Hurricane Laura made landfall in the early hours of Thursday morning, bringing sustained winds of up to 150 mph. As the northern eyewall of the hurricane raced over Cameron Parish, Louisiana, NOAA’s Hurricane Center issued an update urging all to “Take action now to protect your life!”
The Category 4 hurricane was forecast to strike southwestern Louisiana with a “catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds and flash flooding.” Earlier in the day, social media users were talking about an “unsurvivable storm surge,” while authorities were urging people to evacuate, and for those who chose to stay, to write their name, address, social security number and next of kin, and carry the information in their pocket in a Ziploc bag. “Praying that it does not come to this,” the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
After her initial landfall Laura was downgraded to a Tropical Depression, but not before causing a trail of destruction and killing at least six people. According to The New York Times four of the people died in separate incidents when trees fell onto the homes in which they were sheltering; a 24-year-old man died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his home; and a man drowned when his boat sank. The storm then continued to track across the state, causing widespread damage throughout southwestern Louisiana and leaving thousands of people without power or water.
Damaging winds and heavy rains are continuing as the depression moves slowly northeast. As of 7 a.m. (PDT) NOAA advised that flash floods are possible for portions of northeast Arkansas, southeast Missouri, western Kentucky and Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and northwest Alabama, with some regions expecting up to five inches of rain.
Laura is expected to cross the mid-Atlantic coastline by late Saturday and be absorbed by an approaching cold front.
Meanwhile, in the Eastern Pacific, two unnamed weather systems we reported on last Friday are now known as Tropical Depression Hernan and Tropical Storm Iselle. Hernan is currently moving northwest across the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula with wind speeds of less than 39 mph. As of 8 a.m. today, Iselle was situated at 18.3°N 115.3°W, moving northeastward with winds of around 60 mph. She is expected to begin weakening late tonight.
As always, stay safe out there, wherever you may be.
As Labor Day approaches we’ve sent out an end-of-summer newsletter to participants in the 12th Annual Delta Doo Dah. Despite the challenging times, the Doo Dah has been a huge success. We sent the newsletter to participants, but it’s not as if we’re trying to hide the information from everyone else!
Since the Delta Doo Dah is a DIY event, it was able to happen rather seamlessly, despite restrictions due to the pandemic.
There are always silver linings to less-than-ideal circumstances. This year, that was the number of folks who headed off to explore this amazing cruising destination, right in our back yard. We had many first-timers, families and veterans who joined the Doo Dah as part of a fleet of 90 registered boats. You can read the complete August Delta Doo Dah newsletter here.
Recently we’ve found ourselves dreaming of far-off places where the air is clear and breezes are fair, and we imagine we’re not the only ones. And although right now may not be the best time for a Caribbean charter, it’s always fun to read stories about other people’s adventures. Here’s a story about a Caribbean charter, and a wedding, from this month’s Latitude.
We can’t help ourselves — we love St. Vincent and the Grenadines. So, we returned again for 28 days from December 20, 2019, to January 18, 2020.
This would be a somewhat different trip because Yumi and I had earlier decided to get married on Bequia at the Frangipani Hotel. The trip itinerary was two weeks on the boat and two weeks in a cottage on Bequia.
Our friends and neighbors, Andy and Libby Vevers, joined us on the boat for the second year in a row. We decided to take the new weekly American Airlines flight from Miami to St. Vincent, which leaves every Saturday. From the airport, you can grab a taxi ($80 EC or roughly $30 USD) to the one-hour ferry ride to Admiralty Bay, Bequia.
We chartered the same boat we sailed last year — Cinnamon of Falmouth, a Bavaria 40 — from Sail Grenadines. We continue to love this charter company.
It is low-key, the staff are super-helpful and friendly, and the boat check-out is painless. We had pre-provisioned with the basics, and after shopping at Knights and Doris’, and picking up a lobster pizza from Mac’s Pizzeria to eat underway, we shoved off on December 22 for Mayreau. (We must note that Doris’ no longer has bakery items! Sad, but true. Go to Lina’s across from the ferry terminal.)
The conditions throughout the trip were awesome, as usual, with about 18 knots of wind from the east at the beginning, but then lightening to 12 knots. We like Saline Bay on Mayreau over the more famous Salt Whistle Bay because it is low-key, and there is plenty of room to drop an anchor with lots of chain and swing. After a pasta dinner back on Cinnamon, we settled in to play dominoes, drink rum, and chat about our plans.
In the morning, we made our traditional pilgrimage up the hill to visit our friend Robert Righteous. He was proud to show us his new rooftop deck, and it was good to see that he is well. He gave us some free ice (which we hadn’t been able to find otherwise in town)! We shoved off for Union Island after lunch.
I had proposed to Yumi in Chatham Bay about a year earlier, on January 1, 2019, and the place is very special to us. When we entered the bay, we could see conditions were calm, the water was clear, turtles were thriving, birds were diving … perfect.
Chatham Bay is famous for shrieking gusts coming straight down the hill and across the bay, so the “best” spot for anchoring is close to the protected shore up in the north part of the bay. The trick is to put someone on the bow who can spot sandy spots, and then drop the anchor in sand. Last year, our anchoring was flawless; this year not so much.
Yumi and Art’s story continues at Latitude 38.com.
First the Good News
Island, Encinal and Oakland Yacht Clubs, all based in Alameda, have banded together to introduce the Estuary Extravaganza to be sailed in three races on Sunday, September 13. Divisions will be offered for Singlehanded, Doublehanded, One-Design fleets of five or more and Crewed (same household or social bubble) classes. Register before September 8 for the discounted price of $25. Find the Notice of Race and enter at www.jibeset.net/EYC000.php?RG=T006666229.
We’ll preview more September regattas in ‘Lectronic Latitude on Monday.
Express 37 Nationals
“We canceled our Nationals for this year,” says Express 37 fleet president Dave Fullerton of MudShark. “What a year. Most owners are doing family sailing. We do have five Express 37s signed up for the Doublehanded Farallones in September, so we are still finding ways to race as a fleet. Hopefully we will have more come race day.”
San Francisco Yacht Club
SFYC has canceled the Multihull Regatta scheduled for September 12-13. They’ve postponed the Perkins Challenge from October 17 and the Leukemia Cup Regatta from October 18 to March 2021. Leukemia Cup participants who want to get started now on fundraising can sign up by emailing campaign development manager Alexa Adams.
Treasure Island Vanguard 15 Fleet
“With late August upon us and the originally scheduled conclusion of our Thursday Night Series only a couple weeks away, it’s unfortunately time to accept that we will not have anything remotely resembling a regular season this year,” writes Sam Wheeler, fleet captain of Vanguard 15 Fleet 53. “This email therefore serves as notice of cancellation of the 2020 Thursday Night Series. (Tuesday night team racing also remains suspended.)” Fleet 53 normally sails out of Treasure Island Sailing Center and is subject to San Francisco County health orders.
5O5 North Americans
“This isn’t exciting news, so I’m just going to get to the point,” writes information officer Brendan Heussler on behalf of the 5O5 American Section. “The 2020 North Americans have been canceled. The officers voted unanimously in favor of canceling the event, citing health concerns due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” Alamitos Bay YC in Long Beach had planned to host the 5O5 NAs on September 24-27.
Little Ensenada Race
Southwestern Yacht Club has canceled the Little Ensenada International Yacht Race on October 2-3. The 59-mile Little Ensenada starts in San Diego.
San Diego Yacht Club
Rescheduled from May, SDYC’s Yachting Cup is still on for October 10-11, but the club has canceled the International Masters Regatta (October 16-18) and Lipton Cup (October 10-11).
The good news for the Finns is that their Pacific Coast Championship is on for September 12-13 at SDYC.
Finn Gold Cup
The bad news for the Finns is that the International Finn Association has canceled the 2020 Finn Gold Cup, which was to have been held on October 2-10. They had postponed the regatta from its original dates of May 8-16 in Mallorca, Spain.
US Team Racing Championship
Following months of collaboration and teamwork, US Sailing and the Bristol Yacht Club in Rhode Island decided not to hold the 2020 US Team Racing Championship this year due to ongoing circumstances caused by the COVID19 pandemic. The championship was originally planned for September 11-13. Bristol YC has agreed to host the 2021 US Team Racing Championship for the George R. Hinman Trophy next summer or fall. US Sailing will announce specific dates later. In the spring, Qualifiers for the championship were canceled and the event transitioned to invitation by résumé.
New York Yacht Club
NYYC’s plan to restart the 2020 sailing season on August 28-30 with the 166th edition of the Annual Regatta was stymied by an uptick of COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island. Uncertainty followed regarding possible quarantine restrictions imposed by neighboring states upon anyone spending more than 24 hours in the Ocean State. But, determined to exhaust every opportunity to get sailors on the water this season, NYYC has moved the Annual Regatta to the first weekend in October. It will now include the Melges IC37 National Championship originally scheduled for those dates.
the M32 Class board canceled the 2020 World Championship scheduled for Miami on November 16-22. “The current travel climate due to the COVID-19 situation does not allow for intercontinental travel in a way that we need to have a proper World Championship,” they stated. “With the logistics involved in running and competing in a World Championship we can not wait to see how restrictions evolve this fall.” Racing “on a continental level” continues. The Marström 32 catamarans may be able to race for their North Americans on the dates previously planned for the Worlds.
Next Friday, September 4, at 10 a.m. PDT, on Quantum Sails’ In Position video series, Ed Baird, Federico Michetti and James Dagg will share their trimming tricks and tips. See www.quantumsails.com/en/live-video-series-schedule.
Over the Horizon in 2021
Newport to Cabo
Newport Harbor YC opened registration for the 2021 Newport to Cabo San Lucas International Yacht Race, to be held on March 19-25. Within minutes of opening the entries of the 2021 race, two boats entered. Doug Baker’s Kernan 70 Peligroso and the Andrews 77 Compadres were the first boats to step up.
Long Beach YC has announced that the 2021 Congressional Cup dates will be May 12-16. “We’re already counting down the days,” states their press release. They had to cancel the 2020 edition of the world-class match racing regatta.