Good News! Last Friday Matthew Turner passed the test!
No, this time it’s not the COVID-19 test (thank heaven), but rather the final test for a Certificate of Inspection (COI) from the US Coast Guard. The final ‘test’ was the Man Overboard (MOB) drill, and thanks to lots of practice, drilling and efficient crew, Matthew Turner passed with flying colors, and is now officially a Coast Guard “Inspected Vessel” — able to carry passengers for hire.
It’s been a long journey from November 2013 when Sausalito nonprofit Call of the Sea held a ceremony to bless Matthew Turner’s wooden keel in a big tent at Marina Plaza, Sausalito. Many Latitude readers will remember it well.
Then followed what can arguably be called the greatest-ever volunteer building project on the Sausalito waterfront, with talented carpenters, contractors, doctors, bakers, a psychologist, tech workers, secretaries, flight attendants, and more. Both male and female, and both young and old — they all came as time allowed, and worked thousands of hours. They fashioned a veritable forest of trees (all sustainably grown and all donated) into frames, planks, deck, cabin, spars, bunks, tables, and more. The volunteers turned reels of wire and rope into rigging, fabricated metal blocks and fittings, and sewed sail covers, cushions, and curtains. Electricians and mechanics helped install state-of-the-art electrical propulsion, wire the ship, and install plumbing systems and state-of-the-art electronics for navigation. And every step of the way the Coast Guard was there to inspect, from frames to planks to deck, to rig, to sails.
Year by year, project by project, the Coast Guard came to inspect fire suppression and electrical systems, and last year, stability — placing weights on deck to test the heel of the hull. Matthew Turner passed them all with flying colors. After more than six years of building, launch, rigging, fitting out, and installing final systems, Matthew Turner was ready to do her inaugural sail on April 16, 2020. One more test — the MOB — was scheduled. That was the final ‘exam,’ as it were, for Matthew Turner. Both the ship and the crew were ready. But then COVID-19 hit.
Like many other organizations across the USA and around the world, Call of the Sea was forced to suspend the project and furlough employees, including crew — all of Matthew Turner’s as well as those working aboard their existing schooner, Seaward. The organization was forced to give up the lease on its office and then shelter at home. Only very limited projects, performed by one or two persons under strict COVID-19 prevention protocols with social distancing and masks, were allowed. Like many others who followed California’s guidelines, everyone else stayed at home. Matthew Turner’s final Coast Guard test for MOB was now delayed until California state and US Coast Guard protocols permitted.
After months of sheltering, compliance, staying safe and observing protocols, passenger vessels were finally able to do limited charters, and Call of the Sea was able to schedule the MOB drill for Matthew Turner. Thanks to Matthew Turner captain Adrian McCullough’s extensive contacts in the tall-ship world, several new crew members were hired to fill the complement of six crew. Man-overboard recovery under sail training sessions were held over several weeks, and finally last Friday, July 17, Matthew Turner’s final ‘test’ was performed flawlessly — picking up a weighted dummy under FULL SAIL (this is a 132-ft-long tall ship, mind you). Captain McCullough had drilled the crew well, assisted by his tall-ship ‘dream team,’ which included First Mate Cassie Sleeper, long-time Matthew Turner crew and rigger extraordinaire Noah Limbach, long-time volunteer and tall-ship sailor Virginia “Dinnie” Jay, and long-time Matthew Turner volunteer Randall Landaisch, a computer programmer by day and profession, but who loves to be aloft.
The rest of the ‘dream team’ was rounded out by tall-ship sailor Aida Morgan Russell and Reno Cambridge, tall-ship sailor and rigger for San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. And last but not least, local tall-ship sailor, rigger, technician, and one of the best crew members any boat could ask for, Jimmie Marquez. The ‘dream’ crew were able to retrieve the ‘man overboard’ successfully, and were awarded the coveted and long-awaited Certificate of Inspection.
Now that Matthew Turner has her COI, plans are to schedule educational voyages with a limited number of participants from local schools, colleges, and other nonprofit organizations when deemed safe by county, state and federal authorities, and with strict guidelines observed. Call of the Sea invites schools, their students, and adults who want to participate in seminars and educational voyages to experience and explore our bays and oceans, as only a sailing ship can do. Matthew Turner and the crew are waiting for you.
If any of our readers would like to know more about the history and construction of Matthew Turner please visit www.callofhesea.org.
