Last week we received word of a sailboat that had washed ashore in Monterey — a casualty of Monday night’s stormy conditions. “The Bobbie Ann tore loose from her mooring in gale-force winds on Monday, January 25th, and was pushed across the bay to Del Monte Beach in 50-70-knot winds and very confused seas,” Michael Coleman said.
Michael, who owns Ocean Edge Yacht Detailing in Monterey, said Bobbie Ann was towed off the beach by two tractors and a crane. “The salvagers first tried towing her off the beach by boat, but with big waves and the keel in the sand, it was futile.” (On a side note, Michael’s Santana 22 is named Latitude. Top marks for choosing a good name, Michael.)
Michael’s email was followed by some photos from Jeff Canepa, who said the 44-ft Moody had “severe hull damage along with surface cracks around the bolt-on lead keel and the rudder assembly.”
Did you get out sailing in January? Many of our readers did, and a few sent photos for us to share. We hope you enjoy our new Sailagram feed full of photos submitted by our readers, the real sailors who make our community so amazing.
And just in the nick of time, our photographer was on the water for Saturday’s Three Bridge Fiasco …
Want to be included next month? Send you photos our way: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open and Shut
“We just opened the door and they (the Italians) took the opportunity and walked right through it,” said American Magic CEO and skipper Terry Hutchinson. Unfortunately for the Americans, that was an understatement. Quicker than you can say Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, it was over for the New York Yacht Club team. They were vanquished 4-0 and quickly swept out that door in a humiliating fashion.
Yet it was an honorable exit for American Magic. Their fight to save Patriot, assisted by three of their competitors and New Zealand’s finest, became the story that resonated with those around the world who watched, listened, and read about the heartbreaking accident.
“The competitors showed an incredible amount of sportsmanship and really demonstrated what sailing is about at the highest level when they all reacted to Patriot’s near-sinking,” said Hutchinson. “It’s just heartfelt. We always felt that we were prepared, and that we’ve done things in the correct manner to be on the right side of things.”
In a weekend where things had to go perfectly for American Magic, each race went from bad to worse. Just as it seemed that Patriot would make a match of it in the fourth and what turned out to be the final race, the team experienced a critical software failure when the starboard cant arm refused to go down shortly after the start. Time and time again for the remainder of the race, the board refused to deploy. After a few choice expletives by helmsman Dean Barker, it was game over, and the Italians sailed off into the distance to capture the series.
Luna Rossa had finally earned the redemption they were looking for to claim a place in the Prada Cup Final against INEOS Team UK beginning on February 13 in a best-of-13 match for the right to face off against the formidable Emirates Team New Zealand for the 36th America’s Cup.
“We have the utmost respect for Luna Rossa and what they’ve done over the course of eight weeks of development. They’ve done an incredible job,” said Hutchinson. “With these things, it’s all team efforts and not just one person. We wish them the best of luck into the Prada Cup Finals.”
“The boat was going very well, and we have made some big improvements. The boat is sailing better and fast, more consistent and stable,” said Francesco Bruni, Luna Rossa’s co-helmsman along with Jimmy Spithill. “Congratulations to American Magic for doing a fantastic job for being out there racing. It wasn’t easy for us, and it wasn’t easy for them. I’m very proud of my team, the shore team, everybody. We have made big improvements this week, and the boat is a lot better than it was seven days ago.”
For the entire month of January, it wasn’t even close. American Magic’s only ‘victory’ was getting Patriot back on the water in time to be measured in just 10 short days after a catastrophic capsize and near-sinking.
As short as those days were on the calendar, they were long days in the shed. The entire boat had to be rebuilt from scratch with just two days to spare before Patriot had to be on the starting line for a hungry Luna Rossa team, who were champing at the bit and salivating at the opportunity to put American Magic out of its misery.
While the Americans spent the time frantically rebuilding, the Italians were just reloading. It was over before it began.
American Magic came out of the America’s Cup World Series in December confident enough with their performance that it seemed as if it was just a matter of when, not if, they would face off against the Kiwis for the America’s Cup.
The team showed tremendous determination in returning to the racecourse. Nevertheless, with the loss of critical racing and training time while repairs were carried out, American Magic was never able to recapture the ‘magic’ and speed it had shown previously before being torn apart by the capsize.
Luna Rossa demonstrated noticeably increased speed and efficiency in every race. The end result seemed more like a foregone conclusion than an upset. American Magic displayed poise and grace in defeat, leaving the American Magic nation wanting more, hoping that the team won’t end here and that they’ll be back for the next America’s Cup, wherever that may be.
