Most Bay Area sailors know the ins and outs of our local sailing grounds. And most of them have probably sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge — perhaps to the Farallones and back, or perhaps just for a look-see and a turnaround. Some, however, make that extra tack and keep going. One local sailor, who goes by the name Whye Wait, sent us this story about when he did just that, aboard his Catalina 470 No Plans.
What it Feels Like to Turn Left
Months, even years, of sailing didn’t prepare me for this moment. I’m not sure I’m ready. Not sure the boat is ready. Are there things I’ve missed? Could I have done more? Should I have done more? Am I irresponsible? These questions are spinning in my head like a circus ferris wheel.
Turning left under the Golden Gate Bridge and sailing off into the sunset has been my dream for years. You’ve felt the pull, right? Tell me I’m not alone. I’m sure if you have saltwater in your veins, you can relate. You can see the freedom just sitting there, whispering in your ear, waiting for you to make the first move, yet you don’t. I’m scared.
Sailing under the Golden Gate has been a goal for many San Francisco Bay sailors over the years, and it’s now staring me square in the face. It’s a rite of passage, a bucket-list milestone, a new lease on life, and I’m about to do it.
Imagine being on a boat, looking up at the orange splendor of this fabled bridge, turning left, and not looking back, feeling the pull of the swirling currents taking you where they want, not where you want — the funneled blast of frigid Pacific wind numbing your ears.
Now imagine sailing your boat under this bridge. Yes, your very own, bought-it-yourself-with-hard-earned-money sailboat. Scary, right? These feelings are hard to describe, but I’ll try.
I feel I’m in way over my head as my lovely, smiling bride glances at me for reassurance. Have we made the right decision?
I flash a smile of confidence. Yet inside, I’m twisted in a knot. Hearing the rumbling of cars overhead, I glance up. A tingling wave of accomplishment unties the twisted knot and sends peaceful goosebumps across my neck and down my arms. Tears of satisfaction fill my eyes then race down my cheeks to be cast into the sea by the gusting wind.
I feel alive. The world lies at my feet, open, waiting for me to take the next step, the next breath. I feel free. Free to go faster, or slower, or turn the boat in lazy circles if I want.
I feel humble. How can I be so fortunate? How can I share this moment with my family and friends? These feelings fill me to the brim. If I speak, I’ll turn into a puddle on the deck, so I don’t say anything for fear of ruining the moment. I feel joy, and smile the biggest shit-eating grin. The world has just shown me one of its secrets.
Christopher Jette is the latest reader to discover a Golden Ticket in his Latitude 38 magazine. Christopher and his wife, Christine, are regular sailors on the Bay and enjoy offshore adventures whenever possible. Christopher learned to sail at the Milwaukee Yacht Club, where he raced Lasers, 470s and Lightnings. Later, while at college, he worked as a sailing instructor at Oshkosh Yacht Club.
Christopher takes up his story …
“We are the proud owners of a plastic classic, a 1977 Allied Wright Princess, Corinna. We got her in 2010 and have just returned to Coyote Point, eight years and eight days after leaving for the 2012 Baja Ha-Ha. We sailed slowly south in August 2012 and returned to the Bay in January 2013. After that our boat was in Alameda for a time, then Brisbane for the past several years.
“We get out on the Bay once a month for a long weekend and head down the coast to Santa Cruz, Pillar Point or Santa Barbara every year or so. Occasionally we charter, and have been to Brazil, the BVI (where we rode out a hurricane), Florida and Alaska. We were members of the William H. Seward Yacht Club when we lived in Alaska for two years. During this time we commuter-sailed our boat in San Francisco.
“Currently we are learning to sail with a toddler, baby Cai, adding a whole new level of skills to our sailing repertoire. My wife and I love to explore via our moveable adventure unit. I taught her to sail while I was in graduate school at UC Santa Barbara, so the Channel Islands occupy a special place for us. I’m looking forward to building a boat for and with the little one and hopefully sailing a Pacific Loop (or at least starting it) as a family in 2,201 days. So says the timer on my phone. [That would now be around 2,172 days.]
“As a composer I use data as the basis for compositions and am in the process of creating a system for translating the sailing journey into musical works.”
Have you found a Golden Ticket? Let us know and we’ll not only send you a Latitude 38 T-shirt or hat, we’ll also make you famous.
Just when you thought everyone was getting along just fine Down Under in New Zealand and everything was just peachy Kiwi keen comes word that either the challengers didn’t read the fine print in the America’s Cup Protocol Amendments, or Emirates Team New Zealand was trying to pull a fast one, or the Auckland harbormaster was trying to do the right thing in the wrong way.
