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November 30, 2020

Fire Destroys Cryer & Sons Boatyard Building

On Friday, November 13, the former Cryer & Sons Boatyard building burst into flames, destroying “all but two corners” of the city-owned wooden building, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Cryer & Sons building burns
Given the dubious structural integrity of the old Cryer & Sons Boatyard building, firefighters fought the blaze from the street, rather than going inside.
© 2020 Nina Riggio / San Francisco Chronicle

“A large amount of runoff and debris flowed into the Estuary,” the Chronicle added, “forcing firefighters to temporarily turn off their hoses while booms were installed to protect the Estuary and Bay. Once the booms were in place, crews resumed pouring water on the fire.”

Closed in 1989, the Cryer & Sons Boatyard came under the ownership of the Port of Oakland, which leased it to the City. Sitting at the end of Union Point Park, near Coast Guard Island and on the Oakland Estuary, the wooden boatyard building had been used for storage, but has been empty since August. The building was immediately adjacent to a sprawling homeless encampment that has taken over the shoreside Union Point Park for the last five-plus years.

“It was boarded up, red-tagged — declared unsafe for use — and encircled with fencing,” the Chronicle said of the wooden building. Despite continued efforts to keep people out, the Oakland Fire Department said that squatters occasionally camped inside the building. “The cause of the fire is under investigation ‘but it’s believed it potentially was caused by squatters,'” OFD told the Chronicle.

Homeless encampment adjacent to Cryer & Sons building
The Cryer & Sons Boatyard building — seen in the background — sat near a homeless encampment on the Oakland Estuary. (This photo was taken several years ago by Oakland Harbormaster Brock de Lappe.)
© 2020 Brock de Lappe

As we reported in November’s Sightings, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, or BCDC, issued a cease and desist order to the City of Oakland requiring the removal of homeless encampments from Union Point Park. The park had been set to be partially cleared by November 15, with the remaining encampment removed by February 12.

The Ins and Outs of Frozen Thru-Hulls

This is just a small piece of a bigger story. After 18 years of loving our Ranger 33, Summer Sailstice, we’ve finally decided to move to another boat. A few weeks ago we closed on a 1989 Sabre 38 MkII. Despite working with Latitude 38 over the past 30 years, it’s not often we get into the details and paperwork of buying and selling or learning the systems aboard a new-to-us boat.

Some of the many differences between the two boats, besides being simply five feet longer and somehow a lot bigger, are the added systems and creature comforts of the Sabre. The Ranger was pure simplicity, with only a couple of yarns on the shrouds to help us figure out which way the wind blows. The Sabre is very well equipped with a refrigerator, inverter, chartplotter, cabin heater and more. Some of the more mundane but critical pieces of equipment are the thru-hulls — all 10 of them.

Sabres have a reputation for being solid, Maine-built boats, and it’s obvious, as we crawl around to learn how it all works. Unfortunately, one of the other solid things is six of the 10 thru-hulls that haven’t been rotated in a couple of years. The boat needs hauling for bottom paint, so now is the time to fix them.

Sabre 38 Mk II frozen thru-hulls
This frozen thru-hull is as solid as the Sabre. The good thing is, should the thru-hull fail, each one already has the correct size bung secured next to it.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Our question is, do you rotate all your thru-hulls regularly? How do you get frozen thru-hulls unstuck? Do you just replace them? Besides being frugal, we just don’t like filling up landfills with  ‘perfectly good’ stuff. They look well made and should be able to work again.

Solid thru-hull
Another very solid installation of a now very solid thru-hull.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Besides getting all the thru-hulls unstuck we also have to find out where they all are. The good news is the previous owner left a very good layout with the location of each thru-hull. Every boat should have one of these aboard in an easily accessible and visible place. Do you?

Sabre 38 Thru Hull Diagram
We have a great thru-hull diagram taped inside the chart table.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Fortunately, all the thru-hulls are stuck open, so the ins and outs are working as intended. Sinks and scuppers drain and the engine cools, but that’s not very reassuring to us or our insurance company. Getting them working is at the top of our list of “things to do” as we learn about our new boat.  Figuring out all the buttons on the chartplotter will come at a later time.

Solo Sailor in Distress in Vendée Globe

IMOCA 60 PRB Taking on Water

Kevin Escoffier, positioned some 550 miles southwest of Cape Town in the Vendée Globe solo nonstop around-the-world race, has triggered his distress beacon. He was racing his IMOCA 60 PRB in a strong southwesterly air stream on starboard tack behind a weather front. The 40-year-old Frenchman was in third place.

