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September 4, 2020

Big Wind, Big Waves, Max Ebb and Small Boats

We’ve said it before, “the smaller the boat, the bigger the adventure.” Last weekend a group of Lasers gathered to take on the Central Bay. Decorated and dedicated Laser aficionado Chris Boome sent in this report.

Laser Bridge Fleet
Even under gray skies, it’s good to have a Laser adventure on the Bay.
© 2020 Ernesto Perez

On Saturday, August 29, a group of nine Laser sailors, wanting to take advantage of the 1418 max ebb of 2.4 knots to get in some downwind practice, met up between Alcatraz and St. Francis Yacht Club. Six hardy souls sailed from Richmond Yacht Club and three came from StFYC. We had a mix of full rigs and Radials, and as we started upwind toward the Golden Gate Bridge it was a nice breeze — not too heavy and not too light — so we got to and sailed under the Bridge quickly. We all stopped for a while, thinking we would head downwind from there.

Emilio Castelli had a slightly different idea and had this burning desire to sail around the Point Bonita Buoy, so five of us headed out there and the others started downwind toward the Berkeley Circle. I am pretty sure everyone had a great day. The guys who went back inside the Bay probably had a much better training day, but I think the five of us who went to Bonita had a more exciting time.

Getting to the Point Bonita Buoy was a piece of cake, as the wind was moderate. I was surprised to still see so much ebb on the buoy when I rounded. At first there wasn’t much wind, but still enough to move along nicely. Once we were about halfway back to the Bridge, the wind started coming up and we had some really fun and exciting rides. See Emilio’s video below. We also saw lots of sea critters out there who could not decide if we were friend or foe as we were flying over the waves toward them.

I was part of the original San Francisco Bay Laser group in the early 1970s, and we did a lot of fun things together, besides just showing up for races. The SF Bay Laser group now has become close friends, thanks largely to the many hours that our fantastic district secretary, Stephen Aguilar, has put in to get us loving our Lasers, both for the sailing and for the great group that sails them.

Lasers coming in the Gate.
Dinghy sailing is for big kids too.
© 2020 Ernesto Perez

Do you sail a Laser, or another small boat? Drop your answer in the comments below.

San Francisco Sailor John DeRuff on US Sailing Starboard Portal Diversity Panel

As a passionate sailor and a gay man who gained a fresh lease on life when I came out, I am grateful to see US Sailing leaning in and opening channels to the national conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion in the sport I love. I am grateful also for the opportunity to participate in an online panel presentation Thursday, September 10, at 4 p.m. PDT, and I invite the readers of ‘Lectronic Latitude to join Francesca Clapcish, Liam Faudree, Stephanie Helms and me for the latest in US Sailing’s Starboard Portal series, on inclusion, why and how, to be hosted by Kimball Livingston.

US Sailing Diversity and Inclusion
Mark your calendar for the US Sailing Diversity and Inclusion panel on Thursday, September 10, at 4 p.m. PDT.
© 2020 US Sailing

As my teammates at George Washington University reelected me team captain this year, I felt their full support. Acceptance like that means the world to anyone identifying LGBTQ. Believe me, I know. As society has grown more accepting, or less unaccepting, it is easy to forget the confused, fearful kid next door who may show up tomorrow for sailing lessons — or not, out of fear. To the extent that organizations are able to invest in training and awareness resources and opportunities, all of sailing will benefit.

John DeRuff George Washington University
The George Washington University sailing team.
© 2020 George Washington University

Fewer than a quarter of LGBTQ+ youth play a sport in high school, a fraction of the average for youth at large, but the trend line is clear: More people are out. More people are laying claim to the lives they need to live. If you are a good-spirited human being, the question is not if but when you will have your own opportunity to help an LGBTQ sailor navigate our sport. Sailing is largely non-gendered, so we start from a great place to make ours the most inclusive sport of all. My hope now is that you will join us on Thursday, and beyond.

‘Tilligo’ and a Final Journey

Just in case you missed the news, September’s Latitude 38 is out and ready to pick up from your favorite distributor, or read online. Here’s a preview of one of our favorite stories in this month’s edition: how Tilligo carried a special meaning for her new owner. 

I recently bought another boat. I have gone over to the dark side with the purchase of a really nice 1986 Grand Banks 42. Her name is Grand Dame. I’ve had my eye on this specific boat for a few years. I was finally able to get the owner to sell her to me and am very happy with her. Though I will miss sailing my own boat, I can always sail with friends when the urge strikes.