What has become a huge controversy is that two of the five racecourses that were approved through Mutual Consent Provisions have been struck down by the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel in a 2-1 ruling. Anyone hoping to watch the action close to shore, à la ‘stadium sailing’, is out of luck right now. The two fan-friendly courses were the ones that got the boot.
The Arbitration Panel published its decision in response to the application (protest) filed by the Luna Rossa Pirelli Team, the Challenger of Record (CoR). Luna Rossa garnered support from the other two Challengers by challenging the exclusion from the Prada Cup Round Robins and Semifinals of Courses B and C. These were the preferred close-to-shore courses for the Christmas Race, the Prada Cup Final and, ultimately, the America’s Cup Presented by Prada, which begins on March 6, 2021.
The Arbitration Panel found that: “If any part of the course area of the Challenger Selection Series (CSS) and the America’s Cup Match (e.g. Courses B and/or C) are not accessible with no restriction at any time in accordance with Art. 3.4 of the Protocol, then that part of the course area will be used neither for the CSS nor the Match.”
The crux of the controversy was that the Challengers would not be able to compete on the courses that may be used on race days during the America’s Cup finals, potentially giving the Kiwis a ‘home court’ advantage.
“Quite frankly we are outraged by this decision. It has gone against everything we have been trying to achieve over the last three years, with no consideration to the effect this has on the public of New Zealand and the city of Auckland,” said CEO Grant Dalton. “ETNZ are now considering if there are any options that are available to remedy this unbelievable decision.”
The Italians responded by stating that: “The attacks by ETNZ are intended solely at discrediting the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team with populist pretexts that tend to mask the attempt to gain an unfair advantage over the Challengers, who, we repeat, unanimously supported us as CoR by each lodging their own independent submissions.”
“This decision has considerable and negative repercussions to the accessibility of the event for the public of Auckland and New Zealand, the safety of the event, and the reliability of the racing,” continued Dalton, “all of which are elements that have been fundamental to ETNZ since we won the America’s Cup in 2017.”
“The images with Auckland City as a backdrop during racing have always been a critical part of showcasing New Zealand to the world in an event with a significant global audience, and another reason for the original racecourse designs,” added Dalton.
“We are disappointed to acknowledge ETNZ’s press release,” stated the CoR in a press release. “We would therefore like to point out some of the key elements that explain why the Arbitration Panel made the decision to exclude racecourses B and C from the 36th America’s Cup.
“In early September, we discovered, without having been previously involved nor informed by the Defender, that the Round Robins and the Semi-Finals of the Challengers Selection Series — the Prada Cup — could not be sailed on Courses B and C, designated as preferred courses for the Final Match. A situation that the Defender (ETNZ) had kept hidden since the end of January/beginning of February.”
The Arbitration Panel also stated that this decision does not prevent the CoR and the Defender from making further approaches to the harbormaster and/or any other competent authority in order to attempt to change the current restrictions or look for a different solution by an agreement among all the competitors.
Ugh! Remember those ABCs, boys and girls, because this isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination — but then it wouldn’t be the America’s Cup if there weren’t some controversy spilling over somewhere.
We’re looking forward to the 2021 racing season and events like the upcoming Transpac. While searching our website for some bits of West Coast-to-Hawaii sailing history, we came across a photo Rob Moore used to remind racers that, whether racing upwind or down, it’s wise to keep weight out of the ends of the boat.
Rob caught this shot of Chalmers Ingersoll’s San Francisco-based Tayana 37 Gaia as she was leaving the Bay at the start of the 2002 Pacific Cup. He also noted the difference between the SoCal Transpac and the San Francisco Pacific Cup, which promotes itself as the “Fun Race to Hawaii,” meaning a little dialed-back from the grand prix level of the Transpac. Rob thought this shot was evidence the Pacific Cup message had succeeded.
More emerged from the history pages when we came across the 2008 Pacific Cup overall winner, a Cascade 36, Rain Drop, sailed by Joby Easton and Bill Huseby. She too was an older classic, but, judging by this shot, was a little more careful about sailing with weight in the ends.
With history behind us and 2021 ahead, we’re really looking forward to getting a new year and racing season underway. The first Transpac start is planned for July 13. Forty entries are already signed up, and the first seminar was held this past weekend.
Go racing, do the Transpac, and show a few people your stern in 2021.