“I have the highest praise for the entire American Magic team for what they did to get the boat out on the water,” continued Hutchinson, who was visibly distraught afterward and tried valiantly to hold back his tears. “There is not a person on our team that likes losing. We are proud to represent the team and the NYYC. They’ve been in the game longer than most, and so in that light, I think when I look back, it’s without question my greatest honor to be involved. At the same time, you feel the sting of defeat.
“If we’re fortunate enough to be there for the 37th America’s Cup, we’ll learn from these mistakes and be better for it.”
With California’s Regional Stay at Home orders lifted and helpful new guidelines from the Yacht Racing Association, regattas can resume. But race organizers are having to make some adjustments to divisions and Sailing Instructions. This is especially complicated as it relates to midwinter series already in progress.
Bay Area Midwinter Regattas
“With the lifting of the stay at home order we are happy to announce that we will resume racing on February 6,” writes Brent Draney, rear commodore of Encinal YC, referring to the Jack Frost Series. “Competitors are required to follow Alameda County health requirements. Under the Purple Tier, outside social gatherings are restricted to no more than three households. It is very likely that Alameda will be in the Purple Tier on February 6.”
The series will increase the number of throwouts after six races to two, and after eight races to three. Two races are planned for each race day. “Currently registered competitors who would like to swap out their boat for a boat that can be sailed under the household restriction can sign up for a single race-day entry at no additional cost,” added Brent.
“We are under the Purple Tier, which only permits single- and doublehanding,” writes Cam Tuttle, race committee volunteer at Tiburon YC. “When we get to the red tier we can host crewed racing. For February 6, we are going to cancel/postpone the official TYC Midwinter race and in lieu of that hold a shorthanded pursuit race that won’t count toward the Midwinter Series. It’ll just be for the fun of it, but will otherwise look like the Midwinter race. Anyone who already registered for the Midwinter series can just show up to race shorthanded — no extra fees. If there is interest from additional competitors, they can sign up for the single race on the 6th or the series. We are doing this in hopes of moving to the Red Tier before the March 6 Midwinter, preserving the divisions and standings. If the shift to red occurs sufficiently before February 20, we might hold a makeup Midwinter that day.”
Debby Ratto at Oakland YC says that their race committee has decided, “We will start racing our Sunday Brunch Races on February 7. The remaining dates are February 21, March 7 and March 21. We will be racing under the Purple Tier rules.”
“The San Francisco J/105 fleet is pleased to continue with our monthly gathering of J/105s for a doublehanded event, no entry fee,” says Bruce Stone. “We had eight teams racing in the Tandem-Baum Regatta on December 10, won by Ne*Ne; and nine racing in the Bittersweet Regatta on January 10, won by Doug Bailey in Akula.
“Now we’re going to meet up on Valentine’s Day, February 14, in front of Golden Gate YC. In each case, we’re scheduled for the day after RegattaPro’s midwinters, so you can race fully crewed on Saturday and then leave your boat rigged, making it easy to hop on board and go out doublehanded on Sunday. Here’s a link to the Notice of Race. The next doublehanded event after this will be on March 14 — Pi Day. We’ll then launch the regular fully crewed season on March 20-21 with the J/Go Regatta, a more upbeat name than J/Stop.” For Bruce’s writeup of the J/105 Bittersweet Regatta, see Racing Sheet in the February issue of Latitude 38, coming out today.
“I am sorry to announce that our final Perry Cup racing, scheduled for February 6, will not be held,” says Jack McAleer of Monterey Peninsula YC. “Although there are some hopeful trends on the COVID scene, Monterey County remains in the Purple Tier, as it was when we canceled in December. With new virus variants appearing, social distancing is as important as ever, and we are doubtful that adequate distancing can be achieved.” MPYC is therefore offering a partial refund of the entry fee.
However, Mercury sailors will want to mark their calendars for February 20-21. Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club in San Pedro and the L.A. Mercury fleet will host their Winter Regatta. Racing will be in the northern end of L.A. Harbor. There will be a get-together at CBYC on Saturday evening. The regatta will count toward the annual C. Paxton Davis Travel Trophy.
Folsom Lake YC will kick off their Spring Series on February 20, with four race days planned through March 20. FLYC has decided to hold the Camellia Cup on April 10 as a one-day regatta. with no skippers’ meeting and no post-race party, dinner or raffle. This will allow out-of-towners to return home following sailing on Saturday instead of having to find overnight accommodations. The club plans a virtual skippers’ meeting for the Thursday prior, in order to field any questions. “We are confident that these measures will limit interpersonal contact and anticipate getting all five races in on one day.”