Kevin Escoffier
Kevin Escoffier aboard PRB during the race.
© 2020 Kevin Escoffier / PRB

At 1346 hours UTC today, Escoffier sent a message to his shore team, explaining that he had an ingress of water into his boat. The rescue authorities (MRCC Cape Town and CROSS Griz Nez) are preparing an action plan in collaboration with his PRB shore team and the Vendée Globe race direction team. The closest competitor, Jean Le Cam on Yes We Cam!, has changed course to sail to the last position given by the boat when the beacon was triggered (40°55′ S, 9°18′ E). Le Cam is expected to reach the area at around 1600 hours UTC today.

Alex Thomson Is Out

On Day 20 of the race, Saturday the 28th, British sailor Alex Thomson had to withdraw. The starboard rudder of Hugo Boss sustained damage on Friday evening. This insurmountable problem occurred almost exactly one week after Thomson discovered extensive cracking in the longitudinal framing toward the bow.

Hugo Boss
Hugo Boss, as seen during Thomson’s delivery from Portsmouth, UK, to Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, in October.
© 2020 Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images

He headed for Cape Town, 1,800 miles to his east-northeast, making around 7 knots under reduced sail on Saturday afternoon. His team announced that he is no longer racing in the Vendée Globe.

After making extensive remedial repairs to the bow, working through the nights of Sunday to Thursday last week, Thomson had just declared himself back in the race and at the gateway to the Southern Ocean. His IMOCA 60 was designed to be best in the fast downwind conditions in the ‘Big South’. He was in 15th place some 650 miles behind fleet leader Charlie Dalin on Apivia.

One of the two favorites to win this ninth Vendée Globe, Thomson placed third in the 2012-13 edition and finished second in 2016-17 after fighting back from being 48 hours behind eventual winner Armel Le Cléac’h at Cape Horn. In 2017 Thomson succumbed to exhaustion and came in 16 hours behind his French rival.

Dismasted IMOCA in port
Nicolas Troussel’s Corum L’Epargne is safely moored in Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands, after having dismasted on November 19, as we reported in a previous post.
© 2020 DR

Vendée Leaders Turn Left

As of this writing on Monday morning, Charlie Dalin on Apivia is about due south of the Cape of Good Hope. He holds a comfortable lead over Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut, 241 miles back. The majority of the fleet has now dipped into the Roaring Forties. Apivia is sailing in 30-knot winds on 15-ft seas. The top female sailor is Samantha Davies on Initiatives-Coeur in 11th place (after subtracting PRB from the standings). Fellow Englishwoman Pip Hare on Medallia is sailing in 22nd place (after also subtracting Hugo Boss). You may recall that we introduced our readers to Hare in the August issue of Latitude 38. Jérémie Beyou on Charal, another pre-race favorite, continues to try to catch up with the rest of the pack. He returned to Les Sables-d’Olonne early in the race to make rig and rudder repairs, but he was able to restart within the time allowed.

Charal at sunset
Charal’s restart on November 17.
© 2020 Olivier Blanchet / Alea

Gitana Abandons Jules Verne Attempt

On Friday, after three days at sea on their first round-the-world record attempt, co-skippers Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier and crew interrupted their circumnavigation. The boat collided with a UFO on Thursday, rendering it impossible for the crew to sail the damaged trimaran Maxi Edmond de Rothschild at her full potential. The collision occurred when the 105-ft trimaran was running downwind at 30+ knots between the Azores and Madeira. The sailors turned toward home, 1,900 miles away in Lorient, France. Meanwhile, Thomas Colville and crew on Sodebo Ultim 3 have slipped south of the equator and continue on their quest for the Trophée Jules Verne. Team Gitana wished them well.

We Found a Golden Ticket Winner!

Did you pick up your copy of November’s Latitude 38 magazine this month? Len Cardoza did, and he found a Golden Ticket inside!

Len Cardoza with his Golden Ticket
Clearly it pays to read our magazine. “I have enjoyed Latitude 38 for many years,” Len said.
© 2020 Len Cardoza

As a retired US Army Corps of Engineers LTC, Len was always appreciative of friends sending him new Latitude 38s whenever he was deployed.

Len is a member of Oakland Yacht Club — which is where he gets his monthly issue — and he sails his Catalina 380 Edelweiss whenever he can.

The December issue is just around the corner, so keep an eye out for yours in the mail (subscribe here), or pick one up at your local distribution point.

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