In the July issue of Latitude 38 Island Yacht Club member and Santana 22 owner Ros de Vries wrote a story on the demise of the Island Yacht Club building, formerly located at Alameda Marina. Although the club is currently without a clubhouse, they went ahead and launched their Island Nights Friday night twilight series on July 10. They’ll run the remaining races on July 24, August 7 and 21, and September 11. The race committee volunteers perch on the end of the Alameda Marina dock in front of Svendsen’s old Travelift, as usual. The divisions are new: Sailors can enter the Singlehanded, Doublehanded or Household/Bubble Division. Crews of the latter two must have been sheltering together in the same household or be members of the same “Social Bubble” as defined by the Alameda County Health Order.
Additionally, IYC members are continuing to plan for their traditional fall Women’s Sailing Seminar to be held on November 14-15, 2020 — but they’re taking it online this year due to COVID-19.
Ros’s story in the July issue begins: “I live in the Mission District of San Francisco. Due to a concentration of rental properties and working-class residents, the proximity to the City, and an influx of highly paid workers, the Mission has developed a lively activist scene whose mother cause is affordable housing and the fight against gentrification.
“Now, if you’ve found housing that’s affordable and secure, there’s little incentive to take upon yourself the activist mantle. ‘I don’t believe in gentrification,’ a sailing buddy told me once. ‘We all just exist together, right?’
“Like this buddy, it is certain that many yacht club members — the majority being older, white and educated — have never been threatened by gentrification. They are, after all, the gentry. But privately owned waterfront land is desirable and in limited supply. With only four yacht clubs in the Bay Area holding their own titles, it’s inevitable that property developers would find a yacht club or two standing between them and their next ‘community’ of sleek waterfront condos.”
You can read the rest of Ros’s account by picking up the print edition of Latitude 38 or reading online here.
“They are calling it a one-in-500-year rainfall here in Whangarei,” friends of Latitude Lewis and Alyssa Allen of the Island Packet 420 Levana told us over the weekend. Whangarei (pronounced fong-ah-ray), a boating hub on the east coast of the North Island, recorded 214 millimeters of rain — that’s almost eight and a half inches — in 24 hours on July 17, and a further 44 mm the following day, according to New Zealand’s MetService.
“[We] spent the morning helping our dock neighbors on the Island Packet 380 Peppermint Patty get a whole tree out from under the rudder and self-steering gear. You can walk on the debris between the boats, it’s so thick!” (Tyeler and Haley Quentmeyer, veterans of the 2019 Pacific Puddle Jump, are the owners of Peppermint Patty, which hails from San Francisco.)
Radio New Zealand said that the full extent of the damage caused by the floods — which were concentrated in New Zealand’s Northland, or the northern tip of the North Island — is still not clear. Several water-treatment plants were damaged during the deluge. “In Whangarei, residents are being asked to halve their water use,” RNZ said. “Two of the city’s three plants are partially working, and up to 80% of the water normally needed for the city is being produced. However, the Whangārei District Council says unless there is a 50% water saving, the city runs the risk of running out.”
J/105 North Americans Postponed until 2021
The J/105 Class Association, Annapolis Yacht Club and J/105 Fleet #3 have determined, because of the varying levels of infection and disruption across the world, that this year’s J/105 North American Championship scheduled for October 29-November 1 will instead be raced October 28-31, 2021.
“We were hopeful when we sent out the Notice of Race that COVID-19 would be a distant memory by the time the event took place at the end of October, but unfortunately, that may not be the case,” said Cedric Lewis, owner of Mirage and event co-chair. “The Organizing Committee recommended postponing the event until we can hold a true Championship and offer sponsors the visibility that is expected when supporting an event.”
Previously scheduled J/105 North American Championships will shift back one year as follows: San Francisco YC (Belvedere) in 2022, American YC (Rye, NY) in 2023, and Edgewater YC (Cleveland, OH) in 2024.
Ocean Race Postponed a Year
Organizers of 14th edition of The Ocean Race (ex-Volvo, ex-Whitbread) have confirmed that they will push back the start of the next edition by one year. The plan now is to start in October 2022 from Alicante, Spain, and finish in Genova, Italy, in summer 2023 during the 50th anniversary year of the around-the-world race first run in 1973. The Ocean Race is fully crewed and features multiple stopovers in ports around the globe.
The next edition will offer classes for two types of boats: IMOCA 60 and the one-design VO65. Ten teams, including the American 11th Hour Racing team, have registered in the IMOCA class, and eight, including Team Mexico, signed up in the VO65 class.
The next three editions of The Ocean Race will take place in 2022-23, in 2026-27 and in 2030-31.
Meet the Olympic US Sailing Team
The sailors nominated to Team USA for the 2021 Olympics will go live with Briana Provancha. (Provancha sailed with Annie Haeger in the 470 class in Rio 2016.) The Olympians discuss their preparations for Tokyo. Tune in on Thursday, July 23, at 1 p.m. PDT on US Sailing’s Starboard Portal to watch. Go to www.ussailing.org/starboard-portal.