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July 1, 2020

A Bird’s-Eye View of Wednesday Beer Can Racing

It’s that time of the week again. Nothing beats Wednesday night beer can racing!

Back in the Before Times, the ancient historic winter months such as last January, many of us commuted to archaic offices and worked in beige cubicles with photos of our boats on the walls. We dreamed of summer cruises or Pacific Cups. Perhaps we pondered new antifouling paint for our spring haulout, or a new Magma barbecue. We looked forward to beer can racing. Ah yes, those evening commutes in the early twilight, long ago.

Well, summer’s here! Some of us are working from home, and others of us have lots of free time for sailing. With everything that has gone down, there’s still nothing better than an evening of summer beer can racing on San Francisco Bay.

Beer Can racers approach the green marker to finish the race
A group of beer can racers approach the finish line at Killer Green.
© 2020 Susan Burden

Wednesday’s weather at Richmond Yacht Club (RYC) was just about perfect. There was wind, unlike the previous week, a drifter that resulted in zero boats finishing. There was a good turnout, notable for many women skippers on the starting line like Cindy Evans, new owner of the Express 34 Joy Ride, and Julia Paxton on the Express 27 Motorcycle Irene.

The starts are getting more competitive too, especially in the Alerion Express 28, a growing and active fleet. But the motto of Richmond Yacht Club is “This Club Was Built for Fun,” and Eric Arens, the longtime master of ceremonies, keeps the level of intensity low. A fleet of five Lasers, both adults and juniors, showed up for some wave-crashing upwind sailing to the Bob Klein Memorial Buoy, followed by wave-riding downwind.

Eric Arens readies his horn to start the Wednesday night race
Eric Arens readies his horn to start the Wednesday night race
© 2020 Susan Burden

Meanwhile, our friend Chris Sullivan launched his drone from the public park at Ferry Point. He took some great shots of the Richmond Yacht Club harbor and the start of the race, which you can see here. We pick up the action below as the lead Alerion Express 28, sailed by Fred Paxton and Jennifer McKenna, is rounding the end of the breakwater. We’re sailing our new-to-us Laser — it’s our maiden voyage! Suddenly we hear the buzzing of a drone. Hi, Chris!


Joy Ride finishes the race with new owner pumping her fist
New owner Cindy Evans pumps her fist as Joy Ride crosses the finish line.
© 2020 Susan Burden

Chris’s drone video, with its pelican’s-eye view, transforms our upwind bash in the brown waters of Southampton Shoal into a slow-motion ballet. There were a lot of sailors wearing big grins on their faces as we passed Killer Green for the finish, but some smiles were hidden under our masks.

Now that you’ve read about how much fun it is, get yourself out there for some Wednesday night action with Beer Can Racing!

Newest Latitude Magazine Hits the Docks Today

We made it! Summer has come. We’re halfway to Christmas. And despite this year’s unusual (to say the least) national and global upheaval, we’ve pulled together and produced a great edition of Latitude 38 magazine for your reading pleasure — and ours!

This month we welcome our newest magazine distributors, Englund Marine. Remember to pick up your copy when you stop by their store in Eureka.

When you pack your gear to sail on this 4th of July weekend remember to include the new issue of Latitude 38.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC /

Here’s a preview of what’s inside the July issue:

The Perfect Day Sail

There is method to the divine madness of sailing San Francisco Bay. One way to learn it is to throw the sails up and blunder around for about five years until you figure it out. This can be fun if you are young and looking for thrills. However, for those of a more mature or efficient nature, there is a better way, and you’re holding it in your hands.

Pefect sailing on the Bay
Picture-perfect sailing is possible!
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Latitude 38 Archives

Max Ebb: The Sound of Sailing

This was my first attempt at singlehanded spinnaker, and everything was going fine until my first singlehanded spinnaker jibe.

“I need just two more inches! Just two more inches.”

I looked back at the cockpit, but there was no one there.

Transom shot
Traditional outboard rudders have a notch and some scrollwork to make a good boarding step. It’s not just decorative.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Max Ebb

And of course, we have included all the regular features that you love, and stories that will keep you entertained all month long:

  • Letters: Advice for a Sailing Newbie; A Singlehanded Farallones Report; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and Mayan.
  • The status of Island Yacht Club.
  • Wednesdays with Patita.
  • A fantastic guide on Dine-Out Cruising.
  • World of Chartering features local sailing in the Delta.
  • And Changes in Latitudes takes you all over the place with sailors doing what sailors love and do best.

Find your July issue here, or read it online here.

Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous Date Change

Put it in your calendar — the 2020 Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendez-vous is now scheduled for July 24-26. This annual three-day event celebrates cruising sailors’ arrival in the French Polynesian islands after a successful ocean crossing.

2020 Tahiti Moorea Rendez-vous Flyer
The dates may have changed but the fun will be the same — if not better!
© 2020 Tahiti Moorea Sailing RDV

Each year between May and August, nearly 700 sailing boats and superyachts cross the Pacific Ocean and stop over in the lagoons, with July being the busiest month due to the good downwind sailing. The Tahiti-Moorea Sailing RDV aims to give cruisers a warm Polynesian welcome and introduce visitors to the islands’ charm, their warm-hearted inhabitants, and the richness of the Polynesian culture.

Does this sound appealing? Make sure you register now to get on board for this 15th annual sailing event:

Fireworks New Boating Safety Concern

Two North American countries celebrate their independence from British rule this week.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Fourth of July is traditionally recreational boating’s busiest time of year. With COVID-19, it certainly won’t be the same. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has a few boating safety reminders just in time for the holiday.

Booze and BUI

Your passengers become your responsibility as soon as you pull away from the dock. Think twice about loading up the boat with a cooler full of beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks. Booze is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.

“Just because the captain is sober doesn’t mean alcohol should be free-flowing aboard your boat,” said Ted Sensenbrenner, BoatUS Foundation’s assistant director of Boating Safety. “The stressors of a hot sun, wind and waves all day when combined with alcohol can intensify the effects of inebriation, increasing the risk of a passenger slip or fall overboard or worse. Save the alcohol for celebrating after you have safely returned home for the night.”

You won’t be out on the water alone. Operation Dry Water will heighten BUI awareness and enforcement during the three-day weekend of July 3−5, and law enforcement officers will be on alert for those violating boating-under-the-influence laws. Agencies from all 50 states will participate for increased enforcement.


Sailors must follow social-distancing guidelines, but that’s not the only COVID-related concern. Most local community fireworks displays have been canceled this year, so some boaters may wish to put on their own fireworks show and take to the water with pyrotechnics. “With gallons of fuel aboard and other flammable materials, you would be truly risking lives,” said Sensenbrenner. “It’s not worth the risk. There is no safe place aboard a boat suitable for using fireworks.”

Many counties and municipalities ban DIY fireworks, but stands pop up in rural communities at this time of year as fundraisers for nonprofits.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Those of us following Coast Guard requirements for flares, and especially those of us carrying the mandated equipment for offshore racing, have already loaded up our boats with dangerous pyrotechnics! But don’t fire off your expired flares for Fourth of July fun either — that would be illegal, dangerous and just plain wrong.

Box of flares
Yes, you have to carry these pyrotechnics aboard your boat. But don’t fire them off unless you are in need of rescue.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Latitude 38 offices will be closed this Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day. We wish everyone a safe and fun Fourth of July weekend. And, to our readers north of the border, Happy Canada Day!

Frigate Bird Misses Mast
Frigate Birds are an oddity among seabirds in that they never go in the water. Indeed, if a Frigate does somehow end up in the drink, it will likely drown in short order.
Bay Station Band Goes Virtual
Local musical artists, Bay Station Band will perform their annual 'Love The Bay Music & Sailing' tour this week, as a virtual event. Almost a decade ago, California-based songwriter/musicians Kwame Copeland and Deborah Crooks combined their love of sailing with their love for music.
What's in a number?
Nation — We will take any and all latitude theme establishments that you might have come across in your international travels.
Off to the Races
During the month of June, a lot of good news crossed the Latitude 38 Racing Desk. Now to figure out whose races are on, and which organizers are still holding off.
A New Look and New Features
Latitude 38’s Classy Classifieds is the place to buy or sell boats — as well as marine gear, trailers, liferafts, boat partnerships, trades and more.