20-25, 2020, in Newport Beach. The 2021 dates will be July 19-24.

The Governor’s Cup steering committee chair, Andy Rose, said, “It was a very tough vote for all of us. But, after a thorough briefing by BYC fleet surgeon and internationally prominent neurosurgeon Dr. Rob Bray on the COVID-19 situation, and extensive communication with invitees and coaches, we determined that holding or postponing the Cup until later in the year was not feasible.”

And Beyond

Although the more famous Chicago-Mackinac Race was canceled, Bayview YC in Detroit plans to host the Bayview Mackinac Race, starting on July 11. The 204-mile course sails up Lake Huron to Mackinac Island.

The Viper 640 Class has canceled the 2020 North American Championship. Noroton YC in Darien, CT, was to have hosted the Women’s NAs on September 26-28, followed by the Open Championship on September 30-October 4.

Viper Worlds
An image from the 2019 Viper Worlds, held in Long Beach last August.
© 2020 Sharon Green / Ultimate Sailing

The 50th Sunfish Worlds, to be hosted by Sarasota Sailing Squadron in Florida, have been postponed until late April or May 2021. The 2020 Sunfish World Championship had been planned for October 18-24. The 2021 Worlds had been planned for Lake Garda, Italy. Instead, Lake Garda will host the championship in 2022. See

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