The Singlehanded Sailing Society and the YRA
On January 30, the SSS ran their first race of the season, the Three Bridge Fiasco, for singlehanders only. We anticipate that doublehanders will be allowed back into the fold for the second race in the season, the SSS Island Tour, on February 27 — especially since that race will kick off the Yacht Racing Association’s new four-race Doublehanded Series. The second race in the YRA series will be the SSS Round the Rocks, another Bay tour. The third race will be the YRA North/South Race on May 23, and the fourth will be the YRA Bay Expedition on August 21.
We’re guessing that more schedule updates will cross our desk as the month progresses; also see the Calendar in Latitude 38. We’ll be updating the online version soon after this story posts. For longer-range planning and other racing resources, be sure to see the 2021 Northern California Sailing Calendar and YRA Master Schedule.
Hooray! February’s Latitude 38 magazine hits the streets today!
According to Wikipedia, February has been through a number of name changes over its long history, “Solmonath” (mud month) and “Kale-month” (named for cabbage) among them. In current times, some of February’s Northern Hemisphere names appear to be directly related to its relevance in nature. For example, in Finland the month is known as helmikuu, meaning “month of the pearl,” in reference to the melted snow that refreezes into droplets on tree branches — “they are like pearls of ice.” And in Poland and the Ukraine respectively, February is called “luty” or “лютий lyutyi,” and means “the month of ice or hard frost.”
But here in California February is just February, though for some of us, it’s also known as the month when we begin to dream about the close of winter and look forward to the coming summer sailing season. As all sailors do! So to help you with your dreams, we’ve put together an issue packed full of great stories and anecdotes that are sure to fill your sails and help you breeze through the remainder of the chilly season.
Jim DeWitt — Sailor, Sailmaker, Artist
When Jim was 10, his father built a 19-ft Acorn in the backyard. Jim sailed on her only once before his family sold the boat, so he didn’t go sailing again until he was 19, after he built an El Toro in the basement. His job as a lifeguard enabled him to buy the materials to construct #216.
At a St. Francis Yacht Club Yachting Luncheon, host Ron Young told this story: “He raced three races on Lake Merritt [in Oakland]. And in each of those races he took dead f—ing last. He would come in and the guy who was coaching and kind of running their regattas said, ‘Jim, you’re going straight into the wind. You have to go off at an angle.’ He’s trying to explain tacking to Jimmy. Jim said, ‘No, I didn’t want to go at an angle.'”
Jim DeWitt, a renowned sailor, sailmaker, boat designer and artist based in Point Richmond, celebrated his 90th birthday last year in part with his talk at the Yachting Luncheon on February 5, 2020 — live and in person in a crowded Grill Room.
Island Hopping in the Bay
After a respectable time without a boat, we reckoned that right in our own neighborhood, big adventures awaited that required none of the bothersome chart study, equipment and fancy electronics needed for an ocean voyage. We found a boat named Whisper, one of the original swing-keel Catalina 22s, the first of a long line of that marque’s successful designs. We had decided on Tomales Bay as a new venue for further expeditions, and the Catalina was the perfect boat for what we had in mind. Although no rocket ship, it’s solid, shoal-draft, trustworthy, and spacious for its size. I also built a 10-ft stitch-and-glue rowboat as a tender, to explore waters even Whisper was too large to navigate. With these crafts, Mr. Shrode and I were able to embark on travels to nearby places we’ve all seen but seldom if ever visited.
NV — 66-ft Custom: Joanna Hutchinson and Timo Pancin Moving Up
We’d had our eyes on NV for almost a year, and finding ourselves now anchored close to her mooring in Opua, New Zealand, and with my boat on the market, we set things in motion to make her our own. She may not be the obvious choice for a world cruiser, yet Timo and I saw a lot of potential in her for being both fun to sail and comfortable and safe to cruise in … or maybe it was the enormous cockpit — perfect for dance parties — that really won us over! Having both owned production sailing yachts in the past, we were looking for something different — and we certainly found that in NV!
You’ll also find your favorite regular pages: Letters, Max Ebb, Racing Sheet, Sightings and more. Plus the sailboat owners’ and buyers’ bible, Classy Classifieds
Here’s a fun shot from one of our magazine distributors.