Tilligo — a special kind of boat for a special kind of sailor.
© 2020 Dan Texeira

So, I’ve been working on selling my beloved sailboat, Tilligo, a 1988 Union Polaris 36. I have owned her for 16+ wonderful years and put many miles and adventures under her keel. She’s an amazing vessel, with everything one would need to safely and comfortably cross an ocean. This boat is not for just any sailor. There are many systems and special kinds of maintenance that must be performed and managed. Over the past year, I have had many interested parties come out and look her over, flying or driving in from all over the country. After viewing her, the comments were always the same: “I just want something simple to sail around in.” Or, “Way too much maintenance for me,” and “I just want something to live on and party on.”

One day, I got a call from a guy asking if Tilligo was still for sale. We chatted for a long time and set up a day to meet at the marina. After meeting and going through the boat, we set up another day to take her out and put her through her paces on the Bay. As we hoisted the sails and cranked on the winches, I could see a warm and satisfied smile on the man’s face. That smile continued through the remainder of the sail, as we tacked, ran with the wind, and maneuvered the boat through every sailing angle and configuration.

Tilligo anchored
Even at anchor Tilligo is a breathtaking sight.
© 2020 Andy Smith

After we arrived back at the dock, he made an offer on the spot. This was a bittersweet moment for me, as I was happy to get her sold, but very sad because of my love for and attachment to her. I agreed to his offer, which was the full asking price. As we secured the final dockline, he looked at me and said, “Andy, I have an expiration date on my life — I have lung cancer with maybe 10 or 12 months to live.”

Continue reading at

SailGP Stars in a Hollywood Movie

SailGP makes its Hollywood debut this week in a new movie, Tenet. Christopher Nolan directed the sci-fi spy thriller. John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh star in the movie. Shooting locations included Southampton, UK. When the script required an epic sailing scene, two SailGP F50 catamarans answered the call.

Two foiling catamarans
The Japan and US foiling catamarans faced off on the Solent while the cameras rolled. We have no idea how this scene fits into the plot of the thriller.
© 2020 Warner Brothers

Following Cowes SailGP in August 2019, the American and Japan boats were rebranded for the Hollywood movie. The teams’ professional sailors took part in the filming, although it will be a struggle to spot them thanks to the magic of cinematography.

US SailGP helm Rome Kirby and SailGP Season 1 champion Tom Slingsby of the Australia team spent a week at the helm of the F50s — one white and one blue — setting up dramatic, boat-on-boat scenes in the Solent. Nolan watched from a helicopter.

SailGP is always a logistical feat involving teams from around the world and multiple global events. But the Hollywood production took logistics to another level. Based out of Southampton docks, the filming involved multiple helicopters, chase boats, high-tech camera boats, IMAX cameras, production staff and a team of hair and makeup technicians. Kirby got to experience them first-hand. “In the script, the white boat was helmed by the character played by [Elizabeth] Debicki,” explained Kirby. “In the real world, very few people are equipped to handle an F50. While Debicki already had a stunt double — who had more than a passing resemblance to the Australian actress — even in a blonde wig, I didn’t really cut it as Hollywood leading lady.

“It was amazing to be a part of. We shot scene after scene, scenario after scenario trying to get as close to each other as possible. We didn’t know how the pieces fit together or where it would feature in the movie, but I think it will be a pretty prominent scene.”

While watching an NBA playoff game this week, we caught a clip of the trailer in an ad promoting Tenet’s release yesterday, on Thursday, September 3. Here’s the whole trailer:

Tenet is heralded as a “Hollywood summer blockbuster,” the first of summer 2020 to be widely released to theaters. Although theaters in many counties are still closed, they are open in various others with limited capacity. COVID-19 has actually resulted in the resurgence of that old school favorite, the drive-in theater!

Latitude 38 Delivery Driver Wanted

The perfect sailor’s job: 29 days off every month! We have a one-day-a-month position delivering Latitude 38 magazines to our East Bay distributors, Richmond through Oakland, around the first of each month. Drivers act as ambassadors for the West Coast’s premier sailing and marine magazine.

Drivers should feel comfortable engaging with our wonderful distribution team and maintaining relationships with sailing and marine businesses throughout the Bay Area. An ideal candidate will keep track of the magazines delivered to each location and look out for new distribution locations.

Who is that masked man? Driver Erik Chipchase, with mask and gloves, saddled up and riding the Wild West to deliver the April issue.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

To apply, send your résumé and cover letter with sailing experience by email to [email protected] with “Latitude Driver” in the subject line. Please, no phone calls!

Details on New Sailboat
Alan Andrews designed the Moore 33, and Ron Moore plans to build a fleet of them at Moore Sailboats, Inc., in Watsonville. Readers asked